how could ryuji be the best if hes constantly making lewd comments about women
*cracks knuckles* WE GON’ LEARN TODAY SON
To begin, I think there’s inherently a weird flaw in Ryuji’s writing (or perhaps a localization/translation issue) in that the very thing you mention doesn’t make sense for his personality. I’ll admit I love that boy more than anything so I’m a bit quick to defend him, but also if I take myself outside of that for a sec, it genuinely doesn’t line up. I don’t know if Ryuji started out as like, Pervy Bro and they were like “oh we can’t make him a straight up dick” or if he started off an empathetic, loyal character and they were like “oh but we need someone to be the horny teenage boy” (I’m inclined to think the latter). Either way, Ryuji is very protective and responsive to the girls on the team. Let’s take a look at what I think of as True Ryuji (tru-uji if you will hahahaha i hate myself too it’s ok), and just fyi SPOILERS. I haven’t finished the game yet so not full game spoilers but just-before-5th-palace-spoilers.
When Ann walks into the metaverse, his priority is her safety, not some dumb “oh this GIRL is gonna SLOW US DOWN” shit–which, if Ryuji is Typical Bro, would’ve been his reaction. He’s also extremely motivated by the mistreatment of girls, especially Ann, by Kamoshida. Also the physical abuse, of course, but his first insult tends to be calling Kamoshida a pervert and gross and whatnot which leads me to think he has a bigger problem with Kamoshida’s sexual abuse than his physical (WHICH IS SAYING SOMETHING seeing as how Ryuji was a victim of the physical abuse). Ryuji is beyond impressed with Makoto and her persona’s awakening, arguably the most out of the entire team, and in full, active, vocal support of it–not to mention he literally jumps into traffic to stop a car so we can hurry and save Makoto. He is the first to run to Futaba when she falls down AND when Ann is pushing Futaba’s boundaries during the closet scene, Ryuji is very insistent that Ann should not continue. In the end we get the info we’re looking for and Futaba comes out applause all around good job Ann etc etc etc but Ryuji’s sensitivity to Futaba and her feelings was like….so refreshing to me?? Esp as someone with anxiety?? That was so touching idc if i sound like a cheeseball I KNOW IT’S A VIDEO GAME but my boy was so pure. THENNN when Haru is getting harassed, Ryuji is first to arrive (shoutout to track team and long legs) and immediately takes up a defensive position. He demands that her fiance leave her alone because she’s our friend–which, at this point in time, is basically a lie. He also is first to run to her when she falls and immediately agrees to having her rest, offering our attic as the resting place without asking (knowing there’s no problem with it) and even tho he’s been beefin’ with Morgana he puts Haru before that and works with Morgana to get Haru to safety.
And that’s just the phantom thieves girls!!! There’s so many other instances where he’s A GOOD BOY (the old lady at the station *tear*, willingly provoking the Shadows so we can escape even tho it means certain death, unashamed to share vulnerable or traditionally-considered-”weak” emotions) that I could literally go on forever.
His obsession with girls and making comments about their bodies is like, def not ok, but in The Real World my guess is that it’s because the writers had trouble deciding what kind of person he was gonna be and tried to fit both in and tbh for me I just can’t buy it. I could buy some of it, like checking out Ann or something, but then in Hawaii when he’s talking about how the girls there are “massive” I was like ????? Ryuji would never go THAT far. In a headcanon-y space, I would say that Ryuji’s dad is obviously The Ultimate Piece of Shit and 1) didn’t give Ryuji a good idea of what a man is so 2) Ryuji no longer has a male presence in his life and thus nothing else to go off of, which means 3) in an effort to be Masculine and Become a Man during his coming-of-age age (lol), he’s just copying what he thinks is how he’s supposed to act. I also think that Ryuji’s mom is a sweet, kind lady who wouldn’t hesitate to bitch slap her son if she heard him talk about girls that way and she’s raised him to be respectful so that also contradicts his behavior. It’s not genuinely who he is–he’s so quick to tell guys to back off the girls at the beach even tho he literally just went to do the same thing–it’s just who he thinks he’s supposed to be. And we all know Ryuji struggles with self-esteem and not putting himself down, so like, he doesn’t have the ability to outright reject that notion (yet). He so often wants to be someone other than himself that he adopts this persona (haha didn’t mean to do that) thinking it’s just the way of the world.
None of the above makes his behavior excusable AT ALL, like more than once I literally said “dude chill out” to my screen ok, but I think in game-verse it can be explained and outside of the game it can also be explained. I contend that he is still pure and good and right and the goddamn sunshine incarnate, but dude’s got flaws and some things he has to work out (and I fully believe Ann threatens and then casually DOES call his mom to tell on him one day [much to his protests and FOR REALs and ARE YOU KIDDING MEs and ANN I’M SO SORRY I PROMISE I WON’T SAY SOMETHING LIKE THAT AGAIN JUST DON’T TELL MY MOM] and Ryuji gets a Second Awakening when he gets home that night and never makes a lewd comment again)
((also he’s probably bi and doesn’t know how to face that yet so he’s overcompensating FIGHT ME ON THIS))*EDIT* @defciggy pointed out the duality doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive which is something I normally try to be cognizant of bc ppl are gray areas but I got a lil carried away lol so I just want to retract a little bit and say the writing isn’t necessarily flawed/mistaken/poor but that the good in him is bigger than the bad