If You See the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him - Let's Play Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse

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#21

Mothman rules and I wish he were the hero of the game. I feel he has the drive to succeed.


#22

Since this is an off day for the LP and i can just banter a bit, I’m going to add to this that on top of Mothman being great, it’s a shame that there are a lot of cryptids that are in certain MegaTen games and then just never appear again. Like Jersey Devil’s brief appearance in Soul Hackers, or the number of ones in Devil Children such as Mokele-Mbembe, Nessie, Yeti, and Olghoi-Khorkhoi that could be adapted if one took the time to make new art for them.

Hell, Doi (or Kaneko, assuming he decided to finally leave the flower field) could pad out a whole game’s worth of “new demon designs” just by redoing some of the demons that have entirely or almost entirely been relegated to an existence as Devil Children chibis: Gilgamesh, the three god brothers of Greece (Zeus, Hades, and Poseidon, for those who aren’t super familiar with the Hellenic pantheon), Crom Cruach, and on and on and on.


#23

Ueno! We’re here! It’s just west of the Sky Tower, after all, it’s not a particularly hard hike. And on our first visit, the closer entrances into Ueno are shut down, and we have to hike from the start point (the green up there) to where I’ve got Nanashi positioned now. This is where we’re supposed to meet our client, and sure enough she shows up when we attempt to head downstairs into Ueno proper.

A-are you two here about the quest?

Oh! Are you Nozomi, our client?

Huh? Oh, uh, yeah – that’s me! Questgiver Nozomi!

There’s something off about this woman, but Asahi plays it cool.

Not suspicious at all.

I mean, the only thing your request says is that we need to stop a fight.

Yeah, in the Fairy Forest!

The Fairy Forest? Never heard of that. This is a place in Tokyo?

Yeah. You can get to the Fairy Forest using a Terminal.

A Terminal? But you can only travel to places you’ve already registered at…

And we’ve never been to the Fairy Forest, so using a Terminal wouldn’t work for us.

Not suspicious. At all.

Uh, so… You’re going to take us there?

I’m not Nozom-

I meeeaaan… Yes! I’m Nozomi. Nozomi is me.

Asahi narrows her eyes and peers at the woman.

Every fiber of logic says to heavily poke on that second option, but plot demands we help this clear case of identity theft.

Help her out.

You’ll help? Wow, thank you so much!

Haha, well, don’t thank us just yet. Haven’t even gotten started!

Let’s head over to the Terminal, then.

Ueno’s Terminal Room is at the far end of the underground district.

Stopping by the market to offload a bunch of relics (no shopping yet, as what I really want here needs even more macca), we get this reminder that Nanashi is a horrible thing that should not be.

Terminals are rather ominous-looking devices, looking like Epcot suddenly caught flame whenever they rev up to teleport you. Thankfully, they’re completely safe.

The Fairy Forest is over here all by its lonesome, blocked in by a huge rock in the road. The only way to get in or out of it is through the Terminal right next to it.

It also starts with this lovely bridge over a pond. By the way, we get this few seconds of scanning a new region every time we go one, courtesy of being official Hunters and that being a thing official Hunters do. It gets old pretty fast.

I know, right?

“Nozomi” nods to herself, as if in a sense of accomplishment.

Heeeey, Nozomi!

So, if the game and common sense weren’t enough to tell you, we weren’t actually talking to the real Nozomi. This is Napaea, a type of wood nymph from Greek mythology. She was a demon new to the MegaTen series as of SMTIV, and has returned in Apocalypse.

She then jumps on the shotgun-wielding woman.

It’s called personal space, Napaea! Back it up, homegirl.

GAH! She’s… She’s a fairy!

Asahi readies her smartphone.

A demon! Is this some kind of trap?

Napaea’s harmless. She’s nothing like the angels and demons you’re probably used to.

We’re not a part of that whole mess. We just want to eke out a peaceful life here.

…And you are?

You’re a human…in charge of the Fairy Forest?

Long story. Gist is, in order to save the fairies, I inherited their queen’s powers.

But I used to be a Hunter like you.

…And a photographer. On the side.

This was a specific set of side quests you could do in SMTIV. Nozomi (using the sprite that Napaea pilfered to impersonate her in this game) gave you a set of photography side quests before being drawn into a Goblin’s plans to resurrect the Celtic goddess Danu to reign over the Fairy race demons in Tokyo. This game treats that sidequest as both canonical and successful.

Who asked you, Slimeball? Can’t a queen have hobbies?

Navarre’s shocked sprite is great.

And hear you. What’s the deal with the strange pompadour poltergeist, anyhow?

A strange pompa… pompad… Strange and pompous, am I?! Allow me to show you strange and pompous!

Who…are you talking to?

Uh…

Nozomi looks at you for approval.

If you tell Nozomi not to, she just insistently does so anyway, and nothing changes beyond you looking like a jackass in front of Asahi. If there’s one thing I’d have to call out as my least favorite thing about Apocalypse, these binary “Peace or Anarchy points but no actual choice” questions would probably be high up on my list of potential answers.

Eh, sure.

Your pal here’s being haunted by a little green ghosty.

What?! Nanashi, are you –

Little? I am incorporeal! Height is of no matter to the great Samurai Navarre!

…The great Samurai Navarre. Sorry.

What’s he doing?! Is Nanashi okay?!

Nozomi shoots Navarre a sidelong glance.

I’m mentoring the boy! Indeed! I’m his own private guiding light!

Without me…why, he’d be a leaf in the wind: directionless, hopeless, and dead!

Nozomi raises an eyebrow at the clearly flustered Navarre.

Seems pretty harmless.

Apparently irritated with all the banter, Napaea brings us back to the topic of the actual quest at hand.

Yeeeaaah… I was going to handle things earlier, but I can’t seem to find my phone.

Must’ve lost it this morning. Can’t summon demons without it, though.

Nozomi scratches her head and looks around.

Considering both Napaea and Asahi know where the phone is, I’m sure you can imagine where this would head if we said no, so we’re just gonna hand over the damn phone.

Hey, that’s mine! Thanks!

Nozomi puts her hand on her hip and turns to Napaea.

You can’t just take my phone without asking first, you know.

But…you said you wanted help!

You looked so serious. I just thought I’d go find someone to lend a hand…

We all promised to be in this together.

I just wanted to help… I’m sorry.

And Napaea? Thanks.

Mm-hmm! You’re welcome!

Napaea smiles and runs off toward the roots of the giant cherry blossom tree.

What’s up, Danu?

A spectral form appears from Nozomi.

Danu is a Celtic ancestor goddess and mother of the Tuatha de Danann (not surprising, given that the term can be translated as “tribe of Danu”). She’s also the mother of The Dagda (or his daughter, alternatively, in certain lore; mythology can be confusing that way), so you can probably guess where this is going.

I am also mother to Dagda.

Like I said…

You know of whom I speak, don’t you, Nanashi?

What’s she talking about?

The green phantom is not the only entity that has taken a liking to your friend.

What?!

Why are you such a ghost magnet, Nanashi?

It seems you are caught in the web of Dagda’s scheming…

I pity the exorcist that would try to take out Dagda.

Noooooo! I don’t want to die again!

Sorry to cut in, Danu, but we still need to take care of our other headache.

Nozomi jerks a thumb back over her shoulder, toward the Fairy Forest.

Of course. I apologize. Let us deal with the problems here in the Forest, first.

Well, queen’s gotta do what a queen’s gotta do.

You guys wanna help pitch in?

You mean help stop that fight or whatever?

What’s so special about this spring?

No clue. Homeslice just went bananacakes about it all of a sudden…

Well, let’s just go there and ask him what his deal is.

I’ll tag along. In case things get rowdy.

I’m sure we’ll be fine. Right Nanashi?

Nozomi scratches the back of her head worriedly.

If you say so…

Asahi beams with pride.

Let’s go!

Nozomi, being wiser than some overeager kid, joins the party anyway. At this point she has one really unimpressive skill and one that’s nice to have. Sleep Shot is the same as the demon skill Dream Needle, while Photo Flash inflicts Daze on all foes.

After circling the tree on branching paths for a while, we find a squabbling couple, Oberon and Titania. You might know these two from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, wherein their attitude is similar.

What’s…going on?

I see the lovebirds are at it again…

Nozomi! Please, talk some sense into Titania. She thinks I –

Don’t you dare make me out to be the bad guy, Oberon. By all means, explain why you have such a strange thing.

It isn’t what you think! The Jade Dagger is a miraculous invention!

It lets lost souls have power in the physical world.

With all the humans dying in droves at the hands of angels and demons I…

I just thought I should help in some way, so I crafted the dagger for them.

Lost souls can wield it, eh? I can’t imagine what that would imply for us.

Why, what are you trying to do? Force dead humans to fall in love or something?

Uh…no…?

The last brilliant idea you had is what caused that mess with the magic flower!

That was four hundred years ago!

Nozomi tries to pick up the Jade Dagger, but her hands pass right through it.

Well, that’s weird. It’s like, intangible.

Naturally. It’s designed for the dead, after all.

I can’t even see the thing…

It doesn’t exist in the physical world.

So, what do we do now?

I got it!

Oberon turns to Navarre

You heard me right, my little green hero friend! You’re exactly who I had in mind!

Here, take the Jade Dagger.

Navarre obtains the Jade Dagger.

Skipping right to the point, the Jade Dagger is an upgrade to dungeon exploration.

Charge the Jade Dagger at a Power Spot like one of these…

…Then proceed to one of these freaky face walls, and press X. Navarre will slash it to ribbons, allowing you to bypass it. The catch is that the Jade Dagger has to be charged, so you need to get to them quickly enough.

You’d have been quite stuck there without me, yes?

I suppose it’s the least I can do for those who look up to me.

Cut a few of those freaky walls and you eventually hike down to this overhang. Within is a boss fight; if you aren’t prepared, turn back.

Which I did, given I had a paltry amount of MP left on my demons and also knew what was ahead. Picked up some Resist Ice armor, better damage output weaponry, and got a few more levels and demons.

He defines refined, embodies elegant. Truly, his is the dignity of a king!

Wow, not too often you have the actual flavor text inflate a character’s ego like that.

Hee-who are these strangers, Nozomi? Why have you brought them hee-re, before the presence of a king?

What’s that? Speak up. If you’re going to address me, you need to hee-nunciate!

Uh… Well…

Nozomi steps in front of Asahi protectively.

What’s the deal, Frosty? What kind of racket you running here?

This spot’s got the best drinking water in all the hee-ho Fairy Forest.

By ruling over it, all the other fairy folk will have to ho-bey me!

This guy’s more of a schemer than he looks.

Why’s it so important everyone obeys you?

What treasure?

Huh?

… Now that I think of it, hee never did tell me what the treasure is. Hee-ho!

Wait, what? “He” who?

So much for negotiation.

Alright, everyone! Heeee! Hoooo!

Boss Battle! King Frost :crossed_swords:

King Frost is a huge, royal version of everyone’s favorite MegaTen mascot, Jack Frost. He even has a whole cascade of Jack Frosts at his feet! The MegaTen Wiki seems to think he’s based on a poem that has a kindly fairy named King Jack Frost in it, but I think it’s just as likely that it’s a pun about the fact that Jack and King are both playing card ranks.

This probably goes without saying, but his weakness is Fire, while on the other end of the spectrum he completely blocks ice damage. Do not throw Ice at him unless you want to have a very bad time. He’s also resistant to Light; while bosses in older games tended to just entirely block Light and Dark skills without question, Apocalypse’s choice to change Light and Dark skills from save-or-dies to actual damage skills has made it possible to be more in-depth about such things. Hell, there are even some bosses that have a weakness to one of these damage types. The chance to kill on Smirk still doesn’t work on them, though, obviously.

You may have also noticed that “MAX” near our Partner’s health bar. This is the Assist Gauge, a system that gets introduced at the start of this fight by the gauge being maxed right out of the gate. Enough turns pass with your Partner staying in the fight and actually doing things, and they get to literally break the enemy’s turn with a wave of untyped damage attacks; the number of times it hits is equal to how many Partners you have (so three right now). The extra damage is nice, but the real benefit is robbing an enemy of their turn, letting you go twice in a row and having a random chance to give you and your demons a Smirk.

I literally roasted this tub of snow alive in two turns, without him being able to ever make a move against me. Such is the power of Assist Gauge, Smirks, and having either Agi and Agilao on every party member. Ippon-Datara having a big damage Physical attack with Daze didn’t hurt.

Before we celebrate our victory, though, let’s rewind space-time and see the moves Frosty can actually do if we bumbled into the spring unprepared and underleveled. After all, it’s more than likely you’d do so on your first time playing.

King Bufula is King Frost’s signature move in this game, a skill no other demon learns. It deals Medium Ice damage to all party members, and if he’s Smirking it also drops their Defense by a step.

This is a real and present danger, as Frosty knows Smile Charge, which instantly gives you Smirk. And since he has two actions per turn, he will not hesitate to use it. If you have a demon with Magaon (a skill that removes Smirk, which is very handy to have), it’s time to break that baby out. You can also abuse the fact that while he’s immune to pretty much every ailment as a boss, you can still inflict Daze on King Frost. Daze him. Daze him until he sees stars.

King Frost also knows regular Bufula and Megaton Press, a Medium damage Physical skill that hits all foes and has that caveat of “high critical chance but low accuracy”, but he’ll pretty much never use the latter if he can keep up his routine of Smile Charge _ King Bufula until your face is ground into the dirt.

I’m not going to lie: this fight can be kind of obnoxious if you go into it blind. The game does, however, give you all the tools you need to fight this guy in the Fairy Forest…you just have to level them up to at least level 15 for the plan to work. There is a demon in the Fairy Forest that can learn Magaon (Spriggan) and two that learn Agi and either aren’t weak to Ice or can learn not to be (Napaea and Hua Po), enough for a whole anti-Frost party. See the Hunter’s Notes coming up in a little for more on these guys. Anyway, back to our regularly scheduled victory.

You jerks! Now I’m back to being Jack!

I’m still quite dashing, ho, so I guess it’s fine.

Does this mean you’re done trying to stake claim over the spring?

Gotta know-ho when to fold 'em! I admit defeat, ho!

I’ve got a question for you, then.

You mentioned how someone told you about treasure hidden in the Fairy Forest.

Ho…? What about it?

Who was it that told you this in the first place?

Oh, I get it! Someone else is pulling the strings here.

If I had to fashion a guess, the string-puller is probably the weirdo hiding behind us the whole time.

Nozomi spots it and fires a warning shot with her shotgun.

Just a Preta. We can kill those with our hands tied behind our backs at this point.

I know nothin’! I’m just followin’ orders to steal the treasure in this here forest.

The plan was to trick some fairies into finding it for me, but now that’s bust…

Who sent you?

Nozomi points her gun at the small demon.

Whoa, whoa! I dunno! Like I said, they don’t let scrubs like me in on the details!

Not leaving me with much of a choice…

Hey, HEY! It was some creepy god from a group called the Divine Powers!

That’s all I know! I’m outta here before I get killed!

The demon scampers away hurriedly.

Eh, there was nothing more he could tell us. Way too scared to be hiding anything.

Gotta say, you guys did great out there.

You seem like a real natural, Nanashi.

Come on, can’t you take a compliment, Nanashi? Smile or something!

Asahi seems happy enough for both of you.

Danu manifests from Nozomi’s body.

What do you have planned for this boy, Dagda?

Dagda appears before the group.

I am a god, not some mere “guy”.

I’m not keen on revealing myself unnecessarily, but when Mother calls…

What are you up to, Dagda?

What needs to be done, Mother. I don’t expect you to understand…

Dagda, you and I… Our family is one with nature, with the universe itself.

We should work together to protect the fairies and spirits that are dying out.

Dying out? I dunno, I can go down to any given sidewalk in Ueno and see a ton of Dybbuks, and they’re of the Spirit race…

How do you mean?

You’ll see soon enough. And when the time comes, you can watch helplessly with your precious fairies…

And with that, Dagda storms back [S]up to his room[/S] into our smartphone, and Danu sighs as only a mother can do and heads back into Nozomi.

Talk about a strained relationship…

How long does that rebellious stage last for gods?

I think, for now, we should keep Dagda’s presence to ourselves.

Why’s that?

There’s just too much room for misunderstanding. Plus…

Eh, forget it. Great work with King Frost, you two. Thanks for all the help.

Our first boss defeated, and two mysterious plotlines: some nerds calling themselves the Divine Powers, and Dagda’s big plan… Things are about to get messy.


#24

So Nanashi is actually the instrument of divine teen angst. I can’t tell if it’s more or less effective to punctuate bringing ruin to the world with, “Fuck you, mom!”


#25

:allears:


#26

Wild Demon Encounters: Ueno

Some familiar unfriendly faces you can find in the starting area of Ueno include Jack the Ripper, Zhu Tun She, Hooligan, Dybbuk, and Gremlin. There are also, of course, new monstrous entities for us to slay or summon.

One of our new demons is Shan Xiao. This weird Chinese tree spirit’s weak to Fire and resists Ice, and is focused entirely on Physical moves, especially ones that inflict ailments. It starts with Binding Claw and then learns Bouncing Claw at level 12 and Poison Claw at level 13. While its Strength score is only somewhat above-average for its level, its Agility and Luck are high, meaning its ailment infliction and speed in combat are good in spite of not being the best demon for raw smash-facery.

Oni, on the left, is a level 13 demon of the Brute race. While it has no resistances, it makes up for it with boatloads of HP. The way you get by this, beyond its weakness to Electricity, is that it’s really easy to inflict Panic, Sleep, and Bind on. Oni’s skills, unsurprisingly, are Head Crush at start and Critical Wave (basically Lunge for all foes rather than one) at level 15, befitting its massive Strength. It also has pretty darn good Dexterity, if you want to fuse one with some Gun skills.

Leanan Sidhe, on the right, is a level 9 Femme who’s weak to Force but has no resistances. She’s pretty much defenseless in combat, as other than her unimpressive regular attack her skills are all non-combat: Dia at the start, Life Bonus at level 10, Heal Pleroma (25% more healing from your heal skills) at level 14, and Media (Dia for all party members) at level 21 if you keep her unfused that long for some reason.

If you leave Ueno’s underground through either of its west entrances, you can get to an area called Shinobazu Pond. While this was where the first boss fight in Tokyo of SMTIV occurred (there were two previous onces within the Firmament and heights of the Sky Tower), it is now an easily missed side-area if you aren’t paying attention. It has more new demons, though, like Sandman. Weak to Ice, resistant to Force, and immune to the Sleep ailment, he comes prepackaged with Dream Needle and Zan. He can also learn Stun Needle at level 11.

Vodyanik’s the opposite of Sandman, being weak to Force but resistant to Electricity. His only innate skill is Zio, gaining Bouncing Claw at level 9 and Mana Bonus at level 10.

Finally, little Kaso here is resistant to Fire and weak to Ice, being a rat on fire and all that. It’s got Agi as its innate skill, and laerns Sukukaja at level 12 and Beastly Reaction (accuracy and evasion are a bit higher than stats alone would allow) at level 13.

Wild Demon Encounters: Fairy Forest

Over in Fairy Forest, we can spot Mothman, Dwarf, Agathion, and (once again) some new demons.

The level 12 Fairy Napaea resists Force and is weak to Ice…initially, at least. You see, on top of her initial skills of Marin Karin (50% chance to inflict Charm on a foe) and Zan, she gets Resist Ice at level 13. This makes her our first case of a demon that patches their own weakness up. She also gets the attacks Agi and Zanma (medium Force damage to one foe) at levels 14 and 15 respectively.

The rather menacing Austrian demon Bilwis is a level 9 Brute that is weak to Gun and Light but resists Dark. It’s one of the rare early demons with no positive affinity for the element is resists; instead, it has +1 to Healing and Ice. It innately knows Poison Claw and Dia, and gains Bufu at level 10.

The Pixies hanging out to the right of them are level level 9 and in the Fairy race. Pixie is weak to Dark and resistant to Electricity, and just as Bilwis was unusual in having no positive affinity to its resist, Pixie has no negative affinity to her weakness; indeed, she has no negative affinities at all, just a +1 to Electricity and Healing. Her skills are Dia and Zio at any level, Healing Knowhow (like Attack Knowhow, but for healing items) at level 11, and Dormina at level 12.

Chagrin is the only demon in the series I can think of that comes from Roma folklore, so that’s fun. It’s weak to Fire but resists Electricity, starts out with Zio and Toxic sting, and learns Stun Needle (weak Gun + 60% chance of Bind to one enemy) at level 12 and Sukukaja (buff to Agility for the party) at level 14. It has really high Dexterity for a low level demon, letting it do a good amount of damage with those Gun skills.

Spriggan resists Physical and Electric but is weak to both Light and Dark. This big fella has stats comparable to Oni and even more HP, but with more variety in its skills. It starts off with the skills Dormina and Oni-Kagura (the Medium damage version of Lunge), and learns Magaon at level 15, Light Life Aid (get a bit of HP back after winning a battle) at level 16, and Resist Light to patch that weakness at level 17.

Spriggan doesn’t always appear alone, either, sometimes appearing with friends such as Moh Shuvuu here. She’s weak to Gun and Fire and resists Force, and has the skills Dia and Zan innately, Makakaja at level 13, and Mazan at level 15. Her Magic stat is on part with Oni’s Strength, so that’s nice.

Tam Lin resists Light and is weak to Dark, and has the skills Hama and Gram Slice at any level, Estoma (low level demon encounters don’t spawn up for a while after using this skill) at level 14, and Heat Wave at level 16.

Innocent Horde is our first proper horde encounter. This level 13 Horde is made up of a load of Napaeas and Dwarves, and as a Horde it gets two actions on its turn. They can do three or four normal attacks in an action and have the skills Lunge, Zan, and Marin Karin, so knock them out of the quickly with their weaknesses to Ice and Force.

Hua Po here is the entire reason that I didn’t have this Hunter’s Notes ready at the same time as the update. Two days of hunting her before I started compiling the update to post, plus hunting for her after the update. She’s not even a rare demon or anything, I just had shit luck! The luck was apparently even shittier, as I messed up screenshotting the first encounter with one and then had to spend more time (a few minutes this time, thankfully) finding more.

Anyway, she resists fire and is weak to Electricity. This, combined with her +2 to Fire and Healing, means she is a perfect pick for beating on King Frost. The only way she could be more fitting is if you fused one with Resist Ice. Her innate skill is Agi, and she gains Patra, Posumudi, and Maragi at levels 13, 14, and 15 respectively.

Fusions

Gremlin and Kabuso get forged into Heqet. Her two unlearned skills are Posumudi and Mazio, gained at levels 14 and 15 respectively.

Heqet is an Egyptian goddess of fertility and childbirth, breathing the wisps of life into newborns of both humans and gods. She was associated with frogs because of the Nile, which both brought fertility of crops and a boom in frog births when it burst its banks and flooded the Nile Delta.

Putting together Agathion and Zhu Tun She, I’ve got Gu Huo Niao. She’s the demon I was so adamant about chaining up to earlier. You can probably surmise why now: she is the earliest demon to get us Agilao. Leveling her up grants Makakaja at level 17 and Maragi at level 18.

Mythology-wise, she’s yet another demon that comes to us from China, being a bird spirit that kidnaps human children to rear as her own. Abducted children that are girls end up transforming into new gu huo niao themselves…

Moh Shuvuu and Gu Huo Niao fuse to form Suparna, removing that pesky Ice weakness and finalizing the plan to heat up King Frost. It levels up to learn Mazio at level 16 and Spirit Drain at level 17.

This guy’s one of the incarnations of Garuda, the great bird who ferries Vishnu in Hinduism.

From the merging of Hua Po and Preta comes forth Ippon-Datara. This heavy-hitting demon only learns Oni-Kagura by leveling up once and then no other skills, but is that really so bad when he starts out with Power Punch?

A yokai of Japanese mythology, the Ippon-Datara dwells in secluded mountains and has only one leg and one eye. Its name comes from the word “tatara”, or blacksmith’s bellows, which is why he wears a leather apron and holds the tools of a smith in Kaneko’s interpretation. According to the investigations of tumblr user eirikrjs, his mask and metal arm piece seem to be at least somewhat based on a Todd McFarlane monster design for Spawn called Grave Digger.

Bilwis and Pixie make Mermaid, the second demon design entirely new to Apocalypse we’ve seen (Adramelech being the first). If we’re gonna be honest, I think some of Masayuki Doi’s concept designs for Mermaid, like this one, are better than the final one due to small but noticeable choices between the start and finish of Doi’s work. The will-o-wisps are pretty cool though. Mermaid’s leveling skills are Mazan, Rakukaja, and Media at levels 16, 17, and 20.

Mythologically, mermaids are technically European in nature,though a large number of cultures across the world have a creature in their mythology that blends human top and fish bottom. Some European mermaids would sing sailors to their doom, hence why the Mermaid here has Lullaby as a skill. One of the DLCs has an even nastier premade Mermaid that gets Eternal Slumber, a skill that instantly kills any demons that are asleep!

And lastly, Angel and Leanan Sidhe get merged to form Apsaras. She gains Posumudi and Mabufu by leveling up to levels 16 and 17 respectively.

Apsaras are water spirits from Hinduism and Buddhism, appearing as beautiful women who are skilled in dance and capable of both flight and shapeshifting.

Equipment Update

All of the equipment I currently have on Nanashi was purchased in Ueno, and damn is it some fine stuff to have this early on.

The new sword I have equipped is Nihil. It has a damage strength of 101 compared to your starting dagger’s 54, and inflicts Panic.

The Serren Automatic has a damage strength of 46 and hits all foes once, compared to the starting pistol’s 38 damage and single-target hit. I’ve combined this with Toxic Rounds, which have a damage strength of 28 compared to starting bullets’ 17 and also inflict Poison.

Finally, for clothing, I’ve updated all three parts rather than just the body as I had back in Kinshicho, buying the full Blue Marine set of armor (it makes you look like a sailor, hooray). The body armor has +33 HP and gives you Resist Ice, the headwear provides +17 HP and +4 to Magic and Luck, and the pants provide +33 HP and +5 Agility.


#27

It’s really rather funny that Dagda is just some edgy teen god and acts like it too.

I got rather lucky with my King Frost fight and just so happened to have a demon that knew Magaon.


#28

After saying our goodbyes to Nozomi for now and heading back to Kinshicho, we find that there’s now this kid in a cape hanging out in front of this grate. He calls it his “secret base”, but what it actually is is the pathway to those three item chests that were taunting us. I thought this didn’t happen until way later, but turns out my memory isn’t perfect.

On top of this chest’s contents, there’s one with three Medicines and one with three 1 Star relics. With those collected, it’s time to give Boss the good news.

Uh, what? Just…check your phone.

Nobody starts at the top. You do the small jobs to gain experience, little by little.

All of that adds up until, one day, your reputation as a Hunter precedes itself.

I know, I know. Just looking for a leg up.

Asahi’s dad presses thumb and forefinger to his eyes and sighs.

Come on now… If you got nothing better to do, go clean your room or something.

Better idea; you give me some real Hunter work, I’ll start calling you “Boss”.

There’s nothing other than whatever’s listed on your phones, so give it a rest.

On top of being another moment of strife between Asahi and Boss, this is a way of hinting the way Challenge Quests have changed in Apocalypse. While in SMTIV you had to go to a Hunter Association bar to get updates on whatever side quests were hanging around and then do then before certain plot beats or they’d vanish into thin air, here Challenge Quests get automatically added to your menu and hang around as long as you let them hang around.

Asahi starts to say something, but stops herself.

Instead, she frowns and turns away from you and her dad.

After all that hard work to become Hunters… C’mon, Nanashi. Let’s go.

Asahi leaves, looking dissatisfied.

What’s gotten into her?

I hate to repeat myself, Nanashi, but… Look out for her.

You nod, as usual, and head after Asahi.

Asahi slumps, dejected.

Well, if it’s glory you’re after, I’ve got just the thing for you.

“Seedy old man” being a descriptor is probably still a good red light that something’s weird here.

Huh? Who are you?

The old man smiles like a lunatic.

Oh, I’m no one in particular. But I do have a job for you two.

'Course… We wouldn’t want someone else to take your glory.

When you’re ready to hear what I have to say. Come to the room next to the train platform.

Uh, what are you talking about? There’s no room by the train platform…

You’ll know it when you see it.

The old man walks toward the train platform.

There could, in fact, be harm in listening to a weird old man in a demon-infested post-apocalyptic future. But Asahi’s caught the fame and glory bug, so we’re doing this.

As the old man said, there is now a translucent door hovering in the train platform.

Okay, this totally wasn’t here before.

What will you do?

You can choose to walk away…but then you are stuck not being able to continue the main plot until you touch the door. So, of course, we must touch the door.

Whoa, hold on – is that a good idea?

Are you listening to me? Stop!

Good, you came.

Now, I’ll show you my true form.

A demon?! Here?

Asahi readies herself, but Odin remains still.

Put that away. I mean you no harm. I am Odin.

I’m simply here to guide some wayward children.

So…Odin. He’s not exactly obscure like a lot of demons in SMT, but I’d be remiss not to give him his due here. Odin the All-Father is a major god in not just the Norse pantheon, but pretty much every Germanic religion of the time. It’s probably easier to name what things he wasn’t the god of, but knowledge and runes are the two that get brought up most often in modern popular culture. He was the one who slew the primal giant Ymir to create the world, sacrificed one of his own eyes to the spring of Mimir for great wisdom, and crucified himself on the world-tree Yggdrassil for nine days. The spear in his right hand is the dwarf-forged spear Gungnir, its tip engraved with runes, and perched atop the left hand is one of his two ravens known as Huginn and Muninn.

From the most commonly used naked purple Odin to the amazing design in Soul Hackers that somehow didn’t become his standard look, Odin’s worn a lot of faces throughout the decades of MegaTen games. This latest one was created fresh for Apocalypse by Doi, and I’m a bit half and half on it, to be honest. I really like the Gungnir and raven, but at the same time I’m not 100% sold on him being entirely encased in gold armor (more like 70% sold, and would prefer if his face was uncovered or more obviously a helmet). Doi has said he intentionally wanted this Odin to have a super sentai look, though, and I can’t say he failed on that mark.

But… If you possessed real strength, perhaps you could fight alongside him.

Since your mission is the same, your strength is Flynn’s strength, is it not?

There’s a place where you can gather unimaginable strength.

Deep beneath Kanda-no-yashiro lies the Ark.

And trapped inside that Ark is a powerful demon.

I wonder what you would be capable of if you were to harness that power.

Asahi, being Asahi, is quickly lured in by all these promises of glory.

But do you think we could handle a powerful demon on our own?

A great war is at hand. Humanity will need such power to survive.

I am sure that the sealed demon will fight for the sake of mankind.

I don’t know…what do you think, Nanashi?

If we can help Flynn, help everyone…shouldn’t we try?

I know you can break the seal. Nay, I know you are the only ones who can.

With the fate of mankind in the balance, will you accept my quest?

Choosing the second option causes you to – surprise, surprise – just leave and mill around until you choose to accept, as choice is but an illusion. So, once more unto the breach for us.

Good. So you’ll accept it.

Yeah. For Flynn, Miss Isabeau… For everyone in Tokyo.

Let’s prepare you for your journey.

Nanashi receives 2,000 macca.

The Ark is west of here, deep below Kanda-no-yashiro.

Look for the old well. It will lead you beneath the shrine.

For humanity’s sake, I await your success.

Guess we’re of to Kanda-no-yashiro.

Maybe we should hit some shops and spend some of this fat stack on gear.

Since we already did spend fat stacks on gear, we’re going to head directly to Kanda-no-yashiro instead. It’s west of Ueno.

I’d be wary of that thing… Methinks it’s haunted!

Looks like the bottom of the well leads somewhere…

You descend to the bottom of the well.

Welcome to Kanda-no-yashiro, the realm of ankle-deep water, lots of Ice-aligned demons, and something else we’ll see in a moment.

That Ark thing should be around here somewhere…

Let’s keep going. This’ll all be worth it if we can be a bigger help to Flynn.

Our Frost-punching buddy Ippon-Datara’s down here, arguing with an Archangel.

It is you who must vacate. We are here under the strict orders of Lord Merkabah.

I cannot disobey these orders over the prattling of one mere demon.

Who ya callin’ “mere”? Why I oughta!

Such a vulgar little creature. I don’t know what I expected from a demon. I suppose I should just destroy you myself…

Yooouuu sonuva bitch… Shut up, idiot!

Just before the fight can escalate, another angel arrives.

I’m afraid this demon is causing quite a fuss…

The demons are none of your concern. Our instructions are to keep the crest safe.

Crests, you say? Hmm. Surely that has nothing to do with these three doors with strange locks on them.

Nothing more, nothing less. Understand?

Yes, my liege.

Then quit dawdling and get back to your post.

The angels disperse, leaving the demon alone.

Yeah, that’s what I thought! Ya betta run, ya bastards!

Realizing there’s no one left for him to yell at, the demon wanders off as well.

Did you notice that they both mentioned protecting something?

Maybe Odin wasn’t spinning us lies after all.

Must be one tough customer they’ve got locked up down here, if the angels AND the demons are guarding it.

Turns out that those three locks are in fact unlocked by specific crests. Yep, time to Resident Evil this shit.

Head down the only path you can actually access from the three lock room at this point, and eventually you’ll get a message that there is a “strong presence” coming from this cave. That means there’s a miniboss fight for a crest within.

You sure are, buddy. Archangels are the second lowest rank of angel…unless they’re one of the named ones like Michael or Uriel, in which case they are technically in the highest rank of angel, the seraphim, rather than actually archangel rank. So they’re archangels…but also not archangels. Angelology is confusing.

I have been tasked by Lord Merkabah to protect this crest.

Yep, that’s also true. Principalities, also called authorities or rulers, are the seventh highest angelic order, being the last in the “third sphere” made up of the angels, archangels, and themselves. These guys protect nations and human collectives as well as do the general dirty work of the orders above them.

I order you to leave. Failure to comply will result in the use of lethal force.

Since they have what we need, Angel Cop’s warning there isn’t gonna deter us.

You dare draw your blade on us? You have chosen poorly. I will teach you to fear the Lord.

Your foolishness will be your undoing.

And your undoing will be your penance.

This level 17 Archangel is weak to Ice and Dark and nullifies Light, with the skills Hama, Heat Wave, and Agilao (a skill Archangel normally doesn’t attain until level 19). Principality’s level 18, replaces that weakness to Ice with a weakness to Gun, and has the skills Mahama and Media.

Neither of them are particularly terrifying unless you have a team highly susceptible to Light attacks (sorry, Ippon-Datara, but I had to shelf you this time for your own good).

With new shiny stone in hand, we can take that up to the lefthand locked path and slot it in to remove the rock obstacle in our way.

Whoa, it opened up! Looks like there’s some sort of path…

Let’s go, Nanashi!

Heading down that path and into the third basement floor, we come face to face with…

Navarre urges you to stop.

Hm? What’s up, Nanashi?

'Tis poison, just like Naraku…

Be sure to have a means to cure poison.

I shudder to think what would befall you if you’re not careful.

Well thanks, Navarre, that’s a helpful respons-

It was nice while it lasted. As Navarre said, these are poison floors, everyone’s second favorite recurring SMT obstacle. Step in it, have a chance to get the Poison ailment.

C’mon, Nanashi, get a move on!

:navarre: Well, I’d suggest you take caution.

As if to say “hey, I know”, the game immediately informs us of this new smartphone app. At least a demon or two in your stock is still likely to suffer from Poison from the slog through this soup anyway, though, even with the app.

At the end of the poison hall is another miniboss cave. Standing here is Ose, one of the demons of the Ars Goetia. He takes the form of a great cat and can bestow knowledge of the sciences, transform the bodies of others without their knowledge, and inversely make someone believe they have been changed without doing so in order to create madness.

I am Ose.

By Lord Lucifer’s decree, I will murder any and all who try to take this crest.

Consider yourselves warned. Turn around and leave this place immediately.

You stay put.

I will paint my twin blades with your blood.

Ose is made of stronger stuff than his angelic counterparts. While far lower level than an Ose you can summon yourself, he is actually somewhat stronger in that he nullifies Dark rather than simply resists it as he later does as a summonable demon. He also has no weaknesses, so this is a straight up case of laying on damage rather than exploiting his Achilles heel.

He gets two moves in his turn, has two strikes on his normal attack (which also translates into his Counter), can utilize the moves Blight (weak Physical damage and a 60% chance to inflict Poison to all foes), Critical Wave, and Tetrakarn, and has Counter as a passive skill. Prep a Physical-resistant team if you have one.

Nonetheless, he’s ultimately not that much harder than the Archangel and Principality fight. My strategy was to spit Rakundas in his face, Rakukaja my own team, and then slam as many Agilaos and Ziongas in his face as I could.

Now’s probably a good time to mention this little handy facility right next to the three crest-locked passages. Returning from Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne for a surprise appearance is the Lady of the Fount (now renamed the Spirit of the Spring), a helpful healer for when you can’t be assed to hike all the way back to a bar. Unlike Hunter bars with their flat food cost, however, her price is geared toward your level; since we’re level 21, it costs 200 macca to pay her, for instance

Having freshened up after our dip in the poison pits, we can now open up the right pathway with our new crest and head downward once again.

There’s also a face wall in the way this time. It’s no more than a moment’s delay, though.

Strangely enough, the last crest sits alone, shoved in a rockface. Not a trap or anything, it’s actually just that easy.

This final orb opens the middle path, leading to this massive drop.

And at the bottom of that drop is a huge room, devoid of anything beyond a huge stone sitting gently in the very middle.

That must be the Ark Odin told us about…

Halt.

Sukuna-Hikona (“renowned small god”) is a diminutive deity of protection, healing, hot springs, and brewing of sake. His first appearance in the world was in a small bark boat and clad in the hides of geese. During the expansion of Imperial Japan, he was considered a guardian of maritime efforts, leading to multiple shrines to him being placed in lands occupied during World War II. He’s made several major appearances in the series before, including as the Persona of Naoto Shirogane in Persona 4.

This shrine is where we kunitsukami, the ancestral gods of these ands, seal away the most dangerous foreign deities.

Why have you come to this sacred place?

The plot point of the Ark is one of those pointed to by proponents of the idea that Apocalypse, like SMTIV before it, is a deeply nationalist and xenophobic piece. Assuming you o the opinion that this is correct, I can say that there are certain other quests in this game that will at least hopefully paint a deeply conflicted view of that nationalism, but unfortunately those won’t happen for a while. For now, it’s time to be honest and face our fate.

We’ve come to open the Ark.

Thought as much…

You are about to make a grave mistake.

What do you mean?

No doubt Odin’s machinations have steered you to these sacred grounds.

Others among the kunitsukami may lap up the Allfather’s lies, but I know better.

The fact that the other Japanese gods threw their support behind Odin isn’t really brought up that much, and it’s a shame as that’s one of the things that could have probably added another layer of conflict to the whole affair. This also may or may not be a reference to Shin Megami Tensei II, wherein the kunitsukami were duped by YHVH, including Sukuna-Hikona until he eventually saw he was being used.

I will put you ignorant fools in the grave before I let you usher in ruin.

I cannot address all the bad, but I can contain what’s in my immediate vicinity.

Is that his power I feel? If we’re gonna win, we need to give it our all!

Boss Battle! Sukuna-Hikona :crossed_swords:

Asahi’s right – Sukuna-Hikona is fighting to win. Unlike King Frost, this boss has multiple tricks up his sleeve, as well as multiple damage types to utilize.

Resistant to Light, Dark, and Ice, your way to start chipping away at his health is his weakness to Electricity. He’s also particularly susceptible to the Sick ailment, which you may want to inflict in case he starts wanting to use his huge Strength stat instead of his huge Magic stat.

Sukuna-Hikona’s opening move is always Rakunda. Soften 'em up before beating 'em down, as it were.

One of his mainstays as far as damage goes is Infernal Hail, which combines the damage of Mabufula with a single stage accuracy and evasion debuff.

And as the third move of his first salvo of strikes, he casts Makajam, which inflicts Mute on one party member. Mute simply means that you can’t use any skills. Assuming you have either Patra as a skill or some Patra Stone items, this isn’t nearly as bad as it could be.

Deal about 1,200 or so HP of damage to Sukuna and he will stop to implore you to cease your current course of action.

More gods will only create more confusion and chaos. And yet, you still wish to unseal the Ark?

As tempting as it is to choose that middle option, given what series this is an all, don’t. Sukuna-Hikona is himself a god, remember? This will piss him off royally and give him a free combined Tarukaja and Makakaja as he prepares to rain down the heavens on you. You can just ignore him entirely if you don’t want a benefit or drawback in this fight, but we’re going to choose the first option.

Navarre’s trust in you deepens.

So, you will challenge the gods themselves on behalf of mankind.

Your blind faith and ignorance is a horrifying show of selfishness.

I have no choice but to make you obey.

Sukuna-Hikona’s fighting spirit burns.

This option causes the aforementioned pissed off Sukuna getting his attack buff to happen, but also boosts your Partner Assist gauge by three bars. You’ll have to decide for yourself if it’s enough of a benefit to take the risk.

Either way, I’ve now royally peeved off this god, and he pulls out both of his remaining moves in his next turn after throwing a Makajam for good measure. First off is Needlestorm, which is a combination of Mazanma with a 60% chance to inflict Daze on each party member.

And second is Gram Slice, which isn’t quite so weak anymore with his boosted damage.

Unfortunately for him, while he did manage to take out my Apis, he only had two turns of going full force before all those lightning bolts to the face got to him.

Suppressing violence through power only ever breeds dissent…

Perhaps this is retribution, then, for centuries of ruling with force. It is surely…a regret.

Sukuna-Hikona is basically a second wakeup call. Just as King Frost was there to teach you that you shouldn’t take Smirk lightly, Sukuna is there to teach you to keep your eye on ailments and debuffs affecting your party. If you don’t have any demons with the appropriate buff skills, Navarre shines brightly in this fight.

C’mon, let’s get a closer look.

With the stubborn guardian of the kunitsukami fallen, our path is clear now. We must steel ourselves…to touch orb.


#29

Sidequest: Secure Transport Route

You could easily do this quest before you head to Fairy Forest, but I figured I wanted to have at least a couple of sidequests to highlight before I did any of them, so I’m a bit overleveled for it. Fortuna’s quick enough to find: she’s this red pixel demon hanging out in the small space of the Kinshicho shopping center.

Fortuna’s the Roman goddess of fate and luck, both good and ill, and daughter of Jupiter. She determines the fates of others by spinning the great wheel Rota Fortunae, the original “Wheel of Fortune”. In Kazuma Kaneko’s design, Fortuna and the Rota Fortunae are one and the same, her midsection being replaced by the fickle wheel. And speaking of fickle, she’s killing and eating the Hunters that come to fight her, which is more than a bit messed up.

In an inverse of Aniel and King Frost, the Fortuna here is actually higher level than the one you can fuse yourself, being level 13 rather than level 11. This doesn’t actually make her all that threatening, though, as all she can cast is Zan, Dia, and Makakaja.

She’s resistant to Force and weak to Ice. Throw cold shards in her face and get yourself an easy 1,500 macca.

Sidequest: Retrieve Smartphone

The second quest for this Hunter’s Notes is one to grab some smartphones.

This is a Domain, an area of linear corridors that cannot be mapped. They’re kind of annoying in that way, but they’re almost always short enough that it’s not a big problem.

The smartphones are guarded by this Itsumade Horde, a level 20 Horde. Like Fortuna, they have Makakaja, which they use to boost repeated castings of Mazan and Mudo during their three turns. Also like Fortuna, they are weak to Ice.

In Japanese mythology, the Itsumade is a vengeful human spirit-based yokai with the head of a man, the wings of a bird, and the body of a serpent, which forms over scenes of great suffering such as starvation or plague. They get their name due to their screech of “Itsumademo?” (“Until when?” or “How long?”), a question of how long the agony must continue. Luckily for these poor souls here, we can put them to rest and make a fine profit on the side.

Unlike the last quest, we have to actually deliver the smartphone to a Hunter Association bar to get our 3,500 macca reward. Still, not a hard side quest to do, so enjoy the easy money.

Wild Demon Encounters: Joto

While Asahi would prevent us from heading there before, we can now enter a new portion of the overworld, the Joto/Koto ward of Tokyo, from the south exit of the Kinshicho shopping district. While its many bridges and sandy wastes inevitably lead to a poison swamp we have no reason to cross yet, it does have some new demons waiting for us to encounter.

Here’s where we can meet regular Itsumade on their own. These level 19 Raptors are weak to Gun, Ice, and Light but resistant to Force. An Itsumade starts out with Makakaja and Mazan, learning Mudo at level 20 and Rakunda at level 21. They’re an okay support demon if you can find a way to patch up at least one or two of those widespread weaknesses.

Poltergeist in the middle is a level 19 of the Spirit race. Weak to Force and Light, Poltergeist’s starting skills are Sukunda and Tathlum Shot (our medium damage single-target Gun attack). It also learns Rapid Needle and Healing Knowhow by leveling it up to 20 and 21.

Strix packs the usual weaknesses to Gun and Electricity a lot of winged demons have, with her resistances being to Ice and Dark. She innately knows Life Drain and Mabufu, with Bouncing Claw and Tarunda joining over the next two levels of advancement.

In spite of its name, the level 20 Dragon Horde is mostly made up of members of the Snake and Nymph races, with a few Dragons (the Makaras) hanging around to give the name credence; their actual tie is that all three demons that are represented in the horde come from Hinduism. This Horde is weak to Fire, resists Electricity, and nullifies Force, ans is capable of making your encounter rather annoying with Tarunda, Dormina, Mabufu, and Head Crush.

Wild Demon Encounters: Asakusa Land

The strange little Obariyon is weak to Ice and Light, resistant to Electricity, and nullifies Dark. It has a surprisingly wide array of skill affinities, with a +1 to each of Physical, Dark, Ailment, Healing, and Support. Unfortunately, its actual skillset is far more limited if you attain one in the wild rather than through fusion, with Binding Claw and Patra at startup and Sukunda at level 19.

Resistant to Fire and Dark and weak to Ice and Light, Inugami’s primed for fire and mayhem with Fire Breath and Rakunda at start, Maragi at level 21, and Panic Voice (70% to inflict Panic on each foe) at level 22.

Wild Demon Encounters: Kanda-no-Yashiro

Down in the watery depths below Kanda Shrine, we can encounter demons such as Heqet, Mermaid, Apsaras, Preta, Ippon-Datara, Inugami, Gu Huo Niao, Obariyon, and a smattering of new faces.

Like Makara here! Weak to Fire and resistant to Ice, like many of the demons down here, this Hindu water chimera starts out with Bufu and Bufu alone. It gets Mabufu and Tarunda (reduce the attack power of all foes by a step) at level 14 and 17 respectively, but it’s still not amazing as far as demons in this area go.

Toubyou’s weak to Ice and Light, the latter being due to its nature as a possessing spirit in Japanese mythology. As befits that nest of heads, its normal attack is one to three strikes on a foe, and it starts with both Zionga and Hard Worker. It also gains Pandemic Bomb (70% chance of inflicting Sick to all foes) at level 15 and Attack Knowhow at level 16. If you don’t already have something with Zionga by this point, Toubyou’s an okay glass cannon for throwing around Electric attacks.

The solo act here is Azumi, the guardian deity of the ancient Kyushu culture of the same name. Resistant to Ice but weak to Electricity, Azumi’s starting skill is Ice Breath (one to four weak Ice damage attacks to random foes). This is augmented with Posumudi at level 20 and Mabufu at level 21.

The two happy chaps bouncing up and down near Azumi are Koppa Tengu. They’re weak to Gun and Electricity while resisting Force, and start out with Sukukaja and Zanma (our Bufula, Zionga, or Agilao equivalent for Force damage). They also get Bad Company at level 17, but I’ve already stated my opinion on the value of that skill before.

Ictinike, a trickster hero of the Lakota Sioux, glides in as the first example in a while of some new moves on a Physical-focused enemy. He starts out with Damascus Claw (one to three Medium Physical hits on a single enemy) and Fang Breaker (weak Physical damage plus a Tarunda effect on a single enemy), and leveling him up gets you Scratch Dance (the Physical equivalent of Ice Breath) at level 19 and Resist Force at level 20. While he’s resistant to Physical, he is weak to both Gun and Ice, so keep that in mind if you are preparing to have him as your big bruiser for the time being.

The level 20 Oni Horde resists both Fire and Ice, being weak to Electricity and Light. Its members can throw around Ice Breath, Critical Wave, Power Punch, and Mudo.

Peallaidh is weak to Fire and Light and resists Ice. While it was an overall beastly demon in SMTIV, its Strength has plummeted to only slightly above-average for early on in the game, with Magic being its highest stat instead. It starts out with Poison Breath and Pulinpa, then gains Mudo at level 18 and Hellish Mask (become resistant to all ailments) at level 20.

Finally, we’ve got the Pirate Horde, a level 20 Horde that comes packing the moves Axel Claw and Mazionga. These guys nullify Electricity and Ice but are weak to Fire and Force.

Fusions

Fusing Chagrin and Porewit forms Aquans. The Element race in SMTIV and Apocalypse is made up of all eight elemental designs that have existed across the MegaTen series history: both the four Paracelsan elementals and the four Dungeons and Dragons-style “humanoid blob of element” elementals like Aquans here. What makes Element demons special is that they always influence fusion by having a demon go up or down to the next higher or lower member of its race.

From Gu Huo Niao and Preta, we get Mokoi. One of the very few Australian demons in all of the series’ history and pretty much one of only two that keeps getting used these days, Mokoi is a dark spirit of Murngin aboriginal mythology. If you’re someone who uses magic for ill deeds, the mokoi will hunt you down. They’re also not picky about stealing children at night to eat, or causing general misfortune.

Fusing Inugami and Fortuna produces Bifrons. Taking his name from an alternative title for the Roman god Janus, Bifrons is a Goetic demon with the knowledge of plants and minerals, moving corpses, and lighting graves.

Shan Xiao and Ippon-Datara form Take-Minakata. This Shinto deity is the son of Okuninushi and god of crops, hunting, and war. In the legend of how the kunitsukami (gods of the land) gave up the world to the amatsukami (gods of the heaven), Take-Minakata engaged in a sumo wrestling contest with the amatsukami Take-Mikazuchi. Take-Mikazuchi proceeded to effortlessly crush Take-Minakata’s arms, leading to him begging to life and exiling himself to what is now Nagano prefecture.

Shan Xiao and Mokoi are put together to make Jack Frost. You know him, you love him, he’s everyone’s favorite mascot. Hee-ho! As an anthropomorphic personification of the cold, Jack Frost takes many forms, with the small trickster sprite of Victorian England being the one that has the most direct connection to our beloved little Jack.

Agathion and Inugami make Apis. Apis was a god (usually either Osiris or Ptah) that took a sacred bull in the mortal realm as a vessel. When a sacred bull died, it was mummified and entombed in a giant marble sarcophagus placed within a great palace at the necropolis of Saqqara.

And then a special random event surprise! Sirens blare and red lights flash in the fusion chamber as you get a Fusion Accident, a rare random event that creates a random demon rather than the one you planned on fusing. On top of sometimes creating a demon a higher level then you could actually fuse, this is the only way to get any non-special demons in three whole races: Undead, Famed, and Zealot.

…Unfortunately, it was just an Azumi this time, a demon we can already fuse or recruit at our leisure. Oh well, c’est la vie.

Another atypical fusion method we now have relevant reasons to discuss is special fusion. Special fusion demons require a specific “recipe” of demons to fuse, which can be anywhere from the regular two demons up to four. The only one we can actually see the image of at the moment, courtesy of having her entire “recipe”, is Ame-no-Uzume.

She’s a special fusion that requires Napaea and Kabuso. Ame-no-Uzume’s a goddess of celebration, merriment, and the dawn of a new day. In her most famous legend, she helped find the missing goddess Amaterasu by tricking her from her hiding spot via a combination of dance and strip show used to amuse the other gods enough to pique Amaterasu’s curiosity about just what was going on.


#30

Ah dang, we’ve already managed to kill a god. It feels like it was just yesterday that a horse peacock man murdered the hell out of Nanashi and almost everyone else around him.


#31

We now continue our regularly-scheduled touch orb program.

This must be the Ark, right?

You’ve done well to make it here and defeat the guardian of the Ark, human.

Odin suddenly appears in front of you.

Odin applauds your efforts.

It feels like those action annotations should have come before Odin’s text box, but maybe that’s just me.

LORD Dagda?

All you need to do to break the seal is to touch the stone.

That is, if you truly intend to save Tokyo.

Only a human can break the seal. Now…finish your mission.

Asahi steps back from Odin’s oppressive presence.

A bit too late for that. We’ve already started the quest, went through key cave, and axed a tiny god.

Quickly! Break the seal!

Wait! Let’s think this through!

Will you allow all your efforts to be for naught? Destroy the seal!

Since you probably know what I’m going to say here about choices, I’ll just pick No because of what happens in this case.

Dagda seizes control of your body and forces you to reach toward the sphere.

What the? Is the Ark…the floor?

Yes. This is all part of the Ark.

You feel a weighty presence stirring beneath you, reacting to the light.

The presence coalesces inside the sphere.

Dagda, Odin…

I have you to thank for my freedom.

Krishna is one of the incarnations of Vishnu, making a starring role in the Bhagavad Gita and Bhagavata Purana as well as generally being a big deal in multiple sects of Hinduism. He also appears in other Indian religions such as Buddhism, Jainism, and Ahmadi Islam, the Persian Bahai’i religion, and even Victorian occultism. Krishna is usually portrayed as a youthful man with either blue or black skin who holds a flute. Apocalypse’s Krishna has the skin of a normal human being and has made some questionable clothing piece choices (dig the colors and peacock feather, though), but he nonetheless always keeps that flute at the ready and could probably be recognizable as Krishna even without much more context.

While Vishnu himself was a demon you could fuse in SMTIV, he isn’t in Apocalypse, presumably because of Krishna’s presence. …Or so I would say if it wasn’t for the fact that Rama, one of the other incarnations of Vishnu, is also a demon in Apocalypse.

The stage is set…

The threads of destiny have been undone.

I decree to all the gods of the Divine Powers, that the time for Salvation has come!

Krishna gestures to Odin, and Odin turns to Nanashi.

You have performed admirably. Take your reward.

Odin gives us 10,000 macca and 7,193 experience points. Not a bad prize for doing something that will probably screw us all over in the end.

Wait, what do you want with Flynn?!

Child. Fear not. I am not your enemy.

Believe in me, and I shall grant you salvation.

Yes… But to do so, Flynn must submit to our cause.

What do you mean, “submit to your cause”?

Farewell, Dagda. May our paths cross again.

By the by, this is the point where the timelines of SMTIV and Apocalypse diverge, according to the writers. In IV, the Divine Powers were never unsealed, and thus Flynn was able to complete his Law/Chaos/Neutral mission, but we just tore up the script by loosing Krishna and company onto the world.

Kid, things are about to get real interesting real fast. Be ready.

Nanashi, you owe me an explanation! Who are you, and what shall become of Flynn?

I fear I may have chosen poorly who to possess…

This is bad, Nanashi. They played us. Big time.

What we’ve done… I just wanted to make a name for myself as a Hunter. Not this…

Neutral Good Boy run dictates we actually care for the emotional well-being of our sisterfriend, rather than be an edgy teen who’s too hip to comfort anyone.

You gently lay a hand on Asahi’s shoulder.

Yeah… You’re right. This isn’t the time.

They said Flynn was going to Ginza, right?

We need to beat them there! Warn Flynn!

The previously under-construction bridge between the Ueno and Joto regions is now open, allowing us to avoid having to go through the Kinshicho shopping district every time we want to head down that way.

Oh, and those pink areas on the map between Kinshicho and Ginza are poison swamps. Have fun!

One trip through that uninteresting downward corridor later, and we’re in the underground district for Ginza.

We made it. I called the Association for backup, just in case.

But we can’t just wait around for them. Let’s go find Flynn!

If we try to head out of Ginza’s top entrance, this guy gives us a shpiel about all the reasons we can’t head to the temple up that way.

Instead, we’ve got to head over to this exit if we want to make any progress.

Heading through said exit, we end up right back at Masakado’s big rock, where we began this journey. And suddenly…

Let’s go, Akira…

…Is that Flynn? HEEEY! FLYNN!

Asahi runs toward Flynn and Isabeau, waving her arms.

Flynn raises a long sword toward the boulder before him.

He wraps his fingers around the hilt and slowly draws the blade.

…?!

One of the demons, possessing an air of authority about him, steps forward.

Greetings, Flynn. I am Krishna, of the Divine Powers.

The Divine Powers have but one goal: the salvation of the entire world.

What do you mean, “salvation”?

I serve neither Lucifer nor Merkabah. My salvation is for the good of humanity.

So, there are demons that have decided not to side with Lucifer or Merkabah, and you speak for them?

A word of advice: if you are trying not to sound ominous, you probably shouldn’t do this kind of laugh.

This world is ruled by a “creator” who has no qualms declaring himself the one true god.

It was he who sealed humans in cages of flesh and trapped them in this universe, bound by words.

We are all merely pawns to the Creator.

Such insolence will not be forgiven. He will die for it.

The Kalki is the final avatar of Vishnu, said to come at the end of each Kali Yuga (“Age of Discord”). He rides atop a white horse and wields a flaming sword (shades of Book of Revelation, there), ending the Kali Yuga and ushering in the Satya Yuga (“Age of Truth”), a time of blissful righteousness, full adherence to the Hindu virtues, and rule by the divine. What Krishna doesn’t mention is what that involves – namely, killing a whole ton of people and sending their souls back into the cycle. Guess he thought Flynn might have had a bit of a problem with that part of the job description.

Join me and bring salvation.

And if I refuse?

Then your impudence will be met by force.

A bolt of lightning flashes from Odin’s spear.

Pity for the child, though…

Let me go!

Don’t move. The girl’s life is in your hands now.

…!

The demon restrains Asahi effortlessly.

I am Maitreya of the Divine Powers.

Maitreya Buddha is the successor of Gautama Buddha in the cycle of Buddhas, said to come in the fallen age when humanity has forgotten the ways of dharma and given into their sins, re-enlightening the populace and leading them into a new holy age. So, you know, not a guy particularly prone to putting a teenage girl in a chokehold. He’s also not the portly Buddha either, but the flaw of not matching the mythology in the design could be leveled at Dagda and Danu too. Funny enough, all three have early concept art that Doi made that follow the mythology way more closely (check these Dagda, Danu, and Maitreya designs to get what I mean), and we can only guess at what led to their rejection.

No. Tsukiji Konganji is now under the control of the Divine Powers.

Wonderful… Now, will my Kalki join us?

Oh, he will.

He won’t just let the child die…

Argh…

Flynn drops his weapon.

Odin releases another bolt of lightning.

Hm… He’s a tough one.

Odin repeats his casting of his lightning three or four more times. He’s definitely not a fan of dodge mechanics in games, given he’s gotten this worked up over them.

Black smoke rises from Flynn’s body.

Flynn!

Flynn! No! This is all my fault…

Quiet, girl!

Agh!

Maitreya tightens his grip, preventing Asahi from speaking.

Don’t make me kill you for nothing.

Isabeau grits her teeth, fighting back the urge to spring to action.

The actions of the Divine Powers here are another one of those points where I kind of waver in my positive feelings towards Apocalypse. While Odin’s temper tantrum is a bit overboard, I can still see felling a foe being a logical course of action for a warrior god, and Krishna’s just doing what he thinks is right for to rehabilitate humanity back into the cycle of reincarnation and Yugas after the Abrahamic God put a kibosh on those things. Maitreya, though…ehhhhh. It seems like it would have been better served to have one of the kunitsukami as Krishna’s bulky bruiser. Or Titan. Titan was in that group shot of the Divine Powers, why not let him do it?

This isn’t to say that mythological accuracy is a 100% pure and just thing that must adhere to at all times (after all, Shin Megami Tensei the original had Thor working hand in hand with YHVH, and the power levels of different demons are all over the place in ways that can let you end up with ogres and trolls stronger than creator gods and other such wonkiness), just that Maitreya in general seems like a really weird choice even under a broad framework, and it’s one of the places where the “SMTIV and Apocalypse ruined the MegaTen franchise!” folks and myself actually have our thoughts align.

If you guess that Dagda doesn’t let you carry out the former option, you’d be correct. Nanashi has his legs give out under him, and Dagda replies with…

Let’s just watch this play out.

Of course, this time he happens to be correct in having a level head prevail. The time to fulfill the thread’s title is still yet to come.

Krishna extends his left hand, and Flynn’s body is drawn to him.

Kalki is with us now. Release the girl.

as you wish.

Maitreya drops Asahi. She runs toward you.

Still shaken, however, her legs give out under her after a few steps.

Asahi, was it? Are you hurt?

Isabeau catches Asahi as she falls.

Krishna smiles a wicked smile.

That’s Flynn!

What’s that damn demon think he’s doing?!

Flynn!

The Hunters call out to Flynn, but he remains unresponsive.

The newly arrived Hunters use their smartphones to call for more backup.

Help’s on the way. We’ve got your back.

Like hell we’re just gonna let you walk out of here with our Liberator!

Salvation my ass! Back off!

You wanna save us? How about you kill Merkabah and Lucifer!

And then things quickly erupt into action without warning.

A great storm…

And a huge snake…

A huge, angry snake, at that.

Shesha…

Meet Shesha, who is going to be a pain in the ass for a while to come. Also known as Ananta or Sheshanaga, he is lord of all nagas and the primordial serpent upon whom both Vishnu and all the planets rest. When the world ends and is remade, Shesha nonetheless remains, eternal and unyielding. His original design in the MegaTen series is a pretty simple multi-headed cobra akin to traditional Hindu artwork of him, but here he has become a gigantic lion-maned fiery serpent.

I am your light!

Oh, and he cracked the Firmament, leading to the first sunlight in Tokyo since before the protagonists were even born. I guess that’s important too. Interestingly enough, while he doesn’t really have them present that often in the subtitles, Krishna talks like he’d have more ellipses in his sentences than any other character. His voice actor has a very Shatnerian presentation, I’d say.

Look at that!

There’s a hole in the Ceiling…

That light… Is it…

I can see the sky…

You mean, that’s the sky?

Flynn shall be joining me.

If you wish to see the true light, come to Tsukiji Konganji.

When the full moon rises, we shall lead you to a new universe.

Join us. I’ll be waiting.

The air around Shesha twists and distorts as a spatial rift forms.

The great serpent – along with Flynn and the Divine Powers – vanishes through the rift.

Isabeau picks up Masakado’s Katana.

Flynn…

So, to recap: we let out even more gods bent on bringing forth a final apocalypse, got Flynn roasted and captured, and had Asahi nearly die by a Buddha chokeslam. Good work, team!

Oh, and while there were were a few new demons we could have encountered in the brief moment of gameplay before the cutscene mania, but the number was low enough that I’m going to roll them into next Hunter’s Notes, so no notes for this update.


#32

Well. That happened!


#33

I can’t believe we just fanfic’d Flynn.


#34

Skipping to the start of the next day, the ominous faded moon reminds us that humanity has been given a new deadline after decades of gridlock between the powers of Heaven and Hell.

Right now, Tokyo is split between Lucifer, Merkabah, and the Divine Powers.

Each of them have established bases throughout the city.

Lucifer has control of Camp Ichigaya, Shinjuku, and Shibuya.

Merkabah controls the Sky Tower, Kinshicho, Ueno, and Ikebukuro.

Based on their territories, it may look like they have equal influence.

But Shesha’s presence has tilted the conflict in favor of the Divine Powers.

It’s impossible for any one side to engage them without leaving themselves open to Shesha.

Since we can’t track Shesha, we have to stay on the defensive.

I’m sorry to say we do not yet have an effective method of fighting Shesha.

The Hunters mutter amongst themselves

We’re like sitting ducks to that snake thing!

Damnit! How much more shit can go down in Tokyo?

I say we side with the Divine Powers and save our own asses.

And with Flynn gone, I can definitely see the appeal of their boasts.

But we have no reason to believe that they are actually on our side.

And I refuse to trust a group that would kidnap Flynn.

Krishna’s selling us the same crap the demons always have.

What we need to do now is band together and save Flynn. It’s our only chance.

Our first order of business is to make sure that each city is well-supplied.

Tokyo has never been more dangerous. Good luck.

“Good luck”, he says. I don’t know about you, but I say we side with someone.

What else can we do, without Flynn?

I don’t want to die…

What happens now? What should we do?

The humans are being played like chess pieces at the mercy of greater beings.

Wake up and smell the chaos, kid. This is true nature of gods and demons.

Human oppression is the only thing that interests them.

I mean, we already knew that, but sure.

Asahi, Nanashi. Come here a sec.

We get a handful of supplies to deliver to Shinjuku, and Asahi and Boss once again have the same squabble about calling him “Dad” at work. Meanwhile, Navarre is far less enthused with the whole situation:

You nod.

For once, a sensible idea from someone who isn’t me!

I don’t think so. You’ve got a lot of work ahead of you, kid…

And you’re going to learn firsthand just how pathetic gods, demons, and humans are.

Remember one thing, my Godslayer. You have no choice but to obey me.

_Hey, I didn’t say we wouldn’t fight it, just that it would be tough at this point. Jeeze, Dagda. _

For now, just fight against the Divine Powers with the other humans.

Earth to Nanashi! Let’s go!

As you can see, talking to the NPCs of Kinshicho doesn’t reveal a great outlook right now. We single-handedly managed to unleash a force that knocked the wind out of the sails of optimism, dashing the hopes of all those people who saw an end to this conflict in Flynn’s presence.

And then there’s this lady. Moving swiftly onward…

Do not venture out unnecessarily.

Heading up to Kinshi Park, we find that Fujiwara’s intel is indeed correct, and Merkabah has fully taken over the region around Kinshicho. The angels seem content for now to ignore the humans in the underground as long as they aren’t being a hindrance to their plans, but who knows how long that kettle will stay unboiled.

The bridge over to the Chiyoda region is also now open, allowing us to head towards our destination.

If we attempt to take the easy route to Shinjuku, through Sendagaya Tunnel, this asshole and his Dantalian buddy tell us off. This means we’ll have to take the long was around.

And, of course, the long way around has yet more poison swamp.

Eventually, though, we get there. Welcome to Shinjuku, home of lots more small poison ponds lining the streets, general largeness of area, and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building.

Gh-gh-ghost!

This rather strange event happens to us as soon as we enter Shinjuku. And it gets even stranger.

A man in a wheelchair appears.

Hello there.

Who are you?

Stephen/Steven is a major player across the Shin Megami Tensei series. He is a wheelchair-bound genius, with his name totally not being related to Stephen Hawking whatsoever, totally not you guys. In the first SMT, he was the inventor of both the Terminal system and the Demon Summoning Program. He would later appear in multiple entries across the series, including the precursor to the game we are LPing right now. According to this game’s director, Kazuyuki Yamai, all of these Stephens are in fact the same Stephen that first appeared in Shin Megami Tensei for the Super Famicom, having become an Ascended Master capable of transferring himself across time, space, and different universes. Saint Germain and Mido are stated to have similarly become members of this group of ascended beings.

The girl’s taken an interest in you. The fate of the future must be in your hands.

What in the world does he mean?

You’ll know soon enough.

What?!

Stephen smiles at you.

They will try to coerce, cajole, and deceive you into doing their bidding.

They may come to you as humans or as illusions.

Will you give into temptation? Or will you choose your own path?

Our own path? What are you talking about?

If you wish to walk the neutral path, I will lend you a hand.

Stephen grins, as if he knows what you are thinking.

The serpent has already devoured many humans, body and soul.

Good luck. I’m counting on you to make the right choice…

Stephen leaves.

Who the heck was that guy?

Immediately after Stephen disappears, we learn what he meant by “the serpent has already devoured many humans”: it’s already on the move.

Asahi checks her phone.

Shesha’s in Shinjuku! They’re calling all nearby Hunters to fight it.

It’s at the Metropolitan Government Office, just through the underground.

We gotta hurry!

Heading down into the underground, we find that it’s almost fully empty. No vendors, no civilians, just bloodstains, corpses, and demons (these are the same ones you find aboveground in Shinjuku, so don’t worry about missing any).

Like the man in the wheelchair said, everyone’s been eaten by Shesha.

Heh… This is only the beginning.

Let’s keep going. We need to put an end to Shesha as soon as possible.

The one exception to the emptiness is the Hunter bar, where you can drop off the supplies to get a quick 9,000 or so experience points and 6,000 macca before heading to face down the great serpent.

There are multiple exits to the Shinjuku undergrund, but the one we need is the upper left one, wherein there are some office buildings before the government plaza. You get a handy warning that “you sense the presence of a strong demon ahead”.

And as soon as you enter the area, you can see why. Shesha, big and bright, wrapped around the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. He may be sleeping at the moment, but that won’t last long.

It’s even bigger than I remember…

We take this thing down, no one will question our Hunter cred.

We have to do this, Nanashi!

Nrgh! I am opposed to this!

Once you get right at Shesha’s feet, there’s no turning back. He’s awake, he knows we’re here, and the boss fight is on.

Waaaaah! Hurry! Kill it, kill it now!

Shesha gets the first move every time, showing off its moves right off the bat. It has four turn icons per turn, but wastes the first two by glaring at you and then slowly shifting its bulk around. It then actually proceeds to make a regular Physical attack, like so (in this case, munching on Navarre).

It can also utilize Seismic Yawn, which basically lets it use its normal Physical attack on all foes at once. It was strong enough to nearly kill my Mou-Ryou and Pyro Jack, and thanks to being a critical hit it also gave Shesha a Smirk to finish off the latter of my party members in another bite.

Hit it back, and you both deal barely any damage and get this message from Asahi. The reason? Shesha is resistant to all damage types. Yes, even that one.

So, it was you who kept the serpent at bay. Good.

Are you here to…save us?

I can’t tell if all the angels addressing themselves in this same manner is intentional or just hilariously apt.

I have come to defeat the serpent in the name of Lord Merkabah.

A demon sneaks up behind you.

What now? Wait – you!

I am Adramelech, loyal servant and sworn knight of the Demon Lord Lucifer.

It would seem we’re all here for the same reason.

While it pains me to say it, we might stand a better chance if we…cooperate.

While Asahi’s rightfully enraged, we are in fact going to have to team up with these assholes tohave any chance of hurting Shesha.

Why do I need your forgiveness? We can settle things after this.

But for now, we really ought to focus on skinning that snake.

Asahi clenches her fists so angrily the whites of her knuckles show.

She turns back toward Shesha.

Fine. Shesha first. We can’t lose, Nanashi.

You basically continue the fight as normal, with a few slaps being thrown in by Adramelech and the Power.

And then, out of nowhere, Shesha instantly heals what little damage we did to it, slithers up into a spatial rift, and vanishes. Remember when I said it would be a while before we had an intentionally unfair boss fight again? Well, that’s because I honestly misremembered this fight as being a cutscene. It’s that brief and uninteresting.

How inconvenient…

Damn… It got away.

Shesha’s presence vanishes. You have successfully driven him off.

Uninteresting though it may be, we do at least get a good chunk of experience and macca from poking Shesha with a stick for a few turns.

Adramelech sighs and drops his guard.

Lord Lucifer only tasked me with defeating that slithering menace…

Fighting you, too, would be a waste. Besides, I’m not even peckish.

If that winged nitwit is finished here, I shall take flight myself.

Our mission was Shesha, and Shesha alone.

You may safely leave, so long as you stay out of our way.

Hold on! You said we could finish this!

What?!

Did you think you could take a demon at their word? So adorable… Haaahahahaa!

Adramelech dances off into the darkness.

Power also departs.

…!

Asahi grinds down on her teeth angrily.

You ought to return home and rest up before we make our next move.

In spite of our impotence against Shesha, Dagda congratulates us, at least. And rest we shall, given that we have no other option to advance the story.


#35

Wild Demon Encounters: Konganji Passage

A small area between the poison swamps and Ginza, literally a single corridor. Nonetheless, it has some wild demons we haven’t seen on top of all the stuff you’d see wild in Joto.

Nagas, the serpent-people of Hindu lore, are here and ready to smash some faces in with their high Strength. Fire, Force, and Dark are its weaknesses, while it resists Ice and Electricity. Starting moves are Head Crush and Bufula, with Tarukaja and Fatal Sword coming at levels 20 and 21.

Zombie Cop is our first encounter with the Undead race. He’s also the first demon we’ve encountered we straight-up can’t recruit…yet, at least. He’s weak to Fire and Light, nullifies Dark, and starts out with the skills Cough and Rapid Needle. He can also learn Panic Voice at level 18.

The Japanese warrior god Momunofu’s resistant to both Physical and Gun damage, but is weak to Force and is easily susceptible to all ailments except Dizzy. His innate skills are Charge and Oni Kagura. Upon leveling up to levels 26 and 27 respectively, he gains Heat Wave and Light Life Aid.

Tangata Manu on the right is the sole representative of the mythology of the Rapa Nui people of Easter Island in the mainstream MegaTen series, though Moai do appear in the chibi spinoff Devil Children/DemiKids. It’s weak to Gun, Electricity, and Dark and resistant to Force. It innately knows the skills Makakaja and Dream Needle, further gaining Mazan at level 23 and Force Pleroma at level 24.

Patrimpas, the pasty guy with the grass for hair, is a purported Prussian god of plants, water, and serpents, though everything about him’s sketchy due to pretty much the only reports of him came from conquering Teutonic Knights and their clergy. Weak to Dark and Fire but resistant to Ice and Force, he starts off with the skills Diarama and Wind Breath, further learning the skills Tetraja (nullify the next Dark or Light attack on all allies) at level 21 and Recarm (resurrect a dead ally with half their HP restored) at level 22.

Shikome, or Yomotsu Shikome, is one of the monstrous denizens of the land of Yomi. Her resistances are to Dark and Gun, with weakness to Fire and Light. She starts out with Stun Needles as her only skill, attaining Rapid Needle at level 24 and Tarunda at level 25.

The famous Latin American cryptid Chupacabra (properly El Chupacabras, but popular nomenclature has long taken over there) hops in as a level 21 member of the Food race. It is weak to both Gun and Electricity, starts out with Sukukaja and Life Drain, and learns Dormina at level 22 and Frenzied Chomp (weak Physical damage to one foe that can inflict one or more of Bind, Charm, and Poison) at level 23.

Wild Demon Encounters: Chiyoda and Shinjuku Regions (Overworld)

Another in the litany of “some asshole who became a demon” demons that make up a lot of the Foul race these days, Tattooed Man is a demonic yakuza and level 27 Foul. Weak to Gun and Dark, he’s one of several Physical-oriented demons in this area, starting out with Fatal Sword (Medium physical to one foe) and Taunt (all foes have their Defense decreased two steps but their Attack increased two steps). He gains Heat Wave at level 28 and Counter at levl 29 as well.

A creepy women-abducting monkey of Chinese folklore, Jueyuan on the right is a level 26 Wilder and has a resistance to Fire offset with a weakness to Force. It starts out with Poison Claw and Agilao, and learns the move Posumudi by leveling up once.

Knocker’s a good old British fairy whose name comes from its habit of knocking on mine walls to warn miners of cave-ins. It’s weak to Electricity and resistant to Force, with the innate skills Rakukaja and Zanma. It also learns Magaon at level 18 if you are still needing that skill in your pool of resources.

Camazotz, the legendary death bat that guards the Mayan underworld, is here in triplicate to stand against us. If you guessed from its status as a flying demon that it is weak to Gun, you’d be right once again; it’s also weak to Electricity and Light, with no resistances beyond not being susceptible to Sick. Camazotz starts off with Tetanus Cut and Life Drain, learning Frenzied Chomp at level 26 and Axel Claw at level 27.

Hee-holy moly, it’s the Jack Union! A force of numerous Jack Frosts, Jack the Rippers, and Pyro Jacks, this horde has no weaknesses whatsoever and can slam into you hard with a +3 affiliated Tetanus Cut, +3 Bufula, or mighty +6 Agilao with Fire Pleroma and Ice Pleroma as passives on top of those affiliations! Hit these terrible tricksters with the strongest multi-target attacks you’ve got to take them down before they take you down.

Frantically darting about its side of the screen constantly, Quicksilver is supposedly an archaic term for a female poltegeist according to the game’s own description, but I’ve never found any corroborating evidence that it is anything of the sort, so this may be a SMT original demon. This jittery phantasm is weak to Force and Light and resists Elecitricity and Gun. It only has two skills as a wild demon, starting out with Mazio and gaining Shock (the Electric equivalent of Wind Breath/Frost Breath/etc.) at level 26.

Lham Dearg, also called Ly Erg, is a rather violent Gaelic ghost (or fairy, depending on what source you ask) whose right hand is red with the blood of those he has slain. It is said that those who accept Lham Dearg’s challenge to face him in combat die fourteen days later, but fortunately we don’t have to worry about that in MegaTen games. He’s yet another heavily Physical-leaning demon in this area, having the starting skills Power Punch and Critical Wave, then learning Light Lif Aid at level 24. His resistance to Physical is offset by a weakness to both Ice and Gun.

Wild Demon Encounters: Shinjuku

This weird elephant-hairball is Nozuchi. Believe it or not, it’s supposed to be a snake yokai, described as being a fat, mallet-shaped, fur-covered serpent with no defining features beyond a gaping maw (its design from Soul Hackers hems closer to the lore, but that was forgotten in the mists of time like multiple other redesigns of classic demons that game gave us). It has wide array of resistances and weaknesses, being resistant to Physica, Ice, and Electric but weak to Fire, Force, and Dark. It starts out with Rakukaja and Mazio, then gains Resist Fire at level 24 and Critical Wave at level 25.

The level 24 Dead Horde is one of those enemies that can be quite dangerous if you leave them unchecked, being capable of utilizing Agilao, Critical Wave, and Mamudo. While they nullify Fire and Dark, they are weak to Ice, Force, and Light, so throw any of those at them and you should be okay.

Incubus (and his massive heart-patterned codpiece) graces us with his presence once again, though he’s small enough that the selection cursor kind of covers most of his sprite. He’s weak to Gun and Electricity and resistant to Force. Marin Karin and Dream Needle are Incubus’s starting skills, followed up by Zanma at level 24 and Force Pleroma (Force attacks are 25% stronger) at level 25.

One of the creepier members of the (admittedly tiny in number) Vermin race, Ubu is the Japanese spirit of an unburied infant that takes the form of a spider-like monstrosity. It’s resistant to Gun and weak to Force and Light, starts out with Toxic Sting and Tetanus Cut, and learns Stun Needle and Rapid Needle at levels 22 and 23 respectively.

Kwancha, the cyclopean skeleton in between two Ubus, is a Nepali disease demon. Its only damage modifier is a weakness to Force, and its moves are Poison Claw and Bind Voice (45% chance of inflicting Bind on all foes) innately, Pandemic Bomb at level 23, and Mahama at level 24.

Night Stalker was once a demon worshiper and practitioner of human sacrifice, and has now transformed into a demon himself. While his name brings to mind real world murderers such as the Phantom Killer of Texarkana, he is nothing less than the literal embodiment of the Satanic Ritual Abuse paranoia of the '80s and '90s. He’s weak to Light and has very few skills, innately learning Damascus Claw and Dormina and then learning Attack Knowhow upon one level up.

A type of wandering Japanese ghost that has failed to attain its ticket into the afterlife, Mou-Ryo’s the first demon in a while we’ve seen that actually nullifies a type of damage, in this case nulling Dark and being weak to Light. Its skills are Mudo and Spirit Drain from the Start, Pulinpa at level 25, and Resist Elec at level 26.

You probably know Baphomet, he of the supposed Templar and Freemason worship. Depending on who you ask, he was either a wholesale invention of those who wished to knock off the Templars or a demonization of the prophet Mohammed as an accusation that Templars were “going native” in the Middle East. Like Mou-Ryo, he nullifies Dark and is weak to Light. His innate skills are Mamudo and Spirit Drain; leveling him up one level gets you Dark Pleroma, while leveling him up two levels grants you Sabbatma. He’s also a choice demon for fusing various elemental skills onto, as his Magic stat is through the roof for this point in the game.

Another Goetic demon, Halphas is said to be a master of weaponry. Unfortunately, he’s got a lot working against him, with a weakness to Gun, Force, and Light that is only slightly offset by a resistance to Dark. His starter skills are Tarukaja and Heat Wave, followed by Rakukaja at level 25 and Fatal Sword at level 26.

Fusions

Take-Minakata and Apis are fused together to make Pyro Jack. This guy’s been known variably as Pyro Jack or Jack o’ Lantern across the series, with the latter being reinstated in Persona 5 and also being more correct as far as real world terminology goes. Those two level-up skills down bottom are Mana Gain at level 26 and Fire Pleroma at level 27.

Mythology-wise, Jack o’ Lantern is an Irish legend of a drunkard, deceiver, and general asshole named Jack. He managed to trick Satan out of getting his soul, but was too sinful to enter Heaven, and thus wanders the earth as a damned soul unable to enter either afterlife, waving a lantern burning with an ember of Hell. There are various minor variations on the tale across Europe and North America.

Ictinike and Naga make Kamapua’a. This porker’s normally weak to Force, but thankfully that Resist Force from Ictinike fixed that right up. Leveling him up further will get us Posumudi at level 24 and Tarunda at level 25.

A demigod from Hawaiian mythology, Kamapua’a is a pig man (or sometimes a triggerfish, since he is a shapeshifter like many Hawaiian demigods) whose great snout can carve valleys in the earth; his powers over weather (via his sister, a cloud spirit) also allow him to turn the volatile flames of the volcano goddess Pele into verdant new land for life to take root in. He’s also a huge horndog, having raunchy affairs with everyone from the wife of a Tahitian giant he slew to Pele herself.

From Naga and Shan Xiao, we get Bai Suzhen. She normally gets Makakaja at level 22, but inherited it from Naga. Her other still unlearned skill is Me Patra, gained at level 23.

Bai Suzhen, or Madame White Snake, is a Chinese snake spirit capable of taking human form. She either acts as a temptress or genuinely falls in love with a human man, depending on the telling of the tale.

Finally, fusing Toubyou and Momunofu, we get ourselves a Gucumatz. He has a whopping three skills he still hasn’t learned: Wind Breath at level 28, Ice Breath at level 29, and Media at level 30.

Gucumatz, or Ququmatz, is one of the Mesoamerican feathered serpent gods, being the Quiche Mayan equivalent to the Aztecs’ Quetzalcoatl and Yucatec Mayans’ Kukulkan. Like Quetzalcoatl, his name is a variant upon local terms for the resplendant quetzal, a vibrant green and red bird with trailing tail feathers in the male. Gucumatz ferried the sun across the sky, controlled the weather and water, and forged the first humans from maize.


#36

It’s a good thing these demons don’t give a damn about humans, because I’m fairly certain Asahi would have gotten the party killed ten times over with how frequently she insults them. I get she’s impatient, but most of these guys have been strong enough to probably (or definitely, in Adramelech’s case,) one shot Nanashi.


#37

It’s very much worth mentioning that the “music” you hear when you fight Shesha is rather unnerving. Also the Tattooed Man’s tattoo is really good.


#38

Shesha indeed has a wonderfully ominous theme. So do the Divine Powers themselves, for that matter.

Fair warning: since those are YouTube links, spoilers will probably pop up somewhere or another.


#39

The moon has started its journey towards full, hastening our deadline.

Come on… Get up, Nanashi.

Hey, you awake?

Another day, another sleep cut short by Asahi.

And another emergency meeting means another trip to the Kinshicho Hunter’s Association outlet immediately.

For the last time… I’m “Boss” at work.

I’m starting to sound like a broken record. Can you get it through her head, Nanashi?

Enough already, Dad. Geez…

You look at the monitor.

As you do, you catch Asahi’s dad shaking his head in exasperation.

Thank god for that interruption preventing this argument from happening yet again so soon.

This is a critical moment for us.

Tokyo is torn between Lucifer, Merkabah, and the Divine Powers.

Right now they’re all biding their time, waiting for a moment of weakness.

Someone’s going to blink, and when that happens, the results will be devastating.

Our top priority during all of this is to rescue Flynn as quickly as possible.

Therefore, we’ve agreed to hold a conference with the angels and demons.

Players of Shin Megami Tensei IV will recognize the other characters present at the conference call. Also, wow, Skins is tall.

Miss Isabeau! She looks like a pro even in a place like that. So cool…

Keep in mind, right now, we speak for all that’s left of humanity.

The Ashura-kai and the Ring of Gaea are currently out of commission and unable to participate.

So it’s up to the Hunters to take responsibility for whatever is agreed on here.

Temper, temper, demon king.

I believe introductions are in order, are they not?

I think Isabeau is in the best position to introduce you two.

However, when we arrived in Tokyo, we weren’t alone.

These men were formerly Samurai, just like Flynn. Their names were Walter and Jonathan.

One chose to side with demons, and the other, angels. They perished to become Lucifer and Merkabah.

“Become” is a bit of a strong weird here. More they were conduits for the two to fully materialize. Nothing is really left of Jonathan or Walter beyond their meatsuits being worn by the two alignment leaders.

Wait, those monsters used to fight alongside Flynn?

Is everyone from the Ceiling a lunatic?

It’s true. The humans you once knew are gone.

The first of the two to make themselves manifest in full is Merkabah, he of the confusingly ornate design and nipple pasties. Merkabah is a Hebrew word meaning “chariot”, and in this context is referring to the Merkabah of the Book of Ezekiel, the great chariot of the Lord. Its layout is angels all the way down: below God are Seraphim, which control the movements of four-faced Cherubim, which in turn control the movements of the wheeled angels known as Ophanim or Thrones. While all three of these angels do exist in SMTIV and Apocalypse, just like all the other of the nine ranks of angel, Merkabah in these games was formed by the four archangels Gabriel, Michael, Raphael, and Uriel fusing together while Jonathan acted as a central sacrifice.

I have no desire to play games. State your terms, demon.

This is one hell of a conference…

You can say that again.

And opposite of Merkabah is, of course, Lucifer, the big boss of Chaos. You probably know him already. He’s the Morning Star, the Great Deceiver, the general gadfly nipping at God’s heels in most modern interpretations of Christianity. The Book of Revelation refers to a war in Heaven, wherein “the great dragon […] called the Devil, and Satan” rebels against God and gets his ass handed to him by Michael and cast down to the earth, as well as a piece in the Book of Isaiah wherein “the morning star” (most likely the literal morning star, the planet Venus) falls from the heavens as a metaphor for the prophesied fall of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. The idea of the fallen angel of Revelation, the Serpent of Eden, the ruler of Hell all, and the name Lucifer being one in the same more or less starts with John Milton’s Paradise Lost, however, and much of what we “know” about him comes from there on.

You have my sincerest gratitude for agreeing to this meeting.

My dear humans…and my nemesis, Merkabah.

As you wish, I shall get to the point: I request a ceasefire.

A ceasefire?

Is that even possible?

Even Lucifer’s getting desperate now.

So that we may direct our attention to the Divine Powers, no doubt.

Krishna’s gathering quite a force of gods and humans under his banner.

It is an unfavorable predicament for both of us.

Indeed. We cannot simply ignore the Divine Powers.

Very well. I accept your ceasefire.

I will dispatch my most elite Samurai to Tokyo.

Warriors of Light, each one chosen in the name of our Lord.

And I will lead the people of Tokyo against the Divine Powers.

For whatever reason, whenever someone says something “dramatic” or acts shocked during this conference, we get Dutch angles out the wazoo.

It’s only natural. It was my hand that led the evolution of humanity. It is at my feet they shall serve.

Like hell we will!

Our priority is to rescue Flynn. You can fight them yourselves.

Your service is not up for negotiation. Only a human can kill gods and demons.

What?!

Without humans, the war shall never end.

The unclean heretics of Tokyo can accept or kill any god they desire.

“Godslayer” is the name we bestow upon a man who can kill any being – god or demon.

So, turns out that any human can technically be a Godslayer, even if Nanashi alone is Godslayer in the sense of having that as his listed race. That’s from being Dagda’s Godslayer rather than being a Godslayer period, though.

It is for this purpose I granted humanity knowledge and wisdom.

Live according to your desires, and you shall gain the power to kill a god. Oh, how I adore humans.

Humans must serve with unwavering faith.

And now you plan on exploiting humanity to eradicate whatever gods are inconvenient to you?

The room is thick with silence.

After the awkward silence of realizing that you’ve been that transparent, Lucifer eventually clears the air.

The Divine Powers intend to use Flynn as their own Godslayer.

People of Tokyo, I command you to take back Flynn. He mustn’t be a tool of the Divine Powers.

If you cannot retrieve him, kill him. Death must come for him eventually.

We’re not going to hand over Flynn to the likes of you!

Hahahahaha. That’s the spirit.

Even if you refuse to join us, you’ll still be fulfilling my wishes.

Turns out that the leader of the Chaos faction is down with rebelliousness. Who would have thought?

Go, save Flynn.

But first we must deal with Shesha.

If something isn’t done promptly, that monster will wreak havoc on us all.

You Unclean Ones must do whatever you can to aid them. Think of it as atonement for your sins.

Damn you for toying with us like this!

Lucifer and Merkabah have already disappeared.

All that’s left on screen is Skins shaking with fury.

That’s the end of our conference.

Everyone will receive their tasks soon.

Good luck.

The only benefit to picking the second option is that we get reminded about the Hunter Notes app.

I’m up to speed.

Am I the only one who’s clueless?

Whatever. The important thing is that we’ll be getting some new quests soon.

I’ll just catch up later using the Hunter Notes on my smartphone.

Oh, and she reminds you about the Hunter Notes either way.

Lucifer, Merkabah, and the Divine Powers may be squabbling over Flynn…

But I already have my Godslayer. You.

Side with the humans against the Powers. Do as I say and take them out.

If you couldn’t guess by now, Dagda has no friendly relations with the Divine Powers, in spite of having let the loose on the world. His plans are far bigger than them.

Moving on, we end up getting two main quests dropped in our laps, the first being this one. Ame-no-Habakiri, meaning “snake slayer of the heavens” (hint, hint), is the blade that the storm god Susano-o used to end the reign of terror of the eight-headed serpent Yamato no Orochi.

One’s to find some super-strong sword called the Ame-no-habanero or something.

The other one is…

Second, we can collect the parts for someone to build a radar to find Shesha.

Collecting materials for the Ashura-kai. Huh.

Which should we do first?

It doesn’t actually matter which one you do first, but I’d recommend going to the Fairy Forest myself (and so we shall in the LP). You get a boatload of macca either way, and the unstated reward you end up getting for the first of the two quests more than makes up for the little bit less of a boatload there is in total.

Says here the sword’s supposed to be in the Fairy Forest.

Looks like we’ll get to pay Nozomi a visit!

Using the Terminal to get there in a split second, we can see that the Fairy Forest looks…a little different. A bit more ashen and on fire than last time.

This can’t be happening… Why would anyone do this?

Look, there’s Nozomi!

Asahi runs to Nozomi.

Nozomi, are you alright?

I’m fi… I’m not hurt.

Nozomi is pale from shock, dazed.

What happened here?

Did I…fail the fairies?

This smacks of the Divine Powers’ doing. Must’ve intercepted the Hunter request.

No doubt they wanted to keep human hands from getting hold of Ame-no-habakiri.

No clue why this is a thing. Excalibur was its own sword in SMTIV (tied to a quest for Dagda’s Cauldron, funny enough), and there’s not really any mythological connection between it and Ame-no-habakiri beyond them both being magical swords.

Nozomi takes deep, calming breath.

No time for rest, Nozomi. You’re the fairy queen.

I’m coming with you guys.

And with that, our party is back up to Nanashi plus three. Since our last rendezvous, Nozomi has learned two more skills for her repertoire. Barrage is a weak Gun attack to all enemies and thus not really impressive at all, while Blank Bullet deals two Medium gun attacks to all enemies and can inflict Panic.

This time, we need to head up north, deeper into the Fairy Forest than we did last time.

Nozomiii!

Napaea leaps on Nozomi.

Napaea! I’m so glad you’re safe!

It was the Divine Powers! They attacked out of nowhere! We did nothing to them!

Where are the others?

Other than him? Scattered everywhere.

Note that Mokoi is of the Night race, not the Fairy race, and not traditionally a “fairy” as such even in its own mythology…but oh well, it is what it is.

I’ll hang back, protect the fairies left behind. You guys deal with whoever did this.

If they’re after Excalibur, they’ll be heading to Northern Lake Hill.

You’ll find the sword at the bottom of the lake there.

Pardon me, but do you not think us too late?

Getting there is easier said than done.

No one gets through that without knowing the exact way out.

How are we supposed to get through, then?

Just past the center gate is a chest. In it, there’s a scroll with instructions.

Follow those to the letter and you’ll get through the maze, no problem.

I’ll join you as soon as all the fairies are safe.

I’m counting on you.

Nozomi disappears into the forest, fairies in tow.

I can only assume that taking away Nozomi again so quickly after you got her back in your party is so there’s an excuse as to why she can’t just guide you through the Maze Garden.

Of course, actual instructions would be too simple, so you have a riddle. It’s not actually that complex: just look at your shadow on the ground. Head in the opposite direction of your shadow if you are supposed to go toward the light, and in its direction if you are supposed to head toward the shadow. Or, to just say it outright, you head left, down, right, down, and up. Not quite the level of the most infamous teleport mazes the series has pulled out.

Ame-no-hibachigrill or whatever’s gotta be near.

Watch your back, kid. Something tells me the Divine Powers are waiting for us.

There’s no way they’ll let us take that blade without a fight.

Walking around the area just past the Maze Garden, you’ll see this weirdly reinforced Wormwood barrier. If you guess that we’ll need a new tool to open it, you’re correct.

The path around the lake that is important to us, though, is this one. Head to it and you’ll get that “you sense a powerful demon ahead” warning that there is a boss or miniboss ahead of you.

Look! They’ve almost found the sword!

At last, the pawns arrive.

Born after the Protogonoi (primal gods such as Chronos, Gaia, and Nyx) but before the Olympian gods such as Hades, Poseidon, and Zeus, the Titans most famously took place in the Titanomachy, a war in the heavens between the Olympian gods and the Titans. The Titan Kronos (not to be confused with the Protogonoi Chronos), fearing a prophecy that his own progeny would betray him, swallowed most of his children whole. His wife and sister Titan, the mother goddess Rhea, managed to whisk away Kronos’s son Zeus and start a chain of events that would lead to the freeing of the rest of the children from Kronos’s belly and the Olympians conquering the Titans with the aid of the hekatonkheires (hundred-handed giants) and cyclopes.

I’m afraid I can’t allow the likes of you to wield Ame-no-habakiri.

You could have taken the sword without attacking the forest! Why’d you do it?

I don’t need a reason. It was in my way.

You burned down the fairies’ home for fun? You’re a monster.

Like I care what you think. The will of the Divine Powers is law. Know your place.

The Divine Powers will not forgive the Creator. You will not stop me, humans.

Boss Battle! Titan :crossed_swords:

And so the battle with Titan begins. This Titan is level 33, slightly lower than one you could fuse yourself, but comes with the attack skills Heat Wave and Lunge rather than the normal attacks of a starting Titan. Everything else is bog standard, however, with a resistance to Physical and no elemental weaknesses, massive Strength, and the two skills an actual Titan would learn.

The first of those is Critical Eye, which ensures your next Physical or Gun attack will always be a critical hit. He loves to combo this with Heat Wave. The problem? Well, as you can see, having an entire party of Physical-resistant demons and a Resist Physical armor on Nanashi renders this boss almost completely impotent.

The only threat he can pose with this setup is that his other natural skill is Power-up Punch, so he can make your Dizzy. Use Me Patra or a Patra Stone when this happens and use everyone else in your party to constantly wail on him with medium damage (or high damage, if you manage to have gotten one yet) elemental attacks.

When you get him into the red, he’ll attempt to grovel. Don’t fall for it, this guy’s not at all the honorable warrior he makes himself out to be and will get a cheap shot in if you attempt to let him go.

Level your weapon at him.

Not so easily fooled, huh? Very well – this fight is far from over.

In spite of that boast, he’s breaking apart after only two more attacks on my next turn.

Gah… Defeat…before I could finish… How can this be?

I may fall, but you won’t stop the Divine Powers. They will avenge me.

Titan’s a big bucket of HP with one and only one gimmick: crit boost, Heat Wave/Lunge/regular attack, get Smirk from that crit, use Power Punch after smirk, rinse and repeat until you’ve exhausted his buckets of HP.

We did it!

Let’s get Ame-no-Hoosit or… Excalibur!

Ame-no-habakiri hangs from a vine, half its blade submerged in the lake.

You obtained Ame-no-Habakiri.

20,000 macca and 17,893 experience points is great and all, but there’s also a more tangible benefit of this quest. We do, in fact, get to keep and equip Ame-no-habakiri. More on that momentarily.

Hmph… A fine sword. More worthy of my scabbard, but you can have it this time.

Another quest completed!

Hey, how’re things going?

Asahi gestures toward the sword.

Good work. Glad you’re all safe.

Are YOU okay?

Yeah, thanks.

Managed to get the fairies someplace safe.

Uhh, being down doesn’t get you anywhere!

Alright, lemme walk you to the forest entrance.

We’ll get to the actual forest entrance in the next update for reasons, but for right now it should be noted that there is a shortcut straight from the Northern Lake Front to there through that barrier we saw earlier. Ame-no-habakiri can cut through it with ease. It’s also an actual weapon, but that’s for the Hunter’s Notes to tell. Next stop: Kasumigaseki!


#40

Things I Missed

I can’t believe I forgot to show this off until now, but you can engage in a shakedown of a demon if you have inflicted Bind on them and have purchased the Fundraise option under Talk.

With this method, you can get the maximum amount of macca the demon can provide without actually having to go through any risky discussion.

Demons aren’t really carrying much in their pockets yet, but the basic principle will continue to work for any demon that isn’t immune to being struck by Bind.

For a handful of demons out there, you will end up seeing some sort of message akin to this one as you level them up. This means that the demon in question is close to achieving evolution. This is a process wherein a demon transforms into a different one without fusion, randomly inheriting skills as it does so. The Divine line is probably the most prominent example of evolution, as each member of the angelic hierarchy evolves into the next: Angel becomes Archangel, Archangel becomes Principality, Principality becomes Power, and so on and so forth.

Wild Demon Encounters: Burning Fairy Forest

With the Fairy Forest ablaze and being invaded by the Divine Powers, the roster of demons one can find within has been altered.

Horkos, whose name means “oath”, is the son of the Greek chaos goddess Eris and the wrathful force that comes for those who swear false oaths. Resistant to Physical and weak to Fire and Light, this level 26 Tyrant is very unimpressive if you get him in a negotiation rather than fusion, having only Critical Wave as his starting move and its upgraded Medium damage version Megaton Press added at level 28.

The kuda, or kanko, is a form of kitsune that appears from within a bamboo pipe and answers questions asked to it. It’s a level 27 of the Food race that is resistant to Ice and weak to Force. Kuda’s innate skills are Sukukaja and Tetanus Cut, followed up by Blight at level 28 and Mabufula at level 30.

This Bulgarian monster with skin of bronze and thundering hooves is resistant to Electricity and weak to Force. Stonka starts with Tarunda and Zionga, gaining Oni-Kagura and Counter at level 27 and 28.

Nata Taishi, or Nezha, is the Chinese god of protection, gambling, and wheeled travel. In his Apocalypse appearance, he is a level 23 of the Genma race that has no resistances or weaknesses, which matches his lack of any negative affinities to offset his +1 Ailment and Support and +3 Physical affinities. He starts with Fang Breaker and Power Punch, then learns Oni-Kagura at level 24 and Charge at level 25.

The Norse god Baldur is one of the younger MegaTen demons as far as designs go, having been painted up as one of three new demons for the 2009 Nintendo DS game Devil Survivor; he also happens to be the only one of those three that has ever appeared in any future MegaTens, having an appearance in both SMTIV and here, so good for him. While in mythology he was only capable of being harmed by mistletoe thanks to the actions of his mother Frigg, that would be kind of broken here, and instead this level 28 Genma merely has resistance to Physical and Electricity combated by a weakness to Dark. He starts out play with Head Crush and Hamaon (heavy Light type damage with a 55% chance of instakill on Smirk), making him one of the earliest demons you can get that has third tier damage. Leveling him up gets you Resist Light at level 30, Light Pleroma at level 31, and Ally Counter (Counter, but for any ally rather than yourself) at level 32.

The legendary European king of serpents and wielder of a deadly gaze, Basilisk is weak to Force and Light but resists Dark and suffers no effects from the Poison or Bind ailments. It has a whopping +6 ailment affinity on top of generally really good stats across the board, so if you are looking for a demon to make your foes suffer numerous afflictions this one’s a good choice. Basilisk’s starting skills are Bind Voice and Poison Breath, with Me Patra being gained at level 29 and Resist Ice coming in at level 30.

The obscure Mesopotamian deity Pabilsag is weak to Force, Electricity, and Dark, with no elemental resistances. If you think his skills make him any better, I’m sorry to say that’s not the case, as he starts with Tathlum Shot and Toxic Sting and then further gains Rapid Needle at level 25. If you want a Gun-focused demon, this guy is not the best one you could get by far.

Yurlungur the Rainbow Serpent is the other Australian mythological figure besides Mokoi that still gets mileage in MegaTen games these days. He’s weak to Fire and Dark, resistant to Electricity, and nullifies Ice. His moveset is Rapid Needle and Ice Breath from the start, Diarama at level 30, and Resist Force at level 31.

The Chinese blue ox Qing Niuguai is resistant to Physical and Electricity but weak to Force and Dark. It starts off with Rakukaja and Megaton Press, proceeding to gain Life Gain at leve 30 and Silent Prayer (remove all buffs and debuffs from both the allied and enemy parties) at level 32.

Disir are Norse spirits of fate, blessed here with high Magic, Agility, and Luck and a resistance to both Ice and Electricity (Dark’s their weakness, by contrast). Dis’s starting skills are Lullaby and Makajam, and leveling her up allows her to learn Posumudi at level 30, Media at level 31, and Chakra Walk (the demon gradually regains MP while Nanashi is moving around the world) at level 32.