He is actually an Artificial Human, conceived in Hiroko's womb and then raised in a test tube as part of a plan by the impatient Messians to "force" the return of their saviour. As a result, he also aged rapidly, growing 10 years every 24 hours for a short time.
In the "Neutral" alignment ending, prior to the Final Boss battle he is forewarned that by defying the will of YHVH, he will suffer a never-ending cycle of torture, death and reincarnation without hope of release as punishment for the "Ultimate Sin" (deicide). He is not told this on the Law and Chaos endings, however.
- Alternate Self: The Aleph that appears in Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse is actually a version of him that died when the Megiddo Ark was fired. Defeating Stephen earns him the right at a second chance with his fate changed. He represents the "Law" route of SMT.
- And I Must Scream: His punishment for deicide is to be subjected by a cycle of torture, death, and reincarnation for all eternity.
- Badass Normal: Like the first game protagonist, he learns no magic whatsoever.
- The Beast Master
- The Chosen One: According to the Center, he was chosen to be the Messiah by YHVH Himself. Repeatedly subverted and double subverted. He was chosen by the Archangels as an artificial Messiah as they feared that YHVH abandoned them, and even then, it's implied that they meant for Gimmel to be the Chosen One and Aleph was simply meant to pave the way. YHVH's actual Chosen One is Zayin, a much darker example. However, if Law is chosen, Zayin will call Aleph the Messiah as he crumbles to dust, passing the title onto him.
- Dancing Is Serious Business: Not only does it feature into the plot (you have to win a disco competition at one point, whereupon it's revealed Aleph is damn good at dancing), it is also one of Aleph's most successful demon recruitment options, to the point demons are so impressed how much style he puts into his dancing that that alone will convince them to join on the spot.
- Designer Babies: Not really a spoiler... but the exact details of this are a severe Mind Screw.
- Dreadful Musician: Aleph trying to sing will instantly drive demons into incoherent rage, many believing it being an attempt to kill them.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: Averted. Being the Messiah tends to make many demons outright terrified to piss you off by the end of the game, and merely namedropping who you are can get them to join you, especially if they are Law aligned.
- Expy: Of Jesus.
- Fate Worse than Death: Promised one in the Neutral Ending.
- The Gunslinger: In his appearance in Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse, he specialises in gun skills.
- Hello, [Insert Name Here]: Averted at first; he's named Hawk and you can't change that. However, once you get his corresponding birth flashback, you can name him whatever you want, with "Aleph" being the default name.
- Katanas Are Just Better: All his concept art depict him with a katana and two guns.
- Made of Iron: If he's not Lawful, he's thrown off of Eden twice without a scratch. The first time, it's 'just' from the top of that extremely tall building to the group floor. The second time, he's tossed into the underworld.
- Making a Spectacle of Yourself: Those enormous almost visor like shades he wears.
- Meaningful Name: As with the rest of the characters from the Center his name is a letter in the Hebrew alphabet and has several meanings behind it. It can mean bull or ox, as well as being associated with the Fool of the Major Arcana, the color pale yellow, and willpower. And finally there is the Tree of life in the Kabbalah. Aleph is the name of the Nexus between Chokmah and Kether, Aleph being "The Fiery inteligence".
- One-Man Army: Regarded as one by all sides by the end of the game.
- Rapid Aging: He was aged at a rate of 10 years every 24 hours while he was being grown.
- Suddenly Voiced: In Nocturne, as Jyoji Hijiri and in SMT IV Apocalypse's DLC.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: It's pretty thick between himself and Hiroko, and lots of characters comment on it.
She is (technically) Aleph's mother, with her womb being used to conceive him as part of the Messiah Project and Fake Memories of being a Temple Knight implanted into her to hide the truth. Her father is Mekata, the head scientist of the Messiah Project who was forced to use her as part of the experiment, which led to his defection from the Center.
- Action Girl
- Action Mom: of Aleph.
- Combat Stilettos: remake takes the height Up to Eleven.
- Expy: Of the Virgin Mary. Satan explicitly lampshades this very fact in the Law ending. She also is one to Lilith, and Yuriko of the first game as a result, as Kazuma Kaneko said he specifically designed Hiroko after Lilith a.k.a. Yuriko's true self, and they even have pretty similar names. Notably Yuriko also gains Hiroko's mole in Shin Megami Tensei IV. Except Hiroko is good, and is the Deuteragonist. She also has traits of the heroine/partner from Megami Tensei II, both being blonde, and the fact Shin Megami Tensei II seems a reimagining of Megami Tensei II up to a level.
- Hilarity Ensues: Virtually everything she does to Daleth during the Infidelity Sap arc.
- Megaton Punch: Gets a rather amusing version of this in one Demon Negotiation where a demon gives you the choice of having her sing, dance, or Nudge Nudge them for their cooperation, and if you pick option number three, she gets pissed, punches the demon while using a rather amusingly named punch named after herself, and the battle will immediately end with the demon running off.
- Ms. Fanservice: In universe, demons find her pretty damn hot (and by human standards she is pretty good looking as well), and this is so pronounced demons of all types want to either kiss or... you get the idea... with her in occasional Demon Negotiations. Even if the demon(s) in question doesn't/don't have the body parts to perform such acts.
- Parental Incest: Of a kind, considering that in the Neutral Ending she tells Aleph that they must rebuild the Earth as they walk into the sunset, a parallel of the ending scene in Shin Megami Tensei I (where it was very clear they meant to repopulate it). Ultimately, it depends on whether you view Hiroko as Aleph's genetic mother, or just the surrogate.
- Stripperiffic: Wears what can be best described as a female Templar outfit meets a dominatrix outfit.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: TONS of this with Aleph, commented on by many characters.
- Whip It Good: She has a whip wrapped around her, and is equipped with a "Scorpion Whip" when she joins you.
Like Aleph, she is an Artificial Human created as part of the Messiah Project to act as the partner to the Messiah. She makes a Heroic Sacrifice to save him from a mortal blow from Daleth, and later appears as a wandering soul to offer him the last of her power.
- Action Girl
- Advertised Extra: She dies at the end of what's basically the prologue.
- Body Guard Crush: On Aleph. It doesn't end the way she hoped.
- Combat Stilettos
- Expy: Of Yuriko from the first game. Except she's good.. Although alternatelly she is one to the heroine of the first Shin Megami Tensei game, both looking pretty similary, and as Kazuma Kaneko stated, Beth is based on Eve, and the heroine of the first game was implied to be Eve's reincarnation, or at least equivalent.
- Famous Last Words: "We will never meet again..." Earlier, when Daleth kills her: "It was only a short time, but... b-being with you... made me very... hap...ppy..."
- Heroic Sacrifice
- Nice Hat: Wears a rather fitting cross patterned head wrap.
- Satellite Love Interest: Intended as such in universe. Subverted by the fact she does a genuine Heroic Sacrifice and gives you her soul in death as a powerup.
- Zettai Ryouiki
Like Aleph, he is an Artificial Human created by the Center as part of the Messiah Project. However, he has another identity: he is also one-half of Satan, a direct subordinate of YHVH. He fuses with Set to regain his true form and memories, and follows the orders of YHVH to use a powerful Kill Sat called the Megiddo Arc to destroy all life on the planet as divine judgement. He succeeds in the Law path, but the destruction convinces him that YHVH has gone too far and he defects to Aleph's side. However, he crumbles to dust after helping to defeat his creator.
- Advertised Extra: Subverted. When Beth dies, Daleth becomes a joke, and Gimmel drops out of the plot, one would expect Zayin to follow. He doesn't and becomes either the main villain or the greatest force of good in the world.
- Arch-Enemy: Initially of the Archangels, but in the end, his true foe is Lucifer.
- Bare-Fisted Monk: As a human.
- Big Bad: After the Archangels are defeated, he takes over leading the Law faction in YHVH's name. YHVH may be the ultimate boss, but Zayin/Satan is considered in-game to be the immediate threat by Lucifer, and YHVH doesn't show up in person until the very end.
- Big Bad Slippage: He starts out as a good person, but his destiny slowly drives him into becoming Satan. Siding with him can save him, but if you don't, he completely loses himself.
- Character Development: Probably gets the most of any character in the game. He starts out blindly following the Center, but turns on them after Abaddon swallows Valhalla. He becomes a much more noble character after this, but as the remakes show, while he was imprisoned by the Archangels, a voice started to awaken him as Satan. He takes over as Law's leader and, once Seth awakens, he fully accepts his destiny as God's judge and becomes Satan. On Neutral or Chaos, his development ends here. On Law, he develops further - he's God's judge, and no one, not even YHVH, is above his judgment. If his God orders genocide, then Zayin will gladly treat Him as he did the Archangels.
- The Chosen One: He's the actual Chosen One of YHVH. He was chosen to become Satan, giving him the power to nuke the world. With Aleph's help, he succeeds, but without his help, he dies by Aleph's hand before he can.
- Composite Character: His role is roughly a combination of those of the Law Hero and the previous incarnation of Michael.
- Defector from Decadence: He quickly grows to despise the Center and turns on them, becoming the face of the revolution. On the Law path, he also turns on YHVH.
- Deuteragonist: Hiroko may be the second main playable character, but Zayin is by far the most important NPC in the game and Aleph's main non-playable ally for most of the game. The last fight before YHVH on Neutral and Chaos is against his Satan form, and Lucifer's hatred of Law seems more directed towards Satan rather than YHVH.
- Disc-One Final Boss: Disc Two Final Boss to YHVH, along with Lucifer.
- The Dragon: Starts out as this to the Center, but ultimately, he becomes this to YHVH, except at the end of the Law path, though YHVH is so uninvolved outside of his general plans that Zayin is much more of a Big Bad than YHVH is.
- Dying as Yourself: Subverted on Neutral and Chaos, where he's too far gone. On Law, the shock of committing genocide is enough to bring him back, and he goes through one last battle before his death there.
- Eldritch Abomination: Just... look at his One-Winged Angel form.
- Even Evil Has Standards: If you pick the Law path.
- God Was My Co Pilot: Aleph's bodyguard is actually Satan.
- HeelFace Revolving Door: He starts out on the side of the Center, though once he realizes how nuts their higher-ups are, he turns on them. However, he later becomes God's judge and the leader of the Law faction with the intent of creating an ideal lawful world. He either fully becomes Satan if you don't side with him or retains his humanity if you do and, despite committing genocide, realizes the serious wrong he did to the human race and turns on YHVH.
- Heel Realization: Twice if you take the Law Route, once on the other two. The first is when he realizes how corrupt the Center is; the second (Law Route exclusive) is when he realizes what he did as Satan. Both times, he goes to strike back at the current villains.
- Hypocrite: He betrays the Center for their plotting to eliminate the undesirables in the construction of the Thousand Year Kingdom, but does (or attempts to do) the same thing with the Meggido Ark.
- Justified in a rerelease of the game. A voice tells Zayin that whatever he does is the work of God and that he is not one who should be judged and punished, but rather the one who judges others and punishes others as the one closest to God.
- Killed Off for Real: He's the only major character or Advertised Extra other than Beth who dies no matter what you do. On Neutral or Chaos, the rematch with him as Satan in Eden is a required fight that results in his death. On Law, his last stand against YHVH costs him his life.
- Knight Templar: Played with quite a bit for a Law-aligned character. He starts out as this, but later realizes how horribly corrupt the Center is. Depending on whether or not Aleph sides with him, he'll either sink back fully into this as Satan or retain his humanity and become a true Law hero.
- Louis Cypher: Seth and Zayin make Satan.
- Multiarmed And Dangerous: His One-Winged Angel form.
- One-Winged Angel: Goes from a super strong human to a human demon hybrid to a purple monstrosity.
- Recurring Boss: On Neutral and Chaos, you fight him twice: once at the end of the Factory prison, and once more as the penultimate boss of the game after he becomes Satan. On Law, however, he's only fought the first time.
- Rule of Symbolism: His Satan form has 6 limbs, 6 wings, and 6 breasts.
- Satan is Good: In the Law path.
- Took a Level in Kindness: His counterpart in Megami Tensei II, Mr. Suzuki, was extremely prideful and condescending after Lucifer calls him out as Satan, and he spends his final words cursing the heroes and begging YHVH to give them eternal suffering. Zayin is a far more noble character, and on two routes shows a kinder nature even after his fusion with Seth.
- Tragic Villain: Seeing him go from an honorable rebel against the leaders of the Center to a literal monster willing to commit genocide thanks to YHVH giving him Satan's soul, all while still having a fondness for Aleph if you don't choose Chaos, is one of the saddest aspects of the game. To hammer it home, he will not live through the finale no matter what, either being killed by Aleph or dying after one last act of rebellion against YHVH.
- Trick Boss: The Trick to YHVH, along with Lucifer.
- The Unfought: His hybrid Satan form is never fought, despite joining you on the Law route.
- Walking Spoiler: There's obviously something up with him. That's no surprise - he's one of the main villains.
- We Used to Be Friends: Before his final battle on the Neutral route, he regrets having to judge Aleph and reveals that he wanted Aleph to be chosen, but acknowledges that both have come too far. He then wishes one final farewell before fully becoming Satan.
Like Aleph, he is an Artificial Human created by the Messiah Project specifically to act as a Designated Villain to Aleph and catalyse support for the Messiah. After discovering the truth, he drops his aggression towards Aleph and becomes an ally of sorts, though he does not participate in the endgame events.
- Advertised Extra: He's a joke after his first appearance and ultimately leaves the plot midway.
- The Antichrist: To Aleph, though he claims it's the other way around. He was tricked by the Center.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars
- Jerkass -> Nice Guy (after Love Redeems)
- Love Redeems
- Never My Fault He blames you for Beth's death, claiming you used her as a shield.
- Recurring Boss: He's the last boss of the game's intro before fighting you a few more times a little after that.
- Starter Villain: His first fight marks the game's first major plot twist. While he persists after the fight, he's ultimately not as much of a threat and drops out of the story in the early midgame.
- The Rival: While he's intimidating his first appearance, he loses ground afterwards and never recovers.
He is a servant of the Center. Arcadia is a virtual construct created as a prototype of the Thousand Year Kingdom, with the intention of plugging everyone into the system if successful. Furthermore, Gimmel is more than willing to kill anyone who finds out the truth. His true self in the real world is a skinny bald man plugged into one of the Arcadia life-support pods.
- Advertised Extra: The worst of the bunch. He's only required to show up once, and if you see him by entering Arcadia from the Abyss, you kill him.
- The Bad Guy Wins: If you choose to leave after killing him, without either destroying Arcadia (killing everyone plugged in) or installing Aleph as Arcadia's Messiah, then Gimmel gets his way anyway.
- This is rather ambiguous if you leave the residents live and the mind control is gone, those who still have enough free will might save themselves over time... if you talk with them some are already plotting to challenge him.
- Bishōnen: Except in the real world, he's a skinny bald man.
- Beware the Nice Ones.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Whoa.
- Bonus Boss: One of the weaker ones, but he still counts.
- The Chosen One: Of Arcadia. Given the Archangels' ultimate plan, it's not a stretch to assume that Gimmel is the Archangels' actual Chosen One and Aleph is a figurehead.
- Crystal Spires and Togas: Where he lives in Arcadia and what the general clothing choice is in his assigned area. It's all an illusion.
- The Dragon: To the Archangels.
- Gag Penis: His real body has a penis made of metal. Or is it covered in armour? It's actually appropriate considering the historical Greek preoccupation with the male genitalia.
- Harp of Femininity: Always carries around one.
- Killed Off for Real: If you discover the truth about Arcadia.
- Long-Haired Pretty Boy: Subverted in reality.
- Murder Is the Best Solution.
- The Reveal: Gimmel is really the murderous head of a virtual reality.
- Villain with Good Publicity: Justified in that pretty much everyone in Arcadia is brainwashed into liking him.
- Walking Spoiler: If you couldn't tell, there's a Reveal about him.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: You only need to see him once in the game. His boss fight isn't even required.
Center EldersThe leaders of Millenium. With the Bishop and Zayin as their representatives, they find Aleph and proceed to make him the Messiah.
They're really the four Archangels: Michael, Raphael, Uriel, and Gabriel. The first three stand out as the central antagonists of the early and mid game. After YHVH refuses to send a Messiah, they decide to create one of their own in Aleph, while also creating four others that were supposed to help him in some way to become the Messiah. After Mekata sends word out to Aleph that he'll reveal the truth behind everything, the three trick Abaddon into swallowing Valhalla in order to silence him. When he's finished, they banish him to Makai. After Zayin goes rogue, they deliver an ultimatum: Either Zayin surrenders or everyone in Holytown suffocates. Aleph follows Zayin, where Gabriel helps Aleph defeat her comrades and the fake YHVH their insanity created.
Gabriel thanks Aleph for stopping the other Archangels and reveals her identity to Aleph while freeing Zayin. She then goes to help Zayin, who later awakens as Satan, fire the Megiddo Ark, believing in YHVH's plans. While she realizes Aleph doesn't belong on Eden on Neutral and Chaos, she nonetheless lets him continue without a fight. On Law, after YHVH's defeat, Gabriel laments that she no longer has a purpose, but because she didn't participate in the battle, she does not die like Satan.
- Back from the Dead: As this game follows the first game's Neutral path, they were killed off way before the events of the game before reviving in totally different forms.
- Big Bad Duumvirate: Michael, Raphael, and Uriel are responsible for everything wrong with the world until their deaths.
- Climax Boss: The fight with the trio and the fake YHVH is probably the second or third most important battle in the game.
- Disc-One Final Boss: Along with the fake YHVH and excluding Gabriel.
- The Dragon: Zayin and Gimmel act as Co Dragons until Zayin defects. The males are seemingly this to the fake YHVH, but in truth, their insanity created him. Gabriel acts as one of the Dragons to YHVH, albeit the only sane one.
- Dual Boss: Uriel and Raphael are fought together.
- Gender Bender: From here on out, Gabriel is female.
- Karmic Death: The males end up killed by the man they created to be their Messiah and his surrogate mother.
- Knight Templar: No surprise, considering their true identities.
- The Man Behind the Man: Daleth? Gimmel? Abaddon? Belphegor? The Messiah Project? Michael, Raphael, and Uriel are responsible for all of that.
- Only Sane Man: Gabriel is the only one who realizes how far the others have gone.
- Out-Gambitted: Played with. Zayin, who has been subconsciously influenced by YHVH, tries to stop them, but fails miserably.
- Sole Survivor: Gabriel is the only named character other than Aleph and Hiroko to survive the Law ending.
- Walking Spoiler: Them existing is the only thing about them that isn't a spoiler, and even that's pushing it a little.
He was ordered by YHVH to cause The Great Destruction with Kuzuryu (the nine-headed dragon that makes up the mountains of Makai) but plotted to use its power against YHVH instead. In the Law and Neutral paths he must be defeated, though is more affable to Aleph in the latter and warns him that Kuzuryu will go berserk without his control. In the Chaos path he joins forces with Aleph to stop YHVH and Satan.
- Badass in a Nice Suit: His human look.
- Benevolent Boss: As opposed to YHVH, who made Astaroth his personal Butt-Monkey, Lucifer gave him a job as one of the leading generals of Makai. Further, Lucifer is pretty laid back, letting his subordinates run their little sections of Makai without much interference, and even Crowley, who is rather mad about not being able to host a Sabbath (due to Lucifer's orders), refuses to speaks ill of him.
- Big Bad: Of the Law path. Until you beat him, at which point YHVH takes that position.
- Big Good: Of the Chaos path.
- Composite Character: In addition to keeping his job from the previous game, he also fills the shoes of the Chaos Hero and Asura/
- Disc-One Final Boss: He's not the Final Boss of the Law path. After his death, Satan decides to take the fight to YHVH.
- Famous Last Words: Neutral path. "Aleph...you were strong enough to defeat me. Destroy the Kuzuryu, and destroy Eden, just as you destroyed me. Do not let my people or yours be destroyed... It is your destiny to protect them... But do not forget... As long as people continue to flourish on their own...God will keep trying to destroy them... The cycle... Will never... End..."
- Four-Star Badass: All beings in Makai consider him their archcommander.
- Graceful Loser: On Neutral. On Law, he's far more upset upon realizing Aleph and Satan are going to nuke the world now that he can no longer stand in their way.
- Nice Guy: It surprised everyone who played this game after SMT I and Nocturne. In 1, he's just Chaotic Evil to God's Lawful Evil, while in Nocturne, he's honest with the Demi-fiend and saves him from being powerless in the vortex world but is more distant to him. Here? He is nice to you so long as you're not Law-aligned.
- One-Winged Angel: Two forms of this, no less.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: No one is fooled by his Louis Cypher persona but plays along anyways.
- Satan is Good: True, he hates YHVH, but he honestly does want what's left of humanity to survive.
- The Charmer: Very polite, honest, accepts his defeat with grace and simply asks Aleph to save his people.
- Took a Level in Kindness: In SMT I he was the same as YHVH. In this one he is very much interested in seeing humanity survive as he is demonkind. His ending is one of the only times in the series that Chaos actually FEELS like a happy ending, rather than just a world of vice and freedom.
- Trick Boss: On the Law route, in which he's built up as the final battle before you and Satan turn on YHVH.
- Villains Out Shopping: When not actively planning to screw over God, he can usually be found in the bars across the game, knocking back a drink.
The god worshipped by the Messians, who believe Him to be a magnanimous and all-loving being.
In reality, He is a vain, megalomaniacal and vengeful god who has decided to wipe out humanity, partially in retaliation to the Center creating an artificial Messiah and virtual Thousand Year Kingdom, and partially because He is an incredible Jerkass who is fed up with people not worshipping Him enough. He is the Final Boss in every route, even in Law (where His actions disgust even His most loyal subordinate).
Word of God states that YHVH is not supposed to be an accurate depiction of the Judeo-Christian god with a similar name, but rather that His erratic actions are symptomatic of something going terribly wrong with the universe.
- As Long as There is Evil: As long as one person wishes for Him, He will return.
- Big Bad: Played with. He's the Final Boss and ordered Satan and Lucifer to kill the unchosen, but other than that, He doesn't drive the plot and lets Satan, the only one who can fire the Megiddo Ark to destroy Earth, lead the Law faction in their fight against Lucifer.
- Big Good: Of the Law path. Until you and Zayin realize exactly what type of deity He is.
- The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: He's Level 108. In contrast, Satan and Lucifer are both Level 99.
- Famous Last Words: What his final speech turns into on all paths: "But remember this... humanity is not strong enough to live without one to cling to or rely on. As long as people continue to seek my salvation, the will of the universe will recreate me, again, and again, and again..."
- Final Boss: On ALL paths. This is one of the very few games in the series where you still fight Him if your alignment is Law.
- God Is Evil: So evil, even the angels detest Him and you fight Him as the Final Boss regardless of your alignment.
- Gods Need Prayer Badly: Which leads to As Long As There Is Evil.
- Greater-Scope Villain: He set the pieces in motion through Zayin, Lucifer, and Kuzuryu, with only the Archangels' actions getting in the way. However, the plot is driven by Zayin's development and transformation into Satan, Lucifer's plot to stop Satan, and Aleph choosing who to side with. YHVH does not show up until the very end.
- Hope Spot: After defeating the Senators, you are informed that He does not want to enslave the Earth. Unfortunately, this is because He wants to destroy it.
- Huge Holographic Head: How Aleph meets YHVH the first time. This is not the true YHVH, but a facsimile created from the faith and expectations of the three Archangels.
- Kill 'Em All
- Not So Different: From the Archangels. Their plans basically come down to the same thing: Bring the Thousand Year Kingdom into the world no matter what. Any life may be sacrificed if necessary. If you pick the Law route, Zayin will end up turning on both of them.
- 108: His level.
- Trick Boss: You beat Lucifer and / or Satan? Good! Now you have to beat God.
- Walking Spoiler: As the Final Boss of all routes, even Law, of course He is.