In Which I Respond–The Defense of Ann Takamaki Revisted

Lately, I’ve been getting A LOT of comments on an old piece writing about the sexualization of Ann Takamaki from Persona 5. While I’m not sure why it’s getting hits recently, I do want to respond to some of them. First off, I do find it intriguing how aggressive a lot of the comments toward me are, as if I have no right to the statements I made in the piece or am ignorant of Japan/video gaming. Second, it has also been stated straight out in the comments that characters like Ann are not made for me. To that, I ask why?

Trigger Warning: Rape Mentions, Suicide Mentions

Here are the three that I most want to comment on:

Oh my god, nobody cares. She’s hot and wasnt designed for people like you to enjoy. Is that so hard to understand?

It is hard to understand because it is ridiculous to boil down a character to just “she is hot.” In RPGs, especially RPGS like Persona, characters typically have a lot of depth to them. I have mentioned it before–I LIKE Ann. I think she is a great character, and her issues of her identity and sexuality are fascinating. Her story could have been a fascinating flip on a bad trope of JRPGs. However, the way that the game and the marketing treat her goes entirely against her palace and introductory narrative.1 Why would a company create a character that’s specifically created for only one demographic and discount the rest? Because I’m against hypersexualization of high school girls against their will, I will always say that Ann deserved better and IS better than what Atlus gave her. Long story short–just because you don’t care doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter. I do care, and I’m somebody. That’s why I wrote the defense in the first place.

Have you ever stopped to consider that the dominatrix persona is intentional and fitting? Ann is re-claiming (claiming?) her sexuality and she now wields it as a weapon, as power. Instead of being an object, she is in control. That is the essense of domination, be it sexual or otherwise.

Actually, I have stopped to consider it, thanks for asking. I still don’t agree with this interpretation. This would be a good take on it if there was any in-game dialogue from Ann to support it. However, we continuously get her talking about how uncomfortable she is, how much she hates the outfit, and that she dislikes being sexualized.2 There is no narrative within the game to support this interpretation, but there is plenty of her being uncomfortable with her Phantom Thief persona. This is a teenage girl who knows her best friend was raped by her teacher which led to said best friend’s suicide attempt, as well as a girl who 1.) was also a target by the teacher and 2.) is singled out often for her looks and her looks alone often. It’s a really common trope in media to use rape or rape threats as a way to make women characters “become strong” and fight back, and that’s sort of what you’re saying this interpretation does. It’s a bad trope, and I’m tired of it. Ann had a lot of potential to go against JRPGs tropes, and I hoped the writers would have let her be more than what they did.

not everything has to an attack on something or meant to offend someone or show something in a negative way

some things are simple in life, and nothing is simpler in life than men love hot women, that is just a fact

the character is not over sexualized, it is perfectly sexualized because it’s sexy to begin with, in real life you can’t sexualize something that is not sexy, that’s why you don’t see these video game things in real life

and can we please stop with the she’s 16 years old? A)she’s 16, but has more developed shapes than a 30 year old woman and B)in Japan 16 is well over the legal age, 13 or 14 i believe, and the game takes place in Japan and is made in Japan

Now for this one. What a doozy.

For one, it makes zero sense for the most part. Not oversexualized because it’s sexy to begin with? I don’t think you actually understand what oversexualization means. Also, are you saying that real people are not sexy since you don’t see “video game things” in real life? The whole issue with this is that Ann’s narrative in the game is that Kamoshida sexualizes and objectifies a young girl–Ann. You are doing to her what the literal villain of her life does, and even if she isn’t real, it’s appalling that someone could miss the point so hard and also be this unaware. 3

Two, no, I will not stop with saying she is 16 years old. This Japan legal age nonsense is always used by gross dudes to justify sexualizing and objectifying teenage girls. That is a false narrative based on a generalized law, whereas if you actually knew anything about Japan, you’d realize that this is way more intricate and complicated than you think. Each prefecture has their own legal interpretations on consent. You are reducing her down to her body parts by explaining that she “has more developed shapes than a 30 year old woman,” and that is not okay. If you as an adult male think that it is okay to sexualize and objectify a 16 year old because of her body, then you have massive issues that you need to work on, buddy. Girls develop at different ages, and I have known women and girls who struggled because they had grown men sexualizing them as children because they had breasts. It is not okay. It will never be okay.

It’s also worth mentioning that Persona and video games are not just for men. Men aren’t the only demographic in video gaming anymore, and as a woman who has been playing for her entire life, I’m sick to death of seeing this same oversexualized nonsense over and over again. I had high hopes for Persona, especially since it was supposed to be about changing hearts and defying expectations. With Ann, Atlus did none of that when they had a fantastic chance to do so.

  1. Worth mentioning that she says several times throughout the game how uncomfortable she was being treated like that, as well as how much she hates the panther costume.
  2. See Yusuke palace build up.
  3. Also regarding your statement that men love hot women…you do know that not all men like women, correct? Not quite as simple as you’d think with that statement.