Persona 4: I’m so gay for Narukami Yu
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.
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?
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.
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.