Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4

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Video game fandom
NameShin Megami Tensei: Persona 4
Abbreviation(s)Persona 4, P4
Release datePS2: July 10, 2008; PSP and Vita: June 14, 2012 ; Steam: June 13, 2020
External link(s)Persona 4 official website
Related articles on Fanlore.

Persona 4 is a turn-based RPG developed by Atlus for the PlayStation 2. It is the fifth game in the Persona series. It is one of the most popular games in the Persona franchise and has had several spin-offs and anime adaptations.


Persona 4 follows a group of high school students dealing with a mysterious TV channel dedicated to distorting and exaggerating the truth of who they are and their identities. A string of bizarre murders begins shaking their once peaceful town. They must look past what is on the screen, explore a mysterious world inside the TV and perform rescue missions in order to save its victims from death. Only by finding and evaluating the truth among a myriad of lies can they hope to find the serial killer and save their town.[1]




  • Igor
  • Margaret
  • Saki Konishi
  • Naoki Konishi
  • Ai Ebihara
  • Kou Ichijo
  • Daisuke Nagase
  • Hisano Kuroda
  • Eri Minami
  • Sayoko Uehara
  • Shu Nakajima
  • Yumi Ozawa
  • Ayane Matsunaga
  • Marie
  • Taro Namatame
  • Izanami


The Fandom saw a resurgence following the release of Persona 4 Golden on Steam in 2020. This also made fans more interested in the modding scene surrounding Persona as the PC port made them much more accessible.


Due to the game's Social Link mechanic, which acts similarly to that of a dating sim, shipping the protagonist (typically named either Seta Souji or Narukami Yu depending on the adaption) with the rest of the cast is very common. Persona 4 only allows for romantic Social Links to be formed with female characters, and several can be formed at the same time. This had led some fans to interpret the protagonist as something of a player or a ladies man.

Despite not having a romantic Social Link, Hanamura Yosuke/Narukami Yu is one of the most popular slash pairings, and pairings overall, within the fandom. Lines of dialogue found cut from the game that seems to indicate that at one point the two did have a romantic Social Link has only strengthened the pairing's popularity.

Amagi Yukiko/Satonaka Chie is a popular femslash pairing that plays off Chie and Yukiko being childhood friends as well as Yukiko's Shadow claiming that Chie is her prince.

Kanji's canonical crush on Naoto has made Shirogane Naoto/Tatsumi Kanji a popular het pairing, though some label it as a slash pairing due to Naoto's gender presentation.

Discussions & Controversies

Kanji's Sexuality

There is some amount of discourse surrounding Kanji's sexuality in Persona 4. In the game, players enter an alternate world where a character's hidden desires manifest themselves in the form of an "other self" and a dungeon. In Kanji's alternate world, his other self appears as a near-nude, "gay" sounding version of himself who inhabits a men's bathhouse, strongly suggesting that the character houses homosexual desires.[2] After beating the dungeon, Kanji comes to respect that his other self is still a part of him and that he is stronger for knowing it.

He also has a crush on Naoto, who for the first part of the game is thought to be a boy but later revealed in their own dungeon to be a girl. Fans on either side of the argument use this information to interpret Kanji's sexuality in different ways. Those who feel he is gay cite that his crush on Naoto started when he first thought Naoto was male and is what further caused his repressed feelings to manifest within his dungeon. Those who don't believe Kanji is gay cite that his crush on Naoto only happened because Naoto is actually female or that he was merely interested in them as a person, and not as someone who was thought to be male.

Word from TPTB have given no solid answers as it has been deliberately left up to player interpretation.

"We would like everyone to play through the game and come up with their own answers to that question; there is no official answer," says Yu Namba, Atlus USA's Persona 4 Project Lead. "What matters is that Kanji's other self cries out, 'Accept me for who I am!' I think it's a powerful message which many, if not all of us can relate to.”[3]

Naoto's Gender

While in canon Naoto is a woman who is presenting as a man so that they will be taken seriously in their career as a detective, some fans view Naoto's story to be trans narrative. This has also lead some to consider the pairing of Naoto and Kanji to be slash, rather than het.

While canon says Naoto Shirogane is a woman, he reads like a transman. His story arc has elements that are present in trans narratives, his own Personas are all exclusively male, and he dresses in ways that emphasize his masculinity. And it’s really important we regard Naoto as a transman; beyond the fact that trans characters don’t get positive representation in media outside of their transition, transmen also do not get much representation as society focuses almost solely on the transition of transwomen. So, rather than accept the canon explanation, let’s embrace the opportunity to gain some representation![4]

Notable Fanworks


  • Hiimdaisy's Persona 4 parody comic was very influential within the fandom, and spawned a fan video adaptation which animated the comic with voiceovers, further contributing to its popularity.[5] Several of the comic's punchlines have been picked up and continue to be quoted in the fandom, and sometimes outside of it as well. Chie calling steaks "Fsteak" and Adachi singing "Who wants to talk about murders?" are two of the most notable examples of this.

Fan Games

  • Persona 4: New Days is a dating sim visual novel released in 2015. "February 1st, 2012. As Winter turns to Spring, your departure from Inaba rapidly approaches. This separation will have a monumental impact on your life and the lives of your friends – but in facing it together, you may find new paths opening in your relationships with them."
  • Persona 4: Racing All Afternoon is a kart racing game similar to Mario Kart. Its name is a parody of another Persona spin-off - Persona 4: Dancing All Night.
  • PERSONA 4: YOUR AFFECTION is a visual novel released in 2017 "With February drawing to a close and the case long behind them, the Investigation Team finds themselves with a new mystery on their hands. Stripped of their powers, they’re confronted not only with the innermost darkness of their own hearts… but with each other."


Persona 4 Endurance Run

One of the most well known Let's Plays of Persona 4 is Giant Bomb's "Endurance Run" in which hosts Jeff Gerstmann and Vinny Caravella played and fished the game, totaling in a 155 part video series. One of the lasting effects of the endurance run was some fans referring to the main playable character as "Charlie Tunoku", as this is what Giant Bomb named him for their play through.

Archives & Fannish Links