The great thing about the Persona series is how easy it is to place yourself in the situation of the characters: a high schooler struggling to balance life, school, friends, and the knowledge that your generation is going to have to be the one to save the world because clearly anyone over 20 can’t be trusted. As the series went on, focus began to fall more and more on the characters while the overarching plot became a bit on the repetitive side. Yes really, you and your friends will once more use the power you’ve forged in friendship to kill a godhead, and then the god itself, restoring things to a slightly nicer status quo. But it’s how you get there, who you meet, and what drawn teenager you have to keep reminding yourself is technically a high schooler as you get older and older! And oftentimes, though playing as an adult, it’s easy to project your child-self into the story and really begin to think how you would have gotten along with this strange, wonderful cast of characters back then. Well, I do that. And judging by how well these do, I’m not the only one! I can’t be…I mustn’t be…
#41. Masahiro Shido
I mean…right? In a field of terrible people, he manages to be the worst. The scene where he’s begging his research team to find a way to stop him from literally catching empathy like it’s a wasting disease is one of the realest moments in any narrative videogame, and I would want nothing to do with him, not even to try to redeem him.
#40. Junya Kaneshiro
Essentially the above, but on a smaller scale because he’s more focused on acquiring money rather than the power that money can buy. Yes, he throws it around, but his entire focus is the cash itself. A scumbag through-and-through, one without standards or a line, and I honestly would have been afraid to make eye-contact with him, much less be in the same room as him.
#39. Suguru Kamoshida
Not too far off from the above two either, but lacks the ambition to go further than “abusing children for a living.” That honestly almost makes him worse, at least a monster with ambition has goals you can admire, but this guy looked at the words ‘gym teacher’ and thought “That’s my path to being a king.” By sheer proximity to me in high school: this guy is slightly higher up as we’d be more likely to meet.
#38. Principal Kobayakawa
I was timid as a teen, but not exactly spineless. I had opinions, I just wasn’t confrontational and I trusted authority figures way too much. So I’d probably have tried to get in good with the principal just to stay out of the searchlight or because I’d assume he was just trying to do the best he could as well, but frankly once more and more of his true character was revealed to the school, even my timid self wouldn’t have had any time or respect for this prick, bloated with self-importance. But like Kamoshida, not ambitious enough to even try for more of a kingdom than ‘a school.’
#37. Kunikazu Okumura
Haru’s father is a workaholic, so at least I could have seen some of my own father in him. But while my dad’s blue-collar values always made him at least approachable, this guy is having his daughter in an arranged marriage for business, and…yeah, not someone I would have had time for and likely wouldn’t have even known I existed.
I actually went to a private high school, but it was more upper-middle-class than ultra-rich, and this guy would have been a parody of the kinds of students that didn’t even exist in that school. Like Okumura, I probably would have known about and hated this prick and he wouldn’t have crossed the street to piss on me if I was on fire.
I actually DID know guys like this in high school. Didn’t like ‘em them then, HATE ‘em now. Would have still had things like proximity over anyone above him in the list.
#34. Ichiryuusai Madarame
In some ways the least of the “Palace villains,” and in some ways one of the worst. Not only is he unbearably egotistical, but he stole a dying woman’s masterpiece instead of giving her medical aid. Even before all that came out, his insistence that his students live an ascetic, impoverished existence “for their art” would have come off like the most pretentious “NEVER SELLOUT” shit, with a similar punchline of “because I sold out already and don’t want to share.”
#33. Goro Akechi
A bigger cop than Makoto could ever dream of being, Akechi and I have literally nothing in common except, probably, our gender assignment at birth being correct. I hate his stupid arrogant, egotistical…everything. AND YES, he definitely reminds me of myself at that age, but he’s actually got his shit together. And clearly isn’t suffering from crippling anxiety/ADHD. Plus he’s driven by a need for order and vengeance, and I just don’t think that’s a good foundation for a teenage friendship.
#32. Munehisa Iwai
Nothing against him, but I genuinely would have rather eaten a bug than gone into this guy’s store and talked to him. There was a clerk at a comic book store who was hench and rude, and he made me not buy my Rage: the Apocalypse trading cards for, like, three months out of fear. I think I’d have assumed I’d somehow wind up on a hitlist if I said the wrong string of words to Iwai.
Ann isn’t very high on this list, but it’s not because I don’t like her, more because this social climber and cutthroat model wouldn’t have much time for me, and I’d likely make fun of her to make Ann chuckle the few times we did interact.
We’re out of the easy ranks now, so flat-out: I don’t like precocious know-it-all kids. In fiction or reality, then or now, I find them utterly insufferable, no matter what magical powers or flower-eating secret shames they might exhibit. If I ever encountered this boy, I’d likely just stand at the back of the party and hope he doesn’t try to talk to me, rolling my eyes at how cute everyone insisted he was.
#29. Eiko Takao
She seems nice, but c’mon. Tsubasa was obviously a peacocking scumbag. Respect yourself, girl, don’t drag me down with you.
#28. Sae Nijima
I doubt I would have had the guts to say more than three words to this woman and if I was lucky she wouldn’t notice me running around underfoot with her sister.
#27. The Rest of the Teachers
I wasn’t exactly a teacher’s pet in any of my classes, but I largely knew the broad strokes of having a teacher like/tolerate me, and any of these people would have fallen into that category. The neighborhood I grew up in actually had a few teachers in it, so from a young age I realized how much of a thankless, difficult job teaching was and didn’t want to make it any harder, if I could help it. Which I USUALLY could. USUALLY.
#26. Shinya Oda
Like Jose, but with an actual sympathetic backstory and character. I didn’t like talking to younger kids when I was a teen, so through no fault of his own, I probably would have avoided the little tryhard.
#25. Ichiko Ohya
Down this far because I honestly would have been intimidated by her take-no-shit attitude, high moral fiber, and incredibly cool job. If I’d gotten tangled up in her story, she’d likely see me through it, but I can’t say she would have been terribly fond of me or probably really noticed me. But if she’d offered to buy me alcohol, I 100% would have taken her up on it just to hang out around her.
Kind of like if you combined Jose and Oda, but then took away any attempts to appear intentionally cute. I’d genuinely enjoy going around and showing them the sights and sounds of a new home, introducing them to movies and cuisine they’ve never experienced. But…they’re also weird, terrifying, extradimensional children, and that’s a lot to put on a 16-year-old.
Honestly I’d probably be too terrified of his father to even initiate a conversation. Does that make teen-me part of the problem? Yes. Can I do anything about it now? No.
#22. The Track Team
I actually got along well with the jocks at my school by making ‘em laugh, but these guys take themselves so seriously, I’m not sure there’d be much room for my japes and jabs to get through their armor. On the other hand, I was decent at track, but on the other hand: indoor kid. Massively.