akihiko sanada guide

Akihiko Sanada Guide

Persona 3 was the first in the series to be released on the Playstation 2. Moving to the second generation of Playstation provided the series with graphical updates that breathed new life into the series.

But looks have never really been the selling point of any game in the Shin Megami Tensei franchise or its offshoots. No, these games are more about grinding difficulty, dungeon crawling, and building relationships with your friends and classmates.

Persona 3 also happened to be my first experience with the franchise. It didn’t take long for me to pinpoint my favorite Persona character in the game: Akihiko Sanada.

Akihiko Sanada is the brawler of your party and holds no punches when it comes to fighting Shadows in Tartarus, the tower you must conquer in Persona 3.

He’s a fighter through and through and will protect the people he cares about in any circumstance. He has a dark past that made him the way he is when we start Persona 3 and that past makes him relatable.

Are you looking to learn more about Akihiko and his role in the events of Persona 3?

In this Akihiko Sanada guide, I’ll cover the essential information you need to know about SEES’s resident boxer, from his backstory to his fighting style. Let’s dive in to the character of Akihiko Sanada.

Bottom Line Up Front

  • Akihiko Sanada is a character and party member in Persona 3, a game developed by Atlus.
  • He is the captain of the high school boxing team and uses his fists to fight enemies in Tartarus, the main dungeon of Persona 3.
  • Players playing the female protagonist in Persona 3 Portable can form a romantic Social Link with Akihiko.
  • Because of his fighting style, Akihiko does considerable physical damage in addition to his Electric-type spells.


Akihiko Sanada

Note: This guide contains some spoilers.

Akihiko Sanada is a character and core party member in the Persona 3 line of video games in the larger Shin Megami Tensei franchise developed by Atlus. This includes Persona 3, Persona 3 FES, Persona 3 Portable, and Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight. He also makes appearances in subsequent entries in the series, including Persona 4 Arena.

Akihiko is a potential party member in the Persona Q spinoff series as well, which includes Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth and Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth.

The most important thing to know about Akihiko is that he’s a natural-born fighter. He’s the captain of Gekkoukan High School’s boxing team.

He’s also one of the original members of SEES, the group known as the Specialized Extracurricular Execution Squad created to investigate the Dark Hour and Tartarus. His eagerness to throw down at a moment’s notice is partly due to a past filled with tragedy and a need to protect others.

Akihiko grew up an orphan along with his younger sister, Miki, and best friend and former SEES member, Shinjiro Aragaki. Sadly, Miki passed away in a fire that consumed the orphanage, causing a transformation in Akihiko. He wanted to become stronger – strong enough to prevent anyone close to him from dying a needless death ever again.

He became consumed by his quest for strength, leading him to take up boxing and eventually become a champion and the captain of his high school team in the process.

While it may seem like all that Akihiko thinks about is the next fight, he does show a caring side from time to time. He’s like an older brother to the younger members of SEES and influences them, especially Junpei Iori. He can seem blunt and harsh from the outside looking in, but his relationship with Shinjiro tells a different story.

The two stay in contact, even after disagreeing about Shinjiro leaving SEES after accidentally killing Ken Amada‘s mother with his Persona, which at that time had gone berserk.

From dialogue with Shinjiro, we learn that Akihiko has a soft side to him – as a kid he used to cry when he tried to beat up Shinjiro after doing something he considered morally questionable. The two are essentially brothers, having experienced the worst that life could throw at them from an early age together at the orphanage.

Akihiko is also, whether he likes to admit it or not, shy around girls. Despite this, he has a good number of fangirls that follow him around, singing his praises. The only girl he shows any real attraction to is the female protagonist from Persona 3 Portable. If you play as her, you can form a Social Link with him with an optional romance path.

In battle, Akihiko draws on his boxing experience to do his damage. His Persona, Polydeuces, casts Electric spells, but can also heal and do physical damage. In the extended edition of Persona 3, Persona 3 FES, Akihiko gains access to different abilities in the epilogue The Answer, including Gigantic Fist, an ability that does heavy physical damage.


Akihiko Sanada

Akihiko’s appearance in Persona 3 is striking, to say the least. The first thing that will probably catch your eye is his short silver hair. He wears a red sweater vest over his white dress shirt that is a part of his Gekkoukan High School uniform. He also wears the slacks and shoes from the rest of the school uniform. Lastly, he often slings his uniform jacket over one shoulder.

A key piece of Akihiko’s style is his black gloves. He is hardly ever seen without them on, except when SEES members go on their school field trip. I don’t think it’s ever explained why he wears them, but I would assume it’s to protect his hand, even if only slightly, from the damage they could sustain from punching things.

Akihiko also has a band-aid on his head just above his left eye. He almost always has some sort of bandage on his face, presumably from his matches with the boxing club.

Like most characters in Persona 3, Akihiko’s outfit changes depending on the season. In the summer he ditches the sweater vest and button-up shirt for a red V-neck that he pairs with white pants. When winter rolls around, he goes completely white with his jacket and pants. He also wears a red scarf.

Persona 4 Arena offers a look at an older Akihiko. Now 20 years old, he’s gained a scar on the left side of his head in addition to his band-aid. He’s got some stubble on his chin that shows his age, but what’s more surprising are the multiple scars on his body. His brown pants are torn and he carries an assortment of tools with him, namely a machete and an Evoker to summon his Persona.

Key Moments in Persona 3 and Persona 3 FES

Akihiko Joins the Battle


At the beginning of Persona 3, Akihiko is injured as a result of a previous encounter with a Shadow. Shortly after taking your midterm tests, you return to the dorm to hear Yukari congratulating Akihiko. His arm has finally healed and he’s ready to get back to training and fighting with the group.

He believes he’s wasted time in the hospital healing, which shows his tendency to push himself, even at the risk of reinjury. Not only that but he’s found another Persona user – Fuuka Yamagishi. He’s itching to save her, even though he’s never met her – more proof of his resolve to become stronger and help those in need.

Shinjiro Rejoins SEES, Polydeuces Evolves

Shinjiro, as previously mentioned, is Akihiko’s best friend. He was one of the founders of SEES along with Mitsuru and Akihiko. He quit the organization after his Persona went berserk, killing an innocent bystander who happened to be the mother of Ken Amada, a younger member of SEES.

When Ken joins SEES, Akihiko is finally able to convince Shinjiro to rejoin the group and fight with them. He wants to make amends for what happened in the past, despite knowing that Ken is seeking revenge for the death of his mother – it’s the reason he joined SEES.

Sadly, the reunion is cut short by Takaya Sakaki, a member of the villainous group Stega. Shinjiro and Ken encounter him at Port Island Station on an October night. Takaya is aiming to shoot Ken, but Shinjiro sacrifices himself to save the boy by jumping in front of the bullet at the last possible moment.

Akihiko arrives on the scene too late to save Shinjiro, but he can hear his final wish: take care of Ken. At Shinjiro’s memorial, Akihiko is overcome with emotion.

Even though he is sad, he comes to realize that Shinjiro was brave for making that kind of sacrifice. He wants to have the same kind of bravery and his desire to grow stronger causes Polydeuces to become a stronger Perona of the Emperor Arcana named Caesar.

Key Moments in Persona 3 Portable

Akihiko Sanada Persona 3

Akihiko Reveals His Feelings

The release of Persona 3 on the PSP introduced Social Links into the game, similar to their implementation in Persona 4. If you play as the female protagonist, you have the option to befriend Akihiko to fulfill the Star Arcana Social Link.

Choosing the correct dialogue options eventually leads to a conversation between him and the protagonist on the roof of Gekkoukan High School.

Akihiko has come to realize that the protagonist is someone precious who he feels the need to protect by this point. The only thing he doesn’t fully understand is that it comes from a place of love. You can choose to help him come to see this fact, leading Akihiko to ask the protagonist to be his girlfriend.

If you say yes, Akihiko is momentarily overcome with joy and hugs you, but quickly regains his cool demeanor. It’s a big moment for him as it shows he’s grown to accept attachment again and learned that it doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

Key Moments in Persona 4 Arena

Akihiko Meets Chie

The first time these two brawlers come face to face is a pretty core moment in Peronsa’s foray into the fighting genre. By this point in the timeline, Akihiko has already gone to college and grown into a young adult. He traveled the world as part of his training but eventually was asked to enter the TV world of the Midnight Channel from Persona 4.

When they finally cross paths, Akihiko can see Chie’s devotion to finding and protecting Labrys. As Akihiko was forced to dwell on why he fights, I think he was reminded of his vow at Shinjiro’s memorial just a few years back to be brave.

It leads to Akihiko deciding to pursue a dream of becoming a police officer – a dream that he shares with Chie. She comes to look up to him, even going so far as to refer to him as “Master.” It’s the start of a bond between the two and Akihiko seems to warm to the role of being a teacher to the king fu loving Chie.


Akihiko Sanada Persona

Persona 3

When Akihiko finally joins your party after you’ve already journeyed into Tartarus a few times, he and Polydeuces are level 12 and know the following skills: Sonic Punch, Zio, and Dia.

This positions him as the first Electric-type spell caster and a potential healer. He also becomes a nuisance for enemies when he learns debuffs like Tarunda (lowers an enemy’s Attack) at level 16 and Rakunda (lowers an enemy’s Defense) at level 25.

Akihiko and Polydeuces excel in three stats: Strength, Magic, and Agility. Akihiko is a good character to conserve SP with as he can do decent damage with normal attacks and Sonic Punch.

You’ll be tempted into using his Person’s spells after he learns Elec Boost at level 37. Combined with Zionga and its 10% chance of shock, Akihiko can be a pretty formidable magic-user.

That goes for his healing abilities, too, though it takes a little longer for that to happen. He finally learns Diarama, which restores moderate health to one ally, at level 38. Until then, he’ll do in a pinch if your main healer happens to go down in battle.

Persona 4 Arena

Akihiko’s fighting style translates well to a fighting game due to the boxing techniques that make him a natural-born contestant for the P1 Grand Prix. He can quickly close gaps to get in close and damage opponents with his fists. He’s also a bit of a tank – his health ranks as the second-highest in Persona 4 Arena.

A key part of playing as Akihiko is mastering his Cyclone meter. Linking special moves together causes the meter to fill, giving his attacks increased damage and altering subsequent moves.

Polydeuces joins Akihiko in battles, but the boxing champion prefers to do a good portion of the damage himself. This means Akihiko can weather Persona breaks that would hinder other characters. Between that fact and his health, he’s well-positioned to outlast his opponents in an evenly skilled matchup.

Key Relationships

Persona 4 Arena's Akihiko Sanada

Shinjiro Aragaki

While he was alive, Shinjiro Aragaki was Akihiko’s best friend, even though they had their share of disagreements. Having them finally fight side by side after the dramatic build-up in the plot is a satisfying moment. Shinjiro and his Persona, Castor, are capable of aiding SEES with punishing physical attacks like Heat Wave and Blade of Fury.

Unfortunately, we don’t get to see a whole lot of him and Akihiko together – as we know, Shinjiro dies protecting Ken. Shinjiro’s death leads to vital character development for Akihiko and gives him the conviction to fight on in the battle against Nyx, the final boss of “The Journey” portion of Persona 3 FES.

Mitsuru Kirijo

Mitsuru is one of the original members of SEES along with Akihiko and Shinjiro. We learn in “The Answer” in Persona 3 FES that Mitsuru enticed Akihiko into joining SEES by offering him a new way to fight – with an Evoker.

The two tend to act like brother and sister at times, with Mitsuru taking the role of an older sister. She breaks up arguments between Akihiko and Shinjiro, and Akihiko has even admitted to being scared of her at times.

They are both incredibly bright and talented. In the early days of SEES, this helped to form a nice leadership foundation to carry the organization through the departure of Shinjiro. It’s a testament to their friendship that they were able to press on together.

Persona 3 Female Protagonist

Persona 3 Portable’s inclusion of Social Links allows players to see a different side of Akihiko’s character through the addition of the option to play as a female protagonist.

In the Star Arcana Social Link can see the relationship between the two grow from just friends to a couple if you opt to go the romantic route through the dialogue tree. More importantly, we learn what drives Akihiko: a need to overcome a dark past so that he can build meaningful relationships in the present.

Chie Satonaka

Persona Q Akihiko and Chie

I appreciate Atlus’s willingness to take a chance on a crossover with different entries in the Persona franchise. This allowed us as fans to see new interactions with characters we had never seen together before, like Chie and Akihiko. It must be a thing about having a fighting spirit, but these two respect each other.

The events of Persona 4 Arena caused them to view each other as teacher and student, with Akihiko acting as the teacher as the senior fighter.


Question: Who Voices Akihiko in Persona 3?

Answer: Akihiko’s original Japanese voice actor is Hikaru Midorikawa. He has performed the roles of many famous characters, like Marth from Fire Emblem and Heero Yuy from Mobile Suit Gundam Wing.

In English, Akihiko is voiced by Liam O’Brien. O’Brien is a big name in the world of anime and is probably most known for his role as Gaara in Naruto.

Question: How Old is Akihiko Sanada?

Answer: Akihiko ages throughout Persona 3, Persona 3 FES, and Persona 4 Arena. In Persona 3, he is 17, while in the extended content of FES he’s 18. By the time the events of Persona 4 Arena take place, Akihiko is 20 years old and has already attended college.

Question: Is Akihiko a Romanceable Character?

Answer: Yes, but only in Persona 3 Portable for the PSP. This port that was released in North America in 2010 featured the addition of a female protagonist and Social Links. Players that chose her could complete the Star Arcana Social Link for Akihiko and potentially wind up in a relationship with him before the end of the game.


There are many layers to Akihiko that make him one of the most interesting characters in the Persona series. Experiencing some of the most difficult moments that life can offer hardened him, but not to the point that he couldn’t open up from time to time.

If you’re playing any iteration of Persona 3 for the first time, I suggest keeping him in your party due to his well-rounded skill set. Persona 3 Portable players should complete his Social Link, too, as it adds an extra dimension to his story.

It’s this completeness of character design that I like Ahikiko so much. I hope this guide has helped to learn more about the boxing Persona user so that next time you play Persona 3, you’ll be excited to use him.

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