So I’m taking a slight vacation and won’t be able to game much this week, so what we’re going to do is explore another side of Persona. The Tarot.
We’re going to start with the Fool Arcana, Four characters have started with this arcana. It’s most often represented by the number zero which is in reference to the concept of infinite possibilities. The fool also represents the start of a journey and of naivety about the real world. Let’s take a look at our four fools.
We’ll start with Minato and Minako the two protagonists from Persona 3.
Minato Arisato starts off as a somewhat slothful individual which is played off for laughs in the manga, in the game he shows a very naïve personality. As his journey progresses he learns and grows with the help of the other major arcana around him showing the fool’s progression. He doesn’t take time to question whats actually going on around him instead just jumping head first into his quest.
Minako on the other hand starts off on her journey on the other foot, she’s bubbly and energetic, full of life and vibrant beyond all reason. She’s kind of like a kick back to Maya Amano. I think her journey follows the traditional Fool’s Walk story a little more naturally then Minato’s did, kind of like the characters affected her more.
Yu Narukami I would describe as mostly apathetic, or maybe even dry would be the way to go. He’s not as laconic as Minato, but he’s pretty calm about everything. His choices in conversation show a clear lack of real world understanding, just like his arcana. I really think overall the fool really is the perfect starting point for the Silent Protagonist.
Lastly for the fool is Tohru Adachi who is an interesting case since he’s the only villain with this arcana. His journey starts slightly before that of Mr Narukami, and like the hero of the story his personality shows a lot of naivety. He believed that by becoming a police officer he would be granted power and prestige, when this didn’t happen he did exactly what’s shown on the Fool card. He went over the edge.
The card labeled number one is the Magician, from these ranks we’ve drawn three characters . Hanamura Yosuke, Junpei Iori, and Yuka Ayase, all three of them have a few funny things in common, the most prominently being that you just can’t shut them up. The magician wants his voice to be heard. So it will be heard. In tarot readings the magician represents action, initiative, self confidence, and power.
So Yuka Ayase is a preppy girl, popular, and plagued wit being the hottest girl in the school. she’s arrogant and more then willing to speak her mind. Sounds like the traits of a magician, but she doesn’t really fit the Fool’s Walk very well. The Magician is supposed to point out to the Fool that there are infinite possibilities available before him, she didn’t really fill that role.
Junpei Iori fits both the story and the traits a lot better. In this case Junpei opens the main characters eyes to many different possibilities, and an unholy amount of pure mischief. He’s the one who’s always jumping forward and ready to fight. He’s also the one who opens up the fact that there is a very thin line between good and evil, his relationship with Chidori showed that phenomenally well.
Yosuke Hanamura symbolizes both the traits of his card and the story as well. It’s Yosuke who wants to be a hero, who leaps into action while the others stand inactive, he’s the one who is always moving. He’s also the one who drug Yu along into the investigation team in the first place, thus fulfilling the role of leading the magician forward. Yosuke was always the one at Yu’s side when he needed advice or was doubting himself.
The High Priestess is quiet where the magician is gregarious, she says she knows all there I to know of the fool. Whereas the magician points out possibilities it’s the priestess who shows him how to use the tools he’s gained. She represents knowingness, sound judgment, serenity, and reason.
The first representation of this is Maki Sonomura, she shows endless possibilities and always leads the cast to where they need to be. She created a whole world, represents Pandora’s box, and she fragmented her personality into not two but five aspects all of which were to lead the various cast members on their respective journeys. How badass is that? She’s far from my personal thoughts on sound judgment, reason, and serenity however. You can’t be the catalyst to the end of the world and still represent those.
Fuuka Yamagishi really does the job well however. She teaches not only Minato and Minako, but the rest of the party as well. You see Fuuka is your eyes and ears in Tartarus, pointing out enemy weaknesses and what to expect on the floors above you. She also shows her card traits well in forgiving the people who ruthlessly bullied her in school.
Then there’s Yukiko Amagi who shows Yu his path in a decidedly more direct path. She propels the Fool into action by a desperate rescue. Yu and company have to learn how to fight and use their resources at the early stage or the High Priestess will be lost. This is your first dungeon in the game and it’s one hell of a learning curve for the heroes.
The Empress represents fertility, nurturing, and patience. The characters representing her are Mitsuru Kirijo and Yukino Mayuzumi.
With Yukino I think they took an interesting turn with the Empress. Yukino seemed kind of like the character that held the group together in P1. She was strong and dependable and they looked to her frequently. She was not very patient however. In P2 when she returned she was almost like a big sister character.
Mitsuru on the other hand took on a nurturing role for the second half of P3. She was the one who brought S.E.E.S. together, and the one that held them together. Even if her interests weren’t necessarily pure from the get go she was the surrogate mother of the group.
The Emperor shows the Fool how to manage what others have taught him. “Strong will and solid foundation it’s all very well. To be dreamy, creative, instinctual, and patient, but to control one must also be alert, brave and aggressive.” The Emperor teaches the Fool not just to be led, but to lead.
Naoya Toudou is a great rep of this arcana, the reason I like him for it is because he’s the team leader. He is brave, aggressive, strong, ready to lead when people need him, and willing to fight for what he knows is right. He is a great character for the player to control.
Akihiko Sanada is a group leader to a certain degree as well, he’s one of the senior members of S.E.E.S. after all. The Emperor’s purpose is to show the Fool not just to be led, but to take the helm when needed, Akihiko’s injury near the beginning of the game leads to passing the leadership torch to Minato (or Minako) fulfilling his role rather nicely.
Then there’s Tatsumi Kanji who shows some great characteristics for his card, intuition, decisiveness, creativity, bravery, aggression all perfect for his card. However I think to a certain degree he fails at this card too, he isn’t a leader, if Yu had fallen out of the leadership role at any point Kanji wouldn’t have it in him to lead. He is a character that needs a leader.
The Hierophant teaches us about loss and dealing with loss. It also shows us that we don’t need to be afraid of loosing something.
Our first representation of the Hierophant was Nanjo Kei in Persona 1. He is a character that had to push himself to get past the loss of his family’s servant Yamaoka. Nanjo grows as a character through the loss of his departed friend and grows stronger eventually to the point of Yamaoka becoming his ultimate Persona.
Shinjiro Aragaki represents a more direct form of loss to the members of S.E.E.S. and more specifically to both Ken and Minako. Ken lost his mother to an out of control Persona summoning that was Shinjiro’s doing. Minako on the other hand lost a potential love interest and a dear friend when Shinjiro himself passed away. It was tragic and horrible and made the characters have to find a way to deal with his loss.
Then there’s Metis who is a lot of fun. She was introduced in Persona 3: The Answer, an anti weapon shadow weapon like Aigis as the new Hierophant Arcana. She was created from Aigis’ feelings of loss at Minato’s death and is in effect her way of coping.
Last but not least is Ryotaro Dojima is P4’s representation we see him dealing with loss in various aspects with both the loss of his wife and daughter.
So that covers the first six of the major arcana. If anyone’s interested in checking it out I’ll hit some more next week!