Why Your Waifu Sucks: Investigations Into Why Anime/Game Characters Would Be the WORST Romantic Partners.
You’d think the prior column would’ve been the “big” challenge; establishing a framework, explaining the concept, all of that, right? To be fair, it wasn’t easy; aside from watching the anime (which, in fairness, wasn’t bad), it also involved doing a lot more research into the Super Sonico character than I was entirely interested in doing, to the extent that I am now aware that there are somewhere around three or four video games based on her, and kind of hoping one of them makes it stateside. Laugh all you want, but that’d be hilarious to play over a Livestream. Regardless, however, while you’d think that the first column would be the hardest one to write, and it’ll almost certainly be one of the most involved comparatively speaking, it won’t be the hardest.
This one almost certainly will.
(Also, as a side note to independent writers: pick one topic if you don’t want a column to take three months to complete. Don’t be me, in other words.)
WHY YOUR WAIFU SUCKS: (Almost) The Entire Main Persona 4 Cast
It’s certainly no secret to anyone that I like Persona 4 quite a bit. While the original game was something that resonated well enough, Golden was the game that really hit for me and convinced me that Persona 4 in specific was a great sub-franchise, one I’ve continued pouring money into ever since. I especially like the characters, in a general sense, and the fact that the characters legitimately seem to like each other, something that’s missing from Persona 3 for a long period of the game. Hell, the Persona 4 cast even makes the Persona 3 cast likable by association in Persona Q, to the extent that I was almost motivated to pick the third game up again for a bit. It’s not everyone’s favorite in the franchise, obviously; aside from the pre/post Persona change wars that go on whenever a new game in the series comes out, a decent amount of people like Persona 3 better and that’s entirely their right. For me, though, while I appreciate why things like Great Expectations and Moby Dick exist, I don’t really care for stories like that, especially not hundred-hour-long stories that end the way Persona 3 ends, so, to each their own.
My point there, and I do have one, is that the Persona 4 cast is pretty likable, which is due in a lot of respects to the fact that they simply get along better than, again, their Persona 3 counterparts, and seem like more likable people as a result. While the Persona 3 cast comes across as a group of people who end up working together because they have to and eventually decides to be okay with this, the Persona 4 cast feels more like they embrace their misfit status and thrive in this environment. New team members make an effort to get along with everyone from the start, and it doesn’t hurt that your protagonist essentially has to spend time befriending everyone, as it gives the characters more of a personality than they’d have without this. The game makes an effort to give everyone reasonable motivations for their actions, both on a base level (which you learn through the main plot) and in an advanced, in-depth sense (which you learn through their Social Links), so that you can really get to know everyone if you wish. They’re not real people, obviously, but you can almost sympathize with them as if they were because of how well they’re developed, and that’s not a bad thing by any means.
Real talk, though: if you think that any of the men or ladies in Persona 4 would be in any way reasonable people to have a romantic relationship with, you’re a crazy person, and I say that as someone who actively pairs up with Yukiko every time I play. Here’s why.
(Oh, and no, we’re not addressing Yu Narukami here, and I don’t feel I have to explain why.)
On the subject of profession:
Well, let’s hit the easy bullet point now: chances are extremely good with the vast majority of the people here that whatever you do, it’s either being done IN Inaba directly or via telecommuting, or else you’re taking the train to work every day, and since Inaba is in the middle of nowhere, well, it’ll be a hike. Now, one of the benefits of an extended universe is that if you do have some kind of useful skillset, you could probably get your waifu (or husbando, but come the fuck on) in question to hook you up with the Kirijo group and possibly get a decent work-from-home job so you could still make a living wage without having to travel too often, but it’d almost certainly have to be a skillset that’s
– just useful enough that you would be desirable,
– not so specialized that they’d need you in the office constantly,
– viable enough that you can do it from home, and
– useful enough that they’d be willing to do this thing, since Japan isn’t on the “work from home” bandwagon the same way the US is,
So in other words, you’re basically boned.
Assuming you lack the tools to fit that skillset (and not to be a dick, but you probably do), chances are good that, unless you want to commute half an hour or more a day, you’re going to be working in town. Now, the good news is, Inaba has a lot of derelict shops just begging for a more modernized property to move in and do business, so someone who knows how to perform involved repair work would probably be able to move in and make a killing (metaphorically if you know what’s good for you) in town. Otherwise, your options are limited: you can work for Junes or the nearby shopping centers, the Amagi Inn, the day care, the school, the hospital, the police force, and probably the fire department or the city government. In other words: there are lots of job options, but they probably all pay like shit and there are almost certainly not a lot of job opportunities. Also, somewhere around half the cast is unlikely to leave the town at any point, so depending on who you’re into, you’re boned again. Oh, yeah, and the town was the site of three murders in 2011, so tourism is probably going to be on the decline for a while.
Just keep that all in mind as we move forward.
Well, Chie wants to become a police officer so she can protect the people of Inaba, which is certainly a lofty goal, but she’s never shown any aptitude toward scholastic endeavors, and the police department does require mandatory testing, so that’s… a problem. Of course, you can always sit down with her and help her “study,” or actually study, which might certainly help her get that police academy job she’s aiming for. Assuming that happens, congratulations! That’s almost certainly the highest she’ll go, as she absolutely isn’t in the same mental performance category as Dojima or Adachi, so if she does manage detective it’ll probably be a long time before that happens unless she discovers heretofore unknown aptitude for critical thinking and logic. On the plus side, most police academy work in the US can be completed in six months to a year, but on the minus side, the pay for normal police isn’t great, and considering Inaba is in the ass end of nowhere she might be waiting for a spot to open up, transferred, or working for super low pay relatively speaking, so… there’s that. On the odd chance that she can’t make it into the police force, she could always become some kind of martial arts instructor in the area (assuming that’s an option) or maybe a physical education teacher (because look at their current staff and tell me she couldn’t do it), but Inaba isn’t exactly the opportunity capital of the world. In other words, even if she can manage a role in the police force, your professional position is… not gonna be great.
Yukiko, on the other hand, comes with a built-in profession: she’s going to run the family inn at some point, and the Amagi Inn is considered to be a big tourist attraction so that’s almost certainly going to be a “set for life” scenario. Of course, the inn is so busy now that Yukiko doesn’t even get to be a teenager half the time because she’s so busy working, which probably means they’re generally understaffed half the time, so “set for life” is probably a relative term; early on, the game uses “her mother had an emotional breakdown so Yukiko took over” as a crutch but by winter, NOPE, she’s still doing it. Further, it’s kind of implied that both parents work for the Amagi Inn, sooooo I hope you like working in hospitality, because that might be an expectation. In that respect, though, Yukiko’s fine; she’s essentially a one-woman-army when it comes to hospitality management so maybe you can do something else, but this seems… unlikely. It should also be noted that the Megaten Wiki makes the implication that Yukiko is rich in her entry, but I think I speak for any of us who’ve seen Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares when I say that is probably not the case. The fact that the inn is almost always understaffed during busy seasons implies they’re probably doing fine, but not fine enough, if that makes sense, and if Yukiko’s family is rich the game never says so, though it’s more than willing to point out that Chie and Yosuke ain’t exactly rolling in dough, while Naoto lives in a damn mansion, so… they probably ain’t that loaded.
Rise, being a teenage idol, has the best overall short-term professional prospects; she’s probably worth a huge sum of cash at her current age (though probably a whole lot less than she should be given her management company is almost certainly robbing her blind), and assuming her comeback goes well, while she’s unlikely to be the next Utada Hikaru, she can probably stay in the public eye for a decade or so, possibly two. Once she’s done on that front, she will almost certainly have a skillset that qualifies her for talent management in her own right, though given how good she is at the whole “pretending to be someone else,” deal, she could possibly go into acting or something similar as well. This is almost certainly for the best, as a combination of being out of the school system and her own general limits means she’s probably not qualified to do a whole lot else (except maybe run her grandmother’s tofu shop), but comes with the caveat that she is going to be travelling a whole hell of a lot. Best case, your life would be equivalent to that of a professional wrestler, constantly travelling around to do… whatever it is you’d do while she does the important stuff; worst case, you’d be sitting at home for weeks or months at a time while she’s off doing her thing, and I’m absolutely certain the aforementioned Utada can tell you how well that went for her first two relationships. Oh, and since she’s fairly popular, get used to people actively oogling your waifu publicly and otherwise, and that will almost certainly get annoying after the hundredth time you check social media, see a picture of her, and see a hundred comments expressing gross shit right below it.
Naoto probably has the best overall prospects of the lot, professionally: she’s a world-class detective, and one who is almost certainly going to continue to be a big deal in her current profession as time goes on. She’s brilliant at it apparently, and her family left her a mansion so she’s almost certainly loaded anyway. She’s arguably the brightest person on the team as well, outside of possibly the protagonist (if you’re bright) and Yukiko (schoolwork wise anyway), so even if being a world-class detective doesn’t work out, she can easily become a regular detective in Inaba… or really whatever she wants to be. The downside, of course, is that like with Rise, she’ll be travelling everywhere, but unlike Rise, that will never, ever stop so long as crime is happening, and in fact according to the events of Persona 4 Arena she leaves town almost immediately after the game ends. Also, while Rise might have the odd stalker or overzealous fan come after her, Naoto will probably be risking her life in at least fifty percent of her cases, and you can’t exactly break out a Persona in a police firefight, so… yeah, this one isn’t the greatest choice. It also doesn’t help much that her parents kind of died in a fashion that one might call… unpleasant (the game never states it was because of their line of work but it never states it wasn’t either) so that kind of punctuates the point, if nothing else.
Yosuke is probably going to end up managing Junes. Let’s just get that one out of the way up front. At the end of Persona 4 Arena Ultimax he makes a point of noting that he should probably sit down and really consider going to college, but even if he does make it in, what is he going to go for? We know nothing about his skillset except that he knows how to run a business from the ground level. He’s not going to college for computer science, or art, or anything like that; he’s going for business management which he’ll use to run a Junes (at best) or some terrible and useless degree that he’ll do nothing with while he runs a Junes (at worst). On the plus side, Junes is pretty popular at this point, acting like the Japanese answer to Wal-Mart, and Yosuke has the benefit of understanding the Junes mentality while also sympathizing with the Inaba townsfolk, so he’d almost certainly be the best possible fit to run the local Junes. Because of that, he’d probably end up being decently successful, and there are worse people to be married to than “the guy who runs the local Wal-Mart.” On the minus side, that’s as far as Yosuke’s going in life, pretty much, and when you’re comparing him to all of the people who could go somewhere better, either through pure talent or dumb luck, well… he’s the dude who runs the local Wal-Mart.
Oh, and it probably bears noting that franchises like that don’t exactly have the greatest lifespan, so I wouldn’t expect that to last forever, especially if a competitor pops up on the other side of town. Just because Yosuke likes the town doesn’t mean he can compete with a more successful rival corporation, even if the entire Scooby Gang pitches in to help. Just saying.
Kanji could either become a home-ec teacher (assuming he goes down that path after Persona Q suggested it) or take over the family textile business, and either option is… fine? If he becomes a home-ec teacher, well, he’s an amazing craftsman and (if he can get his patience in line) he’d be awesome at it, and the family textile business has a built-in support line from the Amagi Inn, so he’d be set as a business owner either way. Kanji also has the distinct benefit of having learned how to make stuffed animals and such, so he could (best case) sell them on something like Etsy and make some side cash, or (worst case) sell them from the Tatsumi Textiles shop and at least make some minor cash from tourists. Kanji’s biggest problem is, honestly, that he’s, well… not very bright, and while that’s not the worst thing, it’s a problem when you’re trying to run an entire business more or less by yourself. Best case, you’re going to end up teaching him basically everything, worst case you’ll either be working for him as a bookkeeper or accountant or doing it as a side job (and God help you if you’re not any good at that either). Oh, yeah, and you’ll probably be living with his mom for a really long time, so there’s that.
… if you’re expecting me to have anything to say about Teddie here, you’re on drugs. He’s going to be working for Yosuke forever, okay? He’s Billy Madison without the money. If you don’t have a job that’s any good, neither of you will be doing okay, so you’re going to end up being the breadwinner while he stands around in the food court of Junes in a bear costume. One supposes the two of you could live in the TV world instead of having an actual house, at least, but lord knows what that’ll do to your constitution, or how time flows in that environment relative to the real world, or how you’ll even eat or bathe, so that’s not a great option, especially considering it’s also been turned into a hellhole four times now. I hope you have good job prospects, is my point here, because he sure doesn’t.
On the subject of personality:
Well, Chie is incredibly hyperactive and a real go-getter, which almost certainly means that any introverts who are looking to make her their Waifu are going to be miserable as hell. She’s almost certainly the kind of person who needs to talk a whole lot, and probably can’t let things go (Trial of the Dragon), so you can also expect that when the two of you do fight, it’ll be really unpleasant, at best. Chie is also really active, and will probably have certain expectations that you will be as well, meaning that you’ll either be working out a lot with her or disappointing her regularly, which isn’t going to be great for a lot of people. Chie is also implied to not be very bright, sadly, which means that if you are, you will likely run out of things to talk about sooner or later, especially if you’re unpleasant about it (which, this being the internet, is entirely possible). On the plus side, Chie is implied to also be very much a person who wears her heart on her sleeve and is very trusting, so from that perspective at least, you’ll always know where you stand with her, and she’ll believe in you no matter what. If you’re the sort of person who has trust issues this might be a good thing, though whether or not it makes up for passionate fighting, long runs in the park and lots of conversations about food is entirely your call (but probably not).
Yukiko is pleasant to the point one almost wants to say that she’s a Stepford Wife if they don’t know her, especially post Persona acquisition, so if nothing else, she’d be fun to hang around with. However, she’s also completely batshit crazy in most respects, and while she’s not likely to plunge a knife into your neck, she is pretty likely to wake you up at four in the morning to tell you a ghost story for absolutely no reason. That’s the single biggest problem with her, in all honesty; she likes the weirdest things, and doesn’t entirely seem to behave like she understands how people interact or operate in the strictest sense, and while that’s cute in a hundred hour long game where maybe ten of those hours are devoted to her, it’d be maddening in real life. There’s also the fact that she has latent issues relating to wanting to be saved by a magical prince (or something), so there will probably be some latent issues related to that bubbling beneath the surface in your relationship from time to time, no matter how strong of a person she’s become. Oh, yeah, and she’s also not very observant and doesn’t have much romantic experience, so expect that she’ll be the one who doesn’t notice things or care about stuff you think is a big deal, because that’ll almost certainly happen.
Rise is the closest thing a person can be to bipolar without actually needing treatment, and that’s not great no matter how you slice it. Years of affecting multiple different psychological masks have taken their toll on her as a person, and while she seems to think she’ll be fine getting back into the world of entertainment after a nine month hiatus, the reality is, she probably feels better about it because she was off for nine months, not specifically because she helped the team punch a god in the face. So, combine a person with a certain amount of psychological trauma with an environment they had to retire from briefly because it was too much for them, and chances are good you’ll be waking up to the odd 2AM sobbing phone call where she explains how much she hates her job and wants to leave it forever, before she goes out and does it again the next day. That’s not even anything against her, either; show business is rough as hell, especially for someone who’s as sensitive as she’s been portrayed, so she’s going to be a mess emotionally for the first, oh, decade or so of your relationship. Assuming she doesn’t develop a substance abuse problem during this time period (which, given how often it happens to celebrities and how easily she got psychologically drunk, is possible), the two key perks of this particular relationship are that, based on her general nature, you’ll almost certainly have fun when she’s around, and that once she’s retired she’ll probably end up okayish, assuming she spends a whole lot of time in therapy. That said, depending on how trapped in the system she is, she might just end up going stir-crazy and turning her middle-aged years into Eat, Pray, Love, so… I mean, caveat emptor peeps.
Naoto, despite having accepted her inner Shadows, comes with the multi-faceted issues of having to deal with being a woman in a career path that is super horrible to women, having to deal with being a teenager in a career path that is super horrible to the young, having to deal with being super intelligent in a career path where the people above her are often dumb and resentful for it, and oh yeah, being super obtuse about relationship interactions. I like Naoto as a character, don’t get me wrong, but Jesus Christ dating her would very nearly be a literal Hell on Earth for anyone daring enough to try it. Even with the support of her friends, she’s going to end up being frustrated and angry about so much of her life and career, and you’re almost certainly going to bear the brunt of it. She’s also not great at sharing her emotional state, because she’s mostly never really had to before, which means that there are going to be a whole lot of awkward conversations as you work things out. Best case, you have the patience of a saint, and after years of being together you come to something of a mutual understanding; worst case, she shuts down and lies a lot and your relationship sucks out loud.
Oh, and if that one supplementary manga is canon, she ends up killing her mentor (not the old guy, a different one they invented for the manga) because said mentor is a serial killer or… something like that, so THAT’S probably not great for her mentally speaking. Just saying.
Not that this is any sort of a surprise, but Yosuke’s kind of a dick, almost entirely accidentally, and while he cares about people, it’s never stopped him from having chronic foot-in-mouth disease. While it’s nice to note that he’s generally got a good heart, and will help his friends out with anything, that doesn’t really take away from the fact that he’s a sarcastic jerk as often as not, and he generally has an issue with not rubbing stuff in people’s faces a bit more than he should. He’s basically the first person to make awkward comments about everyone, from pointing out Chie’s non-feminine hobbies (and generally unconventional attractiveness) to Naoto’s occasionally vulnerable moments to Rise and Yukiko’s changes in behavior and beyond, and from a narrative perspective it’s fine, but from a “we’re friends with this guy” perspective it’s… not great. Oh, yeah, there’s also the fact that he’s got some less than desirable unresolved issues. For one thing, he has an inferiority complex, as is noted several times during his arc with Yu, and beating the crap out of a guy you’re best friends with to put that to bed is fine with that person, but it’s absolutely a thing that will come up again, whether it be with an ex, a close friend, or anyone else he feels somewhat threatened by. For another, he’s obsessed with a dead girl who kind of hated the crap out of him, and he has something of an intense and obsessive personality under the surface in general, and one that… might not value human life so much. I mean, his Shadow does point out that people getting murdered occurred to him as something “exciting,” and he was the first person to suggest killing Namatame, so… yeah. Oh, and he’s kind of a homophobe, which… isn’t great.
Basically Yosuke kind of sucks as a human being, is the point here.
Kanji’s generally a nice enough person, and while he’s a bit of a hothead, he seems to have calmed down somewhat by the end of Persona 4 Golden. That said, he’s still very much a… “passionate” person, meaning he’s almost certainly going to be an embarrassing person the exact second he feels his manhood is threatened, which is probably going to happen at least once a month. He’s also super bad at expressing his feelings, dealing with relationship oriented stuff, or really anything that involves emotions to speak of. He’s also not bright, which doesn’t seem like the worst thing in the world considering his career path and such (and it’s not like you couldn’t help him study or something) but it doesn’t matter how cute and sweet he is, it’s going to be incredibly difficult to be in a long-term relationship with someone who’s constantly telling you “I don’t exactly understand that sort of stuff,” all the time. Oh, and he also never really did resolve that whole “am I gay?” thing his Shadow instilled in him, and having an actual significant other probably isn’t going to fix that in his mind no matter how that falls.
(Aside: I generally try to write these from a relationship-neutral position because I’m totally sure that there are dudes who want to date Kanji out there, and I don’t want to be a dick. That said, let’s be totally clear here: Kanji would almost certainly freak the fuck out if he managed to figure out that he was gay, so if anything, that would be significantly worse for him. Yosuke too, for that matter. I’m not saying “don’t harbor that want,” but I absolutely am saying that you’d be fucking miserable if you did.)
Teddie is… uh… ignorant, rude, horny as hell, kind of a player, somewhat insensitive, and simple in the insulting sense. As a comedic relief character he’s awesome, as a romantic partner, literally all he brings to the table is boundless energy, childlike joy and the fact that he’s pretty. On the plus side, I’m mostly certain no one out there wants to date Teddie, but on the off chance you do, you will need to be self-sufficient, have the patience of a saint, be super trusting of his fidelity and be basically capable of forcing him to learn by any means necessary. So… it wouldn’t be a good fit, is my point here.
On the subject of the world and their place in it:
So let’s start with the obvious, all-encompassing point before we move on: anyone you’re not dating in this specific scenario is still friends with everyone else in the group, and you’re almost certainly going to be in the town of Inaba along with the remainder of the cast. For the males amongst you, they’re all friends with Kanji Tatsumi, he of slightly diminished self-control and escalated musculature, and Yosuke Hanamura, he of variable testosterone imbalance and improbable position of (mostly useless) power in the town of Inaba. If you think for one second that, should you potentially upset or hurt your chosen waifu in some way, you’re not getting your head pounded into your neck or any object you buy from Junes spat in, think again. Teddie is also likely to be a spiteful jerk toward you as well, and he has an INCREDIBLY limited concept of right and wrong based on him essentially being in contact with humans for, like, a couple years, and if Yu Narukami is an actual thing, well, dude blew up a fish with fucking dynamite and led this sack-of-cats team to victory against an actual god, so assume he’d ruin you. For the females, Chie has threatened physical violence against people much larger than her in the past and has kicked monsters to death, and Yukiko is, as noted prior, just a bit unhinged, so expect them to make your lives hell. Also, if you piss your waifu off just bad enough, you can expect to forever live under the fear of Rise or Naoto, who live in the public eye and have dealt with some of the shiftiest and most disgusting parts of society for years (talent agents and criminals, respectively), and can probably make the remainder of your life actual hell. In other words, you’d best be on your super ultra best behavior if you want to make it out of this relationship alive.
Oh, and they’re also all friends with a manifestation of one of the gods of creation, who basically protects the entire town and can control the weather, and has worse impulse control than any of them, so… yeah, no.
Also, and this might be a failing of the genre as much as anything, maybe y’all should harbor fictional lust towards characters who aren’t friends with monsters who have poor impulse control.
Well, Chie has thrown herself into harm’s way on a couple of occasions, so it’s almost certainly likely that on her own and through her police work she’ll piss off every malcontent in Inaba by the time she’s thirty, so you have that to look forward to. She’s also friends with athletic dudes outside of the core group, who are also probably capable of beating your ass, and at least one of them might have a boner for her, so that isn’t great. Beyond that, we don’t know much about Chie’s family or home life per say, but it’s fairly safe to say that since her family is okay with her watching martial arts movies and practicing and such, at least one of them can probably kick your ass. Oh, and let us not forget, Chie is a semi-competent fighter with semi-poor impulse control, so SHE would probably ruin you on her own, ON TOP OF everyone else wanting to kill you.
Yukiko’s family has gotten by on running a family inn for years, and Yukiko herself is basically a genius so at least one of her parents is as well, meaning you’ll almost certainly have to deal with the wrath of her parents if you screw anything up. She’s also got a whole lot of employees in the inn who love her to pieces, which is another significant concern, and since she apparently has something of a weird-ass cult-of-personality style accidental fan club who pay attention to her dating habits (“The Amagi Challenge,” remember), there’s a strong possibility that dudes will literally rise up out of the woodwork to end you if you hurt her.
Rise’s a fairly well off idol singer, so from jump, her agency and everything associated with it business-wise will probably make your life miserable if you in any way impact Rise’s ability to perform at the top of her game as an idol. There are also the fans, of course; remember, Rise, even as a semi-retired idol, was consistently a topic of conversation around town, and that resentment will know no bounds whatsoever. If she posts on social media that she’s having a bad day with no context, you can almost guarantee someone is going to spit on you that day with no explanation to speak of, more or less. That’s arguably the worst part of this particular situation, actually; because Rise’s famous, you’re going to attract negative attention even if you’re the perfect significant other, and anyone who wants to BE you is going to HATE THE HELL OUT OF YOU, irrationally and constantly. In other words, expect to be insulted and hated simply for existing, which is bound to be totally awesome after the thousandth time that happens.
Naoto’s a world-famous detective, and while police forces in general are probably going to look down on her a bit due to her age and gender, that’ll evaporate as she ages and solves more cases. While that seems good, it’s not great, because, again, she’s going to be a known entity to most police everywhere, which will vacillate between “not too bad” and “really bad” at a moment’s notice. While you might get preferential treatment from organizations she’s favorable with, any organization that finds her to be undesirable will almost certainly make your life hell just for being associated with her. If the local police force is on the outs with her for one reason or another, in other words, expect to be pulled over a lot more often until she resolves that. On the other hand, if you’re on the outs with her, expect the treatment to get worse, as you’ll not only be on the outs with anyone who doesn’t like her, you’ll be on the outs with anyone who DOES, so… maybe call out of work until you can apologize, is my point here. Oh, and let us not forget, she is a world famous detective, so yeah, killers and criminals may be aiming to cut you into tiny pieces to get to her, so… that’s not great.
Well, Yosuke is the son of the guy who runs the local Junes, and while there’s some improvement of the attitudes of others toward him, most people treat him either like a buttmonkey or a pariah, so expect that treatment to carry over to you by proxy. Half of the town hates the shit out of him because he’s the son of the owner of what amounts to the town’s job-killing Wal-Mart, and even though some people are cool with it, anyone who’s lost a job because of him is going to resent him and anyone sleeping with/dating him. Further, he’s treated like dirt by basically everyone who works at Junes, so AT BEST you can expect to be ignored (for not being him), and AT WORST you can expect his treatment (because you’re his significant other and therefore hold leverage against him). He also has at least one count of criminal activity against him, so assume any cops with a grudge against Junes will take every opportunity to annoy the crap out of him (Dojima can’t be EVERYWHERE), and really, Yosuke is kind of a dumb jerk at times, so just assume there other random people who hate him for reasons unspecified and you’ll have to deal with that.
Kanji’s a sweetheart to US, since we played the game and all, but keep in mind, until late spring/early summer, he was basically a full-on juvenile delinquent, so most everyone in town either hates him or is afraid of him on some level. Sure, Yu helps him find his true self and he makes some radical changes, but again, you can still safely assume that about half of the town hates or fears him for one reason or another, meaning that you’ll be looked down on for some reason for being with him. Oh, there’s also the fact that people also kind of know he’s not so bright, so expect gossiping about either 1.) his proficiency in bed or 2.) your low standards around the shopping district. Hell, even his own friends know he’s kind of a dope (if a really nice one), so that’s not great. The one shining upside here is that eventually this will probably even out, and he’ll most likely end up being someone who isn’t either hated by half the town or fearing for their life, but by the time that happens, he’ll probably have a throng of adoring housewives and kids looking up to him for his toy making (at the very least). In other words, about halfway through your relationship, expect your position in town to change from “gossip target because WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?” to “gossip target because WHAT IS WRONG WITH HIM?” and you’ll almost certainly never know when it’s coming.
Teddie is Teddie. The women in town think he’s a pretty flirt, the men (probably) think he’s an asshole, and anyone who saw him in school during the cross-dressing event is probably confused as hell as to what they think about him. The plus side of being with Teddie is that, for all of his flaws, he’s probably the one person you can date where no one is going to have a particularly strong opinion of him one way or the other. At worst, people will find his overt sexuality and cheeriness off-putting; at best they’ll either think he’s adorable because of the bear costume, or because he’s an incorrigible flirt. Considering all of the other problems he has as a romantic partner, it’s probably for the best that the best thing about him is that no one’s going to hate you or try to kill you for dating him.
On the subject of odds and ends:
So the first thing I should probably remind everyone of here is the fact that, as comic books have shown us, the people who date our heroes often wind up chopped up and stuffed into the freezer, and while that’s almost certainly a trope used against women, there’s no reason to assume a killer wouldn’t do it to a man just as easily. I mention this because the Persona 4 team has run afoul of two of them, Mitsuo Kubo and Toru Adachi, and both of them probably have no real regret towards the idea of killing you to make a point. Kubo in particular is almost certainly way past gone, and he’s probably going to get out of jail eventually, so that’s… not great.
Oh, what’s that? You suddenly don’t want to date Yukiko anymore? I wonder why.
There’s also the fact that they pissed of the undead incarnation of one of the gods of all creation (more or less), and while she basically gave them the normal hero triumphant speech of “Humans can make their own fate, FOR NOW,” there’s no reason to assume it’ll stay that way. Plus there’s the fact that they’ve been targeted, indirectly, for assault by various demons/gods/failed experiments in addition to the whole “fighting one of the gods of all creation” deal, or the fact that various side stories end up with one of more of them pissing off some kind of demon or god or whatever. Oh, and let’s not forget that there’s a thing out there that is being held back by some kind of barrier that will eventually punch a hole into reality, at which point everyone’s probably dead…
Y’know what? Go big or go home, screw it. You’re probably better off dating one of the psychos since everyone’s going to die painfully eventually anyway.
As it stands right now, I haven’t hit any of the secondary social link characters (Marie, Sayoko, Dojima, etc) because as it is this thing is way too long, but I could be persuaded to write a follow-up if you’re looking for a specific reason beyond what the game provides as to why dating Ai Ebihara would be a shitshow. Also, unless there’s a big demand for it, I’ve no specific interest in writing one about the Persona 3 cast, because when the end of your character arc is, “Left someone to die at the edge of the universe and moved on with your life instead of trying to find a way to save them,” that will always and forever be the reason why you should never date that person. I mean, I could come up with OTHER reasons, but that kind of seems like a big enough reason on its own that it stands alone, really.
Anyway, the next one (whenever it comes out) will probably be about at LEAST Chiaki Nanami (possibly some other Dangan Ronpa characters as well), whenever I manage to complete it, so keep an eye out for it, yeah?