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Before there ever was Joker, the Phantom Thieves, or even the gorgeous locks that someone like Yukiko had, there was the beautiful head of hair that Jun Kurosu had in Persona 2. He was certainly up there in the original trilogy of Persona games for the best-looking character of them all. At least, that is what I thought when I first played the Persona 2 duology about a decade ago. With this knowledge, I bring you this Persona 2 Jun Kurosu guide.
At the heart of every Persona game are the characters and the party members that travel along with you. For a number of reasons, Jun Kurosu is one of the most underrated and underappreciated party members that join your team in a mainline game.
But don’t let this fool you, as he is one of the better and more complicated party members. His story is fascinating and would be the basis for some of the best Persona characters later on. Find out why this is the case in our Persona 2 Jun Kurosu guide.
Bottom Line Up Front
Jun Kurosu is one of the party members in Persona 2: Innocent Sin, both for the PlayStation original and the PSP remake I played. He is one of my favorite party members from that game due to his complicated storyline and background surrounding him.
He is reminiscent of later iconic Persona characters like Junpei, Shinjiro, and even Goro Akechi from Persona 5. This layered nature of his character includes his connections to Joker (not that Joker), which adds some intrigue that I love. Plus, he is the first and only gay romance option in the series for a male main character to date.
Persona 2 Jun Kurosu Overview
When people, including myself, talk about the Persona series these days, it is mainly about the most recent three mainline titles. This is understandable since the jump to 3D in Persona 3 saw many necessary changes to gameplay and visuals that helped the series become what it is today.
But this does not mean we should completely ignore the three mainline games that came out before Persona 3. They were instrumental in bringing what we have today in terms of themes, characters, and some of the general gameplay ideas.
But perhaps one of the most underrated possible inspirations for the later games was one character in Persona 2: Jun Kurosu. He is one of the prominent party members that join the team, a classic high school-aged student with an edgy side to him. Tell me if you have heard that description before in the series.
What is novel about Jun, though, is that he did it first. Long before there would be the edgy and darker main characters in the Persona series, Jun was the first to be that type of complicated person. Well, other than Mai in the original Persona, but her situation was a little unique even today.
However, Jun Kurosu was, by and large, the predecessor to some of the most iconic Persona party members of all time. The themes that he has going on, the twists that occur with his character, and even his general personality are all telltale signs of what Persona would do several times later.
To this point, he is one of my favorite party members in Persona 2, following after perhaps only Maya Amano and Lisa Silverman. His storyline is intriguing and surprising enough for a 1999 PlayStation game, being one of the better parts of the storyline. Fans of characters like Goro Akechi, such as me, will likely love him.
Back in the Persona 2 days, much of the artstyle and aesthetic of the characters were still modeled after the classic Shin Megami Tensei style. In this way, Jun has the facial expression and eyes of a character from the SMT series but in a Persona game.
His eyes are thin and long, with prominent facial features like his pointy nose, dark lips, and thin eyebrows. This gives him an otherworldly but also attractive nature as one of the more handsome characters in Persona 2. Thankfully, he is no Tatsuya Suou, that’s for sure.
What I also appreciate about his appearance is the hairstyle that he has going on. Jun is an attractive man with relatively short-cut hair. But he appeals to that edgy, emo side of me with his parting to the right side, similar to how I part my own hair.
The only difference is that his bangs are much longer than mine and the rest of his own hairstyle, covering the entirety of his right eye and most of his cheek as well. His glorious emo-black hair has my heart, as that is exactly what I was going for as a kid in the 2000s and 2010s.
The rest of his appearance, though, is pretty simple at best. His clothing is a school uniform since he is a student, but there is not a lot going on with it. The entire attire is mostly an ugly light blue color with a buttoned-up long-sleeve blazer on the top and some matching dress pants on the bottom.
He wears standard black dress shoes that have nothing too special going on with them, either. The only intriguing part about his entire outfit is the yellow iris flower that is over his left chest. I think this is a funny touch as it almost makes it look like Jun just got back from Homecoming or prom at his school or something (though these do not exist in Japan in the same way as some Western countries).
The flower sadly looks wilted, like he has been wearing it for a long time. Overall, I would say that Jun’s handsome appearance is enough to make any emo person’s heart go doki doki. It’s just too bad that he has to wear such a lame school uniform that does his character an injustice.
Be aware that this next section is going to have massive spoilers for the storyline of Jun Kurosu in Persona 2: Innocent Sin. If you do not want to know about some of the best twists and turns of the entire game, turn away now. Otherwise, continue onward to see why I like his storyline so much.
Most of the storyline surrounding Jun happens in the latter portions of Innocent Sin, which only worsens the spoilers ahead. But a large part of his background also occurs prior to the events of Persona 2. You see, he grew up in a classic troubled home with an abusive father and fighting parents.
His only escape was spending time with his friends at the local shrine, as they called themselves the Masked Circle. These friends happened to include most of the party members from Persona 2 and later Maya Amano, an older girl who also joined them.
He began to look to these characters as his real family and the only people who truly cared about them. That is why the fire at the shrine and the possible death of Maya shook him to his very core. It damaged his mind and caused him to harbor hatred towards everyone else, especially Tatsuya Suou.
Despite the Persona 2 main character being his best friend, he believed that he was responsible for Maya’s death, not realizing that she was alive. He used his Persona for evil deeds, being one of the main antagonists of Persona 2: Innocent Sin until his defeat.
At this point, he rejoins Tatsuya and realizes the truth of what really happened in the past. He eventually faces his dead parents and has to deal with his childhood trauma before taking on the game’s final boss. In the sequel, Eternal Punishment, Jun plays a minor role but ends up being a target for the main villain that the party has to save.
Jun Kurosu’s special abilities in Persona 2 extend far beyond the usual skills that a Persona user has. Yes, he is a Persona user, without a doubt. That is pretty much a requirement at this point for being a party member in any mainline Persona game to date.
To this point, he has the standard skill of being able to summon his Persona in battle. This is a representation of his inner self and the power that he wields. What is fascinating about his Persona is that he gets two of them, and the story behind how he switches between the two is unique.
The first that he has access to is Hermes. This is the one that he uses throughout most of Innocent Sin as one of the main antagonists that are terrorizing the main characters. After his defeat, though, he gains access to his ultimate Persona with Chronos.
Chronos is a god of time, which allows Jun to do so much more than the average person is able to. It is mainly because of his Persona that the party is able to do what happens at the conclusion of the main story. With the power over time, they are able to work together to create a new world to live in.
They are essentially turning back time in a way while also bridging to a new, alternative timeline where Maya is alive. This is mainly through the power of Chronos and the team putting their Persona abilities together as one. It is a costly procedure but one that works out in the end, in no small part due to the insane abilities that Jun has.
Furthermore, there is still one more crazy skill that he has up his sleeves. This has to do with the rumors system that the Persona 2 games are based around. The general idea is that someone can spread a rumor around the city. If enough people believe it to be true, then it literally happens. This is in part due to Jun’s alter ego.
This next section also has massive spoilers for the Persona 2 games, especially Innocent Sin, so turn away now if you don’t want to know anything about one of the most critical twists of that JRPG. Long before Joker brought together the Phantom Thieves in Persona 5, there was another Joker in the series.
They have no connection to each other and are, in fact, sort of opposites. The Joker in Persona 2 is one of the main villains, being behind much of the issues that are going on. And it just so happens that Jun Kurosu has a massive connection to the Joker in Innocent Sin.
This is because Jun Kurosu is Joker, the initial main antagonist in Innocent Sin. Tatsuya Suou and the player meet him early but do not know that Jun is him. It is clear from the start that Jun, as Joker, knows Tatsuya and hates him for some reason.
As Joker, Jun is behind almost everything that is going on in Innocent Sin. He is the source of the rumor power, being the person who causes rumors to spread and come true in the world. Though his power derives from elsewhere, he is the catalyst that makes it all happen.
He is also a villain, murdering high school students and innocent people who get caught up in the Joker ritual and all of that. His real goal, as Joker, is to hunt down and kill Tatsuya Suou. This is revenge for Maya’s supposed death (that never actually happened) when they were kids.
In reality, he is tormented by the PTSD of his childhood mixed with the lies that he created in his own head while being taken advantage of and manipulated by the true mastermind behind everything. It is a truly sad situation, which is why he becomes Joker in the first place.
What is surprising about all of this is that there is another Joker in Persona 2: Eternal Punishment. But, hilariously enough, this Joker is not Jun Kurosu at all. In fact, in that new world, he never becomes Joker. I won’t spoil that person’s identity here, other than the fact that it is not Jun again.
What may surprise you is that the Persona 2 games actually had voice acting in them. This was mostly absent in the original PlayStation games, but there were a couple of notable voiced lines. Voice acting increased a bit in the PSP remakes of the two titles, but mainly in the fights.
Even still, there are some fun voice actors on both sides of the equation. In the Japanese dub, the voice actor for Jun was Shigeru Shibuya. What is strange about Shibuya, other than sharing a name with one of the most popular wards in Tokyo, is that he didn’t have a ton of roles in his career.
Jun Kurosu is one of his most notable roles due to the fact that he played minor characters and supporting members of various anime and video games. However, one notable role that I would like to bring up was voicing Gene Starwind in the 1998 classic sci-fi anime Outlaw Star. That was a memorable show for me growing up that I hope to rewatch at some point.
On the other hand, the English voice of Jun is quite recognizable, though he was not necessarily so at the time. He is voiced by Bryce Papenbrook, one of the most famous English anime and video game voice actors these days. He plays far too many prominent character roles, such as Kirito in Sword Art Online, Eren in Attack on Titan, and Naegi and Nagito in Danganronpa.
Relationships are at the very center of the Persona series. Sure, there is the great turn-based combat and the mysterious storylines, but the characters are where the real fun is at. Even though social links did not exist yet, relationships remained one of the most crucial parts of Persona 2.
The party members had distinct connections with one another and other characters, including in the case of Jun Kurosu. His connections ran deep as one of the central members of the cast. He knew most of the party members prior to joining their group from when they were young children.
As such, he is one of the centers of the group alongside Tatsuya and Maya. The former is one of his best friends from growing up, but they share a strained relationship at the current point in the story. Tatsuya knows nothing about what Jun is up to these days, while Jun hates Tatsuya with a burning passion.
He antagonizes the main character, thinking that he is the root of all of his problems. Their strained relationship can get even more complicated than that, though, as it can grow into friendship again and even love.
On the other hand, Maya is like Jun’s older sister. He looks up to her as a guardian and an example of what family can be like. Her entire existence is everything to him, which is why he goes crazy when he thinks that she died.
The other members of their Masked Circle, Eikichi and Lisa, are simply friends of Jun. They do not seem to be super close with one another, but it does appear that there was some sort of rivalry between Jun and Lisa. This is perhaps due to their shared interest in Tatsuya Suou.
Speaking of interest in Tatsuya, he is the main character that you play in Persona 2: Innocent Sin. Jun Kurosu is, surprisingly, one of the party members that you can romance in this game. This was monumental at the time in 1999 since gay romances were not exactly common in video games.
And certainly not in a Japanese video game, either. But that is exactly what Persona 2: Innocent Sin did by allowing you to not only make up with Jun as Tatsuya but make some sparks fly, too. It was not as deep as the social links and Confidants of today, but it was special nonetheless.
There were a few romantic options, and you could choose to be with any of them by selecting certain choices. Jun was one of them, and it was a well-defined and clear romantic partnership between two males. While this is nothing too notable today, it was crazy then, especially for the Persona series.
I mean, we are talking about the same JRPG video game series that shies away from allowing gay relationships more than two decades later. Yes, Jun was the only guy that you could romance as a male back then, and there hasn’t been an option like that since.
This is even more bizarre when you consider characters like Kanji in Persona 4, who deals with being gay (in a controversial manner), or Elizabeth in Persona 3, who is available as a lesbian partner for the female main character.
Or, worse, a character like Goro Akechi in Persona 5 who is quite similar in many ways to Jun Kurosu. This is even to the point where Akechi is clearly in love with the main character, Joker. Still, the game is far too afraid to allow you to pursue that option if you would like to, for whatever reason.
Suppose you want a piece of history in the Persona series and something that does not, unfortunately, exist anymore in the games. In that case, you can play Persona 2: Innocent Sin and see Tatsuya Suou be together with Jun.
Question: Can you romance Jun Persona 2?
Answer: Yes, you certainly can. The romances in Persona 2 are more straightforward and involve certain conversation choices rather than the social links in later games. But Jun is one of the romance options in Persona 2: Innocent Sin. To date, he is the only male romance option for a male main character.
Question: How do you get Jun’s ultimate Persona?
Answer: You can unlock Chronos, Jun’s ultimate Persona, near the end of Innocent Sin once you have tackled the Aquarius Temple dungeon.
Question: Is Jun Kurosu Joker?
Answer: Spoilers will follow, so beware! Yes, Jun Kurosu is Joker in Persona 2: Innocent Sin but not in Eternal Punishment. And, of course, he is not Joker from Persona 5, either.
Jun Kurosu is the sort of anti-hero character for which the Persona series is known. Before we would ever get the beloved party members like Shinjiro and Akechi down the road, there was Jun. He crawled so that those characters could run and ruin our hearts with their storylines. He is undoubtedly one of the most essential characters in Persona history. It just sucks that not many fans have played his games.
Persona 2’s duology is part of the initial trilogy of Persona titles that are ill-forgotten. This is understandable since I know they are not exactly the most fun games to play these days. Even a decade ago, around the time of the PSP remake, Innocent Sin was not that fun to play, and I hadn’t even touched the modern games yet. I understand that these older experiences can be daunting, so be sure to find out more about the Persona 2 gameplay here.