Compared to the usual fan interpretation and his characterization in the manga, Minato is surprisingly less stoic and more expressive in the drama CDs, particularly in the second P3P drama CD, where he is shown happily conversing with various friends. Though reserved and still somewhat quiet, he's capable of expressing a number of emotions, including cheerfulness, annoyance, exasperation, anger, alarm and relief. However, he still retains his trademark stoicism, in that his emotive cues aren't readily apparent to others and he rarely voices his opinion on most matters.
Much like the male protagonist, the female protagonist is also given a tangible personality in her own drama CD. She's is shown to be significantly more cheerful and energetic than her male counterpart. She even gets angry at one point ("Her mouth is smiling, but her eyes aren't...") and later attempts to pummel Kenji when she loses her temper.
In the Western fandom, Yukari is a very divisive character. In Japan, however, she's one of the more popular characters in the game. She ranked 20th in a Persona Magazine poll that counted the entire franchise, which is no mean feat. This is likely not assisted by cultural issues in the game itself: it's infamously easy to reverse her Social Link if you're playing blind, because in a few places, what would be the natural reaction for most native Anglophones is what you don't want to do in Japan, which is just amplified even further by her own attempts at staying distant until you convince her it isn't necessary.
While not exactly popular in Japan, Ken gets a worse far rap from American audiences. His social link in Portable, despite being heavily Bowdlerized and giving him more Character Development, still toes toward shotacon territory, which remains an apocalyptic no-no for Western fans. Additionally, the localization changed his anger at himself over Shinjiro's death to being angry over not killing Shinjiro himself, which makes him come off as unsympathetic; the localization further doesn't help him with inconsistent and grating voice acting.
Fuuka's English voice actress as well as poor in-battle comments had made a lot of people cringe every time she speaks during battles.
Strega can be beaten in a single turn every time you fight them after The Hanged Man. Justified since they're just Persona users, not all that different from your party, and you always outnumber them, so there's no particular reason why they should be hard. The game further justifies this by explaining Strega's link to their Persona as something forced and manufactured. Compared to the SEES kids, who all have natural links with their Persona, Strega don't stand a chance.
Many of the Full Moon Shadows also come across as sort of pathetic as well, particularly in comparison to the tower guardians inside Tartarus. This is entirely intentional, since the tower guardians give you the opportunity to heal, save the game and prepare your personas before fighting them, while the Full Moon bosses often restrict you to whatever prep work you did the day before. Strength and the Wheel of Fortune in particular are either this or That One Boss depending entirely on how good you are at manipulating the latter's roulette wheel attack.
The PS2 releases are notorious for AI teammates that can't be directly controlled and have to be given orders instead, resulting in, among other things, your teammates deciding that spamming Marin Karin for the ten millionth time is more important than healing you back from single-digit HP. The Portable re-release adds direct control of teammates similar to Persona 4, which has been well-received by fans.
Although there's the issue for Aigis' Metatronius weapon (see below), her own social link will always level up if you spend time with her (a bit like Tanaka's), likely because it opens during the final month of the game.
In a similar vein, for the female protagonist, although Shinjiro and Ryoji's links are on a one month time limit, both also lack "holdover" visits and will both level up with any response she gives them. Shinjiro is also a nighttime link, which leaves the heroine more room to work on other ones.
All of the times you fight the members of Strega require little to no strategy compared to any of the other bosses. Takaya and Jin are fought before the Hanged Man boss fight in November; Chidori is fought alone in the middle of the same month, and you fight Takaya and Jin once more separately before the final boss battle in January. Since they're susceptible to attacking characters' resistances (Jin's fire attacks being used on Junpei and Koromaru in particular) and only attack once per turn, even a somewhat underleveled player can wipe the floor with them with no problems. Despite the easiness of their battles, they provide a large amount of Experience Points similar to the other Full Moon bosses.
While the Hanged Man boss itself has an annoying gimmick (the player has to knock out three statues in order to actually attack it, and it can respawn them), the fight itself, compared to prior battles, is fairly straightforward. The Hanged Man mainly uses physical attacks, won't defend itself, and lacks status ailment spells, which basically allows any party to go at it.
The Empress and Emperor bosses are basically just there to demonstrate Fuuka's advanced support abilities; at the beginning of the fight the Empress is weak to all physical damage while the Emperor is weak to all magical damage save for instant kill spells (they are notably the only Full Moon bosses with actual weaknesses), and while Paradigm Shift changes their weaknesses by the time their turns roll around you've likely knocked both of them down and initiated an All-Out Attack at least twice to inflict massive damage on them.
The Answer is quite divisive in the fandom to the point there are debates whether it should be considered canon or not. On the one hand it does give new story and more explanation of the plot, on the other hand the changes in several characters' personalities have not gone over well.
Whether or not FES or Portable is the definitive version of the game is a hotly debated topic. While some fans prefer the former due to the ability to freely move around outside of Tartarus as well as for featuring fully animated cutscenes, others prefer the latter due to the female protagonist route, which some consider different enough to be considered its own game (more social links, different dialogue options, etc.), and the improved battle mechanics, most prominently the ability to control your party members directly. Which version you prefer is more or less a matter of whether one version's high points make up for the shortcomings of the other, and vice versa.
The canonicity of the female main character and her path in Persona 3 Portable. You have fans that point to The Answer and The Reveal from Margaret in Persona 4 as proof that the FeMC route never happened, while other fans counter that since FES and P4 were written prior to P3P they can't be used as proof of anything related to the female PC. Then you have other fans using The Amala Network as a way to explain that she could exist, just not in the same universe as the Male Main Character. The debates were much larger in the weeks leading up to the release of the game, and still persist to this day. Persona 4: Arena has made the debate a moot point, with the Male MC being the reaffirmed as "canon" main character. This was later thrown up in the air again when the female main character appeared in Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth, which confirmed that she is from an alternate timeline.
Kouetsu Kirijo is the man behind the terrible events of the game. Ten years prior to the events of the game, Kirijo tried to harness the power of shadow after stumbling upon them as a source of energy. During this, he discovered the Fall, an apocalyptic event where Nyx would be summoned to bring death to humanity, and became so entranced by it that he resorted to numerous unethical actions to make this happen. These include experimenting on children; giving machines sentient life, and treating them as weapons which killed many of them. He also corrupted many of the scientists under him to embrace death, and they nearly succeeded in calling out Nyx.
Shuji Ikutsuki was the Chairman of the S.E.E.S., and a seemingly-kind, bumbling Pungeon Master. However, as the game approaches the end, his true colors start to show. He is revealed to have partaken in Koutetsu Kirijo's experiment to revive Nyx, which caused an explosion that killed hundreds, including the Protagonist's parents and Yukari's father. This brought about the Dark Hour, which killed even more. He performed unethical experiments on children to produce artificial Personas, including the members of Strega. Persona 4: Arena Ultimax reveals that he even used Sho, his adopted son, for the experiment. When Sho's Split Personality, Minazuki, tried to kill Ikutsuki in self-defense, he put him in a coma and only bothered putting him on life support so that he might be of use to him again. When the events of Persona 3 begin, he manipulates the S.E.E.S. into killing the Twelve Shadows under the belief that it would extinguish the Dark Hour. However, in actuality, killing the Shadows was what he needed to revive Nyx. Nyx, being the Death Arcana, would wipe out humanity. When he was found out, he reprograms Aigis into helping him capture the S.E.E.S., which consist of teenagers and a ten-year-old boy. When Mitsuru's father tries to stop him, he shoots him dead before preparing to do the same to the S.E.E.S., and would have succeeded if Koromaru didn't stop him. A sociopath who would wipe out all life on Earth just to appease a God that is Made of Evil, Ikutsuki stands as one of the most vile human beings in the franchise.
A rather funny one in the PSP port. Because Fuuka's lines for the Bonus Boss fight weren't re-recorded from the fight against Elizabeth, when the PC fights against Theodore, Fuuka calls him a "she" at the start of the battle. It's also possible to hear Fuuka's voice for that fight, if you attempt it before she even joins the party.
During the Rank 8 event of the Tower Social Link, Mutatsu will mistake the protagonist as his son, even if the currently played protagonist is a female.
Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: The entire game can sort of be this. Every character has been or is touched by death in some way, several are orphans or have lost at least one parent, and most are either subtly or overtly broken as a result.
Demonic Spiders: The Phantom Mages from the second block. They're only weak to Hama, which is fairly unusual that early, and they toss out Mudo like it's going out of style. Toss in the whole team hitting Maragi (which Unicorn, one of the earliest Hama-learning Personas is weak to) and you have a surprisingly deadly fight for a group of Mooks.
Die for Our Ship: In essentially any fan fiction with a different character the Protagonist is shipped with, Yukari will be reduced to the Clingy Jealous Girl at best to get her out of the way.
The Answer is often considered this due to largely consisting solely of difficult dungeon crawling without any of the social links or sidequests in The Journey, to say nothing about the issues with characterization.
If you succeed in finding the route to 100% Completion, then midway through December you should have maxed all but two or three social links. It's very likely you'll have absolutely nothing worthwhile to do over Christmas Vacation. After New Year's Day, the plot is all done except for the last few battles, which can't happen until the end of January. January therefore boils down to an extended Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene where there's nothing to do except Level Grinding and wrapping up the last two Social Links.
Come November you suddenly run out of things to do apart from your few remaining social links and have no real pressure to hurry up in Tartarus anymore. Two solid months go by without real plot development.
The Playable EpilogueThe Answer is pretty bad too. The end is five boss fights in a row (thankfully you can save in between them) and long cutscenes.
Tanaka is relatively well liked by having one of if not the easiest non-storyline social links to level up with it being one of the only nighttime social links (a boon for the male protagonist, as he only has two of them), not needing to carry a Devil Arcana Persona to boost points as Tanaka's link will always level up, no matter what responses you choose, and there are no "holdover" visits where the player has to waitnote Doggedly doing Tanaka's link allows you to possibly max it out by July., delivering hilariously petty threats, and for having a number of subtle Pet the Dog moments later down the link. It also helps that maxing his social link grants the player the ability to fuse Beelzebub, who is a Darkhorse for the Megami Tensei franchise as a whole. Tanaka even makes a special cameo in Persona 5, still as seedy as ever.
Fanon: It's quite common for fanworks to have the male and female protagonists be fraternal twins, whether in Third-Option Adaptations (with them both becoming the SEES leader), or in personal background (typically with the protagonist you don't pick dying alongside their parents in the car accident). The male protagonist is also almost always the "older" one of the two.
The fact that the Female Protagonist/Minako is left out of any references to this game in spin-offs and later installments leaves many fans of Portable upset that in a series that otherwise tends to leave a lot of ambiguity about player choice, it's all but stated her journey never happened. Some ignore any implications the protagonist is male by default in said spin-offs. Her appearance in Q2 may change this, though.
In the case of Persona 3 Portable, Female Protagonist/Shinjiro due to the fact that completing his S.Link actually gives the player the ability to prevent his death. Some official side materials have jumped on this ship: they have some interaction in the Persona 3 Portable CD Drama, and they actually are paired up in the stage play.
For couplings not involving either MC, Junpei/Chidori received a decent amount of traction for Character Development their story-driven relationship gives them.
First Installment Wins: A variation, as despite P3P featuring a new playable protagonist, the addition of player-controlled party members, and other additions, it's the firstUpdated Re-release, FES, that's considered by many to be the definitive version of the game, in part because of the hit P3P took to graphics and presentation in order to fit on the PSP, and in part because P3P doesn't include The Answer, which acts as a Mind Screwdriver for the game's original ending. This was later supported when FES was the version that got a rerelease on PS3 over P3P.note Of course, that's because the PS3 doesn't have any PSP virtual console ports, and the PS Vita does, so P3P is available on that.
The Lucifer/Helel Persona when abusing his instant-kill combination attack with the Satan Persona. It also learns Victory Cry at Lv.94, which restores your HP/MP to maximum after every battle and makes spamming Armageddon (which will defeat anything but the Final Boss (only because its multiple life bars, and still drop it last one allowing the player to skip the hell with Night Queen) and Elizabeth in a single hit) even easier. Fixed in FES - Helel no longer learns Victory Cry naturally - and then further nerfed in P3P, in which the combination abilities are items that must be bought with gemstones rather than skills used by having both of the relevant Personas. Still, one can't help but feel a little guilty for just cheesing the Reaper or the final boss with a single use of that hard-earned Armageddon.
The Helel Persona alone, even with all the above nerfing, can be this due to its simply monstrous stats. By the time you can fuse him you will have more than enough SP to support spamming the Morning Star skill and wiping away everything in front of you. Its stats far outclass Messiah's, the protagonist's ultimate persona.
The Dreamfest combo skill (Succubus+Incubus) borders on this. It has a high-chance of charming (i.e. neutralizing) all enemies, and works on tough encounters and even some sub-bosses.
In some instances, Thunder Reign. Anything that doesn't resist/block/absorb/reflect it is guaranteed to get the shocked status effect, and until their next turn, all physical attacks (that they don't block, absorb, or reflect) are guaranteed Critical Hits. So, if you're facing a single opponent whose turn comes after your entire party, you get three successive All-Out Attacks. In which fight can you benefit the most from this? Against The Reaper.
Persona 3 Portable is broken in so many ways that it's the perfect game for beginning Megami Tensei players. It's perhaps because of the below features that Maniac difficuty was added:
The game lets you directly control allies, unlike the PS2 editions. No more wrangling with Artificial Stupidity. Most preexisting bosses were not rebalanced to accommodate this, which makes several of them a joke.
Sometimes when fusing a Persona you'll receive a persona that's holding an item, usually an accessory. By raising that Persona until it learns its final skill it will give you that item. By registering a persona that's holding an item just before it levels up to that point, you can resummon it as many times as you like and get multiple copies of whatever that item is. This is an easy way to make large amounts of money in the early game. The same process can actually be used to obtain multiple skill cards from the same persona.
There's a famous exploit in the original game and FES where pausing the game causes the on-field enemies to change which direction they're moving. Doing so makes it incredibly easy to manipulate the enemies into turning themselves away from you so you can attack them from behind and get an advantage. Unfortunately it was fixed in 4 and Portable.
In FES, if you start Tanaka's social link on January 31 (the final day before the epilogue), you can completely skip the final boss, going right into the True Ending.
Growing the Beard: Persona 1 and 2 were mostly standard JRPGs, with few unique features to separate them from the rest. Persona 3 is when the series found its own identity by introducing Social Links, creating the half RPG, half Dating Sim formula that made it famous. Nowadays, fans usually recommend that newbies start with Persona 3 or later due to the older games having aged poorly in comparison. It's gotten to the point that even Atlus themselves don't really acknowledge the first few games anymore.
Some throwaway, optional news reports early in the game mention a nuclear power plant leak and home Geiger Counters becoming popular because of it. The game is, obviously, set in Japan. Since the Fukushima nuclear disaster, these lines have become very uncomfortable.
Much of Tanaka's social link is spent toward trying to humble him from his shady dealings. Come Persona 5 and he's running a shady commodities shop that possibly deals in illegal things.
The Ron the Death Eater treatment of Ken becomes this with the release of Persona 5 in regards to Goro Akechi, who's considered to be a Foil to Ken (on account of being Justice arcana characters that lost their mothers and desire revenge; not to mention looking like an older version of him), except played as a far more villainous version of him. In addition, like Ken, some fans regard Akechi as being Unintentionally Unsympathetic and he has gain some Ron the Death Eater treatment to the point that some of his haters started to harass cosplayers of Akechi (in which that is something that has never happened to Ken before).
He's Just Hiding!: The Fanbase believed this about the main character until the release of FES which revealed that he did in fact die, at least physically. However, Elizabeth states she's trying to find a way to bring him back in Persona 4: Arena.
Chihiro's S-Link ending in FES is her outraging at the article against a Student Teacher Romance saying that love is important, no matter what age. Now what is the Justice S-Link in Portableagain?
In PSP remake, one of Ken's S-Links mentions a manga about an alien who takes different forms to save the day. Although this is only in the female MC's playthrough, this is funny considering the male MC's voice actor'sother role.
Ken is represented with the Justice tarot in the remake, which contains a lot of members of the Divine race from the main game. Beta Johnathan actually looks a lot like an older version of him and he represents the Law alignment - which all of the Divine race is in.
Ken drinking milk to get taller becomes funny considering that he hit a sudden growth spurt in between this game and Persona 4: Arena Ultimax - he was right about the milk!
The "Stealth Mission" at the Kyoto Hot Springs becomes a bit funnier when you realize that it would essentially be brought back and made into a main feature for Persona 5.
If you choose to view the recording of Yukari, you'll see her in a maid outfit. What makes this hilarious is that her English voice actress, Michelle Ruff, would later voiced Sadayo Kawakami, who is a "maid" in addition to her job as a teacher.
The memetic scene of Elizabeth dancing during one of her dates and the movies hilariously prophetic now that Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight has been announced.
Ken. He lost his mother at a young age, resulting in him getting little besides pity from everyone else... and he plans on dealing with it by committing a Murder-Suicide against the person who was accidentally responsible. This ended up getting exaggerated in the American version, a bittoo much.
Yukari also qualifies in The Answer. Her tendency to grasp the Jerkass Ball through jealousy of Aigis and desire to bring the protagonist back from his Heroic Sacrifice ends up causing a rift in SEES. However, once you look back at what she has gone through in both her backstory and The Journey, it's easy to see why she's so bitter.
Junpei also qualifies, prominently early in the story where his jealousy of the protagonist brings out his nastier side. He has a deep-rooted Inferiority Superiority Complex, his jealousy stemming from the protagonist outclassing him in something that Junpei felt made him unique.
Though they have often crossed the Moral Event Horizon, particularly Takaya, you can't help but feel pity for Strega once you discover their backstories. They were once children whose personas were artificially implanted into them and were brutally experimented upon, and constantly have to take suppressants to control their personas even when those suppressants were slowly killing them.
Magnificent Bastard: Shuji Ikutsuki. He manages to manipulate the whole of S.E.E.S. into doing his dirty work by making S.E.E.S believe that killing all the twelve shadows would end the Dark Hour, when in reality, their deaths would revive Nyx and bring about The Fall. All the while, he poses as a wise mentor figure and Pungeon Master to cast any suspicion and doubt from himself. He even goes as far to doctor the last recording of Yukari's father to trick S.E.E.S. into thinking they would save the world. Even when he unceremoniously dies shortly after he drops his act, his mission to revive Nyx had already been successful.
Memetic Badass: You've gotta be a chiseled badass to eat Fuuka's cooking. You must also obtain Badass status to initiate a social link with Ken as the Female Protagonist.
Despite her being well-liked by a lot of fans, the Female Protagonist can be treated like this thanks to her not being canon as well as not being in Persona 3: Dancing Moon Night. Fans like to treat her as Atlus didn't want anything to do with her. However, her appearance in Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth has been slowly helping her drop this status.
"Oteakezamurai", one of Junpei's neologisms that was Lost in Translation, is a meme in Japan. The word literally translates to "a samurai throwing up his hands in defeat" and it was changed to the "Ace Detective/Ace Defective" gag in the English version. Despite Junpei using it on one instance, there is some fanart depicting him and other characters raising both hands above their heads. It has become an Ascended Meme since Atlus included it as a conversational reply in Devil Survivor 2 and Junpei also tends to say it in the musicals.
The manga made the main character very adorable. Justlookat him. Ryoji too.
The female protagonist certainly gives off this vibe, especially if you pick the most energetic, fun-loving dialogue options. The red and pink dialogue boxes and menus help too. She can also come off this way if you choose to be reluctant when joining the volleyball team, where she'll open the gym door to peak inside, only to close it, and is nervous when the girls look at her. Daww
Fuuka, so very much. She's the most gentle and sweet of the female characters. It's even lampshaded by Junpei at one point in which he states "She's the kind of girl you want to protect".
Mitsuru, Yukari and Aigis can also count as this when they blush on their costumes or their social links. Aigis' difficulties with social interaction and human feelings also make her very endearing.
Chihiro. Every quirk of her personality, and every stage of her Social Link brings her adorableness score even higher. Such a shame she sheds her Moe traits by Persona 4.
Heck, even Akihiko is this when he tries to be a gentleman to the ladies.
Burrrrn rye Bread! It's a man's man no-one's ever survived, invisible hands are behind you just that if you ever win that rage against race that you became now because it's no man's land. Mask is in heavy rain now ultimately slain make shadows slave what we've done now is in vain make your voice seven twenty four seven but you gotta live it persecuted hot headed comes from direction, indication you've got tutu Let it out Let it down Let it inside Let loose Letting letting damn depressed Let's get it up Then whatcha gotta do is drop behind the town Drop rhyme drop hammer Digging like a labor You've got blood all volvo Ash all Volvo Spit it out son game's over buuurrrrn my bread!
The music for the town map during most of the game:
It's a way kinda peace out face reality never be chattin' tea the enemy Your body covers hole society chamber bodies down here gonna fight Right here shadow 10 o' clock erection seize the moment it's your negation Across no bullshit any motication pick up now and denim arrive Bounce up arounds get out before lower round like a roller stone covered in grout Watch out below 'cause this about this out this Sonic Bomb's goin' ground it's a roundup Don't be suitcase 'cause enemy's poodle formin' a troop that ain't your troop You're the only one one one one go up like a batter go zone shadows of Mass Destruction
Persora: the Golden Best is an official CD for the Mondegreens of the Japanese fandom.
The dorm theme implores you to "fill your body with the burnt lasanga."
The experiments that resulted in the creation of the twelve Shadows and the Dark Hour are essentially this for everyone involved except for Yukari's father (who tried to stop it), especially Ikutsuki, who still wants to destroy the world.
"The Arcana is the means by which all is revealed..." You only said it how many damn times?!
"Yes yes yes, my skill level has increased!"
During the Bonus Boss fight with Margaret in Portable, she yells "No!"every time you hit her (multiple times when suffering a Critical Hit), unlike in Persona 4, in which she only says that once she's defeated.
The whimper made by shadows significantly weaker than you. You'll hear it pretty often if you're returning to a lower level of Tartarus to hunt some of them down for Velvet Room requests, since they run away from you there might be two or three of them in a room to make the noise, and they do not shut up until you move away or enter a battle.
Fuuka's Dull Surprise voice acting can lead to a few moments like this. She gets better in The Answer, but that just leads to a whole new set of problems when the "I'm mildly surprised by everything" voice acting from the old lines frequently contrasts with the more flat and matter-of-fact delivery of the new lines.
Toward the end of The Answer, a moment of unintentional hilarity happens when one of Akihiko's lines gets a voiceover from Mitsuru.
Narm Charm: Many of the vocal themes could fall into Narm with ridiculous lyrics sung by over-the-top vocalists, but in every case their catchiness and in-game context makes them just plain awesome. Special mentions go to the memetic battle theme and the True Final Boss theme, a rap version of the opening theme that has no right to be as epic as it is.
No Yay: Spending a long time with Ken Amada but subverted in that the scene is up to the player's imagination. A straighter version is the female protagonist and Takaya. Or the male protagonist and Takaya. Although, the Minako/Ken ship is popular with fans of shotacon.
Paranoia Fuel: Normal people do not remember the Dark Hour... which means it could be really happening every night and you'd never know. The Shadows can pull people into the Dark Hour whenever they want and the victim is powerless to do anything to stop it. This means they can kill you at any time. Sleep tight. Enjoy the next full moon!
Shinjiro's death on October 4, right after the day's accompanying Full Moon boss. Followed by a Player Kick Them While They're Down at his funeral, when a few classmates talk smack about him. The game gives you an option that amounts to telling them to shut the fuck up.
The Final Boss. You finally have the power to defeat it, in the form of a battle skill. Just one very major problem though: the cost of the skill is all of your HP!
Polished Port: Portable, in spite of removing rendered cutscenes, is lauded for removing a lot of sources ofFake Difficulty (such as lack of direct ally control and allowing the player to resume exploring Tartarus from the exact floor they left off) and adding a bunch of new content.
Porting Disaster: The PSN version of FES initially suffered from several emulation problems, such as the game failing to save or just deleting your saved games when you try to load, freezing, and lots of texture flickering. This has thankfully been patched.
If a character you hate has a social link, chances are, you'll end up growing on them. Ken is more well liked in the portable version due to this. Evidently, it's more easier to find fanart and fanfics of him with Minako than standalone fan work of him.
Many detractors of Junpei (either because of his personality, or because the player ends up running into a long string of boss fights who exploit his weakness early on) find that he gets a lot better after he meets Chidori (and also because he serves as one of the few voices of reason in The Answer). And if the player is willing to stick with keeping him leveled after the aforementioned boss fights, he turn into a formidable heavy hitter (and the player will probably have access to skills to cover his weakness by then.) His consistent "true bro" attitude and behavior to even the Female MC in P3P helped him even more, as he openly refuses to put the moves on her if it'd make her uncomfortable.
Starting from Persona 4: Arena, Fuuka receives a new English voice actress, giving her a more adorable and tolerable voice.
Ron the Death Eater: Probably the biggest reason why Ken is seen as The Scrappy by many. Some people hate Ken just for hating and wanting to killShinjiro, despite having understandable (albeit disproportionate) reasons for doing so. A fair amount of people ignore the fact that Shinjiro actually is accountable for the death of Ken's mother. In fact, some fans blame Ken entirely for Shinjiro's death despite the fact that Shinjiro voluntarily died for him without Ken asking him to. And many would have preferred that Ken died instead. And they seem to completely forgetTakaya, you know, the guy who actually killed Shinjiro. While Ken had admittedly put Shinjiro and him in the situation, it isn't exactly 100% his fault.
Fuuka and Natsuki are disliked for their grating English voices, which isn't helped at all by the lack of the same extensive Character Development found in, for example, Junpei.
The one most disliked, however, would be Ken Amada, due to his similarly uncharismatic English voice acting, vehement dislike for Shinjiro (the dub even made it more explicit - see Jerkass Woobie below), claims that he's out of place in the cast (despite a dog and robot being on the team) inclusion as a romance option (unless you like shotacon), rather average combat stats, a balanced skill-set that is outclassed by other characters - with his onespecialty being useless for bosses -and can be done more easily with the protagonist, and gradual lack of prominence after his confrontation with Shinjiro. His P3P incarnation, on the other hand, is much more well-liked, due to giving him a role beyond being Demoted to Extra by making him a Social Link evidently, it's much more easier to find fanart of him with the female protagonist than standalone art of him.
When it comes to social links, Kenji is easily the most disliked one. His attraction to older women comes off as annoying more than anything, and he doesn't get any meaningful character development. It doesn't help that his counterpart in Portable is Junpei.
Nozomi is also disliked for being a creepy Gonk (though he does get some Hidden Depths) and one long Church of Happyology joke, while Mamoru is considered to be extremely dull. Their Portable counterparts are Shinjiro and Akihiko, respectively, and to go further, along with Saori (the FeMC's Hermit social link, and a completely new character unlike Rio), Nozomi and Mamoru are the only Social Link characters who don't appear in any of the Drama CDs.
Random chance light and dark insta-kill abilities. Most of the time they'll miss. Sometimes they'll hit and knock other party members unconscious. If it hits you, you'd better have a Homunculus item (which is not obtainable by the time you first encounter it).
In combination to the above two, Portable adds the fact that when your allies get hit by these attacks, they will use one of your very rare Homunculi to survive it, despite the fact you can simply revive them afterwards and if YOU die, then it's game over.
Another big one is Arcana Reversal and Breaking. In P3, it's possible to blow people off enough that they eventually get the idea that you don't want to hang out with them anymore; with some of the links (in particular romantic partners), it's possible to screw up social interactions so badly that you stop being friends entirely. Both require extra time to repair back into normal mode, and while in reversal it's impossible to raise the link higher, and broken links no longer contribute bonus EXP. The mechanic effecitvely disappears in 4 & 5 - there are two reversal possibilities in dialogue in 4, but you more or less have to be willfully dense to stumble into them. What can make this even worse for a lot of Western players is that the reversal/break land mines in dialogue rely on Japanesesocial cues, and there was basically no practical way for Atlus USA to localize around them, meaning it's very easy for well-meaning players to bumble into them without intending to. A particularly aggravating example for many is stage 5 of Yukari's link: note this is when she's deeply troubled, and at the crucial point of the scene, she needs to be comforted. The way the game describes her body language and her previous actions, as well as the general arc of the story and Yukari's pain, can easily lead many Western players to thinking the Cooldown Hug option is the obvious one (as it's what they'd probably do to a friend in real life!), but this is actually the landmine - you'll reverse her link instantly if you do this, because in Japan it's still far too forward and physical a gesture for the point your relationship is at, and Yukari's own relationship issues get added on top of this, so if you hug her, you end up heavily grossing her out. Instead, the seemingly weak "cheer her up" option is actually the right one - what she needs from you is an expression of solidarity and to know she's not alone, but in a way that doesn't feel invasive. The sheer number of players who ran into this particular problem helped influence the removal of the mechanic in later games (and it also contributed to players getting annoyed with Yukari when Persona 3 was new).
Relatedly, the romance mechanics in the original campaign can annoy people, especially newer fans coming in from 4 & 5 - in those games, a romance state is triggered toward the very end of a Social Link (usually around stage 9, often with an explicit choice involving asking someone out), but in 3, it actually triggers much earlier - typically stage 6 or so. This also means, though, that the various romantic interests can get jealous of each other unless maxed out - which is another way to bumble right into a reverse. While it's a bit more accurate to the mercurial nature of teenagers, from a gameplay standpoint it's unbelievably aggravating to deal with and adds yet another factor into 100% S-Link runs, even on NG+, and also means you have no choice but to be a Casanova, even if you wanted to play your protag as being faithful to just one girl. Needless to say, one of 4's big banner improvements was changing how this worked to give the player more control and to remove jealousy, the design of which even got backported into P3P's female route.
In the original and FES update you didn't have direct control over the party with the exception of the main character. This is thankfully fixed in the PSP remake.
In order to lock down the very powerful skills in the PSP remake, they converted them to Fetch Quests - you now have to grind on shadows to get enough of a certain type of gem to drop.
The FES expansion basically forces Level Grinding upon the player if they want to finish it.
Want to level up the Hermit Social Link on the male protagonist's route? Have fun spending the entire day, including nighttime, doing so for one session!
Sequel Displacement: Persona 3 is probably most people's first Persona game, and it set the tone and standard of the entire franchise since.
Soundtrack Dissonance: In the May Event before the player fights their first full moon shadow, Yukari and Junpei will comment on how "it's so quiet/it's so quiet it's creepy" in the monorail. However, with screechy, bizarre music with evident drumbeats and rap lyrics spaced throughout it playing over the event, it's hard to feel creeped out.
Night Queen, the final boss's most powerful attack, which it will only use once it has only a remaining third of HP of itsfourteenth lifebar. It deals massive Almighty damage to the party, and has the capability of inflicting any status effect on the party. Worst case scenario, if one or more of your party members is killed, charmed, enraged or inflicted with fear, you have pretty much no hope of victory at this point. If just the protagonist is enraged or charmed, it can be just as bad if the protagonist had a persona that healed, since then YOU can end up FULLY healing (*6000* HP) the FinalBoss, or getting your team in a nearly hopeless position depending on the tactics you had on them when you got enraged and can't heal the team. That Nyx Avatar mix things up with Moonless Gown, which allows it to repel everything you throw at it for a few turns, you can potentially end up screwing yourself over depending on how everything goes.
The Hermit boss battle. Giga Spark. If you don't have every party member equipped with thunder charms (and even then it has a one in a hundred chance of working), have Akihiko active due to his natural electricity resistance or have a Persona that can either null, resist or absorb electricity, the battle is all but impossible. Woe to you if Aigis is active. That said, because the fight takes place in a power plant, it's easy enough to expect electricity attacks, the attack has a full round of wind-up before it hits, and if the player has the right tools, it can be easily and painfully turned against it with Elec Break and Makarakarn, or at least items to simulate their effects.
This being an Atlus game, most of the bosses are very tough, but Sleeping Table deserves a special mention. Megidola and Maragidyne (ma-spells hit all possible targets, and Megidola is a second-level Almighty - thus unresistable and very powerful - spell), plus Hamaon, Evil Touch (inflicts Fear) and Ghastly Wail (unblockable, instantly kills any character with Fear). You know it's bad when you're praying that it just spams its One-Hit Kill and misses. A lot of the Tartarus bosses can fall into this category, especially compared to the Full Moon Shadows, but the Table is the standout example.
The Chariot and Justice dual boss, especially if you're not playing Portable version which lets you control your non-MC party members. They've both got very strong attacks. Justice's are multi-hits while Chariot's have added status effects (which often result in criticals from Justice's attacks). No big deal, just deal with the problem one at a time, right? Well, no. Because if you're unlucky enough to kill one of them and the other's turn comes along, he'll use Samerecarm to bring his partner back to life at full health. So if you don't lower both of their hp at the same time (and/or are really unlucky) you run the risk of starting the entire fight over again.
That One Level: It's generally agreed upon that Harabah is the hardest portion of Tartarus, what with it being dark and the only light coming from moving rainbow circles, which is hard to look at and makes Shadows nigh-impossible to see. Empyrean is a possible contender in The Answer, what with pretty much every enemy having either Mahamaon or Mamudoon.
Mitsuru's (Empress) Social Link doesn't begin until November (third-to-last month in the game), and your Academics need to be maxed out (while all of your attributes should be maxed out well beforehand, Academics takes the longest time, and it's possible to not have it maxed) and it's also required to score the highest results on at least one exam (which is dependent on your Academics stat toonote you need level 3 Academics to ace the first exam on May, level 4 for the second on July, level 5 for the third on October and Max Academics for the final one in December). She's also only available two days of the week (Tuesday and Thursday). If there is one Social Link that most players wind up not finishing, it's usually hers.
Hidetoshi, the Emperor link, is generally considered one of the most difficult male links to max out. He's the only fellow classmate who will never call to hang out on weekends, limiting the time you can see him, and his link progresses faster earlier on if you approve of his borderline Knight Templar tendencies. (He get Character Development later, but until then you have to take his side no matter how jerkish that seems, which goes against the norm for Social Link responses.)
Aigis (Aeon, only in FES and Portable) is even worse in that regard; it opens in January, which you only get if you choose to let Ryoji live. You fight the Final Boss by the very end of that month, so you're on a very limited time span to complete hers as well. Complicating things further, the Ultimate Persona of the Aeon Arcana (Metatron), which only can be fused after completing the Social Link in the current or a previous run-through, can be fused with a Nihil Weapon to obtain the best gun of the game for Aigis (Metatronius). Considering that the Antiques Store takes two days to complete it, this leaves a very, very small window of opportunity to get the weapon on the first playthrough.
In both FES and the original version, social links with the female characters are even more complicated. After a certain point in each dateable girl's Social Link (which generally occurs between ranks 5 and 7), you're in a "serious" relationship with that girl. Pleasing one means upsetting the other and woe is him if he double-booked and ends up canceling a date. The "jealousy" mechanic was removed in Portable, though.
The female protagonist's links are both easier and harder at the same time; she has more links open at night, but two of them are on a one-month time limit (the Moon for Shinjiro, and Fortune for Ryoji); Ryoji in particular has to be hung out with whenever you are given the chance to do so, including when he calls on Sundays (which, for every other social link, can't result in a rank up and is a waste of time in many cases). If you miss one opportunity, the link will simply stop progressing. It also trips you up because of a large gap between Rank 9 and MAX - choosing to let him live maxes it out, and that's at the end of December.
Right up there with them is trying to become Akihiko's Love Interest in his link; unlike Shinjiro, Ken and Ryoji, Akihiko's romance route requires triggering multiple flags that you likely won't know of without a guide, and mucking up even one keeps their relationship strictly platonic. What's more, the link freezes at Rank 7 with no indication of when it can restart if you get there before October (it coincides with Shinjiro's death), and it's possible to break his link altogether, although only if you do manage to romance him and reject him.
Built on top of all the above difficulties, there is Orpheus Telos. Available in FES and Portable, the player needs to Max Up every single Social Link in the game in a single playthrough to be able to fuse the true Ultimate Persona of the Fool Arcana, which happens to be a level 90 Persona tailor-made to counter the Non-Standard Game Over conditions of the Bonus Boss. Complicating matters, Orpheus Telos can be fused with a Nihil Weapon to get a piece of equipment that grants high resistance to magicnote and given that Nihil Weapons produce, well, weapons, they don't use up the equipment slots for Armor, Shoes or Accessory, meaning that a savvy player can stack the weapon's effect with those of other equipments and, as with Aigis' Metatronius, this means that there is a small window of opportunity to take Orpheus Telos to the Antiques Store before the end of the game. Especially true if the player aims to get both weapons in the first playthrough.
One of Elizabeth/Theodore's sidequests requires you to clean the restrooms near the movie theater at Iwatodai Station. You need a scrubbing brush in order to complete it. What kind of item is it? It isn't an item; it's a weapon - it's Ken's "joke weapon," in fact, and by the time the restroom sidequest is available, you've likely sold it off, since there are far more powerful spears available for Ken to use. In Portable, you also can only get said scrubbing brush by doing another sidequest that's available months before the restroom one.
Another request: "I'd Like to Sip Oden Juice". The drink-loving girl at school has it, but she'll only give it to you in exchange for a "rare drink". What she means is one of the drinks only available in Kyoto, and you're only in Kyoto at one point in the game. Not that hard if you know what to do, but if you don't, it's Permanently Missable Content. (Annoyingly, the game taunts you by giving the quest no deadline, when it really kinda does have one)
Linked with the Aeon link and Orpheus Telos above, Elizabeth's Fusion Spell requests. Part the halfway point, most of them require ultimate Personas, so if you're not on a max social links run you're probably not going to finish them. The worst part is that Last Judge, which requires Metatron, is far from the final request in the chain, putting the entire thing on hold until shortly before the Final Boss due to how late Aeon can be maxed out. And the reward for doing them all is one of the only ways you can get a Plume of Dusk outside of Easy Mode, which makes it very desired.
In the original game, all of your male party members lack Social Links, with their arcana being represented by a similar non-playable character instead (for example, Akihiko uses a Persona of the Emperor Arcana, while Hidetoshi is the Emperor Social Link). While they still get plenty to do during the plot, it makes the player feel much less close to them than they're supposedly meant to be. It doesn't help that the characters filling in for them in their Social Links tend to simply be more generic versions of them, making several Social Links seem almost redundant. This is remedied somewhat in Portable, as the female protagonist has Social Links with every playable character (even the one who dies after about one month, complete with the opportunity to avoid his demise).
Ikutsuki. You'd think that after The Reveal, he'd be the game's Big Bad. Instead, he quickly gets killed off.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Ken. As pointed out above, many people very much would prefer if he had died instead of Shinjiro. However, what many people forget is that Takaya was going to kill himfirst. Given that you've known him much longer than Shinjiro, he's only a grade-schooler, and is much less useful party-wise than him, players would've been hit just as hard if not harder while not missing his skillset in battle. It would've been a huge wham moment given Ken wanted to avenge his mother's death, and now Shinjiro would've been responsible for Ken's too. Besides that, he is also hit with a case of Demoted to Extra after his arc was over and doesn't really do anything for the rest of the game, which serves as another point of contention for his character.
As noted, Mitsuru in the original release version and FES. Not as a character, but due to how the gameplay works in battle: her AI is seemingly set to prioritize status ailments no matter the situation. This was remedied in the portable remake which allowed for full player control.
Koromaru is usually passed over in team-building due to his underwhelming stats. He has the highest agility and one of the highest HP pools, but his offense and defense are fairly low and his Persona skills all consume SP despite the fact that he has one of the smallest SP pools in the party.
Too Cool to Live: Shinjiro Aragaki, the hard-as-nails asskicker, who dies midway through the game.
Uncanny Valley: Ken's 3D model. The smile on his face is just too wide.
Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Concerning October 4th, Ken. Granted, he did lose his mother, but his planning to kill Shinjiro and then himself isn't something that anyone, except maybe Takaya, wants. While Shinjiro is guilty of manslaughter, his popularity and the fact that he's willing to accept being killed for what he's done, save for the fact that Ken will then have to live with the guilt Shinjiro bore for years (a lesson Ken ignores) makes him somewhat more sympathetic by comparison. The official English localization doesn't do Ken any favors either: in the original Japanese version Ken is understandably distraught that Shinjiro died because of him, but in the localization it's instead implied that Ken's angry that he didn't get to kill Shinjiro himself, souring Western audiences that aren't aware of the dialogue change.
While Yukari's knee-jerk reaction to go back to the past to bring the protagonists back to life in The Answer can be chalked up to Love Makes You Crazy (hardly excusable in itself), Mitsuru, of all people, decides to support her, with everyone else either choosing the present (Akihiko and Ken; while Junpei and Koromaru also agree to this, they're more worried about everyone fighting each other) or focusing on why the Abyss of Time exists/is indecisive, but knows it's not a good idea (Aigis and Fuuka). Why does Mitsuru want to possibly put the world back into danger and possibly bring back things like Nyx, which is something that she wanted to get rid of to restore her family's tarnished name? Because Yukari comforted her when her father was killed, so she wants to return the favor. You'd think she'd return that favor in a saner way. Not only that, but Mitsuru doing this is never really addressed, and when Yukari breaks down about missing the protagonist, everyone comforts her and forgives her, despite her being incredibly insensitive and rude towards them in the beginning (namely pointing out Shinjiro's death to Akihiko). Considering how little it's expanded on it really comes across as if the only reason Mitsuru sides with Yukari is because everyone splits off into pairs so she REQUIRES a partner and an Idiot Ball is the only way she'd get one.
Mitsuru sadly seems to hold the Idiot Ball a number of times for someone seemingly so smart. She discusses the Dark Hour and Shadows in front of a distressed student and the teacher she just tore into, never punishes nor discourages Junpei for his own critical idiot ball moments, and it is mentioned she froze the boys in blocks of ice as "execution" punishment for the hot springs incident—including Ryoji, which means she showed her Persona ability in front of a person who at that moment was completely ordinary as far as she knew. None of this is ever brought up in-story, but put together it seems like something the writers should have noticed and corrected.
The original titles of The Journey and The Answer were Episode Yourself and Episode Aigis in Japan. It's generally agreed that altering them from the Engrish-happy Japanese names to names that have thematic importance to the content within them was an improvement. In a similar vein, the very ominous-sounding Dark Hour in the localization was originally named the very generic "Shadow Time" in the Japanese version.
As mentioned above (see mythology gag) the Devil Busters/Innocent Sin Online is almost completely changed. Y-ko mearly speaks with an accent, the English version changed this to Maya using 1337 speak, offering a better contrast between her online persona and her real life composition teacher self.
Aigis in Japanese uses a very generic and to the point speaking style when first introduced but as she becomes more humanized starts to drop this in favor of speaking regular Japanese. Since this can't be done with English, the US version has her speak in a robotic monotone at first and gradually start to talk like a normal girl as she becomes more human.
The Woobie: Practically every member of SEES is a Woobie in one way or another, though these examples particularly stand out.
Yukari. In The Journey, she's spent the last ten years being ostracized because people blame her father for the explosion (and her faith in him is shaken when she sees his final video which Ikutsuki had doctored). She also has a strained relationship with her mother, who'd been deeply wounded by Eiichiro's passing, so Yukari doesn't have a very good home life.
Junpei. Growing up with an alcoholic and abusive dad and forced to move from the domes, and has deep-rooted issues such as low self-esteem and Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life. Then, he meets Chidori whom he grows feelings for, only to realise that she was only using him to gain information. To twist the knife even further, he ends up losing her when she sacrificed her own life to save him. Afterwards, he loses his best friend as well, and could only helplessly watch as the rest of his team began fighting amongst themselves.
Mitsuru Kirijo. She constantly dedicated her life to fix the mistakes her grandfather had made in the past, as well as protecting her father. However, her efforts ended up affecting her social skills and she ends up not having many friends sans Akihiko and Shinjiro. Then, she discovers that her efforts to make amends were All for Nothing thanks to Ikutsuki's manipulations, and her father gets murdered protecting her soon afterwards.
Shinjiro Aragaki. Despite being cold and aloof on the outside, deep down he has a lot of issues. Growing up an orphan alongside Akihiko, they end up losing Akihiko's sister in a fire. Joining SEES only serves to make his life worse, as his inability to control his persona properly ended up killing Ken's mother by accident. As a result, he's forced to take suppressants to control his persona, but it gives him constant pain and implied to be slowly killing him. His social link in the female route only adds more woobie points as we see who he really is beneath that hard exterior. Finally, he ends up sacrificing himself to save Ken from Takaya, even when the former attempted to seek revenge on him. He's left broken to the point that he's become a Death Seeker.