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|“||I still don't really get what bein' "strong" means, but I'm gonna start by not lying to myself. No more being scared of everyone, hiding my hobbies, staying away from people... Anytime, anyplace, I'm gonna bust right through as my own self! That's the way to deal with that "other me" in the TV world.||„|
|~ Kanji Tatsumi|
Kanji Tatsumi is one of the main protagonists and playable characters in the video game Persona 4. He is a first-year student as Yasogami High School and the youngest member of the Investigation Team, though he looks like the oldest. After he becomes the victim of an ongoing serial murder in Inaba, the group rescue him and he joins them to solve the murder mystery and bring the killer to justice. His initial Persona is Take-Mikazuchi and his Ultimate Persona is Rokuten Maou.
He is voiced by Tomokazu Seki in the Japanese version and Troy Baker in the English version, the latter of whom also voices Abel Nightroad and Madarao. In the English version of Persona Q onwards, he is voiced by Matthew Mercer.
Kanji is the tallest member of the Investigation Team and is quite muscular for his age. He has bleached-blonde swept-back crewcut, grey eyes, (blue in the animation) with a scar above his left eye, many piercings, metal jewelry, and wears a black sweater with a skull-and-crossbones design on it under his school uniform, and wears shaded glasses in battle. On days off, however, he is seen wearing a black leather jacket instead and in the Summer, he discards his jacket and wears a black tank top with flaming skull design. On the camp out he wears his P.E. suit (except he wears it like his winter uniform) while at the school festival, he wears a blonde curly wig and a white dress, giving him an appearance similar to Marylin Monroe.
He also seems to be tattooed on his left arm. However, in his shirtless and cross dressing appearances, the tattoo is absent.
In Persona 4 Golden, during winter, he wears a snow suit with black beanie with a maroon pullover with a black winter jacket, black gloves, tan pants, and black shoes with red lines. Also in the True Ending epilogue it is revealed his hair is naturally black and he stops bleaching it and he also starts wearing glasses as well.
In the anime, his hair is more blonde than the game and he wear ear cuffs on his right ear, as well another ear piecing and even shows him wearing it at Persona 4 Arena, although it's the other way around.
Kanji is known as a delinquent due to his seemingly rough attitude and aggressive nature. When he was in middle school, he destroyed a biker gang and his notorious fame as a wild person spread to every corner of the countryside town. Although people mistake him as a member of a biker gang or as someone who likes violence, he actually does not have even the tiniest inclination to be violent and despite his seemingly rough personality, it is often due to misunderstandings. For example, he once went after a rowdy biker gang, but only to stop them from disturbing his mother. He obeys his strict curfew or his mother will make a fuss. His feminine hobbies come from growing up in a textile shop, which is owned by his mother.
When he strongly denies the side of him which enjoys "feminine" hobbies like sewing or knitting pushed to the extreme, it unexpectedly established his position as a juvenile delinquent. He drapes his school uniform over his shoulders in a punk-ish style to emphasise the atmosphere he wishes to embody. He acts out against any authority figure, but speaks politely to the protagonist and his other seniors. However, when he gets flustered and wants to threaten people effectively regardless of the circumstances, he occasionally gets into fights and scraps.
Before Kanji's father died, he told Kanji, "If you're a man, you have to become strong." Kanji thought his father was telling him he wasn't a real man, which angered him and caused him to become insecure about his masculinity. As a result of this, Kanji drastically changed his appearance and began isolating himself from others. At the beginning of Persona 4, Kanji has no known friends, as people either fear him for being a delinquent or laugh at him for being "feminine". However, he does have a childhood friend in the form of Naoki Konishi, and knows Yukiko due to her family being regulars at his family's store.
At the start of the game, Kanji is scared of partaking in any potentially "feminine" interests, due to the bullying he has faced from girls, calling him homophobic slurs such as "queer" and questioning his masculinity. When Kanji tried painting, a relatively gender-neutral hobby, he was even told "painting is so not you." Kanji compensates with a tough, hypermasculine facade in order to avoid ridicule and rejection, and he hides his interests. His Social Link reveals that acting tough has often caused a chain of trouble for Kanji, and he wonders how to prevent such things from escalating. In his 10th Social Link Rank, Kanji realizes that the solution is to try to make others "understand" him, something which he never attempted and something he hopes will prevent future misunderstandings.
- Kanji's outfit in the "Miss" Yasogami High Beauty Pageant resembles Marilyn Monroe.
- "Tatsumi" is also the name of one of the major locations in Persona 3, Tatsumi Port Island.
- During one of the Emperor social link scenes in the game, Kanji mentions "A pink alligator, like in that storybook", referring to the story Akinari Kamiki completed at the end of the Sun Arcana social link in Persona 3.
- In Persona 4 Arena, his Bastard Attack/Cruel Attack special is based on his follow up attack (Atomic Press/Kanji no Kougeki; translation being Kanji's Attack), while his Tatsumi-Ryuu Kenka Sappou (Tatsumi-Style Rumble Ending Act; localized as Ass Whoopin', Tatsumi-Style) SP move is based on his critical attack.
- In Persona 4 Arena, the S.E.E.S. members comment that Kanji reminds them of Akihiko. Along with the two being lightning-wielding brawlers, the two are both of the Emperor Arcana which may symbolize their similar personalities.
- When Kanji equips the Gekkokan High uniform, his victory pose and lines mirror Akihiko.
- During the Shadow Naoto battle in Persona 4 The Animation, Kanji is the only male who doesn't get hit by Galgalim Eyes.
- In Persona 4 The Animation, episode 20, Kanji says "f*ck off" while sleeping after Yosuke complains. This makes him the first Persona character ever to use the F word (though going simply by the games, Ryuji Sakamoto is the first to say it).