These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Compared to the usual fan interpretation and his characterization in the manga, the male protagonist is surprisingly less stoic and more expressive in the drama CDs, particularly in the second P3P drama CD, where he is shown happily conversing with various friends. Though reserved and still somewhat quiet, he's capable of expressing a number of emotions, including cheerfulness, annoyance, exasperation, anger, alarm and relief. However, he still retains his trademark stoicism, in that his emotive cues aren't readily apparent to others and he rarely voices his opinion on most matters.
Much like the male protagonist, the female protagonist is also given a tangible personality in her own drama CD. She's is shown to be significantly more cheerful and energetic than her male counterpart. She even gets angry at one point ("Her mouth is smiling, but her eyes aren't...") and later attempts to pummel Kenji when she loses her temper.
Americans Hate Yukari Takeba: In the Western fandom, Yukari is a very divisive character. In Japan, however, she's one of the more popular characters in the game. She ranked 20th in a Persona Magazine poll that counted the entire franchise, which is no mean feat.
This is likely not assisted by cultural issues in her own game; she's infamously easy to reverse if you're playing blind, because in a few places, what would be the natural reaction for most Americans is what you don't want to do in Japan, which is just amplified even further by her own attempts at staying distant until you convince her it isn't necessary.
Anti-Climax Boss: Strega can be beaten in a single turn every time you fight them after The Hanged Man they are the only boss fights on full moons, contributing to the Ending Fatigue. Many of the Full Moon Shadows also come across as sort of pathetic as well, particularly in comparison to the tower guardians inside Tartarus. This is entirely intentional, since the tower guardians give you the opportunity to heal, save the game and prepare your personas before fighting them, while the Full Moon bosses often restrict you to whatever prep work you did the day before.
Justified in the case of Strega. They're just persona users, not all that different from your party, and you always outnumber them, so there's no particular reason why they should be hard.
The game further justifies this by explaining Strega's link to their Persona as something forced and manufactured. Compared to the SEES kids, who all have natural links with their Persona, Strega don't stand a chance.
YukariTakeba, whose insecure, overconfident personality tends to rub some fans the wrong way. Her actions in The Answer doesn't help her much either. She's rather well-liked in the Japanese fandom, nevertheless, and if reaction to her inclusion in the Arena update indicates anything, she appears to be fully Rescued from the Scrappy Heap.
The Protagonist having the name Makoto Yuki in the movie, as opposed to Minato Arisato. Then again, this ispar forthe course.
Also, the use of the male protagonist as opposed to the female protagonist from the PSP port. Fans at least want her to appear in a cameo-like fashion, if nothing else.
Broken Base: This along with Persona 4 caused this in the main Atlus fandom, due to how much attention it receives from mainstream audiences over everything else Atlus makes.
Critical Research Failure: A rather funny one in the PSP port. Because Fuuka's lines for the Bonus Boss fight weren't re-recorded from the fight against Elizabeth, when the PC fights against Theodore, Fuuka calls him a "she" at the start of the battle.
Die for Our Ship: In essentially any character the Protagonist is shipped with, Yukari will be reduced to the Clingy Jealous Girl. Granted, that is how she tends to act in canon... Some see her as the Designated Love Interest, if you find that the scenes with her and the protaganist are rather forced.
Dude, Not Funny!: For some, the Hot Springs Incident in Kyoto has shades of this, especially after taking place just after a Wham Episode filled November of Ikutsuki being revealed as the traitorous monster he is, along with shooting Mitsuru's father fatally. The fact that the guys that had no idea what was happening really weren't at fault doesn't help much, even if it is optional. Nor does the fact that Junpei, the Butt Monkey from that scene, loses his girlfriend in one of the biggest Tear Jerkers in the game not even a week later.
Among the party, there's Shinjiro, whose sheer fan popularity might make non-players think he's the main character in the game. Koromaru is given a special spot in most players' hearts (and parties) for general usefulness in combat and coolness.
Junpei has become this in recent years, at least in the West. He's generally considered more likable than his Persona 4 counterpart Yosuke, and is praised for being one of the best examples of Character Development in the game, with his actions in The Answer as the Only Sane Man a wonder to behold, especially given his behavior early on. It's to the point that polls for Persona 4: Arena DLC usually have him on top of the mountain. Their prayers were answered when the game is having a Continuum Shift-esque update and one of the first news is that Junpei, along with Yukari, are new characters to the game.
Ending Fatigue: After The Hanged Man no boss fights occur on full moons, your current portfolio of Persona have pretty much hit the top end of power (and with FES fusing, the same is true for equipment) and can last until almost endgame. Fighting (and plot advancement) is restricted to a day a month and you have likely already maxed your social stats leaving nothing to do for many game months but a long long string of social links or worse, free time.
Fan Nickname: In fan circles, the officially nameless protagonist has acquired the name "Minato Arisato (有里 湊)," the name given to the character in the manga adaptation. The Gender Flip protagonist in Persona 3 Portable has been lovingly nicknamed "Minako" by Western fans. She is also known as "Hamuko" (ハム子) by Japanese fans, loosely interpreting the last character of shujinkou (主人公), which means "protagonist," as katakana.
The Lucifer/Helel Persona when abusing his instant-kill combination attack with the Satan Persona. It also learns Victory Cry at Lv.94, which restores your HP/MP to maximum after every battle and makes spamming Armageddon (which will defeat anything but the Final Boss (only because its multiple life bars, and still drop it last one allowing the player to skip the hell with Night Queen) and Elizabeth in a single hit) even easier. Fixed in FES - Helel no longer learns Victory Cry naturally - and then further nerfed in P3P, in which the combination abilities are items that must be bought with gemstones rather than skills used by having both of the relevant Personas.
The Dreamfest combo skill (Succubus+Incubus) borders on this. It has a high-chance of charming (i.e. neutralizing) all enemies, and works on tough encounters and even some sub-bosses.
In some instances, Thunder Reign. Anything that doesn't resist/block/absorb/reflect it is guaranteed to get the shocked status effect, and until their next turn, all physical attacks (that they don't block, absorb, or reflect) are guaranteed Critical Hits. So, if you're facing a single opponent whose turn comes after your entire party, you get three successive All-Out Attacks. In which fight can you benefit the most from this? Against The Reaper.
Persona 3 Portable is broken in so many ways that it's the perfect game for beginning Megami Tensei players. To elaborate:
The game lets you directly control allies, unlike the PS2 editions. No more wrangling with Artifical Stupidity.
You can obtain Skill Cards, which can teach any Persona you have a new skill. To make them even more broken, there is a card duplication service at the shrine. The process takes two days, but is completely free. Some of the Skill Cards you can get include even even high-end skills like Prayer and the element Absorb skills.
Your condition no longer changes during dungeon exploration; it only changes after you leave. Feel free to complete as much of the currently-available portion of Tartarus as you want in a single night; the worst that happens is that you'll be "Sick" for two days when you exit.
Run out of SP while exploring? No problem! The clock provides full-party healing for cheap.
Hell Is That Noise: Five words: "Be careful! I sense Death!" Or, worse still, the quiet jingling of chains that signals the Reaper's approach.
He's Just Sleeping: The Fanbase beveled this about the main character until the release of FES which revealed that he did in fact die, at least physically.
Chihiro's S-Link ending in FES is her outraging at the article against a Student Teacher Romance saying that love is important, no matter what age. Now what is the Justice S-Link in Portableagain?
In PSP remake, one of Ken's S-Links mentions a manga about an alien who takes different forms to save the day. Although this is only in the female MC's playthrough, this is funny considering the male MC's voice actor'sother role.
Ken is represented with the Justice tarot in the remake, which contains a lot of members of the Divine race from the main game. Beta Johnathan actually looks a lot like an older version of him and he represents the Law alignment - which all of the Divine race is in.
The canonicity of the female main character and her path in Persona 3 Portable. You have fans that point to The Answer and The Reveal from Margaret in Persona 4 as proof that the FeMC route never happened, while other fans counter that since FES and P4 were written prior to P3P they can't be used as proof of anything related to the female PC. Then you have other fans using The Amala Network as a way to explain that she could exist, just not in the same universe as the Male Main Character. The debates were much larger in the weeks leading up to the release of the game, and still persist to this day.
Like with Persona 4: The Animation, fans went ballistic when the MC was given a completely new name for the movies; Makoto Yuki.
And to tie-in to the above, that it was confirmed the Persona 3 movie series would be using the Male MC & not the Female MC. That said, the FeMC fans are hopefull she at least gets a cameo.
It's Popular, Now It Sucks: This along with Persona 4 was what made the Shin Megami Tensei games mainstream in the West. Atlus has since build a franchise around the two titlesnote Quite similar to how Square Enix responded to Final Fantasy 7's popularity. The more hardant old-school SMT fans didn't quite like this.
Narm: Fuuka's Dull Surprise voice acting can lead to a few moments like this. She gets better in The Answer, but that just leads to a whole new set of problems when the "I'm mildly surprised by everything" voice acting from the old lines frequently contrasts with the more flat and matter-of-fact delivery of the new lines.
No Yay: Spending a long time with Ken Amada but subverted in that the scene is up to the player's imagination. A straighter version is the female protagonist and Takaya. Or the male protagonist and Takaya.
Although, the Minako/Ken ship is popular with fans of shotacon.
Paranoia Fuel: Normal people do not remember the Dark Hour... which means it could be really happening every night and you'd never know. Enjoy the next full moon!
Porting Disaster: The PSN version of FES initially suffered from several emulation problems, such as the game failing to save or just deleting your saved games when you try to load, freezing, and lots of texture flickering. This has thankfully been patched.
If a character you hate has a social link, chances are, you'll end up growing on them.
Ken is more well liked in the portable version due to this. Evidently, it's more easier to find fanart and fanfics of him with Minako than standalone fan work of him.
Many detractors of Junpei (either because of his personality, or because the player ends up running into a long string of boss fights who exploit his weakness early on) find that he gets a lot better after he meets Chidori (and also because he serves as one of the few voices of reason in The Answer.) And if the player is willing to stick with keeping him leveled after the aforementioned boss fights, he turn into a formidable heavy hitter (and the player will probably have access to skills to cover his weakness by then.)
Despite the general... disagreement with Yukari Takeba in the west, there's a surprising amount of (western) fans who welcome her inclusion in the update for Persona 4: Arena.
Ron the Death Eater: Some people hate Ken just for hating and wanting to killShinjiro, despite having (albeit disproportionate) reasons for doing so.
The Scrappy: While there are a lot of divisive characters (who subsequently gain the fans' respect and/or liking nevertheless), there are a couple of characters who do not have that luck. Fuuka and Natsuki are disliked for their grating English voices, which isn't helped at all by the lack of the same extensive Character Development found in, for example, Junpei. Fuuka, in particular, can actually harm your chances of winning a fight due to her Oracle ability randomly bringing your HP and SP to 1. The one most disliked, however, would be Ken Amada, due to his similarly uncharismatic English voice acting, vehement dislike for Shinjiro (the dub even made it more explicit - see Jerkass Woobie below), inclusion as a romance option, rather average combat stats and gradual lack of prominence after his confrontation with Shinjiro. Even Yukari earned respect for her cooling down at the end of The Answer. There isn't even a rumor or a hint of Ken joining the Persona 4: Arena cast. Though, his P3P incarnation is much more well liked, due to giving him a role beyond being Demoted to Extra by making him a Social Link - evidently, it's much more easier to find fanart of him with the female protagonist than stand alone art of him. While he's Rescued From The Scrappy heap for some, he still remains the least liked.
Random chance light and dark insta-kill abilities. Most of the time they'll miss. Sometimes they'll hit and knock other party members unconscious. If it hits you, you'd better have a Homunculus item (which is not obtainable by the time you first encounter it).
In combination to the above two, Portable adds the fact that when your allies get hit by these attacks, they will use one of your very rare Homunculi to survive it, despite the fact you can simply revive them afterwards and if YOU die, then it's game over.
In the original and FES update you didn't have direct control over the party. This is thankfully fixed in the PSP remake.
In order to lock down the very powerful skills in the PSP remake, they converted them to Fetch Quests - you now have to grind on shadows to get enough of a certain type of gem to drop.
The FES expansion basically forces Level Grinding upon the player if they want to finish it.
Want to level up the Hermit Social Link? Have fun spending the entire day, including nighttime, doing so for one session!
Sequel Displacement: Persona 3 and 4 are credited with singlehandedly popularizing the rest of the Shin Megami Tensei franchise outside of Japan. The PSP re-releases of Persona1 and Persona2 were generally well received, but neither had anything near the sales of the sequels.
FES also did this to the original game, with its many improvements and additions to the original game and The Answer epilogue. The PSP remake might have done this to FES with the female main character's storyline.
That One Attack: Night Queen, the final boss's most powerful attack, which it will only use once it has only a remaining third of HP of itsfourteenth lifebar. It deals massive Almighty damage to the party, and has the capability of inflicting any status effect on the party. Worst case scenario, if one or more of your party members is killed, charmed, enraged or inflicted with fear, you have pretty much no hope of victory at this point. If just the protagonist is enraged or charmed, it can be just as bad if the protagonist had a persona that healed, since then YOU can end up FULLY healing (*6000* HP) the FinalBoss, or getting your team in a nearly hopeless position depending on the tactics you had on them when you got enraged and can't heal the team. That Nyx Avatar mix things up with Moonless Gown, which allows it to repel everything you throw at it for a few turns, you can potentially end up screwing yourself over depending on how everything goes.
That One Boss: This being an Atlus game, most of the bosses are very tough, but Sleeping Table deserves a special mention. Megidola and Maragidyne (ma-spells hit all posible targets, and Megidola is a second-level Almighty - thus unresistable and very powerful - spell), plus Hamaon, Evil Touch (inflicts Fear) and Ghastly Wail (unblockable, instantly kills any character with Fear.) You know it's bad when you're praying that it just spams its One-Hit Kill and misses. A lot of the Tartarus bosses can fall into this category, especially compared to the Full Moon Shadows, but the Table is the standout example.
Nyx Avatar is this to a lot of players despite being the Final Boss due the sheer length of the fight and reasons mentioned above.
That One Level: It's generally agreed upon that Harabah is the hardest portion of Tartarus, what with it being dark and the only light coming from moving rainbow circles, which is hard to look at and makes Shadows nigh-impossible to see. Empyrean is a possible contender in The Answer, what with pretty much every enemy having either Mahamaon or Mamudoon.
Uncanny Valley: Ken's 3D model. The smile on his face is just too wide.
Unfortunate Implications: The one woman receptive to the boys' advances in the beach resort is the nymphomaniac transgender woman (referred to in-game as "Beautiful Lady?" with a question mark) who admits she wanted trick them into sleeping with her.
The PSP remake changes the reason for the boys rejecting her offer to her simply being too old.
Woolseyism: The original titles of The Journey and The Answer were Episode Yourself and Episode Aigis in Japan. It's generally agreed that altering them from the Engrish-happy Japanese names to names that have thematic importance to the content within them was an improvement.
As mentioned above (see mythology gag) the Devil Busters/Innocent Sin Online is almost completely changed. Y-ko mearly speaks with an accent, the english version changed this to Maya using 1337 speak, offering a better contrast between her online persona and her real life composition teacher self.
Aigis in Japanese uses a very generic and to the point speaking style when first introduced but as she becomes more humanized starts to drop this in favor of speaking regular Japanese. Since this can't be done with English, the US version has her speak in a robotic monotone at first and gradually start to talk like a normal girl as she becomes more human.
The Woobie: Just about everyone has something painful that endears the audience to them.
The Woobie: Akinari, Mitsuru, and Shinjiro are prime examples, but pretty much everyone in SEES is a woobie. The Protagonist after his Heroic Sacrifice, especially if you characterized him specifically.
Iron Woobie: Akinari is so positive during his last days.... Even more so if you complete his S-Link, and his soul comes in to cheer for you in the last battle.
Jerkass Woobie: Yukari, even in The Answer, when she was at her bitchiest and going through a breakdown. On one hand, you want to punch her because she's being so unreasonable. On the other, you want to follow the punch with a hug because her muddled emotions are incredibly genuine.
The English version of the game accidentally makes Ken into this, by making him curse that he was unable to kill Shinjiro himself rather than becoming mournful like in the Japanese release. Of course, this is the kid who thought that Shinjiro killed his mother for a few years.