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

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#41

You can’t really tell from his portrait alone but Lucifer is constantly sitting on a big ass throne. His redesign in this game compared to SMT4 is so much better.


#42

I looked up SMTIV Lucifer and his first form definitely sucks. That being said, I kinda dig Lucifer II, the sequel to Lucifer.


#43

I can’t believe I didn’t know that you could maximize your fundraising by inflicting Bind first. I can’t believe status effects do something useful beyond wasting enemy turns.


#44

This is SMT status effects matter is the series mantra.


#45

The chill throne pose really does help his style, especially when it draws attention away from his awkward arm growth.


#46

Before we can even leave the Fairy Forest, Danu preludes a speech for us to sit through. It is not the last speech we’ll be having this update, so prepare for the long haul.

Wait, Nozomi, I wish to address you all.

Do you know what the Divine Powers hope to achieve?

Something about salvation, right?

And do you know what their “salvation” is?

Now that I think about it, no…

What?! Why?

The Creator God shaped this universe, but only after defeating us ancient deities.

I suspect the Divine Powers seek revenge by wresting control of the universe and claiming dominion over the humans.

And what happens to us?

I am, of course, not privy to their plans. But I think we can safely assume that –

Humans will die.

They plan to destroy this universe, and take its souls to a new one they control.

But without souls, your bodies will die.

Presumably, given that a fair number of the Divine Powers come from religions that believe in reincarnation, they see the soul as more important than the vessel, and reconstituting it into a new entities is no big deal. Thus, their salvation plan makes sense to their own mindset, even if they are going about it in the most extremist fashion possible.

The Divine Powers are projecting their own desires for a fresh start onto humanity.

Are you not one of the Divine Powers yourself, Dagda?

Please, Mother… I haven’t truly joined their ranks.

How do you mean?

They’re just another set of pieces in a much larger game I’m playing…

This is worth sacrificing the world for?

Of course. The inescapable truth under all life’s lies is that this universe…is worthless.

Gods, demons, humans, buddhas, pretas… I will wipe everything from this existence.

That’s horrible… Are you insane?

If I am, I’ve been so from the beginning of my existence, and will be to the end…

To think I could give birth to such a horror…

As Krishna said, slaves to their own bodies and prisoners of this universe.

…But it’s still life.

This world is one of beauty, blessed with bountiful life and wonderful creatures.

It’s worth working together to protect.

Agree to disagree, my foolish mother.

Dagda turns to you.

Ignore her, my Godslayer. Relying on others is a joke.

I will help you reach true freedom, in a new universe untethered from dependencies.

The big problem with trying to make Dagda’s path appetizing to the player at all is that he and he alone walks said path. There are no other demons or humans that adhere to his way, since his way has the explicit caveat of “only myself and my Godslayer get to be Truly Free”. Even Chaos, for all the overwought Randian objectivism it often takes the form of, has other supporters than Lucifer at the end of the day. In the end this is all probably a moot point, as it’s clear the game wants you to see Peace as a vastly superior route to Anarchy (which is probably more aptly named Nihilism, but hey, I didn’t name these things), but it feels like there should have been some_one else who vouched for the alternate path’s benefits._

So you play with him like a chess piece, solely to win your little game.

Game? This is something he chose.

Accepting death? Or resurrect as my Godslayer?

Though, I suppose it’s up for debate whether he truly had a choice. Hehehe.

Are you saying Nanashi…

Yes, I’m afraid he’s not quite human. Not anymore.

Huh?!

No longer human. Not angel. Not demon. He is…my puppet.

A puppet? Nanashi, you… You’re dead?

Asahi turns to you.

There’s a fearful look in her eyes.

A slave to the status quo like you could never hope to best me, Mother.

Let’s just hope that day never comes.

You’re sharing your body with a real pain in the ass, Nanashi.

Nozomi looks to Asahi.

You okay?

…Huh?

A tear streams down Asahi’s cheek.

You’re still the same, right, Nanashi? You haven’t changed any…

All this gods and demons stuff… I never thought it would change us.

And now here I am, learning that you’ve died. That you aren’t even human anymore…

It just doesn’t make any sense. Nanashi’s alive. He’s right here. Why?

Asahi breaks into a flood of tears.

C’mon now, don’t cry. It’s okay. Everything’ll be okay…

He’s still himself, where it matters most. No matter what he’s become.

You’ve known him your whole life, right?

If anyone could tell he’s changed, it’d be you.

So please, don’t cry.

I agree with her about the Divine Powers 100 percent, and that Dagda’s ideas are dangerous.

But what does that mean for Nanashi? Are you saying you might have to kill him?

Well… I don’t know. I suppose that’s the worst-case scenario.

But that’s why you should take me with you. To make sure that doesn’t happen.

Nozomi holds her hand out to you.

We need to work together, keep this universe of ours safe.

And while we’re at it, we’ll make sure Dagda doesn’t steer you wrong, Nanashi.

Another Good Boy vs. Rude Boy prompt, so we’re choosing to shake her hand.

The more the merrier!

A fairy queen’s got certain obligations and responsibilities.

That means getting to the bottom of this. Gotta make sure the Forest stays safe!

Ain’t no one gonna hurt the fairies – not on my watch!

Well, best be on our way.

Nozomi joins your party.

Trying to leave the Fairy Forest after all that, we get interrupted again, this time by the girl pushing a hoop once more.

That girl…!

Stephen arrives right behind the girl.

Hello.

So, now you understand how Dagda and Danu intend to reshape the world.

Dagda wishes for absolute freedom of his own creation. Danu wishes to cultivate a freedom with others.

They may not agree with each other. Still, their ideals are in opposition to both the angels and the demons.

Both ways are the middle path. But there is more than one path.

Walk your own.

Stephen and the girl head off.

Who was that?

No clue. Just know his name’s Stephen.

Right. Well, guessing won’t get us anywhere.

Let’s just put that mystery on the backburner for now and get outta here.

And get outta there we shall. Over in this area is Kasumigaseki, which you might have noticed on the map earlier. There’s also a nice little touch on the overworld map that there are now beams of sunlight shimmering over Ginza, where Shesha smashed a hole in the Firmament.

We’re supposed to go to the underground’s fourth level. The elevator should be near.

Kasumigaseki is ridiculously tiny, so there’s basically no way to get lost. There’s only one unlocked elevator in the small opening area at this moment, and it leads right to where you need to go.

The lab is littered with all kinds of equipment, cardboard boxes, and junk.

A few other Hunters are gathered at the back of the lab.

The Ashura-kai sent this quest, yeah?

Yup, says right there in the description.

I don’t get it – why would the Ashura-kai request something from the Association?

Reckon they’re desperate.

How d’ya figure?

Ever since he vanished, the Ashura-kai’s been losing pull.

I mean, the only reason they got to the top is 'cause they controlled the demons.

But now the factory that made Reds, that fake demon grub, is nothing more than a pie of rubble.

To elaborate a bit further on this dump of exposition of things that happened in SMTIV before the timeline split, [S]soylent green[/S] Red Pills (“Reds” colloquially) were artificial demon food created by lobotomizing and taking the brain tissue out of humans “farmed” underground by the Ashura-kai boss Tayama. Tayama’s claim was that by sacrificing the few for the many, he could make Tokyo into a “utopia”, though his Manos-esque harem of adult and child brides, legion of brutish enforcers, and general dictatorial rule of much of Tokyo definitely speak to a different sort of goal. Depending on your actions in IV, he either met his end at the wormhole powering the Yamato Reactor or at the claws of the demons within Tsukiji-Konganji/Hongwanji (the games can’t seem to make up their mind which of those spellings they wish to use).

On top of that, the Yamato Reactor in Ichigaya’s now in the hands of Lucifer.

And if that weren’t enough, word is Lucifer’s pullin’ their strings now.

Guess they’ve fallen pretty far without Tayama.

Now… I don’t see anyone building the Ashura-kai back up to its former glory.

Huh.

Looks like the professor’s done with his prepwork.

Thank god.

Let’s see here… Why don’t I let the big man upstairs talk first?

This monitor’s connected to the command room on the second floor and presto! We have Fujiwara.

Dr. Matsuda, is everything prepared?

Sure, sure. Ready as I’ll ever be.

Let’s get started then.

It’s time to deal with Shesha.

You’ve been divided into teams for this mission.

Each team will be collecting parts from all over Tokyo.

And Dr. Matsuda here will use those parts to build a sensor that can track Shesha.

Dr. Matsuda waves shyly.

Dr. Matsuda, can you give them a brief on their mission?

Oh, sure, sure.

And then I’ll take those parts and whip up something that can track Shesha.

I’m sure you can imagine there’s a lot that goes into tracking giant demon snakes.

So, yeah. You get me those parts and I’ll build it. Just like that.

As for who’s going where for what, I’ll let the man on the tube tell you that.

We’ll be assigning each of you an area.

Once this transmission ends, you’ll receive all the information you need about your assigned areas.

You may even make direct contact with them.

I strongly suggest you avoid any unnecessary conflicts.

Good luck.

The transmission ends.

Once you find your part, just deliver it to the Hunter Association.

I’m sure you’re all clever enough to have realized this whole thing’s hush-hush.

Y’know, with the secret meeting.

But, once you get out there, there’s no way to guarantee you won’t draw suspicion.

The Divine Powers are sure to try something, so be careful.

It’s Sky Tower time again! And this time, we actually get to climb it instead of just look like fools by nearly dying to an uber-angel outside of the front door.

We have to save Flynn!

Humans, state your purpose.

Two angels land in front of the group.

Time to put this alliance between humans, angels, and demons to the test.

I’m sure we can just explain the situation to them…

This is once again one of those illusion of choice things for alignment points, so be diplomatic if you want a few tics toward Peace or immediately attack without attempted diplomacy for some Anarchy.

You explain things to the angels.

We’ve heard no word of this endeavor.

But we need to get inside!

Your needs are irrelevant to us.

It would seem this may require a daring stratagem! What will you do?

Angels, am I right? Can’t talk sense to them.

White suit, sunglasses, Lilim and Succubus as his demons? Boy, someone’s trying to look too cool for school.

You’re the Hunters looking for the you-know-what, right?

Name’s Abe. I’m in charge of the Ashura-kai now.

Hey! Come on, kid, tell them who you are.

Oh… I’m Hallelujah… It’s a pleasure.

Yeah, where’s my pleasure? He’s pretty cute, you know. I could teach him a thing or two.

Wait for his balls to drop before you start hitting on him.

Aww… He’s angry!

Too bad…

Abe orders his demons to stay back.

I haven’t exactly house-broken them yet.

Why is this scene a thing that exists

But with these dopes I’m better off just getting you Hunters to do what I want.

It’s the least you can do, since my little deal with Lucifer is what’s keeping the underground safe.

Once I get the Ashura-kai up and running again, Tokyo will be running smooth.

I’ll deal with the Divine Powers, and Merkabah, and the Ring of Gaea.

I’ll deal with just about anyone who gets in my way.

Anyway, let’s get going, yeah?

Abe pats you on the shoulder.

Yeah… Well, I’m Asahi. This is Nanashi.

I’m Nozomi. Pleasure.

Uh, yeah, sure… Nice.

Oookay. So, uh, how’d you end up with the Ashura-kai?

Didn’t have much of a choice, you know, mom’s dead and they just kid of took me in. Can’t leave now.

What about that Abe guy? Same deal?

Once Tayama disappeared, Abe just showed up out of nowhere to set things straight.

He’s the reason the Ashura-kai are even still around.

Wow. That’s…impressive.

Yeah, so I give him a hand when I can.

Which…isn’t very often…

Hallelujah laughs at himself.

How old are you, Hallelujah?

I’m 15.

Another child! I’m stunned anyone could manage to breed down here!

Holy hell! What is that?!

Well, this is a growing list. You can see me?

That’s… That’s a ghost… All right, that’s new…

It matters not – at least people are finally able to notice me…

Perhaps more good will come from sticking around this lot!

So… What do Hunters do?

Fight demons, protect people, gather food… Little bit of everything, really.

Lately, most of our work involves helping Flynn.

Flynn…

Nah, it’s just… You know, Flynn, and the Ashura-kai don’t exactly mix.

As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t really matter what happens to him.

But the boss has been fixated on him for some reason.

Abe returns to your group.

Alright. We can go through now.

Of course. Who the hell do you think I am?

Abe orders the group into the Sky Tower.

The innards of the Sky Tower are rather grotesque: a sort of halfway point between human building and Domain, with constantly pulsating giant veins slithering along the concrete and steel architecture. There are also a disconcerting number of petrified humans in poses of terror.

What is this weird-ass place? Those statues are creepy. And too realistic…

Yeah, there’s a reason for that. They’re people. There used to be a demon who whipped these numbers up.

Talk about a demon with bad taste…

The demon in question, if you couldn’t guess from the whole petrification deal, was the infamous Greek gorgon Medusa. She was the second boss Flynn and his cohorts slew as they headed down from Mikado, the first being the Minotaur. This is a direct reference to Digital Devil Story: Megami Tensei, the 1987 NES game that was the very first of the MegaTen franchise (mind you, it was based on a set of novels that are not particularly good, but for video game purposes it was the first). In that game, Minotaur and Medusa were also the first two bosses.

The goods should be in the Excavation Workers’ Quarters up above.

Let’s go.

Oh wow… I’ve never seen Tokyo from this high up before.

Should I take a picture? I should probably take a picture.

This scene, one stair flight above the whole Medusa gallery, mirrors the scene that the Samurai of Mikado had on the same balcony as they went down the Tower. Or at least the wonderment does. Then…

You approach the window. As you do, you hear a bird screech from somewhere.

Alright, quit gawking and get ready to kick some ass.

A massive bird breaks through the window.

Say hello to Rukh! A monstrous bird of Arabian folklore, the rukh (or roc) is so immense that it can grasp elephants in its talons, carrying them to great heights before dropping them to kill them. Here, it immediately robs three bars of your Partner meter by startling them and then launches you into a battle.

In your initial volley, you can get a fair amount of damage in if you have Agilao, as this bird is roasted alive by Fire. It’s also weak to Dark, and has Force as a resistance.

It’s a Rukh…must have a nest nearby.

Hey. Hallelujah, give them a hand with this one.

Oh, uh… Okay! You got it, bro.

Though I doubt I’ll be much help.

Unfortunately for Hallelujah, that little cutscene after the first turn meant nothing, as on my second turn I had already done enough damage to scatter Rukh’s ashes to the wind. It’s not a hard miniboss at all if you have a team set up to deal a lot of Fire damage, which isn’t a hard achievement at this point. Pyro Jack in particular is pretty good for fusing up for that purpose since anything made from it can inherit both Agilao and Fire Pleroma.

Let’s rewind and see what happens if we actually let Hallelujah do anything, though.

Uh, well, I only really have Chironnupu…

C’mon, you gotta do SOMETHING!

Guh… Come here, Chiro!

Chironup Kamui is one of the nature spirits and gods of the indigenous Ainu peoples of northern Japan. It takes a place alongside other kamui such as Kanna Kamui (thunder), Kapachiri Kamui (eagle), and Korekeu Kamui (wolf), and is both trickster and defender.

Aw, he’s so cute! Is that your demon?

Yeah, this is Chiro…

Enduring Cheer is one of the two skills Chironuppu (and thus Hallelujah) have at this point. For a turn after its casting, all party members will hang on with 1 HP if they would normally suffer a killing blow. Its other power is Warding Shout, which grants party-wide immunity to all ailments for the turn after its casting.

The game then proceeds to show you how it works by giving Rukh a free Tarukaja before it uses Charge followed by Grand Tack (heavy Gun damage on one target). This is a severe escalation from the first round, wherein Rukh always uses Zanma and a normal attack, but the big bird doesn’t really capitalize on having these other, more deadly, skills.

With that, let’s fast-forward back to having made this thing into turkey dinner.

Thanks for all the help.

I’ll note that’s meant to be sarcastic, since the captions in the game sans voice work doesn’t exactly convey that.

Yeah, guess I wasn’t…

You really gonna take this shit from a girl? C’mon, man up.

But…

You trying to make me look bad?!

No!

Then show those prissy little Hunters what the Ashura-kai are made of!

And with that, we get party member the fifth. We already went over the two moves he can utilize at this point earlier, and at this point he’s so highly situational we won’t be seeing much of him down on the Partner bar until later. Still, you should probably equip him for right now.

You all saw the pretty view, now let’s move it!

The instructions on how to find your way around the Sky Tower are very simple: go up. Eventually, you’ll reach the highest point, a linear corridor with a set of rooms including a Terminal, wherein you should dig around for whatever goodies you can find.

You’ll soon find this room, wherein you can hunt around for the parts you need. Save before you enter it, then root around for the radar sensor.

Maybe the thing we need is in here. Let’s take a look, Nanashi.

I guess I’ll help too.

I’ll look over here.

It doesn’t matter whether you or your partners find it, but if you want to quickly get this over with, just look in the desk.

That’s it! Awesome. Now we just need to drop it off.

Woah, good work.

Found the goods, huh? Alright, we’re done here.

Get a move on!

Sure thing, Bro!

Not you! Hallelujah, come over here.

Huh? What’s up?

We’re splitting up. I want you to go with them.

It’s not that. The Ashura-kai is responsible for Tokyo’s safety, you get me?

Uh… Yeah, of course…

So if the Hunters screw things up, guess who’s gonna clean it up?

I’d rather we not get to that. And I get a weird vibe from that guy. Keep an eye on him.

Him? I mean he’s pretty strong, but…

What? You don’t trust me?

No! Of course I trust you, Bro!

See? You trust me, I trust you.

That’s why I need you to keep an eye on those guys.

O-okay… I got you, Bro.

Oh… Yeah, I guess… Hahaha…

You hear a deafening roar from outside the room.

Wh-wh-what was that?! Not the bird again?!

It’s right outside!

What fearful event could be happening right outside? A boss fight, perhaps? Only one way to find out!


#47

Equipment

I was actually going to note equipment last Hunter’s Notes, but forgot like a big loser, so here they are belatedly.

Our sword has been replaced with Ame-no-Habakiri, our reward for defeating Titan last update. While I no longer have Nihil’s ailment infliction as a result, this new blade more than makes up for that in brute strength, having a base attack power of 190 plus a free +10 to your Strength stat. It is also, of course, plot important, which means you’ll need to eventually equip it anyway.

For guns, I have upgraded to the CC Machine Gun and Pink Shot, both from Shinjuku. The CC Machine Gun has a base attack power of 68 compared to the Serren Auto’s 46, and retains the target-all spread. Pink Shot is a big upgrade to ammo, with a base power of 51 compared to the Toxic Rounds’ 28, and has a chance of inflicting Charm. Being able to have a chance to Charm all enemies in a random encounter is, in fact, fun.

My armor is the full Blue Uniform, an American football armor set sold in Ginza. Its Upper Body portion has +44 HP and gives resistance to Physical at the cost of weakness to Fire; most higher tier armors at shops from now on will have a weakness like this to contrast their resistances. The Phys resistance was to trivialize Titan, so you probably shouldn’t expect this armor to last through the rest of next update. The Lower Body portion is +44 HP and +8 Agility, while the Head portion is +22 HP, +6 Magic, and +6 Luck.

Things of Note

It’s around these two missions that these random balls of [S]pixelation[/S] demonic energy will start randomly showing up. Button mash X to get rid of them, or they’ll throw you back to the start of the area you are in. They are annoying, don’t really contribute anything to the plot, and I wish they didn’t exist to waste a bit of time while enjoying the game.

Wild Demon Encounters: Kasumigaseki

Senri, on the left, is the Chinese equivalent of the Japanese nekomata, being a leopard cat (a member of the small cats that should not be confused with actual leopards) that has gained a supernatural spark and the ability to take beautiful human form due to its great age. Weak to Electricity and Dark but resistant to Force, this level 26 member of the Nymph race starts out with the moves Makakaja and Zanma. Leveling her up gets you Force Pleroma at level 27 and Recarm at level 28. If you level up a Kabuso from its starting point of level 6 all the way up to level 21 for some reason, it will evolve into a Senri earlier than you can fuse one.

Myrmecoleon is a level 29 Vermin based on Medieval bestiary stories of a monster created through the union of a lion and an ant. It is weak to Electricity but resistant to Force, starts with Tarunda and Frenzied Chomp, and learns Patra at level 30 and Wind Breath at level 31.

The guivre, or vouivre, is a female French dragon who was traditionally depicted as a wyvern-like monster, but has in more recent times (World War II onward) taken on the visage of a beautiful woman who can don the skin of a dragon. While she is traditionally associated with fire in legends, this level 28 Snake is resistant to Electricty and weak to ice, with no Fire resistance or affinity. Vouivre learns Blight and Zionga innately, Shibaboo at level 29, and Marin Karin at level 30.

Kikimora, a level 28 of the Night race, is one of several Russian house spirits. She is resistant to Ice and weak to Fire. While her +2 affinity for Healing and Support means she is meant to a team aid sort of demon, Kikimora has a huge Magic stat and fairly good Strength and Dexterity, allowing her to be rather versatile. Kikimora starts off with Rakunda and Axel Claw, gaining Diarama and Heal Pleroma at levels 30 and 31.

Yuki Jyorou, better known by her other name Yuki Onna, is a frost yokai of the high Japanese mountains. Unsurprisingly, she’s weak to Fire and resistant to Ice. Her skills are Bufula and Mamudo from the get-go, Ice Pleroma at level 31, and Mabufula at level 32.

Wild Demon Encounters: Sky Tower

The poisonous Chinese mountain bird Zhen Niao is a level 31 Raptor resistant to Force and weak to Gun. It begins with the skills Poison Breath and Pandemic Bomb, gains Sukunda at level 32, and finally learns Resist Dark at level 33.

The Kelpie, a legendary Celtic water horse and level 31 Fairy, has resistance to Ice and weakness to Force. It has one of the shorter skill lists of the demons around here, starting with Tarunda and Diarama and only learning the skill Trafuri (100% successful escape from a non-scripted battle) from leveling up.

The Scandinavian wood spirit Skogsra, a level 31 Wood, resists Force and is weak to Fire. Her skills are Rakunda and Wind Breath innately and Scratch Dance at level 32. Her high Magic stat makes her potentially useful if you fuse one rather than recruit one.

Wendigo, the mighty cannibal giant of the cold reaches of North America, has a high Magic and Strength stat, allowing it to put its innate skills of Mabufula and Oni Kagura to use. Leveling it up, you get both Poison Breath and Power Punch at level 31. I’ve always really liked Wendigo as far as the SMT designs for demons from Native American cultures go, and one can only hope its popularity in the 2D MegaTens over the past decade might just lead it to take a place in the next 3D installment of the series.

Tsuchigumo, a monstrous spider yokai, is a level 31 Jirae who is resistant to Electricity and weak to Ice. While it may look like it’s only good as a brutish Physical attacker, its stats are actually fairly high across the board, so you can do pretty much anything you want with it (though keep in mind it has a -2 affinity to Support skills and -3 to Ice). Its skills are Poison Claw and Zionga from the start, Me Patra at level 32, and Mazionga at level 33.

Inferno, a level 31 Spirit perpetually cloaked in the fires of the abyss, nullifies Fire but is weak to both Ice and Light. It’s worthy of note that Inferno is the demon with the lowest affinity we’ve seen so far: a whopping -8 to Ice, along with a -3 to Light and -2 to Healing. It learns Fire Breath and Heat Wave innately, and by leveling it up you gain Agilao at level 32 and Maragion at level 34.

The man-faced Chinese bird Tuofei is resistant to Electricity and weak to Gun and Dark. It learns the skills Media and Ice Breath from the start, Me Patra at level 31, and Magaon at level 32.

The level 34 Blizzard Horde consists of Yuki Jyorous, Bai Suzhens, and Wendigos all aiming their ice spells in your direction. These guys are weak to Fire, but drain Ice; I should note that Drain on an ailment means that you recover HP if hit by it, since I believe this is the first time we’ve encountered a demon that drains anything. Blizzard Horde is capable of dealing three or four hits on one target with their regular attack and can use the skills Mabufula, Mamudo, and the quite obnoxious Carol Hit.

Carol Hit is only weak Physical damage to one target, but has a 50% chance of dealing the Lost condition. Lost means your demon is, in fact, lost: straight up gone until some random encounter later on in the same area, when they show up again to rejoin your party. The Blizzard Horde also has the passive skill Ice Pleroma, adding more Ice damage on top of their existing +4 affinity to both Physical and Ice.

Hairy Jack, or barghest, is an English spirit of ill omen. It’s resistant to Dark and weak to Light, with the skills Sukunda and Frenzied Chomp at any level, Axel Claw at level 31, and Retaliate at level 32.

The wild Japanese lightning beast Raiju is, unsurprisingly, resistant to Electricity and weak to Force. Its skills are Shock and Binding Claw as starting skills, Tarukaja at level 34, and Endure at level 35.

A hairy, one-eyed kappa (the regular kind of kappa doesn’t show up in MegaTen games outside of the chibi childrens’ game spinoffs, oddly enough), Yamawaro is resistant to Physical and Ice but weak to both Light and Dark. Its innate skills are Megaton Press and Tarukaja, followed up by Life Gain (20% more maximum HP) at level 33 and Attack Knowhow at level 34.

Fusions

Fusing Tangata Manu and Inugami, we create Karasu Tengu. Leveling it up further can get us the skills Maragi, Sukukaja, and Mahama at levels 25, 26, and 27 respectively.

Karasu tengu are the more bestial in appearance of the various tengu, more crow than human in their appearance with their beaked heads, feathered bodies, and avian legs. They are capable of monstrous acts such as the abduction of children and driving people to madness, but can also teach masterful sword play and other skill of warfare.

From Baphomet and Hooligan is born Mithras. Mithras actually made a recent appearance as a high-definition 3D model in Persona 5, a nice achievement to list on his application forms given that game’s heavy reliance on the old boys’ club of models from Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne. Those two other skills Mithras can learn are Rakunda at level 22 and Fatal Sword at level 23.

Mithras is a god that was worshiped in a Roman mystery cult known as Mithraism, popular with Legionnaires. His appearance as depicted by Kazuma Kaneko here hews very closely to a famous statue of Mithras wherein he is proudly rising from a stone, ceremonial dagger in hand. In many other classical depictions, this dagger is being used by Mithras to slaughter a bull.

Sylph is formed from Pabilsag and Apis. Leveling her up to level 29 grants her Bind Voice, while going further to level 32 will let her learn Mana Gain.

Sylphs are the spirits of air in Paracelsus’s classification of elemental spirits, invisible beings that were the closest in appearance and nature to humans out of all the elementals.


#48

Gee, it sure seems like Abe isn’t a good dude. I wonder why I get that feeling, that the man is actually garbage. It’s so strange.


#49

hi, i just want you to know that i really appreciate you doing this… it really helps me a LOT with my playthrough! really can’t wait for your new updates soon! thanks again, cheers! ^^


#50

It seems all that commotion at the end of last episode was those angels harassing us getting good and stoned.

What’s that sound?!

Medusa… Word on the street was that you were dead.

Oh, I was…but now I’m back, and even more beautiful than before.

Now I am Medusa of the Divine Powers.

But I’m still an artist, and you’re the perfect subjects.

Damn Divine Powers…

Oh, are we really gonna have to fight? I don’t feel like it…

Yeah, I’m not touching that gross hag.

Wha?! You can’t just cut and run!

I’m going to report this to Lucifer.

Wait?! What am I supposed to do?!

You’ll figure it out.

Abe leaves, taking his demons with him.

Gee, it’s almost as if he’s untrustworthy! Who could have foreseen such a turn of events?

He’s got some sort of plan. He wouldn’t just leave us!

Did you not just see him walk right out of here? What’s with you Ashura-kai?

Save it for later, Asahi.

You and the others ready yourselves.

Oh, what a gallery this will be: all my perfect, new statues and the beautiful, new me!

Hmmm, how about one on your knees, hands covering your faces from your own sinfulness?

As for the expression… Your faces stricken with terror, I think, would be best!

Boss Battle!: Medusa :crossed_swords:

Of the bosses we’ve had to face in battle so far, Medusa is probably the most famous overall. One of the gorgons, three daughters of the sea god Phorkys if you trust the poet Hesiod, Medusa is probably best known from her story as told by Ovid. This is the version wherein Medusa is a beautiful maiden who is cursed by Athena to be a horrendous snake-haired monster capable of turning people to stone after Poseidon rapes Medusa in one of Athena’s temples. The hero Perseus then goes on to slay Medusa, her head becoming a heraldic emblem upon the Aegis shield. Variations upon the tale include Poseidon and Medusa having a consensual relationshiop, Athena transforming Medusa out of jealousy with no involvement from Poseidon at all, or the gorgons being the always-hideous children of the “mother of monsters” Echidna. It’s also been suggested (most heavily by neopagan groups) that Medusa may be the monstrous Hellenization of an earlier goddess from one of the cultures of the region.

None of this background is really relevant to Medusa as presented here, unfortunately. She only speaks of her own beauty, exemplifying the deadly sin Vaingloria (vanity), and even then it’s not actually a direct reference to the original eight deadly sins as no other bosses correspond thusly. Depending on who you ask, it’s either a hot take about Medusa’s Doi retouch versus the original guest art she had in IV or just some shitty “ladies that aren’t conventionally attractive being vain is comedy gold, amirite?” writing. I’d say the latter is probably more likely.

While the Divine Powers may have leveled her up during their reincarnation, Medusa is actually weaker than she was in SMTIV. While there she drained Electricity and nullified both Light and Dark in her boss fight, she now only nullifies Electricity. In both games, however, her weakness stays one to Force.

Just betray your friends. It’s so easy.

Medusa’s also quite the chatty boss, having multiple conversations with you starting with this one at around 800 or so damage taken. Your three options are “Refuse”, “Agree”, and “Ignore Her”; the first one ups your Peace points slightly and increases your Assist Gauge, the second slightly ups Anarchy points and decreases it, and choosing to ignore her changes nothing.

Refuse.

No? Didn’t expect you would.

At least you’ll die looking at someone like me, someone that’s as beautiful as the sun.

I’ll kill you! I’ll slit your little throats and drink your blood!

She’s gone mad! Hide!

At around 1,700 damage taken (easy enough to do without even giving her a turn yet if you’re a smartass who came in with a bunch of Wind Breath demons and a near-full Assist Gauge like I did), she gives another little speech, this time without a dialogue choice.

Fine… I give up. I won’t turn you into statues. Trust me. Look into my eyes. My eyes will tell you the whole truth.

Glare at her?

Glance at her sideways?

Ignore her and attack?

Third is this one, at around 2,300 damage taken. Since this is Medusa, you can probably surmise that glaring straight at her is a horribly bad idea, as she automatically inflicts Bind on you. You can choose to just straight-up ignore her, but that gives you a slight amount of Anarchy points and gives her a free Tarukaja. The answer you’re gonna want is “Glance at her sideways”.

That look… That’s the same look that last little bastard gave me!

Stop it! Don’t look at me like that!

Medusa is agitated and drops her guard.

This is effectively a free Dekunda, so no reason not to take the opportunity.

After already putting her in the red, Medusa finally gets to have a turn, featuring three red press turns for her to utilize, and show off her moves. The first is Tathlum Shot, which we’ve already seen. Medium Gun damage, one target, no big deal.

She’s also got Zionga for her Medium one-target skill needs.

Rapid Needle is kind of superfluous, since she has not one but two better Gun skills, but it’s here anyway.

Medusa’s most dangerous attack overall is her unique one, Snake’s Fangs. This attack deals heavy Gun damage two or three times to random targets. It also has a chance of inflicting Bind.

In addition to her damaging skills, Medusa can also cast Marin Karin, but she apparently had no desire to in the two extra runs I did just to try to bait her into doing so.

I resurrected for nothing! I became so beautiful… Gaaaah…

Gaaaaah!

Unfortunately for Medusa, her 3,000 HP is nothing in the face of the unrelenting Force. She’s also capable of being Dazed, which is the great equalizer for a lot of these early bosses if you can’t just smash through their weakness. You can also equip Hallelujah if you end up having a problem with Snake’s Fangs and Marin Karin putting your party members out of commission. Don’t expect the game’s bosses to be that charitable forever.

Who gets off turning people to stone? Psycho.

Sorry… I know I wasn’t much help…

No worries. We made it, didn’t we?

Hmph, “wasn’t much help”? You might as well not have been here!

Okay, you’re the last person I want to hear that from.

So what now, Hallelujah? Will you stick with us?

If you’re okay with it, yeah. I’d like to come along with you.

Dagda appears before the group.

That boy is a spy for the Ashura-kai.

A demon?! Wait, are you…?

That’s Dagda.

He’s kinda like Navarre… He’s haunting Nanashi.

Oh… I see, okay.

But never mind that – what’s he mean? Why’s he calling you a spy?

Yeah… The thing is the Ashura-kai has a responsibility to protect Tokyo.

So keeping an eye on you to make sure you don’t endanger Tokyo is part of our job…

You make it sound like we’re up to something!

As with previous character attainment choices, allowing Hallelujah to stay nets you a decent amount of Peace points, while kicking him to the curb will net you Anarchy points. If you try to abandon him, though, Asahi will just guilt trip you into taking him anyway (in spite of just being cross with him a few seconds ago), so you’re getting him either way.

Bring him along.

Okay, if that’s what you want.

Really? You won’t regret this… Sorry…and, uh, thanks.

What a joke.

Let’s just hope the hand you shake in friendship doesn’t wind up choking the life from you.

Looks like I’m coming along, then.

You don’t mind, right?

Hallelujah shoots you a friendly smile.

Well, all that’s left is to drop this thing off to the Hunter Association.

Let’s go, Nanashi!

Courtesy of the convenient Terminal up at the top of the Sky Tower, we can immediately shuttle over to any city with a Hunter bar and deliver the sensor, netting the party 21,581 experience points and 25,000 macca.

With that task completed, all there is left to do is go to sleep once more.

And, of course, sleep means another dream vision.

Someone’s calling you Akira.

When you respond, you hear Akira’s voice.

Geez, Skins. Don’t scare me like that.

Sorry I ruined your nap, just making sure you don’t get yourself killed.

You can’t be too careful up here. Never know when an angel will show up.

Thanks for the reminder, Skins.

Just look at all those scars, and each one’s a badge of glory.

And each one hurt like hell.

So what’s going on?

Not a whole lot to report.

We haven’t made any progress in a while with those Angels of Death coming down…

Sounds like we don’t have much chance at making it out of here.

Skins nods gravely.

And we finally make it out, see the sun, and now we’ve got angels trying to kill us.

Kind of makes you want to call it quits.

Don’t even kid about that.

Don’t worry, it’s not going to happen.

After this, there’s a crackle of static, the vision moving a bit further on.

We can’t hold 'em off forever, Skins.

Tell everyone to pull back to the second stratum.

Everyone, retreat!

Damnit!

More static, more moments in time slip by to yet another part of the vision.

Throughout SMTIV, Gabriel appears to the people of Mikado as a nun calling herself Sister Gabby.

It is the Lord’s will that we purge this land of the unworthy.

Those who have not been chosen by our Lord shall not set foot here.

But the Lord is merciful, and has deigned to give you a chance.

A chance…?

As humans, you are made in the image of the Lord.

and so, the Lord has permitted you to live under the sun.

Really?

However…

How mysterious. Shame our VisionTube has to give out before we got to the juicy part.

Get up. Get up! Get up get up get up!

You finally awake? It’s a real pain getting you out of bed, you know that?

Got another quest, check it out.

Looks like we need to escort a bunch of Samurai to Kasumigaseki.

Can’t imagine why they need us to do this.

Asahi doesn’t seem too happy about the assignment.

Says here the Samurai are in Ueno right now.

Guess we better go meet them.

One trip through the Terminal later and we can see that, yep, there’s the marker. Time to pick up some Samurai specops.

The warriors immediately stand out due to the garb, and not just in the “they’re not from Tokyo” sense. While most Samurai have beige clothing with navy blue overcoats like we saw on Walter and Jonathan’s bodies, this crew is wearing solemn white and gray outfits with a cross emblazoned on their tabards.

They somewhat bring to mind these guys, the Messians of Shin Megami Tensei I and II; presumably intentionally, given how frequently IV and Apocalypse call back to the early games in the series.

Oh? Are these motley gadabouts more, what did they call them? “Hunters”?

It seems the people of Tokyo tend to be dawdlers.

Alarming, yes. But not unexpected.

The man gusts out an exaggerated sigh.

Gaston?! It can’t be! When did you become a Samurai?!

Gaston! My own flesh and blood, my dear little brother! Can you see me? Do you hear my voice?!

Your what now?

Stunned awe, while appreciated, is hardly a civil greeting, wouldn’t you say?

Looks like the man can’t see Navarre.

Oh… He can’t see me… It’s for the best…

Uh, you guys the hotshot Samurai sent by Merkabah?

Indeed. I am Captain Gaston.

I am captain of the Crusaders who were dispatched by Lord Merkabah.

Gaston points at you.

With the serpent dead, we shall take Flynn and return him to Mikado for Lord Merkabah’s judgment!

You’re really going to do all that by yourselves?

Absolutely. All the people of Tokyo need to do is stand back.

Wow… You’re pretty sure of yourself…

Without a doubt. I am Gaston the Magnificent, after all!

Insert your Beauty and the Beast jokes here, because I know you have them stored up by now.

…The Magnificent?

And as the captain of the Crusaders, I am the most elite of the elite of the elite!

Wow, Gaston – do all those elites mean you’re even tougher than Flynn?

To whom do you think you’re speaking, child? I will be addressed as “Sir” Gaston.

…Right.

Sir Gaston, then.

Silence! Have you forgotten your place? Or are you simply testing my patience for mutinous subordinates?

The Samurai grimaces but keeps silent.

Now’s as good a time as ever. I have a speech prepared!

Once, Flynn may have been the most promising of the Samurai.

But that was before even I was a Samurai. And that time is long past.

I have surpassed Flynn and received the blessing of Lord Merkabah!

Behold, the spear of Michael, bestowed upon me by Lord Merkabah himself!

In his iconography, the archangel Michael typically wields a spear or sword, usually being readied to impale the traitorous Lucifer. Lucifer is often depicted as a dragon and both he and dragons are sometimes called foul/winged serpents. Wink wink, nudge nudge, get the idea now?

I expect this little excursion will be enough to make my magnificence clear.

Yeah, he’s definitely Navarre’s brother. They’re exactly the same.

What did you just say?

Uh… You’re Navarre’s brother, right I was just saying you two have a lot in common –

I have no brother!

I cannot accept that the same blood runs through our veins.

Hallelujah managed to slam facefirst right into an awkward situation, there.

Gaston…

Heh, Merkabah’s controlling those morons from Mikado by convincing them they’re chosen people.

What a shame, worshiping a god like that.

Can’t wait to see how things shake out between you and these Samurai.

You, puny Hunter. Hurry up and take us to Kasumigaseki.

Unlike you, I am extremely busy.

Dude, I don’t think I can ever get along with him…

Okay, cut the chatter. Time to saddle up.

Guess not all Samurai are as nice as Flynn and Miss Isabeau… What a bummer.

Gaston is the highest level party member we have at the moment, but he’s also the most one-note. He starts out with two Physical skills: Spear of Michael is Medium Physical damage to one foe, while Michael’s Strike is the same to all foes. His other three learnable skills at this point are also Physical. The main value he has at this point is that, like our Ame-no-habakiri, the Spear of Michael ignores Shesha’s resistance to Physical.

Oh, and sometimes he’ll steal your Press Turns. How kind of him.

Since Kasumigaseki has no Terminal, we have to walk the not-that-long way to it ourselves.

Once we’re there, Gaston stops to give a backhanded compliment and our quest is fulfilled. 7,867 experience and 10,000 macca isn’t much compared to what we’ve been doing, but every little bit counts.

Now that you’ve led the way through the easy part, I will lead the Crusaders to our inevitable victory.

You may return to hiding underground and avoiding the serpent.

Gaston and the other Crusaders pile into the elevator and descend into the shelter.

Says the dude literally going underground right now.

Uh, I think he’s too busy to understand irony.

Moving right along. What’s next?

Pretty sure we’re done here.

Your smartphones receive a new message.

How’s that for timing? Let’s see…

Looks like the Shesha Radar’s complete.

We can head on down to the fourth level and grab it from Professor Matsuda.

One elevator ride later…

You obtain the Shesha Radar.

You attach the Shesha Radar to your smartphone.

This radar will let you know where Shesha is going to appear.

It looks like the radar says Shesha is…in Shibuya.

Follow the radar and go clobber Shesha.

So, we’re going to need like a special weapon to beat Shesha, right?

Kind of like that spear Gaston had?

…He’s gotta come, too, doesn’t he…?

Maybe not. We do have Ame-no-habakiri. That’ll probably do the job.

Besides, I’m sure Gaston’s got his own thing going on.

Fair enough… Let’s go to Shibuya without him.

If only things were so easy. As soon as you move towards the exit of Kasumigaseki, he spots you.

You turn around to see Gaston standing there.

Hey, it’s Gast… Err… Sir Gaston…

How fortunate for you. I would like to invite you to join me. You know where the great serpent is, yes?

What happened to your buddies?

Buddies? The Crusaders? I’ve made a strategic decision to act separately from them.

As their captain, I couldn’t burden them with this. I alone am enough to defeat Shesha.

I am unfamiliar with this word “ditch” you use and will not acknowledge it.

R-right. It was a good plan.

Now, lead me to Shesha so that I may defeat the serpent.

Then I shall rescue Flynn. Remember: the plan is for me to do all the work and for you to not get in my way.

Boy I hate this guy…

Just focus on the fact that he’s an ally.

We’re going to need all the help we can get to take down that slithering shithead.

Nozomi’s correct. And next time, we will indeed be trekking to fight that slithering shithead, for real this time.


#51

The ruined grounds of Shibuya Station are our destination.

As with Shinjuku, the underground district is looking worse for wear, emptied of any people in the streets and spattered in blood.

The only folks left alive are huddled in nooks and crannies where they can hide, like the Bill Paxton fan here.

Each time you enter an area of Shibuya closer to Shesha, you get this rather obvious warning, starting out yellow before going to orange and eventually red when you are on the mark. Even if he wasn’t a gigantic snake capable of enveloping a skyscraper, he wouldn’t be able to sneak up on you with this amount of preparation.

Just keep on walking and he’ll become very clear soon enough.

Boss Battle!: Shesha :crossed_swords:

Thus starts our first proper battle with Shesha. If you haven’t equipped Ame-no-habakiri yet, Dagda will remind you to do so.

Yes! The sword worked! This could be it, Nanashi!

That’s a very important note, as it clearly both bypasses Shesha’s plethora of resistances and counts as hitting a weakness.

Gaston’s spear works the same way, unsurprisingly, so he finally makes himself useful.

To make things even more balanced in my favor (and to actually give my demons something to do), I’ve got three that collectively cast Tarunda, Rakunda, and Tarukaja each round to buff Nanashi’s sword slash to even greater heights while keeping the effects of Shesha’s Physical assaults to a minimum. You can see here how effective this strategy is, heaping the damage on.

That’s the same thing he did last time. Don’t make the same mistake twice, kid.

You may recall this trick from the impromptu pseudo-fight with Shesha in Shinjuku. You can choose to either have your partner back you up, just let Gaston go in for the strike, or sit and do nothing. The first two options have the same result: Shesha gets hit, he can’t heal, and you get four free bars of Assist Gauge. Choosing to sit and do nothing just lets him heal back to full, so don’t do that.

Your good judgment deepens Gaston and the others’ trust in you.

While Shesha acts just as he did in Shinjuku for the first half of the fight, once you’ve interrupted his healing bout he only wastes one of his four Press Turns doing nothing; furthermore, he gains three more skills. The first is Charge.

Charge is almost invariably followed up by Earthquake, which deals medium Physical damage to all of your party and has a chance of inflicting Daze. Even with a full salvo of Tarunda hindering his Physical damage, this one is capable of dealing a number on anyone in your party not resistant to Physical, as you can see from that whopping 178 damage on poor Raiju.

There is also a single-target skill, Serpent’s Hunger, a medium damage single-target Physical attack that effectively replaces Lunge for the rest of the fight. In my playthrough, he eschewed this attack in favor of just spamming the Charge-Earthquake combo for what little time he had left alive.

Hah!

Gaston leaps at Shesha and thrusts his spear into the serpent.

By the way, the Spear of Michael can change size. The in-game Hunter Note on it states that it’s possibly because of the will of the wielder, or may just be a thing the Spear is supposed to be able to do regardless of the wielder’s will.

Shesha is impaled by the spear.

Whoa, what the?!

Hahaha! Did you see that? Did you see the power of my magnificence?

Did he… Did he defeat it?

Impossible! How could that not have slain the beast?!

With the spear stuck in Shesha, Gaston has no way to attack.

It’s all you, kid. Finish him off.

Deliver the final blow?

If you pick “No” in some misguided attempt to help Gaston save face, you just get a brief continuation of Shesha’s choking and then get kicked back to the option to deliver the final blow. So just slay the damn snake

You use Ame-no-habakiri to deal the deathblow to Shesha.

We did it! We took down Shesha!

That we did. And for doing so, we get a whopping 40,000 macca and 32,942 experience points. This fight can break you if you aren’t prepared, but as long as you have buffs, debuffs, and healing on top of Physical-resistant demons, Shesha isn’t quite as terrifying as he may seem. His 4,000 HP goes by fast if you have Nanashi beefed up on Tarukaja and Shesha’s scaled rubbed all to hell with repeated Rakundas.

You’ve made a damned fool of me! That beast was mine to kill!

Whoa, whoa.

Shesha was to crumple beneath my might. You stole that from me.

You are being such an asshole right now!

That’s enough from you. You’re a pimple on his ass. You’re nothing!

1. Wow, that was rude. 2. …Ew.

You’ve latched yourself onto what little reputation he has earned and fed off of it like a parasite!

You have no right to speak to me like this!

I can’t believe this is happening!

Okay, enough. Calm down, Asahi.

I’m not wrong! That guy is a HUGE ass!

C’mon, don’t say that. He’s also an ally.

But you could stand to work with us more, Gaston. You’re not a one-man army.

I would never have lost to such a pathetic enemy alone.

Not gonna make this easy, are ya…

Guys, looks like there’s gonna be another broadcast. Where’s your base of operations?

We’re from Kinshicho.

It’s settled, then. We’ll head back to the Kinshicho Hunter Association and watch the meeting.

I’m coming with you. I’ll let them know the truth behind your victory.

One Terminal trip to Kinshicho later…

Fujiwara, Skins, Lucifer, and Merkabah are on the screen.

I’m impressed, humans. You disposed of Shesha most spendidly.

The Divine Powers is now deprived of its most valuable weapon. Now is the time for us to strike back.

To Tsukiji Konganji, sons of man. We must attack before Flynn becomes a Godslayer.

That’s the end of this conference.

We will be issuing instructions to each of you regarding the assault on Tsukiji Konganji.

On behalf of the Hunter Association, you have my thanks.

Nice, you got a shout-out!

Well, that’s something. It takes a lot to impress Fujiwara.

Stay safe out there.

I’m gonna go ask someone if we missed anything.

Be right back.

Nozomi steps away and starts chatting with some of the other Hunters.

She didn’t deserve all that abuse from Gaston…

You look over to Asahi. As Hallelujah said, she looks visibly upset.

Asahi catches you looking at her.

Oh…hey, Nanashi. Sorry, didn’t mean to worry you.

Can’t get Gaston out of my head. Am I just a glorified groupie following you around? I Never thought about it.

I know I’m just there for support, not on the front lines like you…

I just thought becoming an actual Hunter would be enough…

As usual, there’s the obvious Peace and Anarchy point answers, as well as the option to be a quiet weirdo and get no points at all. As usual, good boy answers for a good boy playthrough.

Don’t listen to him.

Thank you, Nanashi…

Heh… Sorry about all that.

Asahi seems to have gotten a bit of her vigor back.

I’m with your friend, Asahi.

Nozomi! Did we miss anything?

Mostly Shesha stuff, about his defeat.

No new info, it seems – just a report.

Anyway…

Ignore Gaston. Contrary to what he may think, no one can go it alone.

It’s only when we work together that we accomplish great things.

Knowing what you can do, what you’re capable of - that’s the mark of a mature Hunter.

Nozomi…

Besides, if we’re talking about someone who just follows people around, it’d be Senor Spookadour.

I rest my case.

What’s your deal anyway, you phantom jelly bean? Didn’t you roll with Flynn?

Not exactly…

Yeah, you were a Samurai, right? Did you get shanked by a demon?

Yep. That’s Navarre’s big secret. Died by slipping and falling while being a horndog.

…Pig.

Got our assignment for the Tsukiji Konganji assault.

This is the big one.

Our orders are to trash the Divine Powers and rescue Flynn. We can’t mess this up!

You’re right. Let’s be sure we’re ready before heading out.

As the decree states, we’ve got to go kill Krishna and co. now. It won’t be easy: if you recall, Tsukiji Konganji was once the headquarters of the Ring of Gaea, and many of them have fallen in line behind Maitreya. Opposition won’t be in short supply.


#52

Equipment

Nanashi is now decked out in an almost-complete set of armor: the leggings and body parts come from the Pink-Blue Combat set, while the headgear is from the Blue-Orange Combat set. The Blue-Orange Combat helmet provides +28 HP, +8 Magic, and +8 Luck, the Pink-Blue Combat body has +56 HP and provides resistance to Gun and Fire at the cost of weakness to Electricity, and the Pink-Blue Combat leggings have +56 HP and +11 Agility.

Random Things of Note

Remember that Zombie Cop we couldn’t recruit earlier? Well, here’s how you can. After buying Scout+, when you recruit a demon, it can recruit another demon in its battle group, even if you yourself couldn’t normally recruit said demon.

As noted a few Hunter’s Notes ago, some demons are capable of evolution, and Principality has finally gotten at the level to unleash that potential. I’m not a huge fan of evolving demons, as I prefer to obsessively fine-tune any fusions I make, but I figured I’d be remiss not to show it at least once.

Mechanically, Power’s pretty decent. Resistant to Electricity and nullifying Light but weak to Force and Dark, his largest benefit is the fact that he has a wide repertoire of affinities: +1 to Almighty, Gun, and Healing, +3 to Light, and +4 to Physical, at the cost of -3 to Force and -6 to Dark. Two of those unlearned skills are Principality’s Mazio and Mana Bonus, which you can optionally relearn even though they weren’t inherited by the RNG; the two actual skills Power learns by leveling up are Life Aid (full HP restore for the demon after each battle) at level 34 and Megido at level 35.

Wild Demon Encounters: Shibuya

Lilim, the succubus-like daughters of Lilith in Jewish lore, are weak to Ice but nullify Force. A Lilim’s starting repertoire of skills is Spirit Drain and Sexy Dance, followed up by Lullaby at level 34 and Mazanma at level 36. Her Magic stat is on the very high end of the curve for her level, and her Luck stat’s nothing to sneeze at either, so you can fuse up a damn fine caster out of one.

Okiku-Mushi (level 34 Vermin) is inspired by the cultural effects of the Japanese ghost story Bancho Sarayashiki, wherein a woman named Okiku becomes a vengeful spirit after being killed by being bound and thrown into a well. The grub-like lower half comes from caterpillars nesting in wells coming to be known as Okiku-Mushi due to their silken threads “binding” them. The Okiku-Mushi here is resistant to Gun, nullifies Electricity, and is weak to Ice, Force, and Light. She begins with Rakunda and Tathlum shot, learning the further skills Poisma and Mudoon at level 35 and 36.

The Hindi vampire Churel (a level 32 of the Ghost race) is a simplistic demon as far as damage taken goes: weak to Light, nullifies Dark, short and sweet. Her skills are Marin Karin and Shibaboo from the start, Mudoon at level 33, and Dark Pleroma at level 34.

The level 37 Foul Mad Gasser is a rather obscure World War II era urban legend from Illinois that has managed to make it into three MegaTen games in spite of his relative lack of fame. Weak to Light and resistant to Dark, he’s all about those ailments, having a +6 affinity to them and only learning ailment-related skills. He starts off with Bind Voice and Poison Breath, gains Pandemic Bomb at level 38, and tops off with Hellish Mask (resistance to all ailments) at level 39.

Our leopard pal Ose is back, now in regular enemy form. While his miniboss form nullified Dark attacks, he’s now just resistant, and he now also carries a weakness to Bind and Charm to keep him in place while you wail on him. His huge Strength and high Agility and Luck are nice, but his starting skills are the weak damage Blight and Critical Wave. Leveling him up gets you Beastly Reaction at level 33, Javelin Rain at level 34, and Retaliate at level 35.

Nekomata, or bakeneko, is a cat that has lived long enough to take power as a yokai, its tail splitting in two (funny enough, the only one of Kazuma Kaneko’s designs for Nekomata in the series that has actually had a split tail is this one from Soul Hackers, which was promptly never used again). She’s resistant to Fire, nullifies Force, and is weak to Ice and Electricity. Nekomata’s skills are Axel Claw and Pulinpa from the start, Beastly Reaction at level 36, and Mazanma at level 37. While they don’t have it as usable demons, wild Nekomatas know Macca Beam, an “attack” that just steals some of your macca. It’s dumb.

Blazing forth from the abyss is the level 38 Inferno Horde, all fire all the time. The horde drains Fire and is weak to Ice, and has the skills Heat Wave, Fire Breath, and Agidyne.

The fabled Druidic tool of human sacrifice purportedly seen by the Romans, Wicker Man is resistant to Dark but weak to Fire, Electricity, and Light. Its initial skills are Makajam and Mazanma, with Magaon coming in at level 39 and Resist Electricity alleviating one of its triad of weaknesses at level 40.

The birth name of the Celtic warrior hero Cu Chulainn, Setanta is weak to Electricity and Dark but nullifies Force. He knows the skills Charge and Javelin Rain from the outset, augmenting them with Life Gain at level 36 and Purple Smoke (one to three medium Physical strikes on random foes, with a 70% chance of inducing Panic) at level 37. Strangely enough, he doesn’t undergo demon evolution into Cu Chulainn.

The Goetic demon Orias is a level 38 of the Fallen race and has a weakness to Ice and Light offset by a resistance to Fire and Dark. Old snake-arms’s skills are Pandemic Bomb and Maragion innately, Me Patra at level 40, and Attack Knowhow at level 41.

Balor of the Baleful Eye, lord of the Fomorians in Celtic mythology, is a level 36 Tyrant who resists Gun and Force, nullifies Fire, and is weak only to Ice. His skills are Agilao and Megaton Press innately followed up by Mamudo and Agidyne at levels 37 and 40 respectively.

Enku (“Flaming Mouth”) is a specific preta said to have been met by Ananda Man Thera, first cousin of Gautama Buddha. This level 38 Ghost is weak to Ice, Force, and Light but nullifies Fire and Dark damage. Its skills are Fire Breath and Damascus innately and Maragion at level 39.

The Japanese chimera Nue, possessing the head of a monkey, body of a tanuki, limbs of a tiger, and tail of a serpent, is a level 39 of the Wilder race. Weak to Gun and Force but resistant to Electriciy, it learns the skills Axel Claw and Zionga innately, Shock at level 40, and Mazionga at level 41.

The Hare of Inaba, legendary Japanese rabbit flayed by vengeful sharks and healed by the god Okuninushi, is weak to Gun and Fire with no resistances. It innately knows the skills Diarama and Sukukaja, and learns Trafuri, Media, and Recarm at levels 39, 40, and 41.

Fusions

From the union of Qing Niuguai and Archangel, we get ourselves a Makami. The two skills it has yet to learn are Posumudi at level 34 and Workaholic (get 40% more experience points from battle) at level 35.

Makami, or okami, is a wolf that has ascended to the position of a kami. Both feared for its ability to kill and consume humans and revered for its protection of crops, game animals, and the ravages of nature. Makami is often drawn upon ema (Shinto prayer plaques) to ward off burglary and fire.

Gucumatz and Azumi create Okuninushi.

As mentioned above, Okuninushi helped heal the wounds of the Hare of Inaba by imploring it to wash in fresh water before rolling in the fluff of the cattail reed. He also endured many hardships himself, being killed twice by his own brothers before repeatedly thwarting attempts by Susano-o to kill him for eloping with his daughter Suseri-Hime. Eventually, he won over Susano-o, took Suseri-Hime as his wife, and built the land with the aid of Sukuna-Hikona. While once lord of the Izumo povince, he turned over this position to Amaterasu’s grandson Ninigi no Mikoto, settling himself into a position as god of religious rites, medicine, and marriage.

Baldur and Kelpie make Inti. That Resist Force conveniently covers up one his two normal weaknesses. What’s really interesting about Inti is that his gimmick as an expert at both Fire and Ice magic is a really unique niche, making him a particularly novel demon as far as Magic-oriented demons go. The two skills he gains from leveling up are Mabufula at level 35 and Ice Pleroma at level 36, contrasting the Maragion and Fire Pleroma he starts with.

Inti was the Incan god of the sun, agriculture, and the Inca Empire itself, with Incan emperors said to be direct earthly manifestations of his presence. Inti’s children taught humanity the ways of civilization and passed down the golden wedge that stabbed into the earth to mark the capital of the empire at Cusco. He is traditionally portrayed as a sun with a face, sometimes with wavy rays such as on the Bolivian coat or arms or, indeed, right here with Kaneko’s demon design.

And now for a special fusion bonanza of the three former bosses!

Once an obstacle in our path, King Frost has now been recruited through a special triple fusion of Jack Frost, Pyro Jack, and Jack the Ripper. All King Frosts come prepackaged with Bufula, Ice Pleroma, and his unique skill King Bufula; as a unique skill, it cannot be normally inherited in fusions or learned by Nanashi through Demon Whisper. He gains Ice Breath, Megaton Press, and Critical Eye at levels 31, 32, and 34 respectively; he never learns Smile Charge on his own in his non-boss incarnation, alas.

Sukuna-Hikona is a special fusion from Okuninushi, Mermaid, and Gu Huo Niao. He has the unique skills Infernal Hail and Needlestorm from his boss fight. Through leveling up, he gets Makajam at level 35, Concentrate at level 36, and Null Mind (grants immunity to Charm, Mute, Panic, and Sleep) at level 38.

Medusa’s a special fusion of Basilisk, Pele, and Vouivre. Her unique skill Snake’s Fangs is now at our own disposal. Medusa’s level-up moves are Gun Pleroma at level 40, Grand Tack (Heavy gun damage to a single target) at level 41, and Ziodyne at level 43. Medusa is the earliest demon you can get Gun Pleroma off of, by the by, so that on top of Snake’s Fangs and Grand Tack makes her a really good demon to use at this point if you are wanting to plow through something with Gun damage.


#53

When we attempt to head for the Terminal in Kinshicho, an old face shows up.

I knew you’d pass this way. I’m glad I ran into you.

You are setting out for Tsukiji Konganji, yes?

I cannot let you rescue Flynn alone. Permit me to join you?

You want to come with us?

Of course you can! Let’s go!

Oh… Uh… Thank you. I did not expect such enthusiasm.

I hope I never looked like this in front of Abe…

He totally did.

What’s up, Navarre?

Isabeau is one of my fellow Samurai. She and I were inducted at the same time.

What might she think, were she to see me like this…?

Huh. That’s more self-awareness than I gave you credit for. Not like she can see you, right?

There’s nothing for you to fret over.

Let’s be off to Tsukiji Konganji.

Isabeau joins your party.

Isabeau is level 50, and on top of that knows the tier 2 heal-all skill Mediarama and the heavy single-target elemental spells Agidyne, Bufudyne, Ziodyne, and Zandyne right off the bat and learning the single target full heal spell Diarahan at level 55. This makes her effectively immediately outclass Asahi in everything other than ailment recovery. She’ll also learn two more very powerful skills, but those won’t happen for a long time, so I’ll keep those a surprise.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, to get to Tsukiji Konganji you have to head from Ginza back through the Konganji Passage. Or walk from Kinshicho through Joto and the poison swamp, I guess, but that would be a weird choice now that the Terminals are open. It’s understandable that Maitreya would shack up here, as Tsukiji Konganji in the real world is an Indian architecture-inspired temple of Shin Buddhism.

You guys lookin’ for redemption? For your souls to be saved by the Divine Powers?

Reject this wretched universe. Leave behind this physical realm and find peace in the new universe.

Just know, to let go of your physical bodies means embracing death.

At least Ganesha’s an honest god.

If the light of new life after death is what you desire, please continue on.

It appears heavily guarded. I don’t think we should take this route.

I agree. No reason to endanger innocent people.

They’ve surrendered to the Divine Powers. Their lives are already forfeit.

No, just because we don’t agree with them doesn’t make their lives less valuable.

Maybe someone in town knows another way into Konganji. Let’s go ask around.

You leave the area.

This fellow in Yaesu Passage, just north of the Ginza underground district, gives a bit of a hint. To learn more, though, we need to head above ground.

Once you head up the stairs from the underground district to Ginza Crosswalk, these gruff Gaeans appear before you.

Wait, no, these are the guys…

Oh… These are the guys Lady Mii and Lady Kei were talking about…

The two Gaeans look at each other.

The ring of Gaea has been split in two.

We still follow Lady Yuriko, but some chose to follow Maitreya.

So, you guys are going to sneak into Tsukiji Konganji, aren’t you?

Go to Harumi Way and follow the underground path. Ladies Mii and Kei are in the Silver Prison Room.

They know how to get into Konganji.

The two Gaeans quickly leave.

What a strange turn of events.

Perhaps they wish for us to rid them of this rival Maitreya faction of theirs.

What should we do? Can’t be sure they’re really gonna help us…

We have to risk it. Flynn’s life hangs in the balance.

You’re right. Let’s just find Mii and Kei.

Surprisingly, the entrance to the Silver Prison the mysterious Ladies Mii and Kei are located in is just a hop, skip, and a jump to the left from where you exit the Ginza underground district. You may want to look around Ginza before or after as well, as it is full of high-selling relics; I managed to get 49,945 macca from just one run around the district.

Oh, and the passage to get to them is filled with poison gas. Near this point, you’re given the upgraded version of the Anti-Poison app that can be purchased for 30 App Points and renders this annoyance moot. Whether or not that’s a useful expenditure of your application-related funds is up to you.

Heading rightward on the map from where you entered the Silver Prison, you will soon reach this location, where you can jump up into an open air duct. Doing so will both get you out of the toxic fumes and give you a clear view of the waypoint marker you need to get to.

Eehehehe… Good timing, I’ve been looking for a nice young hunk of man.

The two old women look at each other and laugh, teeth bared.

Uh, these old women are more than a little creepy…

Simply hideous. I can see why God chose not to save them.

Bite your tongue, ya little shit. I’m not so sure I want to help them out now, do you Mii?

And I was so eager to stroke his little chin and tell him how to get into Tsukiji Konganji.

We used to run that place. We might have left a backdoor or two.

'Course, the Divine Powers run Tsukiji Konganji now. And I don’t think they’re too keen on letting you in.

But that’s the front door. I’m sure you could waltz through another way…

I wonder just how far you’d go to get that information…

What do you have in mind, might I ask?

She’s one of the best we’ve got in the Ring of Gaea.

Yes, she won’t be a burden on you… Eehehehe…

All you have to do is get Toki inside. And then Toki has to kill two people.

Who?

I am to assassinate Maitreya and Flynn.

Flynn killed Yuriko. Maitreya took over the Ring of Gaea.

We who still follow Yuriko can’t just let that slide.

We have to return the Ring of Gaea to its former glory.

We’re cooperating with Lucifer, but there are still things we need to do on our own.

No matter what Lucifer wants, we’re taking our revenge.

We have our reputation at stake.

And Toki is such a dear to do it for us.

We just want you to help get Toki inside. We wanted someone…expendable to help.

But we can’t force you to take her.

This is merely a temporary alliance.

Preposterous! There’s no way we can agree to that!

Then we can’t tell you how to get into Tsukiji Konganji. Heheheh…

Either you take Toki or you take responsibility for what will happen at Tsukiji Konganji.

It really doesn’t matter to us either way.

Will you take Toki with you?

You know the drill by now. Say hello to our next party member.

No other choice…

Good choice… Eeheehee…

We will take her with us, but we will not allow her to kill Flynn.

Oh, that’s fine. We knew this would have to be a compromise.

Toki is staring into space.

When you follow her gaze, you find she is looking at Navarre.

Wait, can you see me?!

Toki averts her eyes.

No, I think she can. I just think she’s already decided to ignore you.

WHA?!

Toki knows the way into Tsukiji Konganji. She’ll tell you the details.

Toki, now’s the time for you to do your thing. Don’t mess it up.

I’ll be honest and say that I barely ever used Toki on my first playthrough of Apocalypse, and probably won’t for this LP either. Her skills aren’t useless, per se, they’re just not really my preference. She has four starting skills, two of them passive. Hiding is a passive that makes it less likely for enemy demons to target her over Nanashi and your summoned demons. Her other passive skill, Temporal Blade, means there is a slight chance she’ll make a regular sword attack at the start of battle that gets a bonus Phys Pierce (breaks through all types of resistance to Physical) and small chance of instakill.

Pierce Armor is a medium damage single-target Physical attack that also has Physical Pierce and gives a free Dekunda on that one enemy. Finally, Dark Sword deals two medium Physical attacks on one foe on top of inflicting Mute. I prefer to have someone who can heal or buff me while my own demons do a better job of Physical and ailment coverage, but your own results may vary.

Now that we have Toki in tow, exiting to the overworld through the Konganji Passage now gets us this new scene to clue us in that we can now properly enter Tsukiji Konganji if we re-enter it.

We’ll be infiltrating from underground?

Yes… The Divine Powers have sealed many of the passages, but there are still some unknown to them.

Here is the entrance.

Huh… It’s hidden, alright.

Push onward! You’re holding up this entire enterprise!

I-I know! Don’t push me!

Let’s go, Nanashi!

While not in the temple proper yet, we’ve officially infiltrated Tsukiji Konganji.

Heading through the tunnels, you can find this ventilation shaft at the far left of the map. This is your ticket up into the temple proper.

It shouldn’t surprise you that you can spot a guard as soon as you’re in the temple, either.

Toki’s warning brings you to a halt.

There’s a Gaean cultist and several demons keeping watch ahead.

Demons from the Divine Powers. And one of Maitreya’s traitors…

Your gawking is wasting precious time. I will deal with them myself.

No. What if they call for backup?

Let’s just be cautious and not get caught.

This is a sneaking mission. A sneaking mission with teleport doors, though there’s actually a reprieve between this first door and any more. This first one just sends you on the other side of a wormwood wall right next to you, which allows you to go to a door on the bottom right of this corridor-room and grab a key from a dying Gaean.

After getting this key, you need to head back down into the Shelter Ruins and go all the way down to this door. And behind the door…

She follows Maitreya. We must silence her.

You’re Toki! Those old crones from the Yuriko faction must have sent you…

The Maitreya supporter drops into a fighting stance.

Yuriko led us astray. There’s no future fighting in her name.

But Maitreya is different. With him, there’s a chance we could be one with the gods…

I will leave my worthless body behind and give my soul to the Divine Powers!

_This fight is against two Gaea Women. These are level 40 members of the Human race, and being Human means they nullify Light damage; they also have resistance to Gun, unlike most people. Gaea Woman’s attacks are Head Crush and Javelin Rain, augmented by her +3 bonus to Physical skills. She also has the skill Taunt, which is used in a bid to get your Defense debuffed enough that she can take you down before your buffed Attack tears through her 1,000 HP. _

It’s…actually not that interesting of a miniboss fight. You can inflict ailments on the Gaea Women to rob them of their turns, and their resistance to Gun means nothing when you are eating them alive with tier 2 and 3 Physical and elemental attacks that your demons certainly have by now.

The only way to go is forward. We have no choice but to steel ourselves and brave the darkness.


#54

Sidequest: Track an Escaped Demon

Once barred by a Gaean, we can now exit through the north door of the Ginza underground, heading into the Yaesu Passage. Immediately within, there’s a door on the left.

I’m free now, ho! I’m gonna use my power to live a life of decadence, just sleeping and eating!

Don’t get in my way, ho! I won’t forgive you!

Day after day, day in and day out, it’s just “freeze this, freeze that”…

I’m not a refridg-hee-rator, you know, ho! I’ll fight you!

Not a reference to any particular mythology but nonetheless a popular demon in the series due to being an extension of the Jack family, Black Frost is a Jack Frost that is literally overstuffed with evil. He’s also wordplay: “Jaaku Frost” being “Evil Frost”.

If you don’t know your MegaTen demons too well, your first instinct may be to throw Fire damage at Black Frost – he’s a bigger Jack Frost, after all. Doing so will get you a nasty surprise, however, as Black Frost nullifies both Fire and Ice damage in this boss fight. He’s also resistant to Physical and Dark, with his weakness being Light as shown above.

For offense, this Black Frost has two Press Turns like most other minibosses and knows the moves Bufula, Mabufula, and Taunt.

Though to be honest…

I don’t actually mind this stuff that much.

I feel re-heely refreshed after that fight, ho! I did everything that I wanted.

I got no regrets, so I’m gonna go. Thanks for playing with me, ho!

The moral of the story: don’t have your demons constantly do domestic chores when they want to punch things instead, they’ll resent you for it.

Your reward for this whole escapade is twofold. First off, you get 7,683 experience points and 10,000 macca. More importantly, however, we are now allowed to make Black Frost as a special fusion of King Frost, Baphomet, and Balor. The two skills he has yet to learn are Mamudo at level 41 and Endure at level 42. I could have made a better one if I had fused up a personalized Baphomet and Balor for the task, but he’s not a bad demon by any measure even without an optimized skillset.

Sidequest: Defeat Demon in Ginza

Another miniboss quest we can now do in Ginza is this one, which is located in the upper portion of the shopping district of Ginza (head north from the big Masakado rock crosswalk).

Tragic humans. I commend you, knocking on Prometheus’ door.

You fear starvation, tremble in the cold… I shall grant you the means to escape such things.

But first, show me your power.

What are you talking about? Show you my power…?

Take this fire. You were first to come before me.

Alright, I got this!

Prometheus’ flame passes through the man’s body…

The man disappears.

Perhaps it is too soon for humanity to have fire…

I must hurry. There isn’t much time left for this world…

Now then, young man. You’re next. Show me the power humans possess.

I shall give you my flame.

Stand up on your own and bring an end to these gruesome days.

Prometheus is not a particularly obscure Greek mythological figure; he’s the guy that created men from the clay of the earth and then stole fire from the gods to give to us mortals, after all, that sort of thing tends to get you famous. For his good will towards mankind, the Titan’s punishment from the god Zeus was to be chained to a great stone in the Caucasus Mountains and have his liver ripped out and eaten by an eagle, only to have the liver regrow and the process happen again and again every day. In some versions of the tale, Zeus’s son Heracles eventually slays the eagle his father set upon Prometheus, freeing him from his torture.

As the firebringer, he’s weak to Ice due to RPG logic of elements. He also happens to be susceptible to Bind, which means you can keep him locked up as you cool him off. On the attacking end, he’s about as one-note as they come: Maragion for medium Fire damage party-wide (usually in hopes of getting an early Smirk), Agidyne for slapping down heavy Fire damage on a single target, and that’s it. Locking him down with Bind means you can even afford to have a demon with a Fire weakness without being too worried.

As you walk, human, you must make sure that the fire doesn’t extinguish, nor that it consumes you.

I will watch over the fate of the fire, regardless of what happens.

The demon leaves.

You can fuse Prometheus regardless of whether or not you complete this quest, so it’s one purely for macca and experience if you’re looking for some.

Wild Demon Encounters: Ginza

Rakshasa on the left is one of the most common demons in Ginza, appearing in a ton of different encounter configurations. This merciless Hindu demon is a level 38 Jaki that is resistant to Gun but weak to Light. It starts off with Head Crush, Fatal Sword, and Counter, all befitting its phenomenal Strength and Luck stats. Leveling it up once gets you Charge, while the level after that grants Endure.

Yomotsu Ikusa, a warrior of the Japanese underworld, is a level 37 Brute with a weakness to Force and Light contrasted by a resistance to Dark. Starting out with Fang Breaker and Tathlum Shot, leveling it up produces Blast Arrow and Bloody Glee at levels 38 and 40.

Mishaguji is a god in the form of a white serpent that was worshiped in what is now the Nagano Prefecture of Japan, inhabiting rocks and acting as the deity of community wellness and fertility (the latter possibly being why two of the symbols of Mishaguji are a stone pillar with a particularly phallic tip to it and a large log that is ritually erected). Here, he is a level 37 of the Vile race who is weak to Force and Light but nullifies Electric and Dark.

The level 39 Genma Tlaloc, an Aztec storm god, is weak to Fire and Force, resistant to Ice, and nullifies Electricity. His skills are Zionga and Bufula from the outset, Resist Fire at level 40, and Mana Gain at level 41.

The famous Gryphon is a level 40 Beast with a resistance to Force but weakness to both Electricity and Gun. It’s all Physical all the time as a recruited rather than fused demon, with its skills being Oni-Kagura and Power Punch from the start and Damascus Claw from leveling it up once.

The Shinto goddess Kikuri-Hime is a level 36 of the Nymph race, up there with Vermin as one of the races with the least representatives. She’s weak to Electricity and Dark but nullifies Force, and has the skills Sexy Dance and Diarama from the start, Me Patra at level 37, Recarm at level 38, and Tetraja at level 39.

Shiwanna, a Pueblo cloud spirit, is weak to Fire and Dark, resistant to Gun, and nullifies Ice. Its skills are Pandemic Bomb and Purple Smoke (one to three medium Physical strikes to random targets, with a 70% chance of inflicting Panic) innately, Fog Breath (a combination of both Sukunda and Tarunda) at level 39, and Spring of Life at level 40.

Kingu, son and lover of the Mesopotamian primal being Tiamat, is a level 39 of the Drake race. He has a weakness to Gun, Fire, and Light, but resists Electricity and nullifies Force. Kingu’s skills are Zanma and Shock at the start, Recarmdra (resurrects all allies with full health, but kills the user) at level 40, and Panic Voice at level 41.

The level 35 Flight Harpy is assailed by a number of attack types, being weak to Gun, Electricity, and Dark while only resisting Force. She starts off with the skills Bind Voice, Zanma, and Posumudi, then learns Force Pleroma and Sukunda at levels 36 and 37 respectively.

Wild Demon Encounters: Tsukiji Konganji Shelter Ruins

Within the ruins of Tsukiji Konganji’s underground shelter, you can find some of the demons from Ginza’s aboveground reaches, plus some new faces.

Zaccoum, or Zaqqum, is a tree in Jahannam (the Islamic Hell) that torments the souls of the damned with its bitter and agonizingly hot fruits. This demon is weak to Force and Light, resists Dark, and nullifies Ice. It has the skills Poison Breath and Acid Breath (a combination of Dekunda and Sukunda) from the get-go, and by leveling it up it will learn Pandemic Bomb at level 42 and Bloody Glee at level 43.

The strongest of the three tengu in SMTIV: Apocalypse, the Kurama Tengu (also known as daitengu) are level 43 Genma that are weak to both Gun and Electricity but nullify Force. Kurama Tengu’s starting skills are Mazanma and Mahama; leveling it up provides Trafuri at level 44 and Zandyne at level 45.

A monstrous flesh-eating rakshasa of Sri Lankan Buddhsim, Gurr (properly Gurulu, but “Gurr” is a mistranslation that’s been in the series since the demon first appeared in the Super Famicom games) is a level 42 Raptor with a weakness to Gun and Light offset by nullifying Force damage. Its starting skills are Wind Breath and Axel Claw, which are both precursors to the skills it learns upon leveling up: Mazanma at level 43, and Nihil Claw (one to three heavy Physical strikes to one foe) at level 44.

Daughter of Loki and ruler of the Norse underworld, Hel is one of the best spellcasting demons in this area, having a phenomenal Magic stat, very high Luck stat, and generally good stats otherwise as well. She also has two Null rank defenses, nullifying both Dark and Ice at the cost of being weak to Fire. She starts off with the skills Mamudo, Bufula, and Mabufula, and learns Sabbatma and Bufudyne at levels 44 and 45…

The level 45 Tengu Horde is a horde encounter made up, unsurprisingly, of the three ranks of tengu. Weak to Gun and Electricity, resistant to Fire, and nullifying Force, you can tear through these guys pretty easily if you have a machine gun and a good Gun-focused demon like Medusa or Diana. The skills the horde can turn against you are Mahama, Javelin Rain, and Zandyne.

In a place of death and strife, it isn’t surprising that the famed Valkyries have ridden in. She’s resistant to Physical, Gun, and Force, but weak to Electricity. With huge Strength and pretty great stats in pretty much everything else (excepting Magic, which isn’t great), Valkyrie focuses almost entirely on Physical and Gun damage. She starts out with Javelin Rain and Blast Arrow, and then augments this with Mortal Jihad (heavy Physical damage to one foe, with a high critical rate but low accuracy) at level 45 and Blood Ritual (a combined Tarukaja, Dekaja, and Sukukaja, but the user’s HP drops to 1) at level 46.

Fusions

Fusing Sukuna-Hikona and Medusa produces Diana. Diana normally learns Gun Pleroma at level 42, but since she already inherited that from Medusa her only unlearned skill is Grand Tack at level 43.

Diana is the Roman goddess of hunting and the wilderness, also dipping into the purviews of fertility and childbirth, monarchy, and the moon. One cult dedicated to Diana raised her up as the protector goddess of low class citizens and slaves as well. She’s typically shown having a bow and arrows to hunt with, which is why she is focused on Gun skills in Apocalypse. As for her…uhh…unique attire? That’s from a statue of Diana at her temple in the city of Ephesus (well, it was technically the temple of the Greek goddess Artemis first, but Artemis was eventually subsumed into Diana during the Roman era) that had her positively coated in a plethora of breasts.


#55

A stealth section and a teleporter maze? I guess they really wanted you to miss the status effect dungeons.


#56

My boy Black Frost, one of the best demons around. I was pleasantly surprised when he wound up being an end game persona in 5.


#57

…Oh my god, I never actually looked at Diana’s outfit before. How did I never notice. How.


#58

I may have been a bit misleading with my wording there. The actual mechanic is a lot more hilarious: due to being “in stealth”, your party tells you to turn back if you get within a certain radius of the Maitreyan guards, so you effectively have an invisible barrier you are forced to turn back from. You can, and most likely will, bump up against them repeatedly without even trying.


#59

Ah, gotcha. It still sounds really annoying, but at least it’s not completely awful.


#60

Past the Shelter Ruins, we have even older structures in the form of these passageways. They’re all named after gemstones – Lapus Lazuli, Jade, and Amber – and wind ever forward, leading us to our next destination.

At this point, on the far end of the Amber Passage, we get that familiar warning of the presence of a strong demon. Be prepared.

I am Zhong Kui, of the Divine Powers. So long as I draw breath, you shall not pass.

I am ordered to eliminate any demons of the Divine Powers I encounter. You will die here.

So very spirited. Very well. Let’s play.

I will vanquish you with the same ease I’ve quelled countless other evils!

Children… I won’t go easy on you just because we’re playing.

Boss Battle!: Zhong Kui :crossed_swords:

Zhong Kui, or Chung Kwei, is a Chinese legendary figure and guardian spirit. In his legends, Zhong Kui was an extremely bright man who nonetheless had his bureacratic title taken from him by the emperor due to his physical appearance. Incensed at this slight against him, Zhong Kui committed suicide, ending up in the underworld of Diyu. There, King Yanluo (known elsewhere as Yama or Enma) saw the man’s great intellect, and made him ruler of a vast army of spirits and gave him the duty to maintain order and hunt down any unruly ghosts that might plague the living.

Zhong Kui has three Press Turns rather than the normal two that minor bosses get, so you know he means business. His first round tends to involve two castings of Rakukaja followed by this move we haven’t encountered before: Imposing Stance. This sneaky strategy actually robs you of a Press Turn the round after the enemy has cast it.

As you can see, when hitting his weakness (Force, in this case; on the flipside, he’s resistant to Fire and Light) doesn’t return this Press Turn, and effectively gives the bonus Press Turn as if you only had one less demon on your side.

When going on the offensive, Zhong Kui has two attack skills we’ve seen before and one we haven’t. On the side of things we’ve seen, he has Agilao and Javelin Rain. The latter can eat a fair bit of your party’s health, while the former isn’t really a concern (Zhong Kui’s Magic stat isn’t anything to write home about, so it won’t do too much damage unless you have a demon weak to Fire on the field.

…And on the unseen side, he’s got this. Berserker God’s a single target heavy Physical damage skill with no strings attached. Considering his unfathomably huge Strength stat, this hits like a freight train when running into anything not resistant to it.

Shall we compare our strength? A simple spar, perhaps. What say you?

Once you’ve cut away about half of his 5,500 HP, Zhong Kui offers to tussle a bit with Nanashi. While the description might make you think it’s literally a Strength vs. Strength check, it’s actually based on level. The boss fight version of Zhong Kui is level 45, so if you are level 45 or higher there’s no reason not to go for this.

You decide to spar with Zhong Kui.

Gahaha… Such gumption. Well then, attack me at your leisure!

You throw Zhong Kui across the floor.

You triumph in Zhong Kui’s test of strength.

That’s right, we just got four free Press Turns for giant swinging a general of the underworld’s armies across the room. Take this opportunity to crush him into the cobblestones beneath you.

Zhong Kui is pretty much the only member of the Divine Powers that isn’t an asshole, and that’s honestly kind of a shame. It’d be more interesting to have them as a force that is ultimately antithetical to humanity’s current course, but nonetheless one that only actively fights people because we’re directly beating the ever-loving shit out of them on our warpath. Sure, keep Titan as a rampaging brute, that’s completely in some of the Titans’ MO mythologically, and Krishna is the guy who imparted unto Arjuna the concept of necessary violence in the name of a just cause so he probably wouldn’t need too much tweaking either. But I’d prefer more Zhong Kui’s friendly sparring and less Maitreya Buddha chokeholds or…another egregious one that we aren’t actually to yet, so I’ll hold my tongue.

Just past Zhong Kui, there’s this treasure chest that you probably don’t want to pass up if you don’t happen to have Dekaja and Dekunda on any of your demons or on Nanashi.

Our next destination is this door, near a wormwood wall that can be cut down to allow you to head back to the healing spring and entrance to the underground here. You might want to heal up before you enter.

Well, that sure escalated quickly…

Flynn!

You feel a sudden burst of air.

Toki rushes toward Flynn.

Hey!

Toki swings her machetes at Flynn’s neck.

That escalated even quicker!

I will not let you kill Flynn!

Isabeau stops Toki’s attack a hair’s breadth before she reaches Flynn.

Miss Isabeau! Oh, she never fails to amaze me…!

Flynn lives… Changing targets and continuing assault.

Indeed, it’s come to this. A miniboss fight against one of our own party members.

Flynn is our Liberator… We can’t love him here!

I will carry out my orders.

As a boss, she’s suddenly shed a level to become a level 40 Human that nullifies Light and all ailments. She’s got two turn icons, as is gauche for most minibosses, and around 2,000 HP to use. She only retains Dark Sword and Pierce Armor in this fight, her partner passives having dropped out of sight and out of mind for now since they aren’t really relevant to her status as an enemy.

She’s also about as interesting a fight as the Gaea Women, and somehow even less of a threat, so after three turns I already have her reeling.

My purpose is to serve. I will prove my worth.

Her worth is 12,110 experience points.

Toki stands up shakily, machetes at the ready.

No… I can still fight…

Such tenuous bonds they form, even against a common enemy… I grow weary of this. Maitreya.

As you wish.

Maitreya lashes out at Toki.

The attack knocks off Toki’s mask.

Oh, and Maitreya’s suddenly here without his sprite actually appearing first, by the way.

Her mask! Hmmm… You know… I like her better this way…

Ugh…

Toki crumples to an unconscious heap.

Humans will never know peace in this universe. The life of man is solitary, nasty, brutish, and short.

Humans are trapped in a cycle of their own misery. They need salvation.

Krishna!

You made it this far. What did you intend to do here?

I am honor-bound to destroy you and the Divine Powers!

You bite the hand that feeds. Who else will provide you with salvation?

Yeah, we know what your so-called “salvation” really is.

Destroying this universe and everything in it…

You think we can let you get away with that?

Your body and all the pain it endures are merely cages for your soul.

I offer you freedom so that you may grow and find salvation.

I think we have two very different definitions of “freedom”…

I believe we have two different definitions of “death”. You think death is the end of your body.

And by that definition, yes, all beings in the Creator’s universe should die.

But after the death of the body, I shall lead the soul to a new universe.

Cosmic Egg?

In the new universe, you will no longer be the puppets of the Creator.

Shesha will break the ties that bind you here and lead you to a new universe.

Now, won’t you let yourselves be devoured by Shesha?

Dead? Haha…

Shesha lives and dies like the sun in the sky. Shesha will return soon enough.

Impossible!

Shesha has an obligation to save humanity from this world. Death will not stop that.

I will do whatever I must to hatch the Cosmic Egg and herald you to the new universe.

Krishna extends his left hand and clenches it into a fist.

The full moon… I vow the Cosmic Egg will hatch by then.

And nothing shall keep me from my vow.

Not on my watch. Why don’t you just get bent?

Quaint.

Odin, please show them out.

Very well.

Odin steps in front of Krishna.

Let’s see if you are worthy of Valhalla.

I have tasked the Valkyries with judging warriors, but you, you I shall judge myself.

If you couldn’t guess from that level, this is more or less a glorified cutscene. You can hit him with your demons, even doing 100 or so damage with Force skills (his weakness), but the end result will always be the same.

C’mon! He’s shrugging off our attacks like they’re nothing!

Stop your incessant whining and keep fighting!

If you still have energy to fight among yourselves, surely you can do better than this.

Gah…!

That’s all you have?

Just to show how powerful he is, Odin uses his three Press Turns to cast Will of Thunder (Electric attacks temporarily gain Pierce), Concentrate, and then Thunder Reign. Thunder Reign’s a skill that is pretty much synonymous with Odin and his son Thor in the MegaTen series (though it is not a unique skill in this game, with four demons learning it naturally and any demons fused from them being able to inherit it).

I expected more from the children who bested Shesha.

How disappointing.

You are not worthy of Valhalla.

I’m still standing! This isn’t over!

If you are so eager to die, cast yourself onto your spear. Perhaps it can at least pierce your hide.

Gaston falls to his knees.

How could I lose? Damn it!

Lord Dagda, show yourself. Just what do you hope to accomplish?

Dagda reveals himself.

Dagda has betrayed us.

Can this be true?

I wasn’t ever really on your side.

But you have chosen your own Godslayer. Surely we have the same goal?

Not quite. Your big picture and my big picture are two very different landscapes.

I can see that now. You struggle to be alone, while I shall see all things brought together.

And once I thought we walked the same path.

There shall be no false gods.

Are you seriously trying the sales pitch on me?

If you want to end the Creator God’s rule, you should bark up Lucifer’s tree.

You know as well as I do, Lucifer will side with YHVH.

He serves as a scapegoat for the suffering of man in YHVH’s universe. Nothing more.

Lord Dagda… You belong with us.

Stand in the way of what, pray tell? Your little game of dolls? I have no time to waste standing against that.

Dolls? What is the meaning of this?!

Are you really so blind? Or is it simply beyond the human mind?

Dagda’s Godslayer is a corpse. He’s no longer what you’d call human.

He died a few days ago. Now he’s nothing more than Dagda’s puppet.

He is but a husk, serving the will of that demon.

And Dagda’s will was much in line with my own.

That is why he led you to break my seal at Kanda-no-yashiro.

What?! Is that true?!

It’s not like that! They tricked us!

And I thought humans had free will? Nothing will change the fact that it was you who broke the seal.

But I suppose it was this free will that allowed him to hide all of this from you.

Hmm… Will you still be able to trust him?

Hallelujah nervously flashes you a look of sympathy.

A pawn of the demons…

Gaston shoots you a venomous glance.

He’s turning everyone against us… What should we do, Nanashi?

To be fair, it’s not everyone in our party, just Gaston. And who cares what Gaston thinks?

Asahi buries her head in her hands.

This is bad…

Your little secret isn’t going over so well, Nanashi.

Was this Krishna’s plan all along?

Now do you see, kid? Friendship is a joke. Abandoned at the first sign of trouble.

Making friends is a pointless exercise, an inevitable disappointment. It’s sickening.

Influence is a poison.

We should strive to be true individuals, to think freely for ourselves.

My, my, Dagda. You must be fond of your doll, speaking to and for him.

See, that’s the kind of “quiet” you make when you know you’ve been found out and you can’t make a good enough comeback to do anything about it.

Toki rises from the verge of death.

I won’t be able to complete my mission now…

I have to withdraw. …Hey, you.

Toki turns to you.

You’ll pay for this.

Toki picks up her mask and turns to the group.

I’m making my exit.

I suggest you escape while they’re distracted.

I can’t believe I must abandon Flynn when we’re so close…

Toki pulls out a black tube and throws it in front of the demons.

Maitreya, Flynn… I shall return to complete my mission.

The room erupts in a bright flash.

You can see and hear nothing as you claw out of the room.

You and your comrades run away.

Yeah, somehow.

I’m not going to lie, that was pretty intense, guys…

Pity… It seems Toki dashed off in a different direction.

It seems you are unhurt.

All eyes are on Nanashi.

You lied to me!

Gaston!

Quiet! What do you have to say for yourself?

The first answer gets you a few Anarchy points, while the latter two are merely different flavor text. We’re going to pick the middle for this particular playthrough.

I didn’t trick you.

And why should I trust your lies?

All this time you were a spy for the Divine Powers!

There’s no other way I could have lost. It’s all your fault!

That’s enough, Gaston!

No, it isn’t! He’s why I lost! He may have gotten us all killed!

No matter what you say, Gaston refuses to listen.

What?! Uh…

I am nothing like that failure!

Wha – ?! Aw, c’mon!

Odin was simply too strong for us, at present.

What’s important is for us to focus on our next move, is it not?

Let’s fall back to Kinshicho. I think we could all use a rest.

And I need to report this to the Association.

Asahi tries to stare Nozomi down. Nozomi just shakes her head.

Look, when I first met you guys, I didn’t realize how big a mess this was.

But now I see that Tokyo’s in serious trouble – all because Krishna got out.

Let loose by you two, no less. I can’t just look past that.

But we were tricked!

Doesn’t change the facts.

We didn’t mean for any of this…

You both need to step up like adults and accept responsibility for your actions.

Asahi hangs her head in shame. Nozomi pats her shoulder reassuringly.

And now that this is all out in the open, we can try to get past it and move on.

Don’t worry. I’ve got your backs.

Nozomi…

Don’t let Gaston get to you.

It’s tough, ain’t it? Not being human and all.

And there’s your next not so subtle hint that Hallelujah’s not quite what he seems.

It’s not all bad…

I might still be wandering by my lonesome if not for that demon giving you life.

You saved me.

Eh… Being able to see you isn’t really a check in the plus column…

What did you say?!

It seems they are worried about you.

Ready to hit the road?

I must take my leave… Be strong, Asahi.

Okay… Bye, Miss Isabeau.

So, to summarize: we got no macca out of all that effort, temporarily lost two party members, and are going to go tell a bunch of rough and violent post-apocalyptic warriors we accidentally made their job harder. And we still have the teaser of all those teleport doors…