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  • Accidental Innuendo: Ryoji will not stop talking about being inside of the protagonist. This is especially awkward if playing as the female protagonist, because that can happen.
  • Adorkable:
    • Yukari's Rank 9 Social Link were she's blushing and flustered says it all really. In her console video recording, it's revealed that Yukari wasn't completely honest about her contempt about wearing a maid outfit for the school cultural festival. She gushes and takes a picture of herself while wearing the uniform, contemplates on wearing the uniform in the dorm for a day and comically imitates the guys' reactions if they saw her in it. Yukari even mischievously drags Fuuka in the fun and helps her to wear a spare uniform, before the screen fades to black.
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    • Mitsuru's reaction to things like fast food and other common culture can be rather flustered and adorable.
    • Ken is absolutely adorable when he's geeking out, be it over an action flick or a cool manga. He tries hiding this, though, as he feels that it makes him appear childish.
    • Compared to Margaret, both Elizabeth and Theodore comes off as adorably naive and gullible, though Theodore more so. In the spinoffs, Elizabeth somewhat loses this trait, whereas Theodore has it more pronounced.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Fanon characterizes the male protagonist as a Sugar and Ice Emo Teen and the female protagonist as a Stepford Smiler Genki Girl. These characterizations are supported by the manga, drama CDs and spinoffs such as PQ and PQ2:
      • 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.
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    • Mitsuru is an aloof Defrosting Ice Queen in the game. Fans like to make her a Dominatrix, based on her stern demeanor, beauty, and being rich and powerful. Persona 4 Arena just added fuel to this when she wore her Spy Catsuit and fur coat.
    • Ikutsuki being his usual Pungeon Master self during his recording. Was he deliberately putting on an act, since he presumably knew about the cameras, or is this proof that aspect of his personality was real? Fuuka even brings up this interpretation after his betrayal.
  • Americans Hate Tingle:
    • 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.
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    • Fuuka. Unlike Yukari, Western players take more issue with her English voice actress. Her poor in-battle comments, due to their monotone delivery, had made a lot of people cringe every time she speaks during battles. Despite that, many people like Fuuka for being a cute and highly compassionate young woman, as well as one of the relatively well-adjusted party members. It helps that subsequent spin-offs have her replaced with a better voice actress.
  • Anti-Climax Boss:
    • 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.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • 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 if you have a matching Persona and make the right decisions, 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. A few of Ryoji's events take place during story events, such as the Kyoto trip, which cuts down on how much free time you'll need to spend to complete his Social Link.
  • Awesome Music: Has its own page.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
  • Breather Boss
    • 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.
  • Broken Base:
    • 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, especially what happened to the protagonist at the end of the game. On the other hand, the changes in several characters' personalities, especially Yukari's, 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.
    • The mere idea (or possibility) of sparing characters fated to die in the story. The Updated Re-release, FES, set precedent with an optional scenario in The Journey and explanation regarding the protagonist in The Answer. Those who like the idea are pleased to give these characters another chance at life and thus give them a happier ending after all the story's bleakness (in the protagonist's case, make up various scenarios about how he (or she) will be brought back), but those that abhor it claim that it goes against the game's themes and even call Atlus cowards for not sticking to the message they decided on. The aftermath of the Moon S. Link on the female main character's route in Portable gets this the worst, with some claiming that the impact is as powerful as in the original scenario, while some others see this as ruining instead, not helped by how absurd the sparing method is.
    • Manual Leader, A.I. Party vs. Direct Commands. The former camp prefers it for giving the teammates complete independence as their own individuals from the protagonist and consider the Tactics control as rewarding to those who know how to work around it, while the latter camp prefers not to deal with the occasional Artificial Stupidity especially during certain battles where direct control is needed badly (for example, the Chariot and Justice full moon fight). It does not help that the former is tainted by the "Mitsuru spamming Marin Karin" memes and many players refusing to learn the game mechanics, while the latter results in Portable being It's Easy, So It Sucks! in addition to making the main characters less unique.
  • Complete Monster:
    • 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 sapient 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, the Chairman of the S.E.E.S., is in actuality a psychotic dedicant of the god Nyx, with a fervor to match his predecessor Koutetsu Kirijo. Playing the part of the hero's quirky ally, Ikutsuki took part in the catastrophic attempt to revive Nyx in the past and used his own adopted son Sho in the experiment. The subsequent explosion killed hundreds, very nearly killed Sho himself, and brought about the Shadow-infested Dark Hour upon the city. Ikutsuki tricks S.E.E.S. into slaying the Shadows under the pretext of undoing the Dark Hour, all in preparation to secretly restart his attempt to bring Nyx to Earth. Ikutsuki tries to sacrifice all his pawns and manages to kill Mitsuru's father before he's sent plunging off a building, laughing to the end with the belief he's managed to doom humanity to Nyx.
  • Critical Research Failure:
    • 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 for his son, even if the currently played protagonist is a female. Granted, he is rather drunk at the time.
  • 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.
  • Disappointing Last Level:
    • 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. It doesn't help that most of the plot development occurs near the end, after hours of uninterrupted dungeon crawling.
    • If you succeed in finding the route to 100% Completion, then midway through December you should have maxed all but two or three social linksnote . 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.
  • Ending Fatigue:
    • 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 Epilogue The Answer is pretty bad too. The end is five boss fights in a row (thankfully you can save in between them) and long cutscenes.
  • Enjoy the Story, Skip the Game: For the console version, the gameplay lacks the refinements its sequel and remake had, but had a decent story.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Elizabeth, the world's coolest elevator attendant.
    • A notable example is Chihiro, who is just a Social Link, yet gets to return Older and Wiser (and Hotter and Sexier) in Persona 4.
    • 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 , 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.
  • Fanon Discontinuity:
    • A lot of fans dislike The Answer for lots of reasons, from the generally poor decision-making of the characters, to the removal of lots of ambiguity from the ending, to just Cutting Off the Branches in a rather haphazard manner.
    • 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 somewhat addresses this, and opts to portray the Male and Female Protagonists as being from separate timelines.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple:
    • For couplings not involving either MC, Junpei/Chidori received a decent amount of traction for Character Development their story-driven relationship gives them.
    • Yukari/Mitsuru has become an extremely popular Les Yay pairing, due to the strong chemistry shared between the two after the Kyoto trip.
  • Fan Nickname: Many people have taken to calling the male MC "Door-kun/chan" due to the ending.
  • Franchise Original Sin: The Kyoto incident would become the first Hot Springs Episode in which the boys would become the victim of Unprovoked Pervert Payback. But unlike successive games, however, fans are more forgiving towards this one due to several reasons. The first is that the girls' reactions are more justified given that unlike future games, the boys did intend to peep on the girls (though Akihiko and the protagonist end up getting punished by Guilt by Association Gag). The second is that the scenario can be avoided with the boys managing to avoid getting caught, while the perpetrators Junpei and Ryoji still suffer Laser-Guided Karma.
  • First Installment Wins: A variation, as despite P3P featuring a new playable protagonist, the addition of player-controlled party members, and other new features, it's the first Updated 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, while divisive, 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 
  • Game-Breaker:
    • 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.
      • Satan is also a very strong endgame Persona with a powerful single-target Almighty attack- Black Viper. A Mind Charged Black Viper with Tarukaja and 99 Magic can take off a fourth of the final boss's last life bar.
    • 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.
    • Auto-Mataru is a Boring, but Practical game-breaker, since it lets your entire party start the battle with Tarukaja. Many battles can be won within three turns, and Auto-Mataru makes doing so even easier for you. Note that Auto-Masuku and Auto-Maraku exist for the same purpose, but they buff your team's accuracy/evasion and defense, respectively. And yes, it is possible with enough patience to fuse a persona that has all three of these bonuses.
    • Splitting your party up is usually not a useful mechanic unless you're overlevelled enough that all the enemies on the floor run away from you, or if you find yourself on an empty floor. However, since the game only spawns in enemies once the player is close enough for them to be in eyesight, you can split your party while you remain in an area free of shadows, and just wait for them to find the stairs so you can advance. This turns Portable's rescue missions from tedious to an absolute breeze if you abuse this.
    • 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.
  • Genius Bonus: There's a clever reference to real-life events in the flavor text that only space enthusiasts are likely to catch. In Portable, if you turn on the TV at the dorm's lounge on 6/11 of the in-game calendar, the newscaster will say "Japan's lunar probe completed its two-year observation at 3:25 AM today and made a controlled landing on the Moon." This is the exact time the SELENE lunar impact took place, although there seems to be a bit of Alternate History going on (or just a mistranslation) because, in reality, "Kaguya" was a lunar orbiter that was made to crash near the crater Gill rather than a probe that safely landed on it.
  • Good Bad Bugs:
    • 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), his Rank 1 event takes up your nighttime activity slot, thereby preventing you from going to Tartarus. The game assumes you already completed the endgame, enabling you to go 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.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • 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).
    • In the days leading up to the typhoon, which ends up canceling the Culture Festival, some students wonder if Japan will end up underwater. In Persona 5, Shido's Palace is a cruise liner that sails above the rest of Tokyo, which is submerged in water, symbolic of how the ruler doesn't care if the country sinks as long as he and his allies survive.
  • 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.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Chihiro's S-Link ending in FES is her outraged 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 Portable again?
    • 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's other 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 voice 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.
    • The name of the game's main antagonistic faction is just two letters off from that of the company that would buy Atlus 7 years later, making it seem like retroactive Biting-the-Hand Humor.
    • The lyrics for "Wiping All Out" (the female protagonist's battle theme) says that "I'm not a princess". A few years later, her English voice actress does become a princess (and a badass one at that).
    • The collected Volume I of the manga adaptation contains a crudely drawn comic from the manga's writer, Shuji Sogabe, thanking Atlus for releasing Persona 3 FES, but then noting that with the release of Persona 4 coming soon, it's making him nervous since any Persona 3 product is about to be overshadowed note . His solution? Pleading with Atlus do another Updated Re-release. Apparently somebody at Atlus liked that idea.
    • This isn't the first time a character voiced by Akira Ishida has hung out with a person named Elizabeth.
    • After completing one of Elizabeth's requests, she'll express a desire to see a Level 99 Jack Frost (which, for context, is an early game Persona with a base level of 8). In Persona 5, the twins use an extremely powerful version of Jack Frost during their Bonus Boss battle.
  • Ho Yay: So much... it even has its own page!
  • Idiosyncratic Ship Naming: Mitsuru/Yukari is sometimes referred to as "DaddyIssuesShipping."
  • Idiot Plot: The primary criticism of The Answer is how the climax is basically one massive Conflict Ball in which the members of S.E.E.S. are basically forced to fight one another for the right to use the key to the protagonist's door. The problem is that the only one with a differing opinion from the rest would be Yukari (while Aigis on her part is still undecisive). This meant that the rest of S.E.E.S. have no reason to fight amongst themselves since they have similar motives to use the key. Mitsuru, in particular, gets flak for siding with Yukari simply because she feels indebted to her.
  • Iron Woobie: Akinari is so positive during his last days.... Even more so if you complete his S-Link, and his soul comes in to cheer for you in the last battle.
  • It's Popular, Now It Sucks!: This along with Persona 4 was what made the Shin Megami Tensei games mainstream in the West. Atlus has since build a franchise around the two titlesnote  The more ardent old-school SMT fans didn't quite like this.
  • It Was His Sled: With the announcement of Dancing Moon Night and the jokes that come with it, it seems that the main character's death has become this.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • 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 bit too 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's also one, prominently early in the story where his jealousy of the protagonist brings out his nastier side. But 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.
  • 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.
  • Memetic Loser:
    • While your partners in the PS2 releases as a whole get shades of this for their Artificial Stupidity, Mitsuru is most infamous for this thanks to "Mitsuru, I'm dying..." "MARIN FUCKING KARIN!"
    • 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.
    • Orpheus, especially compared to the other protagonist Personae from Persona 4 and Persona 5, as not only does he have two weaknesses, but he also has no resistances to speak of. This is further emphasized with the protagonist's first Persona awakening during the encounter against the Magician Full Moon Shadow, where Thanatos ends up bursting out of Orpheus and is the one who effortlessly kills the Shadow instead.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • BURN MY BREAD! (In reference to the improper English in vocal songs by Yumi Kawamura)
      • Alternatively, "Burn rye bread".
    • Ken Amada: Fans have taken to calling his shorts "shota shorts".
    • Sharing stories about how the AI did perhaps the worst possible move.
    • BABY BABY BABY BABY BABY BABY BABY YEEAAAAAAAHHHHHHH
    • The whole concept of "I shoot myself in the head and a monster comes out" is ripe for edge jokes, both by fans and detractors of the game.
    • Junpei/Stupei Iori, Ace Detective/Defective
      • Bringing you another installment of "Junpei's Believe It or Don't."
      • Who's da man?!
      • Ta-da-da-da! Junpei has leveled up!
    • Aigis: I NEED YOUR HALP!
    • Akihiko: I've been WAITING for this!
      • Did you see that, Shinji?!
    • PURSE-OWN-ER
    • Shinjiro: Adios, asshole!
    • "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 charm salt is real. explanation 
  • Memetic Troll: Nyx Avatar, the final boss of the game. With a massive roadblock of thirteen phases and the tendency to repeat the same quote over and over again, fans are wondering if it's deliberately trying to get on the player's nerves. But the high point is when it unleashes ''Night Queen'', as infamously displayed in DSP's playthrough where he rage quits the game. The charm salt is real indeed.
  • Moe:
    • 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.
    • Shinjiro, of all people. Socially awkward? Check. Rough on the outside, squishy in the inside? Check. All in sharp contrast in his gruff appearance? Check.
  • Mondegreen:
    • Burn my dread -Last Battle-.
      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:
      I never felt like... Cemented lightbulb...
    • Mass Destruction, the battle theme.
      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."
  • Moral Event Horizon:
  • More Popular Replacement: The female S.E.E.S. members' social links are generally better-liked than the ones they replaced in the male protagonist's route. While Ken still isn't as popular as Chihiro, some will concede that his Social Link gave him much-needed development.
  • Narm:
    • 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.
  • Never Live It Down:
    • Expect anything to do with Ken to have people complaining about Shinjiro.
    • A large portion of the fanbase judges Yukari purely based on her actions in The Answer.
      • And even taking The Answer out of account, the Rank 5 event of her Social Link is one for her in the eyes of Western players, where her social link will get reversed for choosing attempting to comfort her with a Cooldown Hug.
    • Mitsuru also gets it to a lesser extent. Her joining Yukari in going back to prevent the Protagonist's death, risking the revival of Nyx largely because she feels indebted to her has led some to believe that her intellect has become an Informed Attribute.
    • The battle system itself gets this, thanks to your party mates' Artificial Stupidity. Even after Portable recitified it by allowing the player to control allies directly a la Persona 4, the game is still known for "Mitsuru, I'm dying!" "MARIN FUCKING KARIN!"
    • Akihiko only mentions protein in one conversation, and that was when it was brought up by someone else. Now, it's been a common characterisation for Akihiko to be a "protein junkie". It doesn't help that subsequent spin-off media have made this one of his only defining traits.
  • 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!
  • Player Punch:
    • 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 of Fake 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.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap
    • 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.
    • Mitsuru was fairly popular as a character, but never used in gameplay by most players due to her Artificial Stupidity. With the PSP remake alowing players to directly control her (thus avoiding her spamming of certain spells) she was suddenly finding herself on many teams.
    • Despite the general... disagreement with Yukari Takeba in the west, there's a surprising amount of (western) fans who welcome her inclusion in the update for Persona 4: Arena.
    • Ken's inclusion in Persona 4: Arena has also been positively received, though he's more of a Base-Breaking Character than fully rescued.
    • 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 kill Shinjiro, 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 forget Takaya, you know, the guy who actually killed Shinjiro. While Ken had admittedly put himself and Shinjiro in the situation by calling for the meeting during the fight with the Strength and Fortune Shadows, it isn't exactly 100% his fault.
  • The Scrappy:
    • While there are members of S.E.E.S. who are Base-Breaking Characters, Ken Amada is considered to have the least number of fans. This is 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 one specialty 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.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • If the main character drops, it's an instant game over. Hand Waved with a very late explanation.
    • 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 such attacks).
    • 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 three reversal possibilities and one break possibility in dialogue in 4, but you more or less have to be willfully dense to stumble into themnote . What can make this even worse for a lot of Western players is that the reversal/break land mines in dialogue rely on Japanese social 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  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. Unlike the newer games, the choice to pursue either a romantic or friendly relationship is inexistent, meaning a full Social Link run will inevitably involve the protagonist having multiple girlfriends all at once. This also means 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, mainly by finally giving the option to remain platonic with any potential love interests instead; 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!
    • Hanging out with Social Links on days off. While it does give relationship points, unlike in the fourth and fifth games, you can't advance party member social links on those days, thus giving you fewer opportunities to rank up with them. Similarly, the fact that you can't advance school social links over the summer means that there's over a month in which you're unable to advance most social links (even if part of the time is spent training for the meet, and in summer classes). While the subsequent two games have hang-out events that don't give rank ups, they often give points for multiple Social Links, which is not the case here.
    • Unlike the fourth and fifth games, Persona 3 won't tell you whether a Social Link is ready to rank up before you spend time with that person.
    • It's possible for the enemy to begin combat with the advantage, even if you struck the enemy on the field, and this happens more often on higher difficulties or against rare forms. In the fourth and fifth games, striking the enemy on the field usually averts the worst-case scenario of being ambushed, but in this case, you can still get ambushed and possibly killed even if you aren't careless enough to let the Shadows sneak up on you.
    • Small but simple: No guard feature. You can pass a turn like traditional Megami Tensei; but you get no defensive buffs for it unlike later games, so if your opponent has a mind/power charge ready, your only hope of tanking that attack is that you've got a persona at the ready to reduce, negate, or absorb the incoming hit. Thankfully Portable adds this ability for both you and your now controllable party members.
    • The Answer does not have the Persona Compendium for some reason, which means that once you've sacrificed a Persona for fusion, you can't get it back until you make another fusion of it again. This is especially egregious for players who had to grind these Personas to learn certain skills, only to start from scratch. It doesn't help that there are also no Social Links, meaning that there's no way to gain additional EXP on fusion.
    • Your teammates being separate entities from you in Tartarus, unlike earlier games' random encounters and later games making them an extension of the player. This means that changing their gear requires talking to the specific party member who you want to change around, the ability for shadows to see and attack your teammates forcing you to get ambushed to save them or stop your exploration and heal them until they win, and party members getting caught on walls or scenery leaving you without them if you enter battle. At the very least, Portable does allow you to equip party members from the pause menu, but the other problems remain.
  • Sequel Displacement: Persona 3 is probably most people's first Persona game, and it set the tone and standard of the entire franchise since.
  • Sidetracked by the Gold Saucer: Many players forget to train their combat in an effort to do well on exams.
  • Spiritual Licensee: This Kotaku article makes the claim that Persona 3 can be considered a video game adaptation of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with each character from Persona 3 compared to a character from Buffy.
  • Spoiled by the Format:
    • A tip off that a Persona evolution is coming is when a Persona user has no new skills to learn but hasn't evolved yet. The lower level a character is when they stop getting skills, the earlier in the game their Persona tends to evolve.
    • When you face the Disc-One Final Boss, only two of your party members have evolved their Personas, at least one or two Social Links haven't even become available yetnote  and the game has been going for seven months, whereas Igor said it would take place over the course of a year. It's easy to guess that the game is far from over.
  • Stoic Woobie: Shinjiro may act like a tough-as-nails badass, but that only hides the baggage that he carries deep down.
  • That One Attack:
    • Night Queen, the final boss's most powerful attack, which it will only use once it has only a remaining third of HP of its fourteenth 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.
  • That One Boss:
    • 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 Samarecarm 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.
  • That One Sidequest: Certain Social Links.
    • 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 ). She's also only available two days of the week (Tuesday and Thursday), and is unavailable for much of December (due to final exams and trying to decide whether to kill Ryoji). Even if you do succeed in starting it at the first possible opportunity, Mitsuru becomes unavailable from the end of November until the start of the third term. 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 gets 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.)
    • Kazushi's Social Link is similar to Hidetoshi's in that the best dialogue choices are those that encourage his self-destructive tendencies; pushing him to play through the pain yields better results from discouraging him from permanently injuring himself.
    • 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.
    • Junpei's Social Link is deceptively difficult to complete. He requires multiple holdover visits between Rank 4 and 5, and he's unavailable for much of the middle of the game.
    • 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, 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.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • 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 him first. 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.
    • Volume 9 of the manga adaptation has Akihiko, Ken and Koromaru fight against Jin during the ascent to the top of Tartarus, rather than Takaya, who fights Junpei and Mitsuru. The latter would have been a much better opponent for Akhiko and Ken, seeing as how he killed Shinjiro.
  • Tier-Induced Scrappy:
    • 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. Interestingly, despite this, she was on many teams for two reasons: very few bosses resisted ice, and her magic plus a tarukaja-ed Mind Charge on a Rakunda-ed enemy allowed players to watch boss hit point bars drop so fast that some bosses never executed their gimmicks. 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.
    • Ken, due to mainly specializing in Hama spells, and mainly only having single-target spells. The only things that could give him an edge are his healing spells, a slot which could easily be filled by Yukari who also has her wind spells which makes her more combat-efficient.
  • 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.
  • Values Dissonance:
    • In the "Operation Babe Hunt" sequence, the Unsettling Gender Reveal for the one woman who expresses interest in the male SEES members can come across as being horribly transphobic today, especially with how it's Played for Laughs at Junpei's expense.
    • The Rank 5 event of Yukari's social link, as mentioned in Scrappy Mechanic. It would seem like a natural move for Western players to give Yukari a Cooldown Hug as a way to comfort her, but that would end up reversing her social link instead. In Japanese society, such a public display of affection would be frowned upon, especially since the protagonist and Yukari have yet to be Official Couple at this point.
  • What an Idiot!:
    • So, one of your best friends has been shot and is nearly dead. Maybe, just maybe use a healing spell? But no, none of the seven party members, five of whom have access to these, think of doing that, instead lamenting that as it's the Dark Hour, electrical equipment is useless and taking him to the hospital likely won't help. The manga adaptation somewhat addresses this, since Yukari, the most healing-oriented party member, is the only one shown using healing spells, and at the time, Akihiko and Ken are the only ones present besides the dying Shinjiro.
    • 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 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 into the dorms, 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.
  • Woolseyism:
    • 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.
    • Junpei is the only character to make consistent references to Western media (specifically, he references Mr. T, Ripley's Believe It or Not!, and Brokeback Mountain) and at one point he laments not being born in the USA, giving him a minor additional character trait as a reverse Occidental Otaku. This fits him shockingly well.
    • In the Updated Re-release, Persona 3 Portable, Ken, the Jailbait Adorably Precocious Child, is a romance option with a "spend the night" event at S-Link level 10. This was heavily edited in the US version.
    • In the Japanese version, Mitsuru would sometimes speak in English in order to highlight how cultured she was in comparison to the rest of the SEES members. This was replaced with Gratuitous French in the English Dub.
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