I was born and raised in Gujarat, India, but took classes for a year in 2009 at Gekkukan High in Iwatodai, Japan. I didn’t go to Iwatodai though, Persona 3 Portable (P3P) on the Sony Playstation Portable was my window to Japan.
Folks at P-studio created (curated, rather) a journey of an astronomical proportion through the medium of a role-playing game that has since been a foundation stone of who I’ve been. Every time I hear ‘Memories of you’, I get sent back to 2009 and the beauty that the two months I played P3P then were. It’s a memory etched in my very existence.
I could write essays on each character from Makoto to Aigis to Chihiro (I liked going to the library). They were all beautifully crafted, even Strega. The plot was a puzzle I wanted to solve, and every character was a perfectly well-placed piece in the full picture. I took my time with each piece. Indeed, I don’t remember everything about each minor character, but I remember how I felt when Makoto awakened the Universe Arcana. The singularity, where everything from those two months; Kenji, Chihiro, Junpei, Koromaru, Mitsuru, Akihiko, Ken, Aigis, Yukari, Bookstore grandpa and grandma, Ryoji, Gekkukun High, ‘Living with determination’, me, my present, even Fuka; condensed into one point of confluence towards a sure-shot victory over Nyx and my own darkness. I had just had a brain injury.
Persona 3 saved me.
Very few works of art have elicited such strong emotions from me. Eleven years later, even now, I read about P3 often. I listen to P3 tracks. PQ, too, was a nice extension. I’ve seen the full gameplay from ‘The Answer’ in P3FES on YouTube. All in all, I can’t seem to live without having some thread of connection to Iwatodai.
The themes in P3 surprisingly didn’t match with my own life a lot. I haven't played P4, but through PQ, I felt as though I might find its characters more relatable, but P3 still has a lasting spell on me. That is the beauty of this game. You can be a complete outsider and not relate to any character, yet, in the end, you get a strong sense of closure, not through the end but the journey. The feeling that the Universe Arcana scene invoked in me was liberating. I felt strength in me that I didn’t before believe I had. “Living with Determination” symbolises that feeling of rising and strength for me.
I could go on about P3, about how I love every person involved in making this masterpiece, about how excited I am that I’ll finally get to play P4 via steam, about there being P5 too, about Studio Zero and Project Re Fantasy, and a lot more. Persona 3’s journey was my evoker. I’ll end this bletter (blog letter) here with a sincere thanks to P Studio and best wished to Atlus for its future endeavours. ありがとう, I’ll be sure to live with determination.