Persona has given us plenty of great characters over the years, several of which have found themselves featured in our Waifu Wednesday articles. One sad oversight has been Ann Takamaki, who offers the perfect mix of sweet and sassy to keep us enthralled from the moment she summoned her Persona.
It is easy to focus on her model good looks, but there is so much more to Ann Takamaki that gets overlooked too quickly. She certainly deserves her only place in our Waifu Wednesday library.
Who is Ann Takamaki?
At the opening of Persona 5, Ann Takamaki is the unapproachable girl in the protagonist’s class. She’s beautiful, flirty, and rumoured to be in a relationship with the school’s sleazy gym coach. The fact that she doesn’t do much to dissuade these rumours only gives them more fuel, but the truth is that she’s stuck in an impossible situation. Like many victims of abuse, she feels trapped by the manipulations of a person with authority, unable to see a path forward.
Like every other member of your party in Persona 5, Ann’s life is being ruined by a terrible adult who should know better. She feels she can’t completely dismiss Coach Kamoshida’s advances outright or he will follow through on his threats to hurt her friend Shido. Ann Takamaki’s dedication to her best friend clouds her judgement and she has to balance her need to protect Shido and her desire to be far away from the pervy coach.
Why we love her
It is while she is in the middle of this traumatic situation that the main character meets Ann, so she isn’t exactly receptive to his good intentions. After a trip into the Metaverse to beat the crap out of Coach Kamoshida’s mental image of himself, she finds the courage to face her fears and finds purpose in helping others do the same. The experience sets her on a path of self-discovery. From modelling to school to her friends, she has always done what was expected of her.
What does she want? That’s a question that seldom has an easy answer, and that’s okay. Like in Mob Psycho 100, it isn’t always necessary to find an answer to life’s big questions. Sometimes it is enough to show a character starting on the path to finding the answer for themselves. Young people have enough pressures to deal with without everyone demanding that they have everything figured out by the time they turn 18. Try new things. Succeed at some. Fail at others. So long as you are a better person in the end then it wasn’t a wasted effort.
Why you’ll love her
Ann Takamaki isn’t as wonderfully dangerous as some of the other ladies in Persona 5, but she has a playful confidence that is unquestionably fun to watch. Ann knows she is beautiful and that others often want only one thing from her. Seeing her both embrace and reject that perception is a big part of her appeal. She isn’t trying to dismiss her sexuality outright, nor is she trying to wield it like a weapon. There is a wonderful balance to how she is portrayed in Persona 5 that JRPGs don’t usually achieve.
If you haven’t seen Ann’s story play out in Persona 5, you’re missing out on one of the best modern JRPGs. Even without romancing her, you get to share in a wonderful story of a young woman trying to figure out how to cope with a world that doesn’t really care what she wants. It has a neat little box to put her in and so much of her story is about finding a way out of it.
Persona 5 Royal is the definitive version of the game and has seen a flurry of rereleases over the years. You can grab it for the pretty much every major console you can ask for, so you’ve got no excuse not to play it.
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