So Gamespot has on their site right now maybe one of the worst articles I’ve ever seen in my entire life. I’m not going to link it here because I hate the idea of them getting more views for something so awful, but the gist of it is that someone thinks Persona 4 is anti-homosexual and that…
but kanji ISN’T gay, and that’s the “problem,” and it’s what the article talks about. There are implications made that Kanji is gay, his entire dungeon and shadow self is about him repressing himself for fear of what people would think, and all that, but at the end, the pay off is a big “LOL JK WHEW…
"kanji ISN’T gay, and that’s the “problem,”
I really hope you realize how many things are immediately wrong about that statement. First and foremost, you didn’t capitalize Kanji! For shame. Seriously though, Kanji’s not “Gay” as much as he isn’t “Straight”. In his own words he’s interested in Naoto long before anyone finds out she’s not really male. He’s unsure, confused, he’s contemplating whether or not he might be homosexual, and it freaks him out the way it would freak a lot of 14 year old kids out.
Remember, his father’s dying words to him, the last thing he ever heard his dad say before he died, was “Be a real man.” He’s spent his entire life being chastised for liking to sew, for enjoying pursuits that aren’t considered “masculine” enough. The first time he had a crush on a girl her circle of friends relentlessly mocked him for liking “girly” things. He finds it much more comfortable and relaxing to hang out with guys than girls, there’s less stress, and he enjoys their company more; of course he’s going to start thinking about whether or not he might be gay.
When Naoto ends up kidnapped, he’s desperate to save her- even though he doesn’t know that Naoto is a ‘her’, he’s clearly still lovestruck. He’s fooled completely by her disguise as a man, and yet he’s still got the world’s biggest, most adorable crush on the weird detective from out of town; and this is a long time after he accepts his Shadow. Sure, he reacts with relief when Naoto’s revealed to be a woman- he’s 14, and as seen multiple times, kind of a dumbass. But he’s also a kid who’s divided between what he thinks his father wanted out of him as a “Real man” and what he actually wants. The idea that the guy he’s had a crush on all along has secretly been a girl is something that lets him reconcile that divide a little easier.
And the truth is that the question of Kanji’s sexuality is never really answered. I think it’s pretty apparent that he’s not completely homosexual, and it’d be folly to say that he’s 100 percent straight either. He’s young, he’s confused, and to be honest I think by the end of the game someone’s gender matters less to him than the person themselves. I think that’s something really goddamn admirable. In his own words: “It ain’t a matter of guys or chicks… I’m just scared shitless of being rejected.”
People keep clamoring for Kanji to definitively be one way or the other: That’s not who he is. Trying to adhere to some strict definition was what caused him so much pain in the first place. He’s not straight. He’s not homosexual. He’s Kanji Tatsumi, damnit, and he’ll like whoever and whatever he wants to like.