Don't get me wrong, the games are pretty good, but the persona series does have a nasty habit of recycling ideas. Ryuji is a genderswapped Chie mixed with Mark and Kanji, Ann is Rise with the personality of Yukari and the body and problems of Lisa, Morgana is Teddie, Makoto recalls Mitsuru, Haru's "story" is much like Yukikio's and she's similar to Fuuka it seems, Yusuke is Jun, Mitsuba is a "good" Jin, and Goro is Naoto's successor. Even our first boss is Ginji and Kashiwagi's lovechild.
I feel you might be a bit too harsh here. While I agree that there’s a lot of reused character types, that doesn’t make them the same character. I like to teasingly call Rise “Lisa 2.0″, because I know that that’s pretty much the template the character was built on, yet I don’t think this means Rise was “lazily written” or anything. The same goes for any other time the game has used similar character types. Junpei and Yosuke, for example, were built on the same character type to the point that Character Designer Soejima even stated that the dev team themselves had a habit of joking that Yosuke and Junpei were the same, yet in the finished games, if you put those two next to each other, they have entirely different motivations and intentions, and, in fact, in Persona Q they don’t even get along all that well, because the far more childish Junpei is just too much for the way more down-to-earth Yosuke.
Character Creation is not easy. As someone who’s worked on several original stories (and not fully released any of them because whoopsy-) I’ve experienced myself what a daunting task it can be to make a cast colorful, distinct, and, most of all, diverse. We joke about tropes and character types, but the truth is that these archetypes are what our mind latches onto for recognizable. Even if a character is not designed around any sort of “character type”, the human mind will end up assigning them one. Name me one fictional character who is absolutely “unique” without falling into any common tropes or types, and I’ll show you an incoherent mess of a character. Characters resemble each other because they are supposed to be humans, and humans are as similar to each other as they’re different.
Being original isn’t easy. Fun fact, I actually ended up rewriting several characters in my current passion project, UnEnding, from the ground up once the first Persona 5 trailers came in, since I realized that a couple of them were eerily similar to characters from P5. Note that I had written these characters BEFORE the first P5 trailers came out. I had NO way of knowing what was gonna happen. It was a coincidence.
You say Ryuuji is “Chie and Mark and Kanji”. That’s already 3 characters, and I’ll add you in a Yosuke for good measure. That makes 4 characters who have tangential similarities to Ryuji. That doesn’t sound like reused characters to me, and more like Teenagers just being teenagers and resembling each other. If anything, that description proves that Ryuuji already appears to be fairly unique, rather than based off any specific previous character, which is a feat.
As for Anne, I’ll give you Lisa and Rise, since she clearly falls into the “inherited” character type set by Lisa in P2, which Rise also fell into, but her personality being Yukari? Where do you get that from? We’ve heard 3 lines of dialogue from her so far at best. You can’t really judge a character’s personality of that. I am going to dismiss that and leave it at her being part of the obvious “Lisa Family”, which, OK, is getting old, but some patterns are fun if they are kept.
Your comment about Morgana I find hilarious, because everything I know about Morgana so far points towards her being the polar opposite of Teddie, which means they are deconstructing their own set character types, rather than retreating them.
Makoto “recalls” Mitsuru only in the way that both of them are student council presidents who happen to ride bikes. If you can have only one female character who’s allowed to be in a position of power and pilot a motorcycle, that’s kinda sad, don’t you think? In fact, the info we have about Makoto so far suggests that she is unpopular and has anger management issues which is *nothing* like Mitsuru.
I cannot see where you get the comparisons between Haru, Yukiko and Fuuka from at all. Haru has been characterized as a rich, spoiled brat by the articles so far, a character type that hasn’t been used as part of the Main Cast by the Persona Series before, ever. I’d go as far as to call her the most “original” out of the cast so far.
Yusuke looks very similar to Jun, yes, but again, we don’t know anything about his personality yet, and the couple of spoken lines we have from him so far, in fact, suggest a very different personality from Jun’s, since unlike Jun, he seems to be blunt and down to earth. Jun was a soft-spoken romantic.
Futaba and Jin are both hackers. That’s all. You’re allowed to have more than one character who’s a computer genius in your series. Fuuka is a computer genius too (she’s one of the few people capable of repairing Anti Shadow Suppression Weapons), so if anything, you should have complained that we have another navigator who’s a computer genius on board. You didn’t mention this, because Fuuka had a strong, defined personality outside of being good with computers. And Futaba will have that too.
Goro being another detective kid irks me, but, really, let’s be real, this game is of the Phantom Thief genre. There HAD to be a Genius Detective in there. It’s obligatory. Making a second detective kid is still marginally better than outright reusing Naoto. P4 and P5 both happen to be based on literary genres where Detective Characters are common. That’s a coincidence. And as much as the repeat angers me, I can also see it having a lot of potential for exploration, so I’m putting my faith in Atlus.
And I have no idea how you know anything about the first boss yet, if all we have is 2 lines of trailer dialogue and some screenshots.
Honestly,Archetypes will always exist. We’ll always see them. That doesn’t mean we should demonize them as they occur. I, for my part, will judge the character once I’ve actually gotten to meet them.
Random thoughts that may or may not give some insight into the P5 cast
You know how some people were joking that Chair-kun looked like Adachi and Yu’s lovechild? Well, maybe not in appearance, but P5′s main character certainly shows traits shared by both of them.
Adachi and Yu were foils to each other. Extremely similar but ultimately made different decisions that put them on opposite ends of the spectrum.
The P5 kids are at the middle of that spectrum. Not quite corrupted enough, but still fairly jaded or beaten down. Pretty much on the way to catastrophe.
P5-kun’s got friends and companions like Yu, yes, and he gained the power of Persona and decided to go on a journey to change things during his high school years while Adachi’s school years were boring, lonely, and uneventful.
He’s supposed to have a bright life full on potential in front of him… And yet, his attitudes and circumstances put him and his crew closer to Adachi’s mindset than to Yu’s.