Part 119: Kanji, Chie vs KanjiKanji Tatsumi
Persona: Take-Mizaguchi (Strong to Lightning, weak to Wind)
Initial Skills: Mazio, Zionga, Rakukaja, Kill Rush
Skills Learned: Elec Boost (Lv. 27), Fatal End (Lv. 34), Cruel Attack (Lv. 38), Mazionga (Lv. 40), Mighty Swing (Lv. 44), Elec Break (Lv. 48), Ziodyne (Lv. 54), Vile Assault (Lv. 58), Matarukaja (Lv. 60), Maziodyne (Lv. 67), Primal Force (Lv. 73), Elec Amp (Lv. 75)
Stat Growth: High Strength, low Magic, above average Endurance, average Agility, below average Luck. 1st in HP, 6th in SP.
Suggested Endgame Skill Set: Ziodyne, Maziodyne, Elec Boost, Elec Amp, Primal Force, Vile Assault, Matarukaja, Rakukaja OR Elec Break
Combat Role: Kanji is basically the anti-Yukiko: he exists solely to pound Shadows into the dirt. His extremely high Strength makes even his basic physical attack into a dangerous weapon. Like Yukiko, Kanji's absurdly high Strength growth means he can potentially reach the 99-point cap before max level. He also has the highest endurance of any party member in the game, which coupled with his massive HP pool makes him far and away the most effective tank in the party. On top of that, Primal Force is the best single-target physical attack in the entire game, surpassing even God's Hand. He also gets Matarukaja, the party-wide attack buff, and Cruel Attack/Vile Assault, powerful physicals which do bonus damage to enemies that are knocked down. Unlike Chie, his growth is consistent throughout the entire game: he learns the entire Zio line, Fatal End and Mighty Swing are both learned at about the level where the skills before them are showing their age, and Vile Assault is a more than capable filler for the large gap before Kanji gets Primal Force.
However, it's not all good news, as Kanji does come with some drawbacks. True to his status as Nega-Yukiko, his magic growth is absolutely pitiful, so despite learning Ziodyne, Maziodyne, and Elec Amp he's just not much good as a blaster. Even worse, his SP pool is extremely small, which means even if you only use his magic for knockdowns he'll run low pretty quick during dungeon crawls. Unlike Chie, he doesn't learn multi-targeted physicals or the counter skills. Also, enemies in this game love lightning, meaning his Zio spells are the most commonly resisted of any of the four basic elements. Despite having the skill set to be a multi-purpose character, Kanji is pretty much pigeonholed into the role of single-target physical bruiser by his stat growth.
Kanji's endgame skill set is pretty straightforward. Despite his crappy magic, you'll want to keep all the best Zio skills around for lightning-weak or physical-resistant enemies. Matarukaja is definitely a keeper for endgame boss fights, because even Kanji's prodigious HP won't hold up to using Primal Force every single turn. Primal Force and Vile Assault are both worth keeping around, because against knocked down enemies Vile Assault's double damage will do nearly as much damage as Primal Force for a much smaller HP cost. Filling the last spot is roughly a wash: Rakukaja is another single-target physical that isn't really worth the effort in the endgame, and Elec Break is only rarely useful especially considering you'll usually want to stick to physical attacks anyway.
Kanji is a very straightforward character: he beats the shit out of things, and he does it very well. Matarukaja is also a nice support skill to have around for endgame boss encounters: it's nice to spread the buffing duty around so each individual character has more time to put the hurt on. It'd be nice if he had the Magic and SP to better utilize his lightning skills, but it's clear what the tradeoff is. He fills largely the same role as Chie: he doesn't have multi-target physicals or counters but he's got more consistent growth, soaks up damage better, and has marginally better magic. Therefore, I'm going to give him a solid B. Also, this may not be strictly gameplay relevant, but it's worth mentioning that Kanji's weapons include beating monsters with a fucking desk. He really is just that badass.
Anyway, as promised, here's an extra special Lightning Round!
Face-off: Chie vs. Kanji
There are two physical attackers in the Persona 4 crew, both of whom have some of the most damaging skills around by the end of the game. So let's get down to business: which one is better to have with you when you're taking on the Big Bad? The answer is ultimately slightly anti-climatic: it's pretty much up to personal choice, with neither having an overwhelming advantage over the other. But since this is Tactics Chat, I'm going to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the two in detail anyway.
From a pure damage standpoint, Kanji wins flat out. Even with the 2.5x damage bonus from Power Charge, God's Hand is not quite as powerful as Primal Force. The base attack power of God's Hand is 1600, which after Power Charge makes it into a massive 4000 once every two turns. However, Primal Force's attack power is 2200, which means that in two turns Kanji will effectively be dealing 4400 attack power's worth of damage. This doesn't even take into account that Kanji will have a Strength advantage of roughly 10-15 points over Chie by the end of the game. On top of that, Primal Force's crit rate is 10% higher, and using it twice as often means twice as many opportunities for criticals as well.
However, the one curveball in the mix is HP consumption. Since Chie will only be using God's Hand half as often as Kanji uses Primal Force, she will be spending a lot less HP even though the HP cost of God's Hand is slightly higher (22% of max HP vs. 20% of max HP for Kanji). Even with Kanji's higher overall HP and Endurance, using Primal Force 3 turns out of 4 will generally make him a lot more vulnerable than Chie. If you like playing it safe but don't want to have Yukiko (or the other healer) using Mediarahan all the time, then Chie's a little less risky.
There is one more wrinkle in the equation in the form of the endgame accessories. One of the best endgame accessories for physical users is the Rudra Ring, which halves the HP consumption of physical skills just like the Arms Master passive that Souji's Personas can learn. Since Kanji will be using Primal Force more often than Chie uses God's Hand, the reduced HP consumption benefits him more in the long run. The other option is to give Chie a Power Muscle, which grants a +10 Strength bonus and thus will more or less bring her Strength equivalent to Kanji's. Amusingly, with Kanji wearing a Rudra Ring and Chie a Power Muscle, the damage vs. HP consumption comparison reverses. Chie's Power Charge-God's Hand-Power Charge-God's Hand combo will do 8000 attack power over 4 turns with 44% HP consumption, while Kanji's Matarukaja-Primal Force-Primal Force-Primal Force 4-turn process will do 6600 attack power at 30% HP consumption. However, this discounts the bonus of Matarukaja. If both parties have somebody else use Matarukaja, then Kanji wins in both categories with 4 Primal Forces dealing 8800 attack power for 40% HP consumption. I would only advise doing this if you have a Rudra Ring, for obvious reasons.
The ironic thing about comparing Chie and Kanji is that both would be better characters if their stat growths were swapped. Kanji's massive strength growth would make Chie's Power Charge-God's Hand combo even more fearsome, and his pitiful magic and SP would make hardly any difference since by the end of the game the only thing she uses SP for is Power Charge anyway. Similarly, Chie's higher Magic and SP would make Kanji into nearly as good of a blaster as Yosuke. Kanji would be more useful on dungeon crawling trips and during boss fights could switch off between Ziodyne and Primal Force depending on whether or not the party needs a heal.
Basically, both Kanji and Chie are completely viable for an endgame party, and it's really up to whichever one you've leveled up more and to a lesser extent what accessories you have, since you can only get the best ones from golden chests in the last two dungeons. If you forced me to pick, I would give the slimmest of edges to Kanji: he does more damage, has Matarukaja, and soaks up damage better so the added HP consumption isn't as risky as it looks. Chie's High Counter isn't a factor against the final boss since even its basic attack counts as Almighty, not physical. Still, if you like playing on the safer side then Chie will still dish plenty of hurt at the end. As Feinne mentioned, if you're on a NG+ then Chie's ultimate weapon is vastly superior to Kanji's, but I didn't really take that into account for this comparison since on NG+ the only thing that's even remotely threatening is the bonus boss anyway.