I Like That My Partner Doesn’t Like My Favorite Series

I’d pick my IRL partner over Akihiko Sanada from Persona 3, of course, but it’s a pretty tight race.

I Like That My Partner Doesn't Like My Favorite Series

A shared love for video games has always been a bonding point for my partner and I. We spent a weekend talking crap to one another on Tinder about our gaming skills, our first date a few days later was spent rhapsodizing our favorite series, and one of the first times I spent the night, we took turns docking our Switches to give painstakingly detailed tours of our Animal Crossing islands. I thought I liked him when I, a tooth-and-nail Mario Party player, was willing to make a stupid decision to let him win one of our first games, but I knew I liked him when he immediately (and thoroughly) roasted me for it. That was two years ago, and we still spend a good amount of time glued to our consoles together. Most dates are spent playing games together, and more memorabilia than we know what to do with is scattered throughout the living room around us as we settle in for game nights.

Soon into our relationship, we developed a habit of introducing our favourite video games to each other, so it was only a matter of time until I threw him into Persona. Having already seen the two tattoos from the game that I have on my leg, he was unsurprised when finally met with the groovy animated intro for Persona 5 Royal. Immediately before this, he’d brought Fallout 4 to the table, and we spent time making a character look as much like Waluigi as we could before leading him to a bomb shelter, exploring the nuclear wasteland, and calling it there so I could have a turn in the gaming spotlight.

But as soon as we dove into Persona 5 Royal, I was nervous. Persona games love to introduce themselves, slowly plodding you along through hours of introductions to the quirky characters you come to befriend over the next 100-something hours. The earliest hours of Persona always feel more akin to interactive anime than actual games, and as a fan, even I can admit they’re pretty slow going — all we did that day was clean our room at Cafe Leblanc and sign up for Shujin Academy.

With Kamoshida’s Castle still a couple hours away and his eyes glazing over despite polite questions and colorful commentary, I figured I’d cut him some slack and call it there. Part of loving your favorite things in a healthy way is acknowledging that they’re not for everyone. I love getting paid to find the tiniest details in big, bulky games like Persona, but I can also see why spending hundreds of hours training anime teenagers to fight god isn’t for everyone.

When I covered Persona 3 Portable last year, it immediately unseated Persona 5 as my favorite, but the visual novel style felt far too dated even for someone like me. My partner listened for several weeks as I worked through the dense game and summarized bits of my day as I chipped away at it, he knew my thoughts on every character, and he offered condolences when my favorite one died suddenly.

So when Persona 3 Reload came out this year, with its complete overhaul of all the things that kept me from showing it off, I was excited to try again with this beautified, easier-to-digest version of my new-favorite Persona title. He knew vague caricatures of the characters from my chatter, and once launch day came, I could share the game I’d been playing for almost three weeks. I eagerly hauled my PlayStation over to his house, ready to try pitching Persona again.

But still, nothing. Even with additional time to listen to me blather and lament, the game, its characters, their struggles, it all still meant nothing to him. I was in Tartarus when I went to his house, and meeting my battle team of an emo protagonist, a gray haired boy with snowmen faces on his boxing gloves, a humanoid robot, and a dog made him laugh incredulously when he saw our All-Out Attack screen. The concept that Aigis was to attend school with us when the second semester began was, to him, laughable, and he could barely get a comment past his giggles when he saw her for the first time.

Good-spirited roasting has always been part of our relationship, especially with Mario Party still in our steady rotation, so I wasn’t angry &- I laughed along with him. Would I love him to share my deep-seated love for Persona, to be able to nerd out in depth about the tiniest elements of the game, to have him come home from work and know what I mean when I tell him I spent the day writing guides for this or that? Of course, but there are plenty of other games we can do that with.

In growing up, though, I enjoy having to defend the things I like. It makes me interact with media more critically. I’ve never held my partner’s disinterest in Persona against him, and while a younger me may have proven more stubborn, I’m fine just showing him snippets of the game every now and again. I fully anticipate that he’ll giggle about some of it when I do, and I’m looking forward to that.

Persona has always had a light comedic air, but even in its downtime, there are things that just don’t make sense to an outsider, and that’s okay. Trying to appease everyone is impossible, and I still have people in my life with whom I can geek out with, but I also have a consistent balance in him and I wouldn’t change that for the world.

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