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  • Graphics
  • Multiplayer
  • Story (Career Mode)
  • Originality

You Might Like

  • Compelling main story and Social Links
  • Fantastic soundtrack
  • New gameplay features like Theurgy skills

Might Not Like

  • Occasionally grindy combat
  • Bonus content not being present (as of writing)
Find out more about our blog & how to become a member of the blogging team by clicking here

Top 6 Social Links in Persona 3 Reload


The Persona series is unique. Ever since I fell I love with 5, I often that return to the playstyle that only a Persona game can provide.

Whether it’s encountering, fusing, and levelling demons (Personas) in a perverse game of “gotta catch ‘em all”, levelling up your social stats to become the most popular guy at school, or saving the world, it’s all on the shoulders of a teenage boy. The juxtaposition of mundane school life and traipsing through dungeons and fighting for what’s right is fantastic fun, providing the perfect escapism.

One thing that Persona games do teach you is that connections are just as important as physical strength. That’s why Social Links—special bonds formed between the protagonist and other characters—are so crucial for your playthrough.

However, there’s a catch. There’s only so much time to slurp ramen with your buddies or hang out with sleezy adults in nightclubs. Bummer!

But I’m here to help you decide who you should sacrifice your study time for…and who you can safety ignore, or actively avoid. You’ve got more important things to worry about, after all.

Unlike in Persona 5, unless the Social Link’s one of your team members, you won’t gain any advantages in battle from levelling them up. So, my list will rely on how much fun they are to level, including personality and storylines. Here are my top 6 Social Links in Persona 3 Reload.

Spoilers abound for gameplay. Some plot spoilers where relevant.

#6: Tanaka – Devil

“If you go back on your word, I’ll edit your face into the most obscene material I can find!”

I played both Persona 5 and Persona 4 before I discovered the bittersweet, bloodthirsty joy of Persona 3 Reload. So, just imagine my shock when President Tanaka, the smarmy yet charismatic TV host of the infamous and franchise-spanning Home Shopping Show, wants to talk to me! Star-struck to the extreme.

…and he’s the real piece of work I expected him to be.

If Tanaka representing the Devil arcana wasn’t a tip off, then how you start the Social Link certainly is. Not only do you have to reach both Charm Rank 4 and Hermit Rank 3, but you have to give him a total of 40,000 yen over 3 separate days. Tricking the protagonist into investing in shady ventures that never bear fruit under the guise of becoming a model for his products is truly smarmy diva behaviour.

Despite his clearly shady tactics, there’s fascinating nuance to his character. You can’t help but feel he truly believes he’s helping the protagonist as he takes them under his wing to teach them about business and help them avoid being scammed by someone else in the future. His morals are highly questionable, from directly lying to customers about how his products work to a clear lack of empathy for his employees.

Why do I enjoy his Social Link, then? Well, his threats are always hilarious, for one. Tanaka never threatens to kill you or to use his influence stop you from entering the business world after you graduate. Instead, he’ll come to your house and ring the doorbell every night. Or he’ll edit a photo of you. Or he’ll send a lot of pizzas to your home that you’ll have to pay for. He’s funny and unhinged, making every chat with him a blast.

He’s also one of only two night-time social links. I always appreciate that he’s available when most other Links aren’t, especially when you really feel the time crunch towards the end of the game. The ability to fuse the creepy highest-level Devil Persona, Beelzebub, is also pretty nifty.

The appeal of the Devil Social Link for me ultimately lies in my knowledge of him from the other games. He also thanks you for teaching him a thing or two about loyalty—a surprising outcome for a cunning businessman who cares most about money and his public image. He’s a refreshing change of pace from most other well-intentioned Social Links. What a guy.

#5: Maya – Hermit

“Mr. E is such a stupid eh so bee!! t(-_-t)”

One of the joys of playing a game that came out in 2006 is experiencing the nuances of the time. Maya incorporates that to a hilarious, nostalgic tee.

Under the username “Tatsuya”, the protagonist can log on to a popular MMORPG and talk to “Maya”, a cute girl who communicates in early 2000 internet language. It’s such a blast from the past to read her chat speak—and it was almost worrying how quickly my brain could revert back to the e-language of interwebz gon bi. With every ^_^, =) or ::blush::, I felt both warmth and utter cringe for this woman who encapsulates who I used to be.

At least I was a tween or teenager at the time. Maya, we soon learn, is a teacher at the protagonist’s school. I won’t spoil who exactly it is, but if you max out the Social Link, you get a very funny cutscene at the end where she finds out who you are, too…

Needless to say, Maya’s Social Link is problematic. She gradually opens up to tell you that she has lustful thoughts towards her 17-year-old student. This happens, of course, to be you, even if she doesn’t know that “Tatsuya” and the protagonist are one and the same. Thank goodness that, unlike in Persona 5, there’s no romance option with Maya.

Maya’s only available on Sundays (or holidays), meaning that I felt some level of stress ensuring I had enough time to max out her Link. I prioritised spending time with her and, whilst this caused me to resent her a bit, she was engaging enough to justify that time. At least she didn’t take away from the school-based Social Links, which are numerous and are the ones you are most likely to be locked out from due to holidays and exams.

Ultimately you are helping a very sad, lonely teacher being pressured into marriage by her family and unhappy with her job to become more satisfied with herself. This, coupled with the nostalgia of her Link, created a sweet connection between me and the protagonist that made me want to see where it led.

#4: Yuko – Strength

“I learned a lot from those kids.”

When you start a Persona game, a key question on every player’s mind is: who should I romance?

Chances are, you’ll want to romance one of your teammates, as they get the most character development out of all your Social Links, making it easier and more satisfying to flirt and fall in love with them. But in P3R, you can’t start romancing thoughtful Fuuka or mysterious ice-queen Mitsuru until quite far into the story.

Yuko took me by surprise. Once you’ve got far enough in the Chariot social link, you’ll meet the hot-headed manager of the track club. Her position of power gives her an air of good-natured authority and a clear alignment of interests that makes her stand out.

Not only this, but her English voice actor really nails it. She’s one of the only Social Links that really sounds like a teenager, and she has a strong, bright and bubbly voice that makes you want to get to know her.

Her story is more laid back than some of the others, but definitely comes with the feels. Her themes are all about the future and the uncertainty that comes with growing up. You become the joint coaches of the kids’ track team, which is very sweet: you teach the kids about trying their hardest, no matter what, and persevering until they succeed. The protagonist helps Yuko realise that she wants to be an instructor in the future, all the while fielding good-natured questions from the kids about the nature of your relationship.

This provides a very natural, drama-free route for the protagonist to get a girlfriend. With your teammates, every interaction can feel a little like you are just helping them out of dire situations, like an arranged marriage or a bad mother-daughter relationship, instead of organically growing a relationship around mutual interests and respect.

I appreciate Yuko for her bubbly, simple and yet engaging connection with the protagonist. We need more down-to-Earth stories like this in the larger-than-life world of Persona!

#3: Odagiri – Emperor

"The system only works if you have people's trust, and trust is not something you force them to feel."

I was surprised that I wanted to put Student Council member Odagiri as one of my favourite social links in P3R. He’s uptight, sanctimonious, single-minded, and downright annoying for plenty of the students unlucky enough to step into his path. Some may even say, with his insatiable vendetta against the notorious smoker prowling the halls, that he has a thirst for power verging on dictatorial. Not exactly best buddy material.

You’d think that. But for every part of Odagiri that is conceited and strict, you slowly learn that he is stuck under an “ends justify the means” mentality. All he wants is for order and justice. He’s passionate about what he believes in and has fantastic determination to see a job through right to the end. The problem is that, whilst he has good intentions, his methods, including digging up irrelevant dirt and accusing people just for disagreeing with him, means that he spirals out of control.

Spoiler alert here!

It turns out that he fears being turned into a scapegoat due to a lack of power. An explanation, but not an excuse. Through the protagonist, a threat to be stripped of his Student Council role, and his strong moral code, Odagiri learns how important it is to listen to others. His bad reputation is clawed back—and, by showing concern for others, the culprit ends up confessing to him. A fantastic bow on top of a rollercoaster of an emotional journey.

Odagiri’s story is about being open to change and the meaning of trust. By the end, I truly feel he values the protagonist, and he’s one of the Social Links you really feel has changed for the better as a result. Because of this, I feel such strong feelings towards him, despite the rocky start—perhaps because of this rocky start. This real growth and commitment to change truly makes him one of my faves.

#2: Bunkichi and Mitsuko – Hierophant

“Helping those kids is more important than hanging onto his memory.”

What do an old couple who run a bookshop want with a persimmon tree? That’s the hook that drew me into chatting to Bunkichi and Mitsuko, a lovely elderly couple who treat you like a pseudo-son.

The dynamic of these two is just delightful. They are still clearly very much in love, but are opposites, and cope with the past very differently. While Mitsuko is afraid of repeating mistakes, Bunkichi tries to forget about the past entirely. Whilst Bunkichi is generally bubbly and happy, trying to recapture a youth long gone, there’s an underlying sadness to both of them.

Avoid spoilers from here, if you don’t want them!

We soon learn is that their son died an untimely death. He taught at the school, but died in a car crash, and a persimmon tree was planted in the courtyard in his memory.

Such a sad story immediately made me want to spend time with them and help them through the denial that they both, albeit differently, were experiencing. When they become aware that the school plans to demolish the courtyard, along with the persimmon tree, to expand the building, the couple are devastated, immediately recruiting the protagonist to start a petition to stop the works.

This makes them re-evaluate their relationships with their deceased son. In turn, it makes them re-evaluate their relationships with the past. They need to move on—as Bunkichi says, it’s more important to educate the youth of today than to cling onto the past. They recognise that their son would be happier knowing the students are getting a better education than defending a tree…and their memories. It's such a bittersweet and heart-warming story, and I’m glad I got to be a part of helping them come to terms with such a tragedy.

The fact that Bunkichi and Mitsuko are available most days reflects two important elements of their characters, too: they are lonely, and they are caring. It’s sad, yet comforting. It meant that I always knew that, if I had no-one else to hang out with, they’d always be there and would really appreciate my company.

#1: Yukari – Lovers

“In exchange for power, you can no longer look away from the things you don't want to see. So, I guess I'm stuck with you guys, huh?"

Lovely Yukari. Right from the start, their relationship gripped me. She is one of the only teammates that struggles to evoke her Persona, hesitating before shooting herself in the head—an understandable response. At this point in the story, we haven’t seen anyone do this, and don’t yet understand that this is how to summon Personas. The protagonist, however, has no issue with doing so to protect the scared girl in trouble.

Right from that moment, I wanted to see where their relationship went. Throughout, she is protective of the protagonist, and clearly shows jealousy when Aigis hugs him or when others seem interested in him. It’s very sweet and made me want to get to know her and return those feelings whenever I could.

But it’s not all about the protagonist’s harem. She is such a complex, interesting character, with motives and troubles that quite understandably make her reserved or lash out. I won’t say too much here to preserve spoilers, but her relationships with her parents are tragic and nuanced, giving her a deep connection with the orphaned protagonist from the offset. Despite her outwardly bubbly personality and her popularity at school, Yukari feels deeply alone. As do you.

Yukari’s not just characterised by her trauma. She’s also a very likeable, flawed character. She teases Junpei a lot—sometimes too far, in my opinion—but does deeply care for him, along with the rest of the group. This is made clear through her central role as the team’s healer. She checks the other members of SEES that get recruited are doing so because they want to, not because they feel they have to. She warms to Mitsuru eventually, once she learns and understands more about her. Yukari

is curious—sometimes getting the group into trouble—and is absolutely loyal, particularly to the protagonist, making the ending even more tragic in hindsight.

Usually in a Persona game, your closest friend and sidekick is the bolshy, rough-around-the-edges, cocky male guy friend, like Yosuke or Ryuji. In P3R, Yukari’s the one you confide in; the one you discuss all the freaky goings-on with; the one you want to save and be saved by. This is why she’s my ride-or-die, no matter what.

Wrap up

There are so many fantastic Social Links to develop that I struggled to whittle them down to just 6. Maiko, the little girl struggling with her parents going through a divorce, was only just missed off—I felt so bad for her that I wanted to give her a friend as often as I could.

Many players also say that Akinari is one of the most profound Social Links in Persona’s long history. Whilst his plight of enduring a terminal illness at 19 is sad, something about him didn’t connect with me as much as others on his list. Nevertheless, I’ll always ponder the ending of his story, and wonder whether it ties into the protagonist’s own at all.

Aigis and Mitsuru were also fantastic team members and love interests, and I enjoyed maxxing out their Links so much. Discovering why Aigis, a Shadow-fighting robot, was so obsessed with the protagonist from the get-go, and why Mitsuru was so distant for most of the year, was fascinating. Bebe, the French exchange student; Suemitsu, the self-proclaimed “Gourmet King”; even the crotchety old monk throwing all his morals to the wind; they all gave me emotions beyond what I expected when I first introduced myself to them.

With such a limited timeframe, levelling all these Social Links is both satisfying but taxing. It’s a fantastic way to get you to care even more about the people you are fighting alongside with and saving, and I couldn’t be without this element of the Persona series. Whoever you choose to get to know over the 80+ hours of gameplay, you’ll really feel like you made new friends and allies.

Even if they are just pixels on a screen.

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Zatu Score


  • Graphics
  • Multiplayer
  • Story (Career Mode)
  • Originality

You might like

  • Compelling main story and Social Links
  • Fantastic soundtrack
  • New gameplay features like Theurgy skills

Might not like

  • Occasionally grindy combat
  • Bonus content not being present (as of writing)

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