A Thematic Analysis of Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne

Warning: This topic contains immense spoilers for the video game, Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne, and other Shin Megami Tensei games. The main focus will be upon SMT Nocturne but information may verge into comparisons with other SMT games. 

Notable works: SMT Essay by Sam Hatting

This work is a brilliant artistic analysis on the plot, story, and philosophical themes of Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne. I honestly cannot recommend it enough. The article makes a strong case for the theme and plot of Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne being inspired by Friedrich Nietzsche‘s philosophical fantasy novel: Thus Spake; Zarathustra. Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne uses the religious themes of Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, and other religious faiths to create a narrative about the player surpassing all obstacles and following their chosen “Reason” for the sake of their own existence and the world around them.

Key Terms:

Kalpa: Indian Mythology regarding Time

Hito-Shura: The more precise term would be Demi-Asura and not Demi-fiend. Demifiend becoming a “new demon” really meant Demonic God or Demonic Nature Spirit.

God’s wrath and the coming of the Anti-Christ:

Fierce Battle foreshadowing the True Demon Ending of SMT Nocturne. In this specific context, Satan could mean the Devil or the Enemy.

Lucifer and the Lady’s plan as further evidence:

The influence of Zoroastrianism in Nocturne:

Mithra, God of Divine Contracts:

Ahriman, God of Evil:

Ahura Mazda, God of Goodness (skip to 6:09):

Opinion on Demi-fiend:

From what I’ve gathered, the influence of Zoroastrianism and the Anti-Christ are purposefully placed in the game itself. It seems that Atlus Japan noted the ancient hypocrisies of devil worshipers simply being prophets of another God and used it to the full extent. Demi-fiend’s story seems to imply the struggle of the holy prophet of Zoroastrianism, Zoroaster/Zarathustra. However, Atlus is using Zoroastrianism to exemplify the philosophy of Nietzsche based on his philosophical novel. Having read the novel after reading Hatting’s review, I’m inclined to wholeheartedly agree.

The Old and Young woman, Stillness/Loneliness/Strength, Apathy, the destruction of the Manikins for being weak, emptiness, eternal occurrence, surpassing God, and being cursed with a burden are all thoroughly discussed and shown within the aphorisms of Nietzsche’s novel. It isn’t a stretch by any means to say that Atlus was heavily using Nietzsche as a persistent theme in Nocturne. Above all, Nietzsche’s novel is about fulfilling your own self-satisfaction by creating your own meaning in life beyond the strife that you suffer. That’s essentially Nocturne’s main plot and desired goal for most of the endings.

They blend this theme of overcoming and self-surpassing with the religious symbolism and imagery of the Demi-fiend becoming the Anti-Christ for the True Demon Ending. He has accepted Lucifer’s ritual, he will become the black hope of change, and will end the eternal struggle of Law and Chaos.

Opinion upon other characters of the game:

Isamu and Chiaki didn’t join the Demi-fiend and didn’t seek out his protection because they were afraid of his demonic transformation. Think about it from their perspective, they woke-up and were assaulted by demons. Even if they were able to converse with him, how could they know for sure that their former friend wouldn’t go on a murderous killing spree? Demi-fiend wouldn’t even have been able to explain how or why he became that way either. At best, he could say some strange old lady and a young blond kid gave him monstrous power and that would only further put Isamu and Chiaki on edge. There was no way of reconciling this problem either. Chiaki figures it was best to live strongly on her own because she has no other choice in the matter and Isamu just gave-up on believing in other people as a source of hope. Both are lesser known philosophical themes of Nietzsche.

Demi-fiend is taught to give-up on hope from the outside world too. The teacher fails at providing answers and the Demi-fiend can only rely on himself to solve the problems that surround him. The only one who explains anything to him is the Lady in Black. Both she and Lucifer require the Demi-fiend to lack full trust so that the Demi-fiend comes to their side based on his own volition. Kagutsuchi just wants Demi-fiend to pick a Reason and choose a future, Hikawa doesn’t care about the Demi-fiend and just wants his own goal to come to fruition, and the rest of the humans are in a more confused and horrified state than the Demi-fiend himself.
For all those reasons, I don’t think most fans adequately understood the trials that Isamu and Chiaki went through and just why they seemed to go insane for totally justifiable reasons.

Nocturne Drama CD Translation:

The Drama of Nocturne

Notable facts:

– Ryogo, a not-so-close friend of the trio in Nocturne, makes it to the hospital before the apocalypse and was a bullied kid who needed Isamu and Naoki to protect him. He has a crush on Chiaki.

– Isamu notes that Naoki (the Demi-fiend) and Chiaki are very close to becoming boyfriend and girlfriend.

– Naoki states he doesn’t respect the weak and he doesn’t respect bullies. He seems to believe people make their own destiny.

– Ryogo becomes a fiend from Lucifer giving him the demonic parasite just like Naoki in the actual game.

– During a time when Naoki was unconscious in Nocturne, Ryogo, like Naoki, turns into a fiend and attacked Isamu in the hospital. Isamu became wary of trusting anyone after that.

If someone could translate drama CDs 3 and 4, that’d be great. The most I can provide is guesswork. From what I’ve gathered, Kagutsuchi learned that Ryogo was a full fiend from the transformation that Lucifer gave him (not a demi-fiend, a full demon) and decided to kill him while he was still weak. Chiaki, or a hallucination of Chiaki, tells Ryogo about Naoki choosing the True Demon path and Ryogo becomes horrified upon learning of it. I don’t know for sure, but I’m guessing that he thought that he could prevent it.

It seems to imply that Lucifer used Ryogo as a sacrifice so that Kagutsuchi would pay less attention to Naoki. The Pixie from the hospital seems to be implied to have been Ryogo’s.

Let me know what you think of this examination in the comments section below. Thank you for reading.

Younger Americans have little issue with interracial marriage

Interestingly enough, this could be a significant factor regarding why “Black Lives Matter” has become a social movement through online campaigns around the United States. Younger Americans, especially the college educated, are far more accepting of interracial marriage than their parents generation.

That may not seem important at first glance but it has significant effects on how we evaluate the people around us in our daily lives and what we stand for as a country.

Interracial marriage is a defining moment because less people evaluate people of other skin colors as “Them” and people of their own skin color as “Us” in society. That may seem like a ridiculous explanation but the “Us Versus Them” mentality was pervasive for most of the US’s history regarding relations of people with different skin pigmentations. The older generations see melanin count as a more significant division than their children. Meanwhile, the younger generation is largely ready to just move on from divisions of skin pigmentation.

The Last Test: Younger Americans breaking the last “race” barrier

Introducing Myself and the Purpose of My Blog!

I have begun my journey into the wondrous world of Internet blogging and multimedia sharing! Now to explain what I will be blogging about and why. Hopefully, you’ll find my content interesting enough to follow me.

I’ve been ambivalent about blogging for several years for a few reasons:

1.) I’m afraid that the content I submit will be of no interest to anyone:

I’ve created this blog to try to prove myself wrong. This blog is partly an attempt by me to fight my own doubts. The overall objective of this blog is more open than others that I’ve seen. I’m sure there will be people who don’t like this format and that’s fine. Blogging can cause division simply due to matters of taste.

2.) Despite holding a Bachelors Degree in Political Science, I use to have this bizarre fear that other people should simply know better than me:

Hateful internet comments are only going to worsen that. It took a few rather low-key jobs to make me accept that I really do know more in the field of Political Science than the average citizen. I knew it intellectually after getting my degree but I had to see it viscerally to truly accept it. In the past, joining internet forums, IRC chat forums, and a few vlogging communities only seemed to result in angry comments and disapproval. The fact is the internet can show the ugly side of humanity, but that has become a given.

3.) Paradoxically, I’m afraid the political content that I will be writing could become controversial and have a negative impact on my personal life:

The unfortunate reality is people that we know can and do look into our blog posts. We make it easy by sharing pictures of ourselves online. For example, an employer could easily track a blogger down and fire them for the content on their blog simply because they don’t agree with it. Despite the idealistic presumptions about Freedom of Speech in the United States, people have been fired for writing material that they’ve posted on their blogs. As such, I’d rather not be among their number. This position should not be taken as a stance to write hate speech of any sort. I just don’t want to put myself in great personal and financial risk. I freely admit that this stance is cowardly. I do have some elitist opinions regarding the economic welfare of human societies that I’m sure the majority of people won’t agree with them. I’d rather not risk earning the ire of people that I know personally.

As such, I’ve decided to create blog entries but I will not be sharing my personal info and especially not my appearance. If you’re interested in any of my articles in this blog then feel free to share them. In the end, isn’t the content of the article the most important part to a reader? After all, I’m sure all of us can think back on reading wonderful articles by people that we never personally knew. Moreover, even if we did know who they are, would it even matter? Most people don’t personally visit the famous internet celebrities that they know. That may seem insulting but it is an overwhelmingly true fact about the majority of fans of any subject matter. That being said, If I ever do become famous, which is unlikely for obvious reasons, then someday in the future everyone will know me.

The Purpose of this Blog:

The purpose of this blog is to create content that engages people interested in politics, philosophy, psychology, economics, science, and examining deeper meanings in content that we already enjoy such as video games and film.

To speak frankly, I’ve noticed an odd disconnect in American society. For all the lauding of “freedom of speech”, people seem to be more afraid than ever in sharing their opinion about virtually anything to do with American culture because of the fear that it’ll become “too political” and start vicious arguments in real life. I don’t mean that in the context of people fearing negative publicity; I mean within our own social groups, classrooms, and sometimes our friends. Paradoxically, I’ve noticed some rather racist and dehumanizing opinions regarding minorities or political parties within most comment sections in popular news websites or within internet forums.

I hope that, if nothing else, this blog assists as a building block for people to find greater insight in any of these topics and to possibly encourage them to look into the other topics that I’ll be putting in this blog. I wish to encourage people to form opinions based on concrete statistical analysis and expert opinions. It is important to realize that it’s not shameful to learn from experts; even the experts that we don’t like. They have the most credible information regarding their field of expertise. I intend to share reading material, my perspective, and weblinks to mostly expert opinions and perspectives on these broad topics. For the broader social issues that I care about, I will try to write an in-depth piece on my examinations and perspectives regarding contentious political issues or famous people of significance regarding such issues.

However, I don’t want it to always be serious so I’ll be sharing my examinations and perspectives on books, films, and video games that I have strong opinions on. I enjoy looking into themes in video games and I’d like to do more of an analysis on themes because, contrary to popular opinion, fans aren’t always over-analyzing video games, they’re delving into the history to ascertain why we hold specific games in such high regard. What matters is the credibility of the source.

I would like to take this moment to thank Ira Glass for his inspiring and analytical words on content creation. I share this only in the hopes that it’ll inspire others as it did me, I am not affiliated with this youtube studio: