Hello dear readers and welcome to Shoot the Rookie! Today I’m delighted to be bringing you part two of my Persona 5 Strikers character appreciation article. Last time I looked at the girls so today my focus is all on the boys. Come join me to find out what I think of them and who my favourite Persona 5 Strikers boy is!
In case you missed it, part one of this article was published earlier this week and contains all my thoughts and feelings on the girls from Persona 5 Strikers. I covered the way each of them utilise their own unique character traits in Strikers and how each of them contribute to make the Persona 5 universe one of the best ensemble casts in history.
Today I’ve got part two for you and I’m really excited to share my thoughts on the boys from the game, particularly as my two favourite characters are both boys. As in the girls’ post, I’m only focusing on the Phantom Thieves here, and also as in the girls’ post there is a new addition to the team in Strikers and I’m particularly excited to share my thoughts on him here.
Before I begin, please be aware that what follows contains heavy spoilers and definitely strays into unnecessary fan-girling. That said, let’s get going!
There isn’t a huge amount to say about the protagonist’s character development here but I still love him very much and it’s nice to see him getting back with his friends and getting a chance to kick back (kind of) after the hell he went through in Persona 5. Although he is the leader, something that really strikes me about him is how easy going he is. Here he is quiet and observant as always, but in Persona 5 Strikers it was evident that he is a pretty cheeky guy too, as some of the conversation options you get with him are entirely cringeworthy! Strikers doesn’t have a romance mechanic in the same way as Persona 5 but it was nice there was a little nod to this and just for the record I made him ride the Ferris wheel with Haru, which turned out to be pretty cute! As an aside, I think the name Ren Amamiya (from the anime and a few other sources) really suits him, but I know many people prefer to use his name from the manga – Akira Kurusu. It’s just personal choice I guess!
Here he is, my favourite character! For the majority of the game I was seriously worried they were not giving my boy enough of the limelight. He never seemed to be the main focus and just kept on being Ryuji – eating ramen and hanging out with his friends. That said, I did notice a slight change in him in that he seems a little bit less angry now having worked through the events from Persona 5. In the final stages of Strikers however, he came into his own as his determination to support his friends and speak from his heart shone through. His speech to Sophia at a critical moment of her story was incredible and there was a moment right after beating the final boss where he went over to Joker and placed a hand on his shoulder that melted my heart. Ryuji is the only character in the group who could have pulled these things off and hats off to the writers for letting him shine despite not being central to the story.
This game was important in changing my opinion of the not-cat as I now like him much more than I did from playing the original game. He seems to have let go of his insecurities and is a lot more relaxed (and less bossy) in this game, but he is still a great source of humour and guidance. He doesn’t get a huge amount of the focus in Strikers, having already resolved his own personal mystery in Persona 5, however what I really liked about him here was the relationship he developed with Sophia and the comparisons in their situations. Even though she was often quite cheeky towards him I felt they had a real bond and I felt Morgana was able to use his own experiences to help Sophia get to grips with her plight.
As with Ann and Haru on the girls’ side, Yusuke also has his own story arc in the game where he gets to show off his integrity and sharp moral compass dealing with an antagonist who’s plight he understands. Happily we also get to see the lighter side of him, indulging in his favourite things from art to lobsters and of course all forms of food. He is a very close second (to Ryuji) in terms of my favourite Persona 5 character, but I sometimes get the impression not many others feel that way and that he is perhaps under-appreciated in the fan-base. Sometimes his numerous eccentricities, although hilarious, hide his real contribution to the team. I find him an intelligent, considered and thoughtful character who often asks the right question or suggests the right course of action. If he could just learn that salt on its own is not an acceptable meal he could go far.
Last but certainly not least we have the oldest member of the gang, policeman Zenkichi Hasegawa. I absolutely adore Zenkichi and thought he was an excellent addition who brought a whole new perspective to things. Even from early on I kinda trusted him (even though I probably shouldn’t have) because although he tried desperately to be cool, I thought if he was a bad guy they would have made him actually cool. Zenkichi is not cool. He is however a rare positive representation of an adult in the Persona 5 universe and weirdly, it is his many failings that make him such a good example. Like many characters in Strikers he is scarred by his past but unlike many of them he works through the complex issues that surround him and eventually does the right thing. Sure he needs some help to do this, but my lasting impression of Zenkichi is that he is a worthy member of the Phantom Thieves, even if trying to fit in with the kids makes him look like a massive dork.
So that completes my analysis of the characters in Persona 5 Strikers. But what did you think of the boys? Did your opinions of any of them change as a result of playing this game? How did you think Zenkichi fitted in as an older member of the team? Let me know all below in comments and I’ll be back soon with more video game and anime nonsense!
Thanks for reading,