Tag Archives: Persona 4

Progress Bar: Persona 5 [40 Hours]

***Warning: Spoilers Ahead!!!***

So I figured since getting a full review of Persona 5 is going to take a long, LOOOOOOOOONG time, it makes sense to update you guys how I’m enjoying the game thus far.

So I’m just past the 40-hour mark and I’ve just recently finished the third Palace and am starting to work on social links again heading into what will definitely be the next Palace very soon as a little bit of foreshadowing has shown us our next party member and has pretty much tipped its hand on what the end villain is, not that they’ve shown the person, but if you’ve been paying attention to the game’s story up until this point, it’s pretty obvious.

The Story

At the current point of the game, I’m a little underwhelmed from the third Palace in comparison to the first two and especially the first one. The game at the start of its story, really turns up the volume on its seriousness. The second Palace doesn’t get too serious until the very end when you learn the true crimes of the subject of said Palace. When it comes to the third Palace however, I didn’t feel any hatred towards this particular villain, in fact I was extremely underwhelmed by it. The dungeon wasn’t that cool or exciting, the villain itself wasn’t very interesting and felt very one-dimensional and there really wasn’t a reason to hate this person in the same way I hated the first two. Perhaps it’s by design, but regardless the third villain is peanuts compared to the first two, so I was disappointed.

The social links continue to become more and more interesting however. I’ve been obsessed with the doctor the most, but the additions of a journalist, a maid with a shocking identity and the newest party member known as “Queen” have really added some new life to the game that for a while was honestly becoming a sausage fest. At this point, I’m far more interested in spending time outside the dungeons than in them, but given that the game is likely about to ramp things up, that won’t last very long.

The Gameplay

I really, REALLY want to say nothing but good things about this game. I still absolutely love the battle system, the dungeon designs, the mechanics, all the new features, life outside the dungeons and in it, I love a lot about this game. But I cannot let this game get away with the sheer insanity of its “difficulty levels”. As I mentioned in my first impressions post, I really don’t like how the game nickels and dimes you for cash and SP, the two things you really need to get by. Am I asking for an easier game? Absolutely not, but I think that Persona 5 maybe goes a little too far in the direction of keeping you from advancing as much as possible in one sitting. It obviously should be a challenge to finish a Palace in one sitting, but it should be because the enemies are difficult, not because you’re completely depleted of items and SP. The previous games had ways to recover HP and SP, not to mention extra money, experience, items, etc, whereas this game has very few treasure chests, which always yield common items and accesories, never weapons, armor and SP recovery items, those are hidden behind lockpick-needed chests and if you’re not spending every night making them, you won’t have that many available.

At this point though, I’m not getting the sense that we’re constantly running into enemies that are cheap, like the Incubus who had a Life Drain attack that always did 30 damage to you, which was a giant chunk of your health and in the first dungeon where your HP is low and you have almost no items, it’s a bit bullshit. Like I said, it’s not necessarily the battles that are the true difficulty of the game, so much as being able to keep yourself equipped for battle is. You really have to make the choice, whether you want a large stack of medicine, or more powerful weapons and better armor. You can’t have both and let’s be honest, spending hours in the first areas of Mementos isn’t exactly a fun way to get money and items either.

In terms of the social links, the only criticism I have is that the maid’s trail is bullshit, because it costs you 5000 yen every time you want to hang out with her. 5000 yen at this point in the game is a massive tax on you, holy freaking hell it will put you beyond bankrupt in a hurry! It sucks because if you want to rank up her social link early in the game, it’s nearly impossible. I’m following a strict “MAX Social Links” guide and I literally had to sell almost everything I had just to make the money to get everything done up until the next dungeon infiltration.

The Verdict So Far

I know I spent the majority of this post criticizing the money situation and the extremely underwhelming third Palace, but I have to tell you that I absolutely love this game and it only continues to get better as it goes along. The newest party member in “Queen” may just be the coolest party member I’ve ever had in a Persona game for one very specific reason and you either immediately know why, or you’ll find out soon enough when you get there. The game has also unexpectedly gotten me more interested in romancing the non-student options in the game, which is extremely unusual, I’ve never leaned towards an older woman in the game as my favourite in comparison to the many students I can choose from.

So the question comes up once again, is Yakuza 0 in danger of being toppled as my Game of the Year thus far? I still say no, Persona 5 is a fantastic game and I am loving every minute of it, but it hasn’t quite hit that point where I want to go absolutely fanboy crazy and talk endlessly about how it’s the best game ever.

My score after 40 hours: 9.5/10

Character Spotlight: Naoto Shirogane

01

Persona 4 does so many things that very few games would ever dare to even stand remotely close to. We saw through Kanji’s struggles with his sexuality, that alone is something that in 2008 pretty much no one would touch with a 50-foot pole. We also took a look at Rise dealing with the issue of being looked at lustfully not only because of her beautiful petite body, but because of her status as an idol, so it delved into the celebrity life of a young teenage girl idolized both by girls and by men who would look at her for other reasons. There are tons of interesting storylines going on throughout the game that are large in part fueled by the inner thoughts and struggles that many teenagers and young adults go through.

My personal favourite though, is that of Naoto Shirogane.

01

When we’re first introduced to Naoto, we’re left believing that he’s a young upcoming detective making his way up the ranks, earning the moniker of the “Detective Prince” by his peers. He proves his chops pretty quick when he identifies Kanji as the next victim of the Midnight Channel, long before the Investigation Team even figure this out as well from seeing him on TV at night. Now here’s the only thing that sucked about the beginning with Naoto: I can call gender swaps in any Japanese media almost immediately, I’ve seen so many through games and anime throughout my life, even more so now with the sheer amount of anime I consume weekly nowadays. So just from hearing Naoto’s voice for the first time, even though the voice itself does have a hint of masculinity in the sound and tones of the voice, it still immediately tripped my “THIS IS A GIRL!” alarm in my head. So unfortunately for me, the surprise was ruined before her dungeon revealed the truth.

However, the story behind this truth was still very engaging and interesting. Essentially, even though Naoto was the ace detective she was and constantly proved herself time and time again, she was never being taken seriously for multiple reasons. One of course was that she was very young, only 15 years old when first introduced in the game, so naturally a bunch of weathered old police officers and detectives could never believe nor accept that a teenager was doing a better job than them. It’s a common occurrence so that wasn’t surprising. The other glaringly huge reason was of course that she was female. And thus begins the conversation of gender equality in the workplace. Now it’s implied that she always hid her gender from the police force because she thought they would never take her seriously as a woman and that’s not all that surprising. Even today in 2016, the majority of police officers you see are male, it’s still an occupation that is dominated by men. So both those reasons caused the creation of really split personalities with Naoto, one that was the stoic male Detective Prince and this other feminine and very shy Naoto that was slowly fading away due to how little time she was allowed to come out, thus leading to a very uncomfortable situation that her dungeon represented.

01

Initially when you enter the dungeon, you hear the ramblings of Naoto’s conscience stating that “he” will be undertaking a “body-altering operation”. Now if you hadn’t figured out the secret yet, this was probably a confusing thought, what could this young boy possibly want to alter? It’s not until you reach the very end where you learn that Naoto is indeed actually a female and that body-altering operation is actually meant to be a sex change, the inner-workings of a distraught Naoto wanting to get away from the “shackles” preventing her from getting past the glass ceiling she perceived to be in place at her line of work.

As the game progresses further, Naoto eventually comes to terms with how she was born and accepts that changing how she looks would never change the person she is inside, especially when really the sole reason for why she wanted to change her gender was because of her line of work. We don’t really see her lamenting over her gender for anything else, so we’re left to believe that if she wasn’t a detective she likely wouldn’t have minded her situation much, if at all. By the end of the game as well, she begins to be a little more open with how she actually looks and dresses just a bit more feminine to reflect that, though it’s not like she starts wearing low-cut tops and short shorts, she essentially just doesn’t go out of her way to hide the one massive giveaway of her true gender.

01

Of course, because Japan and anime-drawn material is always funny like this, Naoto of all the girls in the entire game has to be the one with the biggest breasts of them all, something that immediately grabs the attention of all the girls the first time they get a good look at her. It’s also when she’s looking her most feminine, particularly when she’s in situations where her body is exposed or she’s to be dressed in clothes that would hide very little of her absolutely stunning frame that she completely drops that mature detective attitude of hers and employs a much shyer, feminine demeanor. When the Swimsuit Contest comes to Yasogami High and Rise, Yukiko and Chie all get roped in, Naoto can’t quite bring herself to wear a bikini in public. In the animation we get a far better hint of what that looks like though and boy is that little bit more than enough to make you believe that not only is Naoto female, but she is far prettier than you could’ve ever imagined. And just to finish off the more feminine side of Naoto, if you really want to bring that side of her out, put her into a situation where she can actually be scared of something, when she’s in total fear, her masculine tone completely drops, showing us that she can only keep up that charade when she’s fully composed. Otherwise, she’s a girl you just wanna hug, as the ski trip in Persona 4: Golden showed me.

01

I’m going to make no bones about it, I’m at the time of writing this article, two weeks ahead on my “Waifu, Friend with Benefits or One-Night Stand?” articles in terms of the three girls being judged. If Naoto ever hits a weekly article through the randomizer, she’ll be an automatic Waifu for me. While Chie is my current #1 pick in not only Persona 4, but all Shin Megami Tensei games, she and Naoto are constantly flipping between #1 and #2. Naoto is a tremendous character, one you cannot help but root for. Her story is extremely challenging as a storyline because so few would dare to take on the issue of gender identity and transsexuals.

And just to top all that off, she’s the best of all worlds in terms of attraction. If you’re attracted to feminine looking males, Naoto can fit that bill. If you’re attracted to tomboys, Naoto can fit that bill. If you’re attracted to the male that’s actually a female character, she obviously fits that bill. And if you’re attracted to just beautiful women, Naoto still fits that bill. She’s not a character that you can fit in a single box, she has potential is so many different areas. She’s strong, yet can be weak. She’s confident, yet can be easily embarrassed and shy. She’s cold, yet can be loving. She’s an incredible woman and one of my favourite female characters in terms of how she’s written.

Though I will admit, Naoto in the high-cut armor costume looks way off on her.

01

Character Spotlight: Teddie

01

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.

01

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.

01

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.

01

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!

Character Spotlight: Chie Satonaka

chie

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.

609975-chie_swimsuit_contest
Chie in her swimsuit

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.

Chie & Yukiko
Chie & Yukiko

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).

(left to right) Yukiko, Nanako, Chie
(left to right) Yukiko, Nanako, Chie

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!

After she’s done crying, she’s kicking your ass

This Week in Sexy Games: Persona 4

e56qL
Teddie crossdressing (if you didn’t know the series, I bet you thought he was a she!)

Eight potential love interests (counting Marie in Persona 4: Golden), two questionably bisexual males, one who really fights with his gay side, multiple swimsuit sections, hot springs section, alternate outfits. Yep, Persona 4 is really everything anime offers packed into a video game. And I haven’t even gotten to the fighting, fucked up looking universe and badass music.

Persona 4 is in my top 3 games of all time, not just JRPGs (thought most of a top 10 best games of all time list would be mostly JRPGs). The world is incredible, the mechanics are nearly flawless and the characters you deal with, whether playable or not are designed extremely well and have interesting story arcs and backstories that really flesh them out.

And when we’re talking about the sexy stuff in video games, Persona 4 has a pretty decent supply of that, whatever you’re into.

The group reacting to Kanji’s speedo – Persona 4 Golden: The Animation

Like I said, Persona 4 is very much an anime-like video game in terms of all the adventures and hijinks they go through over the course of the game. And what’s the biggest cliché in anime? You guessed it, none other than the trope I wrote an article specifically about over a week ago, the beach and/or pool so everyone has to slide on their best looking swimwear! There are several occasions where this takes place if you take the PS Vita addition of Persona 4: Golden into account. The only two vanilla P4 I can remember are the swimwear competition (that Naoto backs out on, god damn it!) and the camping trip.

I gotta say too, I’ve seen a ton of characters in swimwear from various anime and video games, Chie’s swimsuit that Yosuke gets for her as a part of that camping trip favour, it’s probably one of my favourites of all-time. It fits her and her character perfectly (this is the one with shorts, not the bikini bottoms from the swimsuit competition), it doesn’t overly sexualize her, nor feminize her as much as the others get with theirs. Yukiko has a skirt, Rise is of course super-sexualized, Marie’s bikini top is open in the middle and from what we got to see from Naoto in the competition, the only image we have is a full bikini. Where Chie is made to look exactly as her character is, a tomboy. In the Golden anime, they have different swimwear than the game, but most of them are tamer than their game counterparts. Chie, if I remember correctly had more of a skirt bottom that time around.

(left to right) Nanako, Yukiko, Naoto, Rise and Chie at the hot springs

Another sexy addition in Golden was the hot springs, including a full anime cutscene (before the anime came out). It’s then we resume another anime trope that at times can drive me a little crazy. I’m sure this isn’t as common a thing, but apparently when girls hang out together in various states of undress, especially if they’re naked (or with just a towel on), they compare each others’ breast sizes. Now normally I’m not a huge fan of these moments (see my Rikku article), but in this case it worked for me, mainly because we get to see Naoto in a different light than we’re used to. Of course it’s a little cruel for all the girls to be noting that somehow the girl dressing like a guy has the largest bust of them all and try to cop a feel, but in turn we see Naoto at her most embarrassed and at her cutest. It’s also when the boys knock over the fence and give away their peeping location that we see just how perfect both Chie and Naoto’s bodies actually are, given they’re not presented to us as such the majority of the time.

Shadow Rise portrayed as a stripper

However, the most important sexual content in Persona 4 is none of the things I’ve listed earlier. It’s not Kanji’s ass in a speedo, it’s not the girls in their swimwear, hell it’s not even seeing Chie and Naoto naked at the hot springs. It’s specifically three characters and their storylines, as explained through their respective dungeons: Rise, Kanji and Naoto. So let’s start with Rise.

Rise outside of her school life and hanging out with the Investigation Team is a pop idol, or at the very least a pop idol on-hiatus. She is constantly talked about, the adulation of many fans, especially male because of how sexy she is (it’s the red hair and pigtails for sure). She eventually gets sick of the lifestyle and runs home to Inaba where the whole game is taking place. She questions whether the idol Rise is even her at all, or just a façade she puts on specifically for her performances. So when in her personal dungeon, the Shadow version of herself is even more flirtatious and over-sexualized than her real self has been the entire game. The Shadow specifically wears the skimpiest swimsuit (I’m actually amazed they didn’t go further and have the bottoms more like a thong) and the stripper pole is a major part of the décor. Why? Because Rise believes all her idol character really represents is a girl flaunting her body around for everyone to see. So when she refuses to acknowledge the Shadow, it transforms into a crazy multi-coloured silhouette and specifically hangs from the stripper pole the entire fight.

It’s a very interesting manifestation of what a lot of young girls probably go through during the adolescence. Think about it, how many girls can you remember (or currently see) that were dressed way too much to be eye candy, they’re wearing those yoga pants that are clearly not being used specifically for exercising (that’s an article for another day…) and their tops are either so tight you can see the full shape of their chest and/or has enough cleavage to bury your whole head in there. I’m sure some of these girls never thought about it, but you gotta think some of them at one point or another wondered if this person they’re being in the tight and skimpy clothes is really their real form or just one that’s an attention seeker (and the many personal and mental problems that stem from this attitude), nothing more.

Shadow Kanji revealing some of Kanji’s true feelings

Kanji is the most serious one of them all. Why? Because it’s an issue that very few games (let alone when Persona 4 was released) to this day have really conquered as responsibly and clearly as Persona 4 has. Because of his relationship he develops with Naoto and the nosebleed from seeing Chie/Yukiko in their swimsuits, I’m pretty sure Kanji is bisexual, but it’s his gay side that seems to take him over constantly in his own mind.

Kanji is the tough guy of the group, or at least that’s how he portrays himself. We see as the game progresses he’s a very talented creative mind, particularly with sewing. I’m sure he is also the rebellious badass in a way, but that part of his persona is large in part a way for him to mask the person he also is that he doesn’t want people to see. In his dungeon, his Shadow is a clearly gay (and most likely bara) character, wearing only a fundoshi and spitting out sexual innuendos one after another. He comments as to why he has to be manly to be called a man and what being a man really means. Essentially the question is raised of why men are always stereotyped as the muscular beer-guzzling, chest-beating dudes that talk constantly about banging chicks.

And it’s a very curious question, one that today we’re still very much in the process of changing the answer to. In 2016 we’re certainly far more accepting of gay people (depending on where you are in the world), but when it comes to advertising towards men, it’s always sex appeal done with women and men are portrayed as tough, badasses or the classic frat boy look where it’s all about getting pussy. It’s still extremely rare to see advertising where there is the notation of a gay relationship, ESPECIALLY if it’s two men. Honestly, when it comes to men and women who associate themselves as either bisexual or homosexual, I couldn’t care less, as long as it’s not being shoved down my throat. It’s like anything else in life, do whatever you want, just don’t smack me over the head with your lifestyle.

Naoto confronting her Shadow self

Naoto’s case is my personal favourite due to a clear bias over female characters that start off dressing like males to hide their actual gender. When you first meet Naoto, again like most of these characters, I can point it out right away that they are not male, rather they’re female. Usually the voice acting and sometimes the facial structure gives it away.

Naoto’s reasoning behind her disguising of her gender is due large in part to her job as a detective. She’s arguably one of the best in her field wherever she goes and belongs to a good family known for being very good detectives, but she’s the first of her family (if I remember correctly) who reaches this level of success, but is female. And she’s well aware of the realities of life, there are a lot of occupations out there where certain genders are expected only in that field. Like the general expectations that nurses are women, detectives are generally thought out to be male, see all the detective movies out there, the majority of them are men. So she knows that if she walks in, blatantly obvious as a female, she’ll be looked at as a lesser detective, regardless of her skills. She’ll be treated differently and will likely receive less respect from her colleagues, not to mention some will hit on her, it’s not even a question of if, it’s when and how many times. Most importantly, Naoto’s aware that she’d hit a glass ceiling before getting remotely close to where she wants to be. Thus she hides her true gender, which has to be a giant hassle (pun intended) given her bust size.

This is a huge issue currently in our society. While women are slowly beginning to make strides in the world of business, this still fully exists. Women are still expected to be beautiful AND be good at their job, I’ve heard of female journalists getting floods of hate mail just because she changed her hairstyle. Notice the majority of female journalists in sports, the ones who appear on TV. They’re almost all super attractive, because that’s what stations feel is the right way to go to keep their predominantly male audiences happy. You know they believe that if they put an “ugly” woman on-screen, they’ll get hate mail up the ass with “Why’re you puttin’ that ugly broad on the TV?!” kind of shit. The simpletons out there are far more forgiving of a girl on TV if she’s hot.

Naoto & Chie – Persona 4: Dancing All Night

A notable thing before I close off is the controversy that came from the alternate outfits in Persona 4: Golden. A lot of people got into a frenzy about misogyny and sexism about the outfits the girls wear (because when Persona 3: FES did it, this wasn’t that big a deal then apparently), specifically the ones like seen in the picture above here.

Here’s the thing to all you non-Japanese-centric gamers out there: This is par for the course when it comes to Japanese properties, take the skimpy outfits in the newest Fatal Frame that didn’t make it to Western markets for example. Generally speaking, the majority of games in Japan do this sort of thing, whether through DLC, expansions and whatnot. Japan is super comfortable with sex (minus the censoring in porn) and has zero issues parading that fact around. And they also recognize that these outfits have nothing to do with the character except that they’re the ones chosen to wear them. It has nothing to do with their personality, it has nothing to do with any storylines, it’s pure fan service. Just like all the swimwear the guys wear too, including Kanji’s speedo, it’s just fan service. If you can’t handle sexual content, you’re gonna have a problem with the majority of Japanese content out there, it’s just how it is. If you don’t like it, don’t consume it. Clearly enough people didn’t mind it as I’m sure Persona 5 will be similar in some respects, either in the default game or a future expansive re-release if it gets one.

(left to right) Naoto, Rise, Chie, Yukiko

So there you have it, Persona 4. One of my favourite games of all-time and in terms of sexual content, probably one of the more realistic and responsible with said content. If you haven’t gotten a chance to check it out, you have to. I strongly suggest the Golden version on PS Vita (or PS Vita TV), but the PS2 original is still fine on its own. Also the two season of anime are great too. Hopefully the series receives a PS2 on PS4 digital release sometime soon!

Top 10 Female Video Game Characters I’d Sleep With

***If you have a problem with lists like these, they’re not real women. Spare me the sexism and over-sexualization speeches. Read this article I wrote too.***

To clarify on this list, the 10 female characters you will see on this list are NOT characters that I’d fall in love with, hang out with, have a relationship with, anything of the sort. This is the 10 girls in video games that I’d totally without regret have a rockin’ one-night stand with, nothing more. A Top 10 list of the characters I’d marry? Now that’s a list for another day!

Now I shouldn’t have to explain myself here, but just in case those reading this list feel like blowing a gasket at this list, here’s a heads up. Remember that this is my own personal list, so the girls who made this list are based on my own preferences for what I’m attracted to. Also a lot of the choices on this list are not strictly just for looks, some of them have some logical reasons behind them as well. For example, she may be a girl I would love nothing more than to have around every day, but because of certain reasons, maybe a one-time-only would be best for my own safety. So just keep this in mind, my list will easily be different than pretty much everyone else’s.

So let’s get right to it!

10

I’m starting off with an extremely random and very uncommon character. As far as I know, not a lot of people ended up playing RAGE. It’s not a great game by any means, I pretty much forget everything about this game, that is except for Loosum. She shows up early on in the game to teach you how to master the Wingsticks and the moment I laid my eyes on her, she was just absolutely perfect. At the time in 2011 when this game came out, it was showing off id Software’s new Tech 5 engine, so it was top of the line graphics being pumped out, so Loosum had a distinct advantage going in. Character-wise, there’s not a whole lot to say, since she’s around for all of five minutes of importance. She has some spunk to her and she certainly knows how to show herself off, she knows she’s gorgeous. Personally, I’d consider keeping her around, but the first name just breaks it for me. “So what’s your wife’s name?” “*sigh* Loosum…” Yeah…that ain’t gonna fly.

09

As a heads up, Cammy is pretty much the only character on this list that would be considered by the video gaming community as a sex symbol. Generally speaking, the video game vixens that are on the top of everyone’s list just don’t fit any other criteria from me other than having a great body. But Cammy is so damn smoking hot, that she manages to make the list anyways. Although she holds a special place in my heart because she pretty much is the first video game character I saw on screen that fit the bill of being that sexy girl in a video game. I played Super Street Fighter II for the SNES a ton as a kid and Cammy was my main character, admittedly her ass was half the reason I picked her all the time, I was actually pretty good with her too, so it just happened to work out perfectly. If there’s any video game girl that’s on the top of everyone else’s lists that I’d have to pick over all the others, she’s without a doubt the one for me to go with.

08

Another anomaly on this list, I would think. Very few people play the Guilty Gear games and that’s a damn shame. So this lovely tanned, light-haired expressionless evil non-human girl from the Backyard will likely be even less-known as she’s from the newest game, Guilty Gear Xrd. She falls into the category of girls in games that I’d love to spend the night with, but the likelyhood of dying trying to get to that point makes it pretty difficult. But from playing the story mode of GGXrd, I really fell in love with her character, her expressionless voice and demeanor makes her extremely adorable to me to the point I want to try and snap her out of it, she seems like the girl that would be just a giant cutie once she opens up. And to top it all off, I have a giant soft spot for anime-drawn tanned or darker skinned girls. I don’t know why, especially since it doesn’t translate into real life at all.

07

Malon’s simply a victim of living in a world I would just refuse to live in and I know I wouldn’t be able to pry her out of it. She’s probably the overall prettiest girl on this list and certainly the most homely. But if I were to consider her for my future Top 10 Video Game Girls I’d Marry list, I’d have to commit to living the farm life and there’s no goddamn way you’d catch me working my ass off on a farm, I wouldn’t survive. And judging her character, like I said there’s no way you’re prying this lovely redhead away from that life either. What a damn shame…

06

Lightning is the prime example of a girl you would never catch me dead spending any more time than I’d have to with her. She’s absolutely insufferable, a constant pain in the ass, I can’t listen to her speak for more than a few words before I want to punch her in the face. But goddamn did Square Enix draw her superbly. Of course only the idiots at Square Enix would create one of the most hateable female characters I’ve ever known, yet also make her arguably the hottest Final Fantasy girl of all (yes, that includes rivaling Tifa). I just hope that if I was to ever share a bed with her, I wouldn’t have to listen to hours of her brooding about her sister.

05

Persona 4 is pretty much my favourite game of all-time. There isn’t a single character in the series that I have a major problem with and when it comes to the many female characters in the game, the majority of them are in consideration for the Top 10 Marry list. But Rise is the odd one out. It’s funny, she’s clearly presented as the hottest girl in the game and she is without any doubt. However when it comes to her character, she just doesn’t grab my attention nearly enough compared to all the others to follow through on anything other than a single night. It could be the fact she’s overly flirty, the fact she’s an idol and would be constantly targeted by other guys, or just the fact she (depending on when I’d catch her) struggles to figure out who she really is, where the line between her normal self or the idol persona. Either way, I’d love to hang out with her, but certainly not in a dating manner.

04

We started the crazy and evil with Ramlethal at #8, now we resume that trend with likely the most dangerous lady on this list. I’m noting that I’d prefer the Mass Effect 3 version of Jack because I like her far more with hair and her new outfit. Jack was a tough one to place, there’s so many factors behind her being on this list. I love girls with tattoos, tomboys and some of the sexiest characters to me are the ones you know there’s no chance in hell you’d ever get with for any reason, but your physical well-being adds onto that with Jack. As we’ve seen in the Mass Effect series, she views sex as almost a common thing due to her screwed up life before meeting Shepard. But as quickly as she’ll bed you, she’s likely to tear you apart, literally. So for my own safety, as quick as she’d want to fuck, I’d just as quickly fuck off before I’d lose my life.

03

Now unlike Jack, she may not kill me, but the hundreds if not thousands of experiments she’d run on me if I ever happened to get close to her would be almost just as bad. But damn, talk about a 10/10, without a doubt the hottest Fire Emblem character. She also has a distinct advantage because anyone I’ve ever seen cosplay her has been just as gorgeous, she translates perfectly into real life as well. I’ve run through Awakening twice, the first time I made the boneheaded decision to have my character marry Lissa and immediately regretted it after getting to know Tharja a lot more. She gives off that forbidden fruit aura, the one girl you can’t resist, but you know that it would be in your best interests to not pursue her. But with that body, I wouldn’t blame anyone, male or female from going after her regardless.

02

The pinnacle of crazy, the girl that I know that I’d never be able to get close to. Jack would let you have a round and then you’re screwed. Tharja might let you in, but you’d be so messed up from all the experiments first, it might not even matter. But Tira, I don’t think there’s a chance in hell you’d be able to even touch her before she’d slice you apart with that ring blade. The first time I laid eyes on her in Soul Calibur III, that was it, I loved her. I was a huge Talim fan the previous game and I thought no one could top her, she was super pretty. But Tira just shot in with that amazing badass hair, the makeup, those piercing violet eyes and of course that phenomenal body. The artwork of her in the picture above is one of the best I’ve seen from any game, let alone fighting games. But behind that body is one of the most twisted, sadistic minds, one who would cut your throat within seconds of meeting you. Come to think of it, it would give her line “Awww you broke already? Oh well, I guess I’m done with you.” a new meaning. *shudders*

And finally, my #1 pick:

01

There’s a ton of reasons why Yuna’s at the top of this list. I’m sure most are surprised she’s not being considered on the Top 10 Marry list, most feel she’s very homely, a wonderful girl, beautiful as hell and all those are true. But there’s a bunch that put her on this side rather than the other. I wasn’t a huge fan of her FFX character, she was too softspoken and the whole super-religious thing immediately turned this atheist off, especially nowadays where it’s in full-swing. But the biggest problem with Yuna has nothing to do with her personally, it’s just a matter of being the odd one out. Logically if I lived in Spira, she simply wouldn’t be on my mind because of one thing:

This girl.

rikku

So because of Rikku, Yuna ends up being at the top of the list, just because I would absolutely love to spend the rest of my life with her if she existed, but there’s already a girl in the same universe I’d pick over her. Sorry, Yunie!

I hope you all enjoyed this list, it was fun to make. Remember it’s not serious at all, it’s all in good fun. Your list will be way different than mine for various reasons. And most of all, if you think this is creepy to post, for god’s sake they’re not real, it doesn’t matter.

And realistically, don’t tell me you don’t fantasize about sleeping with someone. I just happen to have zero problems saying it out loud.