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Perhaps it has been too long since I last played Persona 3, one of my favorite games of all time, but I distinctly remember not loving Yukari Takeba.
The star of this Yukari Takeba guide is a mixed bag for me, being one of the more complicated characters in the Persona series. While I love almost the entire cast of that game, Yukari is one of the few that did not impress, unlike my boy Junpei Iori when I first played it many years ago.
Setting aside my personal thoughts about one of the first prominent party members you meet in the legendary JRPG, this Yukari Takeba guide will dive into everything that you need to know about her.
From her appearance in the original game to her updated and still rather unlikable return in Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, I’ll be sure to cover the parts that are useful to both newcomers and veterans alike.
Bottom Line Up Front
Yukari Takeba is one of those characters that you cannot avoid as much as you would like to. She is that annoying older sister type of character who pesters everyone around her while being a nuisance which only helps out once in a while.
That said, she is still part of the family in Persona 3, being a prominent member of the SEES organization. Her weapon of choice is the bow, allowing her to strike at enemies from afar.
She is one of the main friends of the protagonist, being available as a social link and romanceable partner. Yukari was, unfortunately, popular enough to return in Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, where she is playable in the 2D fighting game.
Yukari Takeba Overview
Do you know the term tsundere? It is a classic Japanese stereotype that is used in manga, anime, video games, TV shows, and so on. It is a classic person who pretends like they don’t like you when they really do. They usually have an annoying and abrasive attitude that is always in your face.
In many ways, Yukari Takeba is that sort of character in Persona 3. Admittedly, I don’t think she is as bad as some tsundere girls in games and anime, but she comes undoubtedly close. In the midst of the fantastic, well-written, and exciting characters in Persona 3’s cast, there is Yukari.
She stands alone as one of the stalwart uninteresting people and someone you don’t necessarily want to be around. The only other example in the JRPG is Akihiko (in my opinion).
Even still, there is still something to love about her character as she is a necessary evil. After all, not everyone can be the best JRPG character ever within the same game. There must be some balance to keep everything in check because, as the old adage goes, “too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.”
Yukari Takeba is one of the first prominent party members that you meet in Persona 3. She is already a member of SEES, the leading organization you join in fighting the shadows in the JRPG. In the same year in high school as you, the protagonist, she quickly becomes “close” to you, if you could call it that.
She plays a significant role throughout the story of Persona 3, despite not having much happen to her at all. It is strange, but she is one of the few characters to not really have that much of a plot.
In a game where even the best bro type of character, Junpei, literally has the best sub-plot of the entire RPG, it is quite surprising indeed.
Yukari has pretty much the same appearance throughout Persona 3. In all honesty, I don’t dislike her look in the game; it is one of the better parts of her character.
Initially, I was not too fond of her appearance, but it grew on me over time. I’m not sure if this was intentional or not, but her looks, especially on her face, remind me of the “gyaru” style in Japan from the 90s.
She wears a school uniform for Gekkoukan High School, even when they are in the Tartarus dungeon in the Dark Hour. This uniform is unique for her, composed of a very short black skirt. It is coupled with brown shoes that have very long black socks that go all the way up to almost her knees.
For her top half, she wears a cardigan-style school uniform that is long-sleeved and pink. This is her favorite color as revealed later in the game, so this is no surprise here. Under the central part of her uniform, it appears that she is wearing a white undershirt that has a collar. Around her neck, too, is a reddish-pink ribbon.
Her hair is a light brown color and is low-cut, with bangs that part to the side. She has matching brown eyes that are huge and big lips as well. Overall, she has a decent appearance that is relatively attractive. I remember not liking it initially, but her style grew on me as an adult.
Persona 4 Arena Ultimax Outfit
While I do not mind her appearance in Persona 3, the same cannot be said for her return in Persona 4 Arena Ultimax. There is something seriously wrong with her style in this sequel game. Much of her appearance remains the same, but for some odd reason, she is wearing her work uniform on the mission.
By work uniform, I mean the Pink Ranger outfit that she wears for a TV show. She is a member of the knock-off Power Rangers in the Persona universe, playing the role of the pink one. It is a pink suit from top to bottom with a cape that flows from her back.
The only notable parts of the gear are the yellow emblem that goes down the middle of the outfit and the pink biker-style helmet that she sometimes wears.
Her hair is relatively unchanged, remaining the same color and almost the exact same style as before. She would look much better if she ditched the surprisingly lame Ranger suit that pales in comparison to the actual Power Rangers and Kamen Riders out there.
At the start of the game, Yukari is one of the first characters that the protagonist runs into, which is unfortunate for them. She has a poor relationship with her mother due to the loss of her father at a younger age. When you first meet her, she is one of the newer members of the SEES group.
Unlike the others, she is unable to use her Evoker out of fear. Through the help of you, the player, and the others, she can awaken to her Persona and use it in battle. She closes herself off from the other group members, and it is only through the main character that she opens up to anyone.
The bulk of her storyline is about the loss of her father, accepting that, and learning about the truth of what he was involved in. It is not super riveting stuff, but there is at least considerable growth that happens with Yukari that I can appreciate.
Unfortunately, part of the problem that I have with Yukari’s character is what comes after the main story. In Persona 3 FES, there is The Answer epilogue. In this story, following the end of the main game, Yukari regresses rather than progress as a character.
She becomes irritable and disliking of her teammates. In my opinion, she loses much of her character development from the main game, which is pretty foolish and a poor decision.
She returns in Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, remaining the harsh person from before but a little bit more mature. She is one of the main Shadow Operatives who helps save the others who have been captured in that storyline.
There is nothing too special about the abilities that Yukari Takeba has. Overall, she has pretty much everything that the others have. The only part I think is worth noting is that she uses a bow and arrow, which is unique for the Persona characters.
Since later games would either remove the ranged weapons entirely or split them once again, like in the case of Persona 5, the bow being someone’s main weaponry is rather unique. She is also the only party member besides the main character who can use Garu (elemental wind abilities).
Her most extraordinary skills come from the fact that her Persona uses a lot of healing skills, both for health and status ailments. Other than that, she is pretty much a standard Persona user. She can awaken to her Persona after battling with herself for a while.
Yukari’s Personas are powerful, involving many magical skills that she can use to aid her team and defeat the enemies. She is one of the most helpful party members, and I used her quite a bit in my first playthrough of the game.
As one of the main characters in Persona 3, this also means that she is able to be conscious during the Dark Hour. Unfortunately for her, this is something that she resents as she would much prefer being like everyone else and being frozen during this hidden hour of the night.
Persona 4 Arena Ultimax Playstyle
For some reason, Atlus made the decision to hold back some of its cards for Persona 4 Arena Ultimax. Yukari is one of the few characters not playable until Ultimax, but the wait was worth it. I’m a massive fan of playing as Yukari in Ultimax as she is one of my mains in that game.
This is due to the rogue and glass cannon mix that she is. She is pretty different from the other characters in the fighting game in that she is not precisely that resilient. She is easier to take down than most of the other fighters, but the trade-off is that she deals insane damage.
She is also reasonably mobile and can easily maneuver around the playing field to avoid attacks. If that is not enough, she is a master of status ailments and affecting the enemy in this way. If you could not tell already, Yukari is the definition of challenging to learn but undoubtedly worth mastering.
If you can get past her high barrier to entry, you will find that she is one of the most effective fighters out there. You will quickly decimate foes if you can dodge enemies and set up powerful Persona skills. In my experience, low health does not matter if you can set up her range attacks well.
Lastly, the most significant part about her gameplay that is worth mentioning is her bow and arrow. Atlus ensures that she has her own unique playstyle in that the arrows will literally hone in on the enemy from afar.
It is not as precise as it could be, but it is helpful in doling out some hefty ranged attacks. I’ll admit that she is not for everyone, but I find her worth checking out nonetheless to see if she works for you, too.
With Yukari being the Lovers Arcana, she connects with many people for whatever reason. Though I think her overall plot is pretty weak, there is a case to be made about her bonds with the other party members. She connects with everyone on some level, even if they are hostile most of the time.
There is her relationship with you, the player. It is one of friendship early on in the game when you have so few of those. It can grow into so much more, being a romance or even that of besties. Speaking of besties, her best friend is likely considered to be Junpei.
They have known each other for a while, and Yukari pokes fun at him at every corner. Atlus did a fantastic job with the localization in English, offering great taglines and nicknames that she gives him, like “Stupei” and many others.
Though this is the epitome of the annoying side of Yukari, I actually kind of like her more in her interactions with Junpei than anytime else.
She especially bonds with Mitsuru Kirijo with some connections in their pasts to each other. In those pasts, she is pretty close to her family, with a rift only recently forming between her and her mom. This is a central part of her storyline, especially if you build a social link with Yukari.
Lastly, she has an intense rivalry and sometimes hostile relationship with Aigis. The robot companion that joins the group is seemingly a threat to Yukari’s connections with the player character, so she dislikes her. This is exceedingly apparent when you play as Aigis in The Answer.
Social Link and Romance Explained
Should you find Yukari Takeba more exciting and fascinating than I did, you will likely want to pursue a friendship or perhaps even more with her. There is a social link that Yukari has, and it is one of the first that you unlock within Persona 3, especially with the other party members.
That is, of course, if you are playing the male protagonist. Female player characters will not be able to build a friendship with her, let alone a romantic relationship. On a side note, that is one of the most annoying parts of Persona 3 with these gender-exclusive social links.
That said, the bond with the male protagonist can begin on July 24. At this point in time, the player must have the max level of Charm in order even to start the social link. It is a high requirement, which is one of the reasons why I never pursued a friendship with her.
Once you do unlock the social link with Yukari, here is when you can speak with her:
- Mondays: Daytime
- Wednesdays: Daytime
- Thursdays: Daytime
- Saturdays: Daytime
She is found in your home classroom on the second floor of Gekkoukan High. Choose the correct answers when spending time with her, and you can even romance her if you like.
No matter what, though, if you max out her social link, you will unlock the ability to fuse Cybele, the ultimate Persona of the Lovers Arcana.
For that reason and to give Yukari a second chance, I hope to max out her social link for the first time in the very near future when I replay Persona 3. Hopefully, either on the Nintendo Switch or via my Steam Deck.
Ignoring my general dislike of Yukari Takeba, the voice actors behind the complicated character are phenomenal. Starting with the Japanese side, the VA for the Lover of the SEES group is Megumi Toyoguchi. Toyoguchi literally defined my childhood when it came to powerful women in games and anime.
She has many insanely impressive roles out there, but there are a few that I would like to highlight. In the games medium, alongside her role as Yukari, she played Dawn (Hikari in Japan) for the Pokemon Diamond & Pearl series, Winry Rockbell in the first Fullmetal Alchemist anime, and Aqua in Kingdom Hearts.
The most notable out of her roles, though, is that of Junko in the Danganronpa series. That is her best performance, and one of the greatest villains of all time.
On the other hand, I played the English dub of Persona 3 when I first checked it out. While I’m not too fond of Yukari, I think that her VA, Michelle Ruff, did a fantastic job.
Ruff has some solid performances of her own that are memorable to me. These include Yoko in Gurren Lagann, Sinon in SAO, and Katherine in Catherine.
Hilariously enough, Yukari was not her only Persona appearance, either. She also voiced Sadayo Kawakami, also known as your hot maid teacher in Persona 5. Funnily enough, they have some similarities between them in terms of personality, but I like Kawakami much more.
Fun Facts about Yukari Takeba
Here are some “fun” facts (if you can truly call them fun) about Yukari Takeba that you may not have known about before:
- When comes to Yukari’s given name, in Japanese, it can be translated to mean “affinity.” This is likely an intentional choice for her name since she represents the Lovers Arcana in Persona 3 (for whatever reason).
- Perhaps tying into the whole Lovers theme, her favorite color is pink. The color pink is present throughout her school uniform and her certainly unique outfit in Persona 4 Arena Ultimax.
- Keeping up with the pink theme, her favorite food is strawberry daifuku. This is the classic Japanese sweet that involves wrapping a strawberry in mochi. On a side note, it’s quite delicious, even for a non-strawberry fan like myself!
- One possible reason for Lovers Arcana is the fact that she is the main healer in the group, taking care of her teammates. While I don’t love Yukari, she was almost always on my team for her impressive healing spells and Garu use.
- Yukari is also pretty fashionable. She shares this in common with a couple of other series characters, most notably Ann from Persona 5 and Eriko from the original Revelations: Persona. The exciting connection does not stop there, as all three girls became models after or in their respective games.
- Speaking of sharing, the English voice of Yukari also voiced Sadayo Kawakami in Persona 5. They have similarly tricky personalities. While Kawakami does not represent the Lovers Arcana, she does controversially have the hots for her student. And both characters like wearing maid outfits.
Question: How Old is Yukari in Persona 3? How Old is She in Persona 4 Arena Ultimax?
Answer: Yukari Takeba is roughly 16 years old at the time of Persona 3. In the epilogue section known as The Answer, she is around 17. Finally, in the events of Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, she is 19 years old.
Question: When can You Hang Out with Yukari?
Answer: In case you missed the above section about her social link, you can hang out with Yukari Takeba on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays during the daytime. That is, of course, assuming that you have the max Charm level even to start the relationship.
Question: What is Yukari’s Persona?
Answer: Her Persona is initially Io, but it is possible to help her grow as a person. If you do so, Yukari Takeba will be able to awaken to her ultimate Persona known as Isis. Canonically, she awakens to Isis as that is her Persona in Persona 4 Arena Ultimax.
At the end of the day, not everyone can be a Mitsuru Kirijo, Fuuka, or Junpei Iori. Heck, I made it clear in the Persona 3 Aigis guide that I am not even a massive fan of her, but I still think she is a more compelling and understandable character overall.
There will be some duds or more traditional characters in a game; that is undoubtedly necessary to keep the game balanced.