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The Protagonist / Yu Narukami / Souji Seta
Persona: Izanagi, Izanagi-no-Okami
Voice actors: Johnny Yong Bosch (English), Daisuke Namikawa (Japanese)
Stage actors: Toru Baba (VisuaLive and VisuaLive Evolution), Keisuke Minami (Arena)
The main protagonist who can be named by the player at the beginning. He uses two-handed swords and is the only member of the Team that can switch Personas and fuse them to make better ones, granting extreme versatility. The manga gave him the name "Souji Seta" and the anime named him "Yu Narukami" - due to the anime's popularity, the latter became his official Canon Name.
Due to his parents having to work overseas, he has to move to the rural town of Inaba to stay with his uncle, police officer Ryotaro Dojima, and his six-year-old daughter Nanako, for 2011-2012 school year. At Yasogami High, he quickly makes friends with class clown Yosuke Hanamura and kung-fu fangirl Chie Satonaka. Soon enough he learns about the "Midnight Channel" and discovers his ability to insert his body to the television. This leads him into a quest to uncover the truth behind a series of inexplicable murders, in the process gaining a lot of friends and, when he has to leave Inaba a year later, lots of fond memories from an otherwise forgettable town.
His initial Persona is Izanagi, of the Fool Arcana. In Japanese mythology, Izanagi and his wife Izanami gave birth to the islands of Japan. After Izanami's death, Izanagi visited his wife in Yomi - the underworld - in the hopes of retrieving her. Izanagi broke his promise not to look upon Izanami, disovering her to have become bathed in the filth of Yomi. Chased by the demons of Izanami, he fled, coating himself in the foul matter, and sealed the entrance to the underworld, Yomotsu Hirasaka, with a large boulder. Enraged, Izanami swore to kill 1,000 humans each day, and Izanagi promised to give life to 1,500 each day. Izanagi cleansed himself of the filth, giving birth to several gods in the process. Much like Izanagi gave birth to many gods of Japan, the protagonist helps to create the Personas of the party, by rescuing them and later helping them overcome their flaws through Social Links, evolving their Personas - some of the Personas are even directly related to Izanagi in myth, such as Yukiko's Amaterasu and Yosuke's Susano-o. In the True Ending, he manifests the power of his bonds to use the World Arcana and evolve Izanagi into his Ultimate Persona, Izanagi-no-Okami - "great god Izanagi".
During the Golden concert scene, he plays the electric bass guitar.
- The Ace: If all of his stats are maxed out (Knowledge, Understanding, Expression, Diligence, and Courage). The trophy for doing so in Golden is even called "Mr. Perfect", to the point Yosuke asks him how perfect he is after winning the Midnight Channel Miracle Quiz finals. Practically becomes canon from the anime forward, where Yu is portrayed as talented in nearly everything he tries with little effort.
- Adult Fear: When he identifies the next victim early November, Dojima has all but locked him up for the night at the police station and took his phone away as well. The protagonist knows Nanako is about to get kidnapped and there isn't a single thing he can do about it.
- All-Loving Hero: He makes friends with all sorts of people pretty easily, regardless of their age or gender, and befriends dogs, cats, and a fox.
- Almost Kiss: An optional scene in Golden has this happen between him and Teddie. They're interrupted by a returning Dojima.
- Amazon Chaser: Potentially. He can romance Chie, Yukiko, and Naoto, all of whom take right to the field and crack Shadow skulls alongside him. It's marginal with Yukiko (the most feminine of the three), zigzags a little in Naoto's romance (Naoto's romance has some "coax her to act more feminine" options), but is played totally straight with Chie; the player can even admit to finding her appetite attractive.
- Ambiguous Disorder: In the anime, Yu is a tad... odd at several points. For example, during their first visit to the TV World, he sees nothing wrong with Yosuke, in the midst of a Potty Emergency, dropping his pants and relieving himself against a wall, and even asks Chie why he would want to stop him from doing so. Of course, most of his antics can simply be chalked up to Rule of Funny.
- When he and Yosuke are knocked into the water for making perverted comments about the girls, he continues to have a complete lack of facial expressions, while Yosuke is simultaneously laughing and flailing about.
- He has a rather odd habit of agreeing to random comments made by the other characters, regardless of their seriousness.Yukiko: The next time he creeps me out, he's ash!
Yu: Sounds good.
- He also has a tendency to not react at all to absurd situations, and to be way too into certain antics of the more... eccentric members of the investigation team. Case in point: While the other characters are freaking out about the implied size of Naoto's chest, he and Kanji hang back and have this gem of a conversation:Yu: Aren't you even the least bit curious, Kanji?
Kanji: Huh? About what?
Yu: Naoto, big melons or not.
Kanji: Huh? Why are you asking me? I didn't look at her tits, I swear!
Kanji: But that chick, she is pretty amazing.
Yu: Which chick? Oh right, Funbags.
- Ambiguously Bi: In Golden, he can ask for a male police officer's number and flirt with Yosuke and Kanji during the group date cafe. In Shadow of the Labyrinth, he has the option to say gender doesn't matter "as long as there is love." Though a lot of it is up to what actions the player takes, there's plenty to suggest Yu isn't the straightest arrow of the team.
- Angel Unaware: He's how the Shrine actually grants the wishes posted on its emas. Even though he's not subtle about how he aids them, the people he helps still believe that the Shrine was the chief cause of the solution... which actually isn't too far from the truth.
- Art Shift: In Dancing All Night, Yu has his in-game portrait redrawn, the end result making him look more like he stepped right out of Persona 5. That his teammates weren't also redrawn make him stand out enough, but looking at them side by side, he's not even in the same style as the characters that debuted in the same game.
- Attractive Bent-Gender: He's no Teddie, but he can rock a skirt and sailor suit better than anyone else. In the anime, Chie, Yukiko and Rise all blush at the sight of him, and in Q, if the player is using Makoto and Yu becomes his "Destined Partner", he wonders if his special talent is dressing in drag.
- Badass Adorable: It's a given, just like the P3 heroes. He's the leader of the team, has the ability to change Personas, and is undeniably handsome.
- Badass Back: In Golden, one of his alternate Victory Poses when wearing Dojima's outfit is to turn his back to the camera◊.
- Badass in Distress: In the manga, Kunino-sagiri captures him with his puppet strings, turning him against Teddie. Chie saves him by having Tomoe cut the strings.
- Batter Up!: A special weapon received as a reward from Margaret. Presumably as a reference to Casey at the Bat, it deals a whopping 200 damage and boosts Critical Hit rating - with the downside of having a measly 30% chance to hit.
- Battle Aura: Deserves special mention; his Battle Aura is several times larger than those of the rest of the Investigation Team.
- Battle Couple: With any female party member, if romanced. It comes up most frequently with Chie's, as both can express a mutual desire to protect each other.
- The Beard: Rise's Social Link involves him becoming her beard. She claims, to her manager, that they're both engaged (so that she doesn't have to go back to being an idol), although the manager doesn't seem to be fooled. He gets points with her if he plays along and doesn't get mad at her for lying.
- Beneath Suspicion: Dojima's instincts catch onto him and Investigation Team almost immediately, but he can't bring himself to suspect the person who watches over his daughter.
- Big Brother Instinct: Towards Nanako, and a core point of his characterization in Arena.
- Big Brother Mentor: Yu adopts this role with several of his Social Link contacts, notably Kanji and Teddie, and to a lesser extent Shu Nakajima and Naoki Konishi. Special mention for Kanji who will even, albeit sarcastically, refer to Yu as "Big Bro" during his Social Link- his mother also thanks Yu for being a role model to Kanji if you complete his social link.
- Big Man on Campus: If everything's done right, he'll be the top scoring student at his school, the best athlete on either the soccer or basketball team, on friendly terms with every student, regardless of whether or not they have a Social Link, and pined after by the entire female student body. Naturally, the game runs with this.
- Blithe Spirit: By serving as essentially a therapist for much of the city, his actions can help transform Inaba from a Crapsaccharine World to a much more pleasant Quirky Town.
- Brutal Honesty: Quite a few of his dialogue choices in Social Links are this - when it's done to help point out the person's issues, this is almost always the best option to take and results in the most "points" to a rank up.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: By picking the trollish or humorous dialogue options, you can play a protagonist who has an incredibly odd sense of humor and is prone to the art of the Moment Killer. The anime goes into full-blown Flanderization mode by making him straight-up eccentric, almost into Cloudcuckoolander territory. His status as the leader of the Investigation Team and all-around badass is still unquestioned.
- But Now I Must Go: He's only in Inaba for the year, while his parents are working abroad. Returns for the holidays in Arena and then later Golden for a new epilogue. This is inverted during the events of Dancing All Night; as Rise's concert takes place in the city, the Team goes to him and then pulls this off after the game ends.
- Canon Name: He has no default name in the game. The manga adaption of P4 gave him "Souji Seta", and the audience got to select the name for the stage play (the name used in the DVD release of VisualLive Evolution uses "Hayato Asakawa." The Animation named him Yu Narukami. Due to the popularity of the anime, he is named Yu Narukami in almost every spinoff of the original game - the Arena games, BlazBlue and Dancing All Night all use it.
- Cassandra Truth: Can tell his uncle, as well as some social links, about what's really going on and what his involvement with the case really is, as well as telling his friends about the Velvet Room. Dojima assumes he's making it all up to hide the truth, in at least one instance with the Social Link they assume he's speaking of another murder case entirely and assume he's in Inaba for witness protection, and his friends think the Velvet Room is just a ghost story that "almost sounds true" when he says it.
- The phrase "Calm down" appears more often than any other dialogue option (in a similar vein to the Persona 3 hero's "Whatever"), and subsequent media has cemented it as his catchphrase.
- The anime turns some of the narration's comments from the game into phrases Narukami says, most notably "[Let's/I should/We should] leave him be." "Let's leave him be" disappears as a representation of his Character Development. It's significant enough that when the Killer asks the Investigation Team to "Leave him be" for the shadows to finish him off, Yu instead offers a hand to him to help him up after the team decides to drag him back to reality.
- Chick Magnet: By the end of the game, it's possible for Yukiko, Rise, Chie, Naoto, Ai, Yumi/Ayane, Marie, Margaret, and even Nanako to fall for him, along with Sayoko hitting on him early in her Social Link. Rise develops an attraction to the Protagonist near instantly upon joining the Investigation Team, and proceeds to start flirting with him at every chance she gets. Persona Q, due to requiring Yu to not be in a explicit relationship with anyone in order to prevent Story Branch Favoritismnote , instead chooses to imply that all of the female party members have crushes on him regardless of if he pursues them or not.
- Chivalrous Pervert: In the anime and an option in the game. In both cases, it leans more on the chivalrous side because the girls rarely act negatively towards his come-ons like they do with Yosuke and Teddie.
- Chronic Hero Syndrome:
- If Social Links are done, it is almost impossible to stop him from helping others.
- Nearly every sidequest consists of him running around town, helping complete strangers with random, often-trivial things.
- Parodied in the anime at first, as Yu doesn't so much agree to help people as get volunteered to at an almost alarming rate by others. Later episodes play this straight.
- Combat Stilettos: Izanagi wears a bladed variant of these. They don't get in the way as he's capable of flight, and they're quite useful in cutting enemies in half with a solid kick in the anime.
- The Comically Serious: The anime does this a bunch, as he's amusingly stoic when most people would be laughing or screaming. Yosuke lampshades it:
- When Yu and Yosuke get knocked into the river for making perverted comments to Yukiko and Chie, Yosuke is laughing and flailing about, while Yu is completely flat faced and falls like a rock.
- When he, Yosuke and Kanji have been booked in the same room of a former love hotel, his drapes himself over a chair, drink in hand, and asks:Yu: How long are you two going to stand there?
- As Yosuke, Kanji and Teddie are all sprawled on the same bed, his response?Yu: I'm posting this picture on my wall. (snaps photo)
- His countenance does not change during the entire King's Game, when he's supposedly drunk (he's not) and the girls are literally clinging onto him like Saran Wrap.Yu: I'm the King.
Yu: [throws dart, which hits its mark] Number 2... my lap is yours...
Yosuke: Dude! You can't hog all three of 'em at once!
Yu: I can. 'Cause I'm the King.
- Contrasting Sequel Main Character: To the P3 Protagonist:
- While the P3 protagonist is an orphan moving to the city, Yu still has a family and is moving to a small town area where his relatives are staying.
- Yu serves as the leader of the Investigation Team while the P3 protagonist is simply a field leader of SEES with Mitsuru being the actual leader.
- Though both are sometimes stoic, Yu mainly plays along with his friend's goofiness, while the P3 protagonist shows little emotion with his occasional reply being "Whatever" or "I don't care".
- Yu's Persona is of Japanese Mythology, while the P3 protagonist's is of Western, in particular, Greek Mythology.
- While the P3 Protagonist holds his sword with one hand, Yu holds his with two hands.
- Yu, in a rare occasion for a SMT game, receives a happy ending while the P3 protagonist dies after performing the ultimate sacrifice.
- Finally, Yu finds the theme for Tanaka's Shopping Commercial catchy while the P3 protagonist finds it annoying.
- Even their initial Personas are a foil to each other; both Izanagi and Orpheus went to the underworld to rescue their respective wives only to fail miserably - but where Orpheus's story ended in him tragically losing his loving partner, Izanagi's ends in him heroically banishing his now-demonic wife.
- Cool Big Bro: Is pretty much nothing but supporting and protecting of Nanako, particularly in the various adaptations and her Social Link.
- Cool Old Guy: Get turned into an old man briefly in Naoto's dungeon in the anime. Rise leads the other girls in squeeing over him anyway.
- Covert Pervert: Some of his text options are pretty perverted. In the anime, his response to Shadow Yukiko talking about scoring a hot stud is to remark to Yosuke (coolly) that he wished he had taped it. As of Episode 7, he did start recording it. It's become something of a Running Gag that Yu and Yosuke will say something equally perverted, but only Yosuke will get hit for it. Chie even says at one point that the girls don't find it creepy when it's Yu whose doing it, but it is when the other guys are acting perverted.
- Depending on the Writer: While he's consistently portrayed as being The Stoic Team Dad with a bizarre sense of humor, which of the traits are most prominent tend to vary depending on the medium. Yu in the anime is portrayed as incredibly weird when he's not being an unflappable ace, while he's a lot more straight as The Hero when in his fighting game appearances. Q has him in a medium where he's still the straight man to his comrades' wild antics, but does show his quirky moments from time to time.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Multiple times. And he didn't even break an arm.
- Did You Just Romance Cthulhu?: If Marie is romanced.
- Dull Surprise: Especially in The Animation. For example, when Yosuke removes Teddie's head to reveal nothing but an empty costume, Yu's only response is a nonchalant, "Huh. There's nothing inside."
- Earn Your Happy Ending: In a Shin Megami Tensei game, even. Golden has an even sweeter ending.
- Eleventh Hour Super Power: Gains access to Izanagi-no-Okami in the True Ending's last battle, and he can be summoned in a New Game+... after reaching level 90.
- Even the Guys Want Him: Teddie is obviously interested in him, and will even go out of his way to try and kiss him on 2 separate occasions. Yosuke has a surprisingly deep and sentimental relationship with Yu, and it's especially apparent in his Social Link - likely because he was originally intended to be a Gay Option. The anime considerably ramps up the subtext between him and Yosuke.
- Evil Counterpart:
- Yu and Adachi serve as foils to one another - they're newcomers to Inaba empowered by Izanami on their first day in town, but represent the opposite ends of the spectrum - Yu is heroic, friendly, and fearless while Adachi is nothing but antagonistic and cruel.
- Izanami, in her humanoid form, looks very, very similar to Yu. This is obviously reflected in Yu's Persona, and how the final battle finishes - Izanagi-no-Okami uses Myriad Truths to wipe away the lies of Izanami-no-Okami.
- Extreme Omnivore: Has the option of eating anything found in the fridge, regardless of how inedible it is. In one of the most memorable instances, he can eat a pot of grass. Many of those times do result in him getting sick, though, but while he has to go to bed early, he's fine in the morning.
- FaceHeel Turn: Adachi's Social Link in Golden can make the protagonist relate with him so much to the point of not exposing his crimes and leaving the town on schedule, invoking the Accomplice Ending.
- First Kiss: On his final day in town, Margaret steals his in a moment of Genre Blindness to romance if her Social Link was maxed. In the anime, he gets his first kiss from Ai instead. In Golden, when it's at Valentines Day, it's Marie.
- Friendless Background: Heavily implied in the anime, and this may actually explain his odd antics. In the manga, it's suggested that since he had to move often and with hardly any warning, he didn't let anyone get too close.
- Genius Bruiser: In canon, Yu is both an excellent student with fantastic deductive reasoning and an expert fighter. Whether or not he's played as one in the game is up to the player.
- Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!:
- Does this to Yosuke in the manga and the anime when he meets his Shadow. He decks Yosuke in sync with Izanagi as it lands a good punch to Yosuke's Shadow. Then made hilarious by Yu's response:Yu: [completely deadpan] Oops, wrong guy.
- Also, in the Normal/True Ending, he shouts down the entire team to calm down and make them reconsider avenging Nanako on Namatame, realizing something is off with the situation.
- Episode 26 of the anime has this happens to Yu himself, by Margaret, in order to snap him out of his Heroic BSoD.
- Does this to Yosuke in the manga and the anime when he meets his Shadow. He decks Yosuke in sync with Izanagi as it lands a good punch to Yosuke's Shadow. Then made hilarious by Yu's response:
- The Glasses Come Off: He throws away his glasses when he summons Izanagi-no-Okami to punch out Cthulhu, as he no longer needs them now that his bonds allow him to see through the fog of deception.
- Golf Clubbing: His first weapon. According to the item description, Yosuke swiped it from the bargain bin. He also can unlock a few other golf clubs for purchase during the early game.
- Go Through Me: Twice in Social Links.
- In Chie's, he has the option of protecting her from a group of bullies ganging up on her.
- Toward the end of Naoto's, the man the two had been tracking pulls a knife on her, and he again has the option to defend her, which has him run between the two. Entirely pointless, as it was a fake knife, but if the player does this after telling Naoto "I'm glad you're a girl," the player can then choose to make a Love Confession to Naoto.
- Guile Hero: Saves almost everyone around him with words and simple emotional guidance.
- Guilt by Association Gag: Early on, Yosuke arrives at the food court stupidly brandishing his weapons and swinging them about. Somehow, Yu gets arrested along with him despite doing nothing but sit there and look pretty.
- Hates Being Alone: This is Yu's secret weakness in the anime. He apparently was an unwilling loner before coming to Inaba, and it's implied that he has abandonment issues.
- Heart Is an Awesome Power: When the quality of your relationships actually power your Personas to fight against the Shadows, of course this trope applies.
- Hello, [Insert Name Here]: While the manga, anime, Arena, and Dancing All Night give him a name, the initial game does not. In fact, Golden simply refers to him as "Hero" when it lists everyone's names.
- Henpecked Husband: He can come off this way, depending on player choices, when forging Ai's Social Link in the game, where he serves as a rebound-boyfriend for her. This is the wrong choice and makes the Social Link harder to max, as well as precluding an actual romance with Ai. In Episode 5 of the anime, which adapts the Social Link, this ends up happening. He's totally whipped.
- The Hero
- Heroes Prefer Swords: He wields various types of two-handed swords (and other similar weapons, like a golf club or baseball bat). Unlike the protagonist of Persona 3, he can't switch weapon types either - he always uses a sword.
- Heroic BSoD:
- It's very brief, but he seems to lose some composure and lowers his head onto Nanako's body when she "dies" near the end of the game.
- In Episode 12 of the anime, Yu is hit by a Lotus-Eater Machine set by Shadow Mitsuo in the form of experiencing his worst nightmare: All of his friends in the Investigation Team leaving his life gradually, Yosuke being the last to leave and ending with Shadow Mitsuo appearing in his room as Yu fails to summon any Personas as his Social Links have all broken. Shadow Mitsuo grows to a large size and begins strangling Yu to death. He snaps out of when Yosuke bails him out.
- In episode 21, when Nanako is kidnapped. When they find Namatame's truck, with both Namatame and Nanako gone, he completely snaps, to the point that Teddie has to physically restrain him as he attempts to dive into the TV to follow them (it was established earlier in both the game and the anime that entering any TV other than the one in Junes is extremely risky, and potentially too dangerous to attempt). Rise is able to talk him out of it.
- Episode 26, the True Ending episode of the anime, shows Yu exhibiting quite possibly the ultimate example of this: after seeing all of his Investigation Team friends dragged down to their deaths by Izanami, he becomes so broken that he forcibly - albeit unwittingly - traps himself in a "Groundhog Day" Loop of the day before he is meant to leave Inaba, just to he can spend more time with his friends. It takes getting slapped in the face by Margaret and facing his Shadow to make him come to his senses and finally beat Izanami.
- Heroic Safe Mode: In Episode 23 of the anime, Nanako's apparent death causes Yu to enter this state, and it's scary as hell, particularly his expression◊ when he nearly kills Namatame. He's able to regain control of himself long enough for the situation to calm down, but once everyone goes their separate ways (save for Yosuke), he snaps out of it and breaks down crying.
- Hyperspace Arsenal: He carries the entire inventory on him with no explanation ever provided.
- Idiot Hero: Depending on the player's choices, Yu can fail to get any smarter over the year or meaningfully contribute to the mental aspects of cracking the case, leaving his friends to pick up the slack.
- If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him: In episode 23 of the anime, he stops himself from throwing Namatame into the TV world to die with this reasoning and points it out to the others, promptly silencing those in favor of doing so and making them see sense.
- I Just Want to Have Friends:
- This gets more attention in the anime than the game. The Tanabata tree's options are half this, either expressing a desire to be able to spend more time with Nanako or to have a girlfriend.
- In the anime. Yu's biggest fear is that after the investigation is over, the group will go their separate ways and he'll be by himself again. Mitsuo's shadow exploits this fear and causes him to have a tremendous Heroic BSoD. It's possible that Yu has not had any lasting friendships before now, which would explain his Sugar-and-Ice Personality.
- Episode 26 (the True Ending episode) has Yu finally face his own Shadow, who says that he doesn't even care if the world is lost in fog as long as it meant he did not have to go back to a life without any friends. Yu freely admits this as the truth.
- Improbable Weapon User: He can be equipped with a variety of unorthodox weapons in Golden, including shovels, mops and flags.
- In-Series Nickname: Yosuke calls him "Partner", Teddie calls him "Sensei", Nanako calls him "Big Bro", and the first-year members of the Investigation Team call him "Senpai". Obviously, this is to to avoid calling him by whatever name the player actually gave him.
- Karma Houdini: Like the Persona 3 protagonist, it's possible to become romantically involved with about half a dozen girls all at once, with little to no hints that they know about each other, with zero consequence. This includes best friends Yukiko and Chie - there's even a conversation when they realize they've both been in his room. Unlike the Persona 3 hero, it's not necessary to date them to get the max Social Link, so it's entirely up to the player if they want to have their cake and eat it too. However, in Golden, the girls will passive-aggressively call him out on cheating if he has, but nothing ever comes from it.
- Subverted when it comes down to Valentine's Day in Golden. The player has the option of spending it with any of your girlfriends, and the game forces you to personally reject the ones you don't intend on spending the day with.
- Katanas Are Just Better: His iconic weapon has to be the katana; it's the first weapon he's shown wielding in the game (during the dream sequence battle in the fog before the first murder), it's the first weapon he can buy from the weapon's shop, and it's his weapon of choice in Arena.
- Kindhearted Cat Lover: Shows signs of this if one follows the various 'Feed the Cat' sidequests. He can spend a whole afternoon doing nothing but petting a cat outside his house. In Golden, while hanging out with Kou in the evening, he remarks that the murders are a big shock to a town where the news is usually about a lost cat. One of the responses is asking about the cat's well-being.
- Knight Templar Big Brother: The player is given the option to throw Namatame in the television in retribution for Nanako's death - doing so leads to the worst ending. Yu nearly did do this in the anime, but managed to stop himself.
- Large Ham: Dips into this during his Not So Stoic moments in The Animation, such as during the Mega Beef Bowl challenge:Yu: It takes understanding to accept it as a whole, knowledge to set the proper pace, courage to attack the mountain of meat, and detication to keep on eating. All these skills are needed to finish off the MEGA BEEF BOWL!
- Last-Name Basis: In the anime, most people address Yu by his last name when they're not using a nickname. Yosuke eventually switches to First-Name Basis, while flirty Rise always addresses him as such.
- The Leader: He's the unquestioned head of the Investigation Team, deciding upon battle strategies, directing their efforts at investigating, preventing them from blaming the wrong victim and seeking out the true killer....
- Lethal Chef: While Yosuke treats him as a Supreme Chef, especially in comparison to the girls, he can potentially be a lethal one when cooking school lunches, if the player chooses the wrong options. At one point, he has the option to spray cologne on creme caramel.
- Master of All: Can switch between Personas at will, making this his specialization, although each Persona does carry its own weaknesses. His ultimate Persona, Izanagi-no-Okami, has extremely high, perfectly even stats in every aspect, learns attacks from every magical element simply from leveling up, and resists damage from everything but Light.
- Mistaken for Gay: In the P4 side of the Q manga, when he asks the P3 Hero if they've met before, Chie and Yosuke immediately assume that he's hitting on him.
- My God, What Have I Done?: In the Accomplice Ending, finally gets this reaction once he boards the train and gets a message from Adachi.
- New Transfer Student: Arrives in town at the beginning of the story due to his parents having to leave to work overseas. The manga goes further and implies that he changes school almost every year.
- Not Quite the Right Thing: Discussed in episode 23 of the anime; Yu wonders, having a breakdown as he does, to Yosuke if he made the right decision to spare Namatame, since Namatame was responsible for Nanako's kidnapping and subsequent death. His decision ultimately turns out to have been the right one, leading to both Nanako's revival and The Reveal that Namatame, while responsible for Yukiko, Kanji, Rise and Naoto's kidnappings, was not responsible for the murders.
- Not So Different: While it's not touched on in the games proper, a song in The Golden Animation, "Ying Yang", emphasizes this with Yu and Adachi's relationship - they're both out of towners who had powers bestowed upon them by Izanami. The lyrics imply that Adachi and Yu could have served the role the other did if other paths had been taken in their lives:Yu's vocals: You and I we ain't so different
I guess I had more blessings
Without it, got belligerent
But I totally understand
Glass was half full for mine
Adachi's vocals: And it looked half empty for me
Both: Maybe that one glass made the path we took, who knows?
- Not So Stoic: There are plenty of moments where he breaks his stoicism.
Soji: Nanako is just a child! Nevermind the Shadows, she might not survive the rigors of being over there by herself! Now it looks like Namatame entered the TV World too! That means he's over there... with her!
- After summoning Izanagi for the first time, he can be seen enjoying a taste of his new power.
- Will finally lose his cool and tell the rest of the party to "Calm the hell down!" to stop them from throwing Namatame into the TV near the end of the game.
- He often shows when he's concerned or surprised about something, rather friendly during conversations with his friends, and there's a distinctively afraid/shocked tone in his voice when he and his friends stumble into Mayumi's Shadow room during the first episode of the anime. He also smiles at least once an episode.
- Yu suffers an emotional breakdown twice over the course of the anime series. The first time after having doubts about sparing Namatame and the second time when he willing allows himself to get trapped in a "Groundhog Day" Loop in the final episode.
- In the manga, he loses his composure when faced with Nanako's kidnapping, and tries to go straight into the TV in Namatame's truck despite Teddie's warnings not to.
Yosuke: Calm down! This isn't like you!! I understand how you feel, but Teddie's right! We should choose our next step carefully and follow the same method that has led to success before!
Rise: Yeah, Soji! If we fail, there'll be no one left to save Nanako!
Soji: NAMATAME IS A MURDERER!!
- Off with His Head!: Combined with Your Head A-Splode, this is Izanagi's preferred method of dispatching Shadows in the anime and does so with either its weapon or bladed footwear.
- Old-School Chivalry: Usually, the Protagonist is quite a gentleman. Without any prompting from the player, he will almost always walk girls home or offer to protect them (although, sometimes the game allows you to play a subversion).
- Omniglot: Based on the books in his room and several of his dialogue choices, he seems to have at least a basic knowledge of Korean, Spanish and French. He tutors Shu in English in the Tower Social Link, so he's at least conversant in it. One of the jobs that can be taken is a translator (implied for English, as the book "English Made Easy" provides an extra Expression bonus each time you work), but the narration says that he does occasionally have trouble with some phrases.
- One-Man Party: His access to the Wild Card immediately places him here, being able to fill out any and all combat roles on the fly. As a tradeoff, however, his Personas level up at a much slower rate than his teammates. Since his Personas will fall out of use as he levels up, this means that he will constantly have to upgrade his Personas or risk falling behind.
- Only Sane Man: Comes with the territory of being an almost-entirely blank slate protagonist. Yu is the most levelheaded and thoughtful member of the Investigation Team by far, and it's suggested a few times the reason he never had to confront his Shadow to obtain Izanagi is specifically because he didn't have any underlying issues, although the True Ending reveals that he actually got his Persona from outside influence. While The Animation, Arena, and Q characterize him a bit more than his original game, he's still presented as a very calm guy with far less issues than the rest of the party.
- Parental Abandonment: In the game itself, his parents are only mentioned two or three times. The manga states that he moves a lot due to their jobs, and implies that his self-reliant nature stems from a lack of their presence in his life (due to always being busy).
- Parody Sue: In the anime, Yu is portrayed as ridiculously talented at practically everything he tries, and is loved by everyone around him making him a perfect contrast to Yosuke. This gets carried over in both Arena and Golden, where Yu's perfection continues to get played for laughs.
- Perpetual Frowner: His bangs and Izanagi's mask were designed to make the two appear as if they were always giving off a half-glare.
- Precision F-Strike:
- While he can curse several times throughout the story, one line in particular gets special mention because this is the one time he loses his temper and yells for the first and only time in the entire game to make the party reconsider killing Namatame.Calm the hell down!
- Yu delivers this in response to the True Killer's Motive Rant in Episode 25 of the anime:I've heard enough. It's all bullshit!
- While he can curse several times throughout the story, one line in particular gets special mention because this is the one time he loses his temper and yells for the first and only time in the entire game to make the party reconsider killing Namatame.
- Present Absence: Downplayed in Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight and Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight. While he doesn't directly appear, his actions in Dancing All Night are what provoke the pissing match between Elizabeth and Caroline/Justine that leads to the games' Excuse Plot.
- Promotion to Parent: His relationship with Nanako, due to the constant absence of her own father from her life. Part of his Social Link with Dojima encourages him to spend more time with her.
- Punny Name: Yu Narukami - he's "you". Even better, Narukami phonetically can mean Become a God, so his entire name can literally be "You become a God." Quite the contrast to the kanji used for his name which would literally mean the calm that roars from above or calm thunder.
- Quickly Demoted Leader: In the P3 route of Persona Q and in Persona Q2, he's introduced as the leader of the Investigation Team, but quickly cedes overall command of the group to your protagonist.
- The Quiet One: In the manga where he is allowed to talk, he is still awfully quiet, only speaking at crucial moments and when he's the one initiating a conversation - it creates quite a parallel to his Silent Protagonist role in the game. In the anime, he is portrayed as a calm, composed, and soft-spoken individual. Some of the audio dramas also portray him this way.
- Running Gag:
- No matter how long of a distance he falls, he will always stick the landing.
- The numerous, numerous options to eat random objects from the fridge - which often results in him feeling sick and going to bed early.
- Scary Shiny Glasses: When Izanagi is first summoned.
- The Scrounger: Most sidequests consist of him finding random objects for people, usually taken from Shadows in the TV World.
- Second Year Protagonist
- Serial Romeo: While he's notorious for his reputation as a "manwhore", he seems very genuine when he's trying to help each of the girls he can potentially date overcome their problems.
- Serious Business: For Yu, everything. It does not matter if it is solving the case, making origami, or eating the Rainy Day Special, he treats them all with the same focus and determination.
- Silent Protagonist: Only in his original game and when chosen as the protagonist of Persona Q. While still a little quiet sometimes, he speaks freely in all the other games.
- Silver Fox: In the anime, after being aged into an old man by Shadow Naoto, Rise gushes about how he still looks good.
- Slasher Smile: Lets loose one when Izanagi is summoned, much like Makoto from Persona 3 and Joker from Persona 5.
- Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Considering the number of spin-offs and adaptions Persona 4 has, Yu is this for the whole series as well as the entire SMT franchise. He is also appears in Lord of Vermilion II as well as being the first representative of Persona 4: Arena for BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle.
- Standardized Leader: His most prominent traits are his levelheadedness, deductive reasoning skills and ability to keep calm under pressure. While he's given his own quirks in later adaptations, he's the only member of the team who isn't bogged down by any emotional baggage.
- Stepford Smiler: In the manga, Soji's so used to acting like a good sport about his parents being busy with work and often forcing him to transfer schools, even though he is bothered by it. The fact that this is so difficult for him is one reason why he bonded with Nanako.
- The Stoic:
- He never speaks outside battle and often has the option to tell others to calm down; there are only two points in the game where he has the option to become visibly angry. The eyes of his model are pretty cold too.
- The anime adaptation also depicts him this way. In contrast to the other cast members he is rarely fazed by extraordinary events, and he almost always keeps a straight face. Taken to absurd levels in the school trip episode, when he has the same serious expression plastered on his face as he's tossed over a cliff by Chie and Yukiko.
- Stupid Sexy Flanders: During the Group Date event, in which Yosuke plays the girl, Yosuke mentions that Yu would be his ideal guy, before backtracking.
- Superpower Lottery: Let's face it, he's the only character who has access to almost every Persona, and is the only character who is able to defeat Izanami because of his ability to upgrade his own and everyone else's Persona via The Power of Friendship.
- Supreme Chef: His friends treat his meals like the best thing they ever ate, he's asked to save the day by Yosuke when the girls are proposing to cook for an event and during this, if the player decides to make the omelette that will please Nanako the best, she's literally blushing with happiness.
- Sword Drag: It doesn't quite touch the ground, but he still carries his sword like this, giving the impression it's a bit too heavy for him. Noticeably drops this trait by Arena, since he's using a lighter katana he can wield with one hand.
- Take a Third Option: Invoked by the Protagonist himself.
- Kill Namatame for revenge or let him live and hope he'll never kill again. Answer: let him live because of the correct suspicion that he's not the Killer.
- In Golden: Let Marie kill herself, or let her live and cause the world to disappear due to the fog inside her. Answer: Have the fog turn her into the monster, and kill the monster itself instead of her.
- In a less serious matter, one rainy day finds Yu, Yosuke, Kanji, and Naoto outside with only Yu and Naoto having umbrellas. Yosuke and Kanji debate on who among them should go with who, Yu can opt to instead give the two of them his and go with her.
- Take Over the World: When Nanako sets up a tree for Tanabata, he's humorously given the option to list this as your wish.
- Team Chef: Among the Investigation Team members, he is the only one who can put together a good meal as an individual, though this is largely contingent on the player's own cooking skill. In The Animation, Yu is shown to be a pretty good cook.
- Team Dad: The most responsible and reliable of the entire team, who manages to help everyone else with their problems if you max out their Social Links. It's telling just how much the others look up to him.
- Thousand Origami Cranes: He can volunteer to fold origami cranes for charity as a part time job- unlike other jobs, you don't get paid, but if you complete the set (with the time it takes being influenced by your choices and how well they work out), you get a rare item as a gift. The anime promotes this trope into his hobby when killing time, and he's pretty good at it too. He made a crane out of a paper napkin, which is harder to fold than regular paper. Episode 9 shows that origami cranes is Serious Business for him.
- Touched by Vorlons: The reason his Superpower Lottery payoff was so large is due to having his powers granted to him by Izanami.
- Tough Love: Related to his Brutal Honesty. The game generally encourages taking the harsher responses in Social Links when appropriate, all under the pretense of helping the other person see their own issues easier. This continues in The Animation, where Yu isn't one to mince words if it helps.Ayane: For a nice guy, you're kind of a jerk.
- Tranquil Fury: How he expresses his anger. Particularly in Episode 23 of the anime when he comes within a hair's breath from tossing Namatame into the TV world (basically a death-sentence) in retaliation for Nanako's apparent death, and without any hint of emotion on his face. It's one of the most chilling scenes in the show.
- Uncatty Resemblance: When donning the Cheer Squad Outfit in dungeons, the others mention that he looks a lot like Izanagi.
- Visible Silence: There is a whole series of dialogue options which are ellipses (".....") in the early days of the game.
- Warrior Therapist: Because tailing a serial killer (and incidentally saving the world) doesn't mean you can't save time to deal with the psychological issues of your whole team, your family, half your school and if we consider the fox path, half the town. The therapy is so good he can end up seven-timing and somehow convinces his uncle that since he's so great, he can marry his own cousin. And let's not get started on all the mancrushes he can start.
- Weirdness Magnet: As a consequence of being chosen for Izanami's little social experiment, strange things continually happen around him as his time in Inaba goes by, making the murder case more difficult and confusing. This even continues outside the events of Persona 4 because of his fate as someone who has to live out their life with the Wild Card, since his continued involvement in supernatural events is because they basically land on his lap wherever he goes.
- What an Idiot!: In-Universe, the Killer cracks up at Yu in Golden's accomplice ending for actually burning the letters that could get him convicted. Not unjustified, considering his actions throughout the rest of the game, and the fact that Yu gave the Killer an opportunity to blackmail him with the threat of reporting that he destroyed evidence.
- Wholesome Crossdresser: When the crossdressing competition occurs, he's given the option to enthusiastically admit that he signed himself up for it.
- You Bastard!: You felt awesome dating all of these lovely ladies at the same time right? Well, since Golden now includes Valentine's day, you have to make one lucky lady very happy and reduce the others to tears. The other five of them. Rejected all six? Yosuke will berate you for hanging out with him, Teddie, and Kanji at Junes.