Adult Fear: 25 years ago in Tokyo, the Angels kidnapped children and took them upon their arks to be raised on the ceiling.
Hariti has her son Priyankara kidnapped by human Hunters and she has no idea what happened to him. Thankfully Flynn can save the boy and reunite mother and son.
Parents sending their children to Roppongi Hills when the Ashura-kai promise their children will have a future. They don't mention what that future will be. One mother even breaks down once the war starts since she sent her son there recently believing they could take care of him better than her.
After the End: Tokyo, Blasted Tokyo, and Infernal Tokyo all take place in alternate worlds where this happened after each alignment won in the backstory.
All There in the Manual: Some supplmental information is in the official strategy guide / design book that came with the initial release. Most notably, the Eastern Kingdom of Mikado is said to be in a region called Conntow, clearly a corruption of Kanto, which it is directly above.
Amazon Brigade: Team Red from one of the Challenge Quests. Made up of a Apsara Horde, Persephone, Lorelei, Silky, and their leader Tiamat. They're mentioned to usually wipe out all members of Team White in the previous battles between both teams.
Augmented Reality: The gauntlet displays icons over interactable objects and doors in the game using holograms.
Alien Geometries: Starting with the Tsujiki Hongwanji temple of the Ring of Gaea, which is a maze of doors that teleport you all over the place. Then the angels' stronghold of Purgatorium consists of an entire pocket dimension filled with cathedrals hewn from floating rocks, pillars of light that pull you from the floor and to the ceiling (reversing your minimap in the process,) and walkways that don't even exist until you step on them. Its demonic counterpart, Lucifer Palace, uses teleporters to generate the Hall of Eternity, from which only the most observant can escape. And these are basically the ascended form of what people know as "Domains": dimensional distortions created by powerful demons as hideouts, covered in pulsing tendrils that shimmer with power.
Anachronism Stew: The game opens in 1492, but for some reason the Samurai of East Mikado have demon summoning gauntlets with computers and holographic terminals in them. This is on account of time flowing at different rates for it and Tokyo, where that technology comes from.
And Then John Was a Zombie: Nozomi accepts the destiny to eventually lead the Fairies as their new leader, if you do the appropriate sidequests. This doesn't affect the main plot.
The game takes a cue from Devil Survivor, giving you the ability to choose what abilities fused demons inherit.
Though money isn't as plentiful as in Strange Journey, healing only costs 100 Macca at Hunter Association bars, and is absolutely free at the barracks.
A game over requires your whole party to be wiped out, instead of just your main character, who can still be revived by a demon with access to a Recarm-type spell or Revival items through Healing Knowhow. Instead, the penalty for the MC's death is losing the ability to change demons unless one in your current party has Bad Company, Sabbatma, Invitation, or has Healing Knowhow and thus access to Summon Stones.
After death, players have the option of being revived with full HP near the spot where they died by paying a bribe of either Macca or 3DS Play Coins to Charon, the ferryman of the River Styx - players can even charge one Macca bribe at a time to their tab, with Charon coming to collect as soon as they've earned enough Macca in-game. Charon's prices are steep though, and if a player can't make a payment in either form they will be dead for real, thus ensuring that while you're no longer likely to lose hours of progress to a single unlucky turn, death is still more than a slap on the wrist.
Apocalyptic Log: Several posthumous diaries can be read in the Counter-Force Demon Base.
The Ark: The Cocoons. In Normal Tokyo, they took Tokyo's young to be raised above the ceiling away from the rest of humanity; a new one will land in Shane Duque to serve as the Four Archangels' base when the Samurai are sent after Yuriko. In Infernal Tokyo, the humans under Kenji's command were successful in sabotaging them so they were unable to leave and stopped a nuclear disaster, but the attackers took too long in cracking them open, which resulted in the children dying. In Blasted Tokyo, they also managed to collect Tokyo's children before God's Wrath (the ICBM cluster) hit. They return and start coming down as the Ancient of Days is destroyed and Genesis starts.
Artificial Stupidity: Your NPC teammates in battle may attack with elements to which the enemy is immune or can reflect, which can be annoying if they absorb the damage and devastating if it causes them to Smirk.
As Long as There Is Evil: As long as humans despair over being pawns of God the White shall return, as long as humans are too weak not to cling to God the Angels will return, and as long as humans let their desires run rampant Lucifer will return.
Assist Character: Jonathan, Walter and Isabeau all function as an assist character; one of them will almost always be present during a battle and will occasionally chuck in attack spells or healing to help you. Once in a while the enemy will target them instead of your party, too.
Awesome yet Practical: The Almighty skills have finally dropped in MP cost, making them genuinely useful for battles where you don't know the weaknesses and resistances of the demon(s) you're fighting.
Back from the Dead: Osiris in the Quest Osiris' Ressurection. The Goddess of Tokyo in the Neutral Route. Ishtar on the Chaos Route.
Badass Longcoat: Some Samurai wear blue longcoats with white trim as part of their uniforms, while the rest just wear plate mail armor. The Commander wears a white longcoat with blue trim instead.
Beleaguered Bureaucrat: Charon's portrayal in the game over sequence. The reason he's willing to revive Flynn should he die is because he doesn't want any more work, and complains bitterly should you refuse.
Black Knight: The mysterious black Demonica armor wearing "Black Samurai".
Bland-Name Product: The Ginza area is full of it, starting with Luis Wilton (Louis Vuitton).
Bloody Bowels of Hell: Demons' Domains. Especially the randomly-generated ones from minor, but still powerful, demons.
Bonus Boss: There are many, many bosses that are available through optional challenge quests. There's also one ultimate boss for each route: Mastema for the Law route, Red Rider for the Neutral route and the Demiurge for the Chaos Route. Yet more are available in some of the Downloadable Content. Of course the true ultimate boss is none other than Masakado, who requires you buy the other DLC as he drains/repels most elements and resists almighty, and only those bosses along with the DLC Palette Swap of Asmodeus, called Aeshma, who is obtainable after getting both Archangel DLC, have pierce and elemental pierce type attacks.
There's also the Fiends, which barring Red Rider, are available in all routes. They (excepting David, Plasma and Mother Harlot) have a spawn rate of 1 in 256 odds, only appear in a specific spot of a specific map, have at least 5 press turns (Chemtrail has 6), are harder than the Final Bosses for the most part, will spam Almighty attacks like nobody's business if you fully protect yourself from their main offensive moves, and drop very good rewards.
Boss Banter: Many of this game's boss fights will have this occur partway through the fight, usually somewhere after you've passed the halfway mark. In an interesting variation, the player is given a choice of responses. Pick the right response, something good usually happens, pick the wrong one and suffer (usually you're allowed to just ignore them instead for no effect).
Hordes often shout at you in about five different word balloons at once during the start of a fight. Samurai zombie hordes usually mutter a combination of accusatory insults and ask why you've turned against them. A horde of nephilim yell a bunch of come-on lines to you at once. A cursed horde of ghosts groan that they're going to suck the life out of you, and so on.
Brand X: The Barkeep will say the food and drink he has is from some location, or is from a place famous for said food, he even uses the word Erstatz at the end every time he mentions it.
Bribing Your Way to Victory: You can come back to life after dying by simply paying off Charon, or you could use Play Coins, which can be earned by walking with the 3DS.
Better example would be the collective experience/macca/app point DLCs:
The Experience of the Afterlife DLC allows players to get unlimited amounts of various valuable items such as Light Grimoires, Heavy Grimoires, 10 point cards, 20 point cards, and Gold Death Masks. This has the potential to completely break the game unless the player decides to exercise some self control (especially with the Heavy Grimoires which grants exactly as much exp as is needed to level up whoever uses it). The other restraining factor is that all this easy xp still requires a certain amount of dedication and effort anyway, as the mitamas are all highly resistant to damage and the other demons in the area are at least level 20, forcing you to play the game at least part of the way through before enjoying the gravy train. The entry on the Add-On Content page even says to wait until reaching Deeper Naraku before attempting it.
The Underworld Money-Maker DLC allows players to farm massive amounts of items with high resale value, making it much easier to buy equipment from the shops in Ginza and allow the player to quickly purchase demons to fuse from the Demon Compendium and fill it out. The Death Has Its Applications DLC grants many more app point cards than the xp DLC, allowing the player to obtain all of Burroughs' apps quicker. However, both of these require the player be at least level 30-40, with the required progress being at Ikebukuro.
But Thou Must: When traveling from Blasted and Infernal Tokyo, you will not be allowed to proceed until you activate the Yamato Perpetual Reactor, which forces you to gain or lose alignment points whether you want to or not.
Checkpoint Starvation: You cannot save at all until you've become a Samurai, entered the first dungeon, and met Burroughs. Fortunately, once she's introduced herself, you're able to save at any time. Although it just takes about twenty or so minutes to get to that point.
Culture Chop Suey: East Mikado is based off of feudal Japan but has Western architecture and the characters have non-Japanese names. The actual history of Mikado explains exactly why this has happened.
Clarke's Third Law: The people of East Mikado don't really understand electronics and consider technology to be mystical artifacts, including the demon summoning gauntlet. Then again, it lets you cast spells, so they're at least half right. The "magical" portal between worlds is actually an advanced particle accelerator originally built to study black holes.
Gabriel, Michael, Raphael and Uriel are behind East Mikado, referencing Tokyo Millennium in Shin Megami Tensei II. In fact, if you look closely at the mission text when Gabriel assigns you to rescue the others, Millenniumis in bold.
The Gauntlets every Samurai wears and uses to summon demons look exactly like the COMPs on the left arms of the Demonica suits.
The Tokyo-based Hunters, the Ashura-kai, and the Ring of Gaea all summon demons via smartphone apps, like in Devil Survivor 2.
Mido, the fusion app, is completely based off of the Cathedral of Shadows fusion master from Nocturne, complete with certain BG Ms that play while in this app.
There's also a meta one - during your confrontation with the White in the Neutral route, Flynn is referred to as the "fifth son". While this also references the apparent number of alternate universes that has led up to this point, it also... references the number of "alternate universes" up to this point. If you count Strange Journey, as Atlus does, Flynn is the fifth main-series protagonist of an SMT game. He is the "fifth son".
Barong and Rangda are fused together by the Terminal Guardian to make Shiva.
The client who invites you to the tournament is an ex-hunter named Okamoto.
If you go back to Club Milton after the alignment lock, you can hear 'Nocturne's normal battle theme in the background.
Contractual Boss Immunity: Bosses are arbitrarily unwilling to talk if you try Scout or Negotiate. Every other chat skill works just fine though (unless they're also a human or horde, who won't listen to anything).
Covers Always Lie: The cover artwork evokes a Mirrored Confrontation Shot that sets the protagonist between the forces of Chaos and the champions of Law. Except that only the Law side is accurate: while the four demons depicted are indeed aligned with Chaos, only Lilith has a role comparable to the four Archangels, another is a forgettable miniboss working with the Ashura-Kai (which is enemies with Lilith), the third opposes both the Ashura-Kai and Lilith, and the last is an optional sidequest boss exclusive to New Game+ and has no connection whatsoever to either the plot, or the other demons. It's a bit of a case of Wolverine Publicity, since these demons were all created by the guest designers.
Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: In-Universe, the White attempt to invoke this with Flynn by taking him to Blasted and Infernal Tokyo, the alternate worlds that would have come to pass had his previous life chosen those paths. The White want him most of all to realize that no matter which option is chosen, eventually people will try to seek that which was lost: in Blasted Tokyo, Akira says he does not mind the Reactor opening a gate to the Expanse, as the survivors will be able to seize control of the demons to lead into a world of joyful chaos. In Infernal Tokyo, just after Kenji's dead, Akira starts organizing the Neurishers and rationing their use, establishing the foundations of an ordered society. On a meta level, this is done to elicit support for the White and their plan to blow up the Reactor, destroying the universe (if not multiverse) for good.
Dead All Along: Wall-eyed Jun, the man who gives Flynn the quest Peallaidh Extermination, was killed and eaten by Peallaidh awhile ago. A soldier found in the Counter-Demon Force base is also this, but he won't be revealed as a ghost until he hears Fujiwara's voice and fades away a few seconds later.
Death World: Tokyo essentially fits this bill after it gets sealed off ( the rest of the world was nuked except for the incarnation in Infernal Tokyo). Demons that attack on sight are everywhere, and the only way to keep them from killing you is if you kill them first or through negotiation. You could also feed them a Red, but if you're outside of the Ashura-Kai's protective circle, you'll be made into them. There are poisonous lakes around the city and with no sun, growing food is difficult, and the lack of natural game forces people to hunt and kill demons for food. Blasted Tokyo is even worse off as the air is toxic, the water is lethal and the poison has a 100% kill rate, while the land is a desert filled with demons that are trying to wipe out the unclean in God's name.
Try scrolling through your compendium. When you reach Okiku-Mushi, you'll notice that she enters from the top unlike other demons that enter from the right side of the screen. That's because she's HANGING herself. May be Fridge Brilliance. The same thing happens to Arachne (descending from the ceiling like a spider).
If the enemy is afflicted with Bind when you attempt to, er, "fundraise", you can help yourself to all the enemy's money without any resistance.
If the enemy is asleep when you use a chat skill, they'll wake up. If you wanted to Negotiate, they'll chew you out for waking them up over that and tell you to just go away. Success!
Most chat skills (minus Recruit and Negotiate, for obvious reasons) will work on bosses.
Taken to a sad conclusion: all the chat skills can work on Issachar, and he responds to all of them.
Try doing the Ancient of Days or Sanat DLC quests before traveling to Blasted Tokyo or Infernal Tokyo for the first time. Yes, the game does take into account whether you have defeated Pluto and Kenji or not.
Doing certain quests that can be done before alignment lock after it is locked will have the dialogue change. One such example is Tiamat mentioning the destruction of the Ashura-kai after alignment lock, while before it she mentions that the Ashura-kai were wary of Flynn participating.
Demons that you normally wouldn't encounter in battles (such as Alice) still have battle sprites, which are only seen if they get lost.
Deus Ex Nukina: Literally in the case of Blasted and Normal Tokyo, taking a cue from Shin Megami Tensei I. Infernal Tokyo averts this by Kenji and his comrades slaying the angels before they got the chance, while normal Tokyo was protected by the ceiling while the rest of the world burned.
Diegetic Interface: Everything you can do is because of your gauntlet. You don't even get a map for the bottom screen until you buy the mapping App!
Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Not only is Lucifer and the combined form of the Archangels beatable, but the protagonist gets to face the avatar of God known as Ancient of Days, the chaos king Sanat, and Masakado at full power.
Disc One Nuke: Not long after you get into the World Map, you can reach Ikebukuro area and fight demons that is far stronger than you are, while still being beatable. By staying here and killing some of these demons(such as Zhen), you can get a couple of levels before actually getting to the point where you need to go to Ikebukuro.
Angel, Heqet, and Gremlin are three easily found demons in the early game, and will evolve into much more powerful forms around the early sections of Tokyo, making the above trick even easier. Or you could take the time or money to summon one of the early Special Summons; in particular Fortuna is quite powerful.
Downloadable Content: Different hairtstyles, armor based on bosses and other designs, three expansion map packs for leveling up easier, Palette Swap demons, and Bonus Boss battles against the likes of the Four Archangels, Ancient of Days, Sanat, and Masakado.
Dump Stat: Strength. It only really increases your standard, no-MP attack. Due to Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards, it's not nearly as versatile as going for a magic build or a gun build, and even then, you are better off increasing your Dexterity for Phys/Gun Damage.
Dying Race: The Fair Folk or Tuatha De Danann are dying out during the game. Most of them being wiped out in their mission to retrieve the "Holy Grail", also known as Dagda's Cauldron, from the Angels. The majority of the remnants holding out in the St. Nicholas Cathedral. They ask for Nozomi to attempt to summon Lady Danu in order to have her retake her place as their leader and mother, which will also allow the Cauldron to revive all fallen members of the race. It's also revealed that they were on the verge of extinction due to the Hebrew Holy forces in the past as well, which lead to Lady Danu becoming Black Maria in order to protect them and countless others from being persecuted. To save them Nozomi is given the power of Lady Danu so that she will eventually become her.
Early Game Hell: Naraku is absolutely brutal, especially if you're new to SMT games, but once you reach Tokyo, fights become much more manageable.
Easter Egg: The theme for the Cathedral of Shadows changes each subsequent fusion.
...Shin Megami Tensei IV requires you to humiliate yourself. To unlock easy mode, you must die, watch the game mock you via cutscene, then pay about half your cash. Then you must die again and get another verbal lashing that ends with easy mode being unlocked.''
Eldritch Location: The final dungeons for Law and Chaos, respectively: Purgatorium and Lucifer Palace. The Monochrome Forest also counts, as well as the various Demon Domains littered around Tokyo.
Fantastic Caste System: There are two ranks amongst the people of East Mikado. The Casualries which make up the lower classes such as farmers, merchants, etc. and the Luxurors, which are made up of Nobles, Samurai, and Priests. Once born into a class they can never leave it with one exception: those who are chosen to become Samurai are upgraded to Luxuror if they are a Casualry.
Also the Unclean Ones who are even lower than the Casualries. As it turns out, the "Unclean Ones" are actually the people still in Tokyo.
Lightning electrocutes enemies as bolts arc across their bodies.
Light attacks will warp/banish the enemy out of the field.
Dark attacks will cause the enemy to decay and fall to the ground.
Almighty completely disintegrates them.
Fisher King: The environment of the Expanse reflects the ones who live and rule there. Under the control of the White it is a white and empty realm, with the Goddess of Tokyo being dead it is a wasteland of dark colors with the water frozen in time in the back, and her revival in the Neutral Ending has the landscape fill with bright color as clouds appear and the sound of water is heard as it begins to move again.
Fixed Damage Attack: Michael's Fallen Grace, which always does 666 damage, and since it's Almighty, it's completely unblockable.
Foreshadowing: When Sister Gabby assigns you to rescue the three men from Shinjuku Park, her quest log has millennium written in bold letters, while talking about how important the men are.
In the dream sequences where you see Jonathon you also clearly see the head of a stature lying on the ground behind him. Careful observers will notice that this is the head of the King Aquila statue that will be destroyed by the angels after they take direct control of Mikado.
Funny Background Event: When the choice to activate the Yamato Gate comes up, Tayama's desperate, weak protests can be heard in the background.
Really, there's a LOT of these. Pay attention to your fellow Samurai, especially Walter, when they're shown behind a speaker in many events.
Gameplay and Story Integration: After getting the Global Airship, you can access a town that couldn't be reached through other means, which is full of low-level demons from the early part of the game. Which is justified, as all of them emigrated from Mikado and Naraku after the angels took power.
Gameplay and Story Segregation: A quest requires you to fuse a Baldur to fight another Baldur for all eternity, since they're both immune to all attacks shy of a certain plant. In battle, he is understandably just another demon.
Lucifer has both a human schoolgirl form and two masculine demon forms in this game.
You meet a male "furious hunter" in Shinjuku who turns into the female Dullahan after ingesting Red.
Angel evolves into Archangel, Incubus into Succubus, and Tiamat into Ym.
Get Back Here Boss: Three appear in Challenge Quests. Sun Wukong, Cerberus Hell Horde, and a New Game+ one against Kartikeya in Infernal Tokyo.
Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: A quest early on in the game has you dealing with cursed hordes in Naraku, which is a bit difficult, but still manageable. Immediately upon defeating the last encounter, the Fiend David appears - he is also very likely to get the first strike. Hope you brought darkness protection.
Global Airship: The Ameno Torifune, bestowed upon you as a boon from Amaterasu. However, you need to complete an optional demon-talk Side Quest for it near the end of the game, meaning you need a bit of luck to open the quest in the first place.
Go Mad from the Revelation: This is what the Black Samurai's Literature does. Basically, non-Samurai Casualries who read it ultimately build up so much resentment at all the Luxuror-crafted barricades to full happiness that they go demonically insane with rage. Literally demonic. Although the literature itself isn't actually magical, what with being such things as No Longer Human by Osamu Dazai; in other words, real world literature. Meanwhile, even the Luxurors only get histories, legends, and fairy-stories. In other words, all Mikado has for books is propaganda.
Goldfish Poop Gang: The Ashura-kai's self-proclaimed Terminal guardian manages to be a one-man Poop Gang, wielding a different demon team (and disguise) each time Flynn encounters one.
Guest Star Party Member: Walter, Jonathan, Isabeau, Merkabah and Lucifer will help out as a fifth party member that can attack enemies and even get knocked out at different points during the story. When there are multiple human party members, then the fifth slot is random and can be any of them.
Guide Dang It: The game has little to no Neutral choices, only Law or Chaos ones. So the only way to get the Neutral ending is to carefully balance out dozens often ambiguous Lawful and Chaotic choices. Not to mention that the alignment-locking question can easily lock you out of the Neutral Path if you have been too neutral.
Finally manage to get on the Neutral path? Have fun dealing with the 19 required sidequests to proceed! While some of them are obvious, others are not so much. Some aren't even in the pub, requiring you to find mostly out of the way generic humans to accept a quest for!
Any of the missions where you have to find things across Tokyo. Even if you know where they are, the awful world map will still make it confusing.
The Enoch quest. For one thing, you're not likely to know that it even exists, as you have to talk to Mido post-alignment lock - which is something that wouldn't occur to most players. Additionally, unless you know about the myth, it wouldn't occur to you that Enoch is Metatron.
Heel Face Brainwashing: It's implied that the Archangels have done some of this once they take over the Eastern Kingdom of Mikado. One NPC who was reading and loving books and had recently read Paradise Lost loses all interest in them and believes he has never read a single book in his life.
He will, however, occasionally say something when entering a fight or pausing the game.
This gets lampshaded early on in a conversation in K's Bar. One patron mentions that Isabeau and Jonathan keeps quiet, and you're even quieter, scarcely saying a word.
Talkative Samurai: And then there's yourself, who is nearly silent. I can't recall the last time I met anyone who said so little.
Heroic Sacrifice: Regardless of ending, Walter willingly fuses with Hikari/Lucifer to restore the latter's power, while Johnathan fuses with the archangels and becomes Merkabah, God's Chariot. It's made clear that both fusions are treated as death for their respective heroes, and made doubly apparent if you chose to be the sacrifice instead.
Also, in the Law ending, Flynn and Merkabah activate the Yamato Perpetual Reactor to "cleanse" Tokyo...with them still in the city. Though the heroic part's a bit more YMMV.
The Horde: Hordes are unique battles where a large pack of enemies appear on screen that count as a single unit. They have multiple turns and doing damage causes the numbers to dwindle as the battle goes on and several are mini bosses. The upside is that, despite counting as one unit, hordes take damage multiple times from "multi-target" spells, so one good Mazan can blast half of them away.
Human Resources: Red Pills are made from the neurotransmitters of human brains, similar to the magnetite from previous games.
Humans Are Flawed: Several demons from delivery quests have this opinion and will be impressed by how skilled Flynn is and showing them that humans do have the capability of being more than what they currently are.
Humans Are Special: Azazel's belief in the quest Taste of the Forbidden Fruit, where he is giving humans who seek freedom knowledge, believing they will become greater than angels on the path to freedom.
Humans Are the Real Monsters: Lilith tells the party that how Tayama's red pills are made will show the party evil that demons cannot make. The party is disgusted upon seeing how the pills are made, but whether this is true or not depends on the player.
Hypocrite: The Angels. They are the ones who unleashed God's Wrath, a horde of Nukes across the earth to wipe out mankind saying it was the result of their sinful knowledge once the Expanse was opened and demons started flooding in. However, a Demonoid in Infernal Tokyo revealed that the portal to the Expanse that opened 25 years ago and the result of the events that lead to the game was all part of God's schemes, which is why Kenji sided with the demons.
I Ate WHAT?: The food and drink they sell in the bars does heal the party, but some of the characters are wary of the contents.
Burroughs: Did it just... move?
I Am Your Opponent: Michael bursts in as you defeat Gabriel in the Clipped Wings 2 DLC, allowing her to bail out.
Idle Animation: More like idle chatter but every few minutes without moving, Burroughs will ask if you are taking a break and comment about it.
Ignorance Is Bliss: The Law Faction's goal with the Eastern Kingdom of Mikado. Keeping the world forever in Medieval Stasis and ignorant of all knowledge and wisdom. To the point that people reading books can lead them to becoming demons because of the anger they feel for being ignorant of how terrible their lives are in the Fantastic Caste System and the fact that they are denied the right to learn. Fridge Brilliance applies as you realize exactly what it is that the Angels are trying to do - remove the Original Sin and Lucifer's taint from Humanity, leaving them forever innocent and unable and unwilling to change anything- the Law faction's golden dream.
On the Neutral Route talking to people in Mikado will have them realize that they were blindly following the Archangels without ever meeting them.
Irony: Those who became Demonoids in Infernal Tokyo did it out of a desire to drive the demons out. However, their newfound power drove many of them into blood frenzied fighters who attacked each other and others were too weak to defeat the demons and submitted to them instead.
On the Neutral Route one Samurai NPC will mention that they destroyed King Aquila's statue because the Archangels said that to revere anyone but God is idolatry. Guess who gets a statue and be viewed as a savior in the Law ending?
The new rulers of Mikado (Four Archangels) are revealed on the Law alignment to have commanded the Samurai to go around the kingdom making people perform fumi-e (the act of stomping on a religious effigy to symbolically defile it) to see if they are loyal to the Black Samurai or not, with the intention of executing every person who doesn't step on it. This act was used in the past to see whether Japanese people were Christian but with Christian imagery instead of the Black Samurai.
Jump Scare: Occasionally, a mass horde of demons will pop out around you and some demons spawn from jumping out of somewhere.
Kaiju Defense Force: The Counter-Demon Force, a now defunct organization that was active 25 years ago, was created by the government as a way to combat demons. It was founded by Fujiwara, and Skins and his comrade, the Masakado summoner, were once members of the group alongside the National Defense Divinities.
Kingmaker Scenario: Per series standard. The only thing that truly stands between the ultimate triumph of Merkabah, Lucifer, Humanity and even the White is you.
Know When to Fold 'Em: Unlike in past games you can't simply give demons items and expect them to join half the time. Now you have to end talks after giving them a certain amount or else they will certainly flee. Sometimes a demon will stop to negotiate with you if the battle isn't going their way, either giving you an item/macca before leaving or offer to join you.
Laser-Guided Amnesia: Odin is suffering from this and has taken the form of a old man speaking stories of Wodan. Thor's decided the best way to make him regain his memories is to have him witness several battles. Odin regains his memories during the battle between Flynn and Thor, stops the fight, and offers the two Hunters and Flynn a place at Valhalla after they pass away one day.
Leitmotif: Classic SMT series motifs such as LAW make their return.
Luck-Based Mission: Demon negotiation. Unlike previous titles, where each demon "personality" generally had clear tells as to what they like and dislike, here everything about negotiation is randomized. Several players have noted that their negotiations seem to go well, only for the demon to immediately turn around and one shot them. Also, several players have noted that demons are actually more likely to flee the longer negotiations go on, meaning that you could be granting the demon everything it desires, only for it to decide to run away at the last minute.
Not to mention the fact that some fights just wind up being dependent on A.I. Roulette, and your entire party can easily be killed by a group of enemies less than half your level if they happen to get a first strike... which if they show up as reinforcements after another battle, they can get automatically.
While not a low level enemy, Red Rider might be the biggest example of this in the game. He can conceivably end the fight at any time if he decides to spam Antichthon, which he very well do without warning. The chances of him doing this decrease if one doesn't equip Null/Repel Phys, but this applies to all Fiends as they will spam almighty attacks if they can't use physical attacks.
Perhaps in acknowledgement of this fact, defeating Red Rider rewards you with 10 of each stat incense. Defeating any Fiend gives out a sweet reward, but this may indeed be the best one.
For that matter, barring three of them, merely finding a Fiend is a Luck-Based Mission in itself, as Fiends have a very low spawn rate of 1 in 256 odds. This is far more troublesome than it sounds, as Fiends follow different encounter rules than normal enemies.
Are you a fan of the "Famed" race (formerly known as Hero,) which includes fan favorites like Yoshitsune, Joan of Arc, or Rama? Tough luck, this race is accessible only through extremely rare fusion accidents, and unlike previous games, there's no app to increase the likelihood of these. The best you can do to increase your chances (and even then, only slightly) is slap a demon on a DDS black card, and hope that the random fusion from Streetpass results in an accident... and that the accident results in a Famed.
Magical Particle Accelerator: The Yamato Perpetual Reactor is actually an advanced particle accelerator that can somehow open gateways to Alternate Timelines, transport you to the Expanse, and create universe destroying black holes. What any of that actually has to do with smashing particles into each other at high speeds is unclear.
MacGuffin: The Yamato Perpetual Reactor. You even end up using it to destroy Tokyo or the entire universe in some paths!
Meaningful Name: Hikaru can mean "light" in Japanese hinting at her true identity as Lucifer, "the bringer of light".
Metal Slime: The Mitama in the farming missions have a huge damage reduction from most attacks, Null or receive "0hp" damage from the rest (including Almighty skills like Antichthon,) and have a high chance to run from battle. Naturally, they carry the Rare Candy and Vendor Trash items you're after.
Money Grinding: Since most foes don't give Macca the best ways to get Macca is through the Money Grinding DLC "Money Makes the Underworld Turn" or later in the game when access to Tennozu and Toyosu becomes available, where 5-star Relics spawn there. During the wait for those to respawn one can bind/talk Barbatos then use a Fundraise app, since he typically gives more Macca than most demons in the game.
Money Spider: Totally averted, for once. Demons do not drop money when you kill them. You need to make money by other means, either by doing repeatable quests, selling loot or just straight-up begging the demons themselves for cash. Human enemies do drop small amounts of money when killed, however, and Hoodlum Hordes and Yakuza Hordes leave behind thousands of Macca upon defeat.
Averted with Black Rider. Defeating him rewards you with 300 000 Macca, plus 3 items that sell for 10 000 each, but offset by an extremely low encounter rate. See Luck-Based Mission.
More Dakka: Ashura Man enemies are decked out with all sorts of firearms.
More Deadly Than The Male: Female Samurai Zombie, Ashura Woman, and Gaea Woman are stronger and higher leveled than their male counterparts.
Multi-Mook Melee: Some boss fights are not against one single powerful demon but a huge wave of weak demons filling up the screen and attacking as one.
Law: Believing it's the only way to truly keep East Mikado safe, you and Merkabah open a black hole on your side of the Yamato Gate, killing everyone in Tokyo, including the two of you. Though social inequality remains, East Mikado is free of demons and you are remembered as its Messiah.
Chaos: Believing the people of East Mikado will never be free under the current system, you and Lucifer decide to burn the city to the ground. Though many will die in the violence, Mikado will rise from the ashes as a land where people are finally free to choose their own path in life.
Neutral: Believing that neither the forces of Chaos or Law have humanity's best interests at heart, you use the power of Masakado to remove the ceiling above Tokyo, destroying East Mikado in the process. Though the people of East Mikado are forced to move to Tokyo, the world is restored to the way it once was.
Nothingness: Believing it's the only way to truly free the world from YHVH's machinations and the eternal battle between Law and Chaos, you choose to sabotage the Yamato Gate, opening a series of black holes that consume the entire universe.
Mundane Object Amazement: Any "relic" found within Naraku are actually modern day mundane objects, and therefore worth a lot of money. Some of the objects are understandably confusing, like computer parts and other gadgets, more technological-based leisure items, documents, cosmetics, certain medicines, and certain food items. The appraisal descriptions for anything more modern are pretty amusing.
Mutually Exclusive Magic: Only Flynn can power up his skills by receiving whispers from demons with the same skill. Conversely, only your demons have full access to all passive abilities. The best Flynn can do is equip accessories that grant certain passive abilities, but he can't use more than one accessory at a time, nor is there one for every passive ability. He'd be too powerful if he could get all passive abilities too.
Mythology Gag: The game has numerous references to Strange Journey and other games in the series.
The Black Samurai wears a black Demonica Suit.
Demons appear as blue static on the field before you fight them. New demon enemies were blue static in Strange Journey before you analyzed them.
The chances of finding a Fiend is 1/256, just like the chances of finding a Fiend in Shin Megami Tensei I.
In the aftermath of Camp Ichigaya, an NPC in Shibuya mentions that a "B-grade" magazine was right about the Ring of Gaea being an evil demon-worshipping cult. The Cult of Gaea, and its murderous tendencies, were once featured in Ayakashi Monthlya rag that Chiaki found distasteful.
Two of the Hunters in Tokyo that appear on the blackboards are Romero and Anthony.
The command center of the Counter-Demon Force HQ in Infernal/Blasted Kasumigaseki is wrecked. Much like how the command center of the Red Sprite is wrecked at the beginning of the Law/Chaos routes.
The "Afterlife" DLC missions, wherein Charon's assistants take you to an alternate, sealed-off version Shinjuku, use a remix of "Shinjuku Hygienic Hospital" as background music. The area itself is referred to as a "dead city."
Nonstandard Character Design: Some of the new demon artwork was created by character designers from the Kamen Rider franchise, and closer to their personal styles than the traditional Kazuma Kaneko aesthetic.
Not of This Earth: Neither Sanat nor the Ancient of Days can be correctly scanned without external help, and they don't seem to be made of matter native to the Universe...
Not So Different: The Ashura-kai and the Ring of Gaea, according to one NPC. He observes that Tayama wanted people to use Reds to co-exist with the demons, and Yuriko wanted those humans strong enough to manage it to live with the demons.
The leaders of the angels and demons, on the Neutral route wind up looking a lot alike. Both have established super-Domains in significant locations, consumed one of your friends get a power boost, both blame Isabeau's death on a outside force (the Angels/Tokyo) rather than it being because of their their own actions, taunt you in their voice, ask nearly-identical questions with the same responses, and when you put them down bother Merkabah and Lucifer scream disbelief at their defeat by mere humans, only to get eerily calm and inform you that humans are too weak to live without them, and it won't be long until they return.
There's also the matter of the the two DLC Bonus Bosses for Blasted and Infernal Tokyo. While their motivations are pretty far apart—the Ancient of Days is trying to finish cleaning the world out to make room for God's chosen, and Sanat's just a Blood Knight nonpareil who's looking to see if the seeds of chaos he sowed well before humanity evolved have ripened to his liking—the entities they're based on are apparently regarded in scholarship as related to each other. Now consider their race names—"Godly" for the Ancient, which in this series typically means "Law King", and "Chaos King" (contracted to "Chaos" in the English version) for Sanat. The "kings" of the two sides would be regarded by some scholars as the same entity. It's enough to make you wonder if Atlus is trying to say in this game that Law and Chaos are ultimately just negative images of each other, rather than genuinely dissimilar.
In the Alternate Desert/Blasted Tokyo, the cyberdemon Pluto is attempting to wipe out all life on God's orders.
In the Ancient of Days DLC, YHVH sends a avatar of himself, Ancient of Days, to continue his goal since Pluto failed.
The White are also this, thinking that the only way to break free of YHVH's will is to wipe Earth (And maybe the rest of the Solar System) off the map. By extension the Nothingness ending has you become one of these and succeeding in activating Yamato.
Order Versus Chaos: Tokyo has been split between the Lawful Ashura-Kai, which negotiates with demons to establish order, and the Chaotic Ring of Gaea, which wants all out war with the creatures. This is a funky reversal of how things usually go with regards to Order/Chaos, where usually "Chaos" is collaborating with demons to gain their power and "Order" is the ones looking to eradicate them.
Another twist on it is that the Ashura-Kai talk and act like paramilitary yakuza, with rather scummy attitudes and shifty, underhanded negotiators, instead of the typical "holier-than-thou" attitude espoused by most Law types. The Ring of Gaea are strength-worshippers, but they worship human strength and dress like ascetic monks; it seems they only accept members who are strong enough to beat a demon to death with their bare hands. What demons work for the Ring of Gaea seem to be those that they've personally beaten the crap out of and bested, rather than ones bought with macca like the Ashura-Kai.
Our Angels Are Different: See those horrifying white monstrosities in the white half of the cover art up there? Those are angels.
Our Monsters Are Weird: Many "traditional" monsters have had their designs radically overhauled to look just plain bizarre. The first demon you get, the Centaur, looks like two plastic horse heads facing each other attached to a humanoid torso. Medusa's snake hair looks like skeletal snakes and chains, for extra Spikes of Villainy. The Minotaur doesn't look like an anthropomorphic bull-man, he looks like a blue bull got crudely fused onto the top half of a human; the tip of his muzzle resembles a human skull, and you can see vestigial bull hooves sticking out near his shoulders.
Pieces of God: Minako's collecting souls of powerful demons that originate from Ishtar, hoping to revive her by consuming the three largest - Astaroth's, Mother Harlot's, and Asherah's. After consuming the three she takes a Red Pill, sacrificing her body, mind and soul to revive her. She succeeds, and Ishtar even comments there's still a piece of Minako's mind within her.
People Farms: The Ashura-kai's Reverse Hills building is where they make Red Pills from humans.
Pet the Dog: Some conversational choices would have demons take pity on you and do something for you - one example being that if you try to kill yourself, they'll join you out of concern and to keep you from doing it again.
Power Copying: This is how you learn spells. Once your demons level up sufficiently to learn all the spells they're ever going to learn, they initiate Demon Whisper, where you can copy or overwrite any of their abilities onto your list. You can only hold a limited number of spells at a time, but if you already have a copy of an ability it gets upgraded to either do more damage or cost less MP to cast.
Powers as Programs: The summoning gauntlet has an App store on it that lets you unlock basic upgrades to your character's performance, such as holding more demons/skills, more negotiation options, and so on.
Psycho Serum: The Ashura-kai bribe demons into pacification with Red Pills, which curb their hunger for human flesh. The pills also turn any humans who consume them into demons, too; in Ashura-kai territory you can meet several non-hostile demons who mention they used to be human, and one big boss fight against one.
Rainbow Pimp Gear: You are not required to wear matching helmets or pants that go with your torso armor, and you can wind up with some very funky combinations.
Red Herring: People who have played Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey probably took notice of the Black Samurai outfit and concluded that it was Louis Cypher again, especially since it's revealed that the Black Samurai is a woman, just as Lucifer was in Strange Journey. Turns out that's way off, the Black Samurai is actually Lilith and Lucifer doesn't even appear until pretty far into the game.
Retreaux: Certain elements of the game are designed to be reminiscent of older video games despite being modernized. For example, the press turn icons are that of the SNES games, the Cathedral of Shadows guy looks like a head made out of voxels and the catchy battle music sounds like a modernized version of a 16-bit synth song.
Robo Speak: Pluto sounds like it's voiced by a computer rather than a person, and even starts to "glitch" out when defeated. As does Ancient of Days.
Rocket Tag Gameplay: There's no defensive stat any more, and armors only give you a pittance of new hit points. When things go bad, they tend to go bad fast. So the gameplay revolves around either utterly annihilating the enemy in as few turns as possible or dying to them on the first round.
Shoot the Dog: Early-game, you have to put down Issachar, Flynn's old pal who's become a demon.
The ultimate aim of The White is to do this to the entire universe, viewing Law and Chaos as ultimately meaningssless and equally horrible as long as God exists that the death of everything and everyone would be a comparative mercy.
The Wicker Man's compendium entry states that strangers would sometimes wander across them and wonder how their sacrifices got burned, a reference to a memetic line from the 2006 version of The Wicker Man.
There's a skill that summons demons from the stock into all empty party slots called "Bad Company."
A reference that is lost on Western players is the Rx W Smacktacular XIII, which is a reference to the Red White Music Battle, an annual event that airs on New Year's Eve in Japan; which also explains why the demons are treated like pop idols.
Sprite/Polygon Mix: Exploration takes place in 3D, but cinematics and battles occur in 2D.
Also many of the bosses have this when they first appear, right before they are revealed.
Side Quest: A lot of them. They are called "Challenge Quests" and are completely optional unless you are on the Neutral route. The "common" collect Twenty Bear Asses and "slay this demon" are present, but there are also quests to search for specific rare or unique items, look for missing people or possessions, a couple Escort Missions, some that are only a string of battles, including a couple of tournaments, and a few with special conditions. However, accepting any quest that doesn't fall under the "Delivery" category (which always count as accepted if they can be redone) will completely freeze the story until you complete it or abandon it. Those same quests also do not permit your fellow Samurai to aid you in them, so you are on your own unless the quest gives you a companion (usually Nozomi).
Stable Time Loop: The DLC quests suggest this, as they involve you going back in time to defeat the Four Archangels (leading to their capture and subsequent rescue in the present), as well as to calm down Masakado so he can create a ceiling over Tokyo.
Summoning Ritual: Three are quests that can be done on New Game+. The first is involves the revival of Astaroth, where Minako along with the aid of others is attempting to, and succeed, in summoning him. The second involves a quest in Infernal Tokyo where Master Therion has a orgy/Sabbath between Demonoids and Neurishers to summon Mother Harlot, but only ends up summoning her in a alternate Tokyo due to Flynn interfering. The third happens upon Jonathan's route and requires that Flynn slay Morax, Tokisada, Chimera, and Gryphon. Their collective heads are to be sacrificed in order to summon Seraph.
Talking the Monster to Death: This game has way more conversation skills than any other SMT game, provided you spend enough App points. Just regular recruiting can be upgraded to have the demons give you money and items when they join, convince their friends to join too (who also give you money and items), and boosting their stats and skills automatically. You can learn a talk skill for "fundraising" from the enemy, or bartering for items. You can pay them to heal you in the middle of battle (and then the battle resumes and you kill the demon who healed you, huh...), another skill lets you bribe the enemy into ending the fight, and the fight-ending skill can itself be upgraded to get you a free heal too! There's even a time-wasting "Chitchat" skill that uses up enemy press turns.
Tournament Arc: You can enter tournaments for some side missions. Each round faces you off against a Hunter and their demons, and you have to go through multiple rounds without stopping to heal. After each round, you get the choice to spare your opponent or finish them off. The former will anger the crowd.
The RxW Smacktacular is similar to this but with Hunters facing off against demons on television. Until Flynn participated the Hunters have lost every single game, even with the leader of the Demons team not wanting to participate.
Undead Child: A young girl appears at the beginning of the game and asks for someone to revive her. She appears briefly through the story.
Recurring demon Alice returns as a special fusion, but of the Undead race instead of the typical Fiend race.
Undying Loyalty: Several demons such as Ares and Minotaur are unflinchingly loyal to their dead masters and Minotaur continues acting on his part of the pact with King Aquila 1500 years later.
Unique Enemy: There's no truly unique enemy, but some demons have unique dialogue, such as the Zombie Cop.
Urban Fantasy: Much of the game takes place in modern day Tokyo, but involves demons, angels and alternate worlds.
Vendor Trash: Your primary means of income (outside of using certain talk skills on demons). Gathering "relics" and selling them at stores is how you make cash. Relics can be anything; semiprecious stones, commonplace technological junk like computer mice or compact discs, or furniture like chairs and desks. The item description for the various modern items is of some confused primitive trying to make sense of them, amusingly. (Mice are thought to perhaps be a small storage box for jewelry, and they think that CDs are strange mirrors.)
Vicious Cycle: The Neutral route outright states it will happen again, so long as humans exist.
Villainous Breakdown: Both Merkabah and Lucifer in the Neutral route. Merkabah, upon defeat, flies into a rage, ranting that humanity "needs" the angels to survive and that so long as mankind longs for order the angels will return. Lucifer's breakdown is similar: the distortion in his voice gets even worse as he snarls incomprehension at his loss, before promising that so long as mankind cannot control their desires the demons will return.
Virtual Paper Doll: The Hero can be equipped with a wide array of items that change his appearance on the field.
Rainbow Pimp Gear: Some combinations of gear inevitably result in this. One of the clothing sets is even a bright, multi-colored goalie hockey uniform.
Wake Up Call Boss: The Minotaur serves to remind the player that not only do they have to mind their Press Turns, but also that enemies can and will make use of Smirking to wipe an unsuspecting party. He's also the first boss that showcases how buffs and debuffs can and will mean the difference between life and death.
We Cannot Go On Without You: Played with. Finally, your character can die in battle without a game over happening; however, unless a demon has Recarm/Samerecarm/Invitation or Healing Knowhow (which enables them to use healing items), you have to sit the rest of the battle out. This is played straight when your entire party is killed even though you have guest characters following you, who are perfectly capable of using Revival Beads.
Wham Episode: The entire midway point of the game onward is full of these. Such as the revelation that Yuriko, the leader of the Ring of Gaea is not only The Black Samurai, but also the demon Lilith which only gets worse when you reach the Reverse Hills Building where it's shown that the Ashura-Kai keep a whole human farm there where they harvest the brains of humans to make Reds. And that's not even getting into once the Yamato reactor is turned on.
World of Badass: The list of named characters who aren't badass in one way or another probably could be counted on one hand. Particularly badass individuals include Koga Saburo, Kaga, and your main character. The alignment heroes too, for the extent to which dedication to their ideals makes them potent allies... and enemies.
Year Outside, Hour Inside/Year Inside, Hour Outside: Implied to be how time works between Tokyo and Mikado. Which trope is in effect is up to debate as to whether time was slowed in Tokyo and flows normally in Mikado or flows normally in Tokyo and was sped up in Mikado. The time dilution is an even factor of 60 either way.
You Cannot Grasp the True Form: Both Ancient of Days and Sanat are made of materials Not of This Earth and are at first incomprehensible to the human eye until something begins to pulse within Flynn, implied to be the White, who want him to be driven to enough despair to give the universe a final death.