Makoto Yuki (Shin Megami Tensei: Persona)
|Shin Megami Tensei: Persona character|
Protagonist in Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3
|First game||Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 (2006)|
|Created by||Shigenori Soejima|
|Designed by||Shigenori Soejima|
|Voiced by (English)||Yuri Lowenthal|
|Voiced by (Japanese)||Akira Ishida|
Makoto Yuki (結城 理 Yūki Makoto?) is a fictional character introduced in Atlus' role-playing video game Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3. In the game, Makoto is an orphan who transfers to Gekkoukan High School in Iwatodai City and discovers a phenomenon called the Dark Hour during which supernatural entities called Shadows roam freely. After awakening an ability within himself called Persona, Makoto finds himself intertwined in the ongoing struggle against the Shadows with his new schoolmates.
Besides Persona 3, Makoto has appeared in the related works of the series such as printed and animated adaptations, as well as the spin-off game: Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth. He is voiced by Akira Ishida in Japanese and by Yuri Lowenthal in the English.
Makoto was designed by Shigenori Soejima, who aimed to create an ordinary youth who the player could relate to. His character was further reworked for Spring of Birth where director Noriaki Akitaya explained pressure in giving the silent character his own personality. In the manga adaptation, he goes by the name Minato Arisato (有里 湊 Arisato Minato?). In the film, he is given a new name, Makoto Yuki, to further distinguish him from the in-game and manga character. Critical reception to Makoto's character has been generally positive for both his role in the games for how he handles his social life. His development in the film gathered similar responses.
Design and characterization
The Persona 3 protagonist was the first character Shigenori Soejima designed for the game. Early designs of the character made him look mature and collected since the artist viewed him as a "cliche[ed] cool guy." Soejima took longer to design the protagonist than any other character, as the game's other characters would be made to complement his design. In Art of Persona 3, Soejima explained that "Initially, he looked more honest, like an ordinary, handsome young man. But, I worked to achieve greater ambiguity in his expression." He further noted that the character managed to have a "hidden coolness." In retrospect, he found that he was not ambiguous enough and thus when creating the Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 protagonist, Soejima made Yu Narukami with the idea that his entire personality be decided and portrayed by the player's in-game actions and decisions.
For the animated film, director Noriaki Akitaya also explained that one of his biggest challenges was, "..getting the protagonist, who is the player in the game, and making him into a character named Makoto Yuki for the film, then figuring out how to integrate him [Makoto] into the story." This led Akitaya to be extremely careful about how he went about constructing the character [Makoto] in terms of his speech, gestures and behavior all the while staying true to what was already established in the game. Akitaya admitted that he would not have been able to meet the expectations of the individual fans of the game since the players were able to choose their own unique name and personality for the Protagonist. Instead he took the route of incorporating the most general traits of the fans' reactions to the Protagonist to form Yuki's character.
Akitaya stated that his favorite scene in the film occurred when Makoto summoned his Persona for the first time. He elaborated that Makoto's maniacal laugh and heavy breathing helped bring depth to the scene and establish animation director Keisuke Watabe's character designs as being one of the main attractions of the film. Akitaya had joked that during initial pre-production the Protagonist's name was still not determined and instead proposed the placeholder "Tsukitarō Yamada" (山田 月太郎 Yamada Tsukitarō?) until the first draft was developed. However even as Jun Kumagai began working on the screenplay, the placeholder went unchanged for the next four to five months and Akitaya found himself growing attached to it despite eventually changing it. In Japanese Makoto is voiced by Akira Ishida who further noted that he had enjoyed recording the scene of Makoto's initial meeting with Pharos, since he was presented with the roles of both characters. In the English version of Persona 3 the role is taken by Yuri Lowenthal.
In Persona 3
Makoto Yuki is the Protagonist (主人公 Shujinkō?, lit. "protagonist" or "hero") of Persona 3. He moves into the dorm in the introduction of the game, learning of his ability to summon the Personas Orpheus (オルフェウス Orufeusu?) and Thanatos (タナトス Tanatosu?) of The Death Arcana when the dorm is attacked by Shadows during the Dark Hour. Mitsuru asks him to join SEES and he is later elected the team's leader in combat. The Protagonist is unique among his cohorts in that he has the ability to carry multiple Personas and switch between them during battle. Over the course of the game, he also gains Messiah (メサイア Mesaia?) of The Judgement Arcana and Orpheus Telos (オルフェウス･改 Orufeusu Kai?) of The Fool Arcana in Persona 3 FES. With the power of the Wild Card he has access to over 150 different Personas. He is also the only character with access to the Velvet Room, in which the player is able to fuse together multiple Personas together to create a new, more powerful one. Over the course of the game, the player is challenged to manage the Protagonist's day-to-day schedule as he attends school, takes part in extracurricular activities, and spends time with classmates and other characters. Igor, the proprietor of the Velvet Room, encourages the Protagonist to form Social Links with people, as they will determine his potential in combat. Within the simulation elements of Persona 3, the player is able to form Social Links with characters in-game, each represented by one of the Major Arcana and granting various bonuses during Persona fusion, increasing the player's proficiency in battle.
As he works with SEES, the Protagonist builds up the Social Link for the Fool Arcana (愚者 Gusha?), which symbolizes the beginning and infinite possibilities of the journey ahead of the protagonist. When the Protagonist decides not to kill Ryoji Mochizuki, the Social Link of the Fool Arcana changes into the Judgement Arcana (審判 Shinpan?), which symbolizes the end of his journey and looking back at what has happened. The final Social Link the Protagonist attains is the Universe Arcana (宇宙 Uchū?), a card from the Thoth tarot that replaces World Arcana (世界 Sekai?), symbolizing the full awareness of the protagonist's place in the world.
The Protagonist is an orphan; his parents died ten years prior to the events of Persona 3, which sees him returning to the city he grew up in. In December, the player learns that a Shadow known as "Death" (デス?) was sealed in the Protagonist as a child by Aigis, who was unable to defeat it herself. The Death Shadow was able to lead the Protagonist to twelve other greater Shadows; by defeating them, The Appriser was created, a being which summons Nyx to the world to bring about its destruction. SEES battles The Appriser on the roof of Tartarus, but are not able to stop Nyx's descent to Earth. The Protagonist enters Nyx and is able to seal it using the power of the Social Links he formed over the past year.
In the extended version of the original game, Persona 3 FES, during the events of The Answer, it is learned the protagonist died after the battle and his soul becomes the Great Seal. A doppelganger of him appears as a boss using his friends' Personas. SEES is led to the Great Seal the Protagonist formed, which is under attack by a creature called Erebus. In the PlayStation Portable port Persona 3 Portable, an option was added to control a female protagonist, voiced by Marina Inoue in the Japanese adaptation, and Laura Bailey in the English adaptation. He is also featured in several radio dramas that tell new stories related to games.
In the manga, the Protagonist is named Minato Arisato (有里 湊 Arisato Minato?). There, he is portrayed as a quiet teenager who often tired or drowsy, who likes to eat and cook food. In the anime film series, Persona 3: The Movie, he takes the name of Makoto Yuki. In the stage adaption, Persona 3: The Weird Masquerade, the male Protagonist is named Sakuya Shiomi (汐見 朔也 Shiomi Sakuya?) while the female version is named Kotone Shiomi (汐見 琴音 Shiomi Kotone?).
Although Makoto does not appear in Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 and the sequel Persona 4 Arena, it is revealed in those games Igor's assistant Elizabeth left her position to find a way to rescue the Protagonist from his fate as the Great Seal. The character also appears in Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth, where he joins forces with the Persona 4 cast to defeat the Shadows.
Critical reception to Makoto Yuki's character has been positive. Joe Juba from Game Informer joked that he is "just a regular high school student" considering his actions across the game involving the fights against supernatural beings despite attending to classes. GameSpy's Patrick Joynt praised the character's social life in Persona 3 as it allowed the player to interact with several other characters and learn about their interesting stories. GamesRadar commented that while Makoto is a "Japanese RPG stereotype" it was refreshing to see him dealing with his social life. Nick Tan from GameRevolution similarly called him a "an ordinary high-school boy seemingly plucked straight from an ordinary manga" due to his double life in the game. Damian Thomas from RPGFan saw the interactions between the main character and his dorm mates as one of the game's best parts due to the character growth in each social link.
Reaction to the character's portrayal in the animated film Persona 3 The Movie: No. 1, Spring of Birth was also met with praise. Richard Eisenbeis of Kotaku described Makoto Yuki as being an initially "ambivalent, broken character.." whose growth takes center stage and gave the film "a suitable sense of completion." Elliot Gay from Japanator saw Makoto's growth from a "empty, aloof, and distant young man" who "lacks any kind of real determination to do anything" to his growth as a person as one of the film's main focus. His relationship with Aigis and his comical actions have also been prasied by Gay during a review for the second film.
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- Atlus. "Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3". "Ryoji: I see, so I was confined within him, and I lead him to my twelve missing pieces without realizing it."
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- Atlus. "Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3". "Igor: These are the voices of hope that wish to help you... Separately, they are weak... But together, they will bring about a great change in you. Now is the time to draw on the true strength of the bonds you have forged! I never dreamed of seeing that card with my own eyes... This is indeed a surprise... Behold the last power you and I shall unveil... It is the power to bring about a new beginning, or the ultimate end. It may be possible now, with this newfound power... You may be able to defeat the one who cannot be defeated. What you have in your hands is the power of the Universe... Nothing is outside the realm of possibility for you now./ Elizabeth: We will soon reach your destination. / Igor: It seems that, in addition to Death, fate has also dealt you the wild card. ...You must accept your destiny. Our contract has been fulfilled... I have completed my role as well. ...You were truly a remarkable guest."
- Atlus. "Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 FES". "Fuuka: What... What is this? / Metis: ...This is his life essence. As you can see, this is what happened. He himself became the Great Seal. But relinquishing one's life essence means death for a human..."
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