Part of what makes the Persona series so special is the every day life scenarios it drops you into, letting you live out your days as a high school student, with everything that entails. For fans, part of the attraction has always been the relationships you can build with other party members, both friendships and – of course – romances.
With the release of Persona 3, players were given much more choice in the narrative, choosing who they want to spend time with and romance. There’s been plenty of options over the years with each entry, and the series has always been great about letting you pursue your favorite character. However, there’s definitely a few characters that feel like they’re supposed to be the real canon. Basically, each game has a romantic interest that seems more canon than the others, although Atlus has always done a good job of fleshing out each relationship.
Persona 3, however, may just have the best, most well-thought-out romance of them all with Yukari and the protagonist, also known as Minato. Yukari is one of the very first party members you meet in Persona 3, and she’s the first one you see try to use the evoker to summon her Persona. She and the protagonist build an interesting relationship, and she introduces you to the SEES dorm.
While the party is vacationing on Yakushima Island, Yukari finds out some startling information about her father and his role in the creation of the Dark Hour. She distances herself from the rest of the party, and runs off to the beach in an emotional breakdown. The protagonist has to follow her, and the scene becomes an important character moment for Yukari. This is the first part of the game where it’s hinted that Yukari falls in love with the protagonist, and it’s influential in her becoming closer to the rest of the SEES members.
Throughout the game, Yukari and the protagonist have even more bonding moments, not to mention the scenes you can see through her social link. The two get caught in a Love Hotel during the midnight hour, where you can almost feel the tension between them. Additionally, Yukari and the protagonist have an almost unspoken understanding between them, as they’ve both lost parents.
The final piece that shows how much Yukari really cares about the Minato, has to do with the game’s epilogue, The Answer. After Minato sacrifices himself to save the world, the entire party takes the news pretty hard. Yukari, however, is the only one completely broken up about it, as she hates that she never got to properly say goodbye or reconcile with him.
She’s jealous that Aigis inherited the protagonist’s Orpheus Persona and wild card ability, and frequently argues with the rest of the party. When they find out that they can travel back to the moment of Minato’s death, Yukari is desperate to go back and try and save him, while the rest of the party disagrees. The others feel that changing the past would go against Minato’s will, and undo all their efforts. Finally, the party separates to fight each other and decide who’s right, but eventually Yukari loses out. She reveals her grief at losing Minato, which is a heartbreaking piece that showed how much she really cared about him. Here’s what she says.
“I want to see him… I… I made a promise to him, too… I promised that I’d try my best to change this world, so that people would stop wishing for the Fall… But my promise wasn’t like yours, Aigis… It was something I promised myself while holding his cold hand… That’s why I decided to put the past behind me, and look forward… But I can’t… I can’t be that person… I wanna see him… I don’t care about anything else! I just wanna see him again!”
Persona 3 is a tragic game, its main themes are sadness and depression. Even still, there’s a heartwarming romance to be found with Yukari and Minato. The protagonist sacrifices his own life to save those he loves as well as the world, while Yukari is left to deal with the absence of him in her life. It’s a heartbreaking twist, but ultimately one that leads Yukari to try and live her life as best as she can.
There are plenty of good romance options in the Persona series, and each character that their own specific traits and character flaws. Yukari and Minato, however, develop an intricate relationship that the others don’t have, even if you don’t romance her. This is only strengthened, of course, by completing her social link. Persona 3 was the first game in the series to really introduce romance options, and Persona 4 and 5 while equally compelling have iterated on the character archetypes of Persona 3. Even today, Persona 3 remains a masterful and emotional tale, and the title that easily has the series’ most compelling romance.
So what do you think? Which Persona romance is really the best in your eyes? Leave a comment down below and let us know.