Also known as
The Imperious Queen of Executions (P4A)
Mit-chan (by Teddie)
One-Handed Swords (P3), Rapiers (P3P)
Date of Birth
May 8th, 1991
17-18 (P3), 18 (The Answer), 20 (P4A)
- "I remember... Yes... With my father's death, I lost my purpose in life... But now I have something to live for. No longer will I run from the future! I will face it head on, carrying out my father's will! I am resolved and without reservation. I owe it all to my invaluable friends... And we have promised to never lose hope, no matter what tomorrow may bring."
- —Mitsuru Kirijo, Persona 3
Mitsuru Kirijo is a playable character originating from Persona 3. She is heir to the Kirijo Group and a student at Gekkoukan High School during Persona 3.
Mitsuru has long red hair covering her left eye. The hue of the hair can sometimes appear vivid red or dark red. Her eyes are brown, although they have sometimes been portrayed with hints of red.
At school and in Tartarus, she wears the Gekkoukan High uniform with personal effects: no jacket, a white blouse, a black skirt that goes above her knees and black knee-high high-heeled boots. On the weekends and days off, she wears a short black peacoat, a white scarf, and white pants, along with her black boots. In the summer, however, she wears a white sleeveless turtleneck shirt and black pants. As with the rest of SEES, Mitsuru wears a swimsuit during the excursion at Yakushima. She is seen wearing a kimono at numerous appropriate occasions.
A younger Mitsuru, seen briefly in The Answer, had curly pigtails. She previously wore a red ribbon with a green gem, a white puffy blouse, a red skirt, white stockings, and brown shoes.
In her middle school years, she is seen wearing the standard summer school uniform and a black sweater vest.
In Persona 3: Dancing Moon Night, she retain some parts of her school uniform except her bloose shirt is open that shows her fancy black sport bra with maroon short jacket, leggings and high heel leather boots. In addition, she also wears a black choker, magenta gloves, and a pair of black headphones.
In Persona 4 Arena, Mitsuru, now 20 years old, reappears and is wearing a fur coat over a black catsuit. She still fights with a rapier and carries an Evoker in a holster on her thigh.
- "You see, I had overestimated my ability to handle everything alone. Few people can be that strong... There are times where we cannot stand without the support of others."
- —Mitsuru Kirijo, Persona 3, alternate ending
Mitsuru is calm, confident, mature, responsible, wise and very intelligent despite being a high school student. However, she may be interpreted as slightly arrogant, conceited, or overconfident. As events unfold, this may be a front of maturity due to her assumed role as the leader of SEES. Her Persona Arcana is the Empress, which fits with the "motherly/older sisterly" role she plays in the group.
Mitsuru has a streak of strict conduct. Per formal Japanese culture, Mitsuru is the only member of SEES who formally addresses her fellow club mates by their last names. Akihiko is an exception to this, as the two are good friends and have known each other since junior high. Eventually, she becomes more familiar with the other SEES members and refers to Yukari on a first-name basis and the others' on occasion. Mitsuru is also very insistent with the team keeping their grades up, going so far as to sign them up for summer classes behind their backs. Mitsuru is also outspoken and has zero tolerance. For example, when the female protagonist is elected leader, Junpei is annoyed because "he's the only guy in the group." Mitsuru sternly tells Junpei, "Whether one is a man or woman doesn't factor into it. The responsibility falls to those who have the gift. And let me add, if you ever say or do anything to condescend to her because she's a woman..."
Despite her often getting annoyed at Akihiko's eagerness to fight, Shinjiro claims in Persona Q that she enjoys fighting just as much as he does if not more.
Mitsuru is shown to be quite awkward when dealing with normal social situations, likely due to her upbringing. It is noted by her father that she has difficulty trusting others, and at one point he tells her that she can only do so much on her own and reminds her of the Kirijo Group's guiding principle, "Two in harmony surpasses one in perfection," which Mitsuru takes to heart.
In The Answer, during the dispute over what to do with the keys, Mitsuru sides with Yukari, much to Akihiko's confusion. Her reason for doing this is not revealed until after the conflict is resolved; after the protagonist's death, she swore an oath that if anything happened to make Yukari suffer, she would put aside her own feelings and stand with her no matter what, as payment for her being there for her the year before. It's then that Mitsuru truly returns the favor; she tells Yukari that while losing someone close to you is agony, there's no need to suffer alone and that she and the others can be there for her when she needs it the most, and that that's the reason one forms such bonds in the first place.
Mitsuru Kirijo is the only child of Takeharu Kirijo, the head of the Kirijo Group, and Hanae Kirijo. Although Mitsuru's mother Hanae is alive, she is essentially never talked about except in Persona 3 Drama CD: New Moon. Her grandfather Kouetsu Kirijo worked for the Kirigo Group and died in an incident. Mitsuru is Gekkoukan High School's valedictorian and student council president, as well as a member of the school fencing team. She is one of the most respected and popular students at the school.
Before the protagonist joins, and even to a degree after he joins, Mitsuru serves as the leader of SEES due to her natural talent for leadership. The protagonist and Mitsuru have a good relationship from the start of the game. She offers rewards to him for high test scores and she pushes him to excel.
Mitsuru has battled the Shadows longer than any of the other members of SEES, having been trained since a young age to use her Persona. From the start of the game, Mitsuru uses her Persona ability aided with special devices to provide battle information and support for the party on the early stages of exploring Tartarus. Even with continued conditioning and self-training, Mitsuru's support range eventually reached its limit, given that her Persona was primarily battle-oriented more than anything else.
After the rescue and induction of Fuuka Yamagishi to SEES, Mitsuru returns to the front lines. She uses ice attacks and is weak against fire, uses fencing rapiers in combat, and has an occasionally frustrating tendency to use Marin Karin and Tentarafoo.
Mitsuru initially hides many details about Tartarus and the Dark Hour from SEES due to her guilt over her family's involvement with creating them. Her grandfather's goal of triggering the Fall caused a majority of the problems that SEES must overcome, and Mitsuru feels she alone bears the burden of restoring her family's honor.
On November 4th, 2009, Shuji Ikutsuki's betrayal and murder of her father destroys Mitsuru's will to fight, and even her will to live to a great extent. She feels that restoring the Kirijo family honor is pointless if she's the only remaining Kirijo. Mitsuru begins to beat herself up, feeling foolish for blindly trusting Ikutsuki and feeling partially responsible for her father's death.
While vacationing at Kyoto, Yukari manages to connect with Mitsuru. Mitsuru talks about her father, and her resentment towards herself for falling into Ikutsuki's trap. When Mitsuru says her life has no meaning, Yukari slaps her face. Yukari says she wants to fulfill her father's wish to eliminate the Shadows and Dark Hour, and Mitsuru agrees. Persona becomes Artemisia. Mitsuru resolves to become the new head of the Kirijo Group and to continue the fight with SEES.
When the protagonist confronts Nyx Avatar's true form Death, Mitsuru's voice is heard wishing for the protagonist to be strong, and she offers her life for him.
After defeating Nyx Avatar, Mitsuru is in charge of the school's graduation ceremony speech. However, during the speech, when she mentions her father died from sudden illness, Mitsuru repeats "sudden illness" and goes quiet for a moment. Mitsuru's strong will and reluctance to forget what happened to her father overpowers the memory erasure caused by the Dark Hour ending, causing everyone else to remember their promise they made with the protagonist. They run out of the auditorium and to the roof to reunite with him.
If the protagonist has the highest level of Academics, then Mitsuru will date him. In this event, Mitsuru reveals that she has a fiance from an arranged marriage, and that he doesn't really care about her. She initially intends on marrying him anyway for the good of the Kirijo Group; however, establishing a relationship with the protagonist caused her to realize that it would not be the best thing for her or for the Kirijo Group, and in turn, ends up falling in love with the protagonist.
Just like in the other versions of game, the maximum Academics requirement remains the same. However, during the female protagonist's route, she seems to be more protective of the protagonist, defending her when Junpei complains of her role as leader despite being a girl during the May operation. When Mitsuru's Social Link reaches level 9, she reveals she fully trusts the female protagonist and her advice in making her life come together. At the end of the social link, Mitsuru will tell the protagonist that it is like she has gained a younger sister and thanks her.
Additionally, maxing out her social link on a New Game+ as the male character will allow you to spend time with her during the final cutscene rather than Aigis.
Mitsuru returns to her position as leader after the members of SEES are trapped in the dorm. She has Aigis lead the raiding party in the Abyss of Time since Aigis now possesses the Wild Card. Mitsuru decides to research some old documents that she thinks might help answer why the Abyss appeared.
At Ptolomea, in one of the flashbacks, Mitsuru, still a little child, is taken by her father, Takeharu Kirijo, a scientist from the Ergo Division and some guards to Tartarus. Unlike what it may seem at a first glance, she asked for that herself. While still at the entrance, one of the guards transforms into a Shadow and attacks his companions. Mitsuru stands in the way between the Shadow and her father and then her Persona, Penthesilea, awakens and defeats the Shadow. The scientist that accompanied them, far from worried, praises her unusual power and gets reprimanded by Takeharu, who laments the destiny his daughter is going to bear from now on.
Upon defeating the manifestation of SEES' negative wills and collective desire to see the protagonist, Aigis realizes that they have the ability to travel back to the time where the protagonist seals Nyx. Enraged by Aigis' indecisiveness about whether to return to the past, Yukari lashes out, revealing that she's jealous of Aigis for being together with the protagonist and hearing his last words during his final moments. She proclaims that she wants to go back and stop the protagonist, which is opposed by Akihiko and Ken since it would be disrespecting his will, with Junpei adding that by stopping the protagonist's actions, SEES would essentially undo their efforts of stopping the Fall.
As their opinions differ, the SEES members separate to fight each other to determine which one is right. Only Mitsuru supports Yukari's decision, but it is implied Mitsuru sides with Yukari not because she actually agrees with Yukari's plan, but because of a few reasons: Mitsuru doesn't want Yukari to feel any more alone than she has to be; Mitsuru wants to repay Yukari for her kindness and support after Takeharu's death; and to give Yukari a fair chance since a team of only one fighter would be unfair. Mitsuru and Yukari face Aigis and Metis for the keys and are defeated. Mitsuru then consoles a grieving Yukari who misses the protagonist. Mitsuru tells Yukari she must accept the past, thanks Yukari for her support when her father died, and that her friends will always be here for her.
After Erebus is defeated, Mitsuru and the team escape the dorm.
In Persona 4, the new student council president of Gekkoukan High, Chihiro Fushimi, mentions that one of the former presidents helped her write her speech to the students of Yasogami High School during their visit. It is believed that Mitsuru is this president.
Persona 4 ArenaEdit
After graduating from Gekkoukan High, Mitsuru went to college and is a part of the social elite. She becomes the head of a special operations unit called the Shadow Operatives. But when a plane in transit is hijacked and a piece of cargo, the Anti-Shadow WeaponLabrys, gets lost in Inaba, she calls on Akihiko and Aigis to accompany her to Inaba to retrieve it. She finds that, as Persona users, they are able to enter the TV world only to find themselves in a strange tournament featuring the Persona users of Inaba.
Upon rescuing Rise and locating Labrys, she discovers another Labrys. As Labrys and her shadow run off, Rise reminds Mitsuru to trust in Labrys as Mitsuru's cold and direct personality pushed Labrys to a corner. When she reaches Labrys, Rise connects her to everyone else using their words to help Labrys accept her own self as Mitsuru reflects on their bonds, much like her own bonds, reminding her that she is not alone. After Labrys accepts her shadow, they reunite with the Inaba group but Labrys is soon hacked into as a shadow takes on Mitsuru's form. Mitsuru quickly realizes that the shadow is an imposter as Fuuka disrupts the hacker's signal and Mitsuru defeats her "shadow." Learning the weight of the situation, she asks the Inaba group to back off the case to protect them, though she understands that they will probably follow her, eventually giving Naoto Shirogane her approval to further pursue the case. Before leaving, Labrys tells her that she wants to find the true culprit behind the case to give back to her new friends as Mitsuru gladly accepts her resolve.
Mitsuru is a fierce character with a variety of fast pokes that have a respectable amount of range. Like Yu, she is also a "Jack-of-All Stats" character, however, as Yu tends to focus on speed, Mitsuru leans more on force. She has several options to pressure an opponent, even if she is not in direct contact and can draw her opponents in with long-range Persona attacks. Additionally, she can freeze opponents and inflict Charm which drains the opponent's SP gauge to add to her own. Mitsuru is however somewhat limited in attack options. Thus she relies on her feints and delayed attacks in order to either bait out moves from her opponents or go for a reset. Also, like Guile of the Street Fighter series and other examples, Mitsuru is one of the few "charge motion" characters on the roster, so her special moves in the heat of battle require precise timing to stick them into combos, save for her SP skills. Also like Guile, she also has a hopping normal attack that can be directed backward or forward mid-hop (akin to both Guile and Charlie Nash's Sobat attacks).
Mitsuru's theme/leitmotif is named "Missions for the Brilliant Executor," a nod to her duties and her "executions." The OST disc version has altered instrumentals in comparison to a few of the other themes, while the remixed version in Persona 4 The ULTIMATE in MAYONAKA ARENA Original Arrange Soundtrack, known as "Missions for the Brilliant Executor -2K Mix-" features a quicker tempo and more rock instrumentals.
Mitsuru has 4 Persona cards/units total in the first Arena game. In Ultimax, this amount does not change.
Her Megaten-series moves in these games are Marin Karin (used as her 2C), Getsu-ei (used as her Furious Action), Bufula, Myriad Arrows, Bufudyne, Mabufudyne and Niflheim. In Ultimax, she also gains Tentarafoo (used as an ice elemental attack as opposed to a wind-based attack like Yosuke's version).
Mitsuru is the seventh character in Score Attack. More of her attacks now inflict freeze, charm, or both.
Persona 4 Arena UltimaxEdit
In Yukari's P3 Mode Epilogue, she finally manages to spend time with Mitsuru, after not seeing each other in a while. Yukari worries about Mitsuru's well-being after the events that took fold, partly because it was caused by the Kirijo Group's negative legacy, she worries that Mitsuru will bear all the burden on her own. Yukari thinks back to the time she confronted Mitsuru emotionally in Kyoto three years prior and thinks of doing the same thing now, but this saddens her since it would be repeating what's already been done. She feels that they should be able to confess their concerns and burdens freely to each other since their best friends.
Yukari and Mitsuru's outing is then interrupted by a group of children who recognizes Yukari as Feather Pink, when a flustered Yukari manages to disperse the crowd Mitsuru teasingly asks Yukari what it's like being a hero, Yukari says that it's worth it since the kids seem really into the show. Mitsuru then recites the opening line of Featherman, revealing she herself watches the show much to Yukari's stunned surprise. When Yukari then asks why she watches the show, a confused Mitsuru responds by saying why wouldn't she when her best friend is one of the stars.
Mitsuru further elaborates that she sensed something from watching the show, that Yukari is trying to help people especially children, teaching them not to bring harm into their lives, a blushing Yukari admits that's exactly how it is. Yukari expands about the topic in her inner monologue saying that protagonists of hero shows don't just punish evil; they protect those who are precious to them and give everyone the hope to live, she believes that these shows teach a lot of important lessons to children.
Mitsuru then mentions how the rest of S.E.E.S are trying to live their lives the best way they all can in their own way, saying that's why she can concentrate with her own duties because the trust they formed as a team won't be easily broken. Yukari feeling beaten in the conversation, makes a promise to believe in her best friend more and to watch over Mitsuru as she does to her, a sweet-talked Yukari and Mitsuru then make an agreement to meet up and contact each other more often, as Yukari takes Mitsuru for another round of shopping, she notes that whatever feelings that have been bothering her from the beginning have now disappeared.
Persona Q: Shadow of the LabyrinthEdit
Mitsuru's co-op attack hits random enemies multiple times, similar to the Myriad Arrows skill.
Kanji Tatsumi(Japanese: 巽 完二,Hepburn: Tatsumi Kanji) is a fictional character introduced in the 2008 PlayStation 2 video game Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 by Atlus. In the game Kanji is a high school student who becomes famous in television after fighting delinquents in the streets. Kanji becomes a victim of a series of kidnappings where the person is thrown to a dimension known as the TV World and the main cast of characters goes to save him from his alternate self, his Shadow. After Kanji is saved from the experience with the Shadow being turned into a power known as Persona, he joins the Investigation Team, befriending them in the process. He has also appeared in other works such as the fighting game Persona 4 Arena and the crossover Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth, He is voiced by Tomokazu Seki in Japanese, and Troy Baker in English in Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4, Persona 4: Golden, Persona 4: Arena, and the first twelve episodes of Persona 4: The Animation; his English voice actor for the remainder of Persona 4: The Animation, as well as subsequent games, is Matthew Mercer.
Kanji has received generally positive reception for his role in Persona 4 including his Social Links where he undergoes character development. However, his ambiguous sexual preference has become one of the game's most controversial themes with several writers commenting on whether the game does a good job in explaining Kanji's personality.
Concept and creation
Early designs of Kanji were drastically different from the final one. He was initially given the classic gang-style pompadour. His design was made by Shigenori Soejima. Both of Kanji's Personas are based on his own visual appearance.
Yu Namba, the Persona 4 Project Lead for Atlus USA, commented that while Kanji's Shadow might offend some players due to it being a gay stereotype, Kanji was nothing like a stereotype. Kanji's sexual orientation was left ambiguous to all players. Namba added "We would like everyone to play through the game and come up with their own answers to that question; there is no official answer ... What matters is that Kanji's other self cries out, 'Accept me for who I am!' I think it's a powerful message which many, if not all of us can relate to." Nich Maragos, Persona 4 Editor for Atlus USA, agreed with Namba, but personally held the opinion that Kanji was homosexual. The localization team of Persona 4 made a point of keeping as true to the original translation as possible. He cited Shadow Kanji's flamboyant personality and stated, "That flamboyance was also what the viewers of the Midnight Channel wanted to see: a typical gay person on TV that people would laugh at. The TV station broadcasts what the audience prefers to watch -- it's a stark portrayal of modern society." Namba also made some scenes which involved Kanji's sexual orientation more subtle without removing the scenes' value.
He is voiced by Tomokazu Seki in Japanese, Troy Baker in English, and Matt Mercer in later English releases. Seki's portrayal was highly praised by the game's staff due to the delivery of his lines. Youichiro Omi was cast as Kanji Tatsumi for the Persona 4 musical.
Kanji Tatsumi first appears in the PlayStation 2 video game Persona 4. He is a delinquent who has a reputation as being a bully, and is the center of numerous rumors regarding a confrontation with a local biker gang. As a result, he was initially given the "classic gang-style pompadour" in the making of his design. The fourth victim to be sent to the TV world, Kanji is revealed to have a complex with his Shadow revealing he hates girls as a result of criticizing his sewing and is more interested in boys. After the protagonist's group comes to save Kanji when he is trapped in the Midnight Channel, he accepts that his other self is an important part of his identity. Kanji learns of the Investigation Team's actions in Persona 4 and joins them to find the culprit.
His sexual orientation remains ambiguous across the series, with Kanji being first interested in Naoto Shirogane when first meeting her, believing her to be a boy, but is still attracted to her when it is revealed that she is a girl. His Persona is Take-Mikazuchi(タケミカヅチ), an imposing, black, robotic humanoid which has a skeleton-like design, like Kanji's shirt, and is armed with a large lightning bolt. Throughout Yu's interactions with Kanji, he reveals to be skilled at tailoring inspired by his family who runs a textile shop but stopped making dolls when accused by fellow students. Kanji eventually learns to take pride in his skills, rather than hide them. Shortly afterwards, Take-Mikazuchi evolves into Rokuten Maoh(ロクテンマオウ,Rokuten Maō), who has a fiery motif instead of Take-Mikazuchi's skeleton and lightning. In Persona 4: Golden, Kanji's new Persona is Take-Jizaiten(タケジザイテン), which resembles Rokuten Maoh but has elaborate white armor with red flame details.
The friendship made with Kanji serves as the Social Link to The Emperor; this is signified in Persona 4: The Animation by Yu's Persona King Frost(キングフロスト,Kingu Furosuto).
He appears as a playable character in Persona 4 Arena and its sequel Persona 4 Arena Ultimax with Take-Mikazuchi. In the game's story mode, Kanji accidentally falls into the TV World's P-1 Grand Prix tournament and believes he is having a dream as he encounters his friends. He later believes that the main cause of this is his Shadow who has been impersonated by an unknown person. He also appears in the spin-off games Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth and Persona 4: Dancing All Night. He will be available as a paid DLC character in the forthcoming BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle, which features characters from the Persona 4 Arena, BlazBlue, Under Night In-Birth, and RWBY franchises.
Kanji has received generally positive reception for his role in Persona 4. According to Gamasutra's Samantha Xu, reception for Kanji by Persona 4 players has been "neutral or positive."Kotaku's Kirk Hamilton found Kanji to be a particularly funny character in Persona 4 Golden. He cited Kanji's animal crackers and "general grump obliviousness."GamesRadar staff claimed that Kanji, as well as Chie and Teddie, were "well-defined by scenes that shift between comedy and drama fluidly."Game Informer's Kimberley Wallace felt that Kanji had one of the best Social Links in Persona 4. She stated, "From Kanji’s hilarious overreactions to seeing him show his true emotions about his struggle, the social link is fun and heartwarming." He was also listed as the third best Persona character by Kimberley Wallace from Game Informer who praised the way he starts expressing he likes "adorable things" despite looking like delinquent. IGN listed him as the best Persona character, commenting that while initially looking like the "resident tough guy" of Persona 4, "he represents everything excellent about Persona's outstanding characters and storytelling." Atlus senior project manager Masaru Nanba remarked on how popular the interpretation of Kanji and his Shadow were in the west in an interview with Famitsu in 2013.
Kanji's sexuality is one of the most controversial elements of Persona 4 by North American players according to 1UP.com's Andrew Fitch. Fitch worried that both gay and straight players in North America may be offended by how he was designed. Atlus senior project manager Masaru Nanba remarked on how popular the interpretation of Kanji and his Shadow were in the west in an interview with Famitsu in 2013. CVG Online's Matthew Pellett called the examination of his sexuality a "first" for Japanese role-playing games. Game Career Guide's Patrick Hayes stated that Shadow Kanji represents his "confusion over manhood and sexuality." Larry Hester of Complex ranked him the sixth best LGBT character in video games.IGN's Keza MacDonald cited Kanji as one of the few playable gay characters in a Japanese video game. Kotaku's Jason Schreier suggested that his lack of understanding of his sexuality comes from his young age. Colette Bennett, editor for Destructoid, felt that most American gamers would think Kanji was gay. She also felt that American designers were not "comfortable with portraying characters like Kanji." VG247's Julie Horup listed Kanji as an example of a homosexual character in video games.Huffington Post also featured it in a list of LGBT video game characters.Salon's Luke Winkie chose Kanji as his favourite LGBT character in video games. He stated, "By the end of the game you remember Kanji as your friend, not a kid in the closet."
Gamasutra's Xu noted that Kanji was one of the first video game characters to address his sexual identity in an "engaging and meaningful manner." She followed by stating that while he "may not be politically progressive enough to dub him the Harvey Milk of gaming ... his unique existence in Persona 4 is a small and positive move forward toward a more socially diversified gaming universe." Brenda Brathwaite, author of "Sex in Video Games" stated: "It would have been amazing if they would have made a concrete statement that he is gay. That we could play as a gay main character in a video game would be a big deal." She added, "I can find twenty things that I didn't like about how Kanji was portrayed, such as the game's juvenile nature in dealing with his sexuality, but there is a part of me that is thrilled there is a gay character in a game and that a game would portray how they are dealing with their inner struggles and interactions with friends." Dr. Antonia Levi, author of "Samurai from Outer Space: Understanding Japanese Animation", discussed the differences between homosexuality's acceptability in the United States versus Japan. She claimed that unlike the US, Japan had no legislation related to homosexuality and did not view sexuality as a matter of "right or wrong." She explained that this was the reason for Kanji's sexual ambiguity. Xu cited Levi in her article to explain that Japanese people tend to be outwardly traditional, and their private sexual life is not judged. She stated, "For Kanji, working at his family's textile shop was a very traditional and respectable job, one that could have been at risk had he made a lifestyle choice to have an openly gay relationship with another man." She further cited Japan scholar Dr. Mark McLelland, who stated that "recent research has shown, the notion of 'coming out' is seen as undesirable by many Japanese gay men and lesbians as it necessarily involves adopting a confrontational stance against mainstream lifestyles and values, which many still wish to endorse." Xu explains that this culture may explain that Kanji was not rejecting the existence of his homosexuality or that the developers were not homophobic.
GameSpot's Carolyn Petit felt that his depiction "leaves a great deal to be desired" and stated that it "rejects" Kanji's sexuality instead of "embracing" it. She stated that she was intrigued by the idea behind Kanji initially, but was disappointed that Kanji's "shadow self" was based on his fear of women rather than his attraction to men. She felt that this theme didn't make sense, given the imagery of his dungeon. She claimed that the rejection of Kanji's sexuality "sends the message that homosexuality is shameful and should not be accepted." She also criticized the handling of how Yosuke reacts to Kanji's sexuality, claiming that his homophobia toward Kanji was left unaddressed and uncriticized by the end of the game.Metro Weekly's Sean Bugg felt that while elements of Kanji weren't homophobic, they weren't "exactly a PSA for tolerance, either."
Author Jordan Youngblood described Kanji and Naoto's depictions as "meta-commentary on the means by which the idealized vision of queer utopia within the digital is disrupted by the player’s engagement in the game’s encoded processes." He added that the "ruptures this creates in exposing and involving the player in queer play (so to speak) offer a fascinating tension between the game’s intended outcomes and the result brought about through engagement in its procedural rhetoric." He made a point of using it to examine how game theory and queer theory can interact in a discussion. He discusses Kanji's dungeon and suggests that the steam in it represents "concealment and uncertainty." He added, "As the player moves through the dungeon, her spatial experience mimics the larger confusion of Kanji’s sexual needs: objects appear and disappear, bodies are harder to locate." He felt that the stage became a "body itself for the player to queerly experience via the avatar." The use of the word "queer" by Shadow Kanji was described by Youngblood as a word used to describe Kanji's "failure to live up to" the opposite sex's "assumptions of male identity" rather than a failure to live up to it to the same sex. The two enemies that accompany Shadow Kanji's boss battle - "Nice Guy" and "Tough Guy" - were claimed by Youngblood to be evocative of bara and yaoi, and that the "split black/white appearance of all three bodies also indicates a mixing and rupturing of sexual expectations along the lines of race as well as gender." He also discusses a scene wherein Yosuke questions his sexual identity, stating that "for the rest of the game, then, Kanji will be on a quest to “prove” that his desires follow a non-queer path—but as hard as he tries, the body he feels the closest attraction to is still his queer partner, Naoto."
- ^ abMatthew Mercer [@matthewmercer] (June 27, 2014). "I just heard we are green lit to talk about it! I am voicing Kanji Tatsumi in "Persona 4 Arena Ultimax" and "Persona Q"! 😁" (Tweet). Retrieved August 13, 2016 – via Twitter.
@heyitscena (June 27, 2014). "@matthewmercer AhhhAHAH????? I don't know how feel!? I mean I love both your Kanji and @TroyBakerVA's Kanji ;O;" (Tweet). Retrieved August 13, 2016 – via Twitter.
Matthew Mercer [@matthewmercer] (June 27, 2014). "@pt_Cena @TroyBakerVA will always be my Kanji. I'm doing my best to honor him!" (Tweet). Retrieved August 13, 2016 – via Twitter.
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