Hump Day Husbandos: Kanji Tatsumi (Persona 4)

Hump Day Husbandos

When it comes to sheer numbers, Persona 4 offers one of the best waifu selections out there, but it doesn’t skimp on the husbando front either. Though the selection is a bit more limited, the game gives enough high-quality boys to choose from that I always wish it would let me romance them. Kanji Tatsumi, the resident bad boy of Persona 4, is a great example of how the game gives us deep, meaningful characters from start to finish.

For this week’s Hump Day Husbandos feature, we take a look at Kanji Tatsumi, who bursts into the game with a depth that most JRPGs don’t afford their tough guy characters.

Who is Kanji Tatsumi?

Kanji Tatsumi

As the plot of Persona 4 opens up, we get to meet a variety of people in the town of Inaba. While watching TV one night, the news features a young man who once beat up an entire biker gang because they dared to keep his beloved mother awake at night. Kanji Tatsumi promptly becomes the latest victim of the TV Killer that the team has been trying to thwart all year. And just like previous victims, we get an insight into his deepest, most suppressed feelings before he is rescued and awakens to his own Persona power.

For Kanji, his repressed feelings are all centred around gender stereotypes and sexuality. Like many teens, he struggles with a world that insists on labelling every aspect of him before he even knows what he wants. To avoid having to face his insecurities, Kanji Tatsumi becomes the resident tough guy at Yasogami High School… largely maintaining his position by beating up anyone who tries to question that he is the toughest guy at Yasogami High School.

Why we love him

This is a story that has been played out several times in anime and RPGs, but seldom is it handled with the subtlety that we see in Persona 4. Kanji Tatsumi has some interests that many see as feminine, such as doll-making and sewing, but that doesn’t mean he wants to be put into a specific category. His entire social link line is about him realising that his interest in crafting and fabrics don’t mean he is somehow less manly.

In fact, the conclusion of Kanji Tatsumi’s growth is him finding that he can be whoever or whatever he wants, regardless of society’s expectations for him. He can be the tough guy who loves his mother and enjoys making dolls for the town’s children. The only one who defines what “being a man is” in his life is himself. The only thing that remains clear throughout the game is that Kanji is always a single word of encouragement away from throwing down.

Why you’ll love him

Kanji Tatsumi

The Persona series has never lacked in bad boy characters to fall in love with, but Kanji Tatsumi stands out for how they let him question himself throughout the game. Even at the end of his dungeon, when he faces down his shadow and faces his repressed feelings and desires, he doesn’t define himself as gay or straight. It is something he continues to explore throughout the game in a way that many young men do.

Kanji Tatsumi is one of the best characters from a cast that is absolutely full to the brim with remarkable individuals. He is the resident tough guy and can be pretty damn intense when it comes down to it, but he is also a sweetheart at his core. Like everyone else at that age, he is trying to figure out who he is and what he wants to become.

If you haven’t played Persona 4 yet, you really need to. The Golden version of the game is available on Steam and is a great port of the definitive version of the game.

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