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Tear Jerker / Persona 4

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What, you thought the happiest game about murder ever wasn't going to have any Tear Jerkers? Come on, this is Shin Megami Tensei. Of course you're going to cry.

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

  • To begin with: Anytime I'll Face Myself plays. If it's not during a Heartwarming Moment, it's probably during one of these.
  • The Social Links each have their emotional moments.
    • Chie wonders aloud if other people think about what makes them worthwhile because she doesn't want to be just that girl who looks out for Yukiko.
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    • Rise used to get picked on when she was a little girl because she wasn't very good at talking to people and she'd always look at the ground; after she became an idol, she publicly campaigned against bullying, then met a girl who would get picked on just like Rise was. That girl would send Rise letters and tell her about the improvements in her life; it really meant a lot to Rise.
    • Yosuke tries to work through how awful he feels about Saki secretly hating him. Two girls at Junes start bad-mouthing Saki, but then Yosuke stands up for her, even though she's dead and she hated him.
    • The Sun Link again has a chance to be a very moving one, if you choose the Drama Club. Yumi is dealing with her personal issues of a father who abandoned her, but is now dying. Through the course of the S-link, she begins to truly appreciate and accept her father as his condition gets worse. In the end, she thanks him for the gift of her own life as he dies with her at his side.
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    • Hisano Kuroda's Social Link. It manages to invoke the Death Arcana's true meaning in a really tragic way: by having the person closest to you forget all about you.
    • Ai of the Moon Social Link at first appears to be a real jerk. Get far enough in her social link and then you find out why she's that way. She was bullied and ostracized for her appearance and weight, but when her family came into some money, she dieted like crazy and changed her looks, all because she just wanted friends and to be loved. Her change in attitude, however, just made the rift between her and other people grow wider. Then there's whole scene of the Hero trying to stop her from jumping off the school's roof. Right after Ai reveals her backstory, she begins to wonder whether she will ever be loved. The way she says "It's not like I have any other redeeming qualities!" is truly heartbreaking.
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    • Naoki Konishi, the Hanged Man Social Link, is absolutely heartbreaking. Dealing with his struggle to understand his feelings over the death of his sister. It reaches it's peak in the ninth rank, where the player and Naoki goes to the scene of his sister's murder. After spending months being tormented by his emotions, he finally cries. It's not helped by the fact that he's voiced by Derek Stephen Prince, basically as Ken (who also lost an older sibling).
      Naoki: She must've wanted to live more, huh?
      • Naoki talking about the cream puffs rotting in his fridge since his sister isn't there to eat them.
      • If you maxed out his social link, his plea to you at the end of the final battle can hurt a lot, too. This guy's already lost his sister, and now it looks like he's going to lose you too. He even calls you senpai, for the very first time.
      • Naoki's social link in itself has a good three or four rank-ups that guarantee tears. Either you'll cry because he's caught between feeling pitiable and being alone, you'll cry when he says he'd rather have felt like a cold-hearted person than feel the pain of Saki's death, or you'll cry when he cries.
    • Nurse Sayoko Uehara speaking about the death of one of her former patients, a little boy who had a crush on her.
    • The Strength social link, specifically, on Kou's route. Kou is adopted, and part of his character development is coming to terms with that. Eventually, he goes to the orphanage he lived in prior to his adoption and receives a letter from his birth parents, where they revealed that they were terminally ill, loved him enough for him to have a better life and wished that they could have been the ones to give it to him, and that they're always with him no matter what. Ow.
    • Kanji's fear of hospitals, stemming from the fact that his father died in one while he was nowhere to be found. Poor guy almost has a breakdown when his mother is apparently taken to one (Thankfully for very non-lethal reasons).
    • Several female social links directly confess their love to you, and turning them down can be painful.
      • Yukiko immediately runs off, on the brink of tears, and you have to leave Yumi behind in an empty classroom.
      • Ai is the only one who takes it relatively well, although she still states she needs some time to get over you.
      • You also have to cut Ayane off before she can even get the words out.
      • The point where your relationship with Rise becomes romantic is when she's having an emotional crisis and doubting whether or not she truly wants to leave show business. Players that don't want to date Rise have to just stand there, when a good number of them would be perfectly willing to hug her.
  • If you have a procrastination problem, just play this game. The phone calls you get when the fog sets in will make you so punctual, you'll start turning your homework in before it's even assigned.
    • If you fail Nanako's deadline, Kanji calls you to break the news that she is now dead thanks to Namatame. He is so broken, he can't even choke out her name.
    • Failing Kanji's deadline results in Yukiko calling you to inform you that Kanji's body was just discovered. The way her voice cracks at the end of the call is just chilling.
    • If you fail Yukiko's deadline, you get a call from Yosuke. As a change from the others, he is surprisingly calm when he delivers what happened, but you can still hear that he is being shredded up on the inside.
    • Failing Naoto's deadline nets you a call from Kanji, telling you that someone found Naoto's body. Considering the operating tables and surgical equipment in the dungeon you were supposed to complete by then... no more will be said. Even Kanji seems to be in denial, as he asks for someone to explain what's going on. Even worse is that Kanji had a crush on Naoto, and not only is he the one informing you of her death, but he refuses to accept that the girl he loves is dead.
    • If Rise's deadline falls, A distraught Chie tells you that she was discovered dead and the rest couldn't save her. Like Yukiko, her voice breaks as she delivers the last line.
    • If you forget about Mitsuo, a very confused Yosuke informs you about it. From the words he chooses, it is clear he is in heavy denial and does not want to believe Mitsuo is dead.
    • Adachi's deadline just takes the cake and swallows it whole with this one. Instead of someone calling you and telling you the person passed, Naoto calls you in hysterics and tells you the town is filled with Shadows. She is then heard screaming morbidly and the protagonist is disconnected, implying that she was killed violently by the mob of shadows.
    • And after being informed of the victim's death, Yu just... drops his phone on the ground and falls to his knees in despair. While somewhat mitigated by the fact that Igor transports him to the Velvet Room and offers to turn back time for him, seeing the normally calm and stoic Yu fall into visible despair over failing to save his friend is equal parts jarring and heartbreaking.
  • Persona 4 pulls off a string of moving moments, from the beginning of the final kidnapping.
    • You finally get the opportunity to tell the truth to your uncle about what has happened, only to watch it come just a tad too late for his daughter, who is kidnapped and thrown into the TV world. You chase down the guy who is responsible for the people being thrown in, and he seems certifiably insane.
    • While in this chapter's dungeon, hearing Nanako's monologue about how, to quote Kanji, she's telling herself that she isn't alone just so she doesn't fall apart.
    • While Nanako is kidnapped and Dojima is in hospital from trying to save her, the MC returns to an empty house. No Nanako cheerfully calling out 'Hi big bro!'. No Dojima chillaxing and drinking coffee. Even the music changes to a slower, sadder version, and it is heartbreaking.
      • Since many considered Nanako kind of annoying the first few hours of the game. "God, she says that EVERY TIME!" But you get so used to it, and through her social link you get to see just how sad this child is. You help her through it, you help mend a tiny broken family... and then tragedy strikes and you come home to that empty house and you realize just how much you actually loved your "lil' sis", and how true the old "you never know what you have until it's gone" cliché can ring.
        "You opened the fridge. It looks the same as ever inside..."
      • In November, you can also check the cushion Nanako used to sit on to find a handwritten note from her. If you aced your exams, you'll also find the Partial Award. It's one use, can only be equipped by the protagonist and is the only item in the game that can be used to revive him after a KO.
    • Upon completing the rescue arc, you reach the scene that is a CMoA for the game's creators. It was too late for Nanako, who dies in her hospital room with you, Teddie, and her father at her side. As Ryotaro walks calmly out of the room, your team realizes he is going to talk to Namatame, who threw Nanako in in the first place. As the police haul him off to his room, they leave the suspect unguarded, prompting you and the others to enter the room for a grand confrontation. This is the ending fork for the bad or normal ending.
    • Kanji's reaction to Nanako seemingly dying is absolutely gutwrenching. The way he punches the wall and just screams in anguish is absolutely crushing. For anyone who has actually lost a sibling, it's even worse.
  • The affair that Mayumi Yamamo and Taro Namatame had being treated by the media as just another sordid scandal, and then Miss Yamano died. And THEN you learn the truth about the affair. When you finally get to interrogate Namatame, it turns out his marriage to his celebrity wife wasn't very happy, but then he and Mayumi met and connected in a way he and his wife didn't, and actually loved one another. And everybody else cared more about the novelty of their affair being brought to light than the reasons that lead to it in the first place, focusing on the sensationalism and not on the actual people involved. And then he got manipulated by the real killer into getting more victims hurt thinking he was helping them.
  • The final battle. After wearing Izanami's HP down to almost nothing, she starts targeting Yu with an unblockable instant death attack every turn. One by one, the other party members shove you out of the way and are sucked down into some misty dark world. And then it hits you anyway.
    • After you're hit by the instant death attack, all your friends and family tell you how much you mean to them and convince you to fight against Izanami one last time.
    • Amplified in Golden, everyone's lines are actually fully voiced. And with those voiced lines, you are guaranteed to break down and cry on at least two of them.
  • Ending the game itself. The protagonist, his friends, his family, and you the player all knew this was a temporary arrangement going in and that it would have to end eventually, but looking back on all the good times (and even not-so good times) shared by friends and knowing that they're over has reduced many, many, many players to tears. And seeing other characters choke out tearful goodbyes certainly doesn't help either.
    • The latter half of January and beginning of February can be pretty hard to play through as even the game itself constantly reminds you that there won't be much time left and you should spend this time making memories with your friends. The melancholic winter music only makes it worse.
    • Rise's "I love you, senpai!" as the train leaves in the Good Ending, complete with tears streaming down her face. While she's never very subtle about her feelings toward Yu, unless you romance her, it's only here where she actually confesses she loves him. With you returning home and, if you completed her social-link, her returning to show business, she likely didn't want you to leave without knowing how she really felt. Hits even harder if you do romance her. You're her first boyfriend and she doesn't want you to forget about her.
    • When you have to say your goodbye to Kanji on the penultimate day, he politely asks you not to look back when the train pulls out of the station. He's grown to greatly admire and look up to you, and he can't bear for you to see him crying.
  • Teddie's whole scene in the Velvet Room.
  • Songs:
    • Corridor is soul-crushing.
    • Alone. This song (spoilers in the comments) can reduce anyone to TEARS the first time they hear it in game. There's a reason the usual response of gamers when that song plays the first time is, "I'm going to break Adachi's fucking legs..."
    • Heaven. Poor Nanako... The Reincarnation manages to be even worse. The lyrics are heart wrenching if you think about them for even a moment.
      I can't remember the smile, that you gave to me
      I had no way to tell you, "don't walk away"
      Still sorrow keeps on tying me but my soul wants to get freed
      Let my heart loose from a chain.
    • Golden adds Memory. The music is haunting enough, but it plays during a bonus dungeon, Hollow Forest, where Marie has gone, the party thinks at first, to commit suicide. Which, it turns out, she's doing to prevent the fog that she absorbed from overrunning Inaba. And you have to fight against her, when you had to get her Social Link to level 10 in order to access this dungeon. Helluva reward for the new Social Link, huh?
  • Meeting Naoto's Shadow is heartbreaking as well, she was essentially a lonely child, crying about just how lonely she is.
  • Despite him being played largely for laughs, Kanji's Shadow is very sad. Quite a bit of his rant involves him wanting someone (anyone!) to accept him. Even his defeat quote is a plea for acceptance. This is probably how most Shadows really feel. They want to be accepted by the human they were born from, but because they represent the dark and hidden feelings of their host, they're malevolent by nature, and they instinctively taught and reveal the things the characters have kept hidden until the line "You're not me!" is heard. But, once they are accepted, the Shadow in question is more than happy to become a Persona.
  • While mostly creepy, Teddie's Shadow counts when you realize what he represents: existential fear and nihilistic dread. He constantly says that the protagonists' search for the truth is pointless, that nothing but suffering awaits them, and that they only smart way to live is to lie to yourself. These are all very real feelings to people with depression. He also shows what someone as cheerful as Teddie can be hiding.
  • Golden adds consequences for having multiple girlfriends. On Valentine's Day, each girlfriend will ask to spend the day with Yu like Christmas Eve, but this time, the player must directly reject each girl he didn't choose, one by one and face to face, watching as each girl's heart breaks.
    • On the "consequences for having multiple girlfriends" subject, this can be twisted into a heartbreaking Player Punch in the Final Battle. You could potentially have a party consisting of the player, Naoto, Chie and Yukiko, and you could be dating all of them at the same time. And then the final boss starts targeting you with the instant death attack and each of them push you out of the attack's way and take it in your stead. Those girls would willingly sacrifice their lives for you...and you cheated on all of them. To elaborate:
      • Chie plays ignorant with the situation at hand. It's extremely clear she knows what's happening but would prefer to let it go and pretend she has no knowledge of the situation instead of having to face it.
      • Yukiko barely wants to speak about the subject and admits to still not really knowing who she is yet. Her final comment is that she finds it hard to believe that the MC is someone that she can have to herself. One possible interpretation is that she cares for Yu so much that she willingly accepts (what she sees as) a non-monogamous relationship just to stay with him.
      • Rise becomes uncharacteristically apologetic and depressed. She dedicates herself wholeheartedly to Yu and tries to put on a brave face for the time being but is on the verge of tears by the time he departs from her.
      • Naoto refuses to investigate the situation further as she knows the truth but wants to reject the situation since it will only hurt her. Taken in another light, she's throwing away every instinct she has to cling to a faint hope that she knows she would extinguish should she look into the matter.
  • Teddie being utterly horrified when he thinks that Marie is dead after her boss battle.
    Teddie: Emmy-chan...?
    Teddie: Come on... You're such a sleepy-head.
    Teddie: It's time to wake up, okay? Emmy-chan...!
    Teddie: No! This isn't happening! What did we do wrong!?
    Teddie: Emmy-chan, wake up! Don't die!
  • During Golden, helping Marie come to the realization that instead of trying to regain her old memories, she can make new ones with you and the others on the Investigation Team. And then this brisk, abrupt, rude girl gives you the most heartfelt of thanks, even if you only want to be friends with her.
  • Snowflakes, the new overworld song that plays in January. Kind of reminds you that both the game and your stay in Inaba are almost over.
  • Doing New Year's greetings to all social links in Golden, Hisano, Naoki, and Yumi each tell you they're in mourning.
  • When Marie finally regains her memories. And realizes what her role was.
    Marie: I am...a being destined for non-existence.
  • Mitsuo Kubo. Yes, he's a Jerkass and a murderer. But he's still just a messed-up kid who's willing to go to jail for the rest of his life if it means people will notice him. His shadow's even more depressed than Teddie's. He's basically Shu, if Shu didn't have a friendly tutor to help him through his troubles. Makes you wonder what his life must've been like for him to end up like that.
  • An old man asks Yu if he could fetch him a Modest Lamp;
    Refreshed Old Man: Thank you...Really, thank you so much. I didn't give ya much to go on, but you brought me exactly what I wanted. It isn't much, but...Please, take this. *gives 45,000 yen* ...I'm gonna give this to my wife. She passed away, so...I thought she might like some light. Thank you so much.
  • The timid female student in Yu's classroom talking about her grandfather;
    Timid Female Student: *sigh* It's summer vacation... I feel so... down... We're going to visit my grandfather's grave, but when I remember him I get all sad and scared... He used to love telling me ghost stories... Those are the best memories I have of him, but it's so scary... I'm sorry, grandpa *sob*
  • In the Bad Ending where you kill Namatame to avenge Nanako, on your final day in Inaba, Dojima laments that once the protagonist leaves, he's going to be all alone.
  • Meta-wise, Atlus really put a lot in Persona 4, including Persona 4: Arena, Persona 4: Dancing All Night, Golden, the anime, and more. And after a decade of Persona 4, it's time for Persona 5 to take the stage. But just before that, here's one special video from the ''Persona 4'' cast (with their Japanese cast) waving you good bye Their era has come to an end, and it has been a magnificent ride, and it's like they're thanking the audience for the support in the decade. Somewhat subverted now that Persona 4 is in BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle and Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth, but it's only prolonging the inevitable. Sometimes, it's sad but necessary to wave goodbye to the cast we know and love.
    • Might even be more subverted now that Persona 4 released on PC via Steam in 2020 and the fact that the fandom has been around for 12 years to give it new life makes for a happy tearjerker. Returning fans must feel like Yu returning to Inaba in the epilogue of Golden.
  • Volume 10 of the manga has a lot of these.
    • To begin with, the cover. Most of the other covers had bright colors showing the various members of the Investigation Team together. This one, however, has Soji, by himself, with a somber blue background.
    • Soji reflects on how his home life isn't very different from Nanako's, particularly how he's put on a happy face and acted like he was fine with his parents neglecting him because of their jobs. Because of this, Kunino-Sagiri's Breaking Lecture hits Soji especially hard.
    • The time between Nanako's kidnapping and her death is quite hard on Teddie, but it's especially traumatic in the manga. The fact that a mind-controlled Soji's Izanagi was able to curb stomp Kintoki-Doji (especially considering that the latter's weak against lightning) seems to exacerbate Teddie's feelings of helplessness.
    • After all's said and done, Soji ends up coming home to an empty house, like in the game. In the manga, however, it's even more depressing, as Soji realizes that after becoming part of the Dojima family, he's gone back to the loneliness of his childhood.
    • Unlike in the game, Dojima is actually present for Nanako's final moments. She apologizes for how he won't be able to make good on his promise to come for Parents' Day, and wishes that they could have taken one more picture as a family. Before flatlining, she tells Dojima that she was so glad he was her father.

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