The Persona series deserves any criticism for the lack of female main characters in the long-running franchise. After more than 25 years and six mainline titles, only two female main characters are featured. The worst part is that one of them is relegated to a less popular standalone game version, and another is in a title that few fans have ever played. I know that, while I have had the honor of checking out both, I also know that fans are missing out on characters like the one in this Maya Amano guide.
Maya Amano is one of only two Persona female main characters in the six main games; if you exclude Persona 3 FES’ optional story mode, The Answer. She is by far the most prominent one, too, not being an optional hero like the female main character from Persona 3 Portable.
She phenomenally headlines her own game. It’s just too bad that not enough Persona fans have been able to experience her story. Thankfully, that is what this Maya Amano guide is here for.
Bottom Line Up Front
Maya Amano is one of the best Persona protagonists of all time, and it is not just because she is one of the few females. Her character design, storyline, personality, and status as both a party member and hero are fantastic. She stars in both Persona 2 titles, first as a party member in Persona 2: Innocent Sin and later as the main character in Eternal Punishment.
She is the only required female main character to date to experience a mainline Persona title, and she definitely deserves it. She is one of the best-written and most outstanding Persona characters, especially from the early titles.
Maya Amano Overview
If you were to ask me what are some of the features that I would like to see in the (currently) unannounced Persona 6, there are a few that I would list to you. Among the most desired features I have, I would mention more than one school year, less cliche party members, larger explorable areas, and a darker story.
But one of the most prominent features I want is the ability to select between a male and female protagonist. To me, this is nothing unusual or even new to the Persona series. I mean, Persona 3 Portable already did it once before with both options available. It just sucks that it was only that version of the fantastic JRPG.
The reason for this is two-fold: it opens up the audience a bit more to appeal to perhaps more players, and it enhances the replayability. Perhaps some features are exclusive to each side, such as some romantic partners and the like.
Not to mention, it would give a fresh perspective. What baffles me the most about the Persona series is it isn’t like this hasn’t happened before. In fact, the early roots of the series are grounded in allowing the player to play as a female main character.
In only the third mainline game, Persona 2: Eternal Punishment, players could take on the role of Maya Amano. She was the first female protagonist in the franchise and, technically, the only “required” one in a way.
This is due to the fact that you can play and beat Persona 3 without ever playing as the female counterpart or checking out The Answer in FES. But if you want to experience the full story of Persona 2, you have to play as Amano there.
It is a shame that it has been more than 20 years since this was a thing in Eternal Punishment, and Atlus has yet to make a base game feature a female protagonist again. But you aren’t here to just hear me ramble on about the issues in the series.
Instead, you are here for Maya. Amano is an investigator looking into the events that are happening around her city in Persona 2. One of the most intriguing parts about her is the fact that she is not just any female main character, either.
Prior to taking center stage as the lead in Eternal Punishment, she was one of the most important party members in Innocent Sin. She had the honor that no other character, outside of maybe Aigis in Persona 3, of being upgraded from simple party member to the star of the show. This is a testament to her phenomenal writing, personality, and story.
The character designs back in the day when Persona was just starting out were bizarre and off the wall sometimes. Some of the characters were rather bland, while others just went as 90s wacky as humanly possible. Maya Amano is (un)fortunately one of the latter.
Her outfit is not exactly chic, with a strange dark brown and tan color scheme going on. She wears long brown boots that go up nearly to her knees that are paired with a strange brown skirt. This, in turn, goes well with the top that is equally tan and dark brown.
The whole color scheme is a bit off-putting, but I appreciate how cohesive it is nonetheless. Ignoring the bizarre choice of the color of her clothing, we have the most obvious point of her outfit. She has two pink hearts on her top that definitely leave little to the imagination.
Couple this with a long blue necktie, and you have one of the strangest outfits I’ve ever seen for a Persona character. Somehow, though, the commitment to this weird outfit works? It is partly due to the fact that Maya Amano is a Persona waifu if I’ve ever seen one.
She rocks a relatively short-cut black hairstyle that is well-put-together. She parts her bangs to the side, showing off her shiny forehead. She wears a decent level of makeup, too, that is not too much while still giving off this edgy scene girl flair.
It helps, too, that she is one of the few adult party members in the entire series, ensuring that she is a waifu for laifu. Even if she kind of needs a wardrobe change.
Before I can give you the lowdown on what happens with Maya Amano in the Persona 2 games, I need to give you a fair warning. I am not a fan of the Persona 2 gameplay, but I really like the story. It is one of the better, more serious storylines in the series and is worth your time.
There are some major spoilers ahead, so turn away now if you haven’t experienced the Persona 2 plot at this point. Her story begins prior to being the main character. In Innocent Sin, she is an investigator looking into the rumors that are spread around town.
Apparently, if someone spreads a rumor about, well, anything, it will come true if enough people talk about it. This mysterious power is something that Maya wants to know more about. In the process of investigating, she stumbles upon Tatsuya Suou, a high school student and the lead character in Innocent Sin.
Along with him and a few others, they discover Joker, the source behind the rumors. They fight against Joker, recruit him, and then eventually take on the Nazis who have come back to the present from World War II (yes, really).
The truth ends up being that the entire situation happened because Joker, Tatsuya, and Maya grew up together as children. Joker believed that Maya died at that time and ended up evil in the process. But his redemption leads to them working together to stop the mastermind.
However, Innocent Sin ends with Maya’s death. Thankfully, through a whole bunch of timey wimey mumbo jumbo, a new alternate timeline appears where Maya is alive. Thus begins Eternal Punishment, where Maya takes over as the lead character.
Once investigating the rumor system and Joker, she is assisted by Tatsuya and a new cast of characters. Through a bunch of branching paths, twists, and turns, Maya is finally able to unmask the true mastermind behind everything and defeat the evil that is threatening her city. In the process, she earns the right to live in that timeline.
What would a Persona main character be without her special powers? First off, there is the unsurprising ability that Maya Amano has in being a Persona user. This is the Persona series, after all, so she is able to summon her inner self and use it in combat to take on the shadows and other enemies.
She is also seemingly a wild card like the other main characters in the series, so this means that she can wield more than one Persona. Better yet, she has access to the classic Velvet Room in both Innocent Sin and Eternal Punishment, where she is the star.
None of this is too crazy since every other main character has the same going for them. But there are some special traits that even Maya Amano has going for her. For one, there is the fact that she is an investigator who is extremely talented at her job.
Though this is not a supernatural ability, she is immensely skilled at investigating people and scenarios. Her level of intellect and judgment is unparalleled, allowing Maya to excel at her job. She has great intuition, knowing who to talk to and where to go to make progress.
In many ways, Maya is essentially the first genius detective in the Persona series. As you may know, that is a staple that we now appreciate in the series, and it all started with Maya. Though the game does not recognize her that way, sadly, she is the progenitor of characters like Naoto and Akechi.
Without Maya’s impressive detective skills, we would not have the genius prince detectives that would come in Persona 4 and 5. Not to mention, I would not be surprised if this is a character trend that continues onward even in Persona 6. We all have Maya to thank for that.
And last but certainly not least, she has the power to influence others. Though Maya is not at all the source of the rumors system, she has the ability to influence just like everyone else. It is possible for her to spread rumors and make change happen. This is something that we especially see in Eternal Punishment when she takes the reins as the main character in that game.
Though it is not as dramatic as the voice acting these days, the early Persona games had minimal levels of voices. It was typically only in the battle sequences when using certain skills and the like. To this point, Maya had a Japanese VA and not one but two English voice actors.
First off, on the Japanese side, Maya was brought to life by Akiko Yajima. This is one of the most legendary Japanese voice actors of all time right here. She has left her mark on the industry with her genre-defining children’s anime role as the original Shin-chan in Crayon Shin-chan.
But I will admit that Crayon Shin-chan is not for me, no matter how many episodes and how popular it is worldwide. That said, what roles I loved that Yajima did in the past include Relena Peacecraft in Gundam Wing and, hilariously enough, her as the Japanese voice of Anakin in Star Wars.
Chances are, though, you probably won’t hear her as Maya unless you seek the Japanese dub out. More than likely, the version you would play, officially at least, would have the English voiceovers. In that case, it would be either Lani Minella as the original English voice for Amano or Dorothy Fahn more recently.
Minella is not as notable in this case since she voiced her in the original PlayStation versions of Persona 2, where Maya had few lines. Dorothy Fahn, on the other hand, had a slightly more substantial role in the PSP remake. As for her, she has a couple of intriguing video game and anime roles.
The one I find the most exciting is that Fahn voiced Mercedes in Fire Emblem: Three Houses and Three Hopes. In addition, she was the voice of a whopping three characters in the Danganronpa games. This included Sayaka, best character ever in Chihiro, and then Tsumugi in V3.
Maya Amano has one of the distinct notions of not just being a waifu but someone you can romance, too. In fact, she and Tatsuya are the only two protagonists in the entire Persona series that you can romance since Maya is a love interest in Persona 2: Innocent Sin.
But then she takes control in Eternal Punishment and chooses her own path for who she wants to be with. The player has the option of choosing which person she ends up with. In reality, the choice mainly comes down to two prominent party members, and they are unsurprising.
The first is Tatsuya Suou, the main character from Innocent Sin, who becomes your party member. The other is his older brother, Katsuya Suou, first introduced in Eternal Punishment as a new party member. This is the primary choice that Maya has going for her in her game.
Though Tatsuya had much more diverse options in Innocent Sin, the Eternal Punishment one is more intriguing. You are picking between brothers, both of which clearly has some feelings for Maya in different ways.
They also represent two of the critical relationships she has in the JRPG. There are no social links in Persona 2, so your romance options are pretty much left down to just choosing between the characters that you like the most, and that is it.
On the one hand, you have Tatsuya. He has far more history with Maya, though this is not immediately obvious in this sequel/alternate timeline. In fact, even Maya herself is uncertain about where she knows him from initially.
The controversy with this relationship is the fact that Tatsuya is much younger than her and still a high school student. On the other hand, you have the older and more appropriate Katsuya.
I am not the biggest fan of his personality and character writing, but there is an argument that he makes more sense for Maya overall. In my opinion, though, I would, personally, go with neither of them in Eternal Punishment.
Maya Innocent Sin vs. Eternal Punishment
Players will find that there are many differences between the Maya Amano that you meet in Persona 2: Innocent Sin and the one that you play as in Eternal Punishment. These differences are intentional and add some of the nuances that I love to her character.
But they can be pretty jarring if you are not ready for how Maya changes so much from one game to another. Starting with the Maya you meet chronologically first in Innocent Sin, she is a party member here. You get the full range of her character, from her adorable personality to her lovable self.
She has such an emotional personality where she wears her heart on her sleeve (or, err, shirt), and I love that about her. She is fun to be around, and she brings life to the otherwise dull and super serious group. I especially love her relationship with the party members in that game.
However, there are some significant changes when it comes to her story arc and even personality in the follow-up game, Eternal Punishment. Some of this is related to spoilery stuff, but she acts completely different. For one, she is the main character now, rather than just a party member.
Because of this, she follows the same trope as every other main character in the Persona series by not speaking at all, outside of maybe a couple of battle lines. She is silent, so she lacks much of the personality and intrigue that she has in the previous game.
Even still, I feel like her personality is changed and much more serious nonetheless. There is also the fact that she no longer has the same relationship that she once had with Tatsuya in that game. This all comes down in the end to her status in that game.
Here is where the spoilers come into play, which really explains the difference between how Maya is in both games. The reality is that the Maya in Eternal Punishment is a different person. The same girl but an alternate version of her, so she doesn’t have the storyline of before.
She has no connection to Tatsuya as she did in the other world and, therefore, probably has some slight personality differences. Not to mention, the Maya from the Innocent Sin world is dead after all. At the same time, the female protagonist in Eternal Punishment is alive and kicking.
Question: What is Maya’s Persona?
Answer: Maya Amano has a few different Personas as a wild card. But the ones you need to know about are, hilariously enough, similar in name to her. Her main Personas are Maia, Maia Prime, and Artemis.
Question: Can you romance Maya Persona 2?
Answer: Yes, you can romance Maya in Persona 2: Innocent Sin. Tatsuya Suou can select her as one of his possible love interests. You cannot, however, romance Maya in Eternal Punishment since you’re playing as her. But you can choose who you wish Maya to date instead.
Question: How do I get Maia Prime?
Answer: Maia Prime is exclusive to the PSP remake of Innocent Sin. The only way to acquire this Persona for Maya is to have her save Akari in the Sky Museum. This will lead to her unlocking Maia Prime later on.
Maya Amano is a Persona character that you need to know about. She is the reason that we have so many unique features that came later in the franchise, such as the occasional female protagonist. Without her, it is unlikely that we would ever get the chance to play a female character again in Persona 3. And it’s a darn shame it hasn’t happened again since then.
But what has happened, instead, is that Maya influenced the whole detective motif. Without her, we may not have had the detective prince, Naoto, in Persona 4 or the genius TV star detective, Goro Akechi, in Persona 5. They are some of the best characters in the modern Persona titles, so it only makes me appreciate Maya more.
She is absolutely one of my favorite characters in the entire series with her also fun and bubbly personality. If you want to know more about her, be sure to check out the full characters guide to the Persona franchise.
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