Spoiler Warning: This discussion contains spoilers for the mainline Shin Megami Tensei series and other MegaTen related series such as: Majin Tensei I and II, Digital Devil Saga Duology, the Persona series, Devil Survivor series, and well . . . potentially everything MegaTen / Shin Megami Tensei related, but those are the main video game series that get spoiled.
Content Warning: In general dialogue with others online, I tend to use expletives. Not in a way to insult in this context, but as a general habit of discourse. I don’t mean any insults towards Beadman, and apologize if any such comment was inferred or directly made by me. I do admit to purposefully using expletives to properly articulate by annoyance with Eirikjrs in this discussion at one instance. More importantly, Beadman and I have an outspoken and frank discussion on Abrahamic religious theology, its plausibility, and its history based on the evidence given by modern Western academics. I hold very negative views and am frank in my crass humor when talking about religion in general. Although, if you’ve checked my blog, then you probably knew that already.
Below is a backstory if you’re curious to learn more about who Beadman and I are, why I decided to have this lengthy discussion and asked Beadman if it was okay to share it with you all, and why I believe such discussions have value. If you would like to skip it due to lack of interest, please just scroll down below to the slideshow.
For those who may be curious or hold interest in learning about either of us more personally, I am a self-described Hindu Atheist and Beadman is a Transtheist and Surrelativist (an identifying name for the position of Emerging Theism). We had a separate discussion about how he defines his personal beliefs, but I felt it was wrong to add that to the discussion as I don’t want this to be construed as an attempt to shame or insult his beliefs as that is not my intention.
Having thought over the SMT discussion, I couldn’t help but ruminate on the many, many changes on both my beliefs and my interactions with Beadman over such a short span of time. I first met Beadman in 2013 and we had thoroughly diametrically opposed views on the Neutral ending of Shin Megami Tensei IV on the MegaTen Reddit website. He couldn’t believe that the people of the Eastern Kingdom of Mikado could be herded through Naraku in a mass exodus without casualties and criticized them all fitting into Cafe Florida at the end of Neutral. I felt he was focused on the wrong details, making a mountain out of a molehill, and quite liked the ending. I stopped following Shin Megami Tensei for awhile, because I was under the false impression that there wouldn’t be another game for another 9-10 years due to the trackrecord of mainline games usually being that far apart on initial releases. To my pleasant surprise, I was wrong, and I got to enjoy a duology from the mainline series. And… a bunch of extremely personal stuff involving my near-death from a car crash happened, and I was not in the best of emotional states because my family basically told me that it didn’t matter that I almost died, didn’t believe I was in severe pain, didn’t believe I’m suffering from lifelong neck pain no matter how many times I tell them clearly and calmly, and well…. I took it out on Beadman at one point. I repeatedly apologized to him since then, but to my surprise, he didn’t remember the incident and he generally gives me the impression that he’s aloof from such things. I think it was because he was practicing Stoicism at the time, but I don’t think that he does anymore and I think he’s better off from it. He seemed to have his own bottled up annoyances, and I don’t believe that it was due to me, per se. I didn’t inquire though, but if there is anything of substance, I sincerely wish him the best in dealing with it.
I came to terms with my own personal issues upon recognizing my family, specifically my parents, are completely awful at articulating that they care in explicit terms. They’re the unique kind of… special that can’t verbally articulate or explicitly show they care, but instead do so with actions… and ignoring social problems deliberately because they’re awful at dealing with stress; but still support me through and through. It’s a very bizarre relationship; I’m living it and I don’t know how to fully describe it. I don’t go into too much detail because they have this fear and paranoia of being judged by the public that I never quite understood so on the off-chance they ever read this and know its from me, I’ve made sure to keep terms vague, because I just don’t want to deal with any potential future melodrama from them. I’m of the personal opinion that it largely doesn’t matter, anything you say about your life to the public will be absorbed for like five minutes of conversation, maybe an insulting text or a slew of insulting texts for a little while, and then promptly forgotten about because nobody truly cares about such gossip or melodrama beyond feeling better than some stranger online for however long the emotional superiority feels good to an individual.
As you can well imagine, I had to work on my own existential dread for awhile and my ire with politics, which I think affected me more deeply than most people since I am a political scientist albeit a low-level one, Beadman has publicly mentioned on Reddit that he minored in Philosophy while majoring in a STEM related field. For my part, I’ve read every major book of Friedrich Nietzsche’s and criticized his depiction of Nietzschean philosophy as it seemed to be based on Bertrand Russell’s godawful strawman depiction rather than genuine Nietzschean philosophy. At the same time, I’ve had to modify my views on Consequentialism and Utilitarianism, because that was his main focus and he clearly knows far more about it than I do. Due to Beadman’s influence, I read and finished John Stuart Mill’s Three Essays on Religion and I find it to be a fairly good critique of the failings of religion connected to State politics, but I also discovered that Mill was a racist moron. Beadman had once criticized Atlus for the “unclean” but I pointed out that if he’s right and I’m wrong about contentions I had against Law being Utilitarianism, then Atlus was completely justified in depicting Angels borderline racists against Japanese people. Mill repeatedly, and I do mean nauseatingly so, goes on and on about how Asians are untrustworthy thieves and diseased. Even if one were to argue that Atlus should focus on the philosophy and not the person, you have to keep in mind that if they did read Mill, it would be earnestly taking the time to read this man’s philosophy while he goes on paragraph upon paragraph about how diseased their culture is, how they aren’t worth trusting and should be looked upon with suspicion, and how their culture and society is a garbage heap. Atlus depicting Angels saying Japanese are “Unclean Ones” or “the Filth” is . . . incredibly benevolent and mild compared to the asinine comments that John Stuart Mill wrote repeatedly about Asian culture. Please believe me when I say that I’m not overstating this. It’s the equivalent of I, as a US-born and raised person, reading a book which falsely claims that the US is a disease-ridden group of morons with no moral values or positives repeatedly strewn across various paragraphs while a foreign person is passionately discussing their moral philosophy. It might credibly be the case that Atlus is trying their best to depict Utilitarianism in a neutral context from the standpoint of what Mill actually said about Asian societies as a culture and people in his own very homogenized context. Please keep in mind that I actually liked what I read about John Stuart Mill’s philosophy when he kept focus on the philosophy itself, but when he went into foreign cultures . . . it got very stupid, very fast. This judgment of mine is also based upon one small book of his, I have no idea how Mill addresses Asians within the context of his larger philosophical works. Nevertheless, I now realize I misunderstood what Beadman meant since I thought he was saying Law was focused on John Stuart Mill’s Pleasure-Pain principle, but in fact, he places more emphasis on Bentham before John Stuart Mill. To the best of my knowledge and based on what I read from Mill about his own personal teacher, Bentham’s views are more vague and less focused on pleasures in his Consequentialist ideology. Mill is the one who fleshed out the philosophy to be more coherent and it seems Beadman was emphasizing the more vague version of Consequentialist ethics when critiquing Law.
Anyhow, before I began the discussion presented below, I had given him my explanation for why Nietzsche has a very big emphasis with Atlus’s work. I’m fairly sure my essay had an impact as I showed the various forms of symbolism and allegories to Nietzschean philosophy throughout the Shin Megami Tensei IV-IVA duology. I had always wanted this sort of discussion with him because I feel such a discussion, and publicly sharing such a discussion, has far more to offer than the nonsensical travesty that has become Eirikrjs blog. To emphasize this further, and to give more credence to my argument about the Anarchy route foreshadowing from a year ago, consider the fact that Dagda’s Theme is a remix of The White’s Theme.
What motivated me form this specific post, and why I find Beadman and I to be able to offer a valuable enough discussion worth reading, is that I spent four hours of my time reading all of Eirikjrs theory, I gave thorough feedback by criticizing it, and instead of people focusing on that criticism; I was merely dismissed without anyone reading any of my criticisms or taking anything I wrote with any degree of seriousness in his comments section and on Reddit. That being said, plenty of people on 4Chan, non-reddit forums, and Facebook gave my content fair criticism and actually read my content before doing so. I appreciate it. And, assuming people from 4Chan read this, I’m thoroughly confused why people there think I go on there to post or link my topics. I don’t. I’ve never posted on 4Chan once in my life thus far. As for how I became aware of 4Chan readers, WordPress gives me a refer link, if anyone links my blog posts so I was able to read the comments from specific forums. I eventually got curious enough to do a google search, and I got to say, I appreciate the fact that you have – as a community – given me fair criticism and taken the time to actually read what I write. The “Jarin Jove hurdur autistic” comments don’t bother me. And no, I didn’t give up on the Wiki I was making, I got banned from FanWiki because the people of the MegaTen Wiki filed a complaint claiming they — a fan-based group — owned all the Atlus corporate content and had my IP banned from the fan website for life. By the way, apart from maybe one Admin, none of the rest of their Admins have played MegaTen games beyond the SNES era from what they told me in personal communication, but they get upset whenever people who play these games have a different opinion from them despite the fact they don’t play any of them. Just saying.
With respect to my contentions against Eirikjrs: To be clear, I want to show first and foremost that despite Eirikrjs ability to translate, it doesn’t mean that he understands the concepts being explored by Atlus and that, at this moment in time, his arguments come from his own ignorance. He used to be so much better than this. My main criticism of him comes from a perspective of disappointment, not contempt. I’m a former fan of his and to the best of my knowledge so is Beadman. Also, to further clarify an earlier point, while Sam Hatting – a person whom I’ve never met – was my inspiration for learning more about MegaTen’s lore and eventually the religious mythology and philosophy that Atlus was referencing, Eirikjrs was a major influence that helped solidify that. That post I just linked was one of my favorites from him. He can seriously do better than the idiotic nonsense of JJCAT. For a better understanding of this, I’d like to note that not only have I thoroughly criticized that theory in Eirikjrs own blog, but Beadman – without meaning to and with no intention of doing so – accidentally demolishes Eirikjrs JJCAT theory with an off-hand comment about SMT1’s plot. That has less to do with Beadman being knowledgeable guy (which he certainly is) and more to do with the fact the JJCAT theory was based on bad evidence. If you still don’t believe me, then spend four hours reading Eirikjrs JJCAT theory like I did, you probably won’t and you simply took it as a given because he seems to have gained an expert status that’s no longer deserved. But if you do, compare it with the link I gave before that on his analysis of Nocturne; which of the two provides more facts in reference to religious allegory? Which provides the more intelligent analysis? Which is a genuine critique and which is a whiny babble with no concrete substance? Keep in mind, I’m not comparing him to me, I’m comparing him to himself. To be fair to him, I was rude in one of my comments in a blog about Hijiri, but it was mostly due to my complete dismay at him making such a poor argument and I held out hope that his negativity streak was temporary, but then JJCAT happened and I realized that he was willing to be disingenuous because he seems to really despise Atlus’s new art style for demons which I personally am neutral towards. I first began to see problems when he went on a rant about Sanat Kumara and didn’t seem to understand the theology of Theosophy that he was supposedly righteously defending by portraying Atlus as incompetent. Theosophy itself establishes that light and dark are within all deities and that the two distinctions don’t mean good and evil, as Theosophy finds the view that light and dark are good and evil to be infantile in understanding divinity. Atlus’s depiction of Sanat Kumara seems to emphasize the Christian demonization of Theosophy, which some Christian theologians ridiculed as satanic. To further illustrate that Atlus was being perfectly competent and Eirikjrs is the one who is demonstrably wrong, Vishnu-Flynn uses Light-Dark elements interchangeably, which is emphasizing Theosophy after Krishna explicitly states that Chaos and Law aren’t the problem, but rather YHVH’s versions of them are the issue. Later on, YHVH’s second form explicitly depicts gods that Christianity has bastardized. Eirikjrs own blog which has the translated interview confirms this depiction of YHVH. Despite having translated interviews, he seemed to completely miss connecting the dots towards this theme of bastardized demons and instead assumed that Atlus was lazy, because he obviously was speaking from sheer ignorance. Also, count how many times he whines about Super Sentai as if that’s actually a valid point and not his own personal preference. No seriously, consider doing it, you will not be disappointed if you’re looking for a trainwreck to laugh at and at this point, I’m tired of hoping he’ll ever change back to how he use to be.
With respect to this discourse with Beadman: So, I am concerned about this recent trend in biasing my current readership and potential future readers from ignoring my content under this wrongful belief that I am a close-minded ignoramus who despises being wrong, so I wanted to address that as directly as possible. I’ve noticed this trend has also been conducted upon Beadman too. I feel a bit responsible for that as he and I had negative interactions for . . . approximately a whole year. As it happens, he isn’t the vindictive type and let things slide, and he has become totally open to challenging my views with criticisms and accepting the criticisms I have for him. I think what prompted this change was more a change in my own attitude than his; I use to think Islam’s theology was similar to Protestant Christianity but more conservative and then I listened to ex-Muslim activists and realized I was absolutely wrong. In particular, the speaking events of Sarah Haider and this one particular panel with Stephanie Tessier in which she explained how Islam destroyed her family changed my views about Reza Aslan and TYT’s so-called “tolerance” and made me realize that Christopher Hitchens argument that religion poisons everything excessive, but a genuine call for Free Speech and Human Rights. After listening to nearly all their panels, I decided to look more in-depth into Islamic theology as research for a book I am writing. Eventually, I started seeing patterns between Shin Megami Tensei IV and Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse‘s plot compared to Islamic eschatology. I readily admitted I was less confident about it than the previous analyses, so I began discussing it with Beadman since I knew he was as well-versed in MegaTen as I was but held a different perspective. I reviewed the material I had gathered and Beadman’s objections after the discussion and while I think there’s a few tertiary forms of symbolism that are more paramount within the plot than he’s willing to admit . . . I recognized and admit that based on the evidence, he was right and I was wrong. You read that correctly. After discussing it with Beadman in length and listening to Beadman’s razor-sharp criticisms, I am completely willing to admit that I was wrong, which is the purpose of this specific post. For fans of Beadman, you can freely watch as Beadman absolutely trounced me with respect to Islam being prominent in Shin Megami Tensei IV and Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse. The reason? We both respected each other’s views and based our discussion on the evidence from the symbolism, analogies, and how the plot depicted the core philosophies. We were not, as I have repeatedly been accosted by from r/MegaTen, shouting each other down to feel good about our opinions. I wanted to see if the evidence I presented stood up to scrutiny. Beadman provided the scrutiny with hard evidence. I totally concede that he was correct. This is the kind of culture and critique I wanted from r/MegaTen but never got. Instead, it was a bunch of shitposts, people calling each other “fags” as an alignment slur such as “chaosfag” or “lawfag” or some such, and a bunch of people bandwagoning to shout down anyone with a different opinion than theirs.
So, if you’re a fan of Beadman, or me, or you’re curious what leads either of us to our conclusions or what we mutually research, or why either of us argue a philosophy is being depicted in a video game; then here’s a copious amount of material in a discussion that mainly centers around the Shin Megami Tensei IV – Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse duology. In my defense, although it’s at the tail-end and I’m skeptical how many people are curious enough to read that far in, I feel confident enough to say that the analyses that I’ve already written are securely defended as valid critiques based on the evidence of symbolism, analogies, and philosophies expressed from the plots of both games; especially about the Anarchy Route and the validity of the White. Perhaps Beadman may disagree with me on that point, but after checking it over, I do feel confident that I have effectively defended my two prior thematic analyses on the duology. I spent much more time with many more direct resources when critiquing those. Honestly, what I found most fascinating about this discussion besides the pleasant surprise in how well we were getting along, is that our massive division in perception about the duology centers around our views on the White. This massive divergence in opinion is based almost exclusively on them: Beadman argues they were unreliable narrators, but I argue that they explicitly telling the truth and the entire plot fits perfectly in place once you accept this. They were nihilistic, manipulative, and wanted something utterly psychotic; but the issues they laid out weren’t wrong or lies. Beadman presumed they must have simply shown you a crafty bit of sophistry and lied about YHVH’s created worlds being stuck in a dead-end of those two extremes. However, White K explicitly states that they have shown Flynn the dead-end of possibility, the Expanse itself is the world of possibility, and the chief reason why is because humans will constantly repeat their mistakes as every single path acknowledges in Shin Megami Tensei IV and accepts as a drawback. As far as themes and plot, we agreed with each other on just about everything else and I was personally surprised by how much.
Without further adieu, here is the full discussion we had on Discord. I had thought of making a transcript, but this format seems perfectly acceptable, easy to sift through as I made it in normal order, and easy to read. One final note of concern, the terms “edited” in the discussion when they appear is me editing as the discussion is happening due to spelling mistakes and rarely, if ever, to further clarify something. I never attempted to edit any of my comments after the discussion, in case that is a concern. You get to see me trounced in a discussion in full splendor. And then, hopefully, I’ve made a convincing argument defending the critiques I spent more time on and am much more confident in in the very latter-half. The discussion naturally turned to that discussion.
For those of you who are wondering “what kind of idiots have a lengthy discussion about a video game’s philosophy and themes” — you, dear nihilist, need to realize there is no point to you argument if you belittle every human enterprise as meaningless. Moreover, I can quite happily admit, both Beadman and I are obviously nerds; I don’t use such a term as a smear either. We nerds are the norm now, get used to it. Although, a warning on the length: it’s 155 images, partly because I had to cut out the other posters because none consented nor were interested in the discussion, and if you feel its taking too much time to read, perhaps take time for more than one sitting, if you are curious enough or interested enough to read the whole discussion. Below the slideshow of pictures is my rough outline, if anyone is still interested in examining Islamic influences in the game, then I’ll consider writing it, but I’m fairly sure that anyone who takes the time to read the discussion will agree with Beadman’s criticisms and that he thoroughly trounced my initial argument.
I hope you enjoy.
Edit: I decided to change this back to normal images as it seems better in terms of utility for anyone familiar with picture websites and it seems like less of a hassle overall.
The outline of the debunked critique I had made:
The Eastern Kingdom of Mikado:
- Emphasis on Gabriel
- Mikado is a Monarchy like the Islamic monarchies. It is a criticism of all monarchies that committed imperialist violence. The warriors are Samurai with Atlus criticizing Japan’s history of following their Emperor unquestionably, Islamic monarchies like Saudi Arabia and Bahrain destroying culture and limiting control of what people can do (burning the Black Samurai’s books), and the Spanish genocide of Native Americans (the year is 1492 in Mikado’s Gregorian Calendar).
- Beginning of the game could be synonymous with a Hajj pilgrimage.
- Mikado founded by leaving civilization; 7th century standards as Islam itself claims the 7th century standards are the endpoint of civilization. Islamic militants sometimes attack the West and the East (India has had its own share of militant Jihadist attacks on civilians) as a result of hatred for other cultures, a desire for going “back” to the yesteryears of the 7th century as the Islamic Prophet Mohammad intended, and bringing Sharia unto the entire world for people to live under or wiping them out.
- Angels have no Freewill reiterated repeatedly.
- Seraph side quest: Angel Seraph side quest; Seraph is formed from animal sacrifices (Eid al-Adha)
- Azriel in both IV Apocalypse and IV’s Law World
- Samurai of Mikado being sent to kill the Black Samurai, fighting the Hunters who want nothing to do with them, and stealing resources before annihilating Tokyo in Law in an act of genocide is formed from the Monastery’s decree, purportedly by Hugo, but is actually by Gabriel. What they’re actually doing is following a religious decree in an effort to behead someone as well as steal from them. It’s a fatwah to commit a jihad upon an entire population to justify a beheading.
- The Samurai come back with years passing by, reminiscent of the long-term consequences of war and committing to Jihad upon other civilizations.
- The Black Samurai’s trial isn’t a legitimate trial. She is strung upon wood tightly, she is not burned like in the Christian context of witch burnings, but rather beheaded by the demands of a religious clergy and ostensibly with the compliance of a monarchy. Atlus is criticizing Islamic monarchies. Lilith’s argument about the forbidden is an argument for Free Speech, even if it destroys Mikado’s civilization because individual freedom is considered worth it to Lilith. The beheading isn’t a criticism of ye olde Europe.
- The Destruction of Akira’s Statue, only to be replaced later by Flynn’s statue in Law path is reminiscent of Islam’s failings to define idols of worship, even as fully as Wahhabiism which has considered destroying the tomb of its own Islamic Prophet Mohammad so that it isn’t worshipped as an idol. It’s a failure of adapting to culture with Islamic jurisprudence and a form of hypocrisy that comes about as per human nature, despite Islam having a jihad against hypocrisy.
- Angels kill off anyone different from Mikado’s ancient standards like Navarre. Penalty of Apostasy and Jihad. Jihad is a commitment to keep the culture and civilization “pure” and all impurities need to be cleansed. In-group of Mikado citizens treated equally but those not of Mikado are killed off and flee due to persecution. Killing Isabeau due to manga. Killing those who think outside the Divine Law of God (Sharia). Seems like a stupid joke, but it actually happens in real life. Atlus is criticizing blasphemy laws by depicting them as stupid.
- Purgatorium is a reference to Islamic Limbo, which is suppose to be a barrier. This is taken in the most literal of contexts by Atlus.
- The Demon Gene that the Angels infused upon the kidnapped children that were the ancestors of Mikado’s residents. As a Muslim, you’re considered Pure, if you follow the faith (even killing people in accordance with a fatwah mandate for Jihad), but if you leave Islam then you’re considered denying God’s existence and allowing Satan or other demons to have infected you. You are considered no better than a villainous demon that must be killed for penalty of apostasy so you’re demonic influence doesn’t spread to others. The Eastern Kingdom of Mikado is precisely that kind of society in the most literal of terms. The Angels turned it into the literal world of Islamic theology.
Chaos depicts the failings of Islam:
- Demon Master-Slave society in Infernal Tokyo reminiscent of Muslims keeping non-Muslims as slaves, including sex slaves. Demon who beat his female slave is also implied to have raped her and made a child. Atlus is criticizing Islam through Chaos.
- Silas: Lucifer and Lilith use female forms to trick others into conflict, while acting seemingly congenial.
- Lilums that attack after the Issachar boss fight when you first meet the Black Samurai could be an indication of the Houris of Islam and Atlus mocking Islam’s teachings about them.
YHVH and his Universe:
- Abrahamic God’s image and name is never suppose to be uttered. Yahweh preaches New Testament, but is only One God. This is consistent with Islamic theology, as Islam claims the Sermon on the Mount happened and that Christianity’s trinity contradicts Monotheism.
- Final dungeon being Jinnah (Islamic Heaven) in exact detail from the gates (Jinnah and its 8 gates), to the skies, to the feeling of endlessness, the angels everywhere to attack you, and it being large like all of the earth going afar, similar to YHVH universe’s endlessness and the gates on the map.
- the souls of Jonathan and Walter getting their desires granted,
- and to the three doors before YHVH’s light (the top of Jinnah where YHVH purportedly is).
- The Messiah of Law, Flynn, is just a normal person able to do amazing feats of power like the Islamic Jesus being able to do amazing miracles despite being a regular person. In the case of Nanashi, it falls under the Islam’s eschatology “Two Messiahs (Jesus and another Messiah working together)
- Shesha is the “False Messiah” pretending to be Flynn. False Messiah (Islamic version of Anti-Christ) is what Shesha-Flynn is called by Merkabah and Lucifer.
- Flynn is on the cross, but remains a regular human through and through even after death. This is more reminiscent of the Jesus Christ in Islam (Jesus is the Messiah of Islam).
- Flynn is always manipulated to serve Akira/Nanashi’s will. Sealing away three of the four Archangels with Mastema was through manipulations by the Axiom. What Mastema thought was Yahweh was actually the Axiom. The Neutral path, Mastema himself implies it through his confused understanding, because he believes he’s serving YHVH.
- Color palettes of Blasted Tokyo Akira and the Original Nanashi design has a resemblance to the Islamic Prophet Mohammad.
- We never “see” Our World’s Akira. This may be lampshading the blasphemy of depicting the Islamic Prophet Mohammad.
- Nanashi is the Al-Mahdi, the second Messiah of Islam. The Guided One.
- Nanashi as Al-Mahdi: The Al-Mahdi is suppose to walk among people without anyone knowing who he really is (nobody in Tokyo knows that Nanashi is really Akira, neither Fujiwara or Skins figure out that Nanashi is his reincarnation like they do immediately with Flynn and the soldier who sacrificed himself),
- he is suppose to have a scar on his left cheek (admittedly, Nanashi and Akira both have scars on their right side),
- he is suppose to be guided by the previous prophets (Stephen is manipulating Nanashi throughout the story by showing his previous life as Akira),
- he will have the same name as the final Prophet (Nanashi gives himself a new name, which can be interpreted to be Akira, and the major choice of the game is fulfilling your karmic destiny as Akira or abandoning it to choose a path where none existed. A blind guess on my part, but its possible Nanashi named himself after his adopted father, as we never learn Boss’s name),
- his efforts will go unappreciated — people praise only Flynn after you kill Merkabah and Lucifer under the belief that Flynn did all the work, he’ll kill off all the polytheists (Penultimate dungeon, the Cosmic Egg),
- he will work alongside Islamic Jesus (Flynn joins with Nanashi in Bonds or Anarchy route),
- and – this one has two varying interpretations – he will either establish a world of peace and uphold justice . . . or destroy all the superstitious faiths entirely and establish a new caliphate/world (Nanashi either upholds justice and peace with his friends or kills off everyone who is “blaspheming” against his new religion to create a new world). In the uphold justice interpretation, it’ll only last 7 years before he dies and Islamic Jesus takes over. In the eternal interpretation, he and Islamic Jesus rule forever.
Flynn and Nanashi:
- Flynn’s journey begins, where Nanashi’s ends. Fulfilling a cyclical, possibly karmic, loop. Islam is the only Abrahamic faith that says there will be Two Messiahs. The Axiom calls upon both and they’re inextricably linked with Flynn always enforcing Nanashi’s rule as Islamic Jesus is to do for Al-Mahdi.
- Akira actually follows the Al-Mahdi prophecy closer than Nanashi does in some respects. After Flynn’s past self sacrifices himself, Akira presides over Mikado as a result of a time dilation. The Al-Mahdi is suppose to rule by some poorly construed idea of “expanding” time. Mikado expands through 1400 years, up to 1492, Akira’s advances outlive him and he’s treasured as Mikado’s founder and leader for all those years up until the angels take back control, and after the Al-Mahdi’s death, Islamic Jesus is suppose to rule eternally from then on. This could be argued to have happened in SMTIV Law, (the White dispute that with hard evidence, and Gabriel’s only response is discouraging the player from learning their knowledge, meaning that the entire Law ending is only leading Law-aligned people to believe what they want instead of looking at the evidence — the stolen goods from Tokyo, Flynn being dead, and the Flynn statue all point to a bad ending for Mikado with the last few thoughts being Jonathan’s lies to the player). Flynn literally takes over Mikado in Chaos fulfilling the Islamic prophecy but in a bastardized form of ending Mikado’s Islamic standards, and Neutral Flynn gets rid of Mikado entirely and is implied to quit just when people need him most.
- While Eirikrjrs went off the deep end, Beadmean and I discussed what Anarchy’s themes were about two years ago. He mentioned that it was about Transhumanism, which wouldn’t be the first time given DDS2. Given that the DLC of Ancient of Days, the White, and the general atmosphere of SMTIV emphasized nihilism with life itself and this carried on to the failures of clinging onto hope in SMTIVA, it seems that Atlus was making a subtle statement of Islamic religious superstition needing to be fought and taken out in favor of looking toward a meaningful future of Transhumanism. It’s not necessarily just religious superstition vs Transhumanism; In Bonds, the theme seems to be open-ended faiths of polytheism and others versus Islam as the final answer that tries to keep people into a certain stone age viewpoint to stop the potential for human progress. Similarly, it’s the Islamic worldview imposed upon by the Abrahamic God, Yahweh, versus Transhumanism in Anarchy.