How FeMC made me love Persona 3

FeMC left an impact.

When I played Persona 3: FES, I was very excited to get into one of the most highly-regarded RPGs for the PlayStation 2. However, when I finally booted up the game and spent several hours with it, I couldn’t get into it and couldn’t dissect why at the time.

In 2015, I decided to put my PSVita to use and purchase Persona 3 Portable. Not only did the game come with enhanced features, such as the ability to control your teammates, but they also added a female protagonist: FeMC, also known as Kotone Shiomi.

I didn’t know how much her addition would sway my opinion of Persona 3 as a whole. What I considered to be one of my least favorite entries in the series is now my second favorite, right behind Persona 4 Golden, and it’s all because of FeMC. Let me explain why.

The perks of FeMC

Firstly, she’s a playable female protagonist. Male protagonists have dominated Persona since its inception. Outside of FeMC, there’s only been one other playable female protagonist in the series, and that was Maya from Persona 2: Eternal Punishment. Just the ability to play as a female felt like a breath of fresh air. And, of course, FeMC’s personality was pleasant.

Compared to her stoic and sarcastic male counterpart, FeMC is much more of an energetic goofball, and that is displayed in her dialogue choices. An early example of this appears you’re going to look for Fuuka.

FeMC talking to Junpei in Persona 3
Screenshot by Kristi Jimenez

You and the team decide to go to a scary part of town behind Port Island Station to get some clues. Yukari is incredibly eager about the prospect, while Junpei doesn’t understand why. Here, you can also choose to be excited, saying “Adventure time!” fully knowing that you might be heading to danger.

These dialogue choices, though small, show FeMC’s fun personality, and in a grim game like Persona 3, where the central theme is death, her bubbliness is very much appreciated.

Theo talking to FeMC in Paulownia Mall
Screenshot by Kristi Jimenez

In addition to being such a delight, FeMC has different Social Links compared to the male protagonist. For example, unlike him, she can establish Social Links with all party members; this includes Akihiko, Junpei, Shinji, and Koromaru. Yes, you can befriend the dog, and honestly? That’s a huge positive.

Personally, I found FeMC’s social links to be much more engaging. In Persona 3 FES, I wanted to know more about Junpei and Akihiko since they were my main party members and the people you’ll spend most of your time with. However, as the male MC, you get stuck with someone like Kenji, who goes on and on about older women. And after a while, he grew tiresome.

Related: Great plus-sized characters in indie romance games

The issues with FeMC

Now, this is not to say FeMC’s route doesn’t have its problems. Firstly, one of the Social Links you can establish that is only exclusive to her is Ken Amanda: a 10-year-old boy. What makes his Social Link problematic is that you can romance him, which is incredibly off-putting given you’re supposed to be 16 or 17 years old.

FeMC talking to Ken
Image via MadMax1960

Persona is no stranger to relationships like this. Persona 5 allowed you to romance multiple adult women as a high school student. But still, it’s incredibly unsettling, especially when you’re the adult in the situation. While there is a PC mod that removes the ability to romance Ken, it still makes you wonder why the dev team put the option in the game in the first place.

The second issue is while I love her route a lot, it is recommended to play hers only after completing the game as the male main character. This is because, as FeMC, there are decisions you can make that’ll impact the story and prevent certain scenes from happening.

These scenes in the original game were incredibly impactful and definitely pulled at heartstrings. But if you decide to play as the FeMC for your first playthrough and unknowingly make the correct choices to prevent these events, you won’t get that same emotional impact.

Despite Ken’s optional romance and the potential to miss some powerful storytelling on your first playthrough, I ultimately loved FeMC for the positives I listed above. The new Social Links, the ability to romance the male party members, and her personality all made for a wonderful experience and helped me get through a game I really disliked in the first go-round. Now, I get why people love Persona 3.

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Kristi Jimenez
Kristi Jimenez

Kristi Jimenez is the Editorial Lead for Press SPACE to Jump. She is an indie game developer that has released multiple games on itch and Steam. Her goal as a game developer is to create diverse and engaging stories that'll make players smile.

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