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When it comes to the Persona 3 cast, it is hard to beat the eclectic group of high schoolers here. For me, though, no one is greater than my man, Junpei Iori. This Junpei Iori guide is all about the best of the best bros, a complicated and fascinating Persona character who puts other similar guys to shame.
In this Junpei Iori guide, you will learn all about The Mighty Strike-Out Slugger. From his humble beginnings in the storyline to his inclusion in future games and other media, there is a lot to love about Junpei. This is why he is my favorite character in the entire group. I will include details about his critical relationships among the cast, social link information, and some extra fun facts you might not have known about him. Without further ado, let’s go ahead and get right to it.
Bottom Line Up Front
Junpei Iori is a second-year at Gekkoukan High School and one of the first main characters you meet as the protagonist in Persona 3. He is the best bro of this game, being that guy that is always willing to help out. That said, Junpei has one of the most complex and well-written story arcs of the entire series, surprising with the direction that he goes in.
His personality and social link are among some of the favorites in the series, and for a good reason. A valuable and popular member of the party, he has appeared in many games and other media since the original Persona 3. Without a doubt, he also remains my favorite character from Persona 3.
Who Is Junpei Iori?
Junpei Iori is one of the playable (in Persona 3 Portable at least) party members in Persona 3. He is not only one of the first members that you meet in the group but also one of the most impactful. He plays a significant role in the player character’s life, being a classmate and best friend.
Junpei fills the archetype of the best bro character, which is one that somewhat started with him and then became a huge trope in the Persona franchise. For many, including myself, he is the best of the best friends in Persona, representing all the significant parts of this role.
In many ways, Junpei is also one of the most complex characters in the already deep and depressing JRPG. His storyline is compelling and fascinating as he goes on an arc that is far more personal and tragic than even some of the group’s other members.
Junpei Iori is a member of the SEES team investigating the Dark Hour. As a Persona user, he is an integral part of the attacking squad trying to explore the tower of Tartarus and save the various innocent civilians who find themselves trapped there.
Like the other members of Persona 3, the appearance of Junpei is not too flashy at all. He has the same general appearance throughout Persona 3, mainly based on his school uniform. His appearance does change quite a bit in the canonical sequel spin-off game, Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, where we can see an older Junpei.
Persona 3 School Uniform
The Persona 3 school uniform that Junpei wears is primarily similar to those worn by the rest of the main cast and their classmates. However, he does tweak the uniform some to give his little flair to the outfit. He wears the standard uniform for starters, which has black dress pants on the bottom.
These pants are tight-fitting and come with some black dress shoes on the bottom. He wears a chain over his left pocket that adds a little bit of wildness to his outfit and a vibrant belt that is black and white. He wears the standard school blazer over a shirt on the top half of his body.
The blazer is black and has the school emblem over the heart. He opens his blazer up so that you can see the shirt that he is wearing underneath it. His shirt is a blue button-up shirt that he does not fully button up so that you can see part of his chest and neck at the top. You can also see part of the blue undershirt sticking out near his wrists.
Lastly, he has a necklace that he wears and a blue baseball cap on his head. He has a reasonably goofy expression and a goatee that gives him a bit of maturity (sort of). Overall, I think that Junpei has a solid appearance that is unique enough for a game where almost everyone generally has the same outfit, even if he does not look like a high schooler at all.
Persona 4 Arena Ultimax
When Persona 4 Arena Ultimax comes out, Junpei is a few years older and has an entirely different outfit these days. He is a baseball player and coach, so he is now wearing his blue baseball uniform. He has tight, bright blue pants on the bottom that are his team’s colors. Along with the pants are dark blue socks and black shoes.
He is wearing a black t-shirt on the bottom of the top half. Over the shirt is a bright blue vest that shows off his team’s style. Lastly, his hair is considerably longer these days, and he has a blue baseball cap that he wears backward that matches his outfit. His weapon of choice is a bright red baseball bat. This look for Junpei at least gives him something wholly his own while emphasizing his love for baseball, which is nice.
Junpei Iori, arguably, has the most fascinating personality out of anyone within the Persona 3 cast, in my opinion. There is no doubting just how uniquely written he is on multiple levels. Junpei seems like the standard goofy comic relief character when you first meet him.
He makes mistakes and fumbles around a lot, acting like he is all that and a ladies’ man when, in reality, all of the ladies seem to get annoyed easily with him. In addition, he has all of the best bro traits, seeming loyal to the protagonist and having their back no matter what.
However, these are facades that hide the true personality of Junpei. On the one hand, he is a kindhearted and emotional person who hides it well. On the other hand, his loyalty is limitless. However, he has weaknesses, which cause him to prioritize certain relationships over others.
This makes Junpei one of the most complex characters ever created in the Persona series, with many layers to unpack. It is because of the well-written aspects of his character that he is my favorite from Persona 3 and probably my second-favorite overall in the entire series. I think that it is hard to beat the impressive story beats that he gets.
Despite being one of the prominent members of the Persona 3 SEES team, he only has close relationships with a few of the characters in the group. Most of the team sees him as a nuisance and a bother at times, so he does not connect with many of them on a deep level.
The first of the central relationships for Junpei is with his classmate Yukari. Yukari and Junpei have known each other for a long time, previously being classmates in school. She gets annoyed with him and makes fun of him a lot, but it is clear that she deeply cares about him in a platonic way.
The next person that he is pretty close to is the protagonist. As mentioned, he is like the best bro character for the player. However, there are slight changes to this relationship based on whether you are playing the male protagonist or the female one in Persona 3 Portable.
No, you cannot romance him, but some deeper connections happen between the player and Junpei if they are the female. This is due to the fact that this is the only way even to get a social link with him. This adds more layers to their friendship, and they genuinely become best friends on a seemingly unseen level in the series.
But quickly, the most important connection of all of them is with Chidori. Chidori is one of the supporting characters in Persona 3, and she plays a significant role when it comes to a particular aspect of the story. For Junpei, he falls in love with her, and it is clear that she may reciprocate those feelings. This relationship is the core part of his story arc in Persona 3 and a huge part of why I love him so much as a character.
The Japanese voice actor for Junpei Iori is Kosuke Toriumi. He voices him across the various Persona 3 game versions and in the anime adaptation, and so on. You may know Toriumi from his other roles, Kaeya in Genshin Impact and another Persona character in Eikichi Mishina in Persona 2: Innocent Sin.
But if I had to pick one role to recommend you to check out, it would be his time as the main villain, Zenos, in Final Fantasy XIV. Not only is that one of my favorite games of all time, but it shows the immense range of Toriumi, going from the goofy best bro to a full-on antagonist.
His English dub counterpart is the notably controversial and infamous Vic Mignogna, known for roles in the past, including Ed in Fullmetal Alchemist, Broly in Dragon Ball, and Obito Uchiha in Naruto.
There is one primary ability that Junpei Iori has as one of the SEES members, and that has to do with being a Persona user. But this is a bit more complicated than some of the other characters as he has already proven that he has something special about him that is not seen in the other SEES members.
For starters, there is no surprise that Junpei is a Persona user like everyone else in the party. This means that he can go to the Dark Hour and experience it without being frozen in time like everyone else. In addition, he can summon his Persona to use in battle against the shadows of the night.
This makes him a valuable member of the SEES team that is trying to take out the tower of Tartarus. However, there is something rather special about Junpei, in particular, that is not talked about much. Of course, mentioning this part of his abilities is going to constitute major spoilers, so skip this part if you want to avoid them.
Junpei is not a wildcard Persona user, which is usually there for protagonists who can visit the Velvet Room and fuse Personas and all that. A few non-protagonists are wildcards in the series, but Junpei is not one of them. That said, he possesses the ability to fuse Personas somehow.
We see this with him fusing his Persona with Chidori’s to make a new one. This reveals that he has a new pseudo-wildcard-like ability. It could be the power of his love and emotions that made it possible, or some non-wildcard users can fuse in the series, which would be interesting. I think that it was nice to see someone break the trends in the series just as they were starting to form, especially since most characters are so predictable in 4 and 5.
While this is not necessarily the case for some of the other similar characters in the series, Junpei’s story arc spoils much of the twists and craziest parts of the Persona 3 story. If you do not want any spoilers, turn away now. I highly recommend for players to check out the game first before reading the synopsis of his life below, as you are seriously doing yourself a disservice if you spoil these events.
Discovering the Dark Hour
Before the start of Persona’s storyline, Junpei finds himself stuck in the Dark Hour, which few people can perceive and visit. Thankfully, he is rescued from this dangerous place by Akihiko Sanada. Because of his ability to visit the Dark Hour, he moves into the special dorms at Gekkoukan High School and joins SEES.
As part of the team, Junpei is initially open to the idea of the protagonist joining and quickly becomes his or her’s best friend. That said, the relationship between the two becomes quite strained early on in their story together. This is due to several factors stemming from Junpei’s jealousy.
Though he acts all tough and like a ladies’ man, he is somewhat insecure on the inside. Seeing the protagonist being the leader and getting all of the praise and recognition from everyone, coupled with his outsider status within SEES, causes some friction between him and everyone else in the cast.
With Junpei’s strained relationship with everyone else in SEES, it does not take long before he finds Chidori, a girl who is part of Strega, the enemies of Junpei’s group. He falls in love with her in a forbidden romance sort of way, and Chidori reciprocates his feelings.
The two have a troubled relationship with one another as they know that they are enemies, but they are clearly in love with each other at the same time. This leads to a climactic and horrifying moment as Junpei is shot and almost killed by Takaya, leader of Strega.
However, Chidori sees her love be struck down and sacrifices herself to heal him (though she can actually live under certain circumstances). In the process, Junpei is able to make the unique move of fusing his Persona with Chidori’s to create a new one. From here, his resolve remains, and he is a loyal member of SEES again until the very end.
Junpei’s story does not end here with Persona 3, though. It continues in the direct sequel to the game’s canonically with Persona 4 Arena Ultimax. Though he is not featured in the previous game, Junpei makes a massive splash in Ultimax by appearing as one of the new playable characters.
In this storyline, he is showing up as part of the operatives to save the ones who have been reportedly captured. Overall, he seems to be doing pretty well for himself these days as a baseball coach and member of the reserves for the operatives. One pivotal moment in his story shows that he is thinking about what life would be like if he proposed to Chidori. While it does not entirely state it, it hints that perhaps she is not alive in this canon version of the plot.
Social Link Explained
The social link for Junpei is one of the most confusing and unique parts of his already compelling character. Social links were introduced in Persona 3, and basically, everyone in the party has one, even those certain characters that do not show up that often (you know who).
But Junpei does not have one at all, despite being the best bro character in the original Persona 3. This is rectified in Persona 3 Portable by adding his social link finally, but still only for the female protagonist. However, the strangeness surrounding his bond does not stop there.
The female hero has a lot of new romance options that differ from the male version, including party members like Akihiko. But, alas, Junpei is still not one of them. You can only become friends with him through his social link since there is a canon romance already set in stone in the story.
That said, if you do play the female protagonist in Portable and want to increase your social link with the overly complicated Junpei, here’s how you do it. You will unlock the first rank of his bond on April 23, and starting after that day; you can only hang out with him Tuesday-Thursday during the daytime. He has ten ranks as everyone else does.
Personally, one of the most disappointing parts about Junpei’s character is the fact that he is exclusive to just the female protagonist in Persona 3 Portable. So, not only can you only experience his personal storyline with your character in only one game version, but only as the female.
It honestly does not make a whole lot of sense to do it this way, especially since you cannot even romance him. I, regretfully, have not even been able to enjoy the social link for Junpei before due to never having played the female role. Here’s hoping that Atlus formally announces a port of this wonderful game to modern platforms so that I can finally check out his unique social link as the female hero.
Junpei in Other Games and Media
As one of the main characters of Persona 3, there are more places that Junpei appears besides just the different Persona 3 versions. For one, there are other games that he shows up in, including the direct sequel to the story with Persona 4 Arena Ultimax.
For some reason, he is too busy and does not show up in the first Persona 4 Arena, but he does appear in Ultimax as an adult. He sports a new look and is one of the fighters that you can use in the 2D fighting game. He also has a unique playstyle surrounding baseball.
He also appears in other spin-off games like both Persona Q and its sequel on the Nintendo 3DS, where he meets up with the casts from Persona 4 and 5. There is also Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight, where you can play as Junpei and have him show his moves on the dance floor.
Like later games, there are anime adaptations of Persona 3, and you can see his entire tragic and emotional story in the four-part Persona 3 anime film series. And if that was not enough, there are crossovers with mobile games, plenty of merch, a manga, stage play, and more that Junpei has been featured in over the years since the release of Persona 3.
Persona 4 Arena Ultimax Playstyle
When you play as Junpei in Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, his playstyle is quite different from that of the other fighters. His entire gimmick is based around baseball as a baseball player himself. Because of this, it is all about using his baseball bat to progress through a figurative baseball match.
The better that you do, the easier it is to get your Victory Cry and all of that. The problem is that it takes Junpei a bit of time to get to his Victory Cry, where he is the most successful. Until then, his damage output is weaker than other fighters, and he is not as helpful.
This makes his starting moments relatively weak and hard to handle since the other fighter could quickly get the edge on you. If you can master taking control and getting your Victory Cry unlocked as fast as possible, Junpei is one of the most powerful in this state. But he is certainly not for everyone.
To make matters worse, his Persona skills are just okay. They are not as reliable as some of the other fighters, making you rely too heavily on the Victory Cry. Getting 10 bases with baseball hits can take a little too long so I only recommend him to the most skilled and diehard Junpei fans.
I know he is certainly not for me, personally. In fact, there are very few people that I would even recommend to play Junpei in the fighting game. This is disappointing since I love his character but he is just not as fun to play as he could be. There are far more fair and interesting fighters in Persona 4 Arena Ultimax.
Fun Facts About Junpei Iori
Here are some fun facts about Junpei Iori that you may not have known about prior to reading this guide:
- Despite having the Magician Arcana as his social link, Junpei is more focused on physical attacks than anything else.
- Junpei Iori is the only best bro-style character and party member, in general, that you cannot have a social link with in Persona 3-5. This is, of course, only when you are the male protagonist. While this is a trivia fact about Junpei, I actually think it is a severely disappointing one.
- At the same time, he is not romanceable by the female protagonist, despite his flirtatious personality. To make matters more interesting, there is voice data in the backend of the game of an alternative path where he does fall for the female main character. Unfortunately, this did not make it into the final game. While I do understand his storyline, I think it would have been interesting to see this as a possibility for him, especially showing someone overcoming their trauma.
- Hilariously enough, in Persona 3 Portable, he will summon his Persona for the first time and say “I can’t lose to him”, as in the case of the male protagonist. He will still say this even if you play the female hero.
- As mentioned in the voice actor section above, the Japanese voice behind Junpei also voiced Eikichi Mishina in Persona 2: Innocent Sin. This is far from his first go-around as a party member in these games.
- Junpei is actually a fan of Persona 4 party member and upcoming idol, Rise. We find this out after Persona 3 in Persona 4 Arena Ultimax where the casts from both games collide with one another.
- This last one is considered spoilers so please turn away now if you do not want to know anything about his storyline in Persona 3. Junpei is not a wildcard user like the protagonists and a couple of other characters in the series. Yet, despite this, he is the only non-wildcard character to fuse a Persona to use in battle, as seen with Trismegistus. This possibly indicates that we could see other party members in future games be able to fuse their Personas.
Question: What days are Junpei available in Persona 3?
Answer: The only time that Junpei is available to hang out is Tuesday through Thursday during the daytime. His social link will begin on April 23 and is exclusive to the female protagonist’s route.
Question: Can you romance Junpei Iori in Persona 3?
Answer: No, you, unfortunately, cannot romance Junpei Iori in Persona 3 Portable even as the female protagonist. There is a distinct reason for this being the case as well due to what happens with his storyline in the game.
Question: How does Junpei Iori work in Persona 4 Arena Ultimax?
Answer: The shortened version of the above tips for playing as Junpei in Persona 4 Arena Ultimax is that his skills work based on baseball-style gameplay. You need to keep getting “hits” with your baseball bat to unlock better skills. The upside is he has decent damage in Victory Cry and overall good recovery, but his downside is the baseball system that holds him back considerably.
Junpei Iori is the Persona 3 character that you need to know about and, hopefully, this guide did a decent enough job of introducing you to my second-favorite character in the entire series. Whether you are new to Persona 3 or you’ve played the game before, this is a great way to refresh yourself on the best bro and so-called ladies’ man.
At the end of the day, though, Junpei is just a single member of the massive Persona 3 cast. There are so many other characters in this notably dark game, including some whose stories rival even that of his. If you want to find another party member to fawn over and be your new favorite, be sure to take a look at the full set of Persona 3 characters and general information about the game. I highly recommend you do this as Persona 3 still has my favorite overall cast of characters in the entire series.