Persona 3 Reload removes transphobic beach scene

An exchange between Akihiko, Junpei, and the protagonist has been rewritten entirely.
Persona 3 Reload changes

Persona 3 Reload, an upgraded and expanded remaster of the original Persona 3, has made some much-needed tweaks to its dialogue to remove an insensitive moment directed towards a trans character. As first noted by Kotaku, the original game featured a scene of “trans panic” where Akihiko, Junpei, and the game’s protagonist meet someone they believe is a cisgender woman.

Initially introduced as “Beautiful Lady” or “Pretty Lady”, the protagonist trio shares a light-hearted conversation with the woman before Akihiko discovers she has a spot of facial hair that has been missed while shaving. In the game’s text window, the women’s name then changes to “Beautiful Lady?” or “Pretty Lady?” before Junpei shouts, “She’s a he!” and the group runs away.

These of lines of dialogue, while unfortunately quite common in media of the early 2000s, are very uncomfortable. It’s never been funny to write characters this way, and in 2024 it’s certainly not a scene that would be welcomed by modern audiences – which is likely why developer Atlus has chosen to tweak the scenes for the Reload re-release.

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In the updated version of the exchange, which reportedly features in both the original Japanese dialogue and the English dub, the woman on the beach is simply a conspiracy theorist. Per Kotaku, she claims the sun was replaced in the 1980s, and then demands 300,000 yen for special sunscreen that blocks the new sun’s rays – at which point Junpei, Akihiko, and the protagonist run away from her.

All references to her being a trans character have been removed.

While some have argued that removal of trans representation entirely is a step backwards, in that the dialogue could have been reinterpreted in a more positive manner, it’s likely Atlus wished to avoid controversy, and went with the safest, simplest option. In having the dialogue focused on a fake moon, it now comes off as more of a spoof of modern conspiracy theorists.

Given the Beautiful/Pretty Lady character has such a small role in the game, and the need for sensitivity around her appearance and portrayal, it likely made more sense to tweak her dialogue to ensure the exchange was throwaway, and did not alienate any queer players.

Whatever the case, it’s certainly a good thing that Atlus is looking to make the Persona series a more friendly and welcoming franchise for all players.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.