Originally I planned on just using a normal picture of Teddie (aka Kuma in the Japanese versions) for the cover picture, but when I’m often using pictures of anime girls that are of a sexual nature for my cover photos, I think it’s only fair I do the same when a male character gets the spotlight treatment. So there you go, everyone who’s attracted to men! You’re welcome.
I can’t say enough good things about the Persona games and especially the most recent release of Persona 4, which I can’t believe is eight years old now, it doesn’t feel like it’s been that long, though the wait for Persona 5 on the flip side feels much longer.
Of course, even though I love to gush about all the wonderfully beautiful girls Persona 4 has to offer, you can’t talk about Persona 4 without talking about Teddie.
Teddie’s existence is still not of 100% confirmation, but what we know for sure is that regardless of what he is, he’s a dual-attraction. He’s got his cute fluffy mascot form to become well…a mascot for the game, one that continues to have staying power. That form’s also full of terrible puns and a ton of flirting as he tries to “score” with the ladies. The other form is well…the handsome feminine looking boy that’s a little more for the ladies and the guys who are into more cute looking boys than hot ones. So it’s same to say there’s a little bit for everyone when it comes to Teddie.
It’s hard to nail down what he actually is though, it’s never really fully explained in the game what he is. It’s pretty much implied that he must be a Shadow that managed to gain a sense of humanity when being left alone for so long. Perhaps being even outcasted by the Shadows themselves he turned to the only other people he might ever gain the attention of and that being us human beings. So in order to attempt this, he reverted his form into something less creepy and more accepting to us humans, hence his teddy bear mascot look. As time passed on, it’s also implied he just creates himself a human form so he can further develop that relationship with the Investigation Team he then found and began. It’s never explained how he managed to do this, but it’s a video game and has an anime, logic was thrown out the window long before.
In terms of a party member in the game, I didn’t use Teddie all that much, I found him more like the comic relief of the game, so I most of the time kept him outside of the main battle party, my usual four being Yu, Chie, Yukiko and Naoto. It’s not to say he wouldn’t have been useful, I just didn’t see myself using him in a battle role. He’s far better to me as the constant flurry of puns and flirting of the various girls in the game which is worth a number of laughs, snickers and smiles. I don’t really have a preference either on which Teddie I’d prefer, whether it’s the mascot form or his human form, neither stands out above the other, they’re both worth using in their own right.
Though his human form gets to have a little more fun and variation, in particular when the boys have to participate in a cross-dressing contest after putting the girls in a swimsuit competition at school. We all expected the non-feminine looking boys (though some have argued Yosuke could’ve done better) to look awful and they did, but with his already naturally feminine frame, who knew a long-haired blonde wig and a dress could do so much? Well if you’re a fan of anime, you know the answer to that question: Everyone knows that! But his Alice in Wonderland cross-dressing outfit is actually very good, though again the fact it’s also anime art makes it really easy to make that transformation possible.
It makes me curious to say the least if there was a conceited effort to make Teddie a bit of a sexual venture for both women and gay/bisexual men with how he’s designed. They could’ve simply left him as his normal human form is and it’s still enough I think for both sides to be attracted to, but the cross-dressing effort to make him look as close to a girl as possible stands out as enough reason to believe that there’s a lot more intended with his character, regardless of the fact he only ever really flirts with women in the games and anime. Considering how the game already does feature both homosexual and transgender themes with Kanji and Naoto respectively, it’s not out of the question that they are doing something similar with Teddie.
Either way the character as is, is a very curious one with a past that we’ve yet to fully decipher and discover. The mystery of his existence, how he created the forms he takes, being able to develop a personality, learn the language we use, even getting a Persona of his own, he’s a unique case in the series, one that we may never truly understand the logic behind it. But at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter that much, as he makes up for the confusion in hilarity, being adorably useless at times and providing a lot of moments where you just can’t help but smile.
And as far as I’m concerned, that makes him a bear-y memorable character!