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Fridge / Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse

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As a Fridge subpage, all spoilers are unmarked as per policy. You Have Been Warned.

Fridge Brilliance

  • Most likely English version only, but when Gaston is ripping into you regarding Dagda's presence (and you being a corpse), Hallelujah gives a sympathizing look and later comments on how it's tough not being human may be some Foreshadowing for the fact that Hallelujah is half demon himself.
  • Both Morality Heads, Lucifer in particular, often refers to Flynn as a false messiah after rescuing him from the Divine Powers. Perhaps a symbol to the fact that the Flynn you rescued was Shesha in disguise, and they both noticed that? Or that they were the only ones to notice the fake Flynn, as two of his once-closest friends, Walter and Jonathon...?
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  • At the beginning when Asahi is seeking glory, Odin never actually lied to her. She did receive attention and glory. The former upon the realization that she and Nanashi released Krishna, the current leader of the Divine Powers, and then after that receiving glory for not just leading to Krishna's defeat, but killing Shesha twice and rescuing Flynn as well.
  • A lesser example, but Adramelech. His role among Lucifer's crew is as supervisor of the wardrobe, that is to say he's a fashion designer. His head is that of a donkey and his tail is that of a peacock, making him both a cock and an ass. Is there any doubt as to why his voice is so thoroughly Camp Gay?
  • Some people have complained that YHWH's second form is rather boring and plain, but consider "The Reason You Suck" Speech that Satan gives Him on the Massacre route: "You have denounced countless gods as false and dethroned them; you are in their position now. Man leaves faith, denying your divinity... This proves you are no different than other gods." Specifically the last line. Ultimately, YHWH IS no different than the other gods, why exactly should his fallen form be any less "boring and plain" than the other gods' fallen forms?
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  • There is a good reason why Boss Banter is prevalent as Gameplay and Story Integration in this game as well as in IV. According to Stephen, humans were designed by the Axiom to be able to derive faith in gods and turn it into truth. Denying this faith is what allows them to have the potential to kill gods. Since most bosses that Nanashi and Flynn encounter are gods in their own right, by responding correctly to their Boss Banter, the player can actually make the bosses vulnerable enough in a myriad of ways to be defeated.
  • The fact that humans decide on a subconscious collective what is real and what is not real explains why so many demons are willing to join your cause. Think about it - how many demons in your party, throughout the entire series, do you remember? Compared to how many you didn't recruit, that's a lot. The better remembered they are, the more likely they will be brought to a new sequel, like Jack Frost, who is beloved by the fanbase and has developed multiple stronger incarnations as a direct result. In-universe, the fact that these demons are fighting alongside heroes gives them more faith from the heroes' fans and therefore more power.
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  • During the Mephisto DLC Navare is returned to his human form and is wearing both a safety jacket and arm floaties. Remember how he died due to drowning?
  • Unlike the previous game, sometimes certain holes are one way; you can jump down from one, but you can't climb back up. Nanashi is shorter than Flynn.
  • When the party is imprisoned, they break out by having Nanashi summon his demons to break the bars. The whole scene is designed to address the oddities of previous game imprisonments; namely, what's keeping the very powerful protagonists from simply busting out? The previous games all have the protagonists imprisoned by a small group of people with all their gear, magic, and demons, and yet they need to go through a trial or use trickery to get out. Apocalypse has the protagonists be arrested in front of an endgame boss, surrounded by all of the Samurai. It also establishes that their weapons have been confiscated, including their smartphones. The party's only offensive magic user (Isabeau) has been imprisoned elsewhere and Hallelujah doesn't want to reveal his magic powers unless he has to. Nanashi is the only one who can get them out because he doesn't need a smartphone to summon demons or use magic.
    • Apocalypse is full of moments that acknowledge the Fridge Logic of previous games, such as being able to shop and return to places after killing the leaders (such as shopping in the Messian corner of the Cathedral in the first game after killing the Archangels). Going on the Massacre route has an alliance of Hunters, the Ashura-Kai, and the Ring of Gaea all crowd to kill Nanashi. Fujiwara specifically tells you that he wanted to keep your betrayal a secret as to not destroy morale. After you kill everyone, there's no one left to tell.
    • Another oddity in the previous game is that there are some places in Tokyo that still have greenery despite there being no sun. Someone asks for LED bulbs to grow crops with, which accounts for places deliberately cultivated like Shinjuku National Park, but some places inexplicably have bushes and greenery. The Fairy Forest is 'rented' from the local gods. The forest is probably still thriving because a god did it, and that's what the fairies are paying rent for. Who's to say that there aren't some gods hanging around keeping the trees around Ueno alive?
    • In SMT 1 and 4, it's not explained how people still manage to make guns and bullets without factories. Now it's explained that demons do it.
    • While it's never quite a Headscratcher in SMT 4, the revelation that almost all Samurai are descended from the Counter Demon Force explains why so many Samurai are descended from Luxurors. Assuming that the Hunters distributed across the land more or less evenly, and all the Casualry Samurai and their descendants became Luxurors, as time goes on, more and more descendants of the original Hunters are placed inside the Luxuror class. Eventually, almost everyone eligible to become a Samurai would be a Luxuror.
  • In a very early scene, Manabu has his demon out, but then has to return it to the phone because it's running out of battery. This is small, but significant. The reason why you don't see people with their demons out all the time is because the Demon Summoning Program eats up the battery. When the Mandala hits, going to the guy with the enslaved Dwarf in Kinshicho shows that if the demon is already summoned, they aren't un-summoned. Tokyo probably survived because there were some hunters with their demons already out. Gauntlets are probably a better version of the smartphone that doesn't require power, because Mikado most likely doesn't have electricity. Flynn in the previous game could have his demons out all the time without worrying about power. Nanashi doesn't actually need the smartphone because he's using Dagda's power (presumably, he's using the phone as an interface), so he can always have his demons out. When Asahi and Hallelujah summon their demons for support during battle, they summon them for one attack before returning them (like a Persona). Flynn and Nanashi get one turn per demon, but Asahi and Hallelujah need to conserve power and so use up one turn where the former get two. Isabeau dodges the issue by not having any demons for some reason (probably thanks to Demon Whisper just like Flynn in the previous game). The fact that Abe has his demons out suggests that he's not using a phone. He's probably either just their boss, or summoning them the same way the Demi Fiend did.
  • In the Law ending, Lucifer declares that "so long as YHVH exists, however, I shall serve again." He could be referring to his series-traditional role of the commander of anti-YHVH resistance, or that he actually was created by and serves the Almighty.
  • Of the protagonists, Gaston and Hallelujah wear the most clothing. Gaston has a full body suit underneath a heavy-looking cloak thing, and Hallelujah has a shirt, a suit jacket, and another jacket on top. Gaston probably refuses to take of his Crusader uniform out of pride, never had to suffer a cold night without a fire and is probably cold in the sunless Tokyo, or would never admit to being hot. Hallelujah resists fire damage, so he doesn't get hot.
  • Major plot spoilers follow, especially for the Massacre ending. Dagda is always evasive on his goals, and withholds valuable information up to the last second. He isn't just being mysterious; this is vital to his endgame. By remaining silent, Dagda is testing and training Nanashi to ensure that he can become the Creator God. Dagda's endgame is to kill YHVH and everyone else in the universe, make a new universe for a free humanity, and install his Godslayer as the Creator God. But the most important thing is to make sure that his Godslayer will be a good Creator God, or else there would be no point. It is vital the the Godslayer should share Dagda's vision, and would not be as evil as YHVH. To ensure this, Dagda must keep his goals and methods a secret, or else the Godslayer would be hung up on the details instead of the ideals.
    • First, if Dagda started off his sales pitch to a deceased soul by saying that it is necessary to kill everyone, he'd most likely get a reply of "You're Insane!" and an angry refusal. The contract has to be willing, and Nanashi can abort at any time by choosing to remain dead. It would be even worse if the soul agreed. Someone who agrees to kill a lot of people without knowing the weight of the argument would be a horribly immoral Creator God. Dagda waited until Nanashi had seen how bad humans and demons can get before revealing that his plan would kill everyone.
    • Second, if Dagda instead opened with the benefits of becoming his Godslayer (besides being brought back to life), namely, becoming the new Creator God of the universe, then his Godslayer's goal would to become a god, not to create a world for humans. Again, that would make a terrible Creator God. Dagda only told Nanashi that he would be the God of the new world after Nanashi killed his friends, proving that he's fully devoted to the cause.
    • Third, as evidenced by Flynn and the Goddess, Dagda can bring people back to life as brainwashed slaves. Dagda can pull the People Puppet card on Nanashi, but Nanashi has his own will and can always choose a different route. Nanashi retains his sanity because if he were brainwashed as badly as Flynn, it would be pointless to install him as Creator God and Dagda might as well take the post himself like the Divine Powers. If Nanashi were brainwashed and had his sanity restored, there's no telling what he would do as the Creator God.
  • Apocalypse has been criticized for making the Law and Chaos routes simply Bad Endings, and the only legitimate choices are Bonds and Massacre. But Bonds and Massacre are the Law and Chaos routes. Alignment doesn't depend on what side you take or who you kill; alignment is about ideals and actions. SMTII's Law route still involves killing the Archangels and YHVH, the angels of Nocturne side with Chiaki's Yosuga rule, and SMTI's Judge Yama is a Law demon working for Chaos. The two endings are actually pretty close to Shin Megami Tensei I 's Law and Chaos ideals, minus the worship of God and Lucifer. Bonds is the real Law route. Almost everything is in accordance with Messian philosophy. Nanashi uses teamwork and the Power of Friendship to fight evil, stays true to the group's ideals, rejects all other worldviews and forces others to take the same, for the sake of peace. Before the route split, the Bonds choices usually involve helping the weak in their time of need. If that's now Law, what is it? Massacre is Chaos, and is almost exactly in alignment with the ideals of the original Cult of Gaea. Nanashi rejects the limits that others put on him, pursues personal strength, is aided by an ancient god of the earth, and ultimately seeks to kill the evil gods that hold dominion over the world. In an aversion of Omnicidal Neutral, the real Neutral Route is Nanashi refusing Dagda's offer at the start of the game. Then Flynn just solves everything.
    • Krishna explains that being lawful or chaotic in and of themselves are not bad, but the concept of them have been twisted by YHVH's covenant. By striking down Merkabah and Lucifer, you're basically telling YHVH to take his distortions of Law and Chaos and shove it so you can enact your own ideas of the two sides, free from his agents' influence.
    • Apocalypse has also been criticized for making Bonds and Massacre too optimistic compared to previous SMT endings (Massacre isn't exactly happy, but it's optimistic because it permanently erases YHVH's presence from one world and frees it from the war between Law and Chaos). This isn't an awkward tonal shift; it's a compromise. Without Nanashi's meddling, Flynn would have enacted the Neutral ending, and most likely everyone who was killed in the three-way war (most obviously Shesha's victims, casualties of Camp Ichigaya, and everyone killed when the Demon Summoning Program failed) would have lived. Apocalypse's true endings had to be better than the Neutral route, otherwise all those people would have died for nothing. In other words, it's a way to balance Flynn and Nanashi so that neither is clearly better than the other; Flynn gets good results with the least casualties, and Nanashi gets great results with lots of casualties.
  • Apparently, if Nanashi refused Dagda's offer, then the Neutral Route of the previous game would have gone on as normal. Why didn't anyone else take Nanashi's place? When Nanashi dies, he goes to Yomotsu Hirasaka (or at least to the gates), as opposed to the River Styx. Charon is up to his neck in souls. Dagda isn't. Of the handful of souls, only one was willing to make an obviously shady deal with a demon. Of course, there's the question of why some souls go to Yomotsu Hirasaka and most others go to the River Styx...
    • Corollary to that: Why didn't Dagda just go to the River Styx to pick up an acceptable soul rather than hanging around in a place where you only see a maximum of four dead people? Charon and his assistants are stuck at the shore, and committing a crime under their noses would be a bad idea. Dagda's breaking a lot of rules just by bringing someone back to life. It has to be a back-alley deal.
  • At the start of the game, Nikkari says that Nanashi and Asahi would be old enough for their coming of age ceremony. Japan had a custom where children were given a child name and would choose their new names later on. It's similar to how Nanashi and Asahi are given the option of choosing new names upon becoming Hunters; Asahi keeps her name, but if Nanashi changes his name, everyone except for Asashi will call him by his chosen name.
  • Given the Ashura-Kai's previous track record with children, it seems strange that they'd take in Hallelujah as a member. Hallelujah is the son of Samyaza/Shemyaza. If Abe was a member of the Ashura-Kai before Tayama's death, then he could have pulled some strings. If not, the Ashura-Kai could have found out that he's at the very least half demon and has inherent magical powers, which would be useful if he were indoctrinated into the group. Either way, Hallelujah is the worst equipped party member with one demon and no weapons except his fists because the Ashura-Kai wasn't prepared to arm him or was trying to force him to use his magic.
  • While the Beach Episode is pure fanservice (except for fusing Mephistopheles), playing it after choosing Massacre gives it a new light. Mephistopheles isn't just making Hawaii for him; he's also giving him his friends back. Selling your soul to see Hawaii is a rip off. Selling your soul for many happy moments with friends who do not hate you is almost Worth It. Dagda thinks it's a waste of time to dwell upon dead friends.
  • When YHVH is defeated, He transitions into a monstrous, ironically demonic second form; A seven-headed serpent, the main head of which bears a long mane of fire. The process He used to turn other gods into demons to fit into His narratives of being the only absolute god have turned on Him. This second form would thus mean he's been reverted into the Gnostic deity Yaldabaoth, A god that resembles a snake with the head of a lion, is the center of all monotheistic religions, and cannot comprehend nor will he accept the existence of other gods.
  • One of Asahi's early quotes has her say that she wants to become a strong hunter quickly because Tokyo is about to become a warzone. While this refers to her wanting to help, it can also be construed as her saying that Tokyo is going to become very dangerous for everyone such as when the underground districts are compromised, and she wants to get out and get experience while it's still possible for her to do so.
  • Flynn's relationship with Nanashi on Bonds and Massacre differs vastly, and this is reflected in his in-game behavior.
    • On Bonds, Flynn is Nanashi's friend, but he also has his own goals and agenda. He will only join Nanashi in YHVH's Universe and goes off with the Hunters when Nanashi exits, because he has better things to do than follow Nanashi around. He appears on the map and attacks enemies on his own because he is still a distinct character. When using the Fundraise command, he helps out by extracting a little bit of money every time Nanashi demands some.
    • On Massacre, Flynn is Nanashi's slave. He joins Nanashi as soon as he's resurrected, and follows him anywhere because he has nowhere else to be. While on the map, Flynn's model does not appear, which represents how he can't stand on his own anymore and also will always be at his master's side. When using the Fundraise command, Flynn waits until Nanashi is done before demanding more money, because he isn't going to interrupt.
  • In the Messiahs in the Diamond Realm DLC, the Hero and Aleph have primarily Medium level skills, while the Demi Fiend and Flynn have Severe level skills. In the first two games, there were only two levels of attack skills. Skills such as Zanma and Agilao were the strongest skills of their type, whereas in later games they're just Medium.
    • The Hero and Aleph use Heroic Willpower to buff allies and debuff enemies respectively. In the first game, the Hero only starts fighting after he learns to summon demons, so his fighting style was built around working with a team and helping them. The second game features Aleph living in a world where hordes of demons can come at him every day, and Aleph spent a year learning to fight before summoning demons. Debuffing an entire horde of enemies is more effective than buffing one person.
    • Aleph is the only one who doesn't nullify Light attacks. Aleph and the Demi Fiend are the only ones who aren't human. Humans have a natural resistance to Light, but those two naturally do not. The Demi Fiend has the Masakados Magatama, which nullifies all attacks except for Gun and Almighty, which includes Light. Aleph has no such protection.
    • Dancing in demon negotiations requires Dexterity. Aleph has the best Dexterity out of the four other Messiahs, and he's infamous for being a good dancer.
  • Asahi's demons are all magic-user healers, and they don't have offensive skills. While this gets in the way of her becoming an independent Hunter, from a story perspective, it's not a bad idea. First, she's a rookie, and her demons disobey her frequently at the start. If her demon decides to attack her, it can't hurt her too badly without offensive skills. Second, being the healer would earn her a lot of gratitude and attention.
  • The penultimate dungeon is the only possible place for the alignment lock. It's the only place where Dagda can't revive Nanashi. Dying essentially boots Nanashi back to right before the last battle fought. In-story, Dagda probably waits until whatever enemy they're fighting is gone, and then revives him. In the case of bosses, Nanashi's allies would drag off his body; they know he can revive. Before they find out, Asahi wouldn't just abandon him. There is never an actual Reset Button; every choice that Nanashi makes remains. If Nanashi chooses Massacre and dies in the battle, his former allies would go to lengths to make sure that he stays dead; they'd lodge a lot of blades in him so that he'd die right after coming back, until they can escape the dungeon and give him some Cement Shoes. It would be a lot like the rituals used to ensure that vampires stay dead. Dying on Bonds can't boot Nanashi back to before the alignment lock because Dagda wouldn't ask him again. Going for Bonds would result in a battle that can't be lost because the new Dagda would ensure that Nanashi can't die during the battle (like the one right after Nanashi is revived), most likely. This is a nice detail that actually favors Massacre for once. Still doesn't explain how dying in Mikado would boot Nanashi back to before the imprisonment.
  • Nozomi is a Hunter who specializes in guns, and does photography on the side. She's a literal Camera Sniper.
  • Kinshicho is abnormally well off compared to the rest of Tokyo, going by the fully furnished rooms. Kinshicho is very close to a shopping district, and more importantly has the weakest enemies in the game. It's much easier for the Hunters to pop in and take what they want with minimal risk compared to, say, Shinjuku.
  • The Broken Aesop of going on about the importance of bonds, yet having the party turn on you in the Massacre ending, is only a Broken Aesop if you play the whole thing straight. This is EXACTLY what Dagda was talking about, how dependency and clinging to others makes them weak: YOU are the deciding factor for everything (I mean, how else would you explain how everyone except you in your party can get wiped if you accept YHVH's final offer to become his servant if bonds really meant so much?), and they're influencing you into acting in a way that isn't really how you feel. You're only picking the moral choice out of an obligation. They need YOU, but do you need THEM? After all, The Power of Friendship is only played straight if the feeling's truly mutual...and you DO kill them fairly easily, even though you're outnumbered...
  • Toki calling Nanashi 'Master', total dedication to him, and her stalker behavior is pretty squicky, but it actually makes sense in the context of a Freudian Excuse. Toki's parents gave her to the Ring of Gaea to be trained when she was a baby. Her only parental figures are Mii and Kei, who treat like a disposable servant, and Toki treats her lot like it's completely normal. Toki hasn't loved or been loved her whole life. When Inanna floods her with emotions, Toki needed some way to express her love, and the closest thing to love she ever experienced was her blind loyalty to the Ring of Gaea. Toki regarded the Ring as her master whom she would kill and die for, and she transfers that same dedication to Nanashi.
  • Nanashi was found as a baby inside the Sky Tower, and was implied to be from Mikado. The Minotaur kills anyone who tries to pass through the gate... except the Minotaur is Akira's demon. He probably recognised Nanashi as Akira's reincarnation, and chose to let him pass.
  • Flynn being brainwashed into serving Nanashi on the Massacre route has a lot of precedent.
    • In his past life, Akira was a leader in the CDF, and Flynn was a rookie.
    • Flynn follows the Samurai Code, which is practically synonymous with King Aquila's legacy.
    • Flynn does Akira's dirty work at least twice in Infernal and Blasted Tokyo.
  • Believe it or not, there is a very good reason as to why Danu replaced the rebellious Dagda with a more submissive version of himself in the Bonds route. Back in Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne, a Loa comments that demons sacrificed their ability to change and grow in exchange for a form of immortality. Dagda is so committed to his goals that he is unable to relent or change his mind, thus forcing Danu to create a replacement for him during the climatic battle.
  • Compared to the previous game, Apocalypse heavily favors the human side in the human vs. demon conflict. Nanashi is a Hunter who lived with the threat of demons all his life. Flynn is a Samurai who only recently learned of the existence of Tokyo and demons. Flynn's a blank slate who can see moral ambiguity where Nanashi is heavily biased towards the survival of his own people.
    • Corollary to that: the Law and Chaos endings are presented as bad endings in Apocalypse but are legitimate in IV because the perspective changed. Flynn had the chance to experience the arguments of both Lawful and Chaotic individuals. Nanashi just got the brunt of their indiscriminate attacks, and lacks Flynn's context.
    • The Law endings in both games show the player character destroying Tokyo. Flynn does it to save his homeland. Nanashi instead destroys his homeland to save... a bunch of religious fanatics, most of whom he's never met.
      • Chaos features the player character overrunning Mikado with demons and being crowned King. Flynn does it for the good of both Tokyo (free from the dome at last) and Mikado (bringing change and freedom to a stagnated country). Nanashi would get the same results (and a nice Book-Ends with the first king of Mikado returning), but all he knows is that Lucifer will free him from Dagda's contract.
    • IV also favors demons because the mechanics allow Flynn to work for them. Flynn can accept quests from practically anybody, even demons, because Burroughs assigns him quests. Nanashi can only accept quests through the Hunter Association, which is already biased against demons.
  • One of the biggest complaints about the first game is about the Tokyo map being too confusing to navigate. Then, the music of bonus dungeon, Twisted Tokyo, a huge domain dungeon without a map, is a remix of said Tokyo map.
  • The Reveal that IV and Apocalypse Lucifer and the entire monotheistic Chaos side are actually jobbers made to make YHVH look better has roots in some schools of theology. Basically, reconciling the the idea that nothing can happen without God's permission and the existence of demons that torment people led to the idea that all demons, even Lucifer, work for God.
  • On the crossroad between Peace and Anarchy, Danu states that, if Dagda's plans (the Anarchy ending) go through, it will change what it means to be human. However, if the Neutral Peace route goes through, then they end up changing what it means to be god. It is a very interesting parallel.
    • This how I interpret the lore relating to the power of understanding, and what it means to be god. Humans use the power of observation and understanding to categorize various phenomenon: they see plants growing from the earth and call it life. They see a fire burning down forests and call it destruction. However to the primitive humans, it was still a bit harder to grasp, so they assigned such concepts human form; thus the natural essence of the world was shaped into gods, and the likes of Dagda who were nature caged in a human shell were born. In Peace, it is shown that demons/angels/gods work much closer to humans, helping with rebuilding, and most likely offering magical services. The meaning of god has been changed and perhaps millenniums into the future, they will get closer and closer to human. But in Anarchy, Nanashi the sole human has no equal, he is god, not only because of his power but also because there is no one like him; no one would be able to use the power of observation and understanding to change him. Therefore the definition of human is redefined.
      • In the Anarchy ending, Dagda wishes to return to his basest form. To do so, YHVH and all humans have to die to ensure that no one with the power of observation and understanding can turn him back into Dagda (or into a new alternative god) once he returns to nature. Unlike him, many other gods have spent too long in the form and shell that humanity made, either they have forgotten what it means to truly be one as nature or didn't feel it necessary to return into such a state.

Fridge Horror

  • On Massacre, the point is to kill every single god and demon out there. What about the demons in your stock? Do you kill them, too? What about Asahi's demons, and Chiro?
  • While Bonds is definitely a good ending, if the theory that Hijiri is Aleph and is being punished for killing YHVH is true, then Nanashi and co. are probably going to suffer through eternal torture.
    • You just don't kill YHVH, you destroy it completely. So they will probably be OK.
      • YHVH's ending dialogue is slightly different depending on the route taken. In Bonds, he replies the party "shall" regret their decision, indicating he will return and exact revenge (and as long as humans need to cling to a god he will, as SMT II states), but in Massacre he claims Nanashi "can" regret his decision, indicating he will not return, as there's no-one left who believes in YHVH; they're all dead.
    • Nanashi and Flynn are messiahs sent down by the Axiom, and the Axiom is very much pro-humanity. They'll be fine, as depowering and slaying YHVH is exactly what the Axiom wanted.
  • Where are all the fairies getting their Magnetite from? Nozomi can't possibly produce enough for all of them. Are they secretly eating humans or taking Reds?
  • Hope's Ring appears in a chest in Naraku. In the previous game, it was used in a competition between Samurai prentices; one of them was supposed to find it and take it back to Hope. But Naraku's a lot more dangerous now; even if angels won't hurt Samurai, there's still all the other enemies in there. Are prentices still being trained in a place with level 50+ demons? Did Nanashi accidentally force all those prentices to keep searching a dangerous area for an item that isn't there anymore?

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