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Tear Jerker / Persona 3

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You know that you are going to play a Tearjerking game when the way characters summon is by shooting themselves in the head.
Shinji... Don't leave me behind...!note 

As a Moments subpage, all spoilers are unmarked as per policy. You Have Been Warned.

The Journey

  • The death of Shinjiro Aragaki is a prime example of a Tear Jerker / Moment of Awesome / Heroic Sacrifice combination.
    • The worst part of it for is Akihiko's scene at Shinji's funeral (the voice acting in either version is heartwrenching). And his new "end-of-battle" line, "Did you see that, Shinji?" can put an active effort into not letting Akihiko end battles. Even if it contradicts Akihiko's (and Shinjiro's and Koromaru's) philosophy on moving on... sorry for the failure, senpai.
    • On his second playthrough, if you talk to Shinji on the day before his death.
      Shinjiro: Tomorrow's the day. Are you ready? Let's go in there and kick some ass.
    • Just to twist the knife a little bit more, the next day, during Shinji's service, two upperclassmen start talking about Shinji, claiming he's probably just some punk, and how they don't have time for this, because they need to study for their mock-exams. They then turn to the Protagonist and ask him if they knew him, but then claim that since they're juniors, how could you know this Aragaki guy.
      • You're given a few choices to react to these guys. It's hard not to pick the option "Shut up."
      • To twist the knife even more, the principal, one of those two upperclassmen? Both of them are voiced by Takaya.
    • Persona 3 Portable makes this even more painful. If you play as a female, he has his own Social Link and he becomes even more of a sympathetic character. Shinjiro warms up to SEES, and he is shown to be more than a brooding Jerk with a Heart of Gold, he really is a kind man, only with a fatalistic mindset on his situation. And if that isn't enough, even pursuing a romantic relationship is tragic, because he knows it would be a heartbreaking mistake for the both of them. And the Social Link is the first and only one to affect the story. It even amends the notable phrase he says as he's dying, to repeat one of his requests to her in a twisted fashion (twisted in the fact the reverse psychology will kick in).
      Shinjiro: Don't cry. This is how it should be.
    • Shinjiro romance social link tear jerker quotes.
      Shinjiro as he holds you as you die in the end of NG+: I'm glad I met you.
    • Once you max out a romantic social link in Portable, there's usually no issue in meeting up with them again. With Shinjiro, you only get one extra scene to romance him, and it's not because you're short on time. If you manage to max out Shinjiro's social link and get his extra scene by October 3rd, he explicitly refuses to spend more time with you and tells you to be with the others, clearly not wanting to risk getting even closer to you than he already has.
      Shinjiro: You... ...... You shouldn't waste your time like this. Go be with the others. Don't hang around me... ......
    • Akihiko's resolution when he visit's the school's shrine to Shinjiro alone. In Portable if Shinjiro's life is saved, Akihiko's resolution happens in a hospital room over Shinjiro's comatose body and it's just as, if more, effective.
      • What makes the hospital scene all the more effective is Akihiko's sheer distress. He's now faced with the fear of losing another person he cares about (Shinji) and being helpless to do anything about it. The poor guy even starts begging for him to wake up!
        Akihiko: ...But I was wrong... and now look at you...! What am I supposed to do if I lose you too!? Shinji... Don't leave me behind...! You can hear me, can't you!? Wake up...! Snap out of it...! Shinji...! *cries*
    • Even before that, rank 9 of Shinjiro's social link: clinging to a few last precious moments of normalcy, trying not very successfully to make sure he has nothing to regret.
      • To make things worse, Even if he had survived Shinjiro has no way of living a normal life. He requires the Persona Suppressants even though they're slowly killing him because otherwise Castor will go berserk and kill him and people around him.
    • The shift in music during Shinjiro's social link. In early ranks, "Easy Feeling" plays as Shinji and the FeMC bond but later ranks begin to play "Living With Determination" when Shinjiro begins to realize his feelings for the FeMC despite knowing his fate.
  • While Aigis' declaration that her purpose is to defeat Ryoji is a Badass Boast, when she ultimately loses the battle, she starts to believe that having failed in that purpose, she no longer has any reason to exist. Luckily, the later game and her social link help her come to terms with herself, and start seeing herself as a person, rather than a weapon.
  • Hearing SEES call out to you during the final battle with Nyx, while undeniably badass as well as heartwarming, should also qualify as a Tear Jerker. You hear them begging you to hold out from Nyx's attacks with the hope that you'll come back safe, all while they're helpless to do anything themselves. Of particular mention are Mitsuru's and Junpei's pleas, the former due to the context behind her words, the latter due to Mignogna's soul-felt performance.
    Mitsuru: "Give him strength! Take my life if you must!"
    Junpei: "No, he's not alone! I won't let him die!"
  • The "bad" ending is pretty, well, bad in this regard as well. Everyone in SEES loses their memories of the Dark Hour, and subsequently the massive amounts of Character Development they went through. Except for possibly Aigis, who looks on sadly, not knowing what to do. And then suddenly, The End of the World as We Know It.
    • This deserves elaboration. At first glace, things don't seem particularly bad, and it'd probably serve as a happy ending in any other context, which is what makes it feel so subtly wrong. The MC, Junpei and Yukari are all hanging out like they used to. They see Aigis on the way in to school... and to them she's just a girl from their dorm they barely know. And it's implied she's the only one who has Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory, so imagine how painful that must be for her. Mitsuru and Akihiko aren't even acquaintances with the others, and Mitsuru gives a speech on graduation day, saying her father recently passed away from illness. She pauses for a moment, as if some part of her realises that's not right. Everyone discusses their future plans (oblivious to the fact the whole world is about to end), and Yukari makes a speech about how it doesn't matter what they choose in life and that "ignorance is bliss", which hurts after seeing all her Character Development. But the worst part about all this? Shinjiro isn't even mentioned. Seeing as Mitsuru knows her father died, this seems to imply that Shinjiro's death still happened and nobody cared. He was completely forgotten. Fridge Horror also sets in with Ken. With him forgetting what caused him to abandon his desire for revenge, and finding out Shinjiro had suddenly died, it's possible he might have gone back to being suicidal. Everything all these characters went through is gone, and the world is doomed. Nice job.
  • Pharos's goodbye in the end of his Social Link is surprisingly touching. For all his odd nature, it's hard not to feel sad when a little boy that's never actually done anything wrong apparently dies.
  • The scene where Mitsuru's father, Takeharu, is shot and killed. Seeing the normally composed, elegant Mitsuru so utterly distraught was heartwrenching;
    Mitsuru slumped to the floor, crying like a child.
  • When Yukari watched the true video her father made of the Incident, not the one Shuji Ikutsuki manipulated. Her father says that he loves her and was the happiest man on Earth when he was with her, and when the video starts to short out, she cries "Dad... Daddy!?" in the most heartbreaking way.
  • The whole sequence with Junpei and Chidori, from the hospital visits to her death while also being a Moment of Awesome for both the character and the game.
  • The scene where Chidori gives her life to save Junpei, and he watches her die right in front of him.
    • Much more so than this scene was the follow-up a week or so later, when Mitsuru gives Junpei Chidori's sketchbook and he sees it's full of pictures of him, and he just breaks down crying.
    • What makes this Wham Episode even worse is just how sudden it is. Every Wham Episode previously was either on a Full Moon or right after one, so the player would probably be getting used to the pattern by now. Then this moment suddenly comes on what was otherwise a perfectly ordinary day, right after a week filled with comic relief at that! For that reason it's possible to be blindsided by this even when following a day-by-day walkthrough.
    • Fortunately, FES adds a rather happy Tear Jerker in all this: By triggering certain event flags, it is possible to revive Chidori, though she loses her memories of the Dark Hour. But the scene of her and Junpei being reunited is absolutely beautiful.
  • Ken also has one as a part of his social link for Portable. In order to re-initiate the S.Link after the events of October 4th, Ken asks the heroine to come with him to that spot again. There, he thanks her, but breaks down crying and admits how he still finds living painful, even after he had his resolution. She's the only one he tells about this, proving how much she means to him. To learn he keeps on living for his love for her and devotion to SEES is very, very tender. That event (and the S.Link afterwards) redeemed Ken for many players.
  • Ryoji's social link in general if you've played the game before/spoiled yourself as to what happens. He makes it very clear that he would love nothing more than to be a normal teenager with friends like the MC and SEES. When Yukari asks if there's anything they can do to stop The Fall, he mutters out a heartbreaking "I'm sorry..." and tries to get his friends to kill him to delay their death and let them die happy to boot. And if they don't, and Nyx arrives, Ryoji fades away and loses his human identity almost entirely.
  • And because it's worth mentioning here again, Akinari, the Sun Social Link.
    • Every time you visit Akinari, the song "Living With Determination" plays. Usually, this song only plays during the saddest moments of the game (Yukari finding out the truth about her father, for example), but this song plays EVERY TIME you see him.
    • If you max Akinari's S. Link, you can talk with his mother during the two free school days between the final battle and graduation. She sits on the bench at Naganaki Shrine, right where her son sat. She speaks to you and you find out that Akinari died. She never got to read his story, and when you reveal that he gave you the notebook in which he wrote the story she tells you to keep it. She says that she'll hear it from him when she meets him again in the afterlife... Then she says that, in the memory of her son, she'll do all the things he couldn't: travel to faraway places, eat exotic foods, etc. Then she talks about Akinari's huge presence in her life, when he was a baby and how he was grateful to have lived.
  • Surprisingly enough, Rank 9 of Kenji's Social Link. (Which also happens to contain one of the single biggest Jerkass dialogue options in the game, which you should feel like a total bastard for even considering choosing.) Especially after the Hope Spot in Rank 7, where he seriously considers marrying Emiri and having a future together after graduating. Knowing he was wrong about Emiri liking him the whole time can make the entire link Harsher in Hindsight on a second playthrough.
  • Playing the game on the second cycle or being aware of the events beforehand, whenever someone talks about their future with the protagonist is just heartbreaking. Akihiko's Christmas event in particular comes to mind, where he promises to buy the female protagonist something new every year to put in her music box. He also says that even though "Santa" never came for him before, he did this year, with one dialogue strain prompting him to say something along the lines of "Then I guess Santa will be heading my way next year, too." It brought a few tears.
  • A week after Ryoji tells SEES that he'll bring about the Fall, Mitsuru gets everyone together to talk about what they're going to do. Junpei lashes out at the MC about how he/she never noticed the shadow sealed inside them and asks them if there's anything they can do about it...
  • After December 31st knowing that you have one month until Nyx comes to commence the Grand Fall and the formally cheerful city theme "Moon's Reaching Stars" is replaced with "Memories of the City" and posters of the Nyx cult are placed all over the mall and town... it felt just numb to see a town you'd grown to love - and the main character found his best friends there - completely ripped of all enthusiasm. Then you can get the true ending and seal Nyx away. Especially when you realize the new tune is a leitmotif of Memories of You, just much, MUCH sadder.
  • After completing Theodore's date requests, he'll tell you that he can no longer see you in that fashion, and from then on you'll only interact in the velvet room. His line when you choose the option "Ask Out" under the Talk option.
    Theodore: I... cannot do that. I've told you before... Please, do not torment me with an offer like this... I beg you. Please...
    • Additionally, during his final 'date,' though he mentions he'll be punished even further for not breaking it off quickly the implication is he's doing it because continuing the relationship will be worse for you. Watching him be so torn up about it but forcing himself through it for your sake is a heartbreaking chance from his early enigmatic cool or his child-like naivety about the human world.
  • The month of January is depressing. The Fall is near, the once beautiful city is now littered with flyers and graffiti, the Lost are everywhere, and a few of the sane people who have lost hope. Not to mention there's a kid who doesn't want to go home because her parents were absorbed by the cult.
    Male Student at Port Island Station: The people who believe in the End have at least some energy left... I mean, they have enough to believe in something, y'know? I don't have that much, man. It's over for me.
  • During the last two days before graduation, several Social Links whom you have reached Rank 10 with will either say their goodbyes and gives their wishes to see the protagonists again, with the ones who have already left at the end reaching out to you and wishing the same. With not a single one of them knowing that it would be the last time they ever meet or hear from them again. In particular...
    • Bunkichi and Mitsuko, the lively elderly couple who treats you like a grandchild, always giving you snacks and being so happy to see you; it's implied they were essentially alone until the petition to save the tree brought their old friends and their son's friends back into their lives. In the end, despite their age and past tragedies, their son's tree is safe, they're planning on remodeling the bookstore, and they hope the nice young student who helped them so much comes by to visit any time. Needless to say, that doesn't happen.
    • Maiko, the little girl dealing with her parents' imminent divorce, with what seems like very few people she can talk to until you show up. Anytime she tries to ask why they're splitting up, they tell her she's too young to understand. Eventually though, with your help, she and her parents are able to reach an understanding. Before she leaves, she makes a promise to marry you when she grows up, so you two can have a family of your own. Too bad she's never going to see you again.
  • Having accidentally shown off your cellphone's wallpaper to Ms. Toriumi, the Hermit S-Link, she suitably freaks out, almost recovers in time to ask you out for dinner, but ends up running away. The main character dies the next day. Ouch.
  • Another sad thing about playing as the female protagonist is the Emperor Social Link. She helps Hidetoshi become a better person, and he realizes that he's fallen for her, but decides not to act on those feelings until he feels he's worthy of her, something he reiterates when you talk to him in March. The female protagonist is dead within two days.
  • During those two days, the dorm becomes eerily quiet. The game tells you that everyone is probably out enjoying themselves while you're too exhausted from defeating the big bad to go out yourself. You performed a heroic sacrifice for these people, and yet neither you nor they seem to remember anything. The protagonist is constantly feeling exhausted during those two days and has no clue why. Aigis is the only one who remembered what happened and tries to approach him a few times to talk about it. It's not until the final day that everyone remembers everything and run up to you as promised, only to arrive seconds before you die.
  • The ending.
    • Even before Nyx is sealed away, seeing that the cost of the "Great Seal" skill is the entirety of your hit points will probably make you realize that the game is not going to end happy.
    • The fact that he survives after using up his soul on pure willpower alone, despite his friends having forgotten him and the promise that was keeping him alive, until the very end, wherein it's too late as he lies down on Aigis's lap atop the rooftop, watches the sky with her, and dies seconds before his friends arrive. Hearing Aigis almost break down as she tries to reassure the Protagonist doesn't make it any better.
      Aigis: (through tears) You're right. What am I doing? I understand now, so I should be happy...
    • Persona 3 Portable adds an even more heartbreaking variation to this scene: you can actually choose the last person you talk to at that moment in New Game Plus, provided that you maxed their Social Link (and if you're the girl, you have to be lovers with them). If it was painful with Aigis, imagine how hard it would be to see the hero dying in Yukari, Mitsuru or Akihiko's arms.
      • In particular, Shinjiro's ending is excruciatingly heart breaking due to twisted irony. The girl he loved indirectly saved his life through her kindness, yet she dies in his arms and he can't do anything about it. Thanks Atlus, you cruel bastards.
        Akihiko: "...and starting now, we'll never be apart."
        Mitsuru: "Come what may... we'll always be together."
        Ken: "From now on... I'll protect you."
  • Listening to Kimi no Kioku (Memories of You) in the credits while knowing what the lyrics mean.

The Answer

  • The Answer was very sad, with seeing the struggle the characters were dealing with what to do with the keys and the MC's death. Seeing the once-close True Companions fighting each other is truly depressing.
  • Aigis, Metis, and Fuuka have to fight the rest of the members of SEES. The music, while definitely awesome, does not help.
    • The entirety of the fight with Akihiko and Ken. She kept waiting for some event dialogue, or anything, really, to stop the battle before it actually ended.
    • Dog lovers will find the fight against Junpei and Koromaru especially heart-wrenching. Just listening to Koromaru whimper in pain every time you hit him is enough to make those with the weakest of hearts quit mid-fight.
      > Koromaru seems to be in pain.
    • Perhaps the worst part about the fight against Junpei and Koromaru is that they're the opposing team who least wants to fight. Unlike Yukari, whose (understandable) insistence on going back in time to save the protagonist is the reason why SEES is fighting, and Akihiko, who's no less willing to fight for his own side, Junpei just wants SEES to come to a decision as a group, even if it means beating some sense into the other members. Unfortunately, given how the Key of Time is forged, you have to defeat him and Koromaru in order to make it.
    • Although Metis may have been coming off as a real bitch due to her treatment of the members of SEES, just listening to her breaking down in Aigis's arms, begging her sister not to leave her, reminds the player just how broken Metis is from being alone her whole life, her fear of losing the one person she values most, the person who is most like her.
  • Yukari ends up being very tragic and going through the five stages of grief over the events of The Answer. Compounding this is her backstory: She's merely six years old, and her father tragically passes away, but rather than have time to mourn the loss, she and your mother get ostracized so badly that she has to move repeatedly. Then it gets worse when her own mother ends up abandoning her to pursue shallow relationships with men just to cope with the loss, forcing the daughter to try to live on her own, and she's STILL ONLY AROUND SIX.
    • Then around ten years later, she finally finds a clue about her father and having hope that he was innocent in all of this, and tries her best. But what happens? She finds the doctored video that talks about how her father created the Dark Hour and everything was all his fault in the end, effectively shattering her world and faith that she had in her father. Who gives comfort from this heartbreaking moment? None other than the protagonist, who may hug her and assure her that she should continue to believe in her father.
    • This could be really what triggers the feelings that Yukari develops for the protagonist, since she decides to have a Social Link with him after that event. The intimacy they share is so strong that to Yukari, the protagonist is the central force in her life that allows her to keep on hoping for a better tomorrow, because he helped her not only continue to believe in her father and her role in the group but also potentially helped amend things with her mother.
    • And the protagonist dies. Even worse: He dies while sleeping on Aigis' lap. And Yukari only JUST remembered her love for him and only to find out that he's dead with Aigis being the last person that was with him, holding him, and Yukari, like the others, never knew why he died. The inability to accept that he was dead, but forced to do so made her unable to even open up to her friends. It was too painful because the person that she loved most in the world ended up dying then and there.
    • To make matters worse, when Yukari returns to the dorm, she finds out that not only did Aigis spend the last moments with the protagonist, she inherited his power as well. The acquisition of that power is something to indicate that a part of the protagonist lives on with Aigis, as if Aigis was the one carrying out his will, and for Yukari, that was too painful to accept, as she didn't have anything like that, but instead had memories of him to remind her.
    • Finally came time at the end. You actually see how hard Yukari tries to push past the protagonist's death, wanting to move on, to live on for the future. But she's actually barely keeping herself together, because her feelings of love that were lost was breaking through her. And that showed the moment the opportunity presented itself where they could go back in time. As strong of a face she tried to make, her feelings could no longer keep themselves down. She wanted to see him again, and wanted him not to die on her like before. But it wasn't to be. Aigis and Metis end up winning and taking the key, and Yukari cannot even try to use it after. The breakdown that she has is truly heartbreaking because she's finally confessing all the pain that's been inside her.
    • Even worse: Aigis got off lucky as she more or less discarded her emotions due to wishing to be a machine, giving birth to Metis, but Yukari had no such thing. She had to live on with all those emotions remaining inside her.
  • The scene where Aigis and the others fighting Erebus with the question of how it was created. It turns out Erebus was created by humans' desire for death. Others can't believe that the whole town wishes for death. Until Aigis and Yukari explain this:
    Aigis: Last December, I too wished to learn death. It's probably true that people in town are wishing to touch it somewhere in their hearts... There's only one thing that differentiates life from stillness. It's that we die... that's all there is...
    Yukari: I think I understand. When your life loses its meaning, the fact of death can be kind of comforting. That lurking malice we're unaware of is strong enough to give birth to such a huge monster. And maybe... that's just how it is these days.
    • The fact that people lose something or someone important in their life can't help but felt comforted with death. As result, they become depressed and wish for death to come.

Other Media

  • The Movie already gives one in the second trailer. A few shots of the car accident that killed Makoto's parents, complete with one of their arms dripping blood. He's not too happy remembering it either.
  • The Drama CD skit Broken Social Link actually has one sad segment when Fuuka calls in the protagonist to cancel their plans to make bento after she found out that the protagonist has been making plans with Mitsuru for the day. Unlike the others (especially the latter parts after this, which is Played for Laughs), the segment with Fuuka is made to make the protagonist feel like a bastard for this because near the end of her conversation, Fuuka is sobbing and struggling to even talk, trying so hard to quell her broken heart after being cheated. The Drama segment can be heard here.
  • As tragic as the death of Ken's mother, and its repercussions for Ken and Shinjiro is, the manga suggests that the alternative would have been even worse. It turns out that Mrs. Amada's death was because Shinjiro killed her Shadow, since she was a potential Persona-user who couldn't control her powers, and if he hadn't acted, the Shadow might have killed Ken. It's driven home when Shinjiro thinks about what could have happened, particularly when he wonders what Mrs. Amada would think of her son committing murder to avenge her.
    Kid... don't you realize that you might have been killed by your own mom that night?
  • The Dear Girls Comic Anthology showcases the relations the female protagonist has with other male characters and while most of them are adorable and heartwarming. The last chapter "Smile" shows the Female Protagonist breaking down while trying to keep up an empty smile, which even makes her unable to use her Persona. The end shows the reason for her behavior, its Shinjiro's death, which causes her depression and desperation to keep smiling to keep thinking about her good times with him.