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Moments: Persona 3’s Junpei and Chidori

We often meet people who change our lives in some profound way. Perhaps they teach us something we didn't know about ourselves, force us to become a better version of ourselves, or maybe they show us what it means to put someone else first. Either way, once these people enter our lives, we're never the same. This is the essence of Junpei and Chidori's relationship in Persona 3, and why it stands as one of the more powerful interactions I've seen in a video game. The moment where this all comes together is Chidori's selfless act, which defines what the relationship truly meant.

Note: Spoilers ahead

The whole relationship is a testament to great pacing. When we first meet Chidori, she's sketching in her artbook when Junpei blocks her view. Without paying him much mind, she tells him to get out of the way. At this point, Junpei is an especially self-centered character. He can't handle anybody taking the spotlight from him and is extremely jealous of others. He often puts up a front like he's a cool guy who has it all together, which couldn't be further from the truth. But something about his interactions with Chidori feel more genuine, like the façade is gone, and we're finally seeing the real Junpei. After a few encounters, the talks turn deeper, despite Chidori's indifference.

One of the turning points is when Chidori asks Junpei what he does to make himself feel alive. Of course, Junpei loves the thrill of his dark-hour heroics and confides in her about his Persona. Little does he know that Chidori is actually working for Strega, a group out to stop Junpei's group SEES. Working for opposing forces would tear most people apart, but Junpei still sticks by Chidori even after she betrays him. When he visits her in the hospital, he brings her a new sketch book and doesn't leave her side. This is the first time we see Junpei show concern and put someone else before himself.

But as in most Persona tales, the journey is never without misfortune, and Chidori's allegiance to Strega pits her against SEES once again. In this moment, Chidori finally breaks down and shares her true feelings for Junpei, feelings she was trying to deny because she didn't want to need someone. The Strega group is displeased and shoots Junpei as he vows to protect her. Without hesitation, Chidori uses her Persona to revive him, but using her power comes with a cost: her life.

Chidori's final words are heartbreaking as she discusses how Junpei opened her up to all these feelings that come with love and attachment. Watching a character like Chidori finally show vulnerability and say her last words to Junpei still sends a chill down my spine. Chidori gave Junpei her life - the ultimate sacrifice- and he acknowledges it by saying, "It's not just my life anymore." She lives on through him and now he needs to make sure her sacrifice isn't in vain.

Chidori's and Junpei's relationship was about more than simply romance, it was about something raw and real: finding somebody worth opening up to, who can understand the pain and joy of life. The way this relationship transforms Junpei is astounding, maturing him into a stand-up man. Junpei's journey with Chidori says so much about the human condition; sometimes it just takes one person to change the way we see the world. For the better.

 Check out the scene below with Chidori’s final words to Junpei. Special thanks to Youtube user Zerokoolpsx for capturing it. 

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