Persona 6 Won’t Be as Good as Persona 5, But It Can Fix What’s Wrong with Persona.

It probably goes without saying, but there are spoilers about Person 5 up ahead. This probably means nothing, since everyone and their mom has played the game, but — in the name of human decency — you have been warned.

Alternate version of the Persona 5 protagonist where they are a girl instead of a boy
Image courtesy of Reddit

Persona 5 and P5 Royal are lightning in a bottle. A blend of style and substance that, when combined, became a cultural phenomenon. It is not putting it lightly that P5 and P5R changed what people could expect from RPG’s, and JRPG’s in particular. So it should go without saying that P6 will inevitably fall short as a follow up.

After all, you only get lightning in a bottle once. Unless you’re Peter Jackson making the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

But, where P5/P5R succeeded, it also had its failing. Some long standing issues with the series prevailed, even while it reached a mechanical and stylistic zenith. It is here where P6 can come out on top.

Social and Sexual Dynamics: QED Let Us Date the Boys.

And I’m not saying that all the characters have to be date-able to all genders. That’s not real life. But let’s be honest here — if Yusuke turned out to have a thing for Akira/Ren/whatever you named him, would anyone have been surprised? Sure, Ryuji probably would not go that way, even if he has feelings. But Yusuke? The guy understands hetero-normative relationships about as well as I understand Math, which is to say, not at all.

Also, stop it with the harmful stereotypes of gay men. To be gay is NOT to be a sexual deviant, or sexual predator. Just Google Woody Allen, Roman Polanski or Matt Gaetz for more on that.

And while we’re talking about the silent Protag…

Stop it with the silent protagonist already.

Let us choose the gender of our protag.

But think about it: Imagine that your Akira/Ren/whatever was actually a girl, coming to the aid of another girl during the Shido assault in P5. Think of the implications, and how much subtext could be gleaned from the story if it was a tale about overcoming socially enforced gender norms. Maybe that doesn’t mean much to you. But I’ll bet there’s more than a few Persona fans out there that this kind of offering would mean the world.

And those creepy mascots…

Stop it with the “fan service.” This isn’t an anime, even though it is very Anime. I can overlook a character being weird once in a thirteen episode run, but I have to spend the better part of four or five hours before I get the chance to swap Mona out of the party, if only so I don’t have to hear, “You’re so gorgeous Panther,” for the trillionth time in his simping simp voice.

And don’t get me started on the “Peek up Ann’s Skirt” scene. This is the kind of shit that makes people think anime and anime adjacent properties are strictly for creeps.

Show me your true form.

But just because I love it doesn’t mean that I think it’s perfect. While P6 will probably never replace P5 in my heart, it can move me in different ways, and move the Persona franchise into a more equitable, socially just, and egalitarian space where P5 kind of languished in the boy-centered, insert male power fantasy here, swamp.

Writer, Photographer, #hashtag, Father.

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