Persona 4: I’m so gay for Narukami Yu

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I never really appreciated Yu that much when I was playing Persona 4, because, well, there was nothing to appreciate. Just like the older Persona games, “Yu” (you can actually name him, but for the sake of this post, I will just continue referring him to “Yu”) is a silent protagonist; that means he never talks in the game, with a few exception when some dialogue choices are needed. Even then, he was never given a voice and even if he “talked”, the game narrated it as a third-person. In the anime adaption however, he was finally given both a “name” and a “voice”, and it allows me to really appreciate his characterization.

Reflecting his “silent protagonist” persona in the game, Yu was depicted as cool and stoic. He however does not afraid to speak out his mind and does not reject, and in fact, values companionship, giving him the ability to forge bonds with dozens of people. He, for a “silent protagonist” character, is mentally strong, and has a really optimistic outlook on life; I haven’t watch the Persona 3 anime movie, but this aspect of Yu’s characterization seems to be the downright opposite of Yuki (Persona 3 protagonist in the movie), who lies toward more on pessimism. Additionally, his decisive and confident personality reinforces his charismatic demeanor; earning him the trust of everyone.

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Furthermore, what both the anime did was that it depicts Yu from blank state to “maxed-out stats”. For players of Persona 4, they will probably be familiar with these status parameters-which consists of Understanding, Knowledge, Courage, Expression and Diligence. While in the game, you will be in control of whether or not you want to develop these parameters further or leave them be, you can see that in the anime version, Yu is slowly growing and developing himself in all of these stats as the anime progresses, and arguably, at some point, maxed them out. He started from a blank “silent protagonist”, to someone who is “human”, and finally to someone who you can very genuinely call a “friend”. With so many positive traits, it’s really, really difficult not to like the guy. Did I mention he has a sense of humor as well?

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There are a lot of things to like about Yu. He’s optimistic, confident, dependable, sharp, understanding, perceptive and I could go on and on. He also has an almost ironclad willpower; an unshakable determination which never gives up hope no matter how bleak, which of cause, are contributed by the bonds he forged with his friends. Indeed, his strong mentality just oozes MANLINESS. More than anything though, one of the many reasons why I like Yu so much-you can feel that he is just a down-to-earth guy and a dear friend, who is cool but will still joke and mess around with you, just like the best of friends do; at the same time, he is also someone dependable who you could definitely count on.

I’m so gay for Narukami Yu. Still, Yu just has that odd, captivating charm which just attracts both guys and girls alike. Let’s face it, even Yosuke LOVES him.

Like a boss!

Like a boss!

Note: This post was written after playing Persona 4 Arena (and choosing Yu as my first character). I ended up liking his characterization so much I decided to write one whole post dedicated on him. Although I’m always hesitant to add newer-released entries into my favorite lists – anime and characters alike; Narukami Yu is definitely a character I had been considering adding into mine for quite a while, even more so now.

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This entry was posted by Kai.

9 thoughts on “Persona 4: I’m so gay for Narukami Yu

  1. Not to mention that he is really deadpan and naive in almost any situation.
    There are some interesting thing about P3 and P4 protagonist characterization though. They both represented by the tarot card “Fool”. “Fool” symbolize innocent, naive, blank slate which is really shown in Yu’s characterization. However all of those can also be translated to emptiness and apathy, which is the characterization that P3 movie is going for.

    • I think this is what’s best about his character – it creates a very humorous characterization. The naive way he carries on his conversations with his friends, and the way he “jokes”, it creates a pretty interesting contrast. Because of how deadpan and serious he always looks, it gives the illusion that he might actually seems to be serious with his “joke”, and that in turn just makes it more funnier. In the end, he’s actually taken the “funny man” role, and surprisingly, Yosuke ended taken the “straight man” role, which when looked on the surface, Yosuke should had been obviously taking the former role.

      To add to that, one thing Igor mentioned which I still remember, is the number 0. Both the P3 and P4 protagonists
      users are wild card users, and I seem to remember Igor using the number 0 as metaphor to describe them (or either of them, I forgot which Persona specifically is this from). He explained how the 0 stands for blank state, but however, infinite with it’s possibilities. In a way, even though we are very familiar with personalities like “blank state”, “naive”, “apathy” and so on, using the 0 metaphor by Igor, perhaps the personalities of Persona protagonists are actually much more colorful than we thought :-)

  2. I really like the deadpan voice of his character. Daisuke Namikawa’s voice-acting is really great in those moments. From a writing-perspective it’s also always great how he’s both seemingly oblivious of the social intricacies of his situation but also feels entirely comfortable with the weird responses he chooses. He seems like a “straight guy” who instead of correcting another weird character offers a weird tidbit as a reaction to an entirely reasonable statement. In those funny moments he always acts like he adds something to the discussion or offers a reasonable response to a situation but actually he brings the scene to a half because of how weird his actual response to the situation is. But the really great element is always the confidence with which he delivers his weird comments. And his stoic personality is a total contrast to the weirdly absurd things Yuu sometimes says in those funny moments.

    • Yea, his voice is great. The way he voiced Yu, it makes him sounds silent and polite enough to suit the “silent protagonist” persona, but at the same time, also enough to give him a distinct personality. Yes, he’s the “funny man” as far as I’m concerned. Don’t forget that Yu has no qualms diving into ridiculous situations and making a fool out of himself, yet, is still able to come out as cool as a badass. Like so:-

      Basically what I said in the previous comment, yup^^ I think this is a part of Yu’s character which makes him so fun. He is unlike most main characters who would had taken the “straight man” role and act as normal as he can as a contrast to an already cast of quirky characters. If Yu were to be taken out of the equation, I would say the character who would be the closest “main character-material” would be Yosuke, even though, and perhaps even just because the way they execute their “main character” role in very different manner.

  3. Yu is cool, I only saw the animes with him, but anyway ^^
    It appeared rather odd to have him as main character at first with his silent and a bit shy impression.
    But soon he turned out to be kind and equipped with gentleman like manners. With such talents he gathers all of these likeable quirky friends around him, he’s exceptional popular with women and little Nanako ;D

    Even with his demure presence and acting, he is a person you would like to hang around with.
    He also is a exceptional funny dude when getting into the mood.
    Yu’s reactions to the embarrassing and crazy moments of his friends were always hilarious.

    on a sidenote, the end of Persona 4 hurt, as the train departed *sob* *sob*

    • Yea, all in all. He’s a quiet, cool, polite guy who if you befriend him, he can be extremely friendly and even funny; also, an oblivious womanizer xD

      You can play the Persona 4 Arena games too if you want :p I thought it’s a side story but it actually continued the main storyline of Persona 4, in a slightly odd direction. I’ll get to Ultimax hopefully soon myself.

  4. Pingback: 12 Days of Waifus – Day 6: Rise (Persona 4) | deluscar

  5. Very interesting take on Yu’s Character~ I myself am a HUGE fan of the BroSwagtagonist. Although there is one thing i sort of disagree with you about, and it’s not necessarily something you outright stated in your analysis itself, but more of something you implied indirectly. The way you talk about Yu and how you mentioned your experience with the Arena games sort of gives off the impression that You think EVERY incarnation of Yu is the same character, i’ve actually found that not to be the case. As i’ve gone through each variation of Yu that i could get my hands on, i’ve found that even though all his different appearances have at their core, similar personality traits and insecurities, their characterizations and other details have little differences here and there that make them all stand out from each other, i myself have been thinking of doing a big multi-part series of character analysis’s about Yu’s different incarnations and appearances throughout the series and how they relate and how they might be connected. I’ll be sure to keep this very analysis in mind. But either way, great analysis. And i can definitely see why you’re all lovey dovey for our resident Lady Killer of Inaba.

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