Top Ten Best Shin Megami Tensei Demons / Personas
This post is going to be dedicated to my favorite of all time video game franchise, Shin Megami Tensei. No other franchise has been able to take mythology and religion and implement it into a video game with such a dark and dramatic storyline better than anything I have ever played. With Shin Megami Tensei IV just having been released, a crossover with Fire Emblem coming up, Atlus being bought by Sega, the 40+ games in the series, and over 700+ demons, it would only make sense for me to amass a list of my 10 favorite demons in the series.
Some things to note before I start:
-This is my personal opinion, feel free to share yours but please try not to make the comment section a battlefield.
-If there is any false information on here let me know in the comments so I can fix it.
“The ash tree known as the World Tree in Norse lore. Its branches cover the entire earth, its trunk pierces the sky and holds up several worlds, including Alfheim, the abode of the Light Elves. Its three roots stretch into Jotumheim and Asgard. It is said that it will live through Ragnarok.”
-Strange Journey Copendium
I don’t know where to begin with this thing. I first saw him in Strange Journey when I was wondering around sector Bootes and I found the side-quest from the Disir. Later in the game I came to Sector Eridanus and fought him, not only did I get a great item for winning, but I also unlocked one of the most useful Law demons in the game. I used him from the moment I was able to fuse him to the very end of the game. He has some of the highest strength and vitality for his level, and his design is amazing. I don’t know if it’s the snake tail, or the tusks, or what is is about his design that I like the most, but he is truly a force to be reckoned with.
9) Cu Culainn (Soul Hackers design)
“A gallant Celtic hero, son of the sun god Lugh. He is said to have beaten an army singlehandedly. He was cursed to die after spurning the war goddess Morrighan, and was impaled on his own mighty Gae Blog.”
-Strange Journey Copendium
When I first saw this guy in Devil Survivor, I fell in love with his design. Being a hero from Celtic lore, he looks like a mix between a Lord of the Rings character and some sort of fantasy anime hero, which is awesome. However, despite loving his design I didn’t use him very much because I didn’t have any demons with lots of stat bonuses in strength. However, when I saw him in Soul Hackers I almost dropped my 3DS, mainly because his stats were god-like for his level. 19 strength, 14 endurance, and he’s only level 39! I know I used him until he was at least 10 levels lower than me (in Soul Hackers demons don’t level up). In most games he is summonable mid-game and is usually only summonable after a side-quest is completed. He is without a doubt one of the best demons to pick up on your playthrough of any SMT game.
He has many names, such as the Voice of God and Angel of Contracts. His name is said to originate from the “one who serves behind the throne,” and he acts as God’s representative. He has immense power, and his body is the largest amongst the angels. In contrast to his duty to maintain the world, he is said to have a merciless side and has slaughtered hundreds of humans who disobeyed him”
-Devil Survivor 2 Copendium
Do I really need to go into detail on why this guy is awesome? Just look at him! He’s a robot angel, what more needs to be said? Well, Metatron is the voice of God, meaning that whenever people think God is speaking to them, it is actually Metatron acting as his vessel. He is almost always the most powerful angel of the herald race in many SMT games. I started to like him when I used him in Devil Survivor 2, because he is one of 3 demons that can become invincible to everything except almighty damage, in many games he also resists everything! He was loads of help in my battle against Lucifer in both SMTIV and Devil Survivor Overclocked. My only complaint is that he is only accessible very late in the game or in new game+, but once you get him he is well worth the wait.
“The Arabian mother goddess also known as Allat. She was thought to reside in the Black Stone at the Kaaba.
She and her son, Dusura, were worshiped there by desert nomads.”
-Strange Journey Compendium
Before playing SMT, I never thought there would ever be a game that made rock monsters look cool, I was wrong. When I first saw this thing I thought it was some sort of demonization of the Washington monument, it wasn’t until I got more into the series that I realized what it truly was. Alilat was one of the 3 main idols worshiped by the people of Mecca before the Muslim religion was introduced, its origins go back to the traditions of the ancient Sumerian Civilization brought to pre-islamic Arabia by nomads who idolized rocks in their daily life, which explains its design. As if this weren’t enough, in most games it is the only demon in the giest race, making it extremely hard to obtain. In most games it specializes in vitality and magic, while having some of the most helpful moves in the game. In Persona 3 it is the ultimate persona of the empress arcana, and learns repel slash/strike/pierce, very useful.
6) Lucifer (Old design)
Unless you have been living under a rock for the past 2000 years, you should know who Lucifer is, but I will give you a quick reminder. Lucifer is a prominent figure in various religions, most famous in Christianity and Judaism, he was the most beautiful angel in heaven who fell from grace after rejecting God’s authority. As expected, in most of the SMT games he plays a very important role, usually as a possible antagonist. He represents the Chaos faction, and will usually tempt the player into believing that there is no need for God’s order, and that strong should rule over the weak. He is almost always the most powerful demon of the Tyrant race, and in Persona 3 and 4 is the most powerful demon of the Judgment arcana. Before I played SMT, I never thought I would ever get to use the devil in battle, and have him be so useful, unlocking him requires much grinding and maybe even beating the game, but once you have him, you’re unstoppable.
He is established as a high-ranking demon in the Bible, and his flies carry souls down to the abyss. He may be a bastardization of the Canaanite god Baal.”
—Devil Survivor 2 Compendium
One of the demons notorious for being hard in almost every SMT game he is in, Beelzebub is without a doubt one of the most popular demons in the MegaTen series. Most people genuinely mistake Beelzebub for being synonymous with Lucifer, but not here, the developers of SMT knew what they were doing. Beelzebub is actually a Philistine god and one of the seven princes of Hell according to Christian sources. In Judaism, he is noted to be a mockery of the religions that surrounded the worship of Baal. What I love about this guy is… well… everything, the evil look, the skull necklace, the staff, and the skulls on his wings. In the SMT games, he is one of the highest level demons, close to Lucifer in power, and is usually one of Lucifer’s best minions. In both Devil Survivor games he naturally resists everything. In Nocturne, his signature ability is Death Flies, which deals severe almighty damage to all foes and instantly kills them unless they are immune to death. The only real problem with him is that because of what I mentioned earlier, his boss battles are extremely hard, but once he is on your side, it will all be worth it.
4) Titania (Old design)
She was later seen as a faerie and was recognized as a queen in Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.””
—Devil Survivor 2 Compendium
As some of you may know, Titania is the fairy queen from William Shakesphere’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (unlike Queen Mab who is mentioned in “Romeo and Juliet”). She is the wife of Oberon, who was cursed so that he would not become taller than a child. At first I wasn’t a big fan of Titania when I saw her design in Strange Journey, I honestly thought she was a rejected Disney villain, however once I saw her old design in Devil Survivor 2 it was love at first sight, not only because of her look, but because of her properties too. She was weak to phys attacks, but she nullified all elemental magic, luckily, since I pass phys repel to all my demons, I had a near-invincible demon with very high magic stats, I know I used her up until the very end of the game. While having high magic stats, and resisting all magic in most games, Titania is one of the best demons to have in any play-through of an SMT game.
3) Throne(left) and Lailah(right)
“The third of the nine orders of angels. It is said that they carry the throne of God. Of the angels with physical form, they carry the highest rank.”
—Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Compendium
“An angel in Judeo-Christian lore that presides over conception.
She is the intermediary between pregnant women and God. When a woman conceives a child, the seed is given to God, who then decides the child`s sex, appearance, and destiny. After such things are decided, a new soul is placed into the woman`s womb.”
—Devil Survivor 2 Compendium
Both of these things are similar in design and they’re both on here for the same reason so I thought that I should put them together at number 3. Lailah is the Jewish angel of conception. In the book “Before You Were Born”, she is the angel that brings souls and the seed together and then sees to it that the seed is planted in the womb, making her the good counterpart to Lilith, who seeks to kill newborn children as they come out of the womb. Throne on the other hand, is the 3rd of 9 classes of angels. First mentioned by Paul of Tarsus in Colossians 1:16, they are related to the throne of God, and are living symbols of God’s justice and authority. They come the closest of all Angels to spiritual perfection and emanate the light of God with mirror-like goodness. They background is interesting and all, but the real reason they are on here is because if their designs. A man wearing a black robe attached to a flaming wheel, and a creepy lady wearing a silk hat with black feathered wings? Just by looking at them, you’d assume them both to be evil, but according to their descriptions, they are very good. In Devil Survivor 1 and 2, Lailah was one of the most helpful demons you could get early in the game. She is one of the first demons to get an amp skill, and has no weakness. Sadly, her brother Throne was not in Devil Survivor, but in Persona 3 he was available at just the right point in the game, resisting fire while blocking light, he was perfect for taking out that annoying sleeping table.
2) Abaddon (Old design)
He leads the seventh order of demons who appear at the sounding of the fifth trumpet on Judgement Day, when he will bring a horde of locusts to make people suffer. His name in Hebrew means “destroyer” and “endless pit.” It’s thought that his origins lie in deification of the natural disasters caused by locust swarms.”
—Devil Survivor 2 Compendium
The angel of the abyss from Revelation, whose name in Hebrew means “Place of Destruction”. He is usually considered to be related to Lucifer, or ever another name for Lucifer, but he is actually a righteous figure, he is even responsible for casting him into the abyss, he was also summoned by Moses to cause the great rains during the Ten Plagues of Egypt. I’m not a huge fan of his Nocturne redesign, but I absolutely love his old design. Just by looking at him you can tell that he is bad news. First of all, I’d like you to look at him and tell me what he is? A frog? Slime? Outside of SMT he is depicted as a giant locust, but in SMT, I have no idea, but that just goes to show how creative the designers are. Another reason he is on here is because of his usefulness in Devil Survivor and Persona 3. In Devil Survivor 1 and 2, his signature ability is anti-most, which resists all elemental magic, including curse… What? When I first saw that ability on the fusion screen I thought the developers were trolling me, well they were, sort of. The drawback was that his weakness was phys, but this can easily be countered with anti-phys, which shouldn’t be hard to find once you can fuse him, and best of all when you fuse him away you can pass this skill to the new demon, making almost any demon in the game a magical wall. In Persona 3 he learns null/strike/slash/pierce as well as absorb strike, making him a perfect physical wall.
—Persona 3 FES Compendium
Today it’s first grade knowledge that Satan and Lucifer are the same thing, but would you believe me if I told you that was not actually the case? The mix-up is most likely a bad translation of the bible into English, and the makers of SMT knew this too well. Rather than being portrayed as an evil, power hungry villain, in SMT Satan is portrayed as a tempter and accuser of evil who works for God. His main job is to test people by tempting them to do things they know are wrong, and then judge them when they die, It was Satan who is responsible for tempting Eve in the Garden of Eden, and tempting Jesus in the desert, not Lucifer. But enough of back-story, what about his design? Well, what is there not to like about it? The six arms/wings/breasts. 6 fingers per hand, the two bone tentacles, or that menacing look? When I played Persona 3, just seeing that I could use Satan shocked me, in fact, before I played Persona 3 I never thought I would get to use Satan in battle, and in Devil Survivor 2: The Animation I was actually cheering him on at the end. Battle wise, he is a menace, with his signature move in Persona 3 being black viper, which deals massive almighty damage to one foe, he is perfect for taking out bosses. Also, he is needed for the strongest fusion spell in the game, Armageddon. With the amazing design, interesting back-story, and sheer power that he possesses, Satan is truly a power to be reserved for the best of the best.
These are the demons that didn’t quite make the cut but still are very important to me:
Thank you for reading my article, I hope you enjoyed it. What are your favorite demons from the Shin Megami Tensei series? Post them in the comment section down below.