Series' Medium: Primarily video game; the game has spawned a special edition (Persona 3: FES), manga, drama CDs, and a “10-years-later” sequel called Trinity Soul
Character you're applying for: Minato Arisato
Character's role in their canon: Main character. He’s also a silent protagonist, so most actions with choices attached are narrated in the second person perspective.
Character's age: 17
Character's gender: Male
Character’s “Real Name”: Christian Aarons
Please give us a detailed personal history of your character:
Since it ends up pertaining to Minato, I’ll go over a few things that take place before the game. More than ten years prior to the beginning of Persona 3, the Kirijo Group, a powerful and very secretive company, conducted research on the grounds of Gekkoukan High School on Port Island, Japan. Kouetsu Kirijo, then the head of the company, led the study on strange creatures that would become known as Shadows. It is at this time that the Kirijo Group learns that Shadows feed upon the souls of humans, and the only ones who can fight these Shadows are Persona-users, who are considered “those with the potential.” (In The Answer, it’s discovered that Personas and Shadows are actually the same—they are both the inner selves of humans, though Persona-users have mastered their inner selves while Shadows are formed from those who have succumbed to despair and fear.) Kouetsu Kirijo’s study of the Shadows isn’t without its darker motives; his true goal is to summon forth Nyx, she who will bring about the end of the world. To this end, Kouetsu and his scientists conducted their experiments, going as far as being able to create artificial Personas in children and anti-Shadow weapons.
Exactly ten years prior to the game (in the year 1999), one project in particular took ambitious steps towards the summoning of Nyx: the summoning of a Shadow of the Death Arcana by bringing together twelve Shadows of different Major Arcana. Eiichiro Takeba, one of the scientists, sabotaged the project to keep it from reaching completion, resulting in an explosion that wiped out the facilities, killed almost all of the scientists (including Kouetsu and Eiichiro), and allowed the thirteenth Shadow to split itself into separate parts and flee the scene. These events led to two huge side effects evident near the beginning of the game: the creation of the Dark Hour, a time between midnight and 12:01 AM that is only witnessed by those with the potential, and the formation of Tartarus, the Tower of Demise , on the grounds where the destroyed research facilities once were.
As the thirteenth Shadow fled, the anti-Shadow weapon Aigis was sent to pursue and neutralize the threat. Even split apart from the Major Arcana Shadows, the thirteenth Shadow proved to be too much for Aigis to handle on her own, and she sought to contain it. She ultimately contained Death in a human vessel—a young boy who happened to be in the area because he had just survived a fatal car accident that had killed his parents.
That boy was the protagonist, Minato Arisato.
The next ten years are not covered in detail for Minato, though it’s clear that he was not detained by Aigis and had not been back to Port Island since the accident; it is assumed that he was adopted into a family out of the area, and that this family was well-off and busy enough to send Minato to Iwatodai on Port Island for school. Persona 3 begins as Minato travels to Iwatodai to begin school as Gekkoukan High School as a transfer student. He arrives at Iwatodai Station just as the Dark Hour begins, and walks under a green sky through the deserted streets towards his new dorm. Despite the blood red water and bright yellow moon, he doesn’t stop along the way to take in his surroundings or investigate the strange situation. Upon reaching his (oddly enough, lit) dorm, Minato is greeted by a strange boy with startlingly blue eyes and dark hair who wants him to sign … a contract.
“You’re late. I’ve been waiting a long time for you. Now if you want to proceed, please sign your name there. It’s a contract. Don’t worry; all it says is that you’ll accept full responsibility for your actions—you know, the usual stuff.” Though Minato signs the contract, he is given only a cryptic message before being left to his own devices. The green darkness of the Dark Hour returns, and Minato is soon confronted by a teenage girl. Given Minato’s sudden appearance in the dorm and the fact that it isn’t exactly normal for people to witness the Dark Hour, the situation threatens to escalate—until another teenage girl interrupts, and the Dark Hour passes. Mitsuru Kirijo, the girl who interrupted, introduces herself and the first girl, Yukari Takeba, and explains that Minato will temporarily be living in their dorm because of some clerical error. Yukari is still wary of the whole situation, but shows Minato to his new dorm room. She asks him if he saw anything strange before he entered the dorm, and to keep quiet about whatever he may have seen.
The next day is Minato’s first day at Gekkoukan High School . Yukari acts as his guide, riding with him on the train and explaining a few things around the school. In their shared classroom, Minato meets a fellow classmate, Junpei Iori, who he strikes up a good conversation with (with a few bouts of misunderstandings concerning his relationship with Yukari). The day goes well, and Minato begins to settle into his new school and temporary dorm without knowing what his true purpose for being there is. He meets Shuji Ikutsuki, chairman of the school, who actually had Minato placed in the dorm so he could be monitored for any signs of “the potential.” The other members of the dorm help with the monitoring while Minato dreams a few nights way. One of these nights sees Minato’s consciousness spirited away to the Velvet Room, a place that exists “between dream and reality, mind and matter,” and is home to a mysterious character named Igor and his assistant, Elizabeth. Igor explains that Minato possesses the “power of the wild card,” and that only those who have signed a contract can be guests in the Velvet Room. The contract that the mysterious boy had Minato sign was in fact the fateful one that allowed him into the Velvet Room, and Igor reminds him that he must take responsibility for his actions. In the future, Minato will make use of the Velvet Room to summon new Personas and take requests from Elizabeth .
On the day of the April full moon, things change for everyone housed in the dorm. The Dark Hour arrives as usual, but a night of monitoring is interrupted by a call from Akihiko Sanada, an upperclassman and another Persona-user. He was attacked by a unique Shadow, and it is now chasing him back to the building. Mitsuru jumps into action, telling Yukari to escape with Minato while she and Akihiko hold the Shadow at bay. Yukari grabs Minato from his room and tries to leave through the back door, only to hear something huge trying to ram the door down. The two escape up the stairs of the dorm, but are followed onto the roof by the large monster (the first of the Major Arcana Shadows), which climbs up the building with multiple arms to attack them. Yukari, herself new to her powers as a Persona-user, tries to get over her fear of firing an Evoker (a gun-shaped device that Minato sees her carrying during their first encounter); the Evoker, which will summon her Persona, must be aimed at herself and fired like a gun. Her anxiety gives the Arcana Shadow the chance to strike, knocking her to the side and sending the Evoker clattering across the ground to land at Minato’s feet. He gingerly picks up the Evoker and mimics Yukari’s action, pointing the gun at his forehead. But he’s unsure of what to do, though he has a strange feeling…
In his mind’s eye, Minato sees the strange boy coaxing him. He breathes unsteadily, and then smirks to himself. “Persona.” He pulls the trigger, energy pouring out of him to become a large, mechanical puppet-like creature—one that shares his facial structure and hairstyle. His Persona’s voice echoes in his mind: “Thou art I… And I am thou… From the sea of thy soul, I come forth… I am Orpheus, master of strings…”
And then a sudden swell of power overtakes Minato, another creature awakening within him and tearing Orpheus asunder. Minato screams in pain as this new Persona appears, while the others (Akihiko, Mitsuru, and Ikutsuki, who are monitoring the situation from inside the building) watch as this sword-bearing Persona rips through the Arcana Shadow with frightening ease. As soon as the Arcana Shadow is defeated, the Persona disappears—once again replaced by Orpheus. Minato protects Yukari from another group of attacking Shadows, only to collapse soon after from exhaustion. His consciousness is once again drawn to the Velvet Room, where Igor talks about Minato summoning his first Persona and how much potential he has in the sea of his soul. When his body awakens, Minato discovers that he had missed a week of school because of his collapse. Yukari is at his side as he lies in a hospital bed, and she apologizes that they had been monitoring him. In an attempt to make up for that, she talks about her own family situation and her reasons for being with the other Persona-users.
Not long after Minato is released from the hospital, another Persona-user joins the group—Junpei. Those with the potential are able to maintain consciousness during the Dark Hour, while others normally go through a process called Transmogrification that ends with the individual turning into a crystallized coffin for the duration of the Dark Hour. Akihiko happened across Junpei during the Dark Hour near a convenience store, and explained the situation to him before inviting him to live in the dorm. Minato and Junpei are bombarded with information about the Dark Hour, Shadows, and the group fighting them, S.E.E.S. (the Special Extracurricular Execution Squad). Mitsuru formally asks the two if they will assist them in getting rid of the Shadows, and they agree. With S.E.E.S. now up to five members (four active, with Akihiko still recovering), Mitsuru decides that they can begin exploring Tartarus and leads the group to the Gekkoukan school grounds right before midnight . As the Dark Hour descends, the school grounds transform into a gigantic, twisted tower that looms over the city. Within the entrance hall of the tower, the group discusses the nature of the tower and the roles they will take while exploring; Akihiko appoints Minato the leader of the exploration group, since he is the only one of the three juniors who can use his Evoker without hesitation. Also in the entrance hall is a door to the Velvet Room, which Minato can access with a key he received from Igor. (Amusingly enough, this door is invisible to the others, and it seems like Minato has zoned out to the other S.E.E.S. members when his subconscious is in the Velvet Room.)
With the stage now set, Minato must balance his time between attending school, building Social Links (important for expanding his wild card ability), and exploring the constantly-changing Tartarus. He finds the time to make friends and join clubs (notably, Mitsuru requests that he join the student council, while the others are of Minato’s choosing), though it’s apparent in the initial weeks that he needs to build up stamina to handle exploration of Tartarus every few nights. On May 2, a week before another full moon, Minato is visited by the mysterious boy with blue eyes, who gives some cryptic information before disappearing. (The boy, Pharos, continues to appear around the time of each full moon, so it isn’t a stretch of imagination to assume that Minato begins to piece together that there’s something strange about the full moons.) The May full moon arrives, and Mitsuru is able to detect a rare Shadow located outside of the tower—a large one on the Port Island monorail. Since Mitsuru has to provide analytical support and Akihiko is still recovering, Minato leads Yukari and Junpei onto the monorail tracks. As they climb onto the monorail, the Shadows take control of it and cause it to speed along the tracks despite the lack of electricity. The three tear their way through the compartments to the front of the monorail, where they face another Major Arcana Shadow and narrowly avoid disaster when the monorail goes out of control; Minato makes a split-second decision and finds the brakes while his teammates panic.
Akihiko returns from dealing with his injuries some time after the full moon, bringing with him information that he came upon while in the hospital: There was a girl in the hospital with the potential—Fuuka Yamagishi. Despite Fuuka’s frail health, the team decides to talk to her in the future and monitor her in a similar way that was done with Minato. However, before they can do anything, Fuuka disappears, and two girls are found outside of the school gates who are rumored to have been attacked by ghosts. In the course of investigating the rumors, Minato, Junpei, and Yukari go into the bad part of town behind Port Island Station, and are nearly accosted by the people hanging out back there. Shinjiro Aragaki, Akihiko’s childhood friend and another person who hangs out behind the station, intervenes and provides them with a “ghost story”—that a junior was bullied by three girls and locked up in the school gym one night, only to disappear shortly thereafter. The girls, fearing the consequences of facing what had happened to Fuuka, tried to find her on the school grounds, only to be attacked by Shadows and reduced to a zombie-like state known widely as Apathy Syndrome. Considering Fuuka can experience the Dark Hour, and the school becomes Tartarus during the Dark Hour, the group deduces that Fuuka has been brought into Tartarus while locked in the gym and was unable to escape on her own. They decide to sneak into the school and into the gym before the Dark Hour (during the June full moon, no less) so they will be brought into the area of the tower as Fuuka. Despite difficulties in the transition (mostly technical trouble because Mitsuru cannot provide the same overhead support she offered on lower levels of Tartarus, even with Yukari’s help), the male members of S.E.E.S. are able to find each other in the tower and rescue Fuuka. However, when they return to the entrance hall with Fuuka, they discover two huge Shadows are attacking the girls; at this time, they had not yet realized the significance of the full moons, and so were caught off-guard by the Major Arcana Shadows. Luckily, Fuuka is able to summon her Persona and aid them in battle, providing them with the Shadows’ weaknesses so they can efficiently deal with them.
After this incident, Fuuka takes over as the team’s support member and Mitsuru begins accompanying the others in exploring Tartarus. The group also begins making the connections between the full moons and the large Shadows that they have been facing on those nights; they conclude that once they have defeated all of twelve Arcana Shadows that appear during the full moons, the Dark Hour and Tartarus will disappear for good. With this goal in mind, the S.E.E.S. members train in and explore the tower, climbing higher and unlocking more ‘blocks’ of the tower as they go on. Every full moon from then on also brings with it at least one of the Arcana Shadows; the July full moon finds the S.E.E.S. members infiltrating a love hotel, where they are briefly influenced by the Lovers Arcana Shadow. Minato and Yukari share probably the most awkward situation to plague their friendship, though they both snap out of it before things can get any worse. July is also the beginning of summer break, and the team heads to the beaches of Yakushima under the pretense of a vacation; they are actually out there so Mitsuru can discuss with her father about letting the other S.E.E.S. members know the same information she has had since the beginning of her involvement. A video is shown to the group, in which footage of a lab being destroyed is shown along with Yukari’s father, who appears to take responsibility for releasing the Shadows. Yukari is upset by this revelation and retreats; Minato follows after her, and she confides in him more about her strained relationship with her mother and her own feelings about her father’s death. On the second day of their trip, the boys look around the beaches in an attempt to pick up chicks (Junpei’s idea, really). They prove to have no luck with flirting (for a variety of reasons, not all their fault), and then they catch sight of a blond girl standing on a small dock. Minato is the last of the three to try flirting with her, and to everyone’s shock and bewilderment, the girl turns to converse with him … and then runs away. At Akihiko and Junpei’s urging, Minato pursues her into the woods, where the girl says that it is her mission to stay by his side and protect him. Shortly thereafter, the team is told that the girl is in fact an anti-Shadow weapon—Aigis. Because of her perceived usefulness and Aigis’ desire to assist Minato, Aigis is allowed to join S.E.E.S.
Summer break really begins after the team heads back to the dorm after their vacation; they continue to go to Tartarus in preparation for the next full moon while attending to their individual activities during the day. (Notably, Minato can attend a sports tournament, for which he will do training for an entire week prior.) During the August full moon, the team head into an abandoned military base to pursue an Arcana Shadow deep underground; they meet other Persona-users (Takaya and Jin of Strega) who don’t want the Dark Hour to go away, though the confrontation doesn’t escalate into violence. Yet. Also in August, a dog named Koromaru joins S.E.E.S. after Akihiko witnesses the dog fight off a Shadow with its own Persona. Near the end of the month, a boy named Ken Amada, who was being monitored for his potential, also joins the group.
September opens with another addition to the group: Shinjiro, who finally rejoins after Akihiko explains the new circumstances—namely, their confrontation with other Persona-users and the addition of Ken to their ranks. Aigis also begins attending Gekkoukan High School under the guise of a junior to continue protecting Minato; this leads to some awkward moments for everyone and flashes of jealousy from Yukari. The September full moon operation ends up being a rescue mission, as Junpei is captured by the third member of Strega, Chidori. The group manages to rescue Junpei and capture Chidori, and the next month is spent trying to interrogate Chidori for more information. Despite their efforts, nothing comes out of it (though Junpei and Chidori become closer). Igor also pays Minato a visit in this month, providing him with the service to fuse more Personas than he had previously been able to.
The October full moon is the most traumatic for the group thus far, with both Ken and Shinjiro missing prior to the operation. The others continue on and defeat the Major Arcana Shadow, only to see Akihiko leave almost immediately after. Minato and the others realize that there’s something significant about the day (Mitsuru has to fill in the details), and they look for the others before something horrible happens. Unfortunately, they’re too late; Ken and Shinjiro were ambushed by Strega while Ken tried to take out his revenge on Shinjiro (who had accidentally killed Ken’s mother two years ago), and Shinjiro is shot twice by Takaya while trying to protect Ken. Shinjiro dies from his wounds, leaving Ken and Akihiko to learn from his sacrifice.
The November 3rd full moon brings with it the last of the twelve Major Arcana Shadows, as well as Takaya and Jin of Strega. The two Persona-users tried to persuade S.E.E.S. not to get rid of the Dark Hour, and the confrontation leads to a battle between the groups. While Strega manages to escape, the team goes on to defeat the final Arcana Shadow and declare victory. “We saved the world, even if no one knows it.”
Strangely enough though, Minato awakens the morning after the full moon to a visitor: Pharos, the mysterious boy who only visited Minato during the Dark Hour. Pharos explains that his fragments of memories have finally come together, and that he must depart now. He tells Minato that he appreciates their friendship (“For me, our friendship was a miracle. But miracles don’t last forever. …If only they did.”), and that their bond can never be severed. That evening, Mitsuru’s father joins the group to celebrate the fall of the Dark Hour.
…Unfortunately, midnight comes and goes, and the Dark Hour reappears. Bells resound across the transmogrified city, and the S.E.E.S. members rush to Tartarus … to find Ikutsuki and Aigis waiting for them. Ikutsuki reveals that he had been using the team to defeat the Arcana Shadows, knowing full well that the Dark Hour wouldn’t disappear. He proclaims that Death will bring about the Fall, and that all who stand with him will find salvation. The team prepares to fight him, only to be faced with Aigis, who is being controlled by Ikutsuki. Minato and the others are crucified in preparation to be sacrificed, but when Aigis is faced with the order to kill Minato, she snaps out of Ikutsuki’s control and frees everyone. However, it’s too late by then—Ikutsuki has already killed Mitsuru’s father, and he falls off the roof in an apparent suicide. S.E.E.S. falls into a state of confusion, with only their expeditions into Tartarus to ground them as they look for answers to Ikutsuki’s declarations of the Fall.
November 9th opens with a new transfer student at Gekkoukan—Ryoji Mochizuki, a boy who Aigis immediately recognizes as dangerous, though she is not completely sure why. Though the S.E.E.S. members have no reason to see him dangerous, Minato notices that the transfer student looks at him during his introduction. (Considering the way the game chooses to narrate things, this seems important enough to note.) Ryoji wastes no time making a name for himself, going as far as flirting with Mitsuru and Yukari (and winning Junpei’s approval with his antics). The class takes a trip to Kyoto where Minato gets to witness Ryoji’s girl craziness for himself. Soon after the trip ends, Strega resurfaces. Once again, Minato witnesses one of his friends facing great tragedy, and all he can do is watch. Minato’s relationship with Junpei matures after this event, with Junpei setting aside his resentfulness and shaking Minato’s hand as a sign of commitment to ending the Dark Hour.
Aigis’ apprehension towards Ryoji manifests itself at the beginning of December, during the full moon. On Moonlight Bridge , she confronts Ryoji and triggers his repressed memories, bringing to light the reason that she wishes to protect Minato and Ryoji’s true identity as the thirteenth Shadow, Death. Though the other S.E.E.S. members are not there to witness the battle, they soon descend upon the bridge, and Minato takes Aigis’ hand as she is on the verge of shutting down. Ryoji explains his existence and his past to the team, much to Minato’s shock; he makes the connection between Ryoji and Pharos and the fragments of memories released by the twelve Arcana Shadows. The next night, Ryoji explains the Fall that Ikutsuki had previously mentioned; the coming of Nyx, the maternal being, who would return the world to darkness and lifelessness. Ryoji states over and over that he cannot escape his fate as the Appriser, but that he can give the team a choice because he spent ten years of his life within Minato and learned human feelings from him. Ryoji offers the option of them killing him in order to slightly delay the Fall and erase their memories of anything tied to the Dark Hour; they can return to normal teenage life and live in ignorance of the Fall. They are given until New Year’s Eve to give their answer.
A devastating realization… The world will soon perish… The destiny of mankind is extinction…
A difficult choice lies before you… Death is inevitable… The Appriser waits for you.
You cannot think clearly.
How does a person choose the way he will die?
By the time New Year’s Eve arrives, the S.E.E.S. members have had time to think about their fateful decision and the consequences of either choice. They come together as one on the final night, saying they have made up their minds. Minato and Ryoji go to Minato’s room in the dorm for the answer to the ultimatum. Once again, Ryoji paints the picture of a life of ignorance that can be theirs if they kill him. Minato closes his eyes to make his decision on behalf of the entire team…
And that is when he is brought into Landel’s. The game continues until an epilogue in March 2010, with Minato’s influence continuing beyond that, but he will not be aware of any events after the Dark Hour of New Year’s Eve.