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Protagonist (Persona 3)

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Created by  Shigenori Soejima
Voiced by (English)  Yuri Lowenthal
Creator  Shigenori Soejima
Designed by  Shigenori Soejima
Voiced by (Japanese)  Akira Ishida
Protagonist (Persona 3) Female Protagonist PERSONA 3 page 22 of 40 Zerochan Anime
First game  Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 (2006)
Voices  Akira Ishida, Yuri Lowenthal
Similar  Yu Narukami, Aigis, Chie Satonaka, Mitsuru Kirijo, Kanji Tatsumi

The protagonist (Japanese: 主人公, Hepburn: Shujinkō) is a player-named character from Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3, a role-playing video game developed by Atlus. In the game, the protagonist is an orphan who transfers to Gekkoukan High School in Iwatodai City and discovers a phenomenon called the Dark Hour during which supernatural entities called Shadows roam freely. After awakening an ability within himself called Persona, the protagonist finds himself intertwined in the ongoing struggle against the Shadows with his new schoolmates.

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He was designed by Shigenori Soejima, who aimed to create an ordinary youth who the player could relate to. In the manga adaptation, he goes by the name Minato Arisato (有里 湊, Arisato Minato). His character was reworked for the animated film adaptation where director Noriaki Akitaya explained pressure in giving the silent character his own personality. In the movie adaptation, he goes by the name Makoto Yuki (結城 理, Yūki Makoto). The protagonist later appeared the spin-off game: Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth as well. Critical reception to the protagonist's character has been generally positive for both his role in the games for how he handles his social life. His development in the film gathered similar responses. He is voiced by Akira Ishida in Japanese and by Yuri Lowenthal in English.

Protagonist (Persona 3) Persona 3 Protagonist Character Giant Bomb

Design and characterization

Protagonist (Persona 3) persona 3 protagonist Persona Wallpaper

The Persona 3 protagonist was the first character Shigenori Soejima designed for the game. Early designs of the character made him look mature and collected since the artist viewed him as a "cliche[d] cool guy." Soejima took longer to design the protagonist than any other character as the game's other characters would be made to complement his design. In Art of Persona 3, Soejima remarked that "Initially, he looked more honest, like an ordinary, handsome young man. But, I worked to achieve greater ambiguity in his expression." He further noted that the character managed to have a "hidden coolness." In retrospect, he found that the character was not ambiguous enough and thus when creating the Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 protagonist, Soejima made Yu Narukami with the idea that his entire personality be decided and portrayed by the player's in-game actions and decisions.

Director Noriaki Akitaya had faced a similar dilemma for his animated film version. He explained that one of his biggest challenges was, "..getting the protagonist, who is the player in the game, and making him into a character named Makoto Yuki for the film, then figuring out how to integrate him [the protagonist] into the story." This led Akitaya to be extremely careful about how he went about constructing the character in terms of his speech, gestures and behavior all the while staying true to what was already established in the game. Akitaya admitted that he would not have been able to meet the expectations of the individual fans of the game since they were able to choose their own unique name and personality for the protagonist. Instead Akitaya took the route of incorporating the most general traits of fan reactions to the protagonist to form Yuki's character.

Akitaya stated that his favorite scene in the film occurred when the protagonist summoned his Persona for the first time. He elaborated that the protagonist's maniacal laugh and heavy breathing helped bring depth to the scene and establish animation director Keisuke Watabe's character designs as being one of the main attractions of the film. Akitaya had joked that during initial pre-production the protagonist's name was still not determined and instead proposed the placeholder "Tsukitarō Yamada" (山田 月太郎, Yamada Tsukitarō) until the first draft was developed. However even as Jun Kumagai began working on the screenplay, the placeholder went unchanged for the next four to five months and Akitaya found himself growing attached to it despite eventually changing it.

Akira Ishida voiced the protagonist in this Japanese adaptation. He noted that since he was presented with the roles of both Pharos and the protagonist, recording the scene of the protagonist's initial meeting with Pharos was something he enjoyed. In the English version of Persona 3 the role of both the protagonist and Ryoji is taken by Yuri Lowenthal. As with his previous role as protagonist of the Digital Devil Saga games, Lowenthal did not have extensive dialogue lines. His main task was shouting out the names of Personas: localization editor Yu Namba was initially worried about his performance, but Lowenthal managed to pronounce the names correctly. He attributed this to his love for Dungeons & Dragons.

In Persona 3

The protagonist of Persona 3. He moves into the Iwatodai dorm, learning of his ability to summon the Personas Orpheus and Thanatos of The Death Arcana when the dorm is attacked by Shadows during the Dark Hour. Mitsuru asks him to join SEES and he is later elected the team's leader in combat. The protagonist is unique among his cohorts in that he has the Wild Card ability which enables him to wield multiple Personas and switch between them during battle. Over the course of the game, he also gains Messiah of the Judgement Arcana and Orpheus Telos of the Fool Arcana in Persona 3 FES. With the power of the Wild Card he has access to over 150 different Personas. He is also the only character with access to the Velvet Room, in which the player is able to fuse together multiple Personas together to create a new and more powerful one. Over the course of the game, the player is challenged to manage the protagonist's day-to-day schedule as he attends school, takes part in extracurricular activities, and spends time with classmates and other characters. Igor, the proprietor of the Velvet Room, encourages the protagonist to form Social Links with people, as they will determine his potential in combat. Social Links with characters in-game are represented by one of the Major Arcana and grants various bonuses during Persona fusion, increasing the player's proficiency in battle.

As he works with SEES, the protagonist builds up the Social Link for the Fool Arcana, which symbolizes beginning and infinite possibilities of the journey ahead. When the protagonist decides to spare Ryoji Mochizuki, the Social Link of the Fool Arcana changes into the Judgement Arcana, which symbolizes the end of his journey and looking back at what has transpired this far. The final Social Link the protagonist attains is the Universe Arcana, a card from the Thoth tarot that replaces World Arcana, symbolizing the full awareness of the protagonist's place in the world.

The protagonist is an orphan; his parents died ten years prior to the events of Persona 3, which sees him returning to the city he grew up in. In December, the player learns that a Shadow known as "Death" was sealed in the protagonist as a child by Aigis, who was unable to defeat it herself. The Death Shadow was able to lead the protagonist to twelve other greater Shadows; by defeating them, The Appriser was created, a being which summons Nyx to the world to bring about its destruction. SEES battles The Appriser on the roof of Tartarus, but are not able to stop Nyx's descent to Earth. The protagonist enters Nyx and using the power of his accumulated Social Links, seals it away with the "Great Seal"—at the cost of his own self.

Other appearances

Persona 3 FES extends upon the original game with the introduction of an epilogue called The Answer. These events reveal that the protagonist died after becoming the Great Seal used to seal Nyx away. After being led to the Great Seal, SEES discovers it to be under attack by a creature called Erebus. Although Makoto does not appear in Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 and the sequel Persona 4 Arena, it is revealed in those games Igor's assistant Elizabeth left her position to find a way to rescue the protagonist from his fate as the Great Seal.

In the PlayStation Portable port Persona 3 Portable, an option was added to control a female protagonist, voiced by Marina Inoue in Japanese, and Laura Bailey in English. He is also featured in several radio dramas that tell new stories related to games. In the manga, the protagonist is named Minato Arisato (有里 湊, Arisato Minato). There, he is portrayed as a quiet teenager who often is tired or drowsy, and likes to eat and cook food. The character also appears in the game Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth, where he joins forces with the Persona 4 cast to defeat the Shadows. In the stage adaption, Persona 3: The Weird Masquerade, the male protagonist is named Sakuya Shiomi (汐見 朔也, Shiomi Sakuya) while the female version is named Kotone Shiomi (汐見 琴音, Shiomi Kotone).

In the anime film series Persona 3 The Movie, he takes the name of Makoto Yuki. Makoto is portrayed as an ambivalent individual with an initial neutral viewpoint on the film's theme of life and death, making his growth via new found experiences the focus of the movie.

Reception

Critical reception to the protagonist's character has been positive. GameSpy's Patrick Joynt praised the character's social life in Persona 3 as it allowed the player to interact with several other characters and learn about their interesting stories. GamesRadar commented that while Makoto is a "Japanese RPG stereotype" it was refreshing to see him dealing with his social life. Damian Thomas from RPGFan saw the interactions between the main character and his dorm mates as one of the game's best parts due to the character growth in each social link. He was also listed as the 10th best Persona character by Kimberley Wallace from Game Informer who found his role in Persona 3 admirable.

Reaction to the character's portrayal in the animated film Persona 3 The Movie: #1 Spring of Birth was also met with praise. Richard Eisenbeis of Kotaku described the protagonist as being an initially "ambivalent, broken character.." whose growth takes center stage and gave the film "a suitable sense of completion." Elliot Gay from Japanator saw Makoto's growth from a "empty, aloof, and distant young man" who "lacks any kind of real determination to do anything" to his growth as a person as one of the film's main focus. His relationship with Aigis and his comical actions have also been prasied by Gay during a review for the second film.

References

Protagonist (Persona 3) Wikipedia


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