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In Persona 3, Atlus revolutionized the Persona series with its fourth main entry. There are so many radical changes and additions that happened here, not least of which was the series’ first fully 3D game. Even the hero in the story was radically different as you will see in the Persona 3 protagonist guide.
The main character that you play in the game is quite different from past ones. There were many gameplay options that were available to the character like the fact that you could play as a male or female main character in one game. This is even something that Atlus has never touched on again since.
Bottom Line Up Front
The Persona 3 protagonist guide is all about not one but two main characters from this game. The first game in the series to be fully 3D not only revolutionized gameplay but introduced two main characters to choose from as well. Unfortunately, this was only available in Persona 3 Portable and never happened again.
You play as either hero who has moved back to their hometown of Tatsumi Port City. You join the SEES organization to investigate the Midnight Hour and find a way to bring an end to Tartarus.
Through this, the silent protagonist is the first to have full-on social links and various activities that they can engage in throughout the course of their journey. Both protagonists are quite popular and have even shown up in other games.
Who Is the Persona 3 Protagonist?
The Persona 3 protagonist is a fascinating one. For starters, up until this point, with the exception of the original Persona, the main characters had a set name and personality. Even if they did not talk, both protagonists of the Persona 2 duology were characters with distinct storylines and characterizations.
That said, Persona 3 introduced the idea of making the silent protagonist your own. To this point, there does not seem to be a canonized name for the Persona 3 main character at this time. However, the one that sticks with me the most is Makoto Yuki, which was in the anime adaptation and a couple of the other games.
However, it is worth noting that he has a different name in other adaptations like the manga and so on. You could name the Persona 3 protagonist whatever you wanted within that game so, in the end, his canon name does not matter all that much.
The Persona 3 protagonist is a high school student who goes to Gekkoukan High School. He later joins the SEES organization to stop the Midnight Hour and save the world. This is all by using his Persona summoning abilities to bring about the elimination of this dark hour of time.
Unlike other games like Persona 4 that would come next, the main character is a blank slate in Persona 3. This was to allow for you, the player, to define them as you like. This meant being able to enjoy the new features that were added with this game.
Persona 3 was the debut in the series for what we now consider staples like social links, day-to-day calendar exploration, and even part-time jobs. Through the eyes of the protagonist, you had the chance to shape an entire calendar year of their high school life.
Related read: Persona 3 Minato Arisato Guide.
Persona 3 Had a Main Character Choice for the First Time
Beyond the sheer amount of choice that was given for the Persona 3 protagonist, there was another new feature here. For the very first time ever in the series, you could choose between the male protagonist and a female protagonist.
They both were silent heroes with dedicated appearances. They actually looked nothing like one another. The boy, Makoto Yuki, has darker hair while the girl has lighter hair and a different outfit. She has a different name, too, as her name used in other titles is Kotone Shiomi.
Unfortunately, there is a downside to this situation of having two protagonists in Persona 3. Sadly, this option was not in the base game of Persona 3. If you are playing any of the PS2 versions, like the original or its far superior FES edition, you will not be able to play as the female MC.
This option was introduced in the PlayStation Portable version of the game known aptly as Persona 3 Portable. In this remake of the game, there were many new features and changes to the game. Not only was the general exploration changed but you could now pick a female main character for the first time.
There were a couple of reasons behind this major change, the first of which was to draw more female players to the game and expand the overall demographic for the Persona series. Given that you could only play as a male character with opposite-sex relationships, that would be restrictive for some players in the community.
Thankfully, the female MC opened up the opportunity to romance the handsome and funny male supporting characters in the game. In addition, it was there to give more options for existing fans who played the PS2 versions of Persona 3.
While the female protagonist in Persona 3 was not the first female hero — that would go to Maya in Persona 2: Eternal Punishment — she is the first in the series to let you choose between male and female. This option has never returned since, even though it does appear like it might have been planned in Persona 5 Royal.
As there are two distinct main characters, this doubles the appearance options here. Atlus made the choice to make them have their own design and look as if they are completely different people (which they essentially are).
They have two main outfits, the first being their high school uniform. The other is when you are in dungeons and battling the Midnight Hour as a member of the SEES group.
High School Uniform
When it comes to the high school uniform, it is a pretty standard one. The male main character has a standard school uniform with a dark blazer on top. This blazer is open ever so slightly with an emblem over the character’s heart. This emblem is of Gekkoukan High School.
They have a little bowtie that is undone that is around the collar of his neck, a belt, and pants. He has blue hair that looks almost black in some instances and it also covers his right eye at times. He wears a white undershirt underneath his school blazer.
For the female protagonist, she has a largely similar high school uniform but with some changes. For one, instead of pants, she is wearing a black skirt. In the case of the tie he has around his neck, she has a big red ribbon. And she interestingly has a more cheery overall design on the face with a happier look and brown hair in a ponytail.
What is fascinating about the SEES outfit is that there is little difference between it and the normal high school uniform. It takes the standard uniform the main characters wear and adds a few touches. For one, they wear the SEES emblem on their left arm.
In addition, the male protagonist opens up his blazer completely at this point, exposing the white shirt underneath entirely. They also have the Enforcer gun used for summoning their Persona attached to the white belt around their waist.
One issue that you have with a silent protagonist in a game is that they have little personality. This is the case for the duo that makes up the protagonists in Persona 3. Both of them are quiet and do not have anything to say for the entire course of the game.
You are the one who chooses their dialogue in rare moments, like confessing your feelings and the like. This is even the case in the anime adaptation of the game. That said, there is the tiniest bit of personality that you are able to glean from your time in the games.
Oddly enough, to me at least, it seems like the male and female characters have different personalities. The girl has a more cheery atmosphere around her, unlike the guy. He is one of the most brooding protagonists in the series, seeming depressed at every turn. It definitely helped to play as him during my own emo phase in high school but he may not be appealing to everyone.
As the protagonists in the game, the two leads have some key relationships that they form. Both have similar key relationships but there are a couple of key changes. In Persona 3, we had the introduction of social links where you could optionally build a relationship with certain characters.
Most of the main characters in your party and some side characters out in the world could be interacted with. You could spend time with them, get to know them better, and connect on a deeper level. And if you played your Tarot cards right, you could even romance them.
Since there are two protagonists, in this case, it means that there are different romanceable partners in the game. The guy has his fair share of beautiful ladies while the girl is the first and only in the series to have her own selection of handsome guys to go after.
Outside of romance, the key relationships for these characters are with their party members who are also in the SEES organization. With the largest party to date, that are a lot of main characters to connect with.
As they are the main characters of the Persona 3 games, the two heroes share some traits in terms of abilities. If you know the protagonists from later games, including Persona 4 and 5, then you likely already know some of the abilities that they have.
It comes down to the series standard of being able to summon Persona and have the wildcard attribute. In addition, though, there is another unique feature that these two have. They are also able to go into the Dark Hour.
A feature that is standard not just across the lead heroes but their party members, too, is the ability to summon Personas. Without this ability, there would be no reason for the Persona games to exist. The Persona is the representation of the other-self and they manifest in various ways.
They are creatures from the supernatural realm that some users are able to see and even summon. As either hero in the Persona 3 title, you are able to summon your own Persona. You do start out with a default Persona that best represents the character that you play in the game. However, there is a distinct difference between your character and your party members who can do the exact same thing.
The second ability that the two leads in Persona 3 have is the power of the wildcard. Tarot cards play a major role in the Persona games. Each of the main characters, from party members to even some supporting members, have a Tarot card associated with them. This, at times, even affects their personality traits.
But in the case of the two leads in Persona 3, they have the wildcard. This is another standard feature that has become a staple since then. With the wildcard feature, you are able to access the Velvet Room. In this place, you can seek help from the denizens there that no one else has in the game.
Because of the wildcard ability, you are able to wield more than one Persona at a time. This means that you can have a party of Personas and even get new ones. This can be through the Velvet Room where you can fuse new creations to assist you in battle.
While these are all mostly the same abilities that Joker and Yu have from Persona 5 and 4, respectively, there is an extra one that Makoto and Shiomi have. The Dark Hour is the special time that exists in the middle of the night and most people have no awareness of it.
They are frozen in time essentially while this goes on and then go about their daily lives. However, there are some special people in society who do know about the Dark Hour. This is a time that the two leads in Persona 3 are able to visit.
The Dark Hour plays a central role in the main story of the game, as that is where Tartarus is located. This dungeon represents the main location for battles, bosses, and the turn-based system in the game. Without the ability to visit the Dark Hour, there would be no Persona 3.
If you have played any of the other Persona games in the series, you likely know the playstyle for the heroes. That said, much of the modern trappings in the series were first established here. The playstyle for the Persona 3 heroes expanded upon what was in the first three games.
There are two different sides to the playstyle that the protagonists have. The first is within the Dark Hour when you are facing off against the shadows there. You can explore the dungeon and its randomly generated floors, seeking out opponents in full 3D.
Once you find an enemy to face, the game transitions to a turn-based battle system. Here, you can select your moves for each turn individually. The goal is to exploit the weakness of your enemies and, hopefully, level up and capture some new Persona in the process.
The other side to the gameplay for the protagonists is the everyday school life. You go to class and make friends, answer questions and even choose a sports club. There are many optional activities in the midst of this like working at a store or building out your social links.
Most of this content is optional as you live out each day of the school year. But if you want to maximize your time in the game, it is there for you.
The main story of Persona 3 revolves entirely around the protagonists. Here is everything that you need to know about their history before and during the events of the game. I will refrain from offering unnecessary spoilers for some of the other characters but bear in mind that this will spoil most of the general details of the main plot.
Returning to Iwatodai City
At the start of the game, you play as the protagonist of your choice as they move to Iwatodai City. They are moving into the dorms where they will live for the school year. Over time, you learn that this protagonist was born in this town but left and their parents were killed in an accident.
As an orphan now with nowhere to go, they have to live in the school dorms. Soon after moving in, they awaken during the Dark Hour when most people are asleep. At this moment, they awaken to their first Persona, which then they use to defend the students of the dorm.
At this moment, they learn about the Dark Hour and Personas. Because of their abilities, they are asked by their upperclassman, Mitsuru Kirijo, to join SEES. This group is there to combat the Dark Hour and save the world from what is happening there.
Joining Up With SEES
After joining SEES and getting to know the other members, the protagonist begins their daily school life. In the daytime, they go to school and hang out, and at night, they fight the Dark Hour. They train in the tower known as Tartarus in preparation for the main missions.
The main mission of the SEES group is to defeat the Persona that appears once a month when the full moon is out. This is the true test of their strength as these bosses are difficult to take down. For the most part, the story of Persona 3 is rather repetitive in the beginning.
It is all about going to school, grinding in the Dark Hour, completing requests, and doing the main missions once a month. However, over time, things begin to change as more characters are revealed and the truth starts to come out.
Saving the World From the Midnight Hour
Eventually, the protagonist learns the truth about another group of Persona users who are their enemies. This tragic and dark truth gives them a new enemy to fight, in addition to the standard bosses once a month.
At a certain point in the story, everything changes as the player have the ability to make a decision. If they find out the truth, they are then led to Nyx, the final boss in the game. Once the Persona enemy is defeated, they save the world from the Midnight Hour for good.
Of course, what is unique about Persona 3 is that it, technically, has a third protagonist. If you play the FES version, while you cannot pick a female hero, you do play as Aigis in the epilogue. During this time, you play a storyline that is a direct follow-up to the main plot. In a way, she can be considered the third protagonist of Persona 3.
Persona 3 Protagonists in Other Games and Media
The Persona 3 protagonists have been featured in other games and media since the release of their games. Unfortunately, much of the focus has been on the male hero most of the time. This is seen in the fact that there is a Persona 3 anime adaptation, like with Persona 4 and 5.
Interestingly enough, it is comprised of several anime films, rather than a TV series. I would argue that it is also the best anime adaptation in the series to date. The anime made the interesting choice to have Makoto be the only hero and disregard the existence of the female protagonist.
This is also seen in Persona 4 Arena where neither protagonist is playable but Elizabeth does reference him, meaning Makoto rather than the girl. He has other appearances in spin-off games like Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight and mobile titles where he has been featured.
The male protagonist is also an optional boss character in Persona 5 Royal that you can fight where, again, the female option is not available. That said, there are a couple of situations where the female hero is shown outside of Persona 3 Portable.
There are a couple of crossovers where she is featured like in Puzzle & Dragons. That mobile game has her featured alongside her male counterpart. The other one is in a spin-off title known as Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth.
The first Persona Q is a Nintendo 3DS game where you have a dungeon-crawling RPG. It is a crossover game with the casts of both Persona 3 and 4. However, in the original Persona Q, Makoto is once again the only one featured as the hero from Persona 3.
Thankfully, this changed in Persona Q2 with both the male and female heroes appearing together as options in that game. Unfortunately, that is a rare situation. Hopefully, someday, we get the chance to enjoy both protagonists also with the epilogue from FES. It would be nice to see a remake of Persona 3 where all of the content is together for the first time.
Fun Facts About the Persona 3 Protagonists
As always, here are some nice trivia facts about the Persona 3 protagonists that you may not have known about before. Let’s get started:
- As we have mentioned already, Persona 3 is the only game in the series to allow you to pick your protagonist’s gender. Unfortunately, this option is only available in Persona 3 Portable.
- Persona 5 Royal was seemingly almost the second game to allow for a protagonist gender option as Kasumi, the party member added in Royal, was hinted as such in the backend. Interestingly enough, there are some decent resemblances between Kasumi and the Persona 3 Portable female hero in terms of appearance.
- The moment where the protagonist summons their Persona for the first time, they are shown wearing the SEES band on their left arm. However, the problem with this is that they are just now receiving their Persona and have therefore not joined the organization yet.
- Prior to Persona 3 Portable, the male hero is the only protagonist who can hold multiple weapon types like axes and so on. In Portable, though, the two heroes can only use the standard one-handed sword.
- There is much symbolism that hints toward the (huge spoilers ahead for the main story) sacrifice of the protagonist. For one, his final Persona is canonically seen to be Messiah. This is, of course, a reference to the Christian Messiah, Jesus, who died on the cross to save humanity. The hero does a similar act in the main story of the game.
- Persona 3 heavily references the Persona 2 duology, including the Innocent Sin MMORPG that you can “play.” In this game, if you play it enough, you will build a social link with a character named Maya. This is a reference to the first female protagonist in the series, Maya Amano, from Persona 2: Eternal Punishment.
- Playing as the female protagonist will change the Velvet Room assistant, Elizabeth, to the new character Theodore in Persona 3 Portable.
Question: Can you date Yuko Persona 3?
Answer: Yuko is the manager of the sports team that you can join in Persona 3. And, yes, you can actually date her in the game. If you are playing the male protagonist, you can date her but it takes a couple of steps to get there.
For one, you need to pick the sports team that you want to join. Once you do, you need to just go to the sports club several times. After a bit, you will establish a social link with Yuko. From then on, it is pretty straightforward as you just choose to spend time with her. Once you max her link out, you can choose to romance her as the guy.
Question: Who is the main protagonist in Persona 3?
Answer: When it comes to determining who is the canon main protagonist in Persona 3, unfortunately, it does seem like there is a clear answer. While the female protagonist option is awesome, it does seem like Makoto is the clear choice for who the canon hero is.
Unfortunately, there has not been a whole lot of love for the female main character at times. There are side games and crossovers where she did not get to appear but he did. And perhaps the most clear-cut situation is with the Persona 3 anime films. In these movies, it only shows Makoto and not her. This is likely due to her not being an option in the original game.
Question: Is the protagonist alive in Persona 3?
Answer: This is a very strange and spoilery answer so be sure to turn away now. No matter if you pick the male or female main character, the end result is the same. In the true ending of the game, it is revealed that, shockingly, the main character dies in their sleep and does not wake up. No, they are no longer alive after the events of Persona 3. Though side games like Persona 4 Arena Ultimax have hinted at the MC’s revival someday in a later game.
The Persona 3 protagonists are some of the most unique in the series. There is a chance that we may never have another opportunity to pick between a male and female hero. The way that it changes social links and relationships is quite impressive.
While we may never get another chance to do this, there was a possibility that it almost happened again. In our Persona 5 Joker guide, we noted the details that hint at possibly being able to have a female main character option added in Persona 5 Royal. Sadly, it never came to fruition.