The Great Persona Debate – Part 1

Atlus’ Persona series has grown in popularity within the last few years, sparking debates amongst fans as to which is the best entry. There are so many debatable topics surrounding Persona from its long line of characters, to its visual aesthetics, and even its sound design. In our first episode of “The Great Persona Debate”, we asked RPGamer staff to share which Persona cast is their favourite and why. We hope that you’ll share your opinions in the comments below or on our Discord Channel.

It’s time to play Devil’s Advocate! The OG Persona is a lot of things: rough around the edges, unsure of what it’s doing half the time, and hewing too close to old series design aesthetics that later games rightfully dropped. But one thing it had in abundance was character. This is an important item to note because up to this generation, the Shin Megami Tensei series wasn’t known for its character-driven material.  Grandiose, cosmos-shaking apocalypses, yes. Teen drama and edgelord angst, no. Revelations: Persona built upon the conceptual model of the side game If… and brought to the table a smorgasbord of mid-90s Japanese teen tropes like nothing the series had yet to see. Sure, the cast is tropey and in no small part cringeworthy, but you can clearly see the antecedents of characters like Mitsuru and Makoto in Yukino, Junpei and Ryuji in Hidehiko, or Ann and Rise in Ayaka. They argue, they freak out, do anything from flirtation to threats to outright bribery to convince demons to join their side, and they certainly have variety. So at the very least, we can argue that the OG Persona lays the groundwork for all the characters we’ve come to love. — Michael Baker



Hands down, Persona 3’s is my favourite cast. What I adore about these characters is that they endure a lot of growing pains throughout the story, each trying to find the best versions of themselves. Every party member’s growth is gradual, and I always found myself intrigued, wanting to know more about each person. From breaking Mitsuru’s icy shell to Junpei’s idealism of wanting to play the hero, only to be smacked by reality the moment he finds out that he has someone to protect. Yukari has so much raw anger and is frequently suspicious, but also grows and finds forgiveness. The characters in Persona 3 feel like teenagers with real emotions, even with the level of mystery that S.E.E.S provides them. 

No date-able Persona girl compares to the prowess that is Mitsuru Kirjio. I love a woman who can kick my ass. — Sam Wachter




Persona 4 easily features the most cohesive group of the bunch. Yosuke acts as both the best friend and the voice of the player, while also having chemistry with every character in the cast. Chie’s high energy is the perfect compliment to Yukiko’s overly polite personality. Rise does an excellent job bringing the group together and acting as a friend to everyone. Kanji has some of the best banter and asks a lot of the right questions, while Naoto’s confidence in her detective abilities combined with her lack of confidence in her gender identity creates a fun character dynamic. Teddie acts as an effective punching bag for the group. Adding onto this is the group’s close proximity to each other and the multiple opportunities for them to just hang out and be teenagers. — Ezra Kinnell




As it stands, Persona 4 is the only game in the series that I have played to completion multiple times while maxing out the social links of all team members. I always enjoy seeing more of what makes these characters tick. The idea of coming to terms with what you consider your weakness or flaws and just trying to be happy as you are is easily my favourite theme of any of the Persona games. My memories of it are golden. — Robert Sinclair

Persona 5 mixes a gang of misfits with troubled pasts to create a solid group of vigilantes called the Phantom Thieves. From protagonist Joker, who suffers from being falsely accused as he tries to start fresh, to the enigmatic yet charismatic cat Morgana who helps lead the team while ignoring his origins, all the allies bring something memorable to the adventure. Ann’s beauty and Futaba’s insecurity are both mesmerizing while Ryuji and Makoto bring life to two opposite poles that end up being a terrific combo. The confidants also have alluring personalities that make bonding with them a joyful experience. Deluded people from whom the Phantom Thieves steal hearts are also excellent since the story manages to make players despise them and feel excited about taking them down. The Phantom Thieves undoubtedly steal the hearts of the players as well.  — Luis Mauricio




One could readily make the case for each of the groups being the best in their own ways and it’d be tough for me to argue against it; all of them have plenty of memorable main characters. However, Persona 5 makes itself stand out a bit more with the integration of its supporting members. That’s not to say that the other games have their own fantastically written and emotional stories and characters behind theirs, but by treating the Social Link characters as Confidants, Persona 5 ties these characters more closely into its general themes. The support — both tangible and mental — that goes both ways between Joker and the Social Links plays a crucial role in making the Phantom Thieves so easy to root for. — Alex Fuller

Do you agree or disagree with our staff’s opinions? Let us know in the comments or in our Discord Channel which Persona game you feel has the best cast of characters!

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