I have two favourite characters that constantly change places between #1 and #2. One is Naoto Shirogane, who I put at #2 on my video game girls I’d marry top 10 list. The other is the one I am spotlighting this week, Chie Satonaka. Why am I spotlighting the one of the two who didn’t make that top 10 list (to be fair, she would’ve if I didn’t have my one person per game rule, cause about 5 games would only show up otherwise) you might ask? Because she was actually at the top for a while, mainly because it wasn’t until the anime and the arena games that Naoto really started battling with Chie for that #1 spot.
Chie’s that type of character in anime that checks a ton of boxes for me when it comes to pretty anime-drawn girls. Unlike Rise and Yukiko, she’s not designed to be either sexy or elegant, Chie is designed to be a little more…I guess average, like someone you could actually see coming across in real life far more often than the once in a blue moon level of beauty like Rise. Chie isn’t overly prettied up, she doesn’t look like the girl who spends hours on her hair and makeup and she wears clothes that don’t really divert your eyes anywhere. The majority of the time you see her, she looks normal. Which makes it very meaningful and packs a huge punch when you do see her in attire that shows off the actually really nice body she has.
When you first see her in the swimsuit Yosuke buys both her and Yukiko as a part of the “favour” they owed him at the camping trip, you see Chie in a different light for the first time. You see that underneath that green jacket and shorts is actually a pretty slender and feminine body. Personally, I would’ve done a little more with her, given her love for kung fu and her training regiments, I probably would’ve made it look like she had worked a little on her abs and maybe a little more muscle on her legs. But I understand how Japan designs their character, so I’ll let it go. It’s not like I have much to complain out, she’s gorgeous when the swimsuit gets busted out. And it’s not like it’s over-sexualized either, the top isn’t designed to divert your eyes to her chest at all, there’s barely any cleavage. She’s also the only girl who doesn’t have bikini bottoms on (that we know of, not like she ever pulls the shorts down), Rise is all about bikinis and while Yukiko has a skirt, there’s obviously bikini bottoms underneath. Chie’s also not ever posed very sexually in this attire either, I mean check out official artwork featuring this swimsuit, she’s always posed normally, while in one picture Yukiko is clearly leaning over enough for the skirt to be no longer hiding her bottoms. It’s very obvious she wasn’t designed or intended to be overtly sexy, that was more reserved for Rise and Yukiko.
Her personality is what sets her apart though from the other girls, especially the prettier ones in Rise and Yukiko. Chie is of course, a tomboy, which is a huge plus for me in terms of female characters, they’re always far more interesting, far more fun to hang out with (if they were real) and because they aren’t designed to be the main fantasy of an audience who’s attracted to women (note I didn’t just say guys), generally speaking they actually have a personality that goes beyond “I’m cute, tee-hee!”. Compared to your average female character, whether in anime or video games since she’s a part of both, Chie’s love for kung fu movies and steak is something far different than what her gender is usually into in fictional media. She’s not very girly at all, at least on the surface. Her personality is far more upbeat than most of the characters, she’s usually the one trying to cheer everyone up when things are a bit down, which makes the moments she’s also down on really meaningful. She’s also not a damsel, she’s very brash and will almost never back down from a challenge. She comes off as a tough girl, but at the same time doesn’t employ the trope of looking unappealing because she can kick some ass, because as I’ve said before you can be beautiful and still kick ass.
It’s Chie’s relationship with Yukiko however that really fleshes out her character and causes it to spill out all over the place. Chie and Yukiko are inseparable, however in the early going there was a far different reason for both to be together. Yukiko was around Chie to have someone to protect her, since she was very much a damsel-like character, always waiting for that white knight to save her. Chie on the other hand, would hang around Yukiko and save her just for the satisfaction of being someone she needed. Why? Because she felt inferior to Yukiko, because as I’ve said earlier, Yukiko is far prettier to the average eye than she is and because Chie has a complex about her not being very feminine, she felt for the longest time that she wasn’t attractive to anyone. Her brash personality didn’t help either, causing a lot of guys who did find her attractive not want to approach her. So Chie used Yukiko as a way to feel important, while still jealous of the male attention Yukiko would get.
It’s a common thing you see all the time throughout various walks of life. There are girls who will hang around the pretty girls for the sole purpose of upping her place on the totem pole. The idea is that if they hang around girls that all the guys look at, eventually they’ll start to look at her too, which is a really dangerous way to look at things, because remember the girls that everyone looks at also gets a lot of unwanted attention as well. And while it’s not as widely thought of as it once was, you know there are still people who operate under the “ugly girls don’t get raped” ideology, which is one of those things that disgusts me more than anything when it comes to “high school ideals”.
And in Chie’s case, like a lot of girls out there, they’re actually very attractive. If we’re gonna use the cliché rating scale, some of these girls are actually very high on it, 6s, 7s, 8s. But put them next to someone who’s super pretty, a lot of short-sighted, shallow guys will drop her number just because their vision of a 10 is unobtainable. So in the case of Chie/Yukiko, let’s say Chie’s an 8. Yukiko comes along and people look at her like she’s only an 8, because that 9 and 10 ratings are reserved for hot girls like Rise. So because Yukiko gets bumped to an 8, Chie all of a sudden is bumped down to a 6 or lower in the minds of some, which really isn’t fair. It’s why I hate the rating system, because it’s never an adequate representation as every single person has a different idea on what a 6 is and what an 8 is and the addition of new people constantly changes the ratings. For me it’s far easier: either she’s hot, beautiful, or cute. I don’t call people ugly, it’s not right and no one should ever put that moniker on someone, because someone will find that person beautiful. So in the case of Persona 4, Rise would be hot, Yukiko would be beautiful and Naoto/Chie would be cute. And a lot of the time, the cute ones are the fun ones (my girlfriend proves this tenfold).
It’s all a matter of perspective and what you’re into. I know from reading forum pages, tweets and more that a ton of guys are Rise lovers, sometimes you just like the hottest girl in the room. Some are super into Yukiko because she is that princess level of beautiful and she’s the kind of girl that guys want to protect. Naoto falls into the intelligence is sexy category of folks, although I’d argue that there are some who put her on top solely because she’s got the biggest bust of the four main girls.
Chie in my case is the type of girl that comes off as a cute girl who while of course you’d love to share tender moments with, wake up to every morning, all that jazz. But the most important thing about her to me, is that not only is she the kind of girl you could spend your life with as your wife, but also your best friend. You can watch really cheesy action movies with this girl and she won’t roll her eyes. You don’t have to cook up endless shitty healthy meals because of the cliché “I have to watch my figure” bullshit talk, hell she’d be the one cooking up steaks left and right! Given how in the Arena games she expresses her desire to become a police officer, she’s no slouch, she’ll be dependable and not someone you need to be protecting all the time. But most of all, you can trust her. It may be partially due to her insecurities and her brash personality, but you can tell she’s not the type who’d be unfaithful and she’d sure as shit let you know if she wanted out.
And if you can find a girl that is pretty to you, has a fantastic personality AND you can trust her: you my friend have found yourself a keeper, don’t be fucking that up!