Nocturne Table of Contents and Personal Masterlist
General Concepts of Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne
Character Analyses of . . .
Christian Kabbalah References:
The Qliphoth References (From Debunking Series)
Personal Theories and Arguments:
The Axiom / Great Will is probably some form of Brahman
This contains Spoilers for SJR New Neutral, Digital Devil Sagas 1 and 2, and both Raidou games. Obviously, spoilers for SMTIII: Nocturne too.
In Defense of the Aleph = Hijiri Theory
So, for this argument, I’ll give my reasons why I believed this theory, and then I’ll reverse this argument under the assumption that the Aleph = Hijiri Theory is False.
I came to believe the theory from that Gamefaqs users comments in an FAQ on Nocturne, but there’s more reasons than just that after playing TDE. Hijiri’s Curse of Atonement is explained to have come about from some unexplained mortal sin that can’t be redeemed in the TDE route and later in the narrative, the Demi-fiend is told that he will be given the curse of atonement for ending all possibility of Creation and going against the Great Will. Incidentally, Kagutsuchi says he’s Cursed Eternally in the Normal Demon Route, but no specific mention or clarification of atonement is made like in TDE by Lucifer. From this, I surmised that either challenging or killing a Creator god without replacing it with a God and conviction / Reason of your own is what causes the Curse. Challenging them in the case of Normal Demon Ending and killing them in the True Demon Ending without having a God and Philosophy in mind to replace them is what seems to cause the Curse of Atonement in Nocturne. Now, taken altogether as a narrative in the game, Hijiri himself had to have either challenged and failed or killed a Creator God in one of his previous incarnations to have been given a Curse of Atonement like the Demi-fiend. The only two who fit that description is Aleph and Hiroko due to the Neutral dialogue in SMT2 by the final boss YHVH. People then assumed Aleph due to the circumstantial design similarities and Messianic Christian symbolism of Hijiri hanging in a cross-like style in Nocturne. Furthermore, Nocturne is the third numbered mainline game after SMT2, despite SMT IF and SMT NINE essentially being “mainline spin-offs” like SJ and SJR, so people probably hooked onto that too. The symbolism doesn’t seem to support Nakajima since Izanami and Izanagi are both there in hell and tell Demi-fiend to pursue the way of Creation if you complete the Vizor Graveyard quest correctly and meet them in the next playthrough. Also note: the PS2 era was FILLED with SMT2 References. DDS2 has you fight and meet the 4 Archangels and Satan of SMT2 (and it’s blatantly them, there’s no ambiguity there) in extra quests. Raidou 1’s final boss is a Templar-Knight of the future who wants to undo the SMT2 timeline that he came from. Hijiri being yet another SMT2 reference fits with this general trend by Atlus in the PS2 era.
Unless Hijiri is retroactively revealed to be some other protagonist in another future MegaTen game or Atlus definitively says it wasn’t Aleph, this theory is probably going to stay. I get that we all shouldn’t say that it’s 100% Aleph and whatnot, but denying that it is Aleph opens itself up to a new set of questions:
Let us Assume Hijiri is not Aleph:
If, hypothetically, we all accept that Hijiri is not a reincarnated Aleph; What was his purpose in the narrative of Nocturne?
One might say, to show Lucifer’s magnificent manipulative tactics and give more information on Nocturne’s Lore to build-up the shock-twist of Demi-fiend himself being Cursed later on. Okay.
But then answer this: How did Hijiri suffer the Curse of Atonement in the first place, if the only way we’ve been shown it is by challenging or killing a Creator god in Nocturne itself?
How and when could Hijiri have killed or challenged and failed to kill a Creator god within Nocturne? More specifically, how and when could Hijiri have killed or challenged and failed to kill a Creator god… ever?
Saying its poor writing or something Atlus “didn’t think of” seems like bending over backwards to call the writing garbage when the easily available answer is that they wanted to make a homage to the previous numbered Mainline game in my opinion. Also, Hiroko not being there is not proof that it isn’t a reference to Aleph. At best, one can say that Hijiri could be Hiroko for whatever reason, since she’s also cursed, but the Cross reference fits Aleph more. Of course, all of this is “theory” but there’s credible reasons why the theory exists as I’ve just shown.
One aspect of the curse that Larrue mentioned, which I haven’t seen addressed, is that it is Sisyphean in nature. Hijiri can’t finish his task and it’ll be endless. Arguments that the Lore is disconnected seem to be disproven insofar as the Axiom, the Messiahs, and the Curse of Atonement even beyond the numbered Mainline titles. In SJR, the New Neutral route likewise gives Doomguy (fan name for the SJ/SJR MC) a Sisyphean task of endlessly stopping the Schwarzwelt while humanity fails to ever improve itself and presumably continues destroying the environment since the Schwarzwelt keeps emerging. Whereas a fragmented form of YHVH is replaced in New Law by Zelenin, there is no replacement after the killing of Shekinah in New Neutral. Yet, we see what Sisyphean task Doomguy has in New Neutral. Thus, it can be demonstrated that Doomguy probably suffered the Curse of Atonement.
Another Theory, this one is my own:
Hijiri represents a harsh critique of Mormonism and the
Mormon version of Jesus Christ
Before we start, keep these things in mind:
Isamu’s Reason is explicitly based upon Mormonism. The music in Boss Battle references a half-human (in this context, Isamu) killing Jesus Christ on the Cross without having a full understanding of what he’s doing. Isamu is also unified with Taijasa and Tamas in Hindu Guna and Dream concepts. Hindu concepts meaning ignorance, laziness, and delusion.
Hijiri might be a Jesus Christ who couldn’t save anyone.
“We’ll Sacrifice the Son of Heaven! Man’s Greatest Glimpse of Fire Red.“
“Oh, how they’re lost in their prayers for our greatest God! Let me sleep, please! I am a man, Half-human! I am tired as heart and person weaken!” – Boss Battle Lyrics of SMTIII: Nocturne
Remember, Hijiri’s curse of atonement parallels Jesus Christ’s Second Coming at the End of Times and it is essentially eternal since he has to observe the death of billions of Amala universes. It is revealed that he also literally died and was resurrected by the Great Will or Kagutsuchi during the events of the Conception.
Isamu was so deluded, he didn’t recognize the savior because the savior lacked the power to save anyone.
It’s a critique of Mormonism since Isamu’s Reason fits with the concept of Mormon Heaven. If you can attain Mormon Heaven, a deluded pleasurable insanity where you live and serve only yourself, why have need of a savior? Also, in Isamu’s own ending it’s implied Isamu kills himself just as Judas killed himself for betraying Jesus Christ. It also further reinforces why nobody can stop Demi-fiend, the savior has failed to save anyone, so the Anti-Christ will rise unimpeded to bring ruin to everything. And all the savior can do is eternally watch:
“10 For it is expedient that there should be a great and last a sacrifice; yea, not a sacrifice of man, neither of beast, neither of any manner of fowl; for it shall not be a human sacrifice; but it must be an infinite and eternal sacrifice. 11 Now there is not any man that can sacrifice his own blood which will atone for the sins of another. Now, if a man murdereth, behold will our law, which is a just, take the life of his brother? I say unto you, Nay. 12 But the law requireth the a life of him who hath murdered; therefore there can be nothing which is short of an infinite atonement which will suffice for the sins of the world. 13 Therefore, it is expedient that there should be a great and last sacrifice, and then shall there be, or it is expedient there should be, a a stop to the shedding of b blood; then shall the c law of Moses be fulfilled; yea, it shall be all fulfilled, every jot and tittle, and none shall have passed away. 14 And behold, this is the whole a meaning of the b law, every whit pointing to that great and last sacrifice; and that great and last sacrifice will be the Son of God, yea, ’ infinite and eternal’” – Chapter 34 of the Book of Mormon, Verses 10 – 14.
The suicide metaphor is deeper than at first glance Isamu laughs saying you’ve come to get yourself killed. but we know what the real result will be in TDE route. And we, the Anti-Christ, laugh at his folly.
For more on Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne:
Fan Content by Others
Philosophy of MegaTen Encyclopedia by Beadman
Sam Hatting’s Nietzschean themes in Nocturne (that inspired all of this)
SMT Nocturne and Space in Design by LazyMetaphors
Artemis-Maia Analysis of Amaravati and the Menorahs (that inspired my Qliphoth References) on Eirikrjs Blog
Youtube Content Creators:
SMT Theology by Kid Capes
Larrue’s Nocturne videos related to Themes and Development:
- Story of SMT Nocturne
- Lost SMT3 Nocturne’s Early Draft Concepts
- Kazuma Kaneko’s Art Team
- Learning more about Kazuma Kaneko
Deconstructing Nocturne’s Formulas by Robin and Zephyr
Rasen Bran’s Cathedral of Shadows Podcast:
Fither’s Lost Nocturne Tech Demo
The 4th Snake’s Opinion Piece on Nocturne’s Freedom Ending