The very first time Kanji and Naoto appear in person, they are talking to each other. Naoto approaches Kanji and asks to speak with him as part of her investigation into the serial murder case in Inaba. She states that she wished to see him again and invites him to go for a walk, which Kanji misinterprets as asking him out. Since everyone was under the impression that Naoto was a guy, Kanji is initially conflicted about his feelings for her at the time. He sheepishly agrees to go on a walk, only to be tailed by Chie and Yosuke due to his appearance on the Midnight Channel. When he discovers them, he becomes defensively aggressive once Chie accidentally insinuates that he might be gay.
The two interact a few times between their respective additions to the Investigation Team, the most notable being the school trip to Tatsumi Port Island. On the second evening of the trip, the IT runs into Naoto at Club Escapade. Before Naoto agrees to join them for the evening, Kanji spends the entire conversation hunched over behind the others to avoid awkward eye-contact.Out of the entire Investigation Team, Kanji is clearly the most concerned about Naoto being kidnapped. When she initially shows up on the Midnight Channel, Kanji is the first to call the protagonist in reaction, in spite of the role typically going to Yosuke. He shows clear frustration toward her actions once the group realizes she made herself a target on purpose, making no effort to keep secret how upset he is at her recklessness. He frequently calls her an idiot and rhetorically asks why she would do such a thing until she is rescued.When Naoto is about to reject her Shadow, Kanji stops the Investigation Team before they can keep her from doing so. He explains that she'll keep hurting if she doesn't face it, prioritizing her mental well-being over avoiding a boss fight. In the anime, the scene is elaborated by having Kanji rush from the group and bust down the door to where Naoto is being held with his Persona. After Naoto's rescue, Kanji scolds her for being so reckless and blushes at Rise's insinuations of how worried he was about her.
When Yosuke signs the girls up for the Miss Yasogami Beauty Pageant, Kanji pushes Naoto to enter so he can "clear up a few things," begging she do it to "make him a man." During the pageant, when Naoto refuses to come onstage for the swimsuit portion, Kanji proudly backs her for trying her best (in addition to getting a bloody nose).
During the awkward group date café, Kanji sheepishly admits that he likes mysterious girls who come across as strong, but are nice deep down. Yosuke quickly points out that sounds exactly like Naoto.
Persona 4 GoldenSince Golden follows the same story as the original P4, Kanji and Naoto's interactions throughout the main plot are the same, aside from several events added to the extended game.One particular event added to the game is the IT's trip to a nearby ski lodge in February. During the trip, Kanji attempts to teach Naoto how to ski, upon learning she does not know how. During the lesson, Naoto accidentally lands on top of Kanji, to which they both get flustered. Naoto sheepishly apologizes, while Kanji faints with a nosebleed.
Later in the trip, the group argues over who gets to spend more time with Narukami, as his year in town is ending soon. Rise points out that Kanji clearly wants to hang out with Naoto, which easily easily gets a flustered rise out of him.
In terms of game mechanics, all playable characters except Yu and Rise are able to perform a Fusion Spell when in the party with a specific member they are extremely close to. One of the three Fusion Spells is performed by Kanji and Naoto, called "Beauty and the Beast."
Persona 4 ArenaIn Kanji's story mode in Persona 4 Arena, he accidentally falls into the TV World and is initially under the impression that he is dreaming the whole thing. By choosing a certain response, the player can follow an alternate series of events in which he only learns he is awake at the end.
After he is pitted against Naoto and defeats her, he states that he doesn't want her to use honorifics with his name, a gesture which signifies near-familial closeness. At the route's ending, Naoto sheepishly agrees to his request, to which Kanji panics at the realization that he made the request to her in reality.
Persona 4: Dancing All Night
In the Persona Dancing spin-off rhythm games, each song has four optional dance partners to perform alongside the main dancer during the Fever Time segments. Kanji and Naoto are an extremely rare, if not the only instance of two characters being available as Fever Time partners in all of each other's dances.
In addition, one of Nanako's responses to Kanji and Naoto dancing together is that she heard their interactions are what's called being "lovey-dovey."
While the series typically leaves characters' romantic interests ambiguous to allow the protagonist to date whoever they choose, Naoto's behavior toward Kanji in his alternate Arena ending heavily implies that she has some distinct level of interest in him. Oftentimes, KanNao is portrayed as beginning with the help of a misunderstanding or their friends getting sick of waiting and setting them up themselves, due to the awkward, somewhat oblivious nature of the two.
The necklace Naoto wears after the post-game time skip in Golden is commonly mistaken for Kanji's bullet necklace, which he no longer wears in his updated appearance.