Alright, so I have recently become a huge Persona fanatic but there is one thing I have seen on this topic so far that I can’t really understand: all of the Yukari hate.
Now I think Yukari is the best character/girl in Persona 3 and I figured I would give my own perspective on her character and why I think she is very underrated.
Heavy spoilers for the Answer and the Journey, to those who haven’t yet played them.
One point that is continuously brought up about her character is that her actions in the Answer, (spoilers if you haven’t played or watched that): that because she wanted to bring Minato back and acted so selfishly and irrationally, hurting others feelings in the process. Well, I think that there is a lot more context and framing going on here that people fail to mention.
There is indeed a fundamental difference between many of the various relationships in Persona 3 amongst Minato and the rest of the cast that was thoroughly examined in both the Journey and especially the Answer. In the case of Akihiko and Ken, they were all good friends. However, they both lost loved ones, either parents or close friends. However, in game, these deaths were important to their respective character arcs in terms of their character arc. Akihiko and Ken learned to move on without them, despite their grief and pain. However, in the relationship between our main character and Akihiko and Ken, they were all friends, nothing more. They still had a relatively close relationship, but they understood that despite their own feelings of sadness and pain from losing a friend, they needed to stand their ground and not go back in time to fight Nyx again.
Now, what does this have to do with Yukari? Simple, her actions, while selfish and hurtful, are also sympathetic and human. She has a very different kind of relationship between her and Minato compared to Ken and Akihiko, as Yukari and Minato are essentially the canon couple in the game, as far as the story is concerned. Romantic love will drastically change many things in a person, especially when that loved one dies. She has spent the most time with Minato in terms of pure scenes in the game, meaning she would naturally be more attached to Minato compared to Akihiko and Ken.
In the Answer itself, it brings forth an interesting and well-written dilemma. And often times what people sometimes forget while watching and playing these events is we don’t try and put ourselves in other character shoes. Would we have been so brave and wise to go back to the present and never be able to see our loved ones again? As for myself, I completely sympathize with how Yukari feels and even though she didn’t express her emotions in a healthy way, the feeling of regret, guilt, and sadness she felt for not being able to save her loved one from his demise must be heartbreaking.
And even if you ignore the Answer, there is still one scene I will refer to to show she is more than just your typical high school girl; this scene is certainly one of the more profound and emotional scenes in the game, at least in my opinion. That scene is:
when Mitsuru’s father died, she was feeling completely hopeless, scared, lonely and devastated. It was certainly the first time we have seen her feel this way. Yet, who was it who helped her realize she wasn’t as alone as she felt and was there for unconditional support? Yukari. She also had to deal with the loss of her father and so she showed care and sympathy for her friend when she needed it the most. She went from the girl who was fairly weak and didn’t really know why she bothered to fight to a more mature character willing to be there for a friend in need. Sure, her actions in the Answer at first glance wouldn’t seem to reaffirm her being mature but it all fairness, her time in the Abyss of Time was one of great loss, stress, and uncertainty. Her reaction, while irrational, was one that given the situation, was still understandable. Her romantic affiliations with Minato would naturally affect her better judgment even more so than others, which is only natural. Even the normally rational and less emotional Mitsuru sided with Yukari’s feelings.
This is my short character study on the character, anyway. She is one of my favourite characters in Persona, though I can get why she is a contentious one. Still, I firmly stand by that she is best girl in Persona 3, though I also do cherish Aigis.