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

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#61

Random Things of Note

Apropos of nothing beyond that I finally encountered them, I figured I’d show some of the weirder relic descriptions you can find while scavenging (these all being from Ginza, though though some of the lower price ones can potentially spawn elsewhere).

Wild Demon Encounters: Gemstone Passages

While mostly on the same encounter tables as the rest of the Tsukiji Konganji underground, four new demons appear once you’ve moved into the passageways named after gemstones.

Airavata, the steed of the Hindu god Indra, is resistant to Ice, Electricity, and Light, nullifies Gun, and is weak to Fire and Dark. His innate skill is Earthquake, a medium Physical damage attack that strikes all foes and can also inflict Daze. Leveling him up also provides Chakra Walk at level 45 and Life Surge (30% maximum HP, the third in the Life Bonus < Life Gain < Life Surge triad) at level 46.

This encounter is made up of the three Moirai/Moirae, the Fates of Greek mythology. On the left here is Atropos, a level 46 Femme who brings death by cutting the thread of life (the three Moirae have their art going from right to left). She’s weak to fire but nullifies Ice and starts with the skills Eternal Rest and Hamaon. Leveling her up gets her Bufudyne and Ziodyne at levels 47 and 48 respectively.

Lachesis in the middle is the Fate who determines how long a human is allowed to live, and appears here as a level 41 Femme. She’s weak to Force but nullifies Electricity, and has the starting skills Makajam and Rakukaja. Her only skill from leveling up is Concentrate at level 42.

While the lowest level of the three Moirae Femmes at level 35, decider of birth and path of life Clotho has the most skills of any of the three, starting with Lullaby and Diarama before learning Recarm, Workaholic, and Diarahan at levels 36, 37, and 38 respectively. She’s weak to Ice and nullifies Fire.

Fusions

Patrimpas and Pele form Ares. His normal weakness to Dark is patched up here, and while obviously underleveled for the party, he’ll become useful for a fusion around level 50. He starts off at level 32, but in one of several mistakes I made in doing this update I ended up forgetting to take a screencap until I had leveled him up once already. His level-up moves are Charge and Javelin Rain, which are acquired at levels 33 and 34 respectively.

_ Ares was one of the sons of Zeus and Hera and the god of bravery and the unbridled destructiveness of war. He was lord over dragons and other serpents, patron of the Amazons, Scythians, Spartans, and Thracians, father to both the goddess of triumphant victory in battle as well as the twin goddesses of the fear and despair brought by war, and a god who even his own father had a distate for. In spite of his almost unparalleled skill in combat, he was bested by his sister Athena, the warrior Diomedes, and the demigod Heracles. It’s possible that the reason Ares gets the short end of the stick in a lot of Greek literature is the fact that he is Thracian rather than Greek in origin._

Prometheus (made from a fusion accident, so a Prometheus with less controlled skills than I would have desired) and Orias create Asura. This demon normally gets Resist Gun at level 45, but hey, inheritance means he got it early! The still unlearned skill is Critical Eye at level 44.

Asuras are found in several southeast Asian religions, most prominently Hinduism and Buddhism, but the one present in the MegaTen games is distinctly Buddhist in origin. They are either the lowest ranked gods or straight-up demigods, with three faces and six arms, and are known for their overindulgence in material vices (mostly what would fall under the purvey of wrath and vainglory in the Eight Deadly Sins purview). It is this materialist nature that makes them unfavored beings in the cosmology – they aren’t necessarily evil, but most do not strive to further their own spiritual growth, and that’s kind of a big no-go.

Forged from Lachesis and Titan, we’ve got Kin-Ki. I carelessly fused him into something else without remembering to take a screencap, so I ended up having to go to the Demon Compendium to do so. Kin-Ki normally gets Retaliate at level 46, but already has it thanks to inheritance, meaning the only skill it has left to learn for me is Charge at level 44.

Kin-Ki is one of four oni that are summoned by the sorcerer Fujiwara no Chikata in a bid to overthrow the emperor (he didn’t succeed), according to a tale from the Medieval Japanese epic known as the Taiheiki. Kin-Ki in particular has a golden hide that no mortal man’s weapon can pierce.

Fusing together Titan and Enku gives us an Ogre. His two unlearned skills are Life Gain (an upgrade of Life Bonus and the HP equivalent of Mana Gain) at level 46 and Bloody Glee at level 47.

You probably know about ogres in one way or another by now. Big, mean, nasty, and typically prone to eating people, ogres are pretty unpleasant giants to have around. While the name is French in origin and most of what Shin Megami Tensei’s Ogre represents are European in nature, ogre-like monsters can be found in mythologies the world over.


#62

I’d like to think Nanashi is the one coming up with those descriptions for all the relics you come across.


#63

On one hand, you lost two characters. On the other hand, I expected Toki to leave and the other guy was Gaston, so it’s not all bad.

It’s the everything else that went wrong that’s the problem.


#64

Hah, if only. That “I must take my leave” from Isabeau at the end is the signal that she is leaving the party for now. We’re somehow still saddled with Gaston.


#65

I’m 100% certain that that’s the case, and if not, that’s what I choose to believe, too.


#66

The lack of any visions and Nozomi rather than Asahi being the one waking Nanashi from his slumber both mark this as an atypical day right off the bat. And things will get more atypical still, even by post-apocalyptic standards.

Finally. Are you always this hard to get out of bed?

You and Asahi are being summoned.

We gotta go to some place called Cafe Florida…

I’m coming, too. Asahi’s dad asked me to keep an eye on you both.

Yep, these kids are now being tried for crimes against humanity. Welcome to 3/8 Moon Day!

Asahi looks at you, a pained expression on her face.

All Dad said was, “Come on now…”

Nozomi tries to dispel some of the tension with a loud clap.

C’mon, you downers. Liven up. Let’s get ready to go.

Cafe Florida is in Shinjuku. Chins up. Just power through it, if you have to.

Terminal teleporting over to Shinjuku, we’re now able to head up the upper right exit from the underground. Unsurprisingly, this is where we have to head to get to Cafe Florida. This unassuming bar is actually the place you’d find Fujiwara and Skins in SMTIV, since in that game Kasumigaseki hadn’t been renovated into a new Hunter stronghold.

It’s in this little nook, straight up from East Shinjuku Main Street. And, unsurprisingly, it’s guarded.

Proof of membership?

Membership? Don’t you know who I am?!

I got this.

Nozomi shows the Hunter a matchbox.

Hmm, that’s familiar. Now where have I heard that before…

Oh, right, the original Shin Megami Tensei.

Please, come in.

They called us. Why do we need to be members?

Don’t worry about it. Let’s just head in.

Is that him?

Nozomi nods and nudges you forward.

Nanashi…

He’ll be fine. Just hang back.

Asahi bites her lip in worry.

As Hunters, you probably know who I am, but I’ll try to keep this formal.

I’m Fujiwara, the founder of the Hunter Association. This is Skins.

I wish I could introduce him more properly, but he’s been called Skins longer than I can remember…

This is a waste of time! He’s gotta pay for what he did! Come on!

The Hunters let their fury be known.

You performed admirably against Shesha. It’s a shame things turned out this way.

I’d like to review what’s happened, so that you have a chance to explain.

The Hunters quiet down.

You were an apprentice Hunter under Nikkari.

You were attacked by demons, and during this attack, you formed a contract with the demon Dagda.

And then, under Dagda’s orders, you broke the seal to release Krishna.

It’s all your fault!

Kill 'em!

The Hunters stare at you with murder in their eyes.

Must feel real tough. Bunch of adults ganging up on a couple of kids.

Demons played them.

The Divine Powers and Dagda are who you should direct all your rage and anger at.

The Divine Powers are trying to kill us all and this guy is in on it!

You put us all in danger!

The crowd grows angrier despite Nozomi’s words.

I’m sorry! I’m sorry…

Hey, isn’t she the daughter of the guy in charge over at Kinshicho? Is he in on it, too?!

Hey! Leave my dad out of this!

You expect us to trust someone who hangs around a demon’s lackey?

Shut up. Everyone. We made up our minds.

Skins managed to silence the Hunters.

I’ve looked over your accomplishments since you registered as a Hunter.

You have a few jobs to your name.

And beyond that, you’ve already made a name for yourself.

You retrieved Ame-no-habakiri and a component for the Shesha Radar, and defeated Shesha.

We can’t just ignore the fact that you released Krishna.

But it’s a blemish on an otherwise stainless record.

You’re gonna give them another chance? You’ve gone soft, Fujiwara!

We can’t just stand for this!

You’re in league with the demons!

Has it really come to this?

Is Fujiwara really betraying us?

The Hunters are turning on Fujiwara.

Human sympathy is the reason malice and animosity spread like a disease.

Your true nature is a contagion. At this point, you’re all too far gone to reason with… Don’t you think?

If you agree, cut them off. Don’t let anyone hold you back. Stand on your own.

This is the promise of my new universe. To walk your own path, free of others.

Enough, Dagda.

Danu’s voice echoes in your head.

Ah, and now Mother’s here.

This is your mess, Dagda. Don’t you think it’s gone on long enough?

It doesn’t matter.

And then, out of nowhere, the screen starts shaking with the “crumbling rocks” noise playing in the background.

Did you feel that…?

Everything lurches violently all of a sudden as the ground starts shaking.

Earthquake!

Wh-what?! Why now?

A magic circle big enough to encircle all of Tokyo? That seems…not too good.

The shaking slows to a stop. The cafe appears relatively undamaged.

Suddenly, another Hunter bursts in. Or at least I presume that’s what happens, since it’s a door slamming noise followed by a sprite appearing.

Th-this is bad!

What the hell’s going on here?

It’s demons! Demons attacked Shinjuku!

What?!

Here’s your chance: we’re sending you to Shinjuku.

You can’t trust these guys, Fujiwara!

The people of Tokyo are far too forgiving.

In Mikado, they’d have been executed by now.

Hmph… I’d risk that over a knife in the back.

That’s not gonna happen.

Right now, you’re gonna swear an oath.

Do you vow never to betray us?

You can probably guess which of these is Peace points and which is Anarchy points without me having to point it out.

I vow to never betray you.

That’s good enough for me.

You turn around and leave.

Hey! Your Demon Summon Programs working?

What do you mean?

I can’t get my damn phone to summon any demons. It was working a moment ago…

C’mon, it’s probably just busted. Lemme see.

Hallelujah tries to summon a demon from his phone.

Whoa, it really isn’t working!

Pathetic, corrupt Tokyo technology.

Gaston flourishes his Gauntlet to summon a demon.

Same here… I guess none of us can summon demons.

You try to summon a demon…

How can you still summon demons, Nanashi?

It’s gotta be Dagda’s powers. Go figure.

That means he’s the only one of us who can still really fight…

Nonsense. I will fight, demons or no!

Still, the numbers aren’t in our favor. Let’s be careful.

Mechanically, this event knocks Asahi and Hallelujah out of commission, since they rely on summoning to do their Partner skills. If you had them equipped, you should switch to Navarre, Nozomi, or Gaston before booking it back downward to the Shinjuku underground. I’d suggest Navarre, as the game has a fun surprise for you in store related to non-magical damage types.

Fear not. Salvation will set you free.

Set him free, huh? Think maybe you’re coming on a little strong?

It’s you…

Y-you’re Hunters, right? Please help!

That should prove a tad difficult without the power to summon demons, now won’t it?

You guys are behind this?!

Those who do not submit will have their souls forcibly ripped from their bodies.

That’s an ultimatum, not a warning.

So you refuse to listen? Very well. I shall harvest your souls myself!

You’re hardly a threat without your demons.

Your fragile souls shall be ours. Offer them to us.

These are Pachacamac and Mushussu, demons that you can find hanging around Shinjuku during the Divine Powers raid if you happen to want to get some of your own before doing this fight. These are almost exactly the same as they are as wild encounters, save for getting an extra press turn due to being a miniboss fight, so you get a surprise bit of Hunter’s Notes before the actual Hunter’s Notes come in the next post.

Pachacamac, a level 47 demon of the Vile race, was the creator god of the pre-Incan Yschma people of Peru. He’s weak to Gun and Electricity but nullifies Force and Dark. He starts out with the skills Mazanma and Tetrakarn, the latter being a skill we’re only just now seeing with him and the cause of that weird shimmering circle over his body. Tetrakarn shields all party members from Physical and Gun attacks for one turn, which allows Pachacamac to cover up one of his weak spots. Leveling him up once allows him to learn Mamudoon, the tier 3 version of Mamudo (there are no tier 2 Light and Dark spells, for whatever reason, so you go straight from light damage to heavy damage on their tracks).

The two weird beasts flanking him are Mushussu, Babylonian dragons who appears here as level 47 demons of the Drake race. It is weak to Force and Light but nullifies Electricity, and has the skills Ziodyne and Posumudi from the start, Axel Claw at level 48, and Elec Pleroma at level 49.

The fight is more or less just a regular old random encounter, extra Press Turn or no, so even with my Nanashi still having an Electricity weakness it’s a cakewalk. Poor Asahi doesn’t seem to enthused about this whole ordeal, though.

Thank you. For saving me.

But there’s a lot of more of 'em down in the underground district.

Guys, what’s the plan here? We can’t handle this without or demons.

Are you alright?

Miss Isabeau! Are you here to help?

Of course. I could never stand idly by while innocents are attacked before my very eyes.

However, there’s something you must know.

What’s that?

Demons have infiltrated the underground districts in Kinshicho.

Kinshicho? Wait, isn’t that where you’re from?

Your father is in Kinshicho, right? You should hurry there.

But… What about Shinjuku?

I’m sure Isabeau can handle this. We need to get to Kinshicho.

Yeah, I’m sure you’re worried about your family.

Oh, Dad’ll be fine. Death couldn’t kill him.

Leave Shinjuku to us!

Now, hurry!

Isabeau leads the Hunters into Shinjuku.

Isabeau’s the coolest… She’s right. We need to protect Kinshicho.

Better get going.

Remember how I noted back when talking about Stephen that, according to the first Shin Megami Tensei game, he built the Demon Summoning Program based on an extension of Terminal technology? Well…

What is the meaning of this?

I don’t know what’s wrong, but it looks like we can’t use the Terminals.

It might be a while, so let’s go on foot.

When we finally get to Kinshicho after trekking through the overworld areas around Shinjuku and Ikebukuro, we find things aren’t looking good.

He’s hurt!

You rush over to the fallen guard, but Maitreya cultists step in the way.

What?! Who is this?!

More Hunters, huh?

We will deliver salvation to those who resist the will of the gods.

Offer your souls to Lord Maitreya! Praise Lord Maitreya! Praise the Divine Powers!

While a bit higher in level than the Gaea Women down in Tsukiji Konganji’s basement level, the Gaea Men are no more interesting than their distaff counterparts. Nullify Light, resist Gun, and use of the skills Charge and Oni-Kagura. Bufudynes and Mudoons to the face still tear them up like tissue paper. This game could have taken lessons from the Devil Survivor spinoffs about human boss fights.

Killed the angels, killed everyone… Underground’s a warzone…

Oh no. Dad… I need to find him!

Asahi, wait, you can’t go by yourself!

Asahi ignores Hallelujah and rushes to the underground district.

Is she crazy? She can’t even summon demons right now!

We can’t leave her on her own. Follow her!

Holy shit indeed.

With your souls, we shall defeat YHVH. Then I shall be restored to my rightful throne as sun god.

How could they fall so easily?!

Stay calm. We need to deal with Big Bird over there, first.

I am Quetzalcoatl, of the Divine Powers. I shall purify your souls. Praise the Sun!

You’re nothing more than human sacrifices. Offer your souls so that I might ascend once more.

You should feel privileged to have the opportunity to offer your souls to the true sun god.

Boss Battle!: Quetzalcoatl :crossed_swords:

Quetzalcoatl is a feathered serpent god of the Aztecs. You’ve probably heard of him, as he’s fairly well-known as far as Mesoamerican deities go. Quetzalcoatl could be seen in the form of either a feathered serpent or a man wearing a necklace of conch shells and conical cap. He was not only the creator of humanity but alos the god of wind and rain, craftsmen, priests, the rising and setting sun, and worldly knowledge. He was also one of the Aztec deities that did not, in fact, desire human sacrifice. Instead, he wished for sacrifice of butterflies, birds, and serpents. Oh, and that whole “the Aztecs saw Hernan Cortes as the incarnation of Quetzalcoatl” thing seems fairly likely to have been Conquistador propaganda.

He’s also the other big sticking point of the Divine Powers for me besides Maitreya, as I alluded to earlier. If they wanted a sacrifice-happy Aztec deity, they could have gone with someone like Quetzalcoatl’s nemesis Tezcatlipoca, who you will instead probably never see because he’s in the fusion accident-only Zealot race in this game!

Quetzalcoatl is a pretty heavy-hitting demon, with great stats across the board and resistances to Physical, Fire, Force, and Light. His Achilles heel is a weakness to Dark, which is a pretty exploitable one at this point.

While Quetzalcoatl as a summonable demon can utilize both Fire and Force skills of both the single- and multi-target varities, this one goes purely for Zandyne. He can also further buff it with Makakaja. Do not have a Force-weak demon or he will eat you alive. If you don’t have a weakness for him to exploit, your main concern is to keep healed up, as his Makakaja-spammed Zandynes can actually get pretty strong and require a bit of HP maintenance.

Surrender your souls to me, so that I might build to my ascension.

Quetzalcoatl will give this indignant reply once you’ve pushed his health threshold to about the halfway point.

Once you’ve pushed him over that edge, he’ll start adding Smile Charge to his repertoire, seen here already activated before he went for another Makakaja. Thankfully, my Nanashi has Magaon, so I just stole that away from him…after which Ogre immediately landed a killing Mudoon, but oh well.

Just as nature demands the sun slip below the ends of the Earth, must my life, too, fall beyond the edge?

And that’s Quetzalcoatl down. He’s basically a boss that’s either really easy or really hard depending on whether or not he can damage race you in spite of only having a single target damage skill. With a team full of Dark attacks and a combination of Black Frost and Navarre giving me Makakaja buffs, I was able to deal so much damage to him that he never had a chance.

79,609 experience and 40,000 macca is your reward for this quest being fulfilled, but…

Asahi! Boss!

You run to Asahi and her father.

Uhn…

Asahi! Are you okay?

Looks like she was just knocked out.

Asahi opens her eyes and reaches out to you.

Dad… Is he?

Asa…hi…

He’s still breathing…

He’s…not going to make it.

Dad…?

No… This can’t be happening… This can’t be happening!

Don’t… Don’t cry. You did…everything you could…

We have to stop the bleeding. Help me! Please! Help my dad!

Dad… Dad, stop. Please. Don’t talk like that!

Hey… Come on now…

Dad? No… Noooooooooo!

Rescue forces start treating the injured.

One of them kneels beside Asahi.

I don’t see any serious wounds. How are you feeling?

Asahi clings to her father. She doesn’t eevn acknowledge the rescuer’s presence.

Please… Could you take care of her?

Of course. Can you stand?

The Hunter escorts Asahi out.

Is she going to be alright?

Let’s hope so… She just needs time to process it all.

Now, what’s really weird here is what choices affect your alignment points. Yes, this does in fact affect your alignment points. “I’m okay” gives you minor Peace points, “Don’t worry about me” gives you minor Anarchy points, and “Just…give me a second” gives neither.

I’m okay.

If you say so…

Listen. I’m not going to tell you I know how you feel. I never knew my dad.

But when I was 10, my mom disappeared.

She might have died or she might have just abandoned me.

Just… Poof, y’know? It didn’t feel real.

Look, I’m not saying it’s the same or anything…

I just want you to know that we’re in this together with you and Asahi.

Man, I don’t even know what I’m saying. Forget it.

Hallelujah’s worried about you.

The monitor behind you suddenly turns on.

Could things get any worse? The answer, unsurprisingly, is yes.

He’s on my phone, too!

The same video is playing on Hallelujah’s phone.

Well yes, that’s what he just said. Please give us a little credit, game.

Krishna’s video is being streamed throughout Tokyo.

We, the Divine Powers, have established a Domain across the entirety of Tokyo.

You will no longer be able to use your Demon Summoning Program.

The Tokugawa Mandala… The grand barrier we have set over the entirety of Tokyo.

It’s futile for you to fight against it.

The Tokugawa Mandala is based on the Goshiki Fudo (“Five Colors of Fudo”), five Buddhist temples said to be placed at the points of a pentagram shape overlaying Tokyo. Each point corresponds to a color, direction, and one of the five Chinese elements. As for Fudo, he’s a Buddhist deity also known as Acala, Budong, and Candarosana. His name means “immovable”, and he’s a pretty intimidating fellow: grim-faced, holding a sharply-pointed vajra blade, and sitting in front of an erupting aura of flame. According to legend, the Goshiki Fudo was created by the monk Tenkai to protect the newly-created capital under the orders of Tokugawa Ieyasu. This is similar to another legend that states statues of the Four Heavenly Kings – Bishamonten, Komokuten, Jikokuten, and Zochouten – are similarly placed in the four cardinal directions to defend Tokyo in the same manner.

You have depended on gods and demons for too long.

That’s the only reason you’ve denied my salvation.

But that’s all over now.

Shesha will return to Tokyo to eliminate the demons that oppose the Divine Powers.

Once rid of their influence, Tokyo will regain its former peace.

And then all you need to do is await your salvation, which will come with the next full moon.

Good night, humans. I thank you for your…cooperation.

The video ends suddenly and the monitor returns to normal.

Wasn’t expecting to see you guys here so soon.

Bro?! What are you doing here?

I’ve got a message from Lucifer.

Your phone is ringing. It’s Fujiwara.

I hate to do this to you so suddenly, but we need you on another mission.

Tokyo’s extremely dangerous right now.

We have no way of summoning our demons.

And without the demons, we’re as good as dead.

There’s no way we could fight Shesha now.

Abe should be arriving in Kinshicho soon.

Glad to hear it. He’ll fill you in on the details.

We’re counting on you.

Your phone goes silent.

You heard the man.

We need you to destroy this Domain that the Divine Powers have set up.

Problem is we don’t know much about it.

But Lucifer has some info on a demon that just might.

He’s called Tenkai. Right now he’s a boulder over in Midtown.

So you’re gonna need this if you want to make him talk.

That’s Tenkai’s medium.

Take that to the boulder over on the first floor in Midtown.

Once Tenkai tells you what to do, destroy the damn Domain.

And you’re gonna do it, whether you like it or not.

Well? Get off your ass then!

Seems we’ve got not time to grieve. There’s already more demons waiting to be slain.


#67

Wild Demon Encounters: East Shinjuku

The most generically named of all hordes, the level 45 Demon Horde is made up up Incubi, Succubi, and Lilims en masse. They’re resistant to fire, nullify Force and Dark, and are weak to Gun and Electricity. This horde’s skills are heavily ailment-focused, utilizing Sexy Dance, Lullaby, Energy Dance, and Mazanma.

In spite of what several wikis and character catalogs pertaining to this series state, Silky here is not in fact a misunderstanding of the shapeshifting seal known as a selkie. The 1866 book Notes on the Folk-Lore of the Northern Counties of England and the Borders refers to a house-cleaning fairy woman known as a silky, which hey, matches the MegaTen Silky to a tee (thanks must be given to expert SMT demon origin sniffer-outer Eirikrjs for having originally found this information before anyone else did. Honestly, thanks should be given to them for a lot of research on MegaTen demons in general, because there’s a lot of good shit there as far as mythological origins and artistic inspirations go, and this Let’s Play would be a bit dumber without me having learned about their site Kaneko’s Crib Notes, given that my own mythology collection has a fair bit less obscure titles and I cannot in fact read Japanese).

All that chatter aside, what’s Silky’s deal mechanically? She’s a level 44 Fairy who is weak to Fire and nullifies Ice, with big ol’ Magic and Luck stats. Her starting skills are Panic Voice and Diarahan, followed up with Posumudi and Bufudyne at level 45 and 46. She’s probably a good alternative to Hel if you want to have some Ailment and Healing affinity added on, and is just as easy to patch the weakness of…but I personally think Hel’s cooler. Sorry, Silky.

This weird American nationalist zombie stumbled out of the pile of Undead from the Devil Summoner series, and somehow managed to shuffle onward into SMTIV and Apocalypse. He’s a level 45 Undead with a huge Dexterity stat (he’s dual-wielding guns, after all) who resists Gun, nullifies Dark, and is weak to Fire. Patriot starts with the skills Taunt, Cough, and Tathlum Shot, then adds Madness Needle at level 46 and Resist Phys at level 47.

Arachne is the highest level member of the Vermin race in this game, and thus the last one we’ll see. This spinstress has nullifies both Electricity and Gun, but is also weak to two elements, namely Ice and Light. Her starting skills are Stun Needles (one to three medium Gun attacks to random foes, with a 60% chance of inflicting Bind) and Blast Arrow, with the only other skill she learns being Sukunda at level 45.

Macabre (as in the Danse Macabre) is a level 45 Spirit with a weakness to both Gun and Light contrasted with a resistance to Dark. His Strength, Agility, and Luck stats are all very high for his level, which means he’s good at dancing around while dealing out Physical damage and inflicting ailments. His skills are Blight and Pandemic Bomb from the get-go, Magaon at level 46, and Hellish Mask at level 47. While he has no innate Dark skills, he gets a +1 affinity to them if you fuse one on, which is why I chose Macabre to be one of my Mudoon boys for the Quetzalcoatl fight.

While a terrifying prospect in some games in the series, poor Nebiros in the center is not doing so hot here. While he nullifies Physical and resists Dark, this level 46 Fallen is weak to Gun, Force, and Light. He starts with the skills Mudoon and Sabbatma, gaining Dark Pleroma at level 47 and Megido at level 48.

On top of encountering them in the Demon Horde, you can also find regular old Succubi in east Shinjuku. She’s a level 45 of the Night race who is weak to Gun and Light, resists Fire, and nullifies Ice. Her skills are Sexy Dance and Sukunda from the start, Me Patra at level 46, and Spirit Drain at level 47.

Wild Demon Encounters: Ikebukuro Region (Overworld)

Vivian, better known as the Lady of the Lake, is a level 52 Fairy that nullifies Light and Ice but is weak to Fire and Dark. Her starting skills are Lullaby, Sukukaja, and Dark Sword (I know, it’s surprising that’s not a Toki-only skill), and her level up skills are Mana Surge at level 53 and Mabufudyne at level 54.

The ferocious Grendel is a level 50 Jaki of enormous strength but not so great damage modifications, being resistant to Gun but weak to both Force and Light. He starts with the skills Mortal Ji and Head Crush, gaining Purple Smoke and Life Surge on top of it at levels 52 and 53 respectively.

The drunk monkey Hsing-Hsing is a level 48 demon of the Beast Race. It’s resistant to both Fire and Electricity but weak to Force, and has high Strength, Agility, and Luck stats. Its beginning skills are Binding Claw, Attack Knowhow, and Sukukaja; this is augmented by Taunt at level 49 and Beastly Reaction at level 50.

Catoblepas, the legendary beast from Africa with the deadly gaze as told by Medieval stories, is a surprisingly good demon, having enormous Strength backed up by high Magic and Luck as well (and not too shabby Agility or Dexterity for that matter). Perhaps more surprisingly, it doesn’t actually have any ailment skills, and actually has a -4 affinity to them! What skills it actually does have are Titanomachia and Ziodyne from the start, Life Surge at level 53, and Eat Whole (does only weak Physical damage on all foes, but also heals the user based on damage consumed) at level 54. Catoblepas is resistant to Physical and weak to Light.

Wild Demon Encounters: Kinshi Park (Divine Powers Invasion)

The invasion of the Divine Powers heralds a brief shift of the demon “wildlife” in Kinshi Park.

Xiuhtecuhtli, the Aztec god of light and life-giving fire, is a level 48 Yoma that nullifies Gun and Fire damage but is weak to Ice. His skills are very straightforward and few in number, starting out with Agidyne before gaining Fire Pleroma at level 49 and Grand Tack at level 50. In spite of having Gun as one of his two affinities, he’s actually got fairly meh Dexterity, instead having high Strength and huge Magic.

Sarasvati is a level 48 Nymph, nullifying Ice but being weak to both Fire and Dark. Her skills are Bufudyne and Rakunda innately, Mabufula at level 49, and Ice Pleroma at level 50.

Alraune, from the 1911 German story of the same name, is a level 48 demon of the Wood race that is resistant to Gun and weak to Fire. Her starting skills are Madness Needle and Sexy Dance, while her leveling skills are Blast Arrow and Mana Gain at levels 49 and 51 respectively.

The level 50 Azteca Force is a horde present for reasons that should be obvious from the story update. This horde resists Fire and Dark, nullifies Gun and Electricity, and is weak to Force. It is capable of using Mazionga, Maragidyne, Mabufula, and Rakunda, or using a standard attack that deals Gun rather than Physical damage and hits three to four times.

Anzu is a monstrous storm bird of Sumerian mythology – typically depicted as either a bird of prey with the head of a lion or a mixture of bird, lion, and man – whose big claim to infamy was stealing the clay tablets that controlled all of creation from the gods, which is why it’s holding a tablet in the design here. Anzu is weak to Gun and Force and nullifies Electricity, starts off with the skills Shock and Nihil Claw, and gains the skills Me Patra at level 50 and Critical Eye at level 51.

Fusions

By fusing Ares and Ictinike, we can have Zhong Kui on our side now, and even get his Force weakness patched up. The skills he has yet to learn are Rakunda at level 51, Berserker God at level 52, and Null Nerve at level 53.

Nekomata and Diana are fused to make Ouroboros. The two skills left on its list to learn are Recarm at level 48 and Makakaja at level 50.

Ouroboros is the eternal serpent of alchemy and Gnosticism, its consumption of its own tail endlessly being a symbol of infinity. In Kazuma Kaneko’s design, it even curls itself into an infinity sign rather than a circle to drive the point home further.

High Pixie is a special fusion of Pixie, Archangel, and Karasu Tengu, and she’ll be getting a very special use as soon as we get more macca in our coffers. She has yet to learn Healing Knowhow at level 30 and Elec Pleroma at level 31.

High Pixie has no mythological relevance, she’s just an “upgrade demon” like King Frost and Black Frost are for Jack Frost.

Asherah is fused from Ogre and Silky. The two skills still left unlearned on her skill track are Judgment (Almighty damage to all foes; usually Medium, but deals heavy damage if the foe is of Neutral alignment on the Law-Chaos-Neutral axis) at level 53 and Samarecarm (revive a dead ally with full HP) at level 54. As you can tell from those skills, her stats, and her affinities, she’s a damn good demon to have.

A mother goddess of many ancient Mesopotamian religions, Asherah represented fertility and acted a the consort of various deities in the region. In Sumeria she was wed to Anu, in Ugarit the god El, and there is some evidence that suggests in the earliest forms of Judaism, Asherah and Yahweh were an item.


#68

I don’t remember if it’s been said already but whenever anyone says YHVH it’s censored. It’s rather silly. On a different note are you going to cover the other thing you can do with the jade dagger?


#69

It should be covered in the next update or the one after, yeah. I’ve got a few optional bosses and a dump of odds-n’-ends planned, but I wanted to finish off the Tokugawa Mandala and get free movement again first.


#70

In a move uncharacteristically generous of the cosmos as of late, Tenkai’s rock is just a few steps inside Midtown, plainly visible.

Tenkai looks rather…stony, for a demon, yes?

Myoko’s Disk shines in your hand.

Oh hey, it suddenly changed spellings from Disc to Disk. I don’t think I’d ever caught that before.

Wh-what’s happening?! That artifact is glowing!

Will you hold Myoko’s Disk to the stone?

Since it’s our task, the answer is yes, obviously.

Nankobo Tenkai was a Buddhist monk who lived from some time in the 1500s to 1643, known for his role as an advisor to the Tokugawa shogunate from Tokugawa Ieyasu up to Tokugawa Iemitsu. He has sort of ascended into legend, including the story that he created the Tokugawa Mandala/Goshiki Fudo as mentioned in the previous update. It is fitting, then, that he is one of the members of the Famed race, a clan of demons made up of legendary ascended human figures from both real life and mythology. He’s level 77, though, so we won’t be able to have him on our side just yet.

We need to ask you something, Lord Tenkai.

I know why you have come.

You wish to learn about the Tokugawa Mandala, the Domain blanketing Tokyo.

What can you tell us about it?

I will cooperate with you, to help achieve this.

Thank you, Lord Tenkai.

What is the secret behind this domain?

The Tokugawa Mandala is a seal I placed on this region over four hundred years ago.

I later released the seal, but it seems the Divine Powers have restored it for their own dark purposes.

You might be more familiar with Aether by its other name, Magnetite. It is the essence of human desires.

Aether is drawn from the Expanse, then absorbed by the jugs. The jugs weave the seal, preventing summoning.

Any other time, this would be a blessing.

To break the Tokugawa Mandala, you must stop the flow of Aether from each jar.

Know, however, that dangerous amounts will be present.

Exposure to Aether could ravage your mind.

Yeah, how are we supposed to do that?

Most humans are highly susceptible to the influence of Aether.

One with a virtuous heart, however, might be able to resist it long enough to do what needs to be done.

Sounds like it’s Nozomi’s job, then.

Hey, I’m just a fairy queen. Virtuous wasn’t one of the job requirements.

And really, I don’t think think the word describes any of us – not as he means it.

Wait, are you serious?!

If the Aether drives a man insane, then our only choice is to simply use one whose sanity won’t be missed.

It’s the only sensible solution, isn’t it?

We can’t just –

He’s right.

Toki suddenly appears.

I will be your sacrifice.

I will seal the jars. Is that a problem?

Of course it is! We just fought you yesterday! How can we trust you?!

Hallelujah shoots you a look of disbelief.

Out of these three options, the first gives a few Anarchy points, the second a few Peace points, and the third no points either way. Or at least it’s supposed to; there are some claims that these are mistranslated or switched around, and the second gives Anarchy points while the first gives Peace points. Either way, it’s a negligably small amount, so we’ll pick option two.

I wouldn’t do that to Toki.

He’s right. No one should be sacrificed.

You want to help? Great. Welcome aboard. But we can’t just play you like a pawn.

I’m trained to handle situations like this. I should have some resistance to the Aether.

This is a direct order from the Ring of Gaea. It must be carried out at all costs.

They can’t just order you to die!

The old women’s orders are absolute. I will seal the jars.

Are you sure we can trust her?

My current primary target is Maitreya.

I have no reason to oppose you at the moment.

If you say so.

Nozomi shrugs.

Toki joins your party.

Lifting the Tokugawa Mandala will require you to seal each of the Aether jars.

There are five total, each housed within one of the Fudo temples.

I will send the location to your extraordinary wizarding slates.

More people need to call smartphones “extraordinary wizarding slates”.

I notice you have my medium in your possession.

That grants you the power to summon me.

You are not yet strong enough to call me to battle. But once you are, I vow to fight tirelessly for your cause.

I look forward to fighting alongside you.

Just know that the Tokugawa Mandala will not disperse until all five are sealed.

Be ever vigilant.

Tenkai disappears.

With Tenkai vanishing back into the spiritual nothingness, it’s time to get this job started. Nozomi seems a bit pessimistic about our success, though, given this email she immediately sent out.

_Once we get the five Fudo temples marked out on our map, we find the closest one is Ryukokuji. We can also zoom across the map overall and find the dark secret of the Goshiki Fudo: they’re not arranged in a pentagram at all, they’re just sort of spread out in a wide arc! This arc also happens to follow the Yamanote Line, as found out by excellent Japanese legend website Hyakumonogatari.

I am Bishamonten, the Vengeful.

This jar draws the essence of Wrath.

Have you come to pacify it?

Yes.

I will not allow it!

Prepare yourselves, you bloodthirsty dogs!

Boss Battle! Bishamonten :crossed_swords:

Bishamonten, the Deva of the North, acts as overseer of warfare and the spread of wealth and prosperity, is tied to the element of earth, and leads the yaksa and yaksini spirits.

The stalwart Bishamonten is resistant to Light, nullifies Ice, and is weak to Fire. His Strength is overwhelming (and is Dexterity is pretty huge too, but he has no Gun skills), meaning having a demon with resistance or better to Physical will help you along a fair bit in this fight.

Bishamonten’s main goal at the start of his fight is to slap you with War Cry, since it acts as a simultaneous Tarunda and Rakunda. Once he’s softened you up, he’s going to use Bufudyne, Mabufula, or Hades Blast, the latter being the game’s target-all heavy Physical damage attack that doesn’t have any modifiers or added effects.

Oh, and he can be afflicted with Dizzy. Power Punch: I swear it will stop being useful some day, but today is not that day.

Bishamonten is a big, fat pile of health (around 6,500 HP) and also likes the debuff your Attack, both of which make him hardier than most. Still, you can make him Dizzy, and if you use Dekunda to wipe off his debuffs he’ll hastily use one of his Press Turns reapplying War Cry, so he’s not that hard to shut down either. Your biggest danger is having demons with relatively low HP pools for their level or one that’s weak to Ice/Physical.

It’s all clear. Ready, Toki?

This is my duty.

Toki walks toward the black jar at the back of the room.

Gah… Ahh! Ughhh…

Toki trembles with fury.

I hate this… Bound into submission all my life…! I want to destroy everything! Burn it all down!

Heheh… Haha… Hahahaha… Ha – Nghhhh… I…can’t!

Toki claws towards the jar, suffering from the Aether.

Finally, she makes it to the jar.

Now, to seal it…

The force surrounding the jar fades away.

I’m done.

That should do it. On to the next temple.

Four more to go, you sure you can handle this?

You leave the temple.

Toki follows behind, clenching her fists.

Such a strong urge… It was difficult to resist.

In this world, I must resort to violence to survive…

But I have to control myself. I’m not a child anymore.

As Tenkai said, there’s no set order to dealing with the Fudo temples, but for simplicity’s sake and something that won’t become clear until later I’m taking a clockwise path from Midtown. That means our next temple is here at Kyoseiin.

I am Jikokuten, the Apathetic.

This jar holds the essence of Sloth.

Tell me… Have you come to seal it?

Yes.

Then you’ll have to get through me first.

Prepare yourselves, you indolent things.

Boss Battle! Jikokuten :crossed_swords:

Jikokuten, Deva of the East, brings music and harmony, precedes of the element of water, and commands the gandharvas (the male equivalent of apsaras). Through him comes solid government and governance.

Jikokuten is weak to Electricity, resists Light, and nullifies Force. His stats are all around very high, but none of them reach nearly as high as Bishamonten’s Strength stat did. I guess that means he’s sort of the jack of all trades of the Four Heavenly Kings in this case.

Jikokuten replaces Bufudyne with Zandyne and Mabufula with Mazanma. He also, for some reason, downgrades his Physical sweep to Javelin Rain. If he wants to debuff you, he has both Fog Breath and Debilitate. Like the other Heavenly Kings, he’s also susceptible to Dizzy, so you can exploit that.

As his northern comrade before him, Jikokuten falls to our grand might. He’s got around 6,200 or so HP and is not nearly as lethal as Bishamonten, so if you could beat the Deva of the North, the Deva of the East shouldn’t be any trouble.

Okay… You got this, Toki?

Of course.

It repeats the “going up to and seeing a faint energy” spiel each time here, so we’ll just be cutting to the weird reactions from now on.

Gh…ugh…

Toki seems to have the strength drains from her body.

Why…do I…have to listen…to them? Why am I…a slave?

Forget all this – No…! I…must…complete my mission.

It also goes through the same spiel about sealing the jar, so skipping that too.

The force surrounding the jar fades away.

Well…in Tokyo, they say, that Gaston’s nonexistent consciousness started growing that day.

Isn’t that what Samurai do?

Don’t you live simply to serve the angels’ whims?

No. I live by the Samurai Code! I do not live for the whims of angels.

So be it. I just follow orders.

You two finished? Then let’s go.

You leave the temple. Toki slowly follows behind you.

I exist only to serve the Ring of Gaea. Nothing shall hinder me.

I am Koumokuten, the Devourer.

This jar draws the essence of Gluttony.

Have you come to slake its thirst?

Yes.

Then you shall be my feast.

Come to me, you insatiable fools.

Boss Battle!: Koumokuten :crossed_swords:

Koumokuten, Deva of the West, has lordship over the element of metal and has all-seeing eyes that find those who are unbelievers in order to better spread Buddhism. Just as the other Heavenly Kings have their own spirits to command, the nagas are at Koumokuten’s beck and call.

Koumokuten resists Light, nullifies Electricity, and is weak to Force. When he’s on the offensive, he can utilize Ziodyne, Mazionga, and Titanomachia. Rather than debuffing your party, he instead prefers to buff himself with Sukukaja.

As with Jikokuten, Koumokuten has around 6,200 HP. Break his face.

Ngh…

Toki is infected with an insatiable hunger.

Ugh… My stomach…it burns! I’m starving! I want food, now!

Please… Give me something sweet! …No! I won’t succumb to this…

Gaston pushes Toki out of the way and heads toward the jar.

Hey! What are you doing?!

I am a captain of the Samurai!

I will not forfeit my life to such spectral nonsense as – nguh?!

Gaston doubles over in pain.

Gaston?!

Just as with party recruitment options, the option to save Gaston immediately or be inevitably badgered into it is another one of those options that gives a larger number of Peace or Anarchy points than minor dialogue options.

You grab Gaston’s arm and pull him back.

You quickly drag him away from the Aether.

Gah!

Gaston looks like he’s about to die.

He’ll be fine. It’ll wear off soon.

You saved my life… I swear I will one day return the favor.

Why do you act like this?

How am I acting?!

You’re a prisoner to these ideals that someone else invented.

Do you really mean that you’re acting this way for yourself, that you aren’t just living as you were told to?

I guess the same could be said for me.

Nrgh…she has quite the tongue for a child.

The longest jar sealing yet, but finally this shrine has its Domain lifted.

Are you okay?

I can handle it…

Let’s jet, then. On to the next temple.

Hey, we’re halfway home! Just two more to go!

But I have it under control. …Maybe some candy later – n-never mind.

Toki seems pretty close to breaking at this point, but we nonetheless have two shrines left to cleanse. Only one Heavenly King left, though. How strange…

Nansekiji, our second to last temple, is our first foray into the Johoku region. And with good reason: Johoku’s part of the barren northern wasteland, part of Tokyo that decidedly did not make it through God’s Plan in the best of shape. You won’t find any settlements out here, or much of anything else for that matter.

I am Zouchouten, the Desired.

This jar draws the essence of Lust.

Have you come to fulfill its passions?

Yes.

I see…but I’m afraid that’s not allowed.

Prepare to pay the price for ecstasy.

Boss Battle!: Zouchouten :crossed_swords:

Zouchouten, Deva of the South, rules the winds, harnesses the element of fire, and oversees the growth of vegetation. He also wields a blade that he levels against those who would disrupt Dharma. Zouchouten’s supernatural subjects are the kumbhanda.

Zouchouten nullifies Fire, resists Light like his fellow kings, and is weak to Ice. He utilizes Agidyne and Maragion for most of his damage output, eschewing stronger Physical attacks in favor of hoping Dream Fist will put your party to sleep so he can roast them without as much fuss.

While he has HP on par with his northern counterpart, Zouchouten’s use of Fire and a weak Physical skill means he’s pretty easy to prep against.

…Mmm?! Ngh… Hnn… Ahh…

Toki’s face burns red as she falls to her knees.

Mmmm… Wh-what is this…?! N – ahhh! Nnnnngh…!

And that’s one more jar sealed and a situation more awkward for everyone present.

…You okay?

I think you need a break.

Mind your own business…

On to the next, then.

What does it matter? She’s not going to listen to reason.

Might as well get this over with as quickly as possible, for all our sakes.

I guess…

Hallelujah looks disappointed in Nozomi’s response.

This is an atypically cold pragmatism from Nozomi, but she’s probably not wrong from what we’ve seen up to this point.

That’s the effect of lust…

I still feel like I’m floating, as if my body isn’t my own…

I’m too young for that.

Yes, she is, so let’s move on to the last shrine and pretend this one never happened.

Okuji: the final shrine. The furthest from Midtown and the only one left after defeating the Four Heavenly Kings. What mighty demon could it hold within? And do we have the power to stop it?


#71

Wild Demon Encounters: Johoku Wastes (Overworld)

The wastes of Johoku are home to Kin-Ki, Ghoul, Hsing-Hsing, Grendel, and two demons we haven’t fused.

Two more or Fujiwara no Chikata’s four oni are found out here in the wasteland, either together with Kin-Ki, ganging up with Grendel as shown here, or in more esoteric patterns with random demons. The freaky faceless fellow in blue is Fuu-Ki, harnesser of the wind and level 49 Brute. He is weak to Electricity and nullifies Force, and knows the skills Zandyne and Fog Breath at any level, Dark Sword at level 50, and Force Pleroma at level 51.

Sui-Ki, bringer of floods, is a level 54 demon of the Brute race who is weak to Fire and nullifies Force. His starting moves are Bufudyne and Rakukaja, while leveling him up grants Mana Surge at level 55 and Mabufudyne at level 56.

Fusions

For those of you who are familiar with MegaTen games, you might be surprised at me telling you that Alice’s special fusion in this game is Black Frost, Hairy Jack, High Pixie, and Nadja. Her two unlearned skills are Dekunda and High Dark Pleroma, gained at levels 50 and 53 respectively. Alice retains her classic unique skill, Die for Me!, which will keep her relevant for longer than her level would imply. It is, in fact, the only severe damage Dark skill of any sort; even the level 99 optional DLC superboss themed to Dark moves only has a heavy damage Dark move at best.

While technically based on Alice of Lewis Carroll’s works, at this point the Alice of the MegaTen games has become a long reference to the first Shin Megami Tensei. In her original Super Famicom appearance, she was a ghost brought to life by the demons Belial and Nebiros, who murdered countless people in order to enslave their spirits to forever “play” with Alice. Since then, she has appeared time and time again, almost always requiring a special fusion of Belial and Nebiros to create. SMTIV and Apocalypse are some of the very few games in the series that deviate from this time-honored formula.

Forged from Zhen and Ogre is Thunderbird. Its only normal weakness is Gun, so why exactly did I use a slot on Resist Dark? For the next demon in line for fusion, of course! The two skills left for Thunderbird to learn are Taunt and Ziodyne at levels 43 and 45 respectively.

A motif found across the lore of multiple Native American nations, the thunderbird is a massive bird whose wingbeats make thunder and eyes shoot lightning. In many cases, these great avian spirits are in direct opposition with some manner of sea creature such as the orca or horned serpents. Some cultures have thunderbirds that aid humanity, while others paint them as dangerous and sometimes even man-eating. Some cryptozoologists have attempted to tie this supernatural being with a real life prehistoric survivor – usually a relative of the genus of large Pleistocene bird of prey named Teratornis, though some go big and bold with claims that they are surviving pterosaurs..

Vivian and Thunderbird are fused to create Pallas Athena. She’s normally weak to Dark, but I have that all patched up. As you saw earlier, she’s the first demon with Makarakarn, and this makes her a great asset against Loki. Her two unlearned skills are Holy Wrath (one of two sister skills to Asherah’s Judgment; this one has its greater damage triggered when targeting Chaos-aligned demons) at level 52 and Chakra Walk at level 53.

Athena is the Greek goddess of wisdom, craftsmanship, city defense, and strategic warfare. A deity of many monikers, she has titles including Athena Glaukopis, Athena Parthenos, Athena Tritogeneia, and the one we see her referred to by in this game. Legendary Greek heroes such as Odysseus, Heracles, and Perseus benefited from Athena’s guidance, while several unfortunate souls such as Arachne, Medusa, and Tiresias learned firsthand that even the goddess of wisdom ultimately fell prone to the fickle temperaments of the Greek pantheon.

Macabre and Shiwanna manifest the new form that is Ghoul. Its Fire weakness has been covered, though we’ll still need to be careful using it around Light. Ghoul normally learns Acid Breath at level 51, but fusion inheritance circumvented that, so my individual’s only unlearned skill is Damascus Claw at level 50.

The Arabic ghul is a foul and materialistic djinni, lurking in lonely and isolated parts of the desert. There, they lure travelers to their deaths with tricks such as shapeshifting into a beautiful woman or lighting mysterious fires away from the well-worn trails. Eventually, the term passed into usage to describe anthropophagous ogre-like monsters in both Arabic and Persian culture, and later still into modern fantasy as corpse-eaters that are often (but not always) undead.

Unfortunately for Ghoul, it wasn’t saved by my lack of macca at this point, as it could be fused with another demon in my party: it and Alraune create the imposing Orcus, with his weakness to Fire patched up just as Ghoul’s had been. The two skills left to be learned on his roster are War Cry at level 51 and Tetrakarn at level 52.

Orcus is a Roman god of the dead, as well as the god of oaths and punisher of oathbreakers. He’s almost certainly a Romanization of the Greek Horkos, who we met earlier.


#72

Within Okuji Shrine lies a very distinct figure.

I am Marishiten, the Superior.

This vessel draws the essence of Pride.

Have you come to shatter its image?

Yes.

Only the truly vain would believe that they could do that.

You will suffer for your arrogance.

Boss Battle!: Marishiten :crossed_swords:

Marici, or Marishiten in Japan, is a deva of the sun, light, and protection from the ravages of war. Why is she here? In some sects of Chinese Buddhism, she is conflated with the goddess Doumu Yuanjun, also known as the Queen of Heaven. She’s usually depicted either atop a lotus, riding a wild boar/multiple boars at once, or standing in a chariot drawn by seven boars, and can have anywhere from one to six faces and two to twelve arms. She is sometimes the consort of Hayagriva, the horse-headed incarnation of Vishnu.

Marishiten has all of her stats in almost equal (and high) volume, resists Light, and nullifies Fire. She’s prepared to bring down the Gun rain, having both Myriad Arrows for indiscriminate strikes and Heaven’s Bow (heavy Gun damage to all foes) when she wants to sweep. She can also use Megido for some minor Almighty damage on your whole party and Berserker God for a strong singular punch to a party member’s gut.

With around the same HP as the Devas of North and South and no weakness to exploit, your main goal with Marishiten should be to debuff her as much as possible so you can grind in the knife as deep as you can each time you attack.

Last one, Toki. You good?

No one else can do it.

And thus the jar drama begins for the fifth, and last, time.

Guh… Ahh…!

Toki stands tall with haughty pride.

Look at me… I’m trying so hard… So please…

…Damnit, after all I’ve done for you! Thank me! Praise me! Ngh, no… I don’t need…praise from others!

Just need to…ugh…

Hey! Are you okay?!

Hallelujah starts towards Toki, but she refuses.

Stand back!

You’ll end up like the Samurai. Let me handle it.

Hmph…

And with the last jar sealed…

The ground begins to shake.

What’s going on?!

That must be the Tokugawa Mandala. We should be able to summon demons again.

It’s…over…

Toki collapses like a rag doll. Her mask slips off her face.

Nozomi rushes to her side.

Are you okay?

Toki seems to have fallen unconscious.

Guess that’s all she can take. Let’s get her someplace safe to – ?!

Kill it! Kill it now!

I am Inanna, Mother of All. My essence has been cast adrift within the Aether.

Danu, my kin… My resurrection nears… Return to me your power!

Your power belongs to me… Give it back… Give it back give it back…

Inanna… Mother…

This power is what protects the fairies. I cannot relinquish it.

You heard the woman.

Nozomi starts loading her shotgun.

Boss Battle!: Inanna Remnant :crossed_swords:

Inanna was a Sumerian goddess equivalent to the Babylonian Ishtar, with a large purview of domains such as fertility, love and sex, warfare, and political might. She is often symbolized with a lion (representative of her ferocity in war) or eight-pointed star (showing her connection to the cosmos as the planet Venus), the latter of which is etched into her belly in Masayuki Doi’s design for her. In a possible precusor to the Greek Persephone or a case of mythological parallels, the seasons are caused by Inanna’s husband Dumuzi descending to and returning from the Underworld across the course of each year. As for the whole “Mother of All” thing, that is rooted in Inanna sometimes being associated with the Great Goddess hypothesis, a somewhat shaky claim that there was a primordial single goddess worshipped before the creation of any of the polytheistic religions (the big problem being that its first proponents were Victorian archaeologists using the hypothesis to fuel their ideas that matriarchies were a more primitive form of society that humanity grew out of).

An interesting note on the design of Inanna, courtesy of Masayuki Doi, is that its early concept art seems likely to be based on the Burney Relief, a relief sculpture that may or may not be of Inanna. Doi’s final design retains the avian feet, wings, and the style of headdress worn by many Sumerian deities, but otherwise goes in a direction that is more…party member Persona-like, I guess? For lack of a better term.

The Inanna Remnant uses a ridiculously eclectic set of moves, ranging from Zio and Agi to Bufudyne and Maziodyne. Basically, if it’s a tier one to three elemental attack, she probably can use it. Fortunately, the Inanna Remnant only has 3,200 or so HP, due to being an unformed half-image of Inanna, and has no resistances to any type of damage. She can be kind of obnoxious if her Ma-dyne choice aligns with a demon weakness, but she has an AI that is willing to be overly generous and only cast tier 1 single-target spells after her initial big rush each turn, so she’s usually more of a hassle than a terrifying team-sweeper. If you cast Makarakarn, though, she removes any pretense of being generous and crashes Megidola (medium Almighty damage to all foes) into your face.

I can’t last… Not like this…

I only have one option left…

Inanna aims herself at Toki.

Toki is still unconscious from the stress of sealing the jars.

She’s trying to take Toki with her!

Inanna’s shadow blankets Toki.

Gaston strikes Inanna with his spear and she vanishes.

Nice shot, Gaston!

Attacking the weak is the epitome of cowardice. I was merely following the Samurai Code.

And that’s Sir Gaston.

Uh, sure. Anyway, we’ve completed the quest.

That we have! For our trouble in slaying five and a half demons, we get 101,257 experience points and 58,000 macca. Not bad at all.

Nn…

I feel better now…

Phew, good. Inanna’s attack almost nailed you.

Inanna…?

Fortunately, Gaston leapt to your rescue.

Shh!

Thank you, Gaston.

What?!

Everyone is shocked.

What’s wrong? What’s wrong with you? Where’s the Toki we know?

I’m not a cold-hearted demon. If someone saves my life, isn’t it natural to thank them?

Well, yeah, but…

Wow. Seems like everybody’s wanting to crash this party.

Maitreya is staring straight at Toki.

You broke the Tokugawa Mandala…

Maitreya!

Damnit! He must have been waiting for this!

So selfish. Do you understand what you’ve done?

You’ve given the city back to the demons.

I thought you didn’t want to be caught in this war between angels and demons.

How tragic. You’ve forgotten your place and have chosen to oppose us.

I will show you mercy and free you from this cycle of self-made misery.

Salvation awaits you.

Boss Battle!: Maitreya :crossed_swords:

…only to find humanity blindly marching along, your actions a mystery even to yourselves.

This is a reference to the prediction that Maitreya Buddha’s arrival will happen 5.67 billion years after the death of the Gautama Buddha. I guess it was easier to just do some dimension hopping than actually have a timeline that long.

You’ve only managed to make the angels, demons – even the Creator God – all stronger.

I’m sure you did not intend to once more make Tokyo a haven for foreign gods and demons to run rampant.

And that is why I will release you all from a life of uncertainty and ignorance.

The time has finally come. We saw the Buddha on the road in our fledgling days as hunters, and now it is time to fulfill the saying and kill him. Hope you saved up enough resources to finish him off as the third part of this three-boss gauntlet!

Maitreya resists Physical, Ice, and Dark and nullifies Light, but is weak to both Gun and Fire. A great in for beating him, right? Well, not quite… More on that in a moment.

Maitreya’s the first boss we’ve had in a while that can pull surprises out of his sleeve. While he can pull out the more familiar Oni-Kagura, Bufudyne, and Hades Blast, he also has unique skills such as this one. 5.67 Billion Hands only does a pittance of Almighty damage to each enemy normally, but suddenly goes up to dealing critted heavy Almighty damage if he’s Smirking. Basically, giving Maitreya Smirk means you are going to die horribly. That’s not an exaggeration: he can and will likely wipe your entire party in one Smirked 5.67 Billion Hands.

There’s also his big gimmick of Enlightenment. Why use Makarakarn when you can instead just give yourself Drain Fire and Drain Gun for a turn? This leads to a situation where you actually have to hold off on exploit weaknesses to get Press Turns and deal more damage. This is an important warning to heed, as not only does he heal from striking his weaknesses during Enlightenment, he also gets a free equivalent of all of the -kaja spells as well when you do so.

Besides having unique skills and getting four Press Turns, Maitreya being another big boss means we have dialogue choices after certain thresholds once again. This one shows up after you’ve dealt about 2,200 HP of damage.

Maitreya turns to you, still restraining Navarre.

Wield the light of self, the light of dharma. Depend not on others, but only yourself and dharma.

Do you not agree that you should leave the dead weight you call “friends” behind and fight alone?

You can choose here to either save your partner or just plow through them to get to Maitreya. The former boosts your Assist Gauge by four bars and gives you a chunk of Peace points, while the latter deals a big slash of direct damage to Maitreya but also grants you Anarchy points and hurts your partner.

You attack Maitreya to save your friend.

I knew I could count on you! That’s my boy!

Dependence, friendship… These will not lead you to enlightenment.

I will show you how others hold back your training.

Oh, and Maitreya gets a free boost to his attack stats for your heroism. Sorry.

Why, then, do you persist? What are you fighting for?

This next dialogue option comes up around 4,000 damage into the fight. Your options are “For the people of Tokyo”, which gives you some Peace points but once again gives Maitreya an Attack buff, “For myself” which gives you Anarchy points and buffs both your and Maitreya’s Attack stats as you get all pumped up on some nihilism, and to just ignore him entirely. Your safe bet is “For myself”, but we’re going full Good Boy to the ends of the earth, even if it means having to use a Press Turn on Dekunda.

For the people of Tokyo.

People speak ill of you, and yet you still fight in their name?

Prove to me you aren’t lying to yourself.

Cu Chulainn dealing 2,000 damage on a single Press Turn due to my leadup of spamming Makakaja and War Cry to its maximum is my proof. Proof that Maitreya is so, so dead.

Gaaaaah… I must not have practiced enough observation and reflection…

No matter… I shall reincarnate by the Mother of All’s grace. The Divine Powers’ luck yet runs dry.

I will bear witness to Mother Inanna’s presence within that girl…someday…

Maitreya is more a battle of patience than one of brute force (though, obviously, I got down to the brute force after I was done with the patience). Either you dance around his Enlightenment and get in shots at his weaknesses when he deigns to not use that ability, or you build up the strongest Electricity and Force attackers you can and buff/debuff your way to victory in spite of dealing neutral damage. 43,828 experience points isn’t bad either, so take a moment to hold your head high in triumph.

Wait, when did this training happen?

One more target and –

Toki’s knees give out beneath the weight of her body.

You catch her as she falls.

Oh…! S-sorry.

Toki stands up and separates herself from you.

My heart is pounding… I… I must be tired…

Toki’s eyes are bleary and her face is flushed.

It’s time for me to leave, then.

Toki glances at you.

You haven’t paid me back for what you did…

So I’ll…s-see you again…

Toki turns her back on you and walks away.

Awkward teenage romance crosses all alignment barriers.

Was there something off about her just now?

Let’s bounce. I want to check in on Asahi.

Before we can see if Asahi has stabilized any, Fujiwara calls us up to say congratulations as soon as we set foot in Kinshicho.

Word travels quickly down here.

Not so much. It’s just the Demon Summoning Program is working again.

Looks like you didn’t screw us after all.

This is proof enough for me that you aren’t our enemy.

Some people have even started calling you our “Champion”.

I’d say you’ve redeemed yourself.

Tch… This is ridiculous, to act like he did this alone.

Gaston glares at you.

You’ll be given a key card when you arrive at Kasumigaseki.

Tomorrow’s gonna be a pain in the ass, but until then, you should get some rest.

I look forward to seeing what you can do.

Cool. Now we can go back to Kinshicho without that hanging over our heads.

Hallelujah shoots you a smile.

Humans are so fickle, swinging from one extreme to the other whenever convenient.

It’s all so much clawing and calculation. Right, kid?

They’re selfish and conceited. Can you truly trust anyone like that?

But solitude… Solitude is true freedom.

Good to see Dagda’s his normal, cheery self even after we’ve made significant progress in our campaign of deity destruction.

Hey leader, you okay? We should get going.

Hallelujah’s voice brings you back to reality, and you leave.

Back in Nanashi’s room, an offscreen Asahi immediately wishes to discuss something with us.

Of course.

Asahi hesitantly enters your room.

Word around town is you guys are great big heroes.

Couldn’t care less right now. How are you feeling?

Me? I’m fine. Dad…he saved me.

That’s what I want to talk to you about. I realize I put everyone in danger…

That’s nice of you to say, but I still need to get this off my chest.

Listen…

Asahi looks down as she speaks.

I wanted Dad to see I wasn’t a kid anymore.

That’s why I tried so hard to make a name for myself as a Hunter.

I thought that would prove I was mature. Now I realize I was wrong.

Sure, recognition is nice.

And now I see htat Dad treated me like a kid because he was trying to protect me.

I want to do the same. I want to protect what I care about most in the world.

Asahi raises her gaze back to the group.

I want to get another shot. I want to become the kind of adult Dad would be proud of.

I know I messed up before, but please… Let me fight alongside you all again!

Asahi bows her head to the group.

Gaston scoffs at Asahi’s gesture.

“Fight alongside you all again”? Just when did you fight with us before? All you did was get in the way.

You should be grateful to be alive, not begging to throw your useless life away.

I thought this would at least teach you just how quickly you’d die in a real battle.

Damnit Gaston, you were doing so well there for a little while.

…!

Hallelujah glares at Gaston.

What?! How dare you!

Shut up, Gaston.

I’ll make this the last time I have to tell you it’s SIR Gaston!

Gaston wipes a trickle of blood from his mouth as he stands up.

What do you know about any of this? You’d never be brave enough to stand up like she just did.

What?!

Stop!

Asahi steps between the two before a brawl can begin.

You’re right, Gast – er, SIR Gaston. I’m useless without Nanashi. I get in the way.

But despite that, I don’t want to be away from you guys.

Please… Let me come with you.

Asahi bows her head again.

Asahi…

Hmph. She isn’t my problem.

Well. I think we’ve all had a long day. Let’s hit the hay.

Split up and get some sleep.

You heard our fearless leader! Let’s knock off, for now.

Now beat it, all y’all. Go on. Rest up.

Only you and Asahi remain.

Starting tomorrow, things are going to change.

For the last alignment points gathering of the night, you can reply to Asahi with “I need you with me” (Peace points), “You’ll just get in the way” (Anarchy points), or “Come on, now…” (nothing).

I need you with me.

Thanks. I’ll try my best. I promise.

Gaston said I was useless…

But I know I can help.

Asahi looks at you, her face serious.

I’m coming with you.

I don’t care what anyone says. I’m coming with you. I need to prove I can be useful.

And maybe I’ll cause trouble. Who knows…

But at least we’ll be together.

Asahi realizes what she just said. Her face turns bright red.

I would hope not, seeing as you’re step-siblings and all…

I didn’t mean it like that! By “we” I meant ALL of us. The group!

It’s not like we’re going to end up married or anything like that!

Asahi buries her face in her hands and groans.

A-anyway… Me, you. The group. Together again. Tomorrow.

So yeah… Uh… See you tomorrow!

Asahi races out of your room.

What an awkward end to an eventful day. Only thing to do now is to have Nanashi turn in as well and await the coming of the day of the half-moon.


#73

Welcome to a huge edition of Hunter’s Notes, catching up on a lot of material at once.

Equipment

Quick rundown of new gear I’ve replaced old gear with as of the end of update 19, other than our sword which will be covered further down.

Gun: The Scar Machine Gun is a 109 base damage machine gun type weapon, keeping to my current favoring of machine guns.

Head: The Olive Power Suit headgear provides +40 HP, +16 Magic, and +8 Luck. It may not be in the same set as my other armor pieces, but it’s both better stats-wise and looks fine with it to boot.

Body: The Officer Green body armor grants Resist Force with no downsides, as well as +61 HP. Officer body armor can also be purchased in red (Resist Fire) or gray (Resist Dark).

Legs: Matching the body piece, the Officer Green leggings have a +61 to HP and +12 to Agility.

Things I Missed

Or, in the case of this update, mostly things I thought I had talked about but hadn’t.

Skill mutation: it’s a thing. When a demon levels up, there’s a small chance it will offer up one of its skills to transform into another skill. Nine times out of ten the skill change won’t be an upgrade and you’ll say no, but there’s no penalty to refusing other than the demon insulting you.

There’s an app called Skill Augment that makes skill mutation have a much higher chance of occurring, but it also costs 60 App Points, so I can’t say I recommend it unlelss you’re just rolling in AP.

There are multiple types of gun. Did I forget to mention that apparently? Well, there are. The difference is in how they fire. Regular pistols and rifles are single-target attacks, machine guns hit all targets, and bazookas do multiple hits on random targets.

Melee weapons similarly have three categories. Swords are your standard no strings attached melee weapon, spears deal a bit less damage but have multiple strikes, and clubs typically deal more damage than swords of the same “rank” but have low Accuracy.

What on earth is this strange starfish thing? Believe it or not, it’s actually a treasure chest. A type that only one specific party member can open.

Yep, Navarre and his Jade Dagger are our ticket into opening these “chests”. Inside are rare items such as gemstones to trade with Saint Germaine and Armor Boost Kits. Armor Boost Kits in particular are a particularly interesting little tool. They, as their name implies, boost armor, making them a bit stronger. You could theoretically get enough of these to make even early shop armor keep its relevance into the endgame, but I’d imagine the effort wouldn’t really be worth it unless you just really, really like those suits.

Sidequest: Pursue Hunter Hunters

This quest says you need to hunt down 15 Dormarths, but don’t be fooled, there’s a reason I’ve decided this one is noteworthy enough to be in the LP and it’s not the rat hunting.

The Dormarths show up as red icons in Nicho, a street right to the right of East Shinjuku Main Street. In Welsh mythology, Dormarth is a male hound who is one of the dogs of of the Wild Hunt and servant of Gwnn ap Nudd, king of the Otherworld. How we got from there to an anthropomorphic dog lady may forever be a mystery.

I’ll be taking that smartphone in the name of the Divine Powers!

These Dormarths are a fair bit lower level than the normal ones, but are pretty close mechanically. They’re resistant to Dark but weak to Force and utilize the skills Frenzied Chomp (which will almost always inflict at least one of its ailments due to a +3 Ailment affinity), Bind Voice, and the eternally loathed Macca Beam. Kill one trio, move on to the next, rinse and repeat.

Upon encountering the second set of three Dormarths, they have a new bit of dialogue for you.

They told me not to kill anyone, but… I don’t care! Just die already!

They are, in fact, the ones that are going to die, so we’ll fast-forward past those and the set of Dormarths after them – who, I’ll note, are the only set that don’t have dialogue – to get to the final set.

I’m trying my best for the Divine Powers! Don’t get in my way!

And after defeating these final three, it’s mission accomplished, right?

Ugh… I’m the only one left.

If I don’t bring a human’s smartphone back, I’m gonna be in trouble.

How annoying. I sent so many, and now they’re almost gone?

Well hey there.

Pretty good, for a human! I’m impressed.

Finally, some help. Hehehe… Now I can’t lose!

Hand over your smartphone! The Divine Powers demand it!

Haha – you still buying into that lie?

It’s kind of pathetic.

What?

This Dormarth then quickly dies, a splash of blood rapidly flickering across the screen.

No, no… You misunderstand, baby. She was just…a toy.

What can I say – I really like messing with the Powers. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.

Hunting you Hunters is just another way at getting under their skin. I’m taking away the souls they want.

But this just proved to be an unexpectedly bountiful harvest.

Hey, boy, you wanna use that power for me?

Though, you really don’t have a choice!

Humans live short lives, right? Why don’t we have a little fun before you go?

Loki’s a figure of Norse mythology probably best known for being a shapeshifter and a trickster, often engaging in assholery for his own benefit. This could be anything from flyting (a battle of insults in poetic verse) with the other gods to that whole incident where he killed Baldr for shits and giggles. Loki’s also the parent of various children that include the apocalyptic beasts Fenrir and Jormundgandr, the goddess Hell, and Odin’s steed Sleipnir (acting as the mother in that case). He was eventually bound in the entrails of one of his children, Nari, and is said to only break free at the dawning of Ragnarok, wherein he will lead the giants in their war against the gods.

The Loki you can fuse yourself is level 58, but his Magic stat is huge even in this weaker incarnation. He’s weak against Light, resists Force and Dark, and nullifies Ice.

Loki comes with a full suite of tier 3 single-target elemental coverage: Ziodyne, Zandyne, Bufudyne, and Agidyne, all doing a pretty decent chunk of damage even if you aren’t weak to the element he’s throwing. He can also use Pulinpa if he’s feeling like being rude. If you have Makarakarn, he’s effectively impotent and this fight is a joke. He can be potentially dangerous if you walk into him underleveled and/or unprepared, though.

This was fun, human. Let’s play again when the world’s set aflame.

Beating Loki provides 12,453 experience points from the fight itself, a further 19,968 for completing the quest, and 14,000 macca. You can fuse Loki with or without finishing this quest.

Sidequest: Take Out a Pesky Demon

This quest is kind of under our league now, but hey, I’m not perfect at reminding myself to do these.

Club Milton is tucked out of the way in a little corner of Dogenzaka.

Red pills… Give me reds… Lots of reds…

A monstrous Aztec deity whose gender is somewhat debated (but we’ll use female pronouns here given Kaneko’s art choices), Tlaltecuhtli swam in the great ocean formed by the worldwide flood that ended the fourth earth. A ravenous being with both a cavernous maw and mouths at her joints, Tlaltecuhtli was looked upon with horror by the gods Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca, who rent the beastly god asunder to form the heavens and the earth. Even after being destroyed in such a manner, however, Tlaltecuhtli still retained consciousness and cried out for blood sacrifice to feed upon and continue to nurture the plants that grow from her corpse.

She resists Physical, nullifies Electricity, and is weak to Ice, and utilizes the skills Zionga and Megido. Even if you weren’t overleveled she’s not a particularly challenging or threatening optional fight, so you might as well cut her down for some easy rewards.

While yet another demon that doesn’t need to be fought to get her fusion, this is an easy enough challenge quest that I’d suggest doing it for some free macca and a discount at the shops in Shibuya. There’s also the fact that once you do certain numbers of quests, you get free prizes from the Hunter Association, which means there’s no harm in continuing to do good deeds.

Sidequest: u have a guest!!!

This is an optional quest I would highly suggest doing before the next story portion.

Yamato no Orochi’s unlearned moves are Megaton Press at level 52 and Recarmdra at level 53. You can fuse one from a Nebiros and Hsing-Hsing if you want to just go negotiate with two demons out in the wild and slap them together for this quest, assuming you don’t wish to actually use an Orochi normally at a later time. I kind of feel sorry for him, honestly. He’s a demon who starts off with Agidyne and Bufudyne regardless of fusion material and has +3 affinity for both, but his Magic stat is pathetic for a demon of his level.

In mythology, Yamato no Orochi is a monstrous serpent with eight heads and eight tails, massive enough to have fields of pine and cypress trees growing upon its back. Orochi would demand the sacrifice of the daughters of the kunitsukami every year until the god Susano-o came forth to slay the beast. After getting Yamato no Orochi drunk with huge amounts of alcohol, Susano-o slew it with the sword Ame-no-Habakiri. You know, the one we’re carrying around.

I’m glad you’re okay, Napaea, but what do you mean “a big ol’ god”?

Are the Divine Powers back?

He keeps saying stuff like that – that he’s amatsuwhatever. What’s he talking about?

Amatsu-kami. It means he’s a deity from the Plain of High Heaven.

Amatsu-kami are Japanese gods. By the sounds of it, you guys haven’t joined up with the Divine Powers.

We have not, though I sympathize with their views. The Kunitsu-kami, however, are cooperating with them.

The Amatsu-kami are actively avoiding involvement with them.

Huh, so despite both groups being Japanese gods, you’ve still got very different views.

As I said before when Sukuna-Hikona mentioned his fellow kunitskami joining with the Divine Powers, it’s a shame we’re told about their involvement in that whole affair but don’t really see much of it at all.

So the big guy’s not a bad guy?

Phew, good to know.

Point of fact, while you may occupy these lands now, it is we who used to dwell here.

Why would we raze our own land?

Wait, you’re saying we’re just renting it? This guy’s like, our landlord?

If you’re here to talk about raising the rent or claiming our deposit, you should just get lost!

I know not of what you speak. I’m here to see the human, not you.

You are Nanashi, are you not?

Take-Mikazuchi is the god of swords and thunder, and you may recall him being mentioned in the background on Take-Minakata. One of the gods born from the blood spattered upon the earth when Izanagi used his blade to decapitate his son Kagutsuchi, Take-Mikazuchi was one of the main warriors of the amatsukami in their conquest of the kunitsukami. He’s populary depicted in images wherein he restrains the earthquake catfish Onamazu with a great stone or sword slammed into the giant fish’s head.

My father wishes to help you. I am here on his behalf.

Ame-no-habakiri starts to shine, as if responding to Take-Mikazuchi.

Whoa, check out that sword! So that things, uh, your dad?

Yes. It is one of the forms that my father, Ame-no-ohabari – once called Totsuka-no-tsurugi – takes.

The very same Ame-no-habakiri that Nanashi wields.

My father respects the courage you’ve shown in challenging the Divine Powers.

He wishes to provide you a new sword to use against Shesha.

It’s not often Father takes such a liking to someone, human.

The fairy has informed you, no? Hand Yamato-no-Orochi over to me.

You bury Ame-no-habakiri into Yamato-no-Orochi.

The blade jars to a halt, caught on something around its tail.

…The time has finally come.

Nanashi, with me.

With Take-Mikazuchi, you slash the snake from head to tail, but then Ame-no-habakiri shatters!

It’s not over yet.

You catch a glimpse of a new sword within the snake’s lacerated tail.

Ame-no-habakiri’s shards are absorbed into the new sword.

You’ve now inherited the snake-slaying power.

Take this, Nanashi. This rare blade predates even the era of the gods.

It is Ame-no-murakomo.

In the legend of Susano-o and his slaying of Yamato no Orochi, found within the serpent’s tail is a blade that the storm god dubs Ame-no-murakumo-no-tsurugi. He then gives this blade to Amaterasu to settle the enmity between the two deities that led to Susano-o’s banishment from the land of the amatsukami in the first place. The blade would eventually fall into the hands of the warrior prince Yamato Takeru, who would rename the blade Kusanagi-no-tsurugi after using its sharp edge and control over the winds to turn a blazing field of grass back on his foes.

No, but that was Father’s wish.

Take-Mikazuchi retrieves the broken hilt, handling it as though it were a wounded animal.

As per my father’s wishes, you have been bestowed with new power. Take the sword and shatter the calm.

Take-Mikazuchi flashes a devious smile, then leaves, taking the broken sword’s hilt with him.

On top of 21,707 experience points and a Compendium Ticket (freely resummon one demon from your Compendium) for giving away a fused demon, we now have replaced Ame-no-habakiri with Ame-no-murakumo. This mighty blade has 296 base attack power and keeps the benefit of piercing through Shesha’s resistances.

Sidequest: Investigate Tokyo Dome

You’ve probably passed Tokyo Dome half a dozen times by now and never taken heed of it. Just west of the bridge between the Ueno and Chiyoda regions, this unassuming sports dome played host to Hunter gladiatorial matches in Shin Megami Tensei IV, featuring some pretty rad music from the Playstation version of Shin Megami Tensei 1 playing over its loudspeakers.

This time, however, there is no triumphant music of a bygone era blaring, nor are there Hunters in their prime ready to duel to their limits. Just the pained moaning of the damned.

As instructed, you take several snapshots of the souls, all from different angles.

Huh. Not bad.

Steady arm, so no blurring…

Gwah… Agh… Who is that? Noa…

The demons you photographed surround you!

Noa… Lady Noa… Where are you… Don’t leave me…

The Corpse Army is made up of a shambling horde of Zombie Cops, Corpses (a fusion accident-only demon, so we haven’t seen one of those ourselves yet), and Ghouls.

The Corpse Army is weak to Light, Fire, and Electricity, so you can easily form a party capable of exploiting the horde. Just don’t use Dark on them, that won’t work.

Panic Voice here is the most annoying thing the Corpse Army can do, since their Ailment affinity is pretty high. Otherwise, they’re just hitting you with Blast Arrow, Madness Nails, or regular attacks. It’s not a particularly tough fight.

Sending off these wayward spirits nets us 21,886 experience points on its own, not even counting the actual quest completion. To get that, we need to head to a Hunter Association bar. And when we get there…

An older man you don’t recognize wanders over to you.

Name’s Hiroshi. As you can tell, I’m a Hunter – just like you. Been in the business a while, now.

Heard you took on the Tokyo Dome request. Mind showing me the pictures?

Sure.

Thanks! Association sent me a request to take these guys out.

Trouble is, they’re hard to pin down. Figured maybe your photos would give me something to go off.

You show Hiroshi the photos.

No… It’s not possible… What’s she doin’ there?

Oh, sorry! Thanks. These proved very helpful.

Hiroshi smiles, visibly masking his emotions, and leaves the Association.

So laid back… Hard to believe he’s always ranked high among the Hunters, huh?

Which is pretty impressive, since he’s one of the oldest active Hunters. So show him some respect.

22,227 experience and 16,000 macca for turning in the photograph is nice, but the biggest reward of this quest is that it is one of two you can do right now that starts a chain of events leading to bigger things down the road.

Sidequests: The Rise of Maruo

The second quest chain starter we can do right now is this one. Shinjuku West Entrance Park is just slightly to the northwest of Shinjuku, near the corner of one of the poison swamps. To start this quest, go to the fountain in that small area.

A group is gathered around a fat man named Maruo…

Man, the thing is, you don’t have to deprive yourself of anything. Not a damn thing.

When shit gets bad like this, you should just live how you want.

But are you sure people won’t judge us?

Why are you so worried? Are you happy?

Happy?

Of course not! That’s why we gotta start living the way we wanna live!

So, I can do what I like… And you’ll still love me?

No matter what I am?!

Yep! Do whatever you want!

That’s what Maruology is all about!

The people are starting to riot! Do you want to stop the commotion?

As strange as it is for us to go from slaying Loki and gaining a legendary sword to fighting off a hedonist cult, here we are.

It looks like another Hunter’s come to pull our Grand Member!

Grand Member Maruo is as precious as the family jewels!

Everyone! Let’s cover our Grand Member!

The joke is genitalia, you see.

In a complete reversal of normal human enemies, the Maruo Faction horde is actually weak to Light. They also resist Gun, akin to the Gaeans.

The horde’s combat is based heavily on status affliction, with a side order of not being great at being threatening. Ideals of Maruology attempts to inflict Sleep, Maruology Anthem goes for Panic, and Watch us Maruo! is a random target weak Physical attack. They’re pathetic, and presumably intentionally so in this case.

Inhibitions?! You hardly make any sense!

Ugh, you can’t even hear me, can you? Being a ghost is so frustrating!

Maruo comes forward to defend his followers.

Grand Member!

You guys just aren’t there yet.

Now, just breathe guys. Inhale, exhale.

You guys just weren’t completely honest with yourselves, you got fooled by the fact they’re kids.

Now I get it!

What are these idiots babbling about?

Come on guys, check this out.

Bring it on, Hunters. I’m whipping out everything I’ve got!

If you just give in to your desires and do what you want, you’ll start to like yourself.

Feel the power of being yourself! Accept the way you look!

Against all odds, Maruo is actually extremely resilient. As in, “on par with Shesha” resilient. Nullifies Light, resists every other element.

Like his compatriots, Maruo focuses on skills that either inflict status ailments or deal Physical damage. Being Myself attempts to inflict Bind on all party members, Maru Maru Dance is the same but for Charm, As I Wish is essentially a renamed Megaton Press, and Good Night, Baby is a medium Physical single-target attack that can cause Sleep.

After a few, rounds, however, the fight will stop abruptly, Maruo wheezing for breath.

Nah, I’m just…

Screw it. I’m going home, I’m bored.

That’s right, we had a default on that fight because our enemy is just that apathetic and lazy.

You got bored so you just quit fighting? You really are honest to yourself!

Man, Hunter Boy. You’re pretty good at this fighting thing.

But next time I see you, I’ll show you what I really am.

“What” he really is, eh? Hmm…

Man, you’re as cool as you are fat.

For an easy fight and half-fight, we net 22,227 experience points and 13,000 macca, not to mention the promise of future happenings.

Due to our current progression, we also get the second quest in this chain right away. Shinjuku National Park is in the opposite direction of West Entrance Park, a few steps southeast of Shinjuku on the overworld. The place you need to go is actually a small room directly in front of the entrance to the national park.

Unsurprisingly, our culprit is Maruo and his gang!

Maruo flashes you an empty smile, and numerous demons appear.

This is what Maruo can do when he’s all fired up!

Oh, stop it, you guys! This is just what I do, you know?

You ready? Cuz I’m gonna show you what Maruo’s all about!

This is how I am: by Maruo, for Maruo, Maruo all the time.

Let me teach you a lesson, Hunter Boy!

Girimehkala is the elephantine steed of the tempter demon Mara in the Buddhist traditions of Sri Lanka. It’s likely he’s a demonization of Airavata due to the historic tensions between Sri Lankan Buddhists and Indian Hindus; indeed, Apocalypse even plays with this, having Airavata be capable of undergoing demon evolution into Girimehkala. While he may look like a particularly imposing beast, and he repels Physical attacks in this game just as he does in pretty much every MegaTen he appears in, he is weak to Force, Electricity, and Light.

The moves these underleveled miniboss Girimehkalas have up their sleeves are Bind Voice, Critical Eye, and Titanomachia. A prodigious Strength stat combined with that Critical Eye can make for an actually pretty dangerous combination, and Bind Voice has a high enough chance of landing to be an annoyance and potential hazard.

Come with me! Live for yourself! Live your life to the max!

A couple of turns in, Maruo steps out from behind his elephant bodyguards to do his best effort at bringing us to the side of sloth and gluttony. Hilariously, neither of our options can actually affirm his beliefs: we get either “Being a Hunter is more important” or “what are you even saying” as our retorts. Don’t say the latter if you want to survive this battle, as it gives Maruo a sense of superiority and grants his Girimehkala squad four extra Press Turns.

Being a Hunter is more important.

Oh no… You’re gonna make me cry, Hunter Boy. They really got you whipped.

The Assist Gauge increases!

With your Assist Gauge most likely maxed at this point, nothing to do but plow through the foes set before you.

You’re afraid of letting go because you think you’ll be lonely, right?

Don’t be scared! I’ll accept you no matter who you are, okay?

Once he’s down to just a lone Girimehkala, Maruo decides that we’d somehow be more receptive when he’s losing even worse. And apparently he’s right, as our options this time are “I don’t need that” or “Accept me!”, on top of the usual choice to ignore him. The first option is in fact the best, as it means you get a free extra round of combat on your terms.

I don’t need that.

Y-you don’t need me?!

Are you saying you’re fine by yourself?!

Maruo is flustered and loses a turn.

Once the last poisonous pachyderm is no more, Maruo starts losing his cool even worse, our victory seemingly being the last straw.

Why aren’t you ready to believe what I’m saying?!

Grand Member! Are you alright?!

Doesn’t everyone want to live however they want?

Aren’t you guys afraid of being alone? Of being left out?

Maruo…?

Come on guys, go with the flow!

What do you mean, “the flow”?

You’re avoiding my question!

I mean, at first, I too was –

Guaaaaaaaaaaah?!

For those of you who saw this coming, it’s indeed that time. For those of you who didn’t…meet Mara. Mara, tempter and lord of death, is the antithesis of the ideals of Buddhism. He attempts to hold humanity in the cycle of reincarnation and prevent their ascension into enlightenment, through the kleshas (destructive emotions) such as wrongheadedness, hatred, greed, pride, and shamelessness. He attempted to prevent Gautama Buddha from achieving enlightenment by using his daughters in a bid to seduce him. He is often depicted in art in a way not dissimilar to an asura or rakshasa, but Kazuma Kaneko’s design for him in Shin Megami Tensei was of what can only be described as a monstrous green penis astride a golden chariot. He’s been a fan (and developer, judging by how often he’s a boss fight in the series) favorite ever since.

Well done. I never thought someone could disturb a heart I’ve already pounded.

I’m gonna corrupt you until you’re all wet and messy, but I’m not strong enough yet.

But in the name of the demon king Mara, I vow that I will appear again, fully erect!

You’d better be ready. Hyehyehyehyeh…

Mara leads Maruo and the others off somewhere.

Well…that happened. Now all we can do is wait for the day when Mara lives up to his threat of returning to challenge us.

Fusions

While attempting to fuse a Kikuri-Hime, I got a fusion accident, and it was a fusion-exclusive demon this time! The three skills Yoshitsune has yet to add to his repertoire are Light Mana Aid, Life Surge, and Endure at levels 37, 40, and 41 respectively. For you Persona fans out in the audience, I’m sorry to say that while a decent number of “big name” demons in this game have unique skills, Hassou Tobi is not present in Apocalypse.

Like many demons of the Famed race, Yoshitsune was a real person at one point. Minamoto no Yoshitsune, specifically. He was a nobleman, master of sword and bow, and military leader in the late Heian and early Kamakura periods of Japan, leading the Minamoto clan to victory against the Taira (the clan of Masakado, you may recall). Depending on whose tales you believe, Yoshitsune was either betrayed by his brother Yoritomo and committed seppuku in 1189 or escaped into the lands of Hokkaido. Or, if you want to go really out there and totally implausible, you could believe the claims of Victorian doctor Philipp von Siebold, who claimed that Yoshitsune survived being hunted down by his brother and went to Central Asia to become Genghis Khan!

Grendel and Yoshitsune fuse together to create Cu Chulainn. His three unlearned skills are Force Pleroma at level 51, Dark Sword at level 52, and Critical Eye at level 54.

After slaying the guard dog of the blacksmith Culann and offering to act as its replacement until a new guard dog could be reared from a pup, Setanta had his name changed to Cu Chulainn - the Hound of Culann. The extremely powerful youth would go on to study under the legendary warrior Scathach, gain the vicious barbed spear Gae Bolg, and fighting foes both human and supernatural. His most fearsome talent in combat was the riastrad (“warp spasm”), wherein he would contort into a monstrous form and rage across the battlefield. Of course, you can’t be a tremendous whirlwind of destruction without some of that catching up with you. Cu Chulainn’s demise came through Queen Medb of Connact, who rounded up a posse of the sons of those Cu Chulainn had slain. These conspirators would proceed to get Cu Chulainn to break his spiritual oath to never eat the meat of a dog, forge three magic spears, and then stab him with one of said magic spears and decapitate him for good measure. Even after decapitation, Cu Chulainn’s corpse manages to get the last laugh by his falling sword slicing off the arm of one of his assailants.

Combining Orcus and Ouroboros creates Pisaca, keeping that string of demons with a Fire weakness getting Resist Fire alive. The skills it has yet to learn are Mudoon at level 55, Tarukaja at levl 56, and Acid Breath at level 57.

A type of flesh-eating demon of Hindu lore, pishachas slulk in the night around places where cremations are held. They are described as having bulging veins and eyes, and have supernatural powers such as shapeshifting, invisibility, and possession. The latter is the most frightening, as a possessed human can be stricken with afflictions, made to take part in cannibalism, or driven mad. Thankfully for the living, a pishacha can be warded off with mantras or placated with offerings.

In yet another “fool’s luck” moment, I managed to have Hsing-Hsing and Asherah produce Hagen in a fusion accident…while I was trying for Yamato no Orochi for the sidequest further up this post. On the one hand, hooray for yet another fusion accident-only demon, but on the other it only seems to happen when I am actually trying to do something specific. Loyalty Slash here is a unique skill for Hagen. His first normally learnable skill is Grand Tack at level 57, but since he inherited that in the accident he only has to learn Bloody Glee at level 58.

Hagen is a Burgundian half-elf (yes, they are in fact sort of a thing in mythology) warrior who is a vassal to King Gunther of the Burgundians (a Germanic tribe that variably ranged from what now Poland to the modern French region that bears their name) in the epic of the Nibelungenlied and the Saga of Bern. To protect the honor of his king, Hagen kills the dragonslayer Siegfried by tossing a javelin into the one vulnerable point on Siegfried’s otherwise impervious skin while Siegfried is drinking from a brook. Later on, Siegfried’s widow Kriemhild decapitates Hagen in revenge.

After completing “u have a guest!!!”, we are capable of performing a special fusion of Momunofu, Okuninushi, and Raiju to create Take-Mikazuchi. His normal weakness to Force has been patched through my inheritance choices, which is always nice, and the two skills that are still unlearned are Retaliate at level 56 and Berserker God at level 57.


#74

I used those armor kits to keep an early game piece of body armor with me for most of the game to enjoy that “not having a weakness” thing that early game armor has. It is extremely important to know that all parts of Mara’s quest line are fully voiced.


#75

Gaston can’t seem to decide how much of a dick he wants to be today. I’m surprised Hallelujah was the first one to punch him, honestly.

I’m hoping that somewhere in the translation team’s office was a calendar marked “dick joke day.”


#76

First Yoshi shit if I know Persona then the game is a freebie. Also it’s such a shame they made anarchy the evil route cause tbh I like the idea of saying fuck everything
Why can’t I side with the divine powers again
Strangely in smt IV chaos was less Randian than law


#77

An emergency alarm suddenly interrupts your sleep.

The sound comes from the Shesha Radar. You check the device.

Just as Krishna promised, it seems Shesha has resurrected.

It’s almost as if the serpent that fulfills the cycle of destruction and rebirth is unending or something! Wild!

“[Tgt] ! Repel Shesha 3” has been accepted.

Nanashi, you up?

Asahi leaps into your room.

The rest of your allies also file in.

There’s clearly still tension between Hallelujah and Gaston.

It’s Shesha. He’s back. We need to go take him out!

Time for our first trip to Ikebukuro. Shame it’s not under better circumstances!

Oh, and Nozomi has sent us a helpful e-mail about what the hell the deal with that fragment of Inanna was.

If you didn’t go to Ikebukuro before, you can find it up in the northwest corner of the map. It’s really easy to spot at this point given it has a massive red snake head image over it.

Just as in the two times he attacked before, Shesha has left a bloody, near-empty shelter in his wake. Head out into the foggy, poisonous streets of Ikebukuro’s aboveground and keep going until you are at the highest vantage point possible: the overpass near the Sunshine 60 skyscraper.

Hey there, Shesha. You’re looking a bit greener these days.

Shesha’s massive, coiled form stirs. He slowly rears up before you.

It’s almost as if Shesha’s gauging you.

That’s Shesha?! He looks completely different!

Ggh… I remember you… You…are the ones…who killed me!

It spoke! Has he been…learning?

It matters not. We must defeat him. I won’t stumble a second time!

Boss Battle!: Shesha Form 2 :crossed_swords:

As before, big boy Shesha resists everything except Ame-no-Habakiri (or Ame-no-Murakumo if you wisely upgraded it) and Michael’s Spear. Oh, and Almighty works too, so if you’ve got a demon who can spare some MP to cast a strong Almighty attack that will speed things up as well.

This, though, is new. On top of only wasting one of his four Press Turns with a movement this time, Shesha has the moves Serpent’s Hunger (medium Physical damage with a chance of inflicting the same ailments that Frenzied Chomp can), Earthquake, Critical Eye, Venomous Flare (weak Fire damage to all party members with a chance of inflicting Poison), and Thousand Heads (heavy Physical damage to one foe). If you attempt to use Tetrakarn against him, he can also pull out Wave of Endless Power (basically Megidola as far as I can tell; none of what little documentation I’ve found suggests otherwise, and multiple attempts to find any other oddities in it myself were fruitless).

As before, Shesha will attempt to heal himself. Do the same thing as last time and let your partner stab him right in the gut if you want some Assist Gauge boost or slap him yourself if you want more immediate damage output.

Ggh! How dare you…interrupt my recovery!

This time he even acts insulted at you doing it, losing a turn as your Assist Gauge boosts by four.

A completely new action Shesha can perform after being injured, by contrast, is this.

Shesha’s piercing red gaze freezes you in place. You can’t move!

Shesha is going to attack… What will you do?

In this case, always tell your partner to attack, at which point Gaston will repeatedly strike Shehsa.

Ggh… Didn’t think…you’d use your allies…to interfere…

Another new move he can potentially pull out after being attacked is this one. If he engages in it, don’t attack and instead choose to wait it out.

Ggh… You knew my move?

Shesha is agitated that you predicted his next move.

This acts as a free Rakunda on top of boosting your Assist Gauge like any of the other “good judgment” moves.

He’s healing far too rapidly! What are we to do?!

Finally, when you see this special healing message, you know that Shesha’s on the rocks. End him now.

You ask your allies to interrupt Shesha’s recovery by attacking.

Ggh… How dare you interfere!

Now is your time to shine. Deliver the final blow unto this damned snake.

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

We’ll meet again, Godslayer… Again and again until the moon is full…

And the next time I see you… I will kill you…

We did it! We took down Shesha! …Again!

This battle provides 35,063 experience points for the kill itself, a titanic 123,246 experience points for the quest completion, and 62,000 macca. It’s actually easier than the first form Shesha fight in some ways. While he has more tricks at his disposal, so do you. Powerful debuff skills such as War Cry, the blade Ame-no-murakumo, demons with actually damaging Almighty moves, and Gaston’s double strike attack all work in your favor.

C’mon, Hallelujah. Show some enthusiasm!

Huh? Oh, right, enthusiasm…

Asahi raises an eyebrow.

He had it coming, but…

Look, I appreciate you standing up for me.

Thanks…

But I don’t like you and Gaston fighting because of me.

Yeah. I know.

Hallelujah approaches Gaston.

Yeah, you’re not gonna make this easy.

About yesterday… Sorry for punching you…

Come again? Oh, yes, that.

That light caress you hurled with all your might. I had already forgotten all about it.

You have no reason to apologize.

Wow. Uh… Thanks, man.

Hmph.

Gaston’s gauntlet springs to life. It seems he has received a message.

At the same moment, a demon appears in front of you.

Have I noted the plot of this game moves really fast sometimes? Because it does.

I come bearing a new mission for you.

A mission…?

An army of angels is on the march toward Tsukiji Konganji.

With Shesha defeated, Merkabah thinks the time to strike against the Powers is now.

That is indeed Lord Merkabah’s plan.

Gaston raises his hand, tapping his Gauntlet.

My orders are to head for Konganji as well.

I will meet with the gathered angels there.

Well, any of you not a minion of Merkabah, come work for us.

We demons won’t be upstaged by the angels.

Orias flies off.

Time to go to Tsukiji Konganji. Again. And try to rescue Flynn. Again.

Looks like the Hunters are getting in on this, too. Better head to Tsukiji Konganji.

Not to fight for the angels, or the demons, but to rescue Flynn.

Heading back that way, it seems the conflict is already in full swing. And standing nearby is a familiar face.

I’m glad to see your faces.

Miss Isabeau! Are you here to save Flynn?

As soon as I heard the angels were converging on Konganji, I decided to come myself.

Would you mind if I accompanied you?

Of course not! We’d be a lot stronger with Miss Isabeau with us. Right, Nanashi?

Isabeau joins your party.

Everyone’s desperate to turn Flynn to their cause.

Or kill him, if he refuses…

I won’t allow Flynn to die here.

Rather than going in through the tunnels, we’re heading right in the front door this time.

Remember those teleport doors that teased us way back when? They’re here now. I’m going to attempt to give directions here interspersed with some imagery and hopefully not make you even more lost in spite of giving directions like a person who is drunk and has a blindfold on.

After taking the first door shown above, you need to turn directly backwards from where you end up facing when being teleported to find another teleport door in a northerly corridor, teleporting you to an elevator. Take it up to the third floor.

No… This can’t be…

What’s the matter?

Isabeau, hey…

Have you seen any Gaeans here, since you arrived?

Huh? Why do you ask?

The Divine Powers and Maitreya faction both operated out of this temple.

But we haven’t come across a single one.

It’s like they all vanished. Like the Mary Celeste.

It’s not technically demon lore, but hell, why not talk about this since even the game’s Hunters Notes give it an entry. The Mary Celeste is a famous ghost ship of the 1800s. In 1872, The ship was a merchant vessel who left port from New York City on November 5, 1872 on route to Genoa, Italy. Alost exactly a month later, on December 4, another brigantine came across the Mary Celeste completely abandoned. Given that many of the ship’s documents, a lifeboat, and navigational instruments were missing, it seems likely that the crew abandoned ship for some destination that they may or may not have ever reached. While it seems likely that there is some manner of natural explanation such as a waterspout, rogue wave, or the barrels of denatured alcohol on the ship leaking enough fumes to require evacuation, some people have nonetheless turned to outlandish and sometimes supernatural explanations. Sea monsters, magic, aliens, you name it.

Except we’ve got a pretty good theory as to what happened.

And? What exactly is your theory?

Into Shesha’s stomach. Mass suicide.

You mean…

Isn’t that the craziest thing you’ve ever heard? Who would willingly choose that…?

The mind of a martyr is a mystery. How anyone could trust a demon is beyond me.

Everyone’s eyes start glazing over.

Well, sorry for holding up.

We’ll catch up after we poke around here some more.

See ya!

Take this teleport door into a room that has a wormwood wall and two passages. Take the southerly one, which will teleport you back into the room you were previously in, only now above a wormwood wall you couldn’t pass before. You can then head up and left to another teleport door that takes you back to the OTHER room, where you can break a wormwood wall to keep your progress safe in case you miss a door at some point as well as find a second elevator. Take this elevator down to the second floor, where there is a lone teleport door you can (and should) utilize at this point.

After this, you need to…

Ugh.

Okay, I think this whole teleport doors affair could eat up the update with its size, so I’m going to have to say that you should run the grounds for yourself now. That may sound cruel, but I deliberately chose a point where enough wormwood walls have been able to be chopped down that you can more easily pick yourself back up from a mistake. There’s also this well-known map of Tsukiji Konganji’s teleport maze you can check out; it’s in Japanese, but all you really need to know is to trace the teleport direction arrows back from the final destination location, which I’ll show in a moment.

Here’s your intended destination, a tiny corridor on the first floor, so close to the entrance at yet so far away from it due to the twisting dimensions of the temple. Let’s find out what lies at the heart of this maze.

Seems we’re a bit late to the party. By the way, the vaguely Buddha-esque woman statue in the back is Mem Aleph, the object of worship for the Ring of Gaea. She was also the leader of the Chaos faction in Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey, with Lucifer only making minor appearances in that game. In the tradition of Kabbalistic mysticism, the Hebrew letters Aleph, Mem, and Shin are the “mother letters” that represent air/breath, water, and fire. This, combined with her appearance in the temple of the Ring of Gaea, seems to imply that Mem Aleph is believed by the Gaeans to be the Greek Gaea, mother of creation and Titan of the verdant earth.

Geez!

Flynn!

Flynn drives his sword through Odin.

So… This is where I fall…

Odin collapses, then disappears.

…Heh.

Isabeau rushes to Flynn’s side.

Yes… I’m fine…

Guess that means Flynn didn’t become the Divine Powers’ Godslayer.

I kept Masakado’s Katana safe for you.

Flynn shakes his head and turns Masakado’s Katana away.

You hold on to it. I…I don’t need it right now.

Ugh!

Flynn falls to his knees, blood pooling on the ground beneath his wounds.

You’re hurt! Are you okay?

It’s not as bad as it looks…

A brave act, but perhaps now is the time to find pity while you still can.

You realize Krishna is standing in the middle of the room, looking unconcerned.

I’m tempted to assume that Krishna has literally been here this whole time, and nobody cared enough to pay him the time of day.

Oh Flynn… My Godslayer…

Krishna… I will kill you…

You know, it wasn’t until I had to actually transcribe it down during this replay of the game for the LP that I realized how many ellipses there are in Apocalypse’s dialogue. Hell, more ellipses than even I use!

Yes, please, bleed on me. You’re in no shape to fight anyone.

Gaston and Isabeau place themselves in front of Flynn.

The wounded should stay back.

It’s foolish to try to fight while you’re wounded. Leave this to us.

Krishna smiles.

The room slowly fills with Krishna’s oppressive power.

You’ve outlived your usefulness.

I will free this world and its inhabitants from the rule of the Creator. I swear it.

I know that it is difficult for you to accept my Salvation…

But I will not abandon you. I will save you no matter what.

Boss Battle!: Krishna :crossed_swords:

At face value, Krishna doesn’t seem like he’s the worst demon we’ve fought – a level 60 of the Deity race who nullifies Light damage and is weak to Dark. He doesn’t have the seemingly insurmountable resistances or imposing physical appearance of Shesha, the terrifyingly high level gap of our not-fight with Odin, or the ass-covering and get-Smirks-quick schemes of Maitreya. What he does have, however, is rudeness.

Massive, massive rudeness. This here is Venomous Raga, which acts like two simultaneous castings of Tarunda as well as potentially inducing one or more of Bind, Poison, and Sick.

He also has Dream Raga, which is a double-casting of Rakunda combined with potentially inducing one or more of Charm, Panic, or Sleep. If he feels like it, Krishna will sometimes just stack Venomous Raga and Dream Raga on top of you, potentially inflicting you with up to five ailments at once (Bind and Sleep seem to cancel each other out).

Combat Tara is a cheaper (though that doesn’t matter for the boss version) Krishna-exclusive version of the skill Luster candy, which acts as Tarukaja, Makakaja, Sukukaja, and Rakukaja all at once.

If he wants to just straight up harm you instead of the above skills, Krishna is capable of casting Ziodyne and Zandyne with considerable buffs or just sometimes throw a regular attack for shits and giggles. Oh, and fun fact: Krishna loudly toots his flute each time he uses any of his unique skills.

Krishna’s dialogue interaction comes at nearly 5,000 HP of damage done to him.

We’re both fighting to save humanity.

There’s no reason for us to fight. Come, drop your weapon and take my hand.

Krishna extends his hand to you.

Will you lay down your sword and take Krishna’s hand.

Your options are to take his hand, slap it away, or ignore him. Please don’t shake his hand, you know that will end badly.

You slap Krishna’s hand away.

This ups the Assist Gauge, everyone’s favorite common boss reward.

Poor puppet. I knew you would do that.

It’s too bad. I will save humanity on my own.

By now, Krishna’s getting real fed up with you, and he will pull out another move (you might see this one earlier if you decide to go for a Makarakarn or two against him). Moxagita is effectively a Megido that turns into Megidola against foes suffering status effects. Its name, more properly anglicized as Moksha Gita, more or less means “Song of Release”.

Nonetheless, keep punching at his weak point. Krishna’s around 9,000 HP strong in total, making him the beefiest boss fight yet in spite of his slight frame, but even the thickest wall tumbles down if you break enough holes in it.

Now the stage is set for the tragic comedy of the angels and the demons.

I’ll be watching from the gallery. Do not disappoint.

There are multiple ways you can go about this fight, depending on what strikes your fancy. You could have Asahi for both Mediarama and Me Patra/Posumudi to patch up wounds and remove ailments, utilize Isabeau for her Mediarama and Dirahan while ailment-healing yourself, or you could bring Hallelujah and hope he repeat-casts Warding Shout instead of alternating to Enduring Cheer. Hell, you could even bring Navarre for buffing your party and using Dekunda/Dekaja to deal with the buffs and debuffs Krishna’s skills have, while your own team acts as both dedicated healer and ailment recovery.

Your biggest boon is going to be a demon that has really strong Dark damage. While I went with Osiris with inherited High Dark Pleroma being backed up with a regular-strength Mudoon Haoma, Nanashi himself using Haoma, and Loki being a wild card of other skills utilized in the fight, Alice is an almost perfect choice due to her combination of High Dark Pleroma, Die For Me!, and being immune to all ailments.

Defeated, Krishna vanishes without a trace.

Is it over…? Did we beat Krishna?

Yeah… Let’s see the Divine Powers create their new universe now!

Hey, I guess this means we’ve beat the Divine Powers! Nice!

Haha, my presence assured our victory.

Gaston can barely hide a smile under his usual facade of smug indifference.

Might be too soon to celebrate, kid.

Let’s head back to Kasumigaseki.

We should report what happened here, and we need to get Flynn patched up.

You look at Flynn. He’s definitely in pain.

You nod in agreement with Asahi and prepare to leave.

It seems that everything went off without a hitch. Now all that’s left is to get out of this place. Nothing can go wrong now!

Well, damn.


#78

Party Partners Update

We’ve gotten plenty enough levels that our party members have gained more skills, which means it’s high time to talk about their increased skills (other than Hallelujah, who only gained Lost Catcher which we already talked about).

Asahi has come a long way since she had Dia and nothing else. She learned Patra at level 8 and had it upgrade to Me Patra at level 40, Posumudi at level 14, Media at level 23 and its update into Mediarama at level 50, and her final level-based skill Cheer at level 62. Cheer has the same effect as Smile Charge, but cast on any ally rather than on the caster. This sudden free Smirk ability skyrockets Asahi into being one of the top tier partners.

Navarre’s gained Rakukaja at level 12, Sukukaja at level 25, Dekunda at level 40, and Dekaja at level 50. Even after all that, he still has two more useful skills he has yet to learn.

Since she gains two skills between our first meeting with her and making her a full party member, Nozomi only has two more skills to talk about. Rapid Bind was gained at level 38 and deals medium Gun damage one to three times to random foes, each shot having a 60% chance to inflict Bind. Her other new skill is Seducing Shot, gained at level 55, which acts as a combined casting of Tarunda and Sexy Dance. She still has one more level-based skill on her roster.

While our least-used party member, Gaston has nonetheless gotten enough handout experience points to have attained all of his level-based skills he can get at this point. He’s learned Michael’s Syphon (single-target medium Physical damage plus damage absorption) at level 38, Michael’s Twin Strike (two weak Physical damage attacks to random foes) at level 46, and Michael’s Pierce (yet another single-target medium Physical damage attack with an extra effect, this time being the removal of all buffs from the struck foe) at level 58.

Lastly, Isabeau’s just gained Diarahan at level 55. Her last two skills remain enticingly far away.

Wild Demon Encounters: Ikebukuro

Most of the demons you’ll find in Ikebukuro the location are the ones you’ll find in the overworld area around it. There are a few more, however.

The Wild Hunt is a level 53 Night demon with a resistance to Dark and weakness to Light. Its skills are Blast Arrow and Dream Fist from the start, Mana Surge at level 54, and Grand Tack at level 56.

Orthrus, two-headed brother of the even more legendary Cerberus, is a level 52 demon of the Beast race that is weak to Ice, resists Dark, and nullifies Fire. He starts off with the skills Fire Breath and Nihil Claw, then gains Eat Whole and Madness Nails at levels 53 and 54 respectively.

The Jaki Horde is an angry level 51 mess of ogres, rakshasas, and one Grendel thrown in for flavor. They are capable of utilizing Head Crush and Purple Smoke, and also have Retaliate as a passive skill. This horde is resistant to both Physical and Gun damage but weak to Electricity, Force, and Light.

Wild Demon Encounters: Tsukiji Konganji (Main Building)

The primordial goddess Tiamat is a level 55 Drake who has a resistance to Dark, nullifies Fire and Ice, and is weak to Electricity and Light. Her skills are Ice Breath and Megidola from the start, Chakra Walk at level 56, and Silent Prayer (acts as both Dekaja and Dekunda on both the enemy’s party and your own; effectively a “wipe the slate clean” move) at level 57.

Zhu Yin is a level 55 demon of the Dragon race, and a particularly hardy one at that thanks to nullifying Ice and Force with no weaknesses or ailment exploits. Its starts skills are Rakukaja, Fog Breath, and Posumudi, while the only skill it learns from leveling up is Dekaja at level 57.

De Peng, a strange Chinese shapeshifter that can take the form of fish or fowl, is a level 56 Flight that nullifies Force but is weak to Dark and Gun. Zandyne and Panic Voice are the two skills all Da Pengs come with, while leveling it up provides Rakukaja and Mazandyne at levels 57 and 58.

Taotie of the Si-Xiong (“Four Calamities”) is a level 58 Vile. It’s also one you can poke a lot of holes in: while nullifying Gun and resisting Dark, Taotie is weak to all four types of elemental damage. It has the skills Purple Smoke and Spirit drain from the start, Healing Knowhow at level 59, and Endure at level 62.

The Mayan earthquake god Cabracan is a level 59 of the Wilder race that is weak to Force and Dark but nullifies Fire and Electricity. He starts out with Mediarama and Pandemic bomb, both of which make him an obnoxious enemy encounter given his tanky health. Leveling up a Cabracan of your own gets him Earthquake at level 60 and Acid Breath at level 61.

We also get to see a proper Dormarth now, no longer tethered to Loki’s web of deceit. She’s weak to Force and resists Dark like the sidequest version, but is now a level 58 Beast. She starts off with Bind Voice, Frenzied Chomp, and Trafuri, and through a single level up from her starting level she gets the skill Sukukaja.

Taraka’s a level 56 Femme that nullifies Electricity and is weak to Gun. Her skills are Tetanus Cut and Dark Sword from the start, Tarukaja at level 57, and Hades Blast at level 58.

Persephone, wife of Hades (who will not be showing up in this game or any other MegaTen game outside of Persona 2 and the chibi series, sorry for any Hades fans out there), is present as a level 57 of the Reaper race. Her weakness is Electricity, countered by nullifying Dark and Ice, and her skills are Bufudyne and Death’s Door (1 point of Almighty damage usually, but if it’s against a foe with the Sick ailment this attack instead drops them to just 1 HP remaining) innately and Mamudoon at level 58.

The Greek Force is a level 58 Horde that resists Force and Physical, nullifies Ice, and is weak to Fire and Electricity. These Mediterranean monsters have the skills Bufudyne, Megaton Press, Critical Eye, and Sukukaja.

Odin’s steed Sleipnir is a level 55 demon of the Holy race, resistant to Light but weak to both Gun and Fire, and starts off with the skills Me Patra and Mahamaon. Leveling him up also provides the skills Samarecarm at level 56 and Dekunda at level 58.

Fusions

Fusing Arachne and Pisaca creates Haoma with its weakness to Fire covered up. This strange tree demon normally has to level up once to get Blast Arrow, but due to inheriting that skill from fusion the only one it has left to learn is Tetraja at level 56. Haoma usually innates with a skill we haven’t seen up to this point, Amrita (simultaneous Posumudi and Patra), but I neglected to have it fuse with said skill as I wasn’t paying attention.

Haoma is a divine plant of Zoroastrianism, the extract of its twigs being given by magi to cure ailmennts, improve the strength and endurance of warriors before a battle, act as an aphrodisiac (because of course), sharpen the mind, and cleanse the soul. So, what exactly is this miracle plant? General thought seems to be that it’s probably the jointfir (genus Ephedra), the plant from which we get the stimulant ephedrine. This is the same plant that is used in rituals of the Hindu soma, which probably shares a common mythological origin with haoma. Haoma is also the name of the god of the haoma plant, said to manifest as a beautiful man who taught the prophet Zoroaster how to manufacture the sacred extract.

A bit earlier than his promised return to play with us when the world is ablaze, Loki comes forth from Grendel and Kingu, having his Light weakness patched to make him even more exciting. His unlearned skills are Agidyne, Ziodyne, Zandyne, and Cold World (Mabufudyne plus a 10% chance to instant kill any time) at levels 59, 60, 61, and 62. As you can see, I wasn’t joking about the Magic stat this guy packs.

Alice and Orcus create Osiris. Leveling him up once usually gets you Mamudoon, his only leveling skill, but once again fusion inheritance has beaten that to the punch.

Osiris is the Egyptian god of cyclical nature, be it the transition of life to death to afterlife, the flooding and receding of the Nile, or the rise and fall of certain stars in the Egyptian sky each year. One of the most famous myths of Osiris is that of his death at the hand of his own brother Set. Osiris’s corpse was found by his sister and wife, Isis, who brought him back to life long enough that she could hax sex with him and birth a son, Horus. Isn’t mythology magical?

Incensed after finding Osiris’s reburied body, Set ripped Osiris’s body apart before scattering the pieces to the far corners of the earth. Isis would then gather the pieces up and wrap them as one would a mummy in order to properly bury her husband. The other gods were so impressed that they allowed Osiris to be resurrected full-time as ruler over the land of the blessed dead.

Futotama is a special fusion of Mishaguji, Nue, and Tsuchigumo, having his Force weakness dealt with. The skills still unlearned on his roster are Workaholic at level 51, Sabbatma at level 52, and Makarakarn at level 53.

Ame no Futotama no Mikoto is a member of amatsukami who traveled with Amaterasu’s grandson, Ninigi no Mikoto, when he left the heavens to become the first ruler of Japan. The items Futotama holds in his hands in his design are all materials he used during the gods’ search for Amaterasu after she holed herself up in a cave, including ritual branches for divination and a mirror used after Ame-no-Uzume’s erotic dance to further pique Amaterasu’s curiosity. Outside of his interactions with other deities, Futotama is said to be the ancestor of the Imbe, one of the two most influential clans of Shinto priests durin the Yamato period.

Created with the fusion of Pallas Athena and Zhong Kui, we have a Kresnik sans his normal Force weakness. You can also find “wild” Kresnik in the main hall of Tsukiji Konganji, as shown above when one popped up with a Zhu Yin and Sleipnir. The three skills he still needs to learn are Sukunda, Heaven’s Bow, and Gun Pleroma at levels 57, 58, and 59.

The kresnik is a type of shaman in central European folklore who takes the form of a white animal to defend people and crops by fending off evils of the night such as evil kresniks, witches, and kudlacs/kudlaks (vampires). Rather confusingly, Kresnik is also a Slovenian deity who is either another name for the Slavic sky god Perun or Perun’s son.


#79

Asahi’s favorite thing to do if she doesn’t need to heal is Cheer on Nanashi. It’s a really good case for making her your active party member once she learns Cheer.


#80

So the rudest boss gets the rudest dungeon. Then again, if there’s one thing I’ve learned about SMT, it’s that they love rude teleporter dungeons. Isn’t that one of the reasons Strange Journey’s last dungeon is so infamous?