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.
Alternative Character Interpretation: Did Saki really hate Yosuke? As the battles with shadows have shown, they are an exaggeration of the character's true self rather than their true embodiment, such as Kanji being Camp Gay, Rise being promiscuous, and Chie resenting Yukiko. It's possible that Saki hating Yosuke was just an exaggeration of her frustration with Junes taking business from her family's liquor store.
Ass Pull: Izanami in the original game. Literally everything up to that point pointed to Ameno-Sagiri being the ultimate mastermind of the murders, but then, at the last possible moment, a completely new entity appears to take credit for everything, and the only bit of foreshadowing that she got was a minor event at the very beginning of the game that most players likely forgot about, along with Mr. Edogawa's story of Izanami and Izanagi, the player's initial persona, during school trip. Note that this does not apply in Golden, as the Hollow Forest dungeon explains more about the specific links between Marie, Izanami, and Ameno-Sagiri - specifically that they are all aspects of a greater whole.
Yosuke. He's either the most hilarious character in the game or he crosses the Dude, Not Funny! line over his treatment of Kanji and his chasing after the girls.
There are two kinds of people when it comes to Adachi: either he´s an obstructive dumbass with little to no relevance to the plot, or he's a hilarious comic relief. There's also him being granted a Social Link in Golden, which is a Love It or Hate It case for fans (the fact it can be ignored or defied by the ending hasn't seemed to change this stance).
Marie. For some fans she's a refreshing addition to the game, a good-looking 'emo' styled Tsundere with a mysterious past. For others she's rude, clichéd, and feels forced upon the player. The polarization has started losing steam compared to Yosuke and Adachi, though, and while she still has her non-fans, you're more likely to find people that like her lately.
The game itself along with Persona 3 split the Persona fandom in two; fans of the "original" two games, and fans of the newer, slightly less Darker and EdgierPersona 3 and Persona 4 games.
That's not even getting into the contempt that some fans of the main Shin Megami Tensei franchise and other Atlus games have, due to the fact that the game overshadows everything else the company makes in the eyes of fans and critics.
Tying in with the above, Persona 4's many, many sequels, spinoffs, and adaptations are causing it to become one giant Base Breaker of its own. It's perceived as having gotten to be so out-of-control that even Persona 3 fans are getting left in the dust, and many Persona 4 fans are sick of it and just want the series to move on. Snarky jokes by the fandom that every new game from Atlus (or anybody for that matter) is somehow Persona 4-related abound.
Is the events at the Amagi Inn, namely the hotsprings, funny or is it a heavy case of Dude, Not Funny!? Some people think that despite how funny it was, it was pretty offensive to both genders while some think its just plain funny.
This is very similar to the hotsprings event in Persona 3, except that here the guys seeing the girls naked is a genuine accident (on the girls behalf, no less — not that they ever apologise), rather than something set up by the dumb hornball teammember.
The addition of Very Easy difficulty in Golden. On one hand, it helps ease in players who are just in for the story and characters, and don't want to have to grind for hours just to be able to defeat the game's many bosses; on the other hand, see "Stop Having Fun" Guys below.
The way fusion inheritance is handled in Golden: Is it fair that it saves upon needless rerolling of skills to get the fused Personas the player wants, or is it taking the fun out of unpredictable results and dealing with what the RNG throws at you?
The issue of whether or not Kanji is actually gay, and whether Naoto is a crossdressing girl, or a Transgender female-to-male individual.
Canon Sue: Yu Narukami comes across as this in the manga Persona 4: The Magician. This is a justified example, as the story is from Yosuke's point of view and follows the events that occur between Yosuke moving to Inaba and his accepting of his Shadow at the start of the game. As such, Yu is one of the last characters met in the story and comes across as a Canon Sue due to his status as the Hero of Another Story, which features Yosuke as The Lancer; this subsequently means that Yosuke is outdone in every way by a character who comes out of nowhere at the end of the story.
Japanese fandom has a large following for Adachi/aged-up Nanako, however little sense it makes.
Rise and Kanji have also turned into a surprisingly popular one as well. Interesting in the fact that, story-wise, the two have crushes on different characters (the Protagonist and Naoto respectively) and that Kanji is explicitly disinterested in her to the point that it irritates her in Golden. They do seem to get along quite well in the game (the game notes it may be because the others in the team are second years whilst the two of them are the only first years in the group until Naoto joins) and people may see them as an alternate Yosuke and Chie pairing without the UST.
The Japanese fanbase is quite fond of pairing Naoto and Rise together. This is actually because of the voice actor connection. Rise is voiced by Rie Kugimiya and Naoto is voiced by Romi Paku: they've had many roles where they worked together, notably Ed(Romi Paku) and Al(Rie Kugimiya)Elric from FMA. Romi Paku once stated in a behind the scenes interview for FMA that she wanted Rie Kugimiya to come and cook for her in nothing but an apron. There tends to be a fair bit of teasing subtext between them during interviews together.
Creator's Pet: Marie is often regarded as Persona 4's equivalent of Poochie from The Simpsons, due to being not very popular with either the Japanese or Western fandoms, but constantly being included in spinoffs (to the point that Persona 4 Golden: The Animation is largely focused on her) in spite of it.
"The Genesis", which is the boss theme for the final boss in the True Ending. The music is very oppressive until the climactic fanfare of "Reach Out to the Truth" comes in, representing everything you've fought for so far.
Demonic Spiders: Any Shadow with the word "Basalt" in its name. They resist (and later outright nullify) physical attacks, have unpredictable weaknesses, and while they don't have many skills, their regular attack hits like a ton of rocks. Oh, and there's one type of them that resists Almighty. You will, more often than not, drain half your collective SP getting everyone's health back up after fighting a group of Basalts. It's worth noting that the All-Out Attack is of Almighty affinity. Yes, they resist the All-Out Attack.
In the epilogue added in Golden, the Investigation Team all have new wardrobes and character models, with Kanji's being the most jarring as he abandons his Japanese Delinquents look and begins wearing glasses and dress shirts whilst growing his no-longer bleached hair out. Yukiko, however, keeps laughing about it whenever it's brought up, much to everyone else's irritation. Considering his Shadow and Social Link, the player will possibly share this reaction.
In-Universe example: Put Kanji in his bathhouse costume and he tells you that it makes him uncomfortable because it reminds him of his Shadow.
Another In-Universe example: During the Naoki Konishi Social Link, you'll be called into the Health Association for the second time. You can tell the other students to ignore those who are overly sympathetic to Konishi's loss, and a male student accuses you of being jealous and should have your own sister killed.
It's actually Naoki from outside the room hearing the students, getting fed up, and accuses that their family should die, not sister. He still realizes that he made the mood incredibly awkward and leaves right after.
The scene at the Amagi Hot Springs where Yukiko messes up the bath hours, meaning they were at the springs when the guys were supposed to be there instead. Yukiko realizes the mistake after the girls finish violently kicking the guys out of the springs and all girls just agree to never bring it up again, no apologies, nothing. The anime goes the extra mile and have the boys calling them out on this, only for Rise to reply with an accusation that they still peeked and calling "pervert" to Yosuke and Kanji's faces.
The camping trip has two candidates; Yosuke's interactions with Kanji, where he asks if he and Yu will be "safe" with Kanji, reminding him of his Shadow, and the ending, where the three guys end up in the river... whilst, just upstream, the hung-over Kinshiro Morooka is throwing up into it.
Shadow Yosuke and Shadow Naoto tend towards being the most popular of the Shadows. Particularly notable in that the former is only part of the tutorial and doesn't have a special venue like most of the other Shadows, while the latter is, as mentioned above, a Breather Boss.
This particular game is notable for spawning even more than games of its franchise usually do, thanks in no small part to leaving certain side-mysteries from the main plot tantalizingly half-answered or unanswered at all (in order to leave plot hooks for the inevitablesequel, in all likelihood). Naoto being a descendant of Raidou Kuzunoha and/or a relative of Persona3's Protagonist (and the two are not mutually exclusive), the exact nature of Teddie- as he's clearly not just a joe shmoe Shadow who wants to be nice to humans- and the nature of the TV World and how it relates to the Dark Hour and Abyss of Time from Persona 3 are especially popular targets for tree-planting.
The strange eye symbol that can appear on a party member's status screen. Whilst it was eventually revealed to just be a glitch and had no effect on gameplay, just what it was meant to do before the mechanic was removed fromPersona 4 is unclear and has never been explained by anyone, with Atlus being reluctant to even admit to it being a glitch - something they only did in 2013, a full half-decade after the game was released.
Only Sane Man: Literal non-example, he's the only member of the party whose persona does not stem from having resolved his own mental issues (he hasn't got any). If you pay attention, most of his dialogue choices tend to edge towards this as well.
There are exactly two moments when Naoto's bust is brought into question; one vague hospital scene where she's embarrassed to have her measurements read, and again during the Hot Springs Episode. Fanon decided to take this ball and run with it straight outta the stadium, and the grand bulk of her fanart depicts her with downright tremendous assets, easily surpassing D-cups. Meanwhile in Canon, the hot springs character cut-out and the anime of the game show only a slight elevation, nothing more than a modest B-cup. However, the Hot Springs cutscene added in Goldenactually shows all four girls in nothing more than their towels, and makes it explicitly clear this is the case, with Naoto being the largest of the group and roughly a large C-cup.
Yukiko and Rise are also very popular targets for Protagonist-shipping, more or less in a dead heat behind Naoto for second place.
More notable, perhaps, is Chie and the fact that she is rarely paired with the protagonist — if she's ever paired, it's usually with Yukiko, or sometimes Yosuke. Also, if Naoto is not paired with the Protagonist, she's almost always paired with Kanji. Often for comedic effect.
And then there's the protagonist and Yosuke. Easily one of the most popular ships in the fandom (both for western and eastern fans), which is largely because of the considerable Ho Yay vibes between them.
This may partially be due to Yosuke fans wanting to justify some of his more ambigiously homophobic moments by portraying him as extremely closeted. Granted, Yosuke does tend to a bit too defensive on the subject sometimes.
Freud Was Right: Persona 4 is much more Jungian than Freudian, but that doesn't stop fans from interpreting the Investigation Team's shadows in Freudian fashions. Apparently, Kanji is gay, Rise is an Attention Whore, and Yukiko is a Covert Pervert.
"Funny Aneurysm" Moment: On certain days, Mitsuo can be found standing across the street from Tatsumi Textiles. Talk to him, and he'll suspect Morooka of being the murderer. If you know what happens later in the game, this is either amusing or disturbing.
The infamous "autoleveling" trick — if you equip a Persona that nulls physical attacks and fight a group of Great Kings, they'll continuously summon Mooks. The trick? Attack a Mook once, turn on Rush mode and leave the game running overnight, and wake up to a godlike EXP reward. This was Nerfed in Golden, where after summoning a few Mooks, it'll start tossing Megidola until it runs out of SP and will keep casting it, forcing you to kill it.
Shuffle Time in Persona 4 Golden has been revised and horribly broken as a result. The cards now have arcana and minor arcana (Persona 3's cup, coin, sword and wand, only sword giving skill cards) and the major arcana have very beneficial effects. Two in particular are Magician and Emperor. The Emperor automatically levels up a persona, whereas the Magician improves any ability you have on your currently equipped persona. It's not unheard of to gain abilities like the powerful Akasha Arts with some luck at the Marukyu Striptease, if not earlier!
Golden Hands now hand out tremendous amounts of cash when you kill them as well as fantastic experience for beating them too. Early game requires Chie's Rebellion/Revolution to earn the critical hits (or buying items from the Shiroku store to help get around the higher defenses), but once you start getting the Megido line of spells, then your only challenge is to kill them off before they flee. The prizes are too good; and it becomes really easy to power level.
Also from Golden, advancing Rise's Social Link now grants her even more abilities that turn the game to cakewalk: once per battle, she can summon a Beehive Barrier to completely nullify a multi-target enemy spell that would have killed an ally, and if the hero is defeated, she can revive him once with full health and SP. She can also randomly pop in to heal your whole team, restore your SP, or cast a Ma-kaja or Ma-taru spell. Not to mention that your all-out attacks can sometimes get a power boost, which is just the icing on the cake.
Fusion and the Demon Compendium, if you've got money to burn. Many of the higher level demons, such as those obtained from completing S. Links, like Beelzebub, are extremely powerful, and with the right skills they make the game trivially easy. Two notable demons that aren't final S. Link are available as soon as you have the money and level to put them together.
Yoshitsune with Hassou Tobi and Victory Cry, let alone any buffs like Power Charge and (Auto-)Tarukaja. Hassou Tobi hits all enemies eight times, more than enough to offset the weaker power of the individual strikes compared to single target attacks like Primal Force.
Trumpeter has decent stats and powers, but can be fused with immunity or better to all six elements and physical attacks. That means only Poison and Almighty can damage the MC, both pretty rare to encounter.
Germans Love David Hasselhoff: This holds true in relation to Persona 3. Persona 3 was a little better received in Japan and is generally considered the better of the two games, and got far more spinoff merch due to the incredible demand; Persona 4, meanwhile, still got a decent reception but not a great one and not much secondary merch. The opposite holds true in America and Europe, though; while Persona 3 did basically bring real mainstream attention onto the franchise, Persona 4 reviewed much higher and is generally considered by everyone to be a whisper away from total perfection and quickly became the best-selling SMT title in the West ever (which actually had the effect of making Persona 4 the best-selling SMT game ever due to worldwide sales).
This may actually be spilling back to it's homeland as well, with several spinoff merch and sequels that are about equal with Persona 3. And hey, Atlus sure didn't call the crossover fighting game Persona ''3'' Arena
Goddamned Boss: Contrarian King, the Bonus Boss in Shadow Yukiko's dungeon. He has insanely high Attack power for his level and his Rampage attack can kill the entire party in one hit if you go back and attempt to defeat him immediately after clearing the dungeon the first time, even if defensive buffs are in play. However, he becomes rather easy if you grind through another dungeon or two and then return, or have a Persona with Null Physical on a New Game+.
The scene where Chie charges Teddie's wardrobe to Yosuke without his permission becomes this in Golden — in the original release Yosuke complains that he's trying to buy a motorcycle, but in Golden he's recently done so at this point in the story and complains that he's broke and doesn't have the money for it, with Chie's reaction being a non-plussed "Well, then it's not like going into debt is going to be problem!" Keep in mind that when Golden was released, there was a global recession taking place due to this sort of spending.
Yumi's New Year's date has her making a small prayer at the shrine. During it, she thanks God for bringing the two of you together and makes it known that she's glad that you're alive. Considering what closely preceded this and the events of the True Ending, it can be seen as a bit of foreshadowing.
The squelchy noises Shadow Rise makes when she's moving.
The only hint the Reaper's on the same floor as you? Some groaning and the rattling of chains. Which you might not hear over the BGM. Thankfully, unlike Persona 3, he's merely a Chest Monster (and you do get warned if you find the chest he's in) and not wandering around the floor you're currently on.
And taken even further in the update to Persona 4 Arena, with the returning Persona 3 party member Yukari Takeba being revealed to be the actress portraying Phoenix Ranger Featherman R's Pink Argus, and that she's wearing her Pink Argus costume as she wanders around Inaba.
Theodore's Fan Nickname "Flight Attendant Kanji" can be this if you let Kanji wear the Deep Blue Clothes.
Hiimdaisy's webcomic has Chie using Bufu on Shadow Yukiko, one hit KO-ing it (which in the original isn't weak to Ice and thus qualifies as the original's Wake-Up Call Boss). Now in Golden, Shadow Yukiko is weak to Ice.
There was a lot of fan art of Izanami joining the Investigation Team, or at least playing a bigger role in the overall story. When Golden was released and Marie turned out to be a part of Izanami, this came true.
The common comparison that Ameno-Sagiri looks like a giant disco ball has become this after the announcement of Persona 4: Dancing All Night, a rhythm game featuring the Investigation Team.
3 has Personas being activated by having the user shoot themselves in the head with a pistol. Fast forward to this game, and we have Naoto, whose Weapon of Choiceis a pistol, which is used for the Persona Activation scene by shooting the card.
Taken Up To Eleven with the 2013 Persona event, which announced a grand total of four Persona games, three of them P4 related. This event pretty much shattered the Shin Megami Tensei fandom due to Atlus' focus on P4; for comparison, three non spin-off games were released since 2000 while Persona had five, counting remakes.
Due to his appearance in Ultimax, Adachi's reveal of not only being the killer but also having a Persona is effectively ruined for anyone playing the game. His creepy, lax demeanor that directly contrasts his behavior pre-twist is one thing, bt having the main characters be afraid of him is basically pinning a giant "HEY! I KILLED TWO WOMEN AND TRIED TO KILL 5 PEOPLE!" sign on him.
Mitsuo Kubo. Though on the surface he seems to be an irredeemable, sociopathic murderer, one ought to stop for a moment and consider the kind of isolation he must have gone through to make him that desperate for attention that he would kill a person who we're given reason to believe had been abusing him, which would also imply that he'd been tormenting kidsfrom other schools, and take credit for two other murders just to prove that he exists. Voices in his dungeon such as "Sadness increases by 5" and a long scream of "I DON'T HAVE ANYTHING" don't help matters either. Though his actions aren't justified, those who can see past their hatred might still wish things could have turned out better for him, or at least that he had thought twice.
Saki Konishi, considering how her family endlessly berates her for her decision to work in Junes, as the opening of the store is ruining her family's liquor store business. She's also the subject of gossip from her classmates and friends, and her friendship with Yosuke ended up complicating her life even further. Sure she comes across as a cold-hearted girl in reality, but she certainly didn't deserve to die.
The protagonist, who is also a Memetic Sex God. No, really. Probably doesn't hurt that he can canonically end the game with six girlfriends (seven in Golden) and inspire crushes in his cousin, a 27 year old nurse, and — if you know where to look for the dialogue — Hanako.
Kanji's ambiguous sexuality and chemistry with everyone on the team has resulted in fans shipping him with everybody. Naoto's still the most popular ship for him, though, and probably the most canon.
Naoto herself is also one of these.
Magnificent Bitch: Izanami, who has both protagonists and antagonists doing her will without even needing to lift a finger.
Virtually any line that comes from Hiimdaisy's Persona 4 comic has been turned into a meme, usually by sheer force of Youtube commenters posting them anywhere they're even remotely relevant (and a lot of places they're not):
And no one ate dinner that night....
Shut up Adachi.
Shut up, it's an endearing character trait.
ALL YO YENS, YIP YIP YAP
YOU SAYIN' I LIKE DUDES?!
Who wants to talk about MURDERS?!? (children cheering)
Thanks to all the Female Gaze Yosuke got during the anime his often well drawn/animated butt has become an in joke with fans.
Memetic Sex God: The main character Yu Narukami/Souji Seta is very much this among the fandom. Before the anime many people agreed it had to do with his face and the smile he's often shown with in promotional material. After the anime (and by this we mean it's version of the King's Game) showed him with (a somehow magically) opened shirt the fandom went absolutely crazy. It helps that his attractiveness is mentioned by both genders in university.
Naoto has been turned into this by many parts of the fandom.
Yosuke basically counts as this since his butt has become a meme. Plus many a fan girl has melted because of his wink.
Most fans focus so much on Kanji's sexuality issues that they lose sight of the fact that, while that's an important factor, his real and biggest issues are with acceptance. In fact, after his level his ambiguous sexuality is only mentioned as a Running Gag, while his Social Link focuses more on being true to himself. True, whether he is straight or gay (or bisexual) is a part of his problems, but it's not the focus. Kanji himself ends up not particularly caring about the issue, and fans focusing on it miss the point of his social link.
Naoto similarly suffers from a fandom that insists she must be FTM transgender, completely missing the point of her character: she doesn't see herself as male, but feels she must be seen as an adult male rather than a little girl to be taken seriously. An arguably larger part of her character is her young age rather than her gender. A good example of this misaimed fandom can be seen in this transgender gamer's blogpost here, where they utter a scathing critique on Naoto as a vessel for transphobia. Admittedly, the misaimed fandom is not helped by the rather skeevy nature of her romance storyline, where encouraging her to act more like a conventional girl is handled in a very heavy-handed fashion.
Depending your preferences, many of the other girls can qualify as moe, especially during their respective social links and even more so during their Christmas date events. It doesn't even have to be a girl: Yosuke's been referred to as moe by several people, and for good reason, too. Teddie (especially when cross-dressing in human form) is also a qualifier.
Moral Event Horizon: In Golden, the Protagonist can cross this by burning the evidence needed to implicate Adachi.
The squeaking Teddie does when he walks. It's enough that some players refuse to use him on dungeon crawls for specifically that reason. The footstep sound can thankfully be removed in Golden with many of his costumes.
The high-pitched "ding!" sound when you miss hitting an enemy.
The Draining and Reflect/Countering noises.
The 8-bit noise that Mitsuo's Shadow makes in Hero form before attacking. And you will hear it a lot in that battle.
"Welcome home, Big Bro!" Once it's gone, you will miss it.
The music that plays when you max a social link.
Narm: Some of Marie's poems in Golden, not at all helped by their Purple Prose-laden style and Marie's somewhat overwrought narration over them.
Speaking of Golden, the choice to trigger the new accomplice ending comes after a flashback to the good times you've had with Adachi in order to make the idea of betraying your teammates more appealing. Except that Adachi doesn't get that many scenes, even with his new Social Link, so the game is pretty much trying to get you to team up with the killer by reminding you that you went grocery shopping with him and invited him for dinner a few times. Somehow, the choice ends up not being as difficult as the developpers intended it to be, so players who head down that path are probably just doing it to get 100% Completion.
In the hallway on December 3rd, right after Nanako seemingly dies, Kanji punches a wall and screams in frustration. But due to the timing of the character animation and the dialogue, he punches the wall first, so it looks more like he's screaming from the pain of punching the wall.
While not nearly as bad as Fuuka's English voice in Persona 3, many take issue with the Japanese voices for Rise and Teddie due to them being on the... shrill side.
Adachi proves that confronting a brutal killer becomes notably less frightening when he's wearing a smile that just screams "heavily intoxicated". He can switch between chilling and hilarious within the space of a minute, so he's prone to getting this reaction.Golden probably brings in the biggest example with this face.◊
Ameno-Sagiri, lord of fog and master of oblivion. Aka the giant disco eyeball smoke machine.
So you're saying a secret hell populated by demons that actively try to carry out gruesome deaths hides behind that television screen?
Sometimes, when you go to the police, they will help you. And sometimes they will manipulate you into condemning innocent people who you think you are saving to an almost certain death, and they will do it all for fun. Good luck talking to the right officer!
As if walking through heavy fog wasn't creepy enough, this game comes along to drive home the idea that monsters are lurking in it and their world is merging with ours.
Nanako's kidnapping, and her subsequent dungeon. Not to mention her apparent death. And the utter silence when you come home after that, without Nanako's cheerful "Welcome Home, Big Bro!" to greet you. Even worse, take revenge on her behalf... and get a one-way path to the bad ending, where she permanently dies.
There is also Valentine's Day in Golden. If you maxed out at the lover's route with all the ladies, but reject them, they will sullenly attempt to mask their disappointment. What hammers it home is Naoto saying to herself "You'll only get hurt" when she gets rejected.
Scrappy Level: Hello, Void Quest. It seems straightforward enough at first, but wait until it starts randomly changing your direction at every intersection, made a lot worse if there are shadows nearby ready to trigger Preexisting Encounters with Enemy Advantage while you're getting your bearings back. Plus, that's also the floor where you have to find a very easy-to-miss* (unless you unlocked Rise's Treasure Radar first) key item required to proceed to the boss chamber.
Scrappy Mechanic: Rainy days. Most social links can't be done on rainy days, dungeons have extra (annoying) enemies, but on the upside you can get (mostly worthless items) from a capsule machine, and increase random stats via Aiya's Rainy Bowl. However, if you're on a New Game+, those upsides are completely worthless, making you simply waste an afternoon.
Ship-to-Ship Combat: Hooooo boy. Yu has camps for all four of his female allies, with the bigger contenders being Yukiko and Naoto, in addition to a large division of shippers pairing him with Yosuke. Naoto is the most controversial for a slew of reasons that can be found all over this page, further compounded by the fact that Kanji canonically has a crush on her, naturally leading to Kanji/Naoto going up against Yu/Naoto. And with Golden adding Marie, and with Marie being pushed by Atlus in general both in the story (she's now DLC for the upcoming sequel to Persona 4 Arena and is bumped up to Deuteragonist for Persona 4 The Golden The Animation) and as a Love Interest (she'll always kiss the MC and love him, even if you don't pursue her romantically), a whole new can of worms has opened up. It's not helped that Marie is extremely divisive in the West.
"Stop Having Fun" Guy: The revelation of a Very Easy mode in Golden pissed off a lot of players who believe that Atlus games have to be absolutely Nintendo Hard and led to higher-skilled players bashing lower-skilled players who wish to play the easy modes. Never mind that Very Easy and Easy are completely optional.
Tastes Like Diabetes: Most of the time her scenes are genuinely heartwarming, but other times Nanako crosses the line straight into this.
Contrarion King's Rampage, which for some reason is many times stronger than the typical Rampage. Brought Tarunda and Resist Physical? Your MC might survive a single hit of Rampage, though that says nothing for the rest of your party. But if it lands two or three hits you will die regardless of buffs and resistance. Nothing short of Null Physical can truly protect you, but the only way you will have that at this point in the game is either getting relly lucky in Shuffle Time or being on a New Game+.
Whenever Shadow Mitsuo throws a bomb, as it inflicts Exhaustion on hit.
Margaret's Social Link (The Empress) requires you to fuse Personas with specific abilities. Prepare to sink a lot of spending money into the Compendium, looking up the correct Arcana combinations, praying that the resulting Persona inherits the right moves, etc. After first getting the Personas in question, however, the whole thing can be done in a day on subsequent playthroughs. Averted in The Golden, where Inherited Skills for fusions are manually selected.
Thankfully, even in the original game, it comes with an inherent Anti-Frustration Feature in the "reshuffle" mechanic; deselecting and then reselecting the same Personas will cause the potential skills of the fusion to be reset, so a player doesn't need to constantly repurchase the base Personas required. Unfortunately, not only is this little fact never mentioned in-game, one still has to trust to the Random Number God, and many of the requested moves have low inheritance values (Matador with Mahama is particularly guilty of this).
Ai (The Moon) is the easiest Social Link character to piss off. One wrong move, and you can have a Reversed or even Broken Social Link. There is also the fact that as long as you don't ruin the Social Link, you will end up dating her, the only question is whether or not she breaks up with you. This can cause problems either way; you could end up with her breaking up with you if you actually wanted her for a girlfriend, or you can end up with her sticking with you even when you were interested in someone else, which is fairly annoying if you don't want to be cheating.
That One Trophy: Hardcore Risette Fan, which requires you to listen to 250 of Rise's navigation lines in one playthrough.
Although well liked, Naoto falls under this in original version of the game because she only learns Light and Dark spells and Almighty spells, which even with her Mind Charge spell, makes it impractical to use for a boss fight.
Golden does this to Chie because despite keeping her Glass Cannon set up with her God Hand and Power Charge combo, she gains only Critical Hit increase buffs, unlike Kanji who gets Power Charge and Regenerate 3. This means that Kanji will still out do her in physical damage, and Teddie will do more damage with his Bufu skills.
Yukiko's ascended persona, Amaterasu, is pretty cool-looking, except for the fact that it has no face.
Rise's radar-face persona, Himiko. It looks like somebody took her face off and installed wires.
Mitsuo Kubo's horrible dead eyes qualify as well.
Namatame's usual expression; staring like that can be a little creepy, although his backstory at least makes it justified. His boss form has this pretty bad as well.
Any Shadow that resembles a baby, especiallyShadow Mitsuo.
Values Dissonance: After Mr. Morooka is killed, some students at school will mention how he was lookign forward to Rise's attendance and even bought a calendar of her. This is supposed to show us that he had an endearing side too, but to western audiences who may not be all that adapt to how the Idol Singer industry works and the culture behind it, and maybe even if they are, this just comes off as creepy.
The Fox, who's consistently referred to with gender neutral dialogue. They have children at the end of the game, and the Official Design Works confirms it's female.
The gas station attendant. In the original Japanese they had a distinctly male voice, but their English equivalent is a lot more ambiguous. The fact that they're revealed to be the female Izanami can also lead some fans to confusion.
While most of Yosuke's "moments" are funny, there are a few moments where the laughter just has to stop (pretty much anything involving Saki after the second murder, especially since after she's killed you find out she hated Yosuke all along even though he fell in love with her.)
Namatame's pretty damned pitiful as well. Getting the love of his life murdered by a madman, getting caught up in said madman's plot as a pawn, being wrongly framed for the murders he was trying to stop... nothing seems to go right for him. You can add to his suffering by throwing him into a TV, but you'll be punished for it with the bad ending.
2011 was a really bad year for Naoto. She has no friends in Inaba, the police only tolerate her when they need her, and the Investigation Team may as well have neon signs advertising that they are somehow connected with multiple murders. Oh yes, her gender and isolation issues are as bad as Kanji's. You feel glad when she finds people who will like her for who she is.
Kanji is another one; he acts like he does because he wants to be accepted and because people made fun of his hobby (later, job).
Dojima is yet another one. He's gone through more in the past six years than most could handle in their lifetime. Having his wife killed in a hit-and-run, which caused him to become so devoted to his job that he barely interacted with his only daughter to the point that she's practically able to take care of herself at only 6 years of age (and he admits it's due to fear if you go for his S-Link), seeing her kidnapped right before his eyes, and watching her slowly die (though thankfully only temporarily) can be pretty rough on a person. And to top it all off, he finds out that the person who had orchestrated the kidnapping was his own partner, whom he trusted and had been good friends with. And through it all, he remains completely strong and stone-faced. Almost.
And of course Nanako, whose sadness and loneliness whenever she's left to take care of herself by her dad is utterly heartbreaking. Her happiest moments came from a commercial jingle before you came to live at her house. It's no wonder that she latches onto you as a brother instantly. Her Woobie powers are so great that a group of teenagers are repeatedly willing to hang out with a 6 year old kid just to cheer her up.
Nearly all of the Social Links have endured a lot of pain. The only ones who don't suffer from some sort of claim to Woobie-ism are Margaret and Adachi. From Ai, who creates the image of a social dominator to conceal the fact that she's suicidally depressed due to the bullying she went through in her past, to Hisano the self-loathing widow, they should all be really glad that the MC is a Warrior Therapist.
Teddie's verbal tic was changed from adding the word "-kuma" to words in his sentences to making bad puns, many involving the word "bear" in some way. This arguably counts for his name, too, since the connotations of a cutesy bear calling itself "Kuma" ("Bear" in Japanese) don't translate well into English. Although even in Japanese, Teddie also made bear puns (just less often than the English version). This even goes so far as that when fan-subs of The Animation were being made before the dub was released, fans would insert bear puns into Teddie's dialogue rather than retain his use of "-kuma".
Changing "Mayonaka TV" to "The Midnight Channel".
"Everyday Younglife Junes" to "Every day's great at your Junes!"
The item that instantly transports you out of a dungeon was originally called "Kaereiru", from the Japanese "kaeru", meaning "return." Stateside, it's called "Goho-M." This also counts as a Stealth Pun that most people don't get until they say "Goho-M" out loud. Go on. Try it.
The mention of Naoto's family being like Raidou Kuzunoha the 14th is the result of the translators lacking any other option to translate Chie's reference to a Japanese book series about a family of Legacy Character detectives. Does not stop the line from fueling insane levels of Epileptic Trees.
Shadow Kanji in the Japanese version speaks with more stereotypical gay "quirks". In the American version he sounds more Camp Gay, which is the North American stereotype for homosexuality.
Golden's new Lust arcana (from Crowley's Thoth deck) was renamed "Hunger" to avoid any confusing implications that Adachi was lusting after the protagonist. It's supposed to represent "lust for life" rather than just carnal desire (never mind that it has the Mother Harlot of Babylon for its illustration.)