If there is one thing we love here at Rice Digital, it is a bad boy. That’s why Ryuji Sakamoto, the punk kid with a heart of gold, played the role of Best Boy in Persona 5 — sorry, Yusuke.
This high school student might not be the best behaved person at Shujin Academy, but he is also the one most likely to stick with you when times are tough.
For this week’s Hump Day Husbandos, we’ll be celebrating Ryuji Sakamoto and all the ways he is fantastic. Spoiler alert: there are a lot.
Who is Ryuji Sakamoto?
When you first start playing Persona 5, after you get through the fantastic opening sequence, you take on the role of the typical silent protagonist and are immediately treated like an outcast at school. The one person who doesn’t seem to mind the way everyone looks at you is a loud kid with blond hair and the posture of an overworked artist.
Ryuji Sakamoto starts as a typically loud kid who has a bone to pick with the popular teacher on campus, but it is quickly revealed how much his life has been impacted by the terrible adults who run the school. His promising career in track sports was ruined, and he has been constantly threatened with expulsion every time anything happens. By the end of the first dungeon he is already the most loyal companion we could ever ask for. By the end of the game, we can’t imagine our lives without him.
Why we love him
Ryuji Sakamoto benefits from being one of the first companions to join your party in Persona 5, which means that he gets the most time to show us his character development. His initial rivalry with Morgana, for example, eventually grows into a mutual respect and admiration between the two. They have a bit of friendly ribbing but when it comes down to it Ryuji would be the first to stick up for Morgana if anyone did anything to the little guy.
That loyalty extends to the rest of the party and even those that the Phantom Thieves seek to help. He might not always be the most focused on the task at hand and he is the most likely to reveal their secret identities through a sheer lack of volume control on his voice, but when the time comes to change the hearts of the adults around him, he is the first one to have the protagonist’s back. Our only complaint about him is the fact that he isn’t one of the romance options in the game. (I suspect there’s plenty of… unofficial material that will satisfy that urge – Ed.)
Why you’ll love him
If you’re looking for a candidate for JRPG Best Boy, you could do much worse than Ryuji Sakamoto. His leap-before-he-looks mentality might make him seem impulsive — not to mention being the root of a lot of his personal problems — but it also helps get the Phantom Thieves out of more than one problem. Ryuji is the kind of guy who has never met a problem he couldn’t headbutt into submission, and I respect that about him.
More than any other character in Persona 5, Ryuji is given plenty of time to breathe and develop as a character. His Phantom Thief attire, with the skull on his face and dashing ascot number around his neck, is one of the most interesting in the game. And while he might not be the brightest person on the team, he proves that you don’t need to be clever to be a good person. (Thank heavens for that! – Ed.)
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