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

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#101

Yeah, Camp Ichigaya and a few portions of Lucifer Palace make up a singular dungeon in Apocalypse. As we already saw, Purgatorium gets skipped entirely, so it’s actually kind of surprising even bits of Luci’s digs show up.


#102

My favorite part of Dagda is how his role in the story is basically just waiting around and making passive-aggressive comments about humanity being and friendship being dumb and bad. It’s probably accidental, but he’s pathetic enough that it actually kinda fits the anarchy route options being more teen rudeness than outright selfish at times.


#103

Apologies for the delay on this one. Internet was down on account of weird shit.

After using the elevator on the main floor to head down to B3F and climb a flight of stairs to B2F, we run into these guys on our way to the next goal. A fight? Not quite.

We’re takin’ out Merkabah, got it?

No! That honor will be ours. Get a clue.

YOU get a clue!

You get a clue!

Idiots. Give me a second.

Hallelujah goes to stop the fight.

You can see Hallelujah talking to the Ashura-Kai members…

Hallelujah talks to the Ring of Gaea members.

The groups head out in different directions.

Wow, you totally handled that on your own. I’m impressed, Hallelujah!

You’ve really grown into your own skin!

Nah, I just told them they’re fighting over something stupid.

Here, let’s get going.

Guarding the next gate into the Chaos Realm is a Fallen Horde and Demon Army. As with the Barbatos, they’re the same as the regular encounters, so there’s not much to say.

The sight on the other side of the portal into the second Hall of Eternity isn’t a pleasant one.

You and the others rush over to the fallen Hunters.

Are you okay?

Asahi tries waking the Hunters, but to no avail.

They’re unconscious, but they’ll live. We can leave them.

We can’t just leave them here!

Do you suggest that we carry them back?

Well, no… But…

What do you think?

Leaving them is the Anarchy option, while either of the two other options give an equal number of Peace points. We’ll pick the middle answer, as it’s the most impractically heroic and has a nice little reward at the cost of going all the way back to the entrance and having to head back downward.

Nanashi!

…!

I knew you would say that, master.

You carry each of the Hunters back to Camp Ichigaya’s entrance.

Please, take this. Dunno how useful it’ll be, but…

You receive Soma from the Hunters.

Soma, named after the Sanskrit translation of haoma, is a usable item that recovers a large chunk of HP and MP for one ally.

Nice!

After heading back down to the location where the Hunters had fallen, we find our second boss door. The difference between the two Hall of Eternity Bs is the presence of a Jade Dagger refueling station in one. The hall that doesn’t have this mana well is the one where you come upon this, the door warning of dangerous foes behind it. And, as before, we’re gonna barge right in.

So. You’ve arrived.

These demons sure have a flair for the dramatic, what with making a vaguely ominous statement before actually appearing briefly afterward.

Do you seek the chaos demons long for? Or is it the Creator God’s so-called “order” you pursue? Perhaps neither?

Whatever compels you, one thing is clear. You come before me wielding hope.

This simply will not do.

Your hope dies with you here, by the hand of Lucifuge.

Lucifuge (“He Who Flees From Light”), also known as Lucifuge Rofocale, is a demon from the Victorian (though purportedly older according to its own mythology) occult text The Grand Grimoire. In it, he is the ruler of the government of Hell and the treasures of the earth by order of Lucifer himself. While he has a lot to offer from such a prestigious position, he seems like a poor choice of demon to work with, as he is stubborn and only acquiesces to pacts after being threatened and likes to find ways to get the occultist’s soul out of the deal.

We strive to eradicate the stifling order of this universe.

To create our ideal world, we must eliminate the creator, YHVH.

This is why it troubles me to find you running about, creating a mess, with no agenda of your own.

As Lucifer’s right hand, I will destroy you.

Boss Battle! Lucifuge :crossed_swords:

Lucifuge resists Dark, repels both Gun and Force, and is weak to Electricity. Not too complicated, but his elemental weaknesses and resistances aren’t what make him a strong foe.

Unlike the very single-minded Belial, Lucifuge has a spread of different damage types in his moveset. His non-unique attack skills are Grand Tack, Zandyne, and Mazandyne, and he likes to use his huge Magic stat to push his weight around. He’ll often spend two Press Turns softening up a single party member before using Mazandyne to deal the killing blow on that demon while simultaneously wounding the rest of the party.

Oh, and he can use Makarakarn and Luster Candy. Joy. Hopefully you have a debuffer and Physical powerhouse for these situations.

On top of these existing skills, of course, Lucifuge also has a unique skill. Light Devourer is a combination of Mamudoon and Life Drain, dealing heavy Dark damage to all opponents and healing Lucifuge for some of the damage dealt out.

Unfortunately for Lucifuge, he only has 9,500 or so HP, which isn’t amazing for this dungeon. He also has no Almighty attack to bypass Makarakarn (he could just use Grand Tack repeatedly, but he doesn’t really use that particular skill too often unless you have a Gun-weak demon out for him to target), so you can actually use his own dick move against him, too. Once you’re shored up your defenses to keep from being hurt too much by that aforementioned high Magic stat, you can pretty easily crush this glass cannon of a boss.

Lucifuge’s corpse holds the Seal of Rejection, which allows us to finally break that barrier for good and head down the stairs at the entrance of Camp Ichigaya.

And at the bottom? Drama, it seems.

A Samurai with piercing eyes raises his sword.

Move out!

The Samurai with the piercing gaze leads his troops forward.

Commander…

That fellow in white was Commander Hope, leader of the Samurai of Mikado. If you check your emails after getting Isabeau back, she explains that it was Hope who was willing to give her a second chance before she got court martialed, so we kind of have him to thank for getting her back without another siege of the angels’ stronghold.

Gaston…

Gaston grits his teeth.

Moving even further down the stairs and passing a one-way door, we have found the final portal. Only one way to go, and that’s through it.

Bro?! Is that you?

Hallelujah. What are you doing, ignoring my orders?

I…

If you’ve got an excuse, tell me in person.

Find me and I’ll tell you the truth.

Truth? What do you have to tell me, Bro?!

Abe doesn’t respond.

Given he’s doing the “echoey voice from afar” trick that Belial and Lucifuge were pulling, I can hazard a guess. For now, though, we must move on.

Down in the Hall of Eternal Light, it sounds like things aren’t going great for Lucifer’s forces. Things are swell for us, though. This area’s not too big and is mostly straightforward dungeoneering; while there are some teleport doors, they’re two way, a very important factor for making them less of a hassle.

Keep moving! Kill ANYONE who stands against Lord Lucifer!

An army of demons marches across the path.

Look. Even the demons seem desperate.

The angels and demons are ready to fight to the death.

It would be a good idea to avoid any unnecessary combat.

The enemies will just keep coming, no matter where we go.

Yeah, let’s just keep going.

And keep going we have. Right up to the Moon Tower, where all the gilded finery has disappeared in favor of cold blues and reds.

Hey, do you feel that? I think Abe must be up ahead…

Hallelujah shakes his head, then looks at you.

Let’s do it, Leader.

Glad to see you made it, Hallelujah. You ready for the truth?

That’s right. I go by Samyaza.

Samyaza, also written as Shemyaza or Shemhazai, is the leader of a league of fallen angels known as the Iyrin (“ Watchers”). The Book of Enoch tells of the Watchers being sent to Earth to watch over the human race, only to lust after human women and procreate with them. This creates a race of giants known as the nephilim, half Watcher and half human. This, combined with Samyaza, Azazel, and other Watchers teaching humans creative and combative knowledge, angers YHVH enough that he sends out the archangel Gabriel to make the nephilim fall into violence and die out. As for Samyaza himself, he and the other Watchers are bound until Judgment Day, when they will be cast into oblivion.

Samyaza? My mother always said that name.

I used to have a girl on the surface. Your mother.

But, Bro…that means you’re my…

This means that Hallelujah is one of the nephilim, albeit not exactly a giant. They could have used any demon as Hallelujah’s father, but the fact that they specifically picked Samyaza means someone was paying attention in mythology class that day.

I couldn’t stay and raise you. Can’t exactly raise a kid and serve Lucifer.

But look at how you’ve grown, you’re almost like a bona-fide demon.

We can build a world of demons for Lord Lucifer.

I’m not like that.

Yes, you are. You’re my son.

You’re both human and demon. You’ve got real potential to be strong.

I…

Just do what I say. You’ve made it this far doing that.

Together we’re going to do great things with the Ashura-kai.

Hallelujah takes several steps back as if he’s being overwhelmed by Samyaza’s words.

However, Gaston stops Hallelujah before he takes another step.

You already know what your answer is.

Hallelujah, whose side are you on?

It was never about demons versus humans for you!

Gaston’s voice echoes across the room.

Hallelujah’s eyes fill with resolve.

Fact is, I already made up my mind when I ignored his text.

Bro… No. I’ve already made my decision, Dad.

I don’t care whose side I’m on, or what enemies I make.

So long as I make those decisions myself. I help whoever I feel is right.

And right now, that’s this guy right here. So, sorry Bro.

I can’t be on your side.

That’s a shame.

No one’s going to get in my way. I owe it to Lucifer.

You kids have become a nuisance to Lord Lucifer.

You may be my son, but I can’t let you get in the way.

Boss Battle!: Samyaza :crossed_swords:

Samyaza, all of his numerous body-eyes constantly blinking at us as the battle goes on, acts as the polar opposite of his son in more than just his attitude. He is aligned with the opposite elemental forces to Hallelujah’s, nullifying Electricity and Force while being weak to Fire and Ice. He also nullifies Dark.

Similarly, two of Samyaza’s unique skills are the alternatives to Hallelujah’s. True Zandyne is a severe single-target Force skill and True Ziodyne is a severe single-target Electric skill.

His third unique skill is Makabuild, which is effectively Concentrate on steroids. His next Magic attack after this skill will hit like a freight train. Be prepared.

Samyaza also has Enigmatic Ray, just to be a dick.

Like most bosses, Samyaza’s a chatty Cathy, and he decides to communicate with us at 7,500 or so damage.

My son turned me down, but you know better, you know this world is screwed, right?

Help me make a world for demons, for Lord Lucifer.

Samyaza has invited you… What will you do?

You can choose to reply to Samyaza with a rejection, acceptance of his proposal, or ignore him entirely. Accepting his offer is kind of amusing, as it effectively resets your Assist Gauge to 2 no matter what level it’s at – it bottoms out entirely, then gets two pips back as Hallelujah reasserts he will follow you no matter what. Either way, Samyaza states he would never actually accept you and was just wanting to make you look like a chump with no convictio. Ignoring him is your safest bet here, but since option one gives a few Peace points, we’re going to be keeping up our Good Boy act.

You decline Samyaza’s offer.

Nice! You tell 'em, Nanashi! That got me fired up!

Unsurprisingly, this buffs our Assist Gauge by four pips. Unfortunately, there’s also a downside.

Just like Hallelujah. You’re ignoring the big picture.

It’s alright. I never did get around to disciplining my kid. Guess it’s time to start.

Samyaza is calm and collected.

Samyaza’s attack power increases.

After that exchange, we have Samyaza’s fourth and final unique skill. Magic Torrent deals two to four strikes of heavy Almighty damage on random targets. Fortunately, this isn’t quite as scary as it sounds, as it misses more often than not and usually manages to do less harm to your party than a straightforward Megidolaon would have. Worst case scenario is it manages to hit all four times one one party member, in which case it is in fact dangerous and you also had the worst luck humanly possible.

Samyaza’s ultimately not a hugely hard boss fight, simply because he manages to be weak to two of the easiest damage types to set up a party around. His ~16,000 HP is nothing when you have a Luster Candy’d High Fire Pleroma Belial dealing 1,200 damage a Press Turn and other allies only doing a few hundred less. He’s an interesting boss with ties to Hallelujah’s character growth, though, and I’d say that counts for something.

A human would be proud of his son for growing into someone better than his father.

See you, Bro… It’s time to let go.

The shattered remains of Samyaza are worth 83,012 experience points and provide a free Great Chakra, the consumable item for fully restoring the MP of your entire party.

I don’t know.

It’s okay to be unsure.

Sometimes there isn’t a clear answer, or an answer at all.

Sometimes all we can do is strive to do our best, to do what we believe is right.

That’s what it means to walk your own path.

Heh, sorry for the sermon.

Indeed. I even felt…moved.

And now it’s weird again.

Navarre will never know peace.

What did I say?!

Let’s just keep moving.

Defeating Samyaza has caused the air in the back of the room to distort…

With Hallelujah’s father defeated, the final barrier in Camp Ichigaya (which the game conveniently teleports us to) is down, and we can head downstairs to the door of the Yamato Perpetual Reactor.

A pile of corpses – angels, demons, and humans – stands before you.

This didn’t have to happen.

What do they hope to gain from this?

Who is this saving?!

War doesn’t save anyone.

It just takes more and more innocents to their grave the longer it drags on.

That’s why we need to end this. Now.

Nozomi grips her gun tightly.

On the other side of this huge steel door lie our greatest foes yet – Lucifer and Merkabah themselves. If you aren’t prepared, turn back, as they’re still time to grind for levels and/or macca, fuse new demons, or get new gear before the climactic showdown. It’s not particularly hard getting back down here now that you know where to go.


#104

Fusions

Mad Gasser and the world tree Yggdrasil fuse together to form Erlkonig. His three unlearned skills are Endure at level 71, Null Elec at level 72, and Myriad Arrows at level 73.

The Erlkonig (“alder king”) was originally a figure of Danish folklore called the Elverkonge (“elf king”), wherein he was a goblin-like forest spirit who stirred human emotions and brought death with him. Where he became big, however, was in the German romance scene of the 1700s. Johann Gottfried von Herder published the ballad “The Erlking’s Daughter” in 1778, and everyone’s favorite Faustian inventor Johann Wolfgang von Goethe got in on the party with a poem simply entitled “Erlkonig”.

Boosting Queen Mab with an Aquans, I’ve fused Maya with her weakness to Gun lessened. She learns the skills Sexy Dance, Mana Surge, and Null Mind at levels 78, 79, and 80.

Maya is a Vedic term meaning power, wisdom, or illusion. It can be used to refer to the illusion of reality that we must pierce to see the truth behind our material world, the supernatural power of the gods, and goddesses such as Durge, Lakshmi, and Sakti. It’s also the name of the Gautama Buddha’s mother.

Lucifuge is a special fusion of Abaddon, Alciel, Black Maria, and Dantalian, available only a few levels after you’ve beaten him in the Chaos Realm. His three unlearned skills are Grand Tack, Mazandyne, and High Dark Pleroma, gained at levels 74, 75, and 76 respectively.

Long after meeting him for the first time, we are able to summon Tenkai from his slumber, and as a courtesy he’s even had his Gun weakness removed. He’s fused from a special fusion of Kikuri-Hime, Makami, Momunofu, and Yatagarasu, and his two unlearned skills are Ally Retaliate and Imposing Stance at levels 78 and 79.

He’s finally here! The strongest member of the Fairy race, Demonee-Ho is a special fusion of Cu Chulainn, Frost Ace, and Kresnik. This pint-sized powerhouse has not one, nor even two, but four unique skills. Two of them are available from fusion, those being Blank Bullet (described in the image) and Iron Judgment, which is the same thing as Fatal Sword but has a cooler name. The other two are the skills he learns from leveling up: Desperate Hit at level 77 lets him deal one to five weak Almighty strikes to random foes, while Breath at level 78 lets him do one to five medium Ice damage strikes to random foes.

Like the other Jacks besides Frost, Pyro/O’Lantern, and Ripper, Demonee-ho is another mascot Jack with no mythological basis. This one here was from Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey, hence his being clad in that game’s signature Demonica troop armor.


#105

On one hand Abe Samyaza hasn’t exactly had enough story presence to be surprising. I mean I didn’t think he’d be a demon, but I’ve not thought about him enough to have much of an opinion of him other than “he’s a jerk.” That being said, the demons accompanying him earlier on were actually some pretty good foreshadowing.


#106

Demonee-ho and Tenkai are pretty dang good demons that you can use for longer than you’d think.


#107

Demonee-ho! At last! Desperate Hit is such a good move. It’s worth pointing out that even though it’s an Almighty attack, it’s physical, not magical. That means that on top of ignoring resistances, it can get critical hits without a Smirk. It was one of my bread-and-butter moves once I got it.


#108

It’s time.

Armageddon’s here.

It would appear that we missed the overture but we’ll still see the finale.

We’ve got a divide of three forces here: Merkabah is here with his angels, Samurai, and some defectors from Tokyo, Lucifer has his demon army, the Ring of Gaea, and the Ashura-Kai, and Flynn has a bunch of Hunters.

Guess Flynn got a head start.

Lucifer and Merkabah on both sides with the Reactor in the middle…

This is going to be a bloodbath.

Merkabah strikes first.

He commands his humans to destroy Lucifer and his army.

Warriors of Light: in the name of our Lord, I command you to destroy Lucifer.

People of Tokyo: If you desire peace and a place in the sun, slaughter my enemies.

If it means finding peace, safety… I’m willing to fight against other humans.

The protestations of the Hunters rise against the din of Merkabah’s conscripts.

No. No more deception. It’s time to be free from the control of gods and demons.

That’s right. I want my wife, my children to know real freedom. Not a false peace.

Filth.

Merkabah waves his hand.

Where once humans stood, there is nothing.

Nothing but the scent of burning flesh.

Fear not. The Filth has been purified by the light.

Our Lord shows himself to those who need his salvation most.

Filth must be cleansed in fire. Do not allow the age or gender to give you pause.

Merkabah: an equal opportunity murderer.

All who defy me are Filth. All who will not cooperate are Filth.

Once Lucifer is defeated, I will destroy Tokyo, the land of Filth. Nothing shall be overlooked.

Despite his threats, Merkabah’s voice has not shown one ounce of malice.

Assuming you ignore the whole ‘burning several people to a crisp’ part, which I’d say is pretty malicious.

We are here to fight, just as he commands.

No! A Samurai’s duty is to protect the people!

How do you expect us to protect anyone from that?!

Who would be fool enough to disobey him now?

Damnit!

The Samurai are at a lost what to do.

Even amidst the ranks of the Samurai, there’s now dissent. It makes sense, as the people of Mikado were religious but not under direct divine rule from the point Akira rose to prominence as King Aquila to the dethroning of King Ahazuya by the archangels. This new order doesn’t sit well with everyone.

If God’s army is victorious, they will continue to destroy humanity over and over again.

They will keep endlessly repeating Genesis and Revelations until they are satisfied.

Should this be allowed? No! We cannot stand idly by!

We must destroy Merkabah here and bring humanity salvation free from the bonds of the Creator!

The Hunters answer Flynn’s call to action with a war cry, raising their weapons.

And when the false messiah speaks, the rabble listens.

But rabble cannot change the course of history.

Then, of course, there’s you.

Poor child. Torn from your humanity by a demon. Join me and know peace.

Join you? Get real.

It’s clearly not an option.

That’s not cooperation – it’s submission.

Dagda appears from within your phone.

Danu emerges from Nozomi the same instant.

I am of the same mind as my son. It’s time for humans to find their own way.

Blindly following the Creator God’s order or Lucifer’s chaos is misguided.

I’m with Danu.

Hmph, your friends seem to know the score.

As for me, kid, my goal is simple: kill every last god and demon.

In my new universe, humans will transcend their limitations and gain true freedom.

But in order to create such a place, you must first put an end to Merkabah for me.

Got that, Godslayer?

You can in fact join hands with Merkabah here if you really want to, but it’s one of the two bad ends you can get right here. I’ll be showing them off in the Hunter’s Notes. For now, though, we will rebuke this offer of servitude.

I should have expected as much from such Filth.

Ha.

Tell 'im, kid!

We’re with you! Can’t let this monster just destroy Tokyo!

Silence, vermin.

Gaston. Return to my good graces and impale the infidel on the spear I bestowed upon you.

Gaston. You have sinned.

You interfered with my servants sent to kill Flynn, and aided his agents in their escape.

But I shall forgive you if you do as I demand.

Accept my generosity and strike him down.

You will be my true messiah.

You can do it, Gaston!

But I am no longer the captain of your Crusade. I am merely a Samurai.

Hallelujah… When we escaped Mikado, you thanked me.

Ever since then, my mind has been racing.

What is it that I truly want?

Now that the choice is in front of me, I know my answer.

Merkabah. I will not answer to your expectations. I will answer to the people!

I want to be a Samurai who has earned the gratitude of the people!

New power courses through Gaston.

Gaston has awakened.

Awakening is a special event that happens to a party member at a critical moment in the story, providing a passive skill known as Awakened Power. Just what Awakened Power does varies for each partner. In Gaston’s case, it acts as High Phys Pleroma, which is good considering he just lost his spear and all of his attack skills downgraded from medium damage to weak damage as a result.

Hm…

How could you destroy such a sacred relic?!

For the sake of the path which I walk, I shall become a sinner!

I won’t hesitate to state that the declaration Gaston makes right there is probably one of my favorite lines of dialogue in this game.

You have succumbed to the Filth.

Flynn? You…uh…you okay there, buddy?

Well said, Gaston. I will aid you.

Flynn…!

Let us defeat Merkabah, while Lucifer is still standing as a spectator.

Your thirst for freedom has consumed you. You reject order.

Let us end this Armageddon, and usher in a millennium of order.

Tainted body, profane mind, fallen soul… Unclean Ones indeed.

In the name of the Lord and His order, I shall purge you from existence.


Boss Battle!: Merkabah :crossed_swords:

It’s now finally time to face down the Chariot of God. Merkabah is weak to Dark and drains Light – simple enough. Unlike in their Shin Megami Tensei IV battles, both Merkabah and Lucifer are not max level, don’t have a second phase to their fights, and each lose a unique skill on their roster. They both use their second phase music from IV, though.

Unsurprisingly, on top of having the non-unique skills Concentrate, Deadly Wind (severe Force damage to one foe; if Smirking, it also pierces all resistances), Dekaja, Luster Candy, Riot Gun (severe Gun damage to one foe; like Deadly Wind, it pierces on Smirk), and Thunder Reign, Merkabah has two unique ones at his disposal. The worse of these is Hexagram, an Almighty typed skill that instantly kills its target without fail.

Shalt Not Resist randomly strikes two targets to deal heavy Almighty damage and lower Defense by one step.

To what end do you wage this sinful war?

This dialogue box pops up around 7,000 HP of damage into the fight. Your reply can be “for freedom”, “for peace”, or “for a world without bias”. Or, you know, you can just say nothing as usual. We’re pulling out option three.

A world without bias… Is that not by its very nature a world without stability?

There is no salvation in such a world – only pain and difficulty.

But it does not end there. We are drawn to what lies beyond hardships.

Gaston’s words prove that he trusts you. You feel power through your body…

This is basically two free Luster Candies. That’s quite the generous reward!

Flynn pops in at around 12,500 with this opening to yet another rousing speech.

Citizens, it is now the time to settle things! We must destroy the order of God!

The citizens charge towards Merkabah.

False messiah… What do you hope to achieve? Your followers are mere insects to me.

Merkabah waves his hands and the charging citizens die one by one.

Do not fear, citizens! Chip away his life, little by little!

We have a fiery will within us. We will not be defeated by those who can only praise God.

Merkabah is distracted thwarting off the charging citizens.

Flynn’s sudden choice of human wave tactics leads into our next choice to be made. Joining in the charge will only get us hurt, and while it might be prudent to heal up, we’ll choose to stop these low ranking Hunters from throwing their lives away.

You call out to the citizens.

What are you doing?

Why are you stopping us from defeating Merkabah?

Don’t tell me you’re trying to protect Merkabah?!

The citizens stop their charge.

They are filled with doubt, however.

Say something!

A citizen throws a stone at you.

Merkabah is filled with disgust.

Merkabah’s defense power decreases.

While Nanashi might not be in everyone’s good graces for saving their skins, we did get a free Rakunda out of it.

And with a few more choice strikes to his weak point, Merkabah’s ~16,000 HP is depleted and he’s cracking up.

The Creator will not…tolerate this.

112,472 experience points are at our immediate disposal for this victory as well. I’d love to say there’s some grand strategy beyond using Dark skills and buffing/debuffing/healing as needed, but Hexagram is a wild card and there’s not any real preparations to make against it beyond using three demons that all have Endure taking up a skill slot. My team was Lucifuge, Tenkai, and Belial, with Demonee-ho swapping in for Lucifuge after he got hit with Hexagram.


Yes!

Gaston strikes a victory pose.

All that’s left now is Lucifer.

You prepare for the next battle when you hear the sound of clapping.

Lucifer stops his applause.

Well done defeating Merkabah, my Godslayers.

You are now free from that dog’s incessant barking.

The Ashura-Kai and the Ring of Gaea ensured that the embers of chaos would never be snuffed out.

Chaos is the catalyst of evolution.

I’m sure you understand my meaning.

Together, we can change this world however we want.

Come, let us prepare ourselves in a world of chaos, and defeat YHVH.

No. Merkabah is dead. Now it’s your turn, Lucifer.

People! You cannot believe his words! Chaos only leads to more chaos!

You still intend to deceive the people, even now?

Shut the hell up!

Flynn’s no fake! He’s our Liberator!

Seriously, this facial tic is not looking good, Flynn. You might want to get that checked out.

Lucifer shrugs.

Dagda, Dnau… You too have been disgraced by YHVH.

I can feel your resentment.

We have the same goal. Why not join hands?

Together, we can easily obliterate YHVH.

Dagda barks a mocking laugh at Lucifer.

That includes you, Lucifer.

There’s no place for extremes in this world. For its sake, we need balance.

You old gods are all so stubborn.

Perhaps someone else shall prove more willing to listen.

You there, Dagda’s puppet.

Lucifer looks at you, evaluating your worth.

Side with me. I will free you from Dagda.

As with Merkabah, you can choose to side with Lucifer, which will be covered in the Hunter’s Notes. But our main story will involve crushing him just as we crushed his alignment opposite.

Wait a sec. If you bump off Lucifer, what happens to us?

Without the big guy for backup, the Ashura-Kai is done for!

I mean, you could always go back to working for Mastema, I guess. I wonder what he’s up to anyway…

There can’t be no Ashura-Kai!

Shut up and grow a pair!

Hallelujah’s voice thunders out at the panicking Ashura-Kai members.

Hallelujah and Gaston having their character arcs at the same time does a lot to elevate the middle portion of Apocalypse into one of its best parts.

The hell’s this coming from?

Who’d listen to you? You just followed Abe around like a lost puppy!

Abe isn’t with us anymore. I’ve settled things with him.

You did WHAT? You. Took out Abe?

I’ve made up my mind… As of now, I am the head of the Hachibu Rengou Ashura-kai.

Anyone who has a problem with that can fight me after I take out Lucifer.

Can’t believe this is the same Hallelujah that used to sulk in Abe’s shadow…

Maybe he can actually pull this off…

Are you nuts? He’s just a kid!

Then again, I’m not sure sure we could take him on – even all of us at once.

Maybe we should just let him be leader.

And as with Gaston, Hallelujah gains his Awakened Power at this moment. Just as Gaston’s greatly increased his Physical attack power, Hallelujah’s heavily buffs his Magic power.

Flynn gives Lucifer a strange smile.

People of Tokyo! Your last enemy stands before you.

Grit your teeth and raise your spirits! Fight with everything you have! Give them no quarter!

At Flynn’s word, the Hunters rush toward Lucifer’s forces, weapons at the ready.

No more gods! No more demons!

It’s time to be free!

We’re not taking your shit any longer!

With Merkabah gone, my only enemy is YHVH.

For the adherents of chaos, I cannot be stopped here!

I am the radiant morning star, which lights the way to the sons of man.

Come, sons of man. Prove to me this light you’ve found within yourselves is real.


Boss Battle!: Lucifer :crossed_swords:

Lucifer’s the opposite of Merkabah in defenses, draining Dark while being weak to Light. The fact that you have no prep time or chance to save your game between Merkabah and Lucifer’s boss fights means you need to be prepared to juggle a bit. I fused both Hamaon and Mudoon onto Tenkai as a way to help ease into this.

As an aside, part of his animation is his arm-womb – oh, that big tumor has a demonic fetus in it, did I forget to mention that? – rapidly pulsating, which makes it very hard for me to keep a straight face while fighting him.

Old Scratch can use several skills we’ve already seen before such as Debilitate, Dekunda, Glacial Blast, Hades Blast, and Myriad Arrows, but is also unsurprisingly part of the unique boss moves club. His more frequently used unique skill is Evil Gleam, which deals severe Almighty damage to all foes and has a chance of inflicting Panic.

His other unique skill, Morning Star, is a bit of an odd one. It always halves the remaining HP of all your party members.

At around 6,000 HP of damage dealt, Flynn starts working the crowd again.

Citizens, it is the time to settle this!

Flynn riles up the citizens on the battlefield. The citizens charge towards Lucifer.

False messiah, claiming to be Tokyo’s Liberator… You lead a soulless army against me.

I am the true flame of life in all the glory of flesh, blood, and my own will. You are no match for me.

Lucifer fights the citizens.

Unlike Merkabah, we don’t get the play by play of the horrific way Lucifer effortlessly incinerates his foe.

Flynn approaches you in the chaos.

Lucifer is distracted by the citizens, but it’s not enough.

He’s still too composed. I need you to do something for me.

While we can refuse to get a few Anarchy points, our Good Good Boy will act as a diversion.

You agree to do what Flynn asks.

I’m counting on you.

Flynn moves into position.

So…just how are we going to distract him?

Your options here are “attack him”, “withstand his attacks”, “talk smack to him”. Why even give us a choice when that third one exists? It’s not the proper one for getting a good outcome, but why the hell not, let’s do it.

You really think that’ll work against Lucifer?

You throw any insult you can think of to Lucifer!

Have you taken leave of your senses? Your foolishness shall only invoke my wrath.

The best part is that it somehow worked.

Dude, he looks real pissed…

Lucifer is filled with rage.

Lucifer’s attack power increases.

Two turns later, Flynn backstabs Lucifer for around 730 damage. This also acts in the same way a maxed Assist Gauge attack would, robbing the demon lord of his next turn.

Gah… False messiah… Was this your plan all along…?

Flynn’s mouth twists into a smile at Lucifer’s pain.

This pathological weird grin is getting out of hand.

Good work. Let’s finish him.

Lucifer loses an opportunity to act.

Lucifer’s dialogue option comes in fairly late, when he’s already 15,000 HP in the hole.

What is it you wish to do with so much power? What is it you seek beyond the scope of this battle?

The two options here are for a load of alignment points: “a peaceful life with my friends” for a bunch of Peace points, or “a sublime world with no ambiguity” for a load of Anarchy. As usual, Peace option is being picked here. It’s yet another Assist Gauge boost option with a downside for you.

So… Your friends are the source of your strength… How strange…

Very well. Defeat me – show me the truth behind your words!

Lucifer gathers his remaining strength.

Lucifer’s attack power increases.

That may sound like a bad trade, but he’s pretty much on his last ropes at this point, and you could just Tarunda/Dekunda that buff away anyway.

As long as YHVH exists, I shall serve again…

There you go, truth behind our words. An 18,000 or so HP behemoth, Lucifer is nonetheless a bit less of a rowdy boy than Merkabah, if only due to the lack of the obnoxiousness that is Hexagram. This fight gives the same amount of experience points Merkabah did.


It’s over… Right?

You survey the aftermath of the battle.

Some of the survivors are cheering, while others are on their knees, shell-shocked.

A mix of happiness, anger, and sadness can be seen across the faces of the survivors.

We did it. We did it! We can finally live in peace.

Can’t believe we’re free. No more angels, no more demons.

I-I gotta go tell my wife and kids!

I betrayed everyone. And for nothing. The angels, they… They lied about everything…

I should’ve had faith in humanity…

No more Lucifer… I guess we got ourselves a new boss!

A new, human era is upon us.

With the two alignment leaders dead and gone, everyone has a chance to look toward the future with their hopes and regrets, without influence from those two power players.

You even listening to me, Nanashi?

Oh, boy… Come on, let’s go.

You take Asahi’s hand and leave.

All around you, shouts of joy over Lucifer and Merkabah’s demise echo.

And with that, Armageddon has been averted. This gets us a total of 273,939 more experience points and 67,000 macca.

The injured were treated at various Hunter Associations, regardless of what side they chose.

You and the others head back to Kinshicho.

And that’s Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse! Law and Chaos have been defeated, the forces of good have won the day, and our two champions can have a well-deserved rest after their long journey. I guess all that’s left is to have the finale ne -

…Wait, what do you mean there’s two more moon phases?


#109

Bad End: Law

[I]Choosing to side with Merkabah: horrible idea, but let’s see what happens anyway.[/I]

You’re really going to cut and run now? After everything?

Thought you were smarter than this, kid.

Why…?

Your friends are confused by your choice. They slowly back away from you.

Flynn is clearly disappointed.

Tch. This is going to get messy.

Sorry, but I’m pulling out.

Flynn leaves without answering Isabeau.

Flynn… Why?

The false messiah has fled. So be it.

I must first settle things with my nemesis. Do you not agree, Lucifer?

Finished with your games, Merkabah? And you, stringless puppet?

Because I defied God’s will, I was dubbed “evil” and cast from Heaven. Now I shall have my revenge.

For the freedom and dignity of all upholders of chaos, I will not let order rule over this world.

[I]At this point, you end up fighting Lucifer. It’s almost the same as normal, save for the fact that Merkabah aids you due to the fact that your friends all bailed on you for being a big enough sap to follow Law. He does about 400 damage a hit and nothing more interesting than that, so let’s just move forward.[/I]

Victory is mine. No one shall stand in our way.

You have but one final mission – retrieve that remote control.

The remote control lies where Lucifer once stood.

You pick up the remote as Merkabah commanded.

With that, we can cleanse the world of Filth.

The Yamato Perpetual Reactor will overload, and a black hole will appear – the Great Destroyer.

Sink Tokyo into the oblivion.

You said we could live in peace above the Ceiling if we sided with you!

Filth cannot be allowed in the land of our Lord.

We, who ourselves are defiled by the Filth of civilization, are no exception.

[I]By the way: all the Samurai, angels, and even Merkabah himself are killed in this plan. Nanashi, too. Good going, champ![/I]

We are not to enter His kingdom until we cleanse ourselves.

Unclean Ones, join me in the oblivion of the Great Destroyer, and we shall go to Heaven together.

The Lord YHVH has created a new country for humans.

Thanks to you, the heavens are at peace. What more could you ask for?

Merkabah turns back to you.

Now. Our true messiah: press the button.

See your path out to the very end.

You press the remote.

Nanashi… Why?

The black hole created from the Yamato Perpetual Reactor swallowed Tokyo in an instant…

…and Tokyo was no more.

This is the world you saved. A world where peace will continue.

But that peace will not be eternal.

The world our Lord desires is still nowhere in sight.

The gods are trapped in an endless war with Flynn, the false messiah.

[I]And that’s it. You have temporarily given peace to Mikado by sating its angelic overlords, but they will end up growing hungry for cleansing fire once more at the behest of YHVH. Great job![/I]

Bad End: Chaos

[I]The whole portion of the Law bad end from your friends and Dagda is repeated before Lucifer steps up to talk.[/I]

Pitiful human, plaything of a demon… As you wish, I release you from his service.

Lucifer raises his hand and you are swallowed up in light.

Nanashi!

You are free now. Show them that you are no longer a puppet.

Show them your desire for freedom.

The light surrounding you pours into you, revealing your body.

Nanashi? Are you…you?

You don’t look much different, but your very soul has changed.

The air around you proves it.

[I]And after that, Flynn does his cut and run again, and Isabeau is upset with it, yada yada moving on to more stuff not shared with the other bad end.[/I]

Lucifer addresses the humans of Tokyo.

Merkabah has fallen, your false messiah has abandoned you.

No one remains to defy us.

Now, my Godslayers – we make for Mikado.

The people respond to Lucifer’s words with a battle cry.

[I]Well, they sure turned fast. And with Merkabah already dead before you even get the option to make the literal deal with the Devil, there’s just the final cutscene to take us away.[/I]

And then, they conquer the Eastern Kingdom of Mikado.

The people accept Lucifer with fear in their hearts.

They have no other choice.

Lucifer has conquered the world.

Everything was different then.

Now I see a new world. A world for the strong.

But the false messiah still exists.

Someone has to lead the people against him.

Will you be the king they need?

And so, a new king descended on the world.

[I]Very sudden change of tense there.[/I]

It’s a world where the strong can shape it as they see fit.

But this was no more than the start of an eternal nightmare.

Cries of agony echo endlessly in this world.

Even now, the gods are dragged into an endless war with Flynn.

[I]You may notice a common thread with both of the bad ends here. Regardless of whether Law or Chaos wins, the world is inevitably plunged into a forever war since Flynn still lives. For all his bluster about defying YHVH, Lucifer never makes a move against him. There’s a reason for this, but that’s a story for a later day.[/I]

[I]It could be argued that this is a big problem with Law and Chaos in Apocalypse, as it inevitably funnels you toward the proper path of Neutrality. I’d argue back that while that’s true, Neutral being the “proper” route is pretty much the default in most MegaTen games anyway, it’s just that this one is far more blunt and arguably inelegant about it. I’d say it would be nice to actually take the idea of splitting up Neutral from Apocalypse (though not necessarily its execution; more on that in the distant future) and apply it to the other alignments as well. Sort of like Shin Megami Tensei:NINE, but…you know, without the whole “being developed on the original XBOX and unsold outside Japan” issue.[/I]


#110

Flynn’s got a really bad case of Dreamworks face. He might wanna get that checked out.

I guess it makes sense for the Law and Chaos routes to just be bad endings if they’d cut two further moon phases, but the lack of lead up to either bad ending definitely isn’t the best. I feel like they could have developed Chaos a bit more beforehand, considering Lucifer’s deal is to let you cut ties with Dagda. I can’t think of any situation in which you’d want to join Law, though. They’re basically just the worst.


#111

After dealing with Lucifer and Merkabah, there’s a fair amount of cleanup for me to do regarding sidequests I wanted to show in the LP. Enough cleanup, in fact, that this is the first of two such posts.

Secure an Evac Point

Tennozu’s far southeast of Midtown, down on the west shore of Tokyo Bay. There’s not much to it, and normally you might never go there unless you were doing this quest, but if you already went down the highway leading that direction you might have stumbled across it and already activated its Terminal. If so, you can just teleport right to this sidequest immediately.

I am Arahabaki. I was driven out of this country as a traitor.

Arahabaki is an ill-known ancient Japanese god of power, warding, and safe journeys. According to the Tsugaru Soto Sangunshi, Jimmu (the legendary first emperor of Japan) outlawed the worship of Arahabaki due to his presence in the pantheon of Jimmu’s enemies, turning Arahabaki into a symbol of rebellion – hence his statement here of being “driven out of this country as a traitor”. Unfortunately for anyone wanting to know more about Arahabaki, the Tsugaru Soto Sangunshi is almost certainly a hoax created around the time of the text’s appearance in the 1970s, as it references things such as the microplanet Pluto and the Victorian-invented lost continent of Mu. Whoops!

In this land where faith is fleeting, there are still traces of pleasant sorcery.

Perhaps here I could regain my former prosperity.

But no one here tries to worship me.

You… I command you to worship me.

You can choose to either bow down to Arahabaki, ready your weapon and tell him you aren’t backing down, or ask him to leave so refugees can be moved into the compound. While he gets a first strike no matter what you say, option one gives him a free boost to his Tarukaja + Makakaja and option three gives him those plus a Rakukaja. So, we’re taking the middle option.

So that’s how it is.

Then I have no choice but to make an example of you and force faith through fear!

Kneel before me!

Come, fight with your clumsy human hands. My might as a god shall thwart your attacks.

Arahabaki is a puzzle boss fight. He nullifies Physical, Gun, Dark, and Light and is weak to all four elemental attack types, but he gets to move first in this fight to cast Makarakarn and then land an unimpressive regular attack, a formula he repeats every round. So how do you crack his shell? Well, there’s several ways around this. You could just use Makarabreak, but only one demon gets that by leveling up and that’s not until she gets to level 86. You might want to inflict Mute on him, but unfortunately that just leaves you with a long string of seeing “Miss!” on your screen.

That leaves two options open to you when this fight is first available: either slap Arahabaki in the face with as many strong Almighty attacks as you’ve got (once again, Demonee-ho is great here) or use elemental bullets. You see, while elemental bullets deal elemental damage, they’re still blocked by Tetrakarn rather than Makarakarn as if they were regular Gun attacks.

Once you figure out the gimmick, he cracks like a soft-boiled egg. The big talker only has about 4,000 HP to his name, and provides 43,258 experience by beating him. He’s not dead, though, unlike so many foes we’ve faced.

I thought I could regain my power in this land.

But I was wrong.

Though I am a god, I cannot face a human without faith.

Arahabaki quietly disappears.

Our final reward is 56,950 experience points and 30,000 macca. And why was this shelter abandoned, in spite of its ample supplies we can loot for more macca? And what of Arahabaki’s statement of “pleasant sorcery” in Tennozu Shelter? Oh, to be a fly on the wall of this shelter and learn its secrets… Maybe we’ll divine more in a future update.

Help the People of Ikebukuro

That Ken guy didn’t want us poking our noses in Ikebukuro anymore, but I say that he’s one knockoff brand yakuza and we’re a bunch of weirdos who were capable of putting the Devil six feet under, so we’re going anyway.

Hey! I was gonna offer that to Lord Shax!

Shax, eh? Sounds familiar…

Shut it. I’m going to offer it.

The people seem to have lost all sense of reason.

You step forward, but notice a strange shadow in the middle of the group.

This is Shax, a grand marquis of Hell from the good old Ars Goetia. This particular demon takes on the appearance of a stork with the arms of a man and has the power to rob people of their hearing, sight, and comprehension. He has a Robin Hood streak in him, taking money and horses from the rich and giving them to the poor, but is also fond of lies and deceit. Without the proper precautions, he’ll spin you into a web of lies so thick it may be hard to get back out.

Isn’t it wonderful?

Oh? It seems there are some humans who are still sane. You must be one of his friends.

Ken?!

Why did you come back?

Still acting tough? You’re not going to beg for help?

…!

Kid… Get out of here…!

Hahaha! This city is such a joy.

I don’t want to hear that from you after you drove Ikebukuro insane!

But that’s why it is a joy.

It’s so wonderful seeing people fight like this.

You can certainly reason with some demons, but trying to do so with one associated with lies and trickery is probably a lost cause.

Lord Lucifer will be delighted when I bring him these offerings and tell him what happened.

Uh… I hate to tell you, but…

God dammit!

The demon laughs sadistically and turns to you.

Now then, why don’t you entertain me a bit?

The Shax encountered here is a level 69 of the Fallen race that is weak to Gun and Electricity, resists Dark, nullifies Ice, and repels Force. The one you can fuse up yourself is pretty much the same but at the higher level of 74. Oh, and with boosted HP as befits a minor boss, of course. Around 13,000 total.

Shax can utilize Makajamaon, Bufudyne, Mazandyne, and Will of Wind, the last of those being the Force equivalent of Will of Flame. I’d actually recommend equipping Hallelujah for this fight, as he prevents both the status ailment attacks and the annoying potential for your demons to get the Lost condition from the unburdened Mazandyne.

Shax isn’t a particularly hard fight, so you get an easy 38,146 experience points for the battle itself right off the bat. Any demon with boosted Ziodyne and either Stun Needles or Grand Tack is recommended for a swift destructive course. Demonee-ho and his Blank Bullet worked great for me, too.

With the demon gone, the people begin regaining their sanity.

Wait… What am I doing here?

They’re back to their senses.

Why did you come here?

You have the option of replying with “for the reward” or “I decided to look after you”. Since we want to try to have some etiquette here, I’m going to be picking option one.

I almost lost everything because I refused everyone’s help.

Thank you.

Ken bows deeply to you.

Hey, how can you bow to a Hunter?

There’s nothing wrong with thanking someone who saved your life.

K-Ken…!

Now we can try to rebuild Ikebukuro for real.

We’ll really put our backs into it this time.

I’ll let you know if we need any help. Take care.

And with that, we get 55,861 more experience points and five 5-Star Relics to sell.

Looks like I’m going to have to step up my game to keep up with Ken!

Out of the multi-part quest lines in Apocalypse, Ken’s is probably the least bombastic and grandiose, but it has the important role of showing us another examples of the more tolerable members of the Ashura-Kai besides Hallelujah, which explains how they haven’t just been entirely abandoned in favor of the Hunters and Ring of Gaea even after they became just another Chaos force without the Red Pills to back up their racket.

It’s a shame that, in general, I still feel the Ashura-kai has a bit of a downgrade in this game over IV simply due to its changing ethos. In IV, they were a humanocentric and demon-friendly view of Law, providing us an authoritarian regime that – while admittedly having Mastema on its side – was completely unrelated to the holy war of the angels and instead pushed the forces of Law in the direction of human and demon coexistence through sacrificial order. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, and thus the few are culled to make the Red Pills that placate the slavering demons at the doorstep. Making them another group serving Lucifer in Apocalypse feels like it robs them of a bit of their flavor.

Help Me, Hunter Boy

Kiba Storage is down in the poison swamp south of Kinshicho. It’s time to finish off the Maruo questline once and for all.

Amidst the muffled moans, the demon Mara stands in rigid magnificence.

Ahhhh… I can feel power flowing into me. Human essence really is something.

Hmph. So my host called you for help, you virile young thing.

But you’re too late. I’m all pumped up for my final form!

The demon’s aura thickens with the power he’s absorbed.

Look at this strong, curved body. Check out that girth. It’s all about the girth.

No human can handle this much.

Now, as I am, as I wish, I’ll make you squeal your desires!

It’s time to face down the big boy himself. Mara is resistant to Light and Dark, drains Electricity and Gun, and is weak to Ice (it’s a shrinkage joke, you see).

Also, while it’s not from or in this game, I feel I would be a fool not to mention that Mara has his own boss theme in Shin Megami Tensei IMAGINE, the now defunct MegaTen MMO. It’s great.

On top of having Makarakarn (it’s all the rage these days!), Tetrabreak (a skill that allows you to remove Tetrakarn), Dekunda, Charge, and Critical Eye, Mara has two different unique skills. One these is Hell Thrust. which deals two to four strikes of heavy Physical damage to random foes. If he’s Smirking, it also acts like a Rakunda each time it hits.

His other unique skill is Dance of Mara. This is Sexy Dance with a greater success rate.

At 7,500 HP in damage taken, Mara decides to talk to us.

But it’s such a waste to spend such virile energy on your duties.

You have no obligation to save my host. Why not just let him go?

We can tell Mara off by either stating we wish to save Maruo or that we can’t let a demon run free. Or we can just ignore him entirely. The first option lets him break your turn and take one himself, and the second option gives him a free Tarukaja, so the only winning move this time is not to play.

You ignore Mara.

Grrr… So you won’t listen to me…

Mara is shaking with rage. His concentration is broken, and he’s showing plenty of openings.

This increases our party’s Accuracy, which is nice.

Mara’s second dialogue option is at about 11,500 HP down.

With that much power, you could probably live however you wanted.

Don’t you want to see new things? Let’s go together to an even more arousing land!

This time, you can choose to state either “…I want to see new things!” like a big sucker, “I’ll pass”, or ignore him yet again.

I’ll pass.

What? You want me to just play with myself?

You talk so dirty for your age… I shouldn’t underestimate you…

Mara shrinks in fear.

This acts as a party-wide buff to Accuracy yet again. And soon after, that all piles up into a victory.

How could you reject my advances?

I shouldn’t have underestimated you, you feisty thing…

At a monstrous 15,000 or so HP and very dangerous if Smirking, Mara’s no slouch. Since he’s so Physical-oriented and capable of shoving right through Tetrakarn, you’re going to want to debuff his Attack and up your Defense as a priority. At that point, it’s mainly cooling him down with Ice and making sure the Dance of Mara doesn’t entrance your party that become important; fortunately, Hallelujah can now do both of those things, so he’s a good partner for this side quest as well.

With Mara gone, the people begin coming back to their senses.

Ugh…

Where’s Maruo?

In an odd surprise twist, it turns out that a good half of Maruo’s weight was apparently all Mara.

Maruo?!

Wait, did Maruo always look like that?

Yeah… I gave in to that demon and he made me look all cool like that.

But this is the real me…

So all that stuff about being yourself was a lie?

Damnit! We got tricked by a demon and did all that stupid shit!

EEEEEK!

Maruo’s followers walk off with disdain in their voices.

But one woman remains by Maruo’s side.

Aren’t you going to leave?

The woman looks nervous.

Even if it was a demon…I…

Huh…?

I didn’t know what to do. I was so scared…

You saved me…

I did?

Thank you.

With a satisfied smile on her face, the woman walks away.

Yeah… I remember now. I wanted to help everyone.

But then that demon showed up and I… I…!

Just start over again.

Even after all I’ve done?

You’re telling me it’s okay?

How can you be so damn kind?!

Maruo’s face is covered in tears.

I’ll do something that helps people, just like you do.

Thank you, Hunter Boy!

Maruo strides out confidently.

Our reward: 51,648 experience points, 34,000 macca, the ability to fuse Mara later, and one redeemed man in an oversized hip hop outfit. If you look at the Hunter database entry on Maruo and the Maruology cult after this event, it states that while details are unclear, Maruo’s been sighted on the farm in Shinjuku National Park. And if you go here…

It’s me, Maruo! I work here now.

After our last chill sesh, I started thinking that I wanna make a safe place for people with nowhere to go to…go.

But before I could do that, I needed money. And food!

I know it like, crazy dangerous to leave the underground and find work, but I couldn’t let that hold me back!

So I worked and worked and worked, and got this SWEET, glistenin’ bod.

Thank you, Hunter Boy.

I guess things are pretty wild out there in Tokyo, right? Things are pretty wild here, too.

People change, but dirt don’t. Demons can appear, but dirt’s still…dirt.

So I’m gonna keep fightin’ to be the best Farmer Boy I can be!

Keep fighting, Maruo. Keep fighting for everlasting feast.


#112

The weird thing is I did chaos in IV since law seemed to like their caste system


#113

Defeat the Ghosts

This enigmatic message from some group calling themselves the Patriots (no word on whether or not their guns are involved) wants us to kill some ghosts with the aid of another Hunter. Simple enough, right? Well, since this is the second act of the questline we started back with Investigate Tokyo Dome, probably not. Oh, and a side note – like the Maruo questline, this questline is one of the few that gets fully voice acted all the way through.

You stop when you hear a familiar voice.

Sorry, but I’d rather not get a kid involved with this. It’s kind of a big job.

Unsurprisingly, Hiroshi’s back after his brief appearance at the end of Investigate Tokyo Dome.

The exit’s that way, okay?

That won’t do, Hiroshi. This young man’s the one we reached out to.

Really?

Nice to meet you. I guess you’d call us your clients.

We no longer have any specific names, so you can call us…

Just call us the Patriots – like we wrote on the request.

Feh. Look at these old windbags trying to be cool.

Q-quiet, you! You’re not so y-young yourself, you know.

So, why’d you call the kid?

This is our problem. I don’t want someone else involved.

It would be foolish to think like that. This…incident…is no longer just our problem.

At this point, it’s all of Tokyo’s problem – including the young folk.

Yeah, we need the strength of youngsters like him.

You guys never change.

WE’RE the ones that never change? Aren’t you supposed to mellow out with age?

S-sorry. Thought he’d stick around to help out.

Well, think of it like we’re just splitting the work load between us.

If we let the demons around here run free, well – nothing good’ll come it.

Demons run free here all the time. Of course, all this mysterious discussion seems to imply the demons appearing in this sidequest aren’t just your average random encounter…

Could you take care of them for us?

I can only hope our concerns are misplaced…

The Patriots wander off.

Red challenge demon markers are scattered around Shinobazu Pond as soon as the Patriots shuffle off to wherever elderly people calling themselves the Patriots shuffle off to. And hey, they are indeed something special.

Say hello to the Yomi Army. You’ll notice that while there are some Ghouls and Wild Hunts hanging around, most of this level 70 Horde is made up of Yomotsu Shikome and Yomotsu Ikusa, the demons that dwell in the depths of Yomi. Which corresponds to their name being Yomi Army and all.

Unfortunately for this warforce of the damned, they’re weak to Fire and Light, and I have plenty of both. Attacking them with Dark or Gun is useless, as they block both. If they’re alive after your initial onslaught of flame and faith, the Yomi Army’s offensive moves are Grand Tack, Panic Voice, and Tarunda.

After slaying four Yomi Armies, Hiroshi calls to us in a tone that sounds less than well.

Hiroshi appears in front of you, wounded.

Heh… I messed up a bit.

He seems upbeat despite the severity of his wounds.

Suddenly, a group of ghosts appear and attack you.

This is just a fifth Yomi Army, so if you haven’t had problems yet, there’s no reason you would now. Plow through them before they can annoy you or Hiroshi any longer.

Well, we [B]do[/B] have the Magic stat of two Lokis put together…

I was more useless than I expected. I just saw her like that and…

Are you vermin still in my way?

Noa…

I am the remnants of Tamagami. I rest here…

A brain in a jar, eh? I guess it’s not the strangest thing we’ve ever seen.

Haha… Looks like the old bastards were right.

That guy was a cabinet minister 25 years ago.

He’s the guy who ordered experiments on humans for what he called the greater good!

The National Defense Divinities! How many people were sacrificed to those monsters?!

And here’s the dark secret of the National Defense Divinities. The way they were summoned before the Demon Summoning App was up and running was through good old-fashioned human sacrifices. Sure, we could have surmised this from Masakado’s summoning, but that could have been just a unique case for all we knew. Well, that and the Flynn lookalike that summoned Masakado did it willingly, whereas here…

Then you must know that the sacrifices were all prisoners on death row.

Their deaths formed the foundation of our national defense.

Don’t give me that!

Noa was innocent! You betrayed her, defiled her!

You call that national defense?!

You’re not worthy of an explanation.

You cannot understand the gravity of this situation. This is the safety of a nation.

We had only the defense of the nation in mind.

You know what Japan was like back then.

America treated us like slaves.

Russia and China tried to steal our land.

Our technology was robbed by other nations.

I made a vow then.

Even after the gods themselves rent the world asunder, it seems nationalism won’t completely die.

And that was the National Defense Divinities?

Back in those days, when the world dictated our imports and exports…

What we needed was energy. An energy source that would never run out.

Impossible, yes? But divine energy isn’t bound by the laws of physics!

And in fruition, it became our eternal engines: the National Defense Divinities!

You’re insane…

Because of you, Noa…

And yet…

Look at our country now.

Merkabah, Lucifer, the Divine Powers… They’re no different than the Americans.

Now we deal with foreign gods rather than foreign countries!

I was unable to build a strong Japan.

But don’t worry… There’s still time.

I thought this body remained inactive for so long by accident…

But it was all for this moment.

What?

I will destroy everything that made this country weak.

With the power that will possess this woman, a new, powerful Japan will be born.

With this, I will save Japan.

He’s nuts! He seriously believe this!

I’m glad that even the guy who has seen Tokyo spend twenty-five years under the yolk of gods and demons recognizes that Tamagami’s metaphors are crazy.

Boy, it’s not too late. Get out of here!

I will not allow that. You two will become the foundation for our national defense.

Now…offer up your blood for our beautiful country!

So, uh…yeah. Boss fight with a crazed nationalist brain in a jar. Unfortunately for him, he’s weak to Fire and Light like most walking corpses (kinda strange that he’s of the Ghost race and not the Undead race, but there’s a lot of weirdness like that in MegaTen phylogeny if you think about it too hard).

Perhaps the most obnoxious thing Tamagami has whirling around in that brain pool of his is the skill Ancient Curse. This skill can inflict literally every ailment except Mute on all party members, stacking them willy-nilly as the RNG demands. There is a unique skill called Shivering Taboo that does the same thing as this enemy-exclusive one, but we won’t be seeing it on any demons we can fuse for a little longer. You’ll probably want to set Asahi or Hallelujah as your partner (if you didn’t already have on them) before you engage the fourth Yomi Army.

He likes to use Mudoon and Spirit Drain more often than not, but can also follow up Ancient Curse with Death’s Door to easily drop the HP of anyone who was unfortunate enough to get Sick.

At around 9,500 HP, Tamagami has genuine boss level HP, but not necessarily the weaponry to back it up. It’s really annoying to get hit with the combo of Ancient Curse and Death’s Door, but having Null Dark on your demons will basically rob him of most of his actions given how much he loves Mudoon. You get 39,802 experience points for the slaying of him and his vessel.

As the woman dies, the aura filling the air dissipates.

Is it…over?

Finally, the evils of the past have been defeated.

You guys always show up too late. Why couldn’t you have been here when it mattered?

Wouldn’t matter if we did – we can’t influence the world anymore.

Not unlike Minister Tamagami’s will, twisted as it came to be 25 years ago.

You sure he wasn’t just always like this?

O-of course not! He was…

The shorter old man is left speechless, so the genteel old man bows to Hiroshi in his stead.

Regardless of what we believe, the truth is far too many people were hurt because of the experiments.

I wish we could do more than just apologize, Hiroshi.

I found Noa… At least I did that.

I always wondered whether she was really gone. Now I know.

That’s enough for me.

The Patriots form a circle around the jar containing Tamagami’s brain.

Many years ago, we made a mistake.

We failed to think for ourselves, and instead allowed temptation to let us cross a line.

W-we should have been able to see what w-would happen.

B-but we turned a blind eye. W-we thought everything would be fine, as long as we had the reaction…

We soon f-f…forgot about the sacrifices that were…

We stepped all over the rights of other people to accomplish our goals.

I don’t think for a second this will make up for our sins, but…

Goodbye, Tamagami.

The old men shatter the glass jar.

It’s over now.

Do you mind if I take Noa’s body?

S-sure, but what are you going to do w-with it?

I want to bury her somewhere beautiful.

She was falsely imprisoned and wound up in that terrible experiment.

I just want something to go right for her.

An old man like me isn’t a very good match for her.

I couldn’t even protect her when it mattered most.

See ya, boy. Thanks for doing what I couldn’t.

The 47,733 experience points and 40,000 macca are nice, but the biggest reward of this quest was probably the knowledge we gained. The whole apocalypse lays at the feet of elderly nationalists who felt the best thing for their country was summoning Japanese gods through human sacrifice and building a reactor that fed on the energy of the demon dimension of the Expanse. And we all know how well that went.


Where the Corpse Went

Kansuiji is one of those minor one-time-use map locations, found by heading back to Shinobazu Pond and then using its north exit.

Oh, and say hello to Amaterasu, a special fusion of Ame-no-Uzume, Futotama, and Yatagarasu. Born from Izanagi’s left eye as he ritually cleansed himself after leaving Yomi, Amaterasu is the goddess of the sun and mother of the emperors of Japan. We’ve already heard stories about her in the discussion of both the demon Ame-no-Uzume and our trusty blade Ame-no-Murakamo. She’ll be particularly useful in our upcoming battle, and thematically appropriate as a little bonus.

You said you’d explain everything when he got here, right?

That’s correct. Now then, if you please…

Let’s start with the most pressing matter: the last National Defense Divinity will appear soon.

You mean it’s not over yet?

A-As soon as her life signs faded, download activity suddenly spiked.

Th-This is an emergency.

Izanami, to be exact – the mother goddess of Japan and ruler of the underworld.

Having such a powerful god trying to enter a living body must have put tremendous strain on her.

Izanami is no stranger to the extended MegaTen franchise, but as a boss fight she will get her introduction nonetheless. Izanami was the first female deity created by the progenitor gods, along with her male counterpart Izanagi. The pair stirred the great ocean of the world to form the first island of the world, eventually wed, and birthed the islands of Japan and various gods. This turns south when Izanami dies while giving birth to the fire god Kagutsuchi. In his grief, Izanagi beheaded Kagutsuchi and made his way down to Yomi, where he attempted to lead Izanami out of the underworld. This too went south, as when he finally lit a fire to see in the darkness of Yomi, Izanagi found that his wife had become a rotted maggot-infested corpse and fled in terror. After being sealed by a boulder at Yomotsu Hirasaka, Izanami imparted the curse of death upon humankind, stating she would slay 1,000 mortals each day. Izanagi retorted that each day he would birth 1,500 more in turn.

As it happens, as soon as she died the error message cleared.

What happened to her body?

It was called to someplace closer to the underworld, so the download could finish.

If you recall, this isn’t our first visit to Yomotsu Hirasaka. It is at this, the gate to Yomi, that we met Dagda way back when.

I-It must be why Tamagami was…calling all those spirits.

The National Defense Divinity summoned by Tamagami will destroy Tokyo.

Please, put a stop to Tamagami’s machinations.

We need you to strike down Izanami before she reaches the end of the road to Yomi.

Obviously, we accept. Hiroshi will also be coming with Nanashi’s party on this journey, acting as a sort of third tier of party member. More on that in a moment.

I lament the fate of this country, which I could not tend to while trapped within the underworld.

But the time for tears is over. If my presence is desired, I shall return to the land of the living.

At their behest, I shall give birth to a new nation.

Now, clear the way.

Now then, do you mind telling me what you want me to do? I’ll do what you need me to.

Each round, you can tell Hiroshi to attack Izanami, heal your party, cast a buff, or wait it out. He acts separately from both your demons and your normal partner, giving you a little extra freedom to mix things up.

The most powerful demon of the Megami race in the base game (though there is one DLC Megami that surpasses her), Izanami nullifies Ice and Light, drains Dark, and is weak to Fire as a reference to her death from birthing Kagutsuchi.

Izanami will attack you with all she’s got. She’s packing Conentrate, Megidolaon, Silent Prayer, and two skills we haven’t seen until now. The first is Vengeful Curse, a boss-only skill that lets her eat up a huge amount of a target’s MP. Hopefully you have some MP restoration items on hand, otherwise this will be a long fight.

In spite of its name having a plural in it, Thunder Gods is actually the single-target version of Thunder Reign, dealing severe Electric damage to one target and piercing on Smirk.

Oh, and she can cast Diarahan, by the way. It hurts a little less when you have Amaterasu doing around a whopping 2,000 or 3,000 damage on her Press Turn, but it still smarts to see all your work washed away in one skill. And, more worringly, she always casts Smile Charge after it. So, what’s the solution?

Brand, perhaps? No, that ailment was in IV but isn’t back for Apocalypse. Mute? Nope. The new mechanic introduced specifically for this fight?

Noa…?

Izanami wavers under Hiroshi’s attack.

Bingo. Hiroshi’s attack does so little damage it might as well be nonexistent, but it breaks Izanami’s Smile Charge and prevents her from using Vengeful Curse or Diarahan that round. If you never want to give Izanami a chance, you can have Hiroshi just wail on her every round, doing what you’d normally do for healing and buffs. Or, if you’re a more calculating type, Izanami seems to cast Diarahan when she’s taken between 14,000 or 15,000 damage.

Perhaps not coincidentally, her total HP is around 16,000. So once you stop her from using Diarahan again and get in a few more solid hits…

Heh. It might not be the best manners to tell you to leave after you were just called here.

You really are just worried about the state of Japan… Just like Tamagami…

But it’s not right to ignore the people to protect the country.

Are you saying I’m wrong?

Then let me ask you, human. What will you do with Tokyo?

Humans will protect Tokyo.

You can also choose “It’s none of your concern” as a dialogue option if you want to be a rude boy.

Humans…will?

New humans are being born all the time. We got a brand new generation to lead the way!

Hiroshi delivers the finishing blow to Izanami.

Goodbye…Noa.

Before you realize it, you’re back to where you were before.

N-Now that Izanami’s gone, th-the road to Yomi should close…

All thanks to you, sonny.

Schemes of the past are now gone, leaving no threat to the present.

And I would say we’ve finally achieved what we sought years ago.

You’ve shown us a stronger Japan is finally taking shape.

Could I ask you one more favor, sonny? Use this on us.

Not going to ask about it, huh?

Hehe. That’s why I asked you to do it.

Ain’t half bad, being sent off to pasture by a youngster like you.

Th-Thank you for helping with our…selfish request.

You use the Balm of Rising on the Patriots.

The old men slowly fade away, like smoke dissipating.

Okay, wait…why is Balm of Rising suddenly a Fenix Down now? You can’t do that to enemy demons of the Spirit, Ghost, and Undead races, just these guys. I know it’s a dramatic sendoff and all, but still, it feels weird. I’m probably just overanalyzing it though.

Everything is returning to normal. Now it’s time for us to do the same.

I finally feel…at peace. Thank you.

The old men are gone.

I guess they got stuck here because they couldn’t let go of what happened 25 years ago.

I guess I wasn’t that much different from them… But I don’t need to live in the past anymore.

See you later, boy. I’m glad I met you.

And thus, we part with Hiroshi for the last time. Our reward is 56,950 experience points, 36,000 macca, and a special present. While not specifically for this quest, if you’ve done almost every sidequest up to this point you’ll also receive the option of getting the Wise King’s Bracelet or Warlord’s Bracelet from the Hunter’s Association. The Wise King’s Bracelet is an accessory that boosts your Magic and Agility stats by +50, while the Warlord’s Bracelet does the same for Strength and Dexterity.

That present being the ability to fuse Izanami. She is not a special fusion, but there aren’t many demons you can use to fuse her either. In my case, I took the Megami below her – the Hindu goddess Lakshmi, specifically – and used the old Element boost by fusing her with an Undine to make Izanami, as that was the quickest way to get that pesky Fire weakness off of her. Her signature skill is Dark Grudge, seen here, which surprisingly is not present in her boss fight. Her two unlearned skills are Spring of Life at level 83 and Repel Ice at level 85.

And with five sidequests out of the way, next time we’re heading back to the plot.


#114

Admittedly, “nationalist brain in a jar” is not a character I was expecting, and I’ve seen a lot of demons I hadn’t previously known about.


#115

C’mon, Nanashi. Wake up! It’s morning. Everyone’s going to be here soon.

Get out of bed. You need to get ready.

The others are gonna be here any minute.

You gaze at Asahi through half-lidded eyes.

Why are you looking at me like that? You still half-asleep or something?

Come on, it’s almost time to PAR-TAY! Victory celebration!

No rest, even for the savior of mankind.

The rest of your crew pours into your room.

Have you not awoken yet?

Ever the dawdler.

Not sure if anyone can really give us shit for sleeping in, considering all we did…

So, is everyone here?

You didn’t think I’d miss a chance to be with my master?

Kudos to Asahi for finally not rising to the take the bait.

She’s with Flynn.

I’m sure we’ll see her at the celebration.

Think there’ll be some choice eats?

Screw that, drinks are on me!

Wait, how old are you again?

Hmph… I think we’d be hard pressed to find someone who wouldn’t give that boy a drink.

I haven’t changed at all. I simply left my ego behind.

Look at you… Going off and growing up…

You’re my little brother! Quit growing up!

Hmph. Complain all you want, brother.

Wait – Gaston, what did you just say?!

You can see me!

Wait, I thought you couldn’t see him.

I couldn’t, but that all changed yesterday.

I wasn’t able to forgive my brother.

Our family fell from grace because of him. I hated my brother.

I did everything I could to not be like him.

Eventually I became a Samurai, and everyone recognized my strength.

But I was no different. I didn’t know what it meant to be a true Samurai.

I was an empty shell. But then I realized something.

I wasn’t just ignoring my brother.

There’s no real honor in fighting for yourself. Honor is given to you by the gratitude of the people.

As a Samurai, I must answer to the people. Right now, I feel I’m doing the right thing.

With that, I may truly become magnificent.

Gaston gives Navarre a big smile.

Gaston and Hallelujah are truly the big success stories of Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse’s cast of characters. Both have actual character growth that is engaging and enjoyable, which I feel is something the other cast members lack. Navarre is sort of stuck as the butt of the joke in spite of attempted character growth, Nozomi and Isabeau already had their character development in the events of the previous game, Asahi’s brief moment of looking up after Boss’s death kind of wavered with the Toki love triangle, and Toki is…Toki.

Brother. Was I able to absolve you of some of the guilt you felt about your life?

This isn’t fair! I’m the big brother, I’m supposed to make you feel better!

Sorry, brother.

Gaston sighs happily at the crying Navarre.

Wait, so you could see Navarre since yesterday?

And you’re just saying something now?

Having this green runt suddenly appear in front of my very own eyes was a bit startling.

But, when it began talking just like my brother…

Oh, it was a disturbing revelation, indeed.

What?! Give me back my tears, you oaf!

Can’t say I blame him.

What?!

I’d be put off by that too, if I was him.

That reminds me…

What happened to the Ashura-kai?

I’m not sure why that would remind you of the Ashura-kai, but okay.

Everyone turns toward Hallelujah.

I’m sure it’s fine, nothing’s really changed.

Really? After your tough guy-act?

“I’ve made up my mind… As of now, I am the head of the Hachiou Rengou Ashura-kai.”

The best part of this impression is that Asahi starts slipping into a bit of a Cockney accent for no apparent reason.

Haha! That was great!

I didn’t sound like that!

Seriously, that was pretty impressive. Do it again!

Stop that!

Hallelujah scratches his head, embarrassed.

I guess it’s up to me to rebuild the Ashura-kai.

I’ve got to put my money where my mouth is.

But I’m going to do it my way. The way I think is right.

It’s about time I stopped living in Abe’s shadow.

I’d say you stopped living in Abe’s shadow the moment we turned him into cosmic crispies.

Anyway, we can continue this at Kasumigaseki. Gotta get to that party!

And head to that party we shall. Good thing Kasumigaseki has that Terminal open for us now.

Woah, this place is packed!

Just goes to show you how many people are happy that the war’s finally over.

Well, if it isn’t the guests of honor!

Can’t start this party without you guys!

Look over here!

Woah! Wait, when did we become so cool?

You guys saved Tokyo. You’re the talk of the town!

You guys are the greatest!

After a second, the crowd parts to let Fujiwara and Skins come and congratulate our party as well.

I won’t disagree with them. You did a great job.

Fujiwara! Skins!

They’re not the only ones.

Miss Isabeau! I’ve missed you!

Hehe…

Asahi smiles bashfully.

Asahi’s fangirl crush is as strong as ever. Seems like everything’s finally going back to normal.

Fujiwara clasps his hand on your shoulder.

I never imagined you would go this far.

You’re an excellent Hunter. There’s not a doubt in anyone’s mind.

Between you and Flynn, Tokyo can survive anything.

I look forward to seeing what you’ll do next.

I’m so happy for you, Nanashi.

Asahi seems the happiest she’s ever been and flashes you an enormous smile.

Moving forward, there’s a general feeling of revelry across the party, but it’s interrupted by that harsh backfeed noise of a microphone being turned on. It’s time for Flynn to make a speech. Everyone is excited about this, save for Fujiwara, who…

…is completely caught off guard.

The crowd gets riled up after seeing Flynn.

Flynn waits for the crowd to settle to a hush.

As of this moment…

The rule of the gods has crumbled, and we have taken a step forward.

Until now, I have fought for the people living in both Tokyo and the Eastern Kingdom of Mikado.

Thanks to all of you, we have finally attained our goal.

But, this is not the end!

All our energy was spent on survival, and as time passed, we forgot how to progress, how to evolve.

We were forced into this stagnation – this loss of progress and evolution – by the angel and demons.

We lost our pride and dignity as humans.

This cannot be forgiven; the fact that it was even allowed to begin with is difficult to forgive.

Flynn pauses to feel out the audience before continuing.

I know that humanity will not rebound naturally on its own.

The people of Tokyo and Mikado will need to put everything they have into it.

Freedom and blessings will not just fall down from the heavens.

Everything depends on your will and your efforts.

It’s up to us from here on out!

From here on, we need everyone working together as one, not just those of us who are strong.

Only we can decide our future.

What say you? Let us reclaim freedom for all. Build a peace that will continue past tomorrow!

Raucous shouts of approval and applause fill the air. The excitement is palpable.

Wow, everyone’s really worked up. It’s actually kind of scary…

Heh, your friend’s perception is spot on.

Show’s about to start, kid.

Wait…

Without warning, people start collapsing, one by one.

Calling this “not right” might be a bit of an understatement.

Isabeau rushes to one of the fallen guests.

Are you alright? They’re all passing out!

What the hell’s happening?!

The fallen guests seem catatonic.

There’s no life in any of their eyes. It’s as though something scooped out their very souls and left only a shell behind.

Scooped out their souls, you say? That sure sounds familiar.

What the hell happened?

I did it.

All without having to eat a single bite of rancid human meat.

A mighty good question!

Flynn walks toward you as he explains.

I devoured their faith – their souls.

That’s a weird juxtaposition from the normal anime art we’ve been seeing. Also obviously not Flynn, if you didn’t catch on already from the whole “I am eating people’s souls” part.

Flynn smiles, showing more teeth than a human should.

I TOLD you, Godslayer. I told you I’d return over and over until the full moon.

Yeah, it’s just this nerd again.

That’s what Shesha said…

Shesha?!

What? The green skin, red eyes, and giant mouth didn’t tip you off?

That’s right. I’m Shesha.

Where’s Flynn?!

Don’t worry, Flynn’s safe. He’s with Lord Krishna.

Krishna is dead!

Dead? Hahaha! That was aaall staged.

What about Odin?

If you recall, Dagda was silently bemused back when we saw “Flynn” stab Odin. Krishna also vanished, rather than breaking apart like other story bosses do when they die. And, of course, there was all the freaky grins Shesha was pulling in his Flynn guise. So not only was this all foreshadowed for the viewer, but Dagda was also in on it and never told Nanashi in order to preserve his obsessive game of 11th Dimensional Chess.

Lord Krishna’s had me pretending to be Flynn since Konganji, fooling you all.

You were just playthings blindly acting our your parts in our little production.

You know, at first, I had to eat humans whole – flesh and all – to get to the soul.

Pff, such a waste. So time-consuming. But I had to do it so I could… Evolve.

Evolve?

Well, other than the whole part where he looked different even the first time he resurrected.

Thanks to you, I can now skip the skin and go right for strong human emotions.

Are you saying beating you…made you stronger?

Exactly.

And boy, your little Liberator had an astounding influence over the people.

All that faith in him made it easy to gobble up so very many delicious souls.

Now that I’m full, I can become the Egg.

What do you mean, become the Egg?!

The Cosmic Egg is a motif that shows up through convergent mythmaking in various religions the world over. In ancient Egyptian mythology, from the primordial egg comes forth Ra, who creates the world as we know it. In Taoism, it is the great god Pangu who is hatched from an egg in the formless void of the cosmos. In the Greek tradition, it’s Protogonos the first-born who steps forth from an egg nestled within the coils of a great serpent. The Hindu cosmic egg, which is the one that’s most relevant here, is known as the Brahmanda. It is an apple seed within an eggshell, which is in turn within wreathed in successive layers of water, fire, air, void, and the cosmic forces of creation and intelligence. From this egg comes forth both the god Brahma and the successive creations of the universe each time the cycle of yugas and kalpas begins anew.

In essence, I am the new universe.

So the Powers have been alive and kicking, chasing that dumb idea this whole time…

We shall deal with this monster right here. Then the Powers’ plan will crumple.

Just don’t get it, do ya? You kill me, I resurrect. Every. Time. You can’t beat me.

As a not so wise man in another MegaTen game once opined, you could always just keep killing him in an endless cycle of god-punching. It’s a strat!

Then what do you expect us to do?!

Lose. Like you were destined to from the start.

Shesha’s face twists into a vicious smile.

We’ve worked so hard, been through so much together.

Finally thought we were free of this nightmare. And now…

I won’t let you toy with us anymore!

Doesn’t really matter. The game’s over.

Just a few loose threat to clean up, then it’s curtains for you and this universe.

Shesha turns his dark gaze on you.

Remember what I said in Ikebukuro?

Next time I saw you… I’d KILL YOU!

Nanashi!

It seems that, just as Nanashi shielded Asahi from the fury of Adramelech near the start of the game, so too has she shielded him from Shesha.

And in one swift, grotesque moment, our fragile victory and sense of peace is shattered. Once again, humanity has lost to the fickle machinations of gods and demons.


#116

When I got to this point I knew something was up with Flynn but I didn’t guess that he’d turn out to be Shesha. Also that art of Shesha-Flynn is quite unnerving.


#117

Every time Shesha is killed, he evolves. And changes art styles. If you kill him again he’ll be in post-modern.

RIP Asahi. Hopefully for her there’s another edgy teen god looking to spite his mom hanging around the afterlife.


#118

Looks like someone got in the way.

No… Asahi…

No!

W-Won’t she become a ghost, like me? She’s not really gone, then! She –

Nope, sorry. Not without her soul. And that’s in my belly.

You’ll never talk to her or hear her voice again.

Death always comes swiftly…

You know, Navarre’s goofy-ass face makes this touching moment a bit less serious.

We’re going to stop you here. Right now.

Were you not listening earlier? You can’t defeat me. It’s impossible.

Don’t tell me what’s impossible!

Look, I’d love to stick around, have a second course, but I’m pretty full.

Shesha narrows his eyes and smiles a wicked smile.

Thanks for the great meal, though. That girl was… Well, scrumptious.

When will you bastards be done toying with us?!

Oooh, so scary.

Aaaaaand scene! Well, curtain’s closing. Time for me to exit, stage left.

I’m not going to let you get away!

And with that, everyone heads in pursuit of Shesha.

Unfortunately, he pulls a goofy run and leap out…

…and before you know it, bam, he’s erupted into an egg.

What the hell…?

That must be the Cosmic Egg…

Krishna and Odin are there. Next to them is Flynn tied to a cross.

Flynn!

Don’t worry, Flynn is fine.

He’s still my precious Godslayer, after all.

You have the gall to show your face again?

It’s good to see you. The last time we met was at Tsukiji Konganji, I believe.

Excellent work defeating Lucifer and Merkabah.

True. But it suited me so well.

That’s why I’ve come to thank you in person.

Thanks to you, the new universe will hatch during the full moon tomorrow.

And as the Egg hatches it will crack open YHVH’s cage and we’ll be free of him.

I don’t think it’s quite that simple, but okay.

If I can reclaim my former power, I can bring salvation to humanity.

The time for us to become one is near.

But for now, I’m taking my Godslayer and entering the Egg.

Nozomi levels her shotgun at Krishna.

Have I offended you?

Are you worried about the humans Shesha ate? Rest easy, I am a merciful god.

Everyone is alive inside the egg.

Well, if you consider being a disembodied soul in a giant stomach-egg “alive”, I guess he’s technically correct.

Soon they shall join with me and together we shall all be reborn.

Enough talk.

Let us meet again…in my new universe.

Krishna and company disappear in the direction of the Cosmic Egg.

As nice as it would be to immediately go after them, Fujiwara ends up calling us on the phone.

I’ve got some urgent news for you.

I need you back at HQ right away.

Fujiwara has already hung up.

Damnit! Can’t this wait? We have to avenge Asahi!

Calm down. We can’t afford to be reckless.

Let’s go see what Fujiwara has for us.

Since we’re still at Kasumigaseki on the overworld map, it’s not exactly a hard journey to make, so we’re back with Fujiwara in no time.

For like a minute and a half! Sheesh.

What did you see out there?

You share the information about the Divine Powers with Fujiwara and Skins.

Shesha turned into a giant egg…

And that egg’s gonna hatch a new universe.

A new universe that will give Krishna the power to finish this “salvation” of his.

We need to stop him before that happens.

Destroy the universe? How the hell do you pull off a trick like that?

He’s right. This won’t end peacefully.

It’s not like they were looking for peace.

We have three objectives then.

One: Defeat Krishna. Two: Rescue Flynn.

Three: Destroy the Cosmic Egg.

Under better circumstances I’d call upon every Hunter we have for this.

The man stares off into space, completely unmoving.

Most of them ended up like this.

So, we’re the only ones left who can do it.

That’s how it is.

So it’s up to us.

Scared?

Hell no. This is going to be a cake walk compared to leading the Ashura-kai.

And thus everyone prepares for…what we had already prepared to do. Fujiwara also gives Nanashi back the gauntlet that was obtained by the party in the raid on Mikado. And after being analyzed, there’s some news about its origin.

When I first met Akira, he was around your age.

You remind me of him.

Akira’s the guy who stayed behind when you folks broke through the Ceiling, right?

Wasn’t the first king of Mikado named something like Akira? Could that be the same guy?

A little slow on the uptake.

Yeah, the three of us climbed the Sky Tower and got through the Ceiling.

At this point, Skins and Fujiwara recap the stuff we already know from Nansahi’s flashbacks to Akira, so let’s bypass that and move on.

Him?

We don’t know why, the kid just reminds of Akira.

And then he shows up with this Gauntlet.

Maybe I’m just being hopeful.

But I’d like to entrust Akira’s Gauntlet to you.

Will you accept this and walk the same path we did?

We don’t really get a choice in the matter, receiving the Gauntlet without responding and being told that the quest to save Flynn and stop the Divine Powers is, in fact, still the same quest.

Unfortunately, upon leaving Kasumigaseki’s underground, it seems that the journey won’t go unimpeded.

The time for salvation is at hand.

We’re here to collect the remaining souls Shesha didn’t feast upon.

Picking on scraps. Fitting for a dog.

We don’t have time to pick this fight, man. Look at how many of them there are!

By the time we’re through them, it’ll be tomorrow!

Can’t just leave them to claim more lives.

We have to stop them here. Now.

Others all across Tokyo are doing the same.

So stop all this pointless resistance. Surrender your souls to us.

Let’s deal with the enemies at hand!


Not-Quite-Boss Fight!: Pales and Fafnir :crossed_swords:

After the bevy of boss fights we’ve gone through, the game decides to slow it down a bit and give us a scripted encounter featuring two regular enemies – with boosted HP, of course – you’ll now be encountering on the overworld. The creature on the left that Gaston insulted is Pales, Roman god of the shepherd and their flock, who is in fact a donkey and not a dog. This level 73 Vile is resistant to Light, nullifies Ice, drains Dark, and is weak to Fire. Its starting skills are Mamudoon and Pandemic Bomb, and it subsequently learns Beastly Reaction and Berserker God at level 74 and 75.

Fafnir, the legendary dwarf transformed into a dragon by his own greed – and, to be fair, the fact that the gold he took was hexed – is a level 75 Drake whose high HP and draining of Physical skills is offset by being weak to both Ice and Electricity. He starts with the skills Poison Breath and Earthquake, then gains War Cry at level 76 and Draconic Reaction at level 77.


One easy battle later, and we’re facing down a group of demons that are ultimately not that threatening either.

But before the attack comes, the demons start to fall, one by one.

Yo! You okay, Boss?

A group of Ashura-kai head toward you.

Boss? Wait, me?

Uh, yeah. That’s what you said you are now.

Gonna lead the Ashura-kai, right? Can’t have you dyin’ here, then.

We’ve received word that the Divine Powers have begun an assault on Tokyo.

We know. We’ve already been attacked.

What about the rest of the districts?

Every Hunter who can still stand has been mobilized.

No matter how you slice it, there simply aren’t enough Hunters.

Leave it to us, Boss!

Come on, guys…

I mean, the Ashura-kai’s kinda like the police, right? Public safety’s our speciality. It’s what we do best.

Can’t let this jerk, Nanashi, hog the spotlight.

Hallelujah tries to placate the Ashura-kai men as they stare you down.

Ashura-kai never die.

Just had a little trouble. We’re back in business.

Your call from Fujiwara is interrupted by another one.

Ehehehe… We’ve got a hand in this saving Tokyo bit, too.

Hehehe… Can’t just wait for the Ashura-kai to screw things up.

Those are the old hags from the Ring of Gaea!

Thanks to you, the Ring of Gaea is back in one piece.

So we owe you at least a little something.

But you’ll owe us a lot more for helping out, hehehehe.

You can count on us. Little low on numbers right now, but we’ll do our best.

I wonder if the Hunters who didn’t get their souls taken end up having to explain why they didn’t have unwavering fanatical faith in Flynn once this is all over.

Already stepped up to save Tokyo once while the Ashura-kai and Ring of Gaea sat on their asses.

Besides, we still need to settle things with the Divine Powers for all they did.

These kindly Hunters give us another key to Kasumigaseki, this one being to its storage area so that we can load up on whatever supplies we can find.

I am Hope, the commander of the Samurai.

We Samurai of Mikado will aid you in defending Tokyo.

Hope looks at you and Gaston.

You two made me remember something important during Armageddon.

Nations exist for the people. People do not exist for the nations.

And it is the people that we Samurai should protect first and foremost – not country.

Commander…

Now, we shall serve the people of Tokyo just as we would the people of Mikado.

We cannot overlook their suffering while we dwell in peace above.

Hehehe… All in the same boat, can’t let it sink or we all drown.

That mutual enemy is the only reason we’re working with you clowns.

Trust us, we’d never willingly cooperate with the Ashura-kai or the Ring of Gaea.

This is just a means to an end.

We each have the same goal.

We’re not going to let the Divine Powers have their way.

Leave the underground districts to us.

You focus on defeating the Divine Powers and rescuing Flynn.

Good luck.

Well, the city’s in good hands. Let’s go crack an egg.


#119

Wild Demon Encounters: Tokyo Overworld (7/8 Moon)

The streets of Tokyo now swarm with Divine Powers lackeys such as Dakini, Huoniao, Jarilo, Sphinx, Erlkonig, Ganesha, Yaksha, Guedhe, Berserker, Hanuman, Ammut, Taowu, Fafnir, Pales, and a few new faces.

Hresvelgr, a Norse giant capable of taking on the form of a titanic eagle, is the strongest demon of the Raptor race. He nullifies Ice and drains Force, but is weak to both Fire and Gun. Hresvelgr’s starting skills are Wind Breath and Pandemic Bomb, followed by Nihil Claw at level 71 and Mazandyne at level 73.

The level 70 Freezing Horde is the first of two elemental hordes spotted outside. The horde’s resistant to Light, nullifies Dark, drains Ice, and is weak to both Fire and Electricity. The amassed Tiamats, Hels, and Genbus can assail you with Fang Breaker, Mamudoon, and Mabufudyne, as well as aid themselves with Rakukaja.

Another level 70 elemental horde, the Thunder Horde is made up of Thunderbird, Tlaloc, and Baihu. The horde is resistant to Ice, nullifies Light, drains Electricity, and is weak to Force. When in combat, its members can unleash Ziodyne, Maziodyne, Madness Nails, or War Cry.

Party Members

At level 81, Isabeau learns her final skill. It’s Luster Candy! Hooray!

Fusions

Fusing Ganesha and Titania gets us…Angel? Yes, there is in fact the “bondage angel” variant (Kaneko often made two similar but ultimately different versions of the same demon during the Sega Saturn era of MegaTen games) of the lowest ranked Divine as the highest ranked Divine. If you’re wondering why we’ve gotten through all the Divine demons but have only seen eight of the nine angelic ranks, it’s because the ninth one appears in a different race. Uber-Angel here normally learns Mediarahan at level 83, but fusing that onto her means her only unlearned skill is High Light Pleroma, gained at level 84.


#120

Found directly north of Kasumigaseki, the Cosmic Egg stands ominously. And given Gaston’s reaction upon getting near it, you probably won’t be surprised what we’ll find here.

Yep, Odin’s right at the door.

Odin!

Odin stands before you.

His presence prompts Dagda to emerge from your smartphone.

Playing dead, Odin? Where’s your dignity?

You of all beings should have known that I did not truly perish.

We were once the same god. There is no way you could not have known.

This is referencing the hypothesis that, given their similarities in mythology and the geographic and temporal proximity of their worshipers, the Dagda was based on the same Germanic god that we get Odin from. Near the end of the game, Apocalypse gets really big on stating that the gods have shared origins. Unfortunately, nothing’s really done with it, and some examples you’ll see later are particularly…tenuous, let’s just say that.

You cannot be spared.

The souls we’ve gathered are inside the Egg.

With your powers, you could revive all those souls. Am I wrong?

Heh… Maybe. Maybe not.

Odin points at you, though his eyes never leave Dagda.

This boy is proof enough of it.

You can’t bullshit Odin about a plot point that’s been here since the start. Of course, given how Nanashi’s a puppet, it probably wouldn’t be great for the souls inside if Dagda did decide to be generous enough to resurrect them.

I will not allow you to revive the people in the Egg.

No one shall pass me until the Egg hatches.

You’re kidding, right? You’re little more than an echo of me. Let’s kill him, kid.

To the victory, then. There need only be one of us.

You disappointed me before. Will you prove your worth today?

Allow me to show you just how much I’m worth.

Interesting. Do it.


Boss Battle!: Odin :crossed_swords:

As when we had our scripted not-fight with him, Odin resists Light and Dark, repels Gun and Electricity, and is weak to Force. His immense physical and magical power makes the All-Father a worthy foe even with our slight level advantage.

He’s still got Will of Thunder to grant him Elec Pierce for a round, and he still uses it up front. He’ll usually follow it up with Thunder Reign to deal damage to the whole party and then a Ziodyne on whoever is the weakest after that first assault. Sometimes he’ll mix it up and go Will of Thunder, then Concentrate, then Thunder Reign if he wants to drive the knife in particularly hard.

At around 6,000 HP of damage, Odin speaks. Not to Nanashi, for once, but to Gaston.

I left it behind, alongside my pathetic ego.

Now, I’m able to rely on my own strength – not just that of a spear!

Hehe… A wager, then?

If you defeat me, I will give you my spear, Gungnir.

What…?

Won’t you fight harder now that there is a prize before you?

Hmph, fine. You’d do well not to underestimate me!

Ignoring the fact that Gaston isn’t even my partner for this fight, the battle continues with renewed vigor.

Will you be able to stand before the power of my spear, Gungnir?

At 10,000 or so HP lost, Odin states the above. That’s a rather ominous proclamation, given that he’s already throwing around massive amounts of damage.

And as promised by his declaration, Odin gets trigger happy with Physical attacks. On top of Hades Blast to damage the whole party, he unsurprisingly has his trusty Gungnir as a unique skill. Gungnir deals severe Physical damage to one foe and always has Pierce.

In spite of his powerful strikes, though, at 15,000 damage dealt Odin is feeling the heat.

No… I have my pride as a god!

Odin is filled with a passion for war.

This acts as a double Luster Candy.

This is bad…

We need to work together before he wipes us out.

Want some of my power, kid? Forget your friends. All you need is you.

As with precious options of this sort, you get Peace points for joining your friends and Anarchy points for eschewing them and relying on Dagda’s power. You already know what we’re picking.

Hmph, do as you please.

Hallelujah’s trust in you deepens.

Which, as usual, means the Assist Gauge bumps up four bars.

Come, mortals! I will trample your hopes of victory!

…And in kind, two more Luster Candies for Odin. Which, along with the other two, a Dekaja can wipe off. Always remember that you can just cleanly Dekaja away these sorts of talk buffs to tilt the exchange in your favor once more.

20,000 or so HP? Strong, but not impenetrable. Especially when you still have a bunch of Floral Gusts with High Force Pleroma at your disposal. While they’re not as useful on demons meant to be sweepers, since enemy encounters often mix demons that are weak to an element with others that are strong against it, multi-target medium damage attacks like Floral Gust and Glacial Blast are really good when you want to exploit a boss’s weakness.

Am I simply incapable of overcoming Dagda?

No, Odin. That’s not it.

You lost because you made an enemy out of me and my Godslayer.

Gugghh… Dagda… Dagdaaaaaaaa!!!


Dagda’s shattered corpse lands us 114,799 experience points, a Bead Chain (that’s an itemized Mediarahan if you didn’t know by now), and…

Losing to you was the first sign that things were going wrong.

Gaston picks up the spear.

Hmph. This will do.

With this victory and with this spear I shall be magnificent again!

And magnificent he indeed shall be. With Gungnir in hand, all of Gaston’s attacks deal more damage and have Pierce, making him far less of a liability. His regular attack is now severe Physical damage, Twin Strike is medium Physical damage, and the rest of the skills he currently has are all heavy Physical damage.

Gaston’s really savoring this now.

Wouldn’t have it any other way.

Nearly time for you to fulfill your end of the bargain, kid. Prepare yourself.

Soo, I’ll create a new universe, and then regain my true form.

I’m counting on you, my Godslayer.

Toki hangs onto your arm

Toki hold on to your arm and silently looks at you.

She lets you go without saying a word.

I-I’m sorry…

Let’s hurry up and get in the egg.

I’ve a query: How does one enter an egg? I see no entranceway.

What about that thing? It must do something.

A thing “that looks like a pillar” is around. We pull it.

So that pillar was something of a lock.

After you.

This pillar may or may not be relevant later. We’ll see.

Inside, things are quite meaty. And glowing.

He’s going to pay for each and every one.

Something’s not right.

Yeah, security’s too lax…

Just like Nozomi says, there’s not a single enemy in sight.

Figured we’d be surrounded as soon as we set foot in here.

Krishna suddenly appears.

I knew you would come here.

You saved us the trouble of trying to find you.

Krishna chides Gaston like a child.

I’m just here to watch. I have no intention of fighting you.

After all, she’s the star of the show.

Ugh… Ah! Ahh… What is…happening…?!

Toki! What’s wrong?

Toki collapses into the fetal position.

There’s something in my head… Stop it… This isn’t…me… Gah!

What the hell did you do to her?

She was so filled with Aether, I thought I might release it.

And by doing so, resurrect her.

Krishna truly is the most heinous villain of the game, bringing this back to the fore.

Ngh! I can’t control it! No no no no!

Help me… I’m not…me…

Toki grapples with the pain. All of a sudden, she stops moving.

Toki rises, eyes vacant, completely void of life.

Are you okay, Toki?

I am not Toki.

I am Inanna, Mother of All.

We already introduced Inanna when her fragment appeared back during the Tokugawa Mandala quest. She’s back too. Hooray?

I have returned to this world from the Aether, thanks to this new body.

Sorry to burden you with this right away, Inanna, but may I ask you to do something for me?

Inanna…? I’m Toki! No… I am…

Master… Where are you? Master, Master…!

Christ, could you have said that any skeezier? Damnit, Krishna.

Mother…?

You will give birth to a whole universe of children.

You’d like to bear his children, wouldn’t you?

Damnit, Krishna!

Hehehe… I’ll do anything for my love. I’ll bear all the children he desires…

Why not start here?

A single soul dances in Krishna’s hand.

You’re too late.

Krishna imposes himself between Inanna and Danu.

He thrusts the soul in his hand into Inanna’s body.

Aahh! Master… It’s your child!

Damnit, Krishna!

The soul returns to the material plane in a new form.

Hehe… Hahahahaha!

Maitreya is enveloped by light, transforming into a new form.

Mitra, or Mithra, is the god of truth, judgment, cattle, and contracts from Zoroastrianism. He stands at Chinvat Bridge, the pathway to the afterlife, alongside fellow gods of judgment Rashnu and Sraosha. It’s easy to confuse him with the Roman god Mithras, as the MegaTen games have done just that since the PS2 era by giving Mitra the design of leontocephaline (lion-headed) Mithras as seen in certain Roman statuary. If you removed the Buddha aspects, this could probably have been a serviceable new design for Mitra going into the future.

As for the twist here, Mitra’s name does indeed come from the same Proto-Indo-Iranic word that Maitreya’s does, but Mitra most likely didn’t act as the direct mythological “ancestor” of the 5.67 billion year Buddha.

Mitra. You know what to do, yes?

Of course.

Mitra clasps his hands. An intense light erupts from his body.

The light spreads through the Cosmic Egg in a flash.

Damn. This is bad, kid. Krishna pulled a fast one on us.

I can’t revive the souls trapped here, not even with all my power.

Have you noticed it yet?

Souls can’t return to a universe they aren’t bound to.

Even with Dagda’s magic.

What?!

My energy connects the Heavens to Earth.

Isolating the two is easy for me.

Now for the final act!

Find us further in – if you can even make it that far.

Until the show is over, dance for our entertainment.

Krishna, Inanna, and Mitra disappear.

They took Toki with them.

This barrier of Mitra’s…

So long as it remains in place, not even Dagda can resurrect these souls.

You look toward Dagda. He is clearly irritated.

She’s right, I’m afraid to say.

I can’t even resurrect you, kid. Not while Mitra’s magic is at play.

Now, rather than Dagda dragging us back from Yomi, a death gets us a right proper game over. Nothing to do about it but grit our teeth, prepare to press that save button more often, and head into this dungeon.