Kanji Tatsumi: A Look at Sexuality and Gender in Persona 4

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#51 Posted by cap123 (2477 posts) -

I never saw this first time round, Matt's a pretty eloquent writer.

#52 Posted by PK_Koopa (581 posts) -

Really good blog. It made me like P4 even more.

#53 Posted by JackSukeru (5816 posts) -

Mind = Blown 
 
I was one of those people who wanted the game to be perfectly clear about wether Kanji was gay or not, and also thought the game was "chickening out" when you beat his shadow and he talks about "It aint a matter of guys or chicks". 
 
Reading this makes it all make sense, makes it all fit together. 
A great read, I will now be following you MK, for great justice!

#54 Posted by DonutFever (3514 posts) -

Deep Bro.

#55 Edited by SubwayD (443 posts) -

Only just saw this bumped to the front page. A nice, clear write up of the character, man. Well done. 

I always knew that, in the back of my mind, he wasn't gay. That's not to say I didn't badly want him to be. It feels awkward to admit that I made a judgement right off the bat which coloured my thoughts of him. I'm just somewhat thankful that, as we found out more about him, he turned out to be an awesome guy who I had a lot in common with and could be legitimately attracted to... if he was a real dude. 
 
Still, thinking back with Matt's points in mind, I now feel like a spectacular twat for the way I had the main character act towards him. 
 
Hurrum.  
Maybe one day there will be a P4P I can finally try and seduce him without feeling like some sort of predator. :P

#56 Posted by trophyhunter (5804 posts) -

You do know Kanji is not and never was actually gay right?
He was just shy and he ends up being in love with naoto.

#57 Posted by WatanabeKazuma (989 posts) -

A very interesting read, good work. I watched a good portion of the ER's and I had much the same thought process as you towards Kanji as his character was first introduced up until his shadow self. Reading this makes me more eager to finally get started on the copy of Persona 4 I have on my shelf. 
 
Will add more thoughts on this once I've finished the game and have a more qualified opinion.
#58 Posted by Catolf (2653 posts) -
@trophyhunter said:
" You do know Kanji is not and never was actually gay right? He was just shy and he ends up being in love with naoto. "
a Naoto, upon which he thought was a guy at first.
But as far as love, love there is no proof of this unless you looking at Dojinshi, which don't count XP
#59 Posted by ch13696 (4582 posts) -

Yeah, it's a good blog. Defend what you believe in, but my argument is why the fuck do you want a game to be about a gay character? The argument isn't against you Matt it's against that douche that made the video. I can understand you have the game going around this really good story and the lead character just happens to mention he's gay. However, if you do a game that's based around the character being gay then it would be a failure. There will be no good story or gameplay. I just think this dumb ass is just going along with the fad. Being gay.  
 
Not only that, what does sexuality have to do with being gay? Why the fuck is there gay in the world? I can understand you loving you friend. Someone you would rather hand around with than women. I've been around a lot of supposedly gay dudes that love their friend. It doesn't mean they have sex with them. That's just what they're comfortable with. Having sex with another dude is just pointless. I know that and my "gay" friends know that. The guys that are getting married and having sex with other men are completely going at it the wrong way.  
 
Well I think I've taken that rant a little too far. So I'll just leave it at that.

#60 Posted by trophyhunter (5804 posts) -
@Catolf said:
" @trophyhunter said:
" You do know Kanji is not and never was actually gay right? He was just shy and he ends up being in love with naoto. "
a Naoto, upon which he thought was a guy at first. But as far as love, love there is no proof of this unless you looking at Dojinshi, which don't count XP "
Did you actually pay attention to the game?
#61 Edited by Catolf (2653 posts) -
@ch13696 said:

" Yeah, it's a good blog. Defend what you believe in, but my argument is why the fuck do you want a game to be about a gay character? The argument isn't against you Matt it's against that douche that made the video. I can understand you have the game going around this really good story and the lead character just happens to mention he's gay. However, if you do a game that's based around the character being gay then it would be a failure. There will be no good story or gameplay. I just think this dumb ass is just going along with the fad. Being gay.  

W-What? 
 
I was with you at first... then you did this:
 
 

Not only that, what does sexuality have to do with being gay? Why the fuck is there gay in the world? I can understand you loving you friend. Someone you would rather hand around with than women. I've been around a lot of supposedly gay dudes that love their friend. It doesn't mean they have sex with them. That's just what they're comfortable with. Having sex with another dude is just pointless. I know that and my "gay" friends know that. The guys that are getting married and having sex with other men are completely going at it the wrong way.   Well I think I've taken that rant a little too far. So I'll just leave it at that. "


 Did you just ask what is the point in a gay man having sex with another gay man? Really? Because gay (homosexual) men don't feel sexually attracted to women. Simply put. And if you really want to get into the benefits I'd rather say in a PM.
 
In any case you don't call your friends 'gay' because they love you like family. You call them FAMILY.. do anything for you in a jam family. Brother from another mother if you will.
 
But please don't be ignorant and ask "Why is there -gay-" cause well, you sound ignorant XP
 
@trophyhunter said:

" @Catolf said:

" @trophyhunter said:

" You do know Kanji is not and never was actually gay right? He was just shy and he ends up being in love with naoto. "
a Naoto, upon which he thought was a guy at first. But as far as love, love there is no proof of this unless you looking at Dojinshi, which don't count XP "
Did you actually pay attention to the game? "

Yes.. and 'blushing' don't mean your in love either.. 
 
Look here if you don't believe me. He's shy, but by no means does he display love, he even show's shyness toward the other girls as well.
#62 Posted by Turambar (6484 posts) -
@MattBodega:   I've always meant to write up a reply to this blog post, and 8 months later, I've finally gotten around to it.
 
I definitely agree with your sentiments: that Kanji's sexuality was never at the core of his insecurities.  Gender roles served a far larger issue at hand.   While Kanji (in my opinion) is at the least bisexual, whether he likes to get it on with dudes is not the focus of the character outside the comical moments (a point perhaps worth a separate write up.)  Whilehe , as his shadow admits, prefers men, the cause of that, the rejection by girls for his interests, is given the spot light in both his dungeon, and his S.Link.
 
However, I believe you have also misinterpreted Persona 4 on a particular point.  
 
You write that "In actuality, the image on the midnight channel is generated by Inaba’s perception of whoever had recently showed up on normal television. The shadow Kanji, almost totally naked and with Heavy Lisp, wasn’t generated inside his heart; it was what the town THOUGHT Kanji was, what Inaba THOUGHT was Kanji’s true self: a closeted homosexual. "
 
However, I do not believe that to be the case.  As Izanami has said, the T.V. serves as a window, giving opportunities to both that wants to view secrets, and those that wants to admit to them.   What the desires of the town manifested as were the increasingly clearer images of the peoples of interest.  However, the areas themselves and the natures of the Shadows are not manifested by the wants of the town, but by the cast inside the T.V.  Remember back to Chie and Yosuke, two people who were never in the eye of the public, and the manifestations of their Shadows. 
 
Secondly, there's an implication to your hypothesis that I cannot agree with.  The interaction between a person and his or her shadow is not rejection, but rather acceptance.  Your shadow is finally beaten, and transformed into a persona, not through physical force, but through understanding.  Thus for the nature of the shadows to be developed by the public would change the message of Persona 4 to one of complete conformity where acceptance of what the public thinks of you is the most beneficial path, a theme that goes against the "reject the wishs of man and form our own path" conclusion that the game has.
#63 Posted by ch13696 (4582 posts) -
@Catolf: Ok, if I happen to ever mention loving friends is gay then let me rephrase my statement. The word "gay" is being used in places it shouldn't really have to be. A lot of people are calling themselves gay because they love a friend. Which they shouldn't be calling themselves that. To which I believe now, being gay is just another fad. Also, having sex with another man is pointless. I know that there's a certain spot that..."excites" a man, but there's another part that gets us going too. It's called having sex with a woman. And these guys that say they don't get the same pleasure from women, then apparently they've been with the wrong type of women.  
 
Like my grandpa says "there's always pussies in the alley". Actually, I shouldn't use that phrase. I'll use the phrase everyone else uses. "There's all kinds of fish in the sea".
#64 Edited by Catolf (2653 posts) -
@Turambar said:

" @MattBodega:   I've always meant to write up a reply to this blog post, and 8 months later, I've finally gotten around to it.  I definitely agree with your sentiments: that Kanji's sexuality was never at the core of his insecurities.  Gender roles served a far larger issue at hand.   While Kanji (in my opinion) is at the least bisexual, whether he likes to get it on with dudes is not the focus of the character outside the comical moments (a point perhaps worth a separate write up.)  Whilehe , as his shadow admits, prefers men, the cause of that, the rejection by girls for his interests, is given the spot light in both his dungeon, and his S.Link. However, I believe you have also misinterpreted Persona 4 on a particular point.    You write that "In actuality, the image on the midnight channel is generated by Inaba’s perception of whoever had recently showed up on normal television. The shadow Kanji, almost totally naked and with Heavy Lisp, wasn’t generated inside his heart; it was what the town THOUGHT Kanji was, what Inaba THOUGHT was Kanji’s true self: a closeted homosexual. "  However, I do not believe that to be the case.  As Izanami has said, the T.V. serves as a window, giving opportunities to both that wants to view secrets, and those that wants to admit to them.   What the desires of the town manifested as were the increasingly clearer images of the peoples of interest.  However, the areas themselves and the natures of the Shadows are not manifested by the wants of the town, but by the cast inside the T.V.  Remember back to Chie and Yosuke, two people who were never in the eye of the public, and the manifestations of their Shadows.   Secondly, there's an implication to your hypothesis that I cannot agree with.  The interaction between a person and his or her shadow is not rejection, but rather acceptance.  Your shadow is finally beaten, and transformed into a persona, not through physical force, but through understanding.  Thus for the nature of the shadows to be developed by the public would change the message of Persona 4 to one of complete conformity where acceptance of what the public thinks of you is the most beneficial path, a theme that goes against the "reject the wishs of man and form our own path" conclusion that the game has. "

I like this, that makes sense.
 
@ch13696 said:

" @Catolf: Ok, if I happen to ever mention loving friends is gay then let me rephrase my statement. The word "gay" is being used in places it shouldn't really have to be. A lot of people are calling themselves gay because they love a friend. Which they shouldn't be calling themselves that. 


I can understand this and get right behind it, it's dumb and shouldn't happen.
 
 

To which I believe now, being gay is just another fad.

A fad? How is being gay a fad? Being called gay in the sense that they aren't and are just saying so to be stupid, yes, but gay / homosexuality as a whole, no.
 

 Also, having sex with another man is pointless.

 
How is it pointless? If two men, love one another, and complete the relationship with something more intimate, much like when a man and woman (or woman and woman) come together as one. it's pointless to YOU because you either don't do it, or are closeted about the matter and do have curiosity about it.
 

 I know that there's a certain spot that..."excites" a man, but there's another part that gets us going too. It's called having sex with a woman.

 
Actually it's called a penis. a woman is not a part of you to get you going. In the end this is getting ignorant.

 
 And these guys that say they don't get the same pleasure from women, then apparently they've been with the wrong type of women.

   Actually it's because they aren't  -PHYSICALLY ATTRACTED- TO THEM SIR. It's nothing about getting the same pleasure, it's about not liking them in general. If they are homosexual men, and not just Bisexual men, then ladies aren't their cup o' tea. Again this is sounding ignorant. XP
 

 Like my grandpa says "there's always pussies in the alley". Actually, I shouldn't use that phrase. I'll use the phrase everyone else uses. "There's all kinds of fish in the sea". "  


   Yes all kinds. Like other men.
#65 Posted by FlyingOx (6 posts) -

Like Turambar, I meant to reply to this a long time ago. 
I really like the post that Matt wrote, and agree that Kanji's case is more about gender than sexuality. Matt's interpretation of what's shown on TV is mistaken, but that's already covered by others. 
Ironically, "wanting" Kanji to be gay is pretty much entirely against the main themes of P4: truth and acceptance. "Wanting" Kanji to be gay is to not accept him for who he really is; it's looking for a truth we want rather than a truth as it is.
 
Taking Kanji's case a step further, we could say that Kanji isn't so much about gender as much as stereotyping in general. I mean, it's pretty easy to call someone a weeaboo, or nerd, goth, emo, jock, or any other name simply because that person has certain interests or likes (and I'm being pretty tame with the names here). In the true ending, Izanami said, "Man struggles to understand one another. You can only truly know a finite number of people, but humans disregard this and try to know more people than possible". Stereotyping, though, makes life easier, since it gives us a convenient label for people we are unable to, or simply don't want to, know better. 
 
So when people see Kanji as a young boy have 'girly' interests, it's pretty easy to write him off as gay and leave it at that. After all, what else could he be, right? No 'normal' boy has an interest in things like that. Since he doesn't fit in, giving him a convenient label makes it possible to not want to know him any better. And that's why the building of social links is so important in this game (or in real life for that matter) - building an intimate relationship with someone runs parallel with truth and acceptance.

#66 Posted by NikoAlexander57 (359 posts) -
@MattBodega:  You, sir, are a person I could have a long conversation with on many things in the world. I never would have noticed this, but thank you for giving me the opportunity to see a deeper, more example of human nature part of a game. You should post more stuff like this.
#67 Posted by Diabloshadow (263 posts) -
@trophyhunter said:
" @Catolf said:
" @trophyhunter said:
" You do know Kanji is not and never was actually gay right? He was just shy and he ends up being in love with naoto. "
a Naoto, upon which he thought was a guy at first. But as far as love, love there is no proof of this unless you looking at Dojinshi, which don't count XP "
Did you actually pay attention to the game? "
Personally I think both of you are missing the point of the post. But that's just me
 
Great read Matt. Gonna miss you being on staff here.
#68 Posted by EVHKwick (452 posts) -

Excellent read, Matt. Watching Kanji's transformation over the course of the game has always been one of its biggest highlights for me. I remember being frustrated with Jeff and Vinny during the ER because they wouldn't hang out with him.
 
Accepting his shadow wasn't so much accepting a latent part of himself, but rather accepting that there are two separate perceptions of the self: the self seen by the person and the self seen by others. When Kanji accepted his shadow, I always saw it as him saying, " I know what I do isn't consider right by Inaba, and this is how I'm viewed by others. I need to understand and accept this before I can understand myself.
 
With his social link, I interpreted it as him accepting his hobbies, and disregarding how anyone else viewed him. At the end of the game, when the MC speaks to him before leaving, he says something about teaching crafts to others (it's been a while since I've beaten it, so forgive me if I'm not exact). He's learns to be okay with who he is.
 
" Who cares what people believe me to be. I know who I am; I'm Kanji Tatsumi, dammit!"

#69 Posted by Catolf (2653 posts) -
@Diabloshadow said:
" @trophyhunter said:
" @Catolf said:
" @trophyhunter said:
" You do know Kanji is not and never was actually gay right? He was just shy and he ends up being in love with naoto. "
a Naoto, upon which he thought was a guy at first. But as far as love, love there is no proof of this unless you looking at Dojinshi, which don't count XP "
Did you actually pay attention to the game? "
Personally I think both of you are missing the point of the post. But that's just me  Great read Matt. Gonna miss you being on staff here. "
I don't think so, i get the point, while it makes sense for the most part but I feel as @Turambar does. In the end it was someone wanting to argue.
 
But I feel the same as you and will miss Matt when he goes, I'd like to see more thought provoking conversation on GB.
#70 Posted by QuincyUryuuIshida (4 posts) -


Good wording, it's a great read. 

I played the game a thousand of times and I got the concept it without looking it up.

#71 Posted by Azteck (7447 posts) -

I fucking love you, Kessler. Really, really good blog. I know I'm waaaay late and all, but still, good job.

#72 Edited by Raven_Sword (3383 posts) -

ok, can someone answer this for me. I thought this guys name was Matt Kessler? Why does his username say Matt Bodega? is this another intern named matt thats leaving Whiskey Media? did he get married and use the wifes last name? is it just a different username? Im rather confused right now. I think the answers going to make me feel dumb.
#73 Posted by General_D23 (1201 posts) -
@Raven_Sword: Matt Bodega is Kessler. His username is Bodega because....that's what he chose? I dunno.
 
Also, very nice blog.  Forgot to comment on it earlier.
#74 Posted by Raven_Sword (3383 posts) -
@General_D23:

oh. lol, I totaly thought theyre were two different interns named Matt and they kept this one in a closet or something so we never saw him.
#75 Posted by afrofools (1291 posts) -

Well that was an interesting read, and very little keeps me interested any-more so kudos to you.

#76 Posted by Sharpless (442 posts) -

Wow. I'm glad I randomly happened to see this post. You know, I came away from Persona 4 feeling similarly to Anthony Burch. I thought the game had behaved oddly, seemingly making Kanji gay, then back-peddling a bit with it through his relationship with Naoto, then just kind of forgetting about it by the end. On the one hand, I thought it was nice that they didn't make a big deal out of it. It was just something that happened, and why bother dwelling on it? "Kanji's gay? Okay, fine; let's move on." By the end, though, it bothered me. It was just an afterthought, as though they'd forgotten that it was ever a plot point. 
 
By the time I got halfway through Kessler's post, I had done a complete one-eighty. Now, I don't even think Kanji was gay. I feel like something even better was done with the character. I, myself, am not a terribly "manly" man. Not to the extent that Kanji wasn't, but still noticeably. I can't believe I didn't pick up on what the game was actually doing and saying. (Granted, I did experience the game via the Endurance Run, so Jeff and Vinny may well have been distracting me a bit.) I agree completely, and I hate the boxes that societies and cultures put people in. And I imagine that there are few places where that's more intense than in gamer culture. So, good on Persona 4 for going there and doing so artfully. Hopefully, the majority of people who played the game weren't as dense in their interpretations as Anthony and I were.

#77 Posted by MaFoLu (1854 posts) -

This blog has actually made me think Kanji is one of the best characters in the game. 
Very insightful and eye-opening read that has made me like the Persona games even more. Damn it, now I can't wait for that Catherine game to come out...

#78 Posted by MancombSeepgood (313 posts) -

I know I'm super late to the party but this was the best blog I've read on giantbomb and probably the best single piece of writing and analysis about one character I've ever read. Great read, very well written.

#79 Posted by Andrela (621 posts) -

I can only hope that Catherine gives you more content to write about. Very insightful and well-written blog, probably the best one I've read on this site.

#80 Posted by pectoral (124 posts) -
@ch13696 said:
" @Catolf: Ok, if I happen to ever mention loving friends is gay then let me rephrase my statement. The word "gay" is being used in places it shouldn't really have to be. A lot of people are calling themselves gay because they love a friend. Which they shouldn't be calling themselves that. To which I believe now, being gay is just another fad. Also, having sex with another man is pointless. I know that there's a certain spot that..."excites" a man, but there's another part that gets us going too. It's called having sex with a woman. And these guys that say they don't get the same pleasure from women, then apparently they've been with the wrong type of women.   Like my grandpa says "there's always pussies in the alley". Actually, I shouldn't use that phrase. I'll use the phrase everyone else uses. "There's all kinds of fish in the sea". "
You seem to be ignorant/unaware of what homosexuality is.
#81 Posted by Astinos33 (9 posts) -

 Great read. After a full play through of P4 and watching the endurance run twice, I feel like I am just now beginning  to understand Kanji's character.

#82 Posted by Fattony12000 (6350 posts) -

Every hole's a goal.

#83 Posted by Renachan (137 posts) -

I didn't watch the video in question, but I read something very similar. So thank you for writing this, which I can agree a lot more with. I think the debate of which way Kanji leans is perfectly fine being left for the player to decide, since Kanji isn't sure himself. He reads like Ichigo from Bleach to me, someone who isn't that sexually awake yet. I personally think he might be bisexual because of some things after his shadow (the nose bleed during the school trip being over wet boys as far as I could tell to name one) but I also think it's very valid for someone to say he's 100% straight in their book.
 
Gender and sexuallity has always been a very interesting to me, I was aware of the social construction of gender at a pretty young age which made things much easier for me. Instead of being confused like Kanji that what I liked fit more in the box of what society said the other gender should like, I became curious about all the different ways gender gets constructed 
sociologically. A game dealing at least somewhat with actual gender versus social concept of gender is part of what made Persona 4 so cool to me.

#84 Posted by Hobosunday (41 posts) -

You sir are a hero. That is all.

#85 Posted by MidgardDragon (152 posts) -

This was a fantastic writeup and great read. It took me time to come to terms with Persona 4 not taking a firm stance on Kanji's sexuality, but this and other musings on the game have convinced me it was the right way to go, and it makes Kanji an even deeper character because it's not just about being gay or straight.

#86 Edited by bybeach (4600 posts) -

I thought Kanji percieved himself gay because he was so strongly attracted to Naoto. Near the first you see of him is Kanji debating his feelings for Naoto, and what they mean't. Because Kanji is so straightforward honest, he figured if he was attracted to another boy well, then that was how it was and that is what it meant. He didn't seem to like it, but the situation spoke for itself. This was made worse by his relationship to girls, partly because of his he wasn't meeting their expectations, either. He may have very well been competing with them. Sowing probably brought out his artistic side, and by constantly doing something, being naturally wired as he was, it helped him most likely to relax. But chicks saw it as conflicting, and they bought into standard gender roles as any guy would.

It seemed to me a grand mess of everyone talking somebody else into what proved to be a false position. Naoto was a girl, though it also one who didn't relate well to girls or at least standard feminine roles herself for her own reasons, and to succeed she had to pretend to be a boy. This is all just one step away from being good ole japan, but Personna 4 was mostly pretty intelligent, and did try to ask developed and sincere questions.

In the end, I'm sure Kanji might continue to have problems with women, but like you say, it was gender roles and expectations, and not base sexuality at question. I got the impression Kanji was relieved when he found out Naoto was indeed a girl, though indeed a troubled one. She in turn could never tolerate someone dominating her, and that very well could extend into a relationship with a man. Some things at least would have to be on her terms, much like Kanji, and that is where the interplay lies.

#87 Posted by Praxis (234 posts) -

Don't get me wrong, Kessler, you present yourself quite well here, but I still can't shake the feeling that Kanji's characterization was one of the biggest letdowns of Persona 4. Atlus just wanted to have it both ways, in my estimation. They wanted to craft a compelling storyline about a young man troubled by his own homosexuality, while also giving players who so desired sufficient evidence to believe that he was not having homosexual thoughts at all, but was just confused. That guy he was attracted to? Turns out it was a girl. All the townspeople who thought he was gay? They just thought his sewing was "queer," as luck would have it. The idea that one would question one's entire sexuality based on a couple less-than-manly hobbies and an attraction to a woman in drag seems a little too much to swallow, and the only other alternative is that Kanji was just homophobic, which is an equally unfortunate conclusion. If I was a game maker, this is not the type of ambiguity I would want my game to have.

#88 Posted by The_Laughing_Man (13629 posts) -

I all ways thought Kanji was a guy who didnt wanna be rejected. Gay.. straight....didnt matter. He just did not wanna be tossed aside.  
 
Plus...hes bad ass. 

#89 Posted by FateOfNever (1758 posts) -

Only just saw this now and wanted to say I loved reading this. Really enjoyed it and think it's some wonderful work.

#90 Edited by Oni (2067 posts) -

I love you, Kessler.

In a completely straight way, of course.

GET BENT

#91 Posted by KestrelPi (140 posts) -

Kanji's character was interesting for the reasons put forward, but I actually found the treatment of homosexuality to be quite problematic, among other things it did very well. Homosexuality is only ever equated with effeminacy - if Kanji had actually turned out to definitely be gay, then this would have countered that, but they never address it. Instead, they let Yosuke constantly get away with homophobic remarks, such as at the camp - you get a chance to respond, but not to call him out on it. While Kanji had supposedly handled his gender issues, he spends the rest of the game trying to prove he's 'a man' as he puts it, by getting into bed with women (with hilarious consequences, etc.)

So even if Kanji's character himself isn't a problem, I do think that they could have been much stronger on the subject of homosexuality itself, being that they're the ones that brought it up in the first place.

#92 Posted by Brodehouse (9370 posts) -
@SurplusGamer I think the problem you got is the idea that they 'handled' their issues. They're not 'fixed', Yosuke is still wasting for excitement and purpose, Yukiko is still acting rather passive throughout most of her S-Link, Naoto still wants people to believe she's a man. Facing your Shadow doesn't mean you've 'handled' your negative personality traits, it just means you've accepted them as being a part of who you are. It's actually one of the great things about that game, they don't treat negative personality traits like a sickness, they treat them like a natural part of those characters. Whenever we get into "what is a positive female character" I always point to the Persona 4 cast, because they don't become perfect Mary Sues, they have positive and negative traits. They're respectively jealous and domineering, weak-willed and kind of an airhead, slutty and competitive for the affection of men, and humorless and wracked with body image issues. They're these in addition to all their positive traits, that's why theyre so interesting.

Kanji's trepidation when he gets around girls (or Naoto in particular) is not necessarily out of showing off how tough he is or even latent homosexuality, it's just basic shyness around his crush. His Shadow was about his public persona, one that he cultivated while repressing his real feelings. In that way, "prove you're a man" ends up strangling his real desires, in the later cases, "prove you're a man" is just a way to get over his shyness and fear. Which he never really does, though that might just be more so that the Protagonist can add Naoto to his harem.

I understand the desire for a great gay character in games, but I don't think Kanji is quite that. Just like I don't think Naoto is really a transsexual, or transpirited or whathaveyou; I absolutely think she hates her body and is uncomfortable with it, but I don't think she really wants to be a man, she just wants to not hate her body anymore and doesn't know how to do it (which for a perfectionist like her, must be maddening).

It's possible 4 didn't spell that out well, but I feel after Arena I have a better handle on those characters and the nature of Shadows.
#93 Posted by KestrelPi (140 posts) -

@Brodehouse: I think you're right, but I think also maybe you focused in too much on what was a throwaway remark in the rest of what I was saying. Whether they 'handled' the issues or just acknowledged them, the game still routinely gets away with equating manliness with heterosexuality and also has, for example, Yosuke fretting over whether it's safe to be in the same tent as a (possibly) gay man, with the only dialogue option really being to agree with him to various degrees (in the anime, it's even worse too). I think it just gets it wrong in these places. Not hugely - just a little, in a couple of places. Maybe it's because I'm gay, but in a couple of spots I definitely not was thinking 'wow, actually, that's kinda not cool.' I got over it, clearly, because I love the game, but I was a little bit surprised they didn't quite nail this aspect.

#94 Posted by QuistisTrepe (628 posts) -

Not sure what all of the excessive analysis is about, from any angle. I thought the game's writing made it pretty clear what was on Kanji's mind. Some people just enjoy being argumentative for the sake of it I suppose.

I wish people would stop trying to see things that aren't there.

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