The lights are on
From the moment Persona 3’s main character summons his persona by placing a revolver to his head, the tale is filled with memorable events. But of all the experiences I’ve had in one of my favorite games, none moved me like the Sun social link. This is the epitome of everything Persona’s social links stand for: building relationships with strangers. Sometimes all it takes to make a positive impact is giving someone the time of day and listening to their problems. That’s exactly what the main character does throughout Persona 3, but none of the stakes are quite as high as the Sun social link.
Minor spoilers ahead
The Sun social link centers on a young man, Akinari, who is dying of a genetic disease with no cure. Unsurprisingly, your interactions with him start off quite somber; Akinari's pensive and speaks poetically about life and death. He is rightfully upset and bitter, professing, “Unless you’re in my situation, you can’t understand what it’s like.” Akinari’s been beaten down by the trials of his illness, losing any sense of normalcy in the process. Hopelessness permeates every word he speaks as he acknowledges everything his illness has taken away. Early conversations speak to his loneliness while facing the scary prospect of death. In you, Akinari finds a friend, someone who inspires him for more than sadness, and so he decides to start writing a book in hopes it will help him discover the meaning of life.
As an avid reader, the young man hates endings and never reads them, but in his own story, he strives to write an ending that says something. The passion for writing begins to alleviate some of his bitterness, and he comes closer to accepting his fate while working to find the right ending. The defining moment in this social link is when Akinari finally comes to you and reveals his ending, where his main character’s tears become a beautiful lake, bringing beauty to strangers in the world. His ending speaks a deep, positive truth about our existence. We are all connected and our influence in other people’s lives defines us. What struck me so hard in this moment is it took a hopelessly depressed character and let him see the light in the world. He leaves you with his book, thanks you for everything, and then disappears. You don’t see him again in his usual spot, knowing he’s passed on.
This moment made me cry. I can’t say that about many games. The Sun social link was about more than death – it was about life and the amazing power we have to impact others. So many times during life we face darkness, but we often forget the beauty in having others to help us pick ourselves back up. In a way, learning to accept death helped the young man accept life. Sometimes all it takes is a little bit of kindness to change someone’s existence.
Check out the video below to see the final part of this social link.
(Video captured by YouTube user Wolfking79)
Email the author Kimberley Wallace, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.
Oh persona, you super low budget master piece! I wish more games were more character pieces, that old zelda idea of a world populated by meaningful characters, that no one really uses any more, even zelda.
I had goosebumps every time i interacted with him, I never thought I would get this kind of experience from a video game ever: to be there for someone during their final days. One of the many reasons Persona 3 is my favorite game of all time.
Maybe I shouldn't read this, since I still intend on playing the series.
I bought this game last month randomly and haven't put it down since. This social link and the ending were some of the best moments I've ever experienced in a video game. Hands down the best title I've ever played on PSP.
The Persona series really does have some of the best-written characters around. It's incredibly easy to relate to them, and their stories stick with you. I loved the Sun social link in P3, as well as Akihiko's in P3P and Naoto and Kanji's in P4. Can't wait for Persona 4 Golden!
This S Link made me so sad. The way Arinaki just reaches out to Minato is touching. The death puts the end of the world in perspective.
That is indeed a great moment.
This S. Link really touched me as well, and I admit that my eyes were watering by the end of it. It just held so much meaning and depth. Persona 3 & 4 have to be in my top ten games, at least--the writing is very well-done!
Man, this just makes me wish for P4 the Golden to come out that much sooner!
I finished the Sun link for the first time yesterday because I completely missed it on my first playthrough of Persona 3. I teared up a bit. (More than a bit, actually.) It reminded me a lot of when my grandpa died.