Aigis 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)||Karen Strassman|
|Voiced by (Japanese)||Maaya Sakamoto|
Aigis (アイギス Aigisu?, "Aegis" in The Episode of Aegis) is a character introduced in the 2006 role-playing game Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 by Atlus. She is an android created by the Kirijo Group, and the last surviving model of their experimental anti-Shadow weapon. Besides possessing a wide variety of high-tech weapons, from machine guns and rocket launchers to long-range guns and "rocket punches," Aigis also has access to the power of Persona she uses alongside the main cast to defeat the Shadows attacking mankind. Across the game, Aigis starts showing human-like traits and it is revealed the reason for her attachment to the game's protagonist whom she seeks to be safe.
Aigis was created by Shigenori Soejima who despite being bothered by her inclusion in the game as a result of being android, came to find her design one of his favorites due to the amount of freedom he was provided in creating her. Aigis is voiced by Maaya Sakamoto in Japanese and Karen Strassman in English. Critical reception to the character has ranged from mixed to positive with criticism aimed to Strassman's voice work and praise at her character development.
Creation and design
Aigis was created to remind people of the robots being used in manga, though character designer Shigenori Soejima said that he did not want to create her since a robot like her does not exist currently in the modern world. However, Aigis' existence served to give Persona 3 its manga feel that differentiated it from its sequel, Persona 4. Despite Aigis looking out of place, Soejima took extra time when designing her as he believes she was one of the game's most important characters.
Of all the characters he has ever illustrated, Soejima believes Aigis to be most easily identifiable character. As a result, she was used in the cover of the artbook Shigenori Soejima Art Works 2004-2010 over the Persona 3 and Persona 4 protagonists. He said Aigis was always a special character to him, especially with regards to her level of design. This meant Soejima had noticeable amount of freedom when designing her as he was not asked to make a realistic character, such as Yukiko Amagi from Persona 4. All of the Aigis illustration he has done have had to be altered to better suit the anime. By removing all of those external constraints from the picture, he was able to draw Aigis however he wanted, with as much detail as he wanted. She is voiced by Maaya Sakamoto in Japanese and Karen Strassman in English.
Aigis is introduced during SEES' summer beach vacation. She immediately shows an instinctual interest in protecting the Protagonist which even she cannot explain. Ikutsuki has her assigned to aid SEES, and she enrolls in Gekkoukan High to act as the Main Character's bodyguard. Her Personas are Palladion (パラディオン Paradion?) and Athena (アテナ Atena?) of The Chariot Arcana. The Protagonist can also date Aigis in Persona 3: FES as the Aeon Arcana (永劫 Eigō?), and when you max her Social Link she will fall in love with him. In Persona 3 Portable, it is implied that Aigis also falls in love with the Female Protagonist upon maxing her Social Link. She expresses lament towards not being a male.
During her battle with Ryoji on the Moonlight Bridge, Aigis regains the memories trapped in her damaged circuits. Ten years before the game, her mission was to defeat or seal away Death so that the coming of Nyx would be averted. Since she was unable to defeat Death, she sealed the entity away in a young protagonist who was the sole survivor of a nearby car crash. She is driven to protect him both to try to suppress Death and because she feels a great deal of guilt over her actions. When she returns, she shows more human-like qualities and emotions, and decides to stand against the power of Nyx with her friends in SEES. Finally, on Graduation Day, as she is holding the Protagonist in her lap, she suddenly realizes what it means to be human and also the true purpose in her existence is to protect the life of the Protagonist.
In the Persona 3: FES expansion, the player can access an epilogue to the main game called The Answer ("Episode Aegis" in the Japanese version). There, Aigis replaces the Protagonist as playable protagonist, inheriting his power to summon multiple Personas alongside Orpheus (オルフェウス Orufeusu?) of The Fool Arcana, but loses the ability to use Orgia Mode. During her story, Aigis is filled with grieve over the death of the Protagonist and wishes to become a mere machine like she used to be. Metis makes her remember the feelings she has cast aside, and she realizes that she's still able to fulfill her promise with the Protagonist. At this realization, she decides to continue attending Gekkoukan High as Yukari's roommate rather than returning to the lab she had initially intended to.
Aegis: The First Mission follows Aigis' adventures before she sealed Death. She also appears as a playable character in Persona 4 Arena, which takes place over two years after "The Answer". Using Athena as her Persona, Aigis joins Mitsuru and Akihiko in their search of another Anti-Shadow weapon, Labrys, that was stolen from Mitsuru. Also, in Elizabeth's story mode, she, along with her successor and fellow Wild Card wielder Yu Narukami, help Elizabeth understand the true nature of the Wild Card. She also appears in the animated film Persona 3 The Movie: No. 2, Midsummer Knight's Dream. Aigis also appears in Square Enix's arcade card game Lord of Vermilion Re:2 as a summon spell.
RPGFan described how Aigis in particular was one of the most developed characters in Persona 3: The Answer. Kotaku compared her with Anya Jenkins from Buffy the Vampire Slayer as both are "non-human who joins the group and slowly learns what it means to be human." RPGamer criticized Aigis' English voice actress as one of the weakest from the game's localization to the point it could occasionally become "annoying". He added she "stole a good deal of the spotlight in the original game." In a review of The First Mission, Ryan Mattich from RPGFan complained about Aigis' lack of importance to the story despite being the game's titular character. For Persona 4 Arena, IGN said that players who control Aigis need to find a balance using Orgia mode to attack and using her limited bullets to allow the Orgia gauge to recharge. For the same game, Lucas Sullivan from GamesRadar called Aigis one of the "old Persona 3 favorites" alongside Elizabeth. Richard Eisenbeis of Kotaku praised Aigis' inclusion in the second anime film as well as her relationship with Makoto Yuki. She was also listed as the sixth best Persona character by Kimberley Wallace from Game Informer who praised his character development across the series despite being a cyborg. IGN also listed her as the third best Persona character, praising her skills and, like Wallace, her growth across the game.
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- Soejima, Shigenori (2012). Art of Persona 3. Atlus. p. 39. ISBN 978-1926778433.
- Soejima, Shigenori (2012). Shigenori Soejima Art Works 2004-2010. Udon Entertainment. ISBN 978-1926778327.
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