Debunking the “Tragic Asshole”: Debunking Eirikrjs “Maniacs Retcon Woes” without any snark

Table of Contents for Debunking the Tragic Asshole


This post is debunking the rest of of Eirikrjs “Maniacs Retcon Woes” and please be warned this post contains Major Spoilers for SMT Nocturne and Shin Megami Tensei II. Also, minor spoilers for Shin Megami Tensei IV and a major spoiler for Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse. Additionally, this post will be quoting extensively from the full script of Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne available at the gamefaqs websiteI’ll be quoting Eirikrjs  by directly showing a blog post image which you should be able to click and enlarge; I’ve decided to show which parts of his arguments I’m referring to by quoting him in green text so that it provides a more readily available understanding. His quoted text was also changed to green to differentiate from when I quote the SMT Nocturne game script itself to avoid confusion.

I’ve had two minds about how to criticize the rest of Eirikrjs’s Maniacs Retcon Woes. I struggled with whether to give my full opinion or to try to stick to in-game content as much as possible by directly quoting the game itself to debunk his arguments. After reading some criticisms from both the r/MegaTen subreddit and the Discord server, I’ve decided that modify my original course and simply stick to criticizing Eirikrjs’s points with as minimal commentary as possible. But a part of me was conflicted about this for two reasons: I’m very likely spending more time than anyone else on reading his blog to make my refutations as accurate as possible and apart from his JJCAT theory which I felt needed a debunking on the moral grounds alone; I’m not sure why anyone would care enough to read a blog rebutting another blog. If he did ever respond, this could end-up going into a rabbit hole. Moreover, a blissfully simple fact occurred to me: anyone who had played SMT Nocturne would or should know enough about the game to tell where Eirikrjs is simply flat out wrong about what he says and can look over the game’s script – that he himself provided a link for – to debunk him. After all, what is the point of making a blog post where I criticize and debunk him using the game script, when the game script itself should suffice? The debunking of his Kabbalah references argument had a point because it was related to mythology content that Nocturne was referencing which people may need a more clear understanding of, but the in-game content itself should suffice in debunking everything that he said and the parts that it can’t were meant to be openly interpretative for the players anyway, which means he didn’t understand the narrative purpose. Nevertheless, I’m sure it has been sometime for people who played SMT Nocturne, so providing this rebuttal could still be of some value for those who don’t remember certain details or who didn’t pay too much attention to the plot.

After having read and re-read his blog posts just to formulate and provide these criticisms, I’ve painted my own picture on how I think Eirikrjs came to the conclusions that he did and why his views seem so off. I won’t share them here, but you can probably already make an educated guess based on my comments in the other two blog posts. Now, there’s no such thing as an unbiased opinion as even a supposedly neutral perspective can fall into logical fallacies like the middle-ground fallacy, but I hope that readers can understand and appreciate that by boringly referencing the game script to rebut Eirikrjs, I am being as clear and honest as I can be in showing that Eirikrjs sincerely has no idea what he’s talking about. Thus, he should no longer be viewed as an “expert” on knowledge about the MegaTen franchise when he’s constantly making these disparaging blog posts that don’t have any credibility. He chose to expend the goodwill that the MegaTen community gave him to make such blog posts and the culpability is solely his. At the very least, he made complaints without doubling back to check the script to make sure that his views were accurately representing SMT Nocturne. Even worse, he exploited the gullibility of his own fanbase who trusted him to provide accurate information.

SPECIAL NOTICE: The quotes from the game are primarily from the Gamefaqs script and may contain some errors in wording due to either the game script writer on gamefaqs accidentally making typos (which is understandable due to the sheer breadth of the content that they copied and I don’t hold it against them at all) or because of formatting errors when copying and pasting onto the blog. I found two and made sure to check Youtube videos to confirm that the game itself had proper sentence structure and they did in the instances I checked. Thus, any spelling mistakes in the game script quotes shared below is not a reflection of Atlus USA.

Without further ado:

  • After Chiaki’s transformation event, Asakusa:Goes cuckoo. Says the Terminal gives him omniscience and shows you other major events happening currently in the Vortex. Intends on keeping the power of the Amala’s information to himself and says he is the only one worthy of a Reason and creating a new world. Senses Isamu’s presence, who sucks Hijiri into the Network.

  • At Amala Temple: Isamu reveals the truth about Hijiri, that he was manipulating you and intended on sacrificing you to access all the Temple’s Magatsuhi. Hijiri accepts his fate and is sacrificed by Isamu.

With respect to the last two bulletin points: There was never any “manipulation” revealed. I’m not sure what Eirikrjs is talking about. Hijiri was not manipulating the Demi-fiend and Isamu never says that. The plan to use others to collect Magutsuchi was what Isamu was talking about, Hijiri may have intended to use that on Demi-fiend or Isamu but we can only speculate from there since no such event ever happened nor could Hijiri have ever acted on such a plan. If Hijiri wanted to manipulate the Demi-fiend, he wouldn’t have told him under no uncertain terms that he wanted to bid for a Reason too, so Eirikrjs point here seems to contradict itself. Judging from the fact that he doesn’t even address this contradiction, as he just tries to ignore it by simply saying that Hijiri went “cuckoo” when literally the entire point of the Vortex world is to create a Reason to remake the world.

The script:

First, of Hijiri stating his intentions:

HIJIRI:
Hey, Hero. I can’t believe what happened in Ikebukuro… The return of
Gozu-Tennoh… I hope it won’t create even bigger problems…I bet you’re
wondering how I know about it already. Well, nothing escapes me now. I can
learn anything with the power of Amala, just by using this terminal… For
example, here’s what’s going on right now in the Vortex World:

–Various scenes flash before you, and Hijiri describes them.–

HIJIRI:
Hikawa is on his way to the Diet Building, in search of Magatsuhi. Some girl named Chiaki has inherited the power of Gozu-Tennoh. There’s an abandoned temple where a ton of Magatsuhi lies forgotten. Manikins are gathered in Mifunashiro, their holy ground,
demanding their own Reason.

–The scenes stop flashing.–

HIJIRI:
And…
…..
That’s all you really need to know right now. You see, no one knows more
about the Vortex World than I do. That’s why I should be the one creating
the new world! …Not Hikawa, or your teacher, or even you! I could truly
change the world! …Me, and me alone! Everything in existence!

–The pillar begins to glow and spin rapidly.–

HIJIRI:
It’s Isamu! Damn it, you should be dead…I won’t let you have the power of
Amala!!

…What!? He’s pulling me in…!!

UOOOOOOOOHHH!!

> Hijiri disappeared into the Amala Network.
> Will you use the terminal to go after Hijiri?

What exactly was him going cuckoo in this? Everyone is vying for the power of Creation as that’s the whole purpose of the world itself. If that’s literally the point of the world as set forth by the God of the world, what’s cuckoo about it? It makes no sense for Eirikrjs to have said that.

And then, of what Isamu actually said, which was referring to using a sacrifice to collect Magatsuchi. Isamu did not reveal that Hijiri was “manipulating” Demi-fiend, This is particularly bad for Eirikrjs argument because he nonchalantly repeats the same claim later on. Anyway, the script:

ISAMU:
Come in, I’m inside.

–You enter. You see Isamu talking to Hijiri, who is hanging as if crucified.–

ISAMU:
…Quit complaining. This is the last job I have for you. You can rest as long as you want after you’re done.

HIJIRI:
…I hate this. Magatsuhi makes my body itch all over. Let’s just get this over with. I need my beauty sleep.

ISAMU:
Well, what can I say? We all serve a purpose…You guys are the stepping
stones. It’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it, right? Thanks for all
the trouble you’ve gone through, Hero. The Magatsuhi those powerful demons
were hoarding is now mine. It’s enough to bring my Reason, Musubi, into
being.

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
::::::::::::::::::::: CHOICES :::::::::::::::::::
:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
: :
: 1) What are you doing? :
: :
: I’m preparing for the ritual of Reason. See that? The :
: Magatsuhi he’s gathering will give power to my Reason. :
: To be honest with you, Hero, I’m not the one who came :
: up with this brilliant idea. He did. Of course, he :
: planned to use the Magatsuhi himself… and it would :
: have been you or me hanging up there!! :
: :
: 2) Stop this, Isamu. :
: :
: Why do you always have to be such a goody two-shoes? :
: You think you know everything. Listen, I’m not the one :
: who came up with this idea…He did. Of course, he :
: planned to use the Magatsuhi himself… and it would :
: have been you or me hanging up there!! :
: :
:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

HIJIRI:
…Yeah, I came up with the plan, but that doesn’t mean I would’ve carried
it out.

ISAMU:
…Oh, I’m sure you would have. ‘In a world like this, one life doesn’t
amount to much…’ …You said that, remember?

HIJIRI:
It doesn’t matter what I say now, does it? It’ll just sound like an excuse
to you. So, go ahead and do whatever it is you’re gonna do. Most things
that are worthwhile require some sort of sacrifice. I’ve made many sacrifices in my lifetime. But, I’ve always followed the path that I believe in. Just remember, you’ll pay a high price for following that path.

ISAMU:
Don’t worry. Like you said, it’s my decision. I’m the one in charge here.
…Hey, Hero. You’ve been such a good friend. To show my gratitude… I’d
like you to perform the ritual to summon the god of Musubi. We have plenty of Magatsuhi. The only thing left to do is cast him into the depths of Amala…
Will you do it, for the sake of Musubi?

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
::::::::::::::::::::: CHOICES :::::::::::::::::::
:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
: :
: 1) It’d be my pleasure. :
: :
: HIJIRI: :
: Thanks for keeping me entertained, Hero. :
: Good luck to ya… :
: :
: 2) No, I can’t. :
: :
: ISAMU: :
: Too bad. You must have mistaken him for a friend. :
: The world doesn’t need guys like him. They only take :
: up space. Oh well…I guess I’ll have to finish this :
: myself. :
: :
: –He looks to Hijiri.– :
: :
: Okay, it’s time to say goodbye. :
: Soon, you’ll have all the rest you could ever want. :
: :
: HIJIRI: :
: Ha ha ha… Try your best, kid…

Eirikrjs is free to interpret Hijiri’s character in this way, but this is not at all how I and many others viewed him. For better context, I beat Nocturne with four full playthroughs going Shijima, TDE, TDE, Musubi in my main save file so far and alternating with Yosuga in other save files where I didn’t do the final Kalpa scene. I’ve done the Yosuga route twice too, if I count the alternate save files. In all cases, within my main save file, I didn’t view Hijiri as this; he certainly betrayed Demi-fiend, but what on earth is Eirikrjs talking about when repeatedly calling Hijiri a deceptive schemer? Hijiri wouldn’t have betrayed you by flat out telling you that he would pursue his own Reason to remake the world, if he was supposed to be some deceptive schemer. Even if we were to interpret his actions prior to his decision to betray you as “scheming” as Eirikrjs put it, it was mutually beneficial, and the Demi-fiend benefitted more from Hijiri helping him than the other way around. Everything Hijiri did up to that point was for the Demi-fiend’s own benefit and he always asked for your views on the situation while respecting your privacy. By surprising contrast, Isamu demanding you knock out the demons in the three pyramids was quite clearly for his own self-interests. Additionally, Eirikrjs got details about Hijiri partially wrong. Hijiri is a journalist for an Occult magazine, the very magazine that he gives you at the start of the game. Since I suspect some of Eirikrjs fans will call me a liar on this:

MAN: You wouldn’t normally associate a hospital with the occult, but…That place is different….Heheh. False info is pretty common in the occult industry.If it does turn out to be wrong, just laugh it off, okay?Well, I’d better get going. My name’s Hijiri.  If we ever meet again, let me know what you thought about my article.

 

Eirikrjs next paragraph is so wrong that I don’t even know where to start. I suppose I’ll begin with the initial claim of his. He’s wrong to say that Hijiri’s revelation added nothing to the main plot as there is no explanation given for how or why Hijiri got into the hospital. A flash of light is too brief of an explanation. Recall, the beginning of the game where it is explained that only the few people in the disturbingly empty hospital will live past the end of the world:

YUKO:…Hi, Hero. I’m glad I made it in time, back there at the basement… I wouldn’t want you to fall prey to a [demon]. You heard what Hikawa said,right? The world is about to be engulfed by chaos. It’s called the[Conception]… The rebirth of the world, an event which no human has ever witnessed. Everyone outside of this hospital will perish. I doubt anyone would approve of such a terrible thing… But, even if we let this old world continue to exist, it would eventually lose all of its power. The world must first die, for it to be born again… And I alone will carry the burden of its sin…No, I don’t have any regrets.

In the next paragraph, Eirikrjs goes onto say:

The backstory also attempts to primp his entry into the Vortex World. According to the Lady in Black, Hijiri actually died with all the other humans because he didn’t make it into the hospital before the Conception. She then asks a moronic question: “Did it not seem odd to you, that he was in the Vortex World unaffected, unchanged?” No…because he doesn’t seem any different compared to other characters when you first meet them, like Chiaki or Hikawa. He undergoes a personality change just like the others, too. He’s also a coward who hides in the Terminal rooms because of the demons stalking outside. Whoever wrote this was really reaching here.

This is Eirikrjs quote-mining the Lady in Black as she’s specifically referring to Hijiri being unaffected despite not having been at the hospital when the Conception occurred, which he quoted himself so I don’t even know what to call this because the full quote is right there explaining the context that she’s referring to. He calls Lady in Black’s question moronic… when she’s specifically referring to the fact that everyone outside of the hospital should have died and the anomaly of Hijiri not having died with the rest of the previous world:

–The man in a wheelchair raises his cane. You see Hijiri suspended in the air.–

LADY IN BLACK:

The man I am referring to was known as Hijiri in your previous world. He died, but as fate would have it, he carried on in the Vortex World. Think back to when you first met him, to when the Conception occurred…

–Flash to scene of the Conception.–

LADY IN BLACK:

…Yes, he did lose his life like all the others. As he was heading to the hospital, where you already were, the Conception began…and his life ended. Did it not seem odd to you, that he was in the Vortex World unaffected,unchanged?

–See a scene of Hijiri floating around in Magatsuhi.–

Also, Eirikrjs’s claim “He’s also a coward who hides in the Terminal rooms because of the demons stalking outside. Whoever wrote this was really reaching here.” doesn’t make any sense. How exactly is Hijiri suppose to fight the demons? Chiaki gets her arm cut off by Sakahagi and we see Isamu get knocked out by Thor and then he gets imprisoned and tortured twice since the process of extracting Magatsuchi is said to be synonymous with feeling like a person is being tortured based on what the Manikins say in the Kabukicho Prison. I suppose the most apt analogy would be the Cruciutus curse from Harry Potter. What exactly was Hijiri suppose to do? If anything, he was trying to make himself useful to you for the majority of the game. Fusing with demons wasn’t known until later and by that point, Hijiri had already become an expert of sorts with gaining knowledge from the Amala terminal and there was no reason for that because Demi-fiend and him were mutually helping each other. Hijiri was behaving in the most optimal way, considering his situation.

So, of course, when Nocturne didn’t live up to sales expectations (so the stories go), the Maniacs content added in LAW and CHAOS by the bucketload. Hence, the Lady in Black says of Hijiri’s fate: “‘Watch, and record the history of the world… Witness the entirety of the endless war between order and chaos… That is your punishment for your unforgivable sin…'” So Hijiri was sent to the Vortex World to record another Law/Chaos war…even though neither have any bearing on what happens there. What does Law affect when the angels have become the representatives of Darwinism? Additionally, Hijiri also isn’t privy to the actual Law/Chaos conflict going on with Lucifer’s scheme in the Labyrinth.

Even without the TDE’s additions of the Fiends, this can easily be explained by the conflict of humans being used as Magatsuchi by demons and humans with god sponsors forming a Reason to reshape the world. Eirikrjs doesn’t seem to understand the version of Chaos present in SMT Nocturne is exclusively focused on Freedom. Yosuga’s path has hierarchy which is explicitly shown in its own route within the final dungeon and during Demi-fiend’s trial at Ikebukuro before meeting Gozu-Tennoh for the first time. Yosuga’s path isn’t about freedom and although I have admittedly not played it yet, it could arguably be harkening back to the theme of SMT1’s Law about Power without God being evil, since Yosuga gets Kagutsuchi’s approval.

But wait! There’s more nonsense with Hijiri’s role as a witness! So his punishment is to record what happens for eternity, right? But just a few sentences after the Lady in Black says that, she notes: “Tragically, he has no memory of his sin, his punishment, or even his death.” In other words, Hijiri has no idea what he’s doing. He cannot recall his purpose. You might even say that this completely undermines this entire backstory, but it (surprisingly) doesn’t explain what happens to Hijiri’s soul after death–does he experience a recap of events like you’d see at the beginning of a TV show, which he then feverishly scrawls on parchment before being reincarnated again? Either way, another problem with this idea is that Hijiri dies before he can witness the resolution of the Vortex World’s conflicts! It’s like he was sent off to sea before the airing of the season finale, adrift in a vessel with no satellite signal, let alone a VCR or TiVo (hey, this is 2003)

Please note that I’m trying to be as respectful as possible, but I really, really had to hold back any snarky comments with this paragraph and the quote he used. My snarky response would have been nothing vulgar, just a quibble about facepalming, because… well, this confusion of Eirikrjs on this point is quite literally explained by the previous sentences that the Lady in Black said which Eirikrjs quoted on his blog himself:

LADY IN BLACK:

It was all because of the mortal sin which he committed… He was a being toyed with by fate, condemned to carry the burden of atonement forever. His punishment was to see with his own eyes all that happens in the world, to record the balance of events through all the ages. A task as endless as scooping water out of the sea with a cup… He was condemned to wander the infinite span of time.

The entire point is that Hijiri can’t do it. Eirikrjs acts like this is a plot hole when the entire point is that it is an impossible task and Hijiri is being eternally condemned because of its absurdity. That is, even Hijiri not knowing and not being able to fully witness the end of the conflict in SMT Nocturne after Isamu kills him was the point. It’s an impossible task. I can’t believe I have to explain this or that there are people gullible enough to think this was a plot hole that they actually gave this a “like” on his blog. I’m holding back on speaking further, because wow. Hijiri’s lack of memories only further reinforces the plot, not contradict it. The whole point is that he can’t do it.  I think I know why Eirikrjs could have even made this argument, but I will continue to hold back in an effort to be as . . . kind as possible and stick to the evidence.

Moreover, the Lady in Black says Hijiri’s actual form is that of a Manikin. This contradicts multiple things Hijiri says himself. He says of the Manikins’ genesis, “Oh yeah, I found out something interesting about Asakusa. This is where the Manikins are created. They’re made from the black mud that’s scooped up from a river around here.” However, Hijiri says of his Conception experience that “all of a sudden, I was blinded by a bright light and the next thing I knew, I was here in this room. I took a quick look around, and it looks like I’m in a hospital…Since you’re here too, does that mean this is Shinjuku Medical Center?”

Sigh. It doesn’t contradict anything at all. I’ll deal with the latter half afterwards as it relates to Eirikrjs next point.

First the Manikin part, the script thoroughly explains this:

LADY IN BLACK:
…What the matter, Hero? My master is resting right now. …That’s a very
rare item that you have there. It’s called the [Afterlife Bell]. It has the
power to resurrect wandering souls. I thought it was still hidden in the
Labyrinth of Amala… A Manikin must have stolen it and fled, in hopes of
returning to the Vortex World…Speaking of which, do you know how Manikins are born? They are originally fragments of human emotions… that acquire physical form and become sentient.

–You see flashes of the Conception.–

LADY IN BLACK:
When the Conception took place, Tokyo was purged of humans.
It was a necessary step toward the rebirth of the world…

–The screen goes completely white.–

LADY IN BLACK:
But, even after they died, their souls lingered. And likewise… their
emotions. Weak emotions dissipated instantly, but strong ones remained…

–Flash to the scene where Chiaki’s Reason was born.–

LADY IN BLACK:
Those emotions sought receptacles, and found refuge in the substance closest to life… Earth. They merged with the earth and took shape one after another. For some, they became what they longed to be… For others, a side of them that they abhorred surfaced. Human emotions became Manikins and inhabited the Vortex World.

–You see various close-up shots of Manikins you have encountered.–

LADY IN BLACK:
Creation is forbidden to them, and their very existence will be denied once
the new world has been born, but…

–See a shot of Futomimi and Sakahagi.–

LADY IN BLACK:
Some Manikins have possessed exceptional strength.

This next part I separated from the rest of the paragraph, because of what he so shamelessly did:

First, there are no other Manikins in the game that don’t know they are Manikins.

This is quite clearly Eirikrjs blatantly contradicting himself. First, he called Hijiri not knowing his own curse to be a dumb plot point, now he’s trying to argue that Hijiri not knowing that he was a Manikin is a plot hole. Like good grief, Lady in Black explained this and he quoted it himself. Since I don’t expect anyone to believe me, here are the quotes:

LADY IN BLACK:

Tragically, he has no memory of his sin, his punishment, or even his death.He believes that he survived the Conception, and has acted accordingly. As for the result of his efforts… you already know the outcome. In the body of a Manikin, Hijiri challenged those vying for creation…and he lost his body once again.

The rest of the paragraph:

It would also be odd that Hijiri ended up in the hospital after being created in Asakusa, though the way things in the Vortex World are established it makes it seem that certain demon factions and the Manikins themselves existed for far longer than the few hours it takes you to be introduced to them. Nonetheless, Hijiri experiences the Conception in an instant and winds up in the hospital Terminal room. There is precedent for bodily transport, as you experience the Conception with Ms. Takao on the roof and wake up in the basement after being transformed; however, Lucifer may have moved you to the basement for symbolic “rebirth” purposes. (Come on, you know he would do something like that.) Overall, this bit of the extra scenario just seems unlikely for logistical reasons. The simpler explanation is that Hijiri, someone aware of the occult happenings at the hospital, followed your lead to investigate and got transported to the Terminal room when the Conception occurred, so he’s still unsettled when he arrives. I mean, teleportation is associated with him, after all! 

Hijiri did not experience the Conception in an instant. This is literally contradicted by in-game footage during Lady in Black’s explanation where it is shown that either Kagutsuchi or the Great Will brought him through the Amala Network to send him on his task. Before that, his soul was wandering aimlessly in the Amala network.

https://youtu.be/wEOFghHovkM?t=341

This is shown in the game. Why didn’t Eirikrjs double-check this? Yet again, I must refrain from speaking what I suspect happened.

One last thing that would be remiss to go unmentioned. Though I’m anti-Hijiri-is-Aleph, I have to admit that during my Nocturne playthrough, the Lady in Black’s story definitely seemed to imply such a connection. I mean, who else could it be? Why mention a “mortal sin” without explaining what it is? And considering how the Maniacs content is eager to reference past games and offer the fanservice and traditions the original release intentionally denied, I honestly can’t dismiss it as a possibility. But does YHVH actually curse Aleph for defeating him? Check out his relevant dialogue from SMT2 for each route, expertly translated by Dijeh:

LAW:

Pre-battle, after Satan’s betrayal: Judge Satan! Thou sayest thou shalt judge me, thou created being! If that be so, ye shalt be stricken by my lightning and fall in Hell! Burn in the eternal flames of Hell! Ye demons! Ye humans who walk by the side of demons!

Post-battle: Being judged by my own creation means that ye have already let go of my hand. Think ye that ye shall be able to find your way without the help of my unseen hand? Remember well. Humans can live with nothing to trust or rely on. But humans are not strong. Every time humans shall seek my help, the Great Will of the Universe shalt bring me forth countless times…

NEUTRAL:

Pre-battle: Praise my name! There is no one to rival my glory. Praise my name! Ye have finally showed to me. Accursed child of man, Aleph! Thou art a wicked human, a created being that cannot go against my law. Hiroko! Thou hast offered thy body to create an accursed human. Not only have ye both violated my laws, ye have even come to stand before me. The many sins ye have committed are worth certain death. Still, after that irredeemable death, after the continuous persecutions in Hell, your reincarnations shall be stricken by calamities and divine retribution until the very last! 

Post-battle: Ye accursed humans! Ye have finally committed the ultimate sin. Now there is nothing left for ye who have destroyed me, the Creator, the father of all, nothing to trust, nothing to rely on. Ye have even killed the Demon King Lucifer. What shall ye do by yourselves? Remember well. Humans can live with nothing to trust or rely on. But humans are not strong. Every time humans shall seek my help, the Great Will of the Universe shalt bring me forth countless times…

CHAOS:

Pre-battle: Humans, demons…in the end, they are all my creations. Your blades cannot even scratch me. If that be so, ye shall be stricken by my lightning and fall in Hell! Burn in the eternal flames of Hell! Ye demons! Ye humans who walk by the side of demons!

Post-battle: It is your victory. The Creator defeated by his own creations shall now vanish. I cannot bear to see the world that used to move under my law descend into chaos. Who shall be the leader of the new but chaotic world? Lucifer? Shall Aleph and Hiroko be worshipped as saviors? Remember well. Humans can live with nothing to trust or rely on. But humans are not strong. Every time humans shall seek my help, the Great Will of the Universe shalt bring me forth countless times… 

The most tantalizing of YHVH’s lines are those before the Neutral final battle. This is probably the entire basis for the Hijiri = Aleph hypothesis. However, this appears to be an empty threat unless YHVH actually kills Aleph which, due to our bias as players, we assume doesn’t happen. On the other paths, he threatens Aleph and company to eternal torture in Hell…yet we never hear any crazy theories about those ramifications. The common threat all three paths share is that, after defeat, YHVH says the Great Will (through human desire) will revive him. This is probably the actual “punishment”: Humans need to tread carefully and depend on each other rather than the supernatural, as the specter of Law/Neutral/Chaos looms ever large.

Eirikrjs is most likely wrong here. Being eternally damned is the outcome of all three endings. The explanation in Neutral doesn’t just apply to Neutral, it’s just extra detailed information to give people a greater understanding of the events. I’ll give two examples from other mainline games. In SMTIV, Lucifer explains that so long as humans exist then beings such as himself, God, and the White will never disappear; this information is obviously not exclusive to just the Chaos route. Similarly in SMTIVA, Krishna explains in Bonds that he can’t be perma-killed because of Shesha’s protections in the Cosmic Egg, and he’s back in the place where you released him in both the Anarchy and Bonds routes. Granted, SMTII is an older game, but its not difficult to understand that the impact of killing God would have the same curse in all three routes, but only one gives you the greater context to encourage multiple playthroughs of the game. As for his other point, “our bias as players” makes no sense as an argument. To propose that he’s using his own bias is him trying to argue against the lore based on his own fanfiction beliefs. To repeat what I told him in my comment post: YHVH wouldn’t even have to fight the second time, just revive and send them off to be eternally damned after their natural mortal deaths. If he revived after they died natural deaths, which the game and Lore establishes as possible, he could eternally damn them with ease. This was such a bad argument and that’s all I will say on this specific paragraph so as not to sound crass.

But refuting the Hijiri-Aleph connection is that Japanese commentary on the subject, as I’ve researched, tends to be light and what few mentions exist could be influenced by the English fanbase; I have a Japanese Nocturne: Maniacs fanbook that, as far as I can tell, makes no overt mention of the connection even though the journalist Hijiri is used as a framing device to introduce the content of each chapter. There’s also the fact that SMT4, a game even more eager than Nocturne’s bonus content to reference the past, offers no clear Aleph analogue/infinite water scooper. There was even a perfect opportunity in SMT4A’s Heroes DLC for the Demi-fiend to say to Aleph that he “seems familiar,” but that didn’t happen. And speaking of that DLC, Aleph mentions that he was killed by the Megiddo Ark, which only fires on Law–meaning they incorporated the Aleph that would be damned to eternal punishment in Hell rather than reincarnated torture. Clearly this connection has never been important to Atlus. Hijiri’s past self could just as well describe an original character as much as Aleph.

This is Eirikrjs either admitting that he’s never played the Neutral route of SMT2 or willfully lying, because SMT2’s YHVH prefaces the quote that Eirikrjs took by explaining he will first torture them in hell and then after an aeon, he will reincarnate them:

https://youtu.be/VzVUcH0KJC8?list=PL7Qiw4LezW3r0O3oS7xSs9_vDyXB36jaX&t=299 

Time Stamp: 5:00 – 5:20

And to repeat what I said in his comment section: Why would a fan guide, even an official one, spoil one of the major plot twists of the game? Why would IVA’s extra content spoil a major plot twist of Nocturne’s game? Aleph KNOWS who SMT1 Hero is, and there’s no connection mentioned there either despite them being from the same world and Hero’s Statue being in SMT2.

Speaking of Hijiri’s “mortal sin,” if killing YHVH is truly what that is describing, then Lucifer and the Lady in Black are trying to recruit the Demi-fiend to do the very same thing, even if the initial goal is to stop the cycle of creation. Wouldn’t the Demi-fiend be consigned to the same fate, then? The Lady in Black doesn’t think so, as she says in the concluding lines of her Hijiri dialogue, “Do you want your life to be predestined as well, or would you rather choose your own actions? If you do not wish to be ruled by destiny… If you would prefer to walk with demons on a new, untrodden path, then please come visit my master. You can open the door ahead with the candelabrum I gave you… Will you come meet my master?” She is implying that the Demi-fiend’s path as a True Demon will not come at a cost like Hijiri and that this new path will be unique to him. Of course, this hinges on Lucifer being a sympathetic, trustworthy character. LUCIFER. I’ll pull a Shin Megami Tensei and let you interpret that yourself. But the answer could very well be that the “mortal sin” was never killing YHVH in the first place. Maybe you were meant to come to your own conclusion? Hmm.

Trying very hard to be respectful and not go on a rant to explain why Eirikrjs argument isn’t completely asinine. At no point does the Lady in Black say that this won’t happen to the Demi-fiend and his assumptions on that are completely disproven by the game repeatedly. This is the strongest evidence for a conjecture of what I think Eirikrjs did to come to this conclusion. I’ll just get to the script to thoroughly disprove this. From the True Demon Route and Ending:

–Kagutsuchi attacks. After you deal the finishing blow:– 

VOICE:  How foolish… What good can come of this, when you are tainted black…?  …Be forewarned, demon who was once human. Though I may perish, your soul  will never again be at ease…The final hour is imminent. Darkness shall  face justice in the last battle… You will not escape from the fire of   judgment… Let fear grip your heart! Because of your transgressions, you   will be cursed for all eternity! 

–Kagutsuchi crumbles.– 

–The light of Kagutsuchi becomes stronger on the top of the Tower, until it bursts and shoots forth into the world, raining down on the earth like swords.You are lying on your stomach in darkness. You stand, and the old woman and little blond boy appear behind you.–

And directly after Kagutsuchi says that, Lucifer explains as follows:

OLD GENTLEMAN IN A WHEELCHAIR:A world is created,populated by mankind,and destroyed…This cycle is what maintains the flow of time: when the cycle stops, so does time. And now, time has met her death. In place of the the creation of the new world, a new power of darkness emerged… reigning over chaos, heaping death upon death. You must no longer have any notion…of where your strength will lead you. The Great Will shall curse you for going against his way, and place a heavy burden of atonement on your shoulders, which you shall bear for all eternity. Fear not, for only by receiving that curse can you truly walk the path of conquest. But first, I must know the extent of the power of darkness you hold within. Behold the supreme power of darkness,created by none other than the Great Will himself…

–The man in the wheelchair fades into darkness. Behind you, the puddle of blood has grown enormous. It rises and takes form.You now must fight Lucifer.–

Prior to the section I just quoted, Lucifer heavily implies that Demi-fiend’s power will only skyrocket from then onwards. A theme that I don’t think Eirikrjs or many MegaTen fans seem to understand is that one of the chief Nietzschean themes that Atlus always follows through with in Mainline is that every decision has burdens entailed with it. What you need to decide for yourself are which burdens that are worth carrying and suffering for. What is the most meaningful sacrifice to you? There’s no such thing as a perfect happy ending, it’s a form of realism that I think meshes perfectly with the themes of Mainline. Perfection is a delusion; we must choose what to suffer for. The Reason endings carry the burden of following through with leading the next civilization to come (except for Musubi, but I have my own interpretation for that one). Neutral comes with its own drawbacks that Lucifer warns you about. TDE is accepting the curse and moving onwards for a path of conquest to free the Amala multiverse.

Anyway, this is all why I think the Lady in Black’s commentary about Hijiri is just backstory for backstory’s sake! It’s supposed to sound cool–and that’s it. No thought given to what else it impacts. You could substitute Hijiri for Futomimi or Sakahagi and it would affect nothing. Sloppy writing at the conceptual level! What else is there to say?

This sloppiness is also why Hijiri’s extra origin story reminds me of SMT4, because it seems every bit as contrived and overwrought as that game’s worst bits. And honestly, it’s the only one of the Lady in Black’s dialogues that’s even particularly egregious, but it all has to do with how little it has to do with the actual narrative. And given that Yamai is the only one of the Maniacs writers to also have a hand in SMT4, I’m seeing a connection. It’s sad to say, but I think Yamai, the guy in charge, might be the weak link in the Maniacs Team chain.

You actually can’t substitute either, because they’re never shown to use terminals. Also, I hope I’ve sufficiently shown that his explanation for “sloppy writing” was not true and you should instead consider just unsubscribing and no longer ever reading his content because he doesn’t bother double-checking before going on these faux-happy diatribes of his. Again, holding back on what I suspect happened.

For #1, I honestly feel like it’s the opposite, that the Demon ending has the stronger appearance of Lucifer; for one, the Child actually appears and says something, and not for something insignificant but the heralding of a continued chaotic existence for demons. For #2, yes, the Demon ending is technically Neutral I think, but maybe only on a technicality. It’s otherwise very Chaos-friendly or, at the very least, strongly anti-Law. I also agree that it represents an indecisive, vacillating stance–and is basically an indictment of the Isabeau School of Neutrality. #3, before looking up the dialogue I might have agreed but since there are multiple references to Child merely wanting entertainment with no real goal (other than possibly screwing things up, see below), the idea of Lucifer desiring the Demi-fiend emulate him seems more Maniacs.

When you consider the reaction Aradia earned from the Old Woman, Freedom doesn’t seem like it was a goal for the Child either. While she says the “little master” wants to see any ending the Demi-fiend can achieve, Aradia’s appearance “can only mean trouble.” Bizarre, right? But even though it’s ultimately abortive, Aradia is Yuko’s Reason sponsor and influencer of the Freedom ending; to get it, you must answer both of Aradia’s “flag” questions correctly, in addition to rejecting Isamu, Chiaki, and Hikawa when they go full demon. Another way to look at earning the Freedom ending is:

For the portions referring to Lucifer and the Lady, the quotes only make sense in the very version that Eirikrjs is woefully attempting to dispute doesn’t fit the overarching narrative and are somehow tacked “add-ons” when they transition completely smoothly with the narrative and plot better than the vanilla version. Without the True Demon Ending, there’s nothing for Aradia to muddle. Furthermore, without the True Demon route, there’s no reason whatsoever for Lucifer and the Lady having given Demi-fiend the Magatama to begin with. Finally, the narrative doesn’t support Lucifer wanting Demi-fiend to emulate him. Lucifer and the Lady wanted Demi-fiend to freely choose of his own volition to seek him out. Their interest is seeing what role and how far their decision to give the Demi-fiend the Magatama will go. Lucifer and Lady do ultimately hope that you agree with their views and accept joining them, but the decision is always yours. They hold back just enough so that you make the decision on whether to trust them or not. If you choose a Reason, they’ll be disappointed but they accept that is your decision. If you choose Human Freedom or the Normal Demon Ending, they respect your decision. They never insist or force their opinions on you. SMT Nocturne’s presentation of Lucifer and the Lady emphasize Freedom with Strength as an ancillary – but crucial – to that goal. Don’t believe me? How about the fact that they flat out state it?

LADY IN BLACK:
You have vanquished all the Fiends, and now you stand here, just as he
hoped… A demon with the strength to become the champion of chaos… Moniker… Will you lend your strength to us, for the sake of all who live in darkness? I cannot force you to help us…If you choose to walk the path of a human, then there is no need for you to return here. But, if you have doubts about the laws of the universe… about fate, or the providence of the Absolute One…then you should come to us, at the very bottom of the Labyrinth.There you shall be  born again as a full demon, body and soul… Let me conclude by telling you  about a human who has crossed your path…one who is drifting, being kept  alive by fate. It is my master’s wish that you listen before deciding upon  a path to take.

It shouldn’t even be possible for Eirikrjs to have missed this point when he supposedly read the script, because she firmly repeats it:

LADY IN BLACK:
Do you want your life to be predestined as well, or would you rather choose your own actions? If you do not wish to be ruled by destiny… If you would prefer to walk with demons on a new, untrodden path, then please come visit my master. You can open the door ahead with the candelabrum I gave you…
Will you come meet my master?

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
::::::::::::::::::::: CHOICES :::::::::::::::::::
:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
: :
: 1) I will. :
: :
: Then, we will be waiting in the deepest part of the :
: Labyrinth. I will open the way to the last door: please :
: use the candelabrum and come see us. We look forward to :
: seeing you soon. Until then… :
: :
: –The door is opened.– :
: :
: 2) ….. :
: :
: I understand that it is difficult for you to make a :
: a decision right now. There is still time… If you :
: decide to help my master, please come back to this :
: place. We will wait here as long as the flow of Amala :
: permits. Until then… :
: :
: –The curtain closes.– :
: –If you look through the peephole again:– :
: :
: You have returned, Hero. :
: Have you decided to come meet my master? :
: :
: A) Yes. :
: :
: –The same as above response for ‘I will.’– :
: :
: B) No. :
: :
: I see… I understand that it is a difficult :
: decision to make. There is still time: if :
: you decide to help my master, please come :
: back to this place. We will be waiting for :
: you.

Also, Eirikrjs saying that Kid Lucifer simply wanted entertainment with no real goal is such a shallow reading that I’m sincerely in disbelief how anyone who played the route was convinced by it. The point was they felt pleasure and happiness when seeing Demifiend struggle. This makes perfect sense if the plan was the TDE Route with Demifiend being the demon that could end the endless war of Law and Chaos forever. It’s the Nietzschean ideal of self-overcoming. If Demifiend struggles and overcomes the Fiends, who represent Death, and then completes the ritual then their plan has worked and their highest hopes were achieved. Seeing him struggle isn’t insulting him, it’s seeing the fruition of their gamble to give him the Magatama and see Demifiend rise to fulfill their aspirations. It should be obvious enough for people who don’t pay too much attention to story that Lucifer’s whole gambit was to create a demon stronger than both him and the Great Will. I’m really trying to refrain from any snarky comments on Eirikirjs’s views, but suffice it to say that what he’s saying doesn’t make any sense.

For his portion on Aradia, I had to stop myself from making any snide remarks, because Aradia wasn’t Yuko Takao’s Reason sponsor. She had the potential to be, but never became one. Here’s why:

HIJIRI:
To create a new world, you must have a strong idea of what kind of world you want to create. This idea is commonly referred to as a Reason. Now, to
acquire a Reason, you must receive divine protection from a god, and this  is where the Magatsuhi comes into play. You need a large quantity of Magatsuhi in order to summon a god. That’s why Hikawa, a human, was  collecting Magatsuhi. Oh, I almost forgot. I met a human inside the Amala  Network just a minute ago. It was a guy who was held captive by the Mantra.
His name’s Isamu. Do you know him?

The requirement of obtaining a large quantity of Magatsuchi is not an insignificant point; after all, Isamu and Chiaki both fused with demons without acquiring any Magatsuchi in order to empower themselves in the bid to create their own Reasons. Chiaki even made this point quite explicit:

–You head to Mantra Headquarters to check it out. You head to Gozu-Tennoh’s chamber, where you see Chiaki standing atop Gozu-Tennoh’s body.–

VOICE:
Woman… What brings you to this place? Why do you bear such anger?

CHIAKI:
That power I felt… It was you? So, you weren’t dead after all…
Were you calling out for me, Gozu-Tennoh…?

GOZU-TENNOH:
Ever since I fell into Nihilo’s trap, my spirit has been drifting. But, not
for one minute have I forgotten the rage that I felt on that day.

CHIAKI:
…I sought power, but I failed to get it. No matter what trials I face, or
how much I get hurt…my Reason will not change. But at this rate, my
Reason will be lost…

GOZU-TENNOH:
Woman, accept my spirit. I once strove to protect the world from the
followers of stillness. However, what we should have done instead was build a kingdom ruled by strength. Of course, I would have never succeeded. If I was a human… If I could have had a Reason of my own, then the outcome may have been different.

CHIAKI:
If your power can make me strong, and help me to create my world…

GOZU-TENNOH:
Your Reason is one with our kingdom. I shall entrust you with my last
remaining strength!! Woman, accept my spirit! Be the strength that guides all demons!!

–Power surges into Chiaki. Her body changes.–

CHIAKI:
It’s hot…like my hand is on fire…

–Gozu-Tennoh’s head bursts. There is nothing left of him. Chiaki is now in a new form.–

CHIAKI:
Look at me, Hero. I’m beautiful, don’t you agree? Strength and beauty are
one and the same. Now, I have the power to shape my own destiny… Ah, I can see! I can see those who seek Yosuga flocking to this land. It is within my grasp… My utopia… My ideal world…!! Ahahahahaha…

And if that wasn’t enough to convince you, how about the fact that prior to Chiaki’s transformation, Yuko Takao herself explicitly mentions that she doesn’t have a Reason because she clearly doesn’t understand that she needed to create one based on her own personal beliefs:

–Yuko returns to normal.–

YUKO:
…Aradia…
You still won’t give me the Reason…? What am I missing…? …I think it’s
time for me to go. Staying here won’t do me any good. I should see for myself what kind of world others are trying to create.
Thank you, Hero. I’ll see you again sometime.

So, Aradia appearing means Freedom is possible, meaning that the world might just turn back to the way it was; the Old Woman’s reaction also implying that this result was unexpected. Even though Probably Lucifer interjects in the Freedom ending with some vague warning about the future that is probably more about humanity screwing itself over again than anything supernatural (SJ has something similar, IIRC), returning to reality’s status quo is a big loss for the demonic, as to have free rein again they have to wait and hope that some dunce reads a banned book or opens a dimensional portal.

Unless he can show evidence from literary framing of this being the case, this view of his seems completely wrong. All it says is true adversary and doesn’t specify or imply anything about humans wasting away the world. If that’s his interpretation, he needs to explain how he came to that conclusion, but yet again he’s using baseless assumptions to say the game was bad:

You have chosen to follow your will and tread the path of thorns… like
myself. In time, your true adversary will appear before you. Until that
day, stay strong…

The next part I’ve been trying to hold back on any snark because – like some of the Lady in Black’s commentary above – he took one quote completely out of context and ignored the rest of what she said:

It’s also worth noting that Maniacs’ backstory retcon for Aradia is– completely expected at this point–mostly rubbish that contradicts what happens in the main story. The Lady in Black names her an outsider from another Vortex World, an intruder; “There is little that she can do in a Vortex World where her existence is forbidden.” This ignores a few things:

Here is the full context of what Lady in Black actually said:

–You proceed to the peephole at the end of the Kalpa and look inside. The
curtain rises.–

LADY IN BLACK:
That swordsman with immeasurable strength and two pistols… I see you
survived the battle against him. The demon inside you will continue to be
your source of strength during your quest. Power… It is sought by all.
Whether it is power of light, or the power of darkness, people rely on it,
and pray… They pray, wishing for greater power… A woman you know well
prayed to a god in hopes of saving the world… Let me tell you about that
god…

–Flash to a scene of Yuko possessed by Aradia.–

LADY IN BLACK:
Aradia, god of falsehood… She is from a Vortex World beyond the boundaries of this world.

–Flash to a picture of the Amala Universe.–

LADY IN BLACK:
In the Amala Universe, where time and space melt together and flow as one, there exist countless Vortex Worlds. One of these worlds is where Aradia originated.

–Flash to scenes of the new Tokyo.–

LADY IN BLACK:
As you are already aware, this Vortex World was made by the true power of creation. Those who dwell there wish for one thing: for their existence to become real… To find the means, they depart into the ocean of Amala and seek out worlds that hold the power of creation.

–Flash to a scene of people in black robes, praying.–

LADY IN BLACK:
Aradia is a tragic savior born of dreams. She emerged in response to the
cries of witches who were persecuted for their beliefs. The witches prayed
to Aradia for power and freedom… They also prayed for people to be saved from the hardships of life. However, Aradia never showed herself on earth, nor did she save anyone. She was a god who could only give hope to her
believers.

–You are now back in the room.–

LADY IN BLACK:
Humans, whom god created, created a new god… Anything is possible in the vast ocean of Amala. Nevertheless, Aradia is still an outsider. There is
little that she can do in a Vortex World where her existence is forbidden.
She is merely the god of forsaken freedom… There are many you have spoken to: the Fiends… us…
You have heard the voice of the Absolute One, too.
But, please know this… In the everlasting flow of Amala, we have long
waited for you… for this time to come. The true significance of the
candelabra and the Labyrinth of Amala, the new demons of chaos, whom all are waiting for in anticipation, and the final moment that my master awaits…
…..
…You must be overwhelmed by it all. Hero…
If you can restore the candelabra to their original places and come here
once again, then at that time… I will tell you the answers to all of your
questions.

–You continue to the next Kalpa.–

The Lady in Black prefaced the quote that Eirikrjs used by explaining that Aradia still hasn’t been made a real deity like the other Reason deities that were summoned. Aradia forced herself into the world and wasn’t summoned like the others which is why Lady in Black referred to her existence as still forbidden whereas if Aradia was summoned like the Reason deities, then her existence wouldn’t have been forbidden. Yuko Takao never understood that the process was about humans forming their own Reason themselves by using a massive amount of Magatsuchi and instead misunderstood the process to mean that deities bestow them with power. Arguably, her confusion on this point is entirely Aradia’s fault, because Aradia was violating Kagutsuchi’s process in a desperate attempt to gain power and become a real God like the other Reason deities instead of allowing the process to occur under Kagutsuchi’s guidelines.

  • Aradia affects Yuko, who can affect you and the outcome.

….Sigh

This is such a flimsy point that I don’t understand how anyone could honestly find this to be a convincing argument. Please note, I am so desperately trying to hold myself back from ranting due to arguments of his that are similar to this. I know it is a single sentence and it might seem unreasonable to say that about a single sentence, but the sheer thoughtlessness of this argument astounded me because the flaw should be so readily obvious.

To the point: The agency of the decision is still the Demi-fiend’s choice. If the Demi-fiend makes the decision to follow Human Freedom, then Yuko Takao has impact and it is implied, according to some interpretations that people who played the route told me, that Aradia becomes a real Goddess in the Human Freedom ending and perhaps even within Yuko Takao herself (similar to Dagda and Nanashi or Nozomi and Danu being respectively connected). Demi-fiend is the deciding factor. If the Demi-fiend doesn’t choose Human Freedom and selects any other route, then everything Lady in Black says stands true. Regardless of what Aradia and Yuko Takao did, the decisive factor was always the Demi-fiend’s choice and if he chooses not to follow them then they don’t have any influence. Thus, nothing they did had any effect on the outcome.

Funnily enough, Yuko Takao acknowledges this very fact before she vanishes forever:

YUKO:
Hero… All possibility has dried up in this world… But, there must be a
world out there where freedom prevails… I wasn’t strong enough, but…
it seems your will is greater.

–She raises her hands with the Yahirono Himorogi.–

YUKO:
…Use this, and create the world that you want... Hurry… to Amala
Temple… This will show you the way to Kagutsuchi… The pilgrimage to
creation ends there… If you so desire, you may create a world of
freedom… however you see fit…

You obtained the [Yahirono Himorogi].

 

If you think my counter argument is flimsy, reverse the proposition. Let’s say you find Hikawa’s arguments convincing. Nothing Yuko Takao or Aradia do have any relevance then. Likewise, let’s say you found Chiaki to be the most convincing, then Hikawa, Yuko Takao, and Aradia are all irrelevant. You are the deciding factor and you choose which influence that you agree with.

  • Aradia powers you up, giving you two more demon slots. The game literally says: “> You received power from Aradia. > You can now employ 2 additional demons.” I think this one’s hilarious.

Now, to show that I’m not trying to insult him and that I’m not unfairly disparaging him, this is perhaps the closest argument that he’s made to a legitimate plot hole in the game. This could be argued to be a plot hole from the contents of the game’s lore.  However, I actually disagree that it is the case, but I’m coming from a standpoint where I interpret the game’s lore to have as much consistency as possible. So, it is possible that I’m simply showing bias in responding to this particular point.

My interpretation was that Aradia actually used Yuko Takao’s Maiden powers throughout the game. In fact, immediately after we perceive Aradia having bestowed us power as the Demi-fiend, Aradia comments that the Maiden will recover her lost power should she create a Reason:

> You received power from Aradia.
> You can now employ 2 additional demons.

ARADIA:
This woman will soon recover her lost power. She will set forth on the path
of creation, and I will guide her. Go, and see the world with your own eyes.
From there will your creation begin…

–Her body begins to levitate, and disappears in a black cloud. Suddently, the
old woman and blond child appear.–

After the Lady in Black’s explanation, I had interpreted this to mean that Aradia had simply been using Yuko Takao’s Maiden powers for her own purposes, but that she was never able to become real because of how weak and self-loathing Yuko Takao was. Add Takao’s own misunderstandings about the process which were potentially compounded due to Aradia attempting to cheat the system. If you think that explanation is nonsense, that’s fine. This could convincingly be argued to be a plot hole, but it seems to be a relatively minor one and I honestly didn’t see it as one.

  • Aradia has either foresight or omniscience, as she informs you to find Chiaki in Ikebukuro before she fuses with Gozu-Tennoh.

This never happens. Aradia doesn’t inform you to go find Chiaki, she doesn’t mention Chiaki, and she doesn’t mention Gozu-Tennoh. Eirikrjs needs to explain where on earth he got the idea that Aradia had foresight or omniscience from. Here’s what Aradia actually says:

ARADIA:
Fool who bears the name Freedom! Because of your name, you will live a life of betrayal, rejection, and defeat. Do you fear the deceit, the torment?

–Whether you say ‘Yes, I do.’ or ‘No, I don’t,’ the response will be the
same.–

ARADIA:
Go! And see the world with your own eyes! There are forces vying for
creation. Without judging their Reasons, your world will not come to be.
Side with them, or side against them. Only then will your world be born.
Remember that you… Lo! A new force is about to emerge in Ikebukuro! I,
too, will become a force, with this woman…Remember that you are what is right. That is my truth.

–Yuko returns to normal.–

Aradia quite explicitly encourages Demi-fiend to choose his own path and seems nonchalant about him choosing one of the other competitors vying for the power of creation. Please note, everything Aradia actually did say can be ascertained as simply utilizing Yuko Takao’s admittedly vague Maiden powers. Yuko Takao, while stuck in a pillar funneling Magatsuchi, somehow informed Isamu of what happened to her. We can infer that it was through mental communication. After all, she was able to contact Demi-fiend via his dreams in the beginning of the game and later seemed to use the last bits of her power to speak to him as a ghost and hand him the Yahirono Himorogi.

Aradia using Yuko Takao’s power to detect the only student that Yuko never seemed to contact directly makes sense. She may have been trying to keep tabs on all of them before losing contact of Isamu once he went into Amala and being overwhelmed by having Magatsuchi extracted since the game makes it clear that it feels like prolonged torture. Aradia exploiting her to empower the Demi-fiend may have also played as a detriment for Yuko finding out what happened to Chiaki. Yuko can sense others presence from far distances and speak to them as she did with Isamu and Demi-fiend, but we get no mention of any contact between the two human women of the game. Aradia sensing Chiaki’s resolve hardening and her intent to use Gozu-Tennoh’s power makes sense in that context as it is possible that she can sense Chiaki’s decision, but can’t clearly focus because Yuko lost much of her power by that point. There’s nothing about omniscience or foresight necessary for this understanding and the game provides ample evidence that Yuko Takao’s Maiden powers are the most likely cause. Yuko Takao herself appearing before Demi-fiend before she’s gone from the game’s narrative also makes sense because Demi-fiend is right there in the room before she dies, so it isn’t a stretch that she used the last remainder of her power to give him the Yahirono Himorogi. Yuko Takao does this after Aradia has already left.

  • In the showdown with Hikawa in the Diet Building he calls Aradia “powerless in this warded area” where he summons Ahriman. You know, the cool one that looks like an acid trip. This appears to be true, as Aradia sets off of her own volition after Yuko refuses to go with her. He then calls her a “false god,” which allows the spicier takes to enter the ring but hardly implies extra-dimensional being; indeed, from Hikawa’s perspective it’s also a true statement since Aradia herself was not powerful enough to pair with Yuko and establish a Reason–the whole point of the Vortex World exercise. But because she’s “powerless” in a specific area, the implication is that she could have achieved more if the circumstances were different or she had a home field advantage.

This is Eirikrjs yet again taking a single statement completely out of context and perhaps deliberately deceiving his readers, because the entire conversation prior to that statement makes it clear that Hikawa is talking about Yuko Takao’s ability to create a Reason and the commentary by Hikawa can thus be understood to mean that Yuko Takao and Aradia won’t be able to access the Magatsuchi that he’s collected to make Aradia into a real Goddess to vie for the power of Creation. Since, like always, I don’t expect to be believed despite the game making this context painfully obvious, here’s the script that Eirikrjs himself linked on his own blog:

–You eventually take the elevator to 6F. You enter a door and see Hikawa.
The room is spinning, with you Hikawa and Yuko suspended in the center.–

HIKAWA:
…Do you still not understand? There was not really freedom. All that
existed was greed, and that is what corrupted the world. Freedom?
Possibility? If you truly believe in them, then why do you seek the way of
creation? Were they not present–abundant, more accurately–in the previous world? Why did you not pursue your goal back then?

YUKO:
I-I…

HIKAWA:
The same is true for you. What did you expect to achieve by sending your
students to this world? Did you think they would be able to do what you
couldn’t? Or, did you want them to feel the same agony of defeat that you
felt? Do you know why you’ve been unable to obtain your Reason? All this
time, you’ve just been running away…trying to leave everything behind.

–Yuko falls to her knees.–

HIKAWA:
Tell me the truth…Do you really believe in freedom?

–The spirit of Aradia rises from Yuko’s body.–

ARADIA:
Your choice to believe in Shijima, human, is a type of freedom itself.

HIKAWA:
Aradia… So it was you who sided with Yuko. Don’t bother trying to
interfere. You are powerless within this warded area. Just watch quietly
as my god descends from above.

–Hikawa presses down a large switch. Magatsuhi rises from it.–

ARADIA:
…This land will be no more. Woman, we shall set out for the new land.

–Yuko’s body rises.–

YUKO:
No… I won’t go. I have to stop Hikawa, or else…
both the previous world and the new world will die.

ARADIA:
I shall await you there, woman. Remember that hope is the way.

–Aradia disappears.–

HIKAWA:
How pitiful… Deceived, and now abandoned by a false god. This space will
be consumed by the nothingness shortly. Now, sacrifice yourself to my god
and fulfill your duty as the Maiden…

–Hikawa sees you.–

This may seem like minor stuff in the grand scheme of things. But what are Baal Avatar, Noah, or Ahriman affecting? They have more potency and are actual bosses, but they have a far weaker impact on the unfolding narrative than Aradia. Aradia only appears “weak” because she is reflective of Yuko’s own state and her influence on the Vortex World, which seems insignificant compared to the others at the surface level. Isamu is using the Amala Network to his advantage (i.e., guzzling Magatsuhi), Chiaki is just beating up fools (guzzling Magatsuhi), and Hikawa is the Man with the Plan and the Magatsuhi. Yuko is less of a guzzler but nonetheless remains the human link to the most important player in the story–you, of course; she somehow has the Magatsuhi-filled Yahirono Himorogi (she’s the sacrificial Maiden, I guess is why), which she gives you after she’s already dead… somehow. It’s meaningful that Aradia’s representation is just Yuko with a Rorschach inkblot over her face–the game is asking you to interpret Yuko’s words and place in the story, which is crucial for a sane outcome. Yuko and Aradia have power than transcends raw strength.

….Alright, let me just ask those of you who have played SMT Nocturne’s story and completed at least one ending a question. Please just think about this as you re-read the above quoted paragraph by Eirikrjs. Besides the very vague comment about Hikawa having a plan and Magatsuchi, what details in that paragraph actually happened in SMT Nocturne’s story? Please look at it closely and re-read it closely as you try to recall SMT Nocturne’s events, what details in that paragraph happened at all in SMT Nocturne?

Must I take out full quotes from the story again to explain why I’m asking you to re-read it closely and recall SMT Nocturne’s events? Do I need to go out of my way to do that or else be called “crazy” by some of you for having so-called “fan theories” when I’m just asking you to recall SMT Nocturne’s events? Do I actually have to explain for those of you who have played SMT Nocturne? Ask yourself, why did his Tumblr followers, if they had sincerely played SMT Nocturne, not find that paragraph to be a major red flag? Why should Eirikrjs be considered credible, if he didn’t even bother double-checking basic events of the game? Moreover . . . well, I think you understand what I’m implying.

Even if you take the most positive view on this, you would have to admit that Eirikrjs didn’t even bother double-checking his information before making these widely nonsensical arguments about the game in his blog post accusing it of plot holes. At best, he forgot major details and didn’t even bother re-checking to refresh his memory and his claim later on in his blog post about looking up videos of SMT Nocturne is dubious at best.

For those of you who haven’t played SMT Nocturne and don’t care about spoilers:

Isamu gains Magatsuchi from the three pyramids; three separate dungeons in which the Demi-fiend himself kills the demons using the Magatsuchi so that Isamu can siphon it utilizing Hijiri’s body. Prior to that, the narrative seems to suggest Isamu was simply looking for a large amount of Magatsuchi and finally found it sometime shortly before kidnapping Hijiri. Demi-fiend is the one who got him the Magatsuchi. Eirikrjs doesn’t seem to be aware of this judging from his paragraph. His prior discussion of this section seems to emphasize some idea of Hijiri being some vague schemer who Eirikrjs says was manipulating the Demi-fiend, a manipulation that never actually happened in the story. If that was Eirikrjs interpretation, he fails to explain it in-depth.

Chiaki never beat up “fools” to guzzle Magatsuchi. Yet again, Eirikrjs is claiming an event that never happened in the story. Chiaki committed a genocide upon the Manikins in Asakusa and Mifunashiro in order to effectively obtain the Magatsuchi that the Manikins were attempting to shield because they misunderstood it to be their sacred holy land where they were hoping to build a Reason to vie for power. The narrative is a tragic one for the Manikins because Chiaki was completely correct under the ethical guidelines that Kagutsuchi had set forth. Manikins were never meant to have a Reason and would never be able to obtain one. From how Kagutsuchi ordained the world, Chiaki annihilating them was not ethically different from Demi-fiend taking down the three pyramid demons to allow Isamu to use the Magatsuchi. They were just fated to be no different than the demons hoarding Magatsuchi to act as a trial for the human characters to overcome. Eirikrjs doesn’t even seem to be aware of this event, despite claiming to look at SMT Nocturne’s videos and making an extensive blog post about its so-called plot holes that he updates yearly.

His point about Ahriman, Baal Avatar, and Noah having less impact on the narrative is utter nonsense. They’re the culmination of Hikawa, Chiaki, and Isamu’s character arcs. Hikawa is entirely of one mind with the God that he summons and it reflects his Reason of Shijima. Baal Avatar, after making a speech about her return, seems to be subsumed into Chiaki’s personality. At the Tower of Kagutsuchi, Chiaki gives a heartfelt goodbye to the mutual affection and friendship that Demi-fiend and her once shared as humans regardless of what path that he chooses. Noah quite explicitly depicts Musubi’s general philosophy with Isamu in a shell within the whale and the second-phase of the boss fight is the whale changing it’s face into Isamu’s facial features. These were great character arcs that completed each of them and felt like satisfying endings regardless of which route that you picked. How did Eirikrjs not know that it was a clear depiction of each character arc when that isn’t even ambiguous in the narrative?

Also, for those who have played SMT Nocturne like me, take notice of this very revealing quote: “Yuko is less of a guzzler but nonetheless remains the human link to the most important player in the story–you, of course; she somehow has the Magatsuhi-filled Yahirono Himorogi (she’s the sacrificial Maiden, I guess is why), which she gives you after she’s already dead… somehow.” 

How does he not know that Demi-fiend literally gave the Yahirono Himorogi to her prior to her death in the Diet Building? You have to go through the Yoyogi Park dungeon, fight Sakahagi’s summoned demon, and kill Sakahagi for it but Eirikrjs seems blissfully unaware that it was the player character / Demi-fiend who gave it to Yuko Takao. …Must I quote even this event? Mother Harlot even makes commentary on it right before fighting her. Do I also have to quote that too? I hope you understand what I’m getting at as I don’t want to sound insulting towards him.

To add some final arguments: Even if we entertain the idea that Yuko Takao’s Maiden powers don’t explain her giving you the Yahirono Himorogi, despite her appearance reflecting back to the very start of the game when she asks for your name in a dream sequence, this can easily be explained as her ghost since ghosts are all over the game and can have corporal effects such as the two ghosts implied to be having sexual relations in corner room within Ginza. His argument about Yuko Takao and Aradia transcending raw strength is his interpretation, but as I shared from quotes by Yuko Takao herself after Aradia abandoned her; I and others didn’t come to this conclusion and it seems to me that Yuko Takao herself rejects the very notion in the final scene of hers in the Diet Building. Nevertheless, those are just personal interpretation differences on the character. I didn’t find her to be the “human link” in the story and I didn’t find the narrative to place any unequal emphasis on her over the others, nor did I find that the others were admonished as crazy as Eirikrjs seems to repeatedly insinuate. In fact, the only two people I saw as crazy in the entire game are Hikawa – but he had his own personal goals in mind, so he at least makes sense – and Yuko Takao herself.

My interpretation of Yuko Takao is that she was a total zealot. She fell for Hikawa’s tricks due to her zealous beliefs, she outright stated that she felt no remorse for her actions of having annihilated all of humanity and forcing her own favorite students into the Vortex world, and to counteract Hikawa after being deceived by him, she immediately devotes herself completely to Aradia without any self-reflection for her actions despite having caused the end of the world. The reason she couldn’t create a Reason was precisely because she was a zealot. She couldn’t find her own meaning and instead used everyone around her as a crutch while presenting herself as the blameless victim for actions that she willfully chose to do. The moment she thought she could grasp at power for herself, like the Yahrino Himorogi that she took from you without earning it by her own efforts, she immediately expected her God to bestow her Reason and give her a path towards a happy ending. She’s notoriously unreliable and although she tries to suggest any path you choose is fine, she still also tries to suggest her own path with you doing her work for her after failing to fulfill it herself. She didn’t have any inner strength, I have no idea how anyone who has played the game and seen her thoughtless actions could even come-up with that conclusion. Chiaki, Isamu, and Hijiri are the only ones to show inner strength besides the player character of the Demi-fiend should you choose certain routes.

The only ones I had empathy for in the entire conflict, apart from the Manikins, were Isamu, Chiaki, and Hijiri because they were all blameless victims just like the Demi-fiend but didn’t have his demonic strength to endure the world’s hardships. Or at least, two of the three didn’t initially and the third died unable to do much of anything. If they really lost their sanity, then that’s all the more reason to have empathy for them and none for Yuko Takao. Isamu acting like an asshole victim was completely reasonable from an emotional standpoint; he was tortured twice and he was in the same desperate situation that you were in, but without any power to defend himself (as can be seen when Thor knocked him out). Chiaki may seem genocidal, but the world itself drove her to become the monster that she was and told her that it was the correct way to survive. After all, if the world is going to be remade and Manikins are transitory, then why do they matter? Logically, she was right, even if the conclusion was a cruel one and borne from her own suffering at the hands of Sakahagi who sliced her arm off. Before Hijiri had supposedly “betrayed” you, he did nothing but help you and tried his best to support you. All three of these people, just like the Demi-fiend, were victims of circumstance and deserve far less blame than Yuko Takao and Hikawa. I’d judge Yuko Takao as worse, because Hikawa had a specific purpose in mind while Yuko Takao literally destroyed the world for no reason other than her own emotional anguish which she seemed to project on others. Even if she had a point in her arguments, the fact that the world reverts to how it was before in her own ending seems to diminish them and Hikawa’s counter arguments to her end-up ringing as the truth as a result.

Yuko Takao is no less a villain than any of the others, but because she doesn’t have a disfigured monstrous form people are too willing to treat her as an innocent victim. If you’re going to judge Chiaki for slaughtering the Manikins, then why not also judge Yuko Takao for doing the same thing on an order of magnitude far greater and reaching up to billions of innocent human lives lost? Furthermore, if you’re going to judge the Demi-fiend for what he does in the True Demon Ending, then take an honest look at the person who you perceive to be the “sane” ending of the story and look at what she was so easily manipulated into doing. This is who the Demi-fiend, Chiaki, and Isamu placed their complete faith in and whom they cherished and respected before the Conception. If she had been given a monstrous figure like the others, I think the others would have more readily seen her for what she really was. If you find what Chiaki and Demi-fiend do to be gut-wrenching, well hey . . . like teacher, like pupil. Unlike Chiaki, Yuko Takao has no respect for you and constantly begs you to do her dirty work for her just like Isamu, which explains where he got it.   All of the negative behaviors of the three students after the Conception can be seen as a reflection of her own behavior. They almost certainly learned it from her and if you apply condemnation objectively, she’s actually one of the two worst lunatics out of all of them. She was never a good person; Hijiri, Isamu, and even Chiaki were all good people driven to insanity due to Yuko Takao’s actions. That was my interpretation.

This is why the Maniacs content has emerged to me as a clumsy dog and pony show. It basically just casts aside all this awesome, carefully planned story for the sake of another rote power fantasy. I say that only because the TDE has effectively subjugated all other endings in the discourse and even received official validation with 4A’s DLC. It’s all quite discouraging for those who want just a tad more complexity or variety from their RPG stories–not asking for Moby Dick or Finnegans Wake here, just something more ambitious or differently flavored than Shonenpunch Godwars!

Sigh

Can someone please tell me why Eirikrjs is seen as credible, when he makes really nonsensical comments like this one? SMT Nocturne’s entire conflict is defeating the God of the world, Kagutsuchi, except for one path which could credibly be considered the bad ending, but which itself requires you to beat three other deities before you unlock the ending by heading to Kagutsuchi. Also, it amazes me that he says this, but somehow never considers or addresses the fact that Lucifer even giving the Magatama to the Demi-fiend makes no sense at all without the TDE route. His idea of “complexity” and “variety” is Lucifer giving Demi-fiend the Magatama for shits and giggles, which is completely counterproductive and meaningless.


To conclude: If you’ve read through all of this, I sincerely thank you for your time and patience and I hope this was an enjoyable or illuminating read for you. I’d also like for you to ponder this final question of mine. If you have indeed read through all of this and watched the linked videos of the snippets shared, then I’d like to know your thoughts on this because I’m sure you can already guess what I think really happened. Knowing what you do about Eirikrjs’s arguments and comparing it to SMT Nocturne’s story; Do you think Eirikrjs has actually played SMT: Nocturne? Do you think Eirikrjs has even played any of the other SMT games that he makes complaints about such as his accusations of Anti-Semitism? 

I know it’s not easy to remember specific details sometimes and not everyone pays attention, but Eirikrjs used the game script as a source and tried to portray his arguments as more factual than they actually were. He put himself in this position and he has nobody to blame but himself. At best, he didn’t double-check the game script before making all these wild and baseless arguments about plot holes and racism. That is not okay and it is not fair to Atlus Japan. He made these accusations without appropriately fact-checking himself. For me, what is truly shocking is that most of his details about SMT2 and SMT3: Nocturne don’t line-up. And it is not one or two things, it’s virtually entire plotlines. This severe lack of knowledge that he showed in “Maniacs Retcon Woes” honestly reads like someone who has never played the game and who read a bunch of wikipedia articles before trying to convince people that the plot was bad. He didn’t even know about the details specific to SMT2 of the lines YHVH said which disprove Eirikrjs argument and they were right before the lines that Eirikjrs quoted in his blog post. If he’s played the game, then he was deliberately lying to his readers. If he hasn’t played the games, it makes more sense that he didn’t know the full context, didn’t bother to double-check because he wouldn’t know what to look for, and it was still a deliberate lie to his readers.

Perhaps I am being unfair to him, and if that is how you perceive this concluding portion then I apologize, but I’ve probably spent more time reading his blog and re-reading Maniacs Retcon Woes than most of his fans and the only conclusion that seems apparent to me, judging from the contents of his blog posts, is that he has never even played any of these games that he complains about so frequently. There’s too many details that he argues which are completely at odds with basic plot information in SMT Nocturne. Even if we assume that he somehow forgot the biggest twist in SMT2, it still doesn’t make any sense why he wouldn’t have rechecked videos of the Neutral ending of SMT2 to make sure that his information was correct before claiming plot holes existed. However, regardless of any of that, one important fact should be plainly obvious to even his most enthusiastic supporters: Eirikrjs isn’t credible. 

6 thoughts on “Debunking the “Tragic Asshole”: Debunking Eirikrjs “Maniacs Retcon Woes” without any snark

  1. Pingback: Debunking the “Tragic Asshole”: Eirikrjs Lied about the Kabbalah References in SMT Nocturne | Jarin Jove's Blog

  2. Pingback: Debunking the “Tragic Asshole”: Why JJCAT Only Proves Eirikrjs is Looking for Racism when there is None | Jarin Jove's Blog

    • Criticizing views = desperate cry for help? Oh boy, the immaturity of Eirikrjs fanbase is making me think that his followers are more cult-like in their following of him than at first glance.

      • Just sayin’. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone stalked like this online outside of a major celebrity. Seeing it in such a niche fanbase is kinda creepy. Frequently it comes off less like you’re really trying to debate him and more like you’re just desperate for him to acknowledge you in some manner. I don’t know enough about any of this stuff to make any comment about who is more knowledgeable on the subject matter… but having experienced it in a slightly different context in a different fandom, I know a creepy stalker dude when I see one.

        • Uh-huh. You seemingly don’t care about this one way or another, but still chose to comment in order to defend him and accuse me with personal attacks when all I’ve done is criticize his views? Sorry, but it seems a tad too hard to believe.

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