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Headscratchers / Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse

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  • So, about Shesha punching a massive hole in the Firmament. A few things have me asking questions:
    • Shouldn't this be reflected on the overworld map and when exploring specific aboveground areas? There isn't any noticable change in lighting, much less a big honking hole of sky or sunlight in the skybox. Of course, it's possible that Nanashi's adventures take place during nighttime...
      • In the overworld,there is always that huge ray of light above Ginza,so it is reflected.
    • How did the hole not cause any widespread damage to Tokyo with the massive chunks of bedrock? (Then again, the same question could be asked of Masakado removing the entire Firmament in the Neutral ending of IV; no one seems to be concerned that the destruction of the Firmament could well bring upon mass casualties in Tokyo.)
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    • In the Law ending, Merkabah creates a black hole to swallow Tokyo, just like in IV's Law ending. But unlike in IV, where Tokyo's only link to the outside world is the Sky Tower - Naraku passage, there's also the massive Shesha-created hole, so wouldn't there now be a huge hole containing an anomaly of nothingness in or near Mikado that would concern the people and angels?
      • They could always forbid people from going near the gigantic hole of absolute void, by declaring it a 'holy land' or whatnot. Or, get a gigantic plate and cover the hole.
    • How did the hole cause the time distortion effect between Tokyo and Mikado to disappear? The time distortion is caused by proximity to the Yamato reactor, and since Tokyo clearly has power, the reactor is clearly up and running well after Shesha punched the hole in the firmament.
      • We're led to believe that time around Tokyo was being slowed by the reactor because the city was on a contained field. The reactor was already operational before Masakado's sealing, and should the Firmament not be a main factor on the time displacement phenomenon, it'd certainly slow down the ICBM strike to the point all the missiles would be virtually frozen up in the sky, giving the local government ample time for a better solution like disassembling them right there. But it couldn't, and they didn't, so that's why Shesha dispelled it so easily with a simple puncture in the rock dome. There may be some displacement still in effect, but since nobody notices it anymore it might be a negligible millisecond variation at that point.
  • Sooo, why did Danu decide to take down YHVH again? It's made clear that she planned to leave him alone since she benefited from his covenant and never showed any signs of having changed her mind. Additionally, she planned for a future of community and equality, one thing that is known to be in line with YHVH's wishes. In fact, if Stephen never told the party to basically get off their butts and kill him, no one in the party ever showed any intention of opposing him.
    • Possible explanation: YHVH would just send more angels or even Metatron himself to attempt to kill the party and destroy Tokyo because they took Merkabah down. Stephen telling everyone to take the fight to YHVH directly is him ensuring that course of action doesn't come to pass. Granted, it doesn't stop them from trying to accomplish the first action once the player reaches YHVH's Universe but the thought still counts.
    • When she first appears very early in the game (the initial Fairy Forest quest involving King Forst), she asks Dagda about his plans and says she agrees with him that YHVH is evil but that the well-being of the fairies comes first. It's only when Dagda continues his tirade and declares the entire universe worthless that she openly disagrees, arguing that human life has value even in Tokyo's current Crapsack World. It's never mentioned again, as Danu's busy dealing with Dagda's plans for Nanashi and the threat posed by Inanna, but her disagreement with Dagda is initially portrayed as one of methods and outcomes, not belief.
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  • As a matter of fact, why Danu even is? Nozomi's sidequests on the previous game concluded with Black Maria passing her powers to our dear shotgun photographer, not a part of her soul or even the seed for a new Danu to rise. As a matter of fact the dialogue says outright that Nozomi would transcend her humanity to be Danu eventually, instead of becoming her chosen one, physical vessel or something on that level. While this troper can agree that her absence would leave some gaping holes in the plot, not having a single lampshade to explain this discrepancy doesn't fix the problem at all.
  • How does Navarre send texts to the player? He is capable of touching and moving things (as evidenced by him using items on enemies), but how did he get the smartphone to begin with? If he's using Nanashi's, then why does it have his picture and name come up? For that matter, if phone touchscreens are designed to work with flesh only, how can Navarre use one at all with his ghostly fingers? Yes, there are special gloves and cloths that can work touchscreens, but it's doubtful that they'd be able to identify such clothes instead of selling them.
  • How does it come to be that Toki is now going around calling you master in the final battle against YHVH when she was now supposed to have forgotten all about that and no longer be under Inanna's influence?
    • Toki still remembers some things. In one of her texts, she asks if she can still call you master in private.
  • Why doesn't Isabeau have her demons? She knows skills from Demon Whisper, and even learns Mediarama and Megidolaon, but somehow learns them without demons.
    • She probably has them for when she fights on her own, but she doesn't really need them for assisting you in combat.
  • The terminals didn't work until Flynn came around, kicked out the Terminal Guardian, and rebooted them. Naturally, supply run missions were perfectly reasonable jobs for a hunter to take. But now that the terminals are up and running, why are there still supply run missions? It would make sense if the supply runs were to isolated outposts, or places that don't have terminals, but the first (and only) supply run mission involves taking supplies from Kinshicho to the bar in Shinjuku. It would just be a thirty second trip for someone with access to Shinjuku. Did Asahi's Dad just give her the mission to keep her quiet? Are they just keeping the supply runs for items that don't have to be delivered ASAP so that new hunters can have easy missions? Or is everyone who can teleport to Shinjuku busy with something else?
    • First of all, the terminals weren't supposed to be public-access in SMT IV, only for Ashura-Kai personnel, with the guardian even commenting he was hired to ensure that. With that, and the fact that Apocalypse starts only one or two days at best after Tayama's demise, the most reasonable explanation is that not everyone have access to all terminals yet. Though yes, your theory to save the most specialized hunters for the frontlines, giving that the story begins when everyone was steeling themselves for the final battle, seems acceptable enough.
    • A bit of Fridge Brilliance: Kinshicho wasn't in IV, so Flynn never kicked out the Terminal Guardian. The Kinshicho hunters are probably very behind in terms of terminals compared to everyone else.
    • Another headscratcher: In IV, even after Tayama's death, the Terminal Guardian still guards the Terminals. He's in almost every terminal. He even turns up in both final dungeons. At the point where IV diverges into Apocalypse, he hasn't given up. He probably gave up on the Terminals that Flynn kicked him out of, but what about the ones that Flynn never visited, like the ones for the Fairy Forest and Kinshicho? It's possible that he didn't know about the Fairy Forest one (he wasn't in the Sky Terminal), but if there's an Ashura-Kai shop next door, he has to know about Kinshicho. Someone could have kicked him out like in Ginza, but he gets stronger in every iteration, and he'd be way beyond most Hunters.
      • Possible explanation: The Kinshicho Hunters, Nikkari and Manabu amongst them, revolted and drove the Ashura-Kai out of Kinshicho at some point after Flynn arrived in Tokyo, also seizing the Terminal and shutting it down to make sure that the Ashura-Kai can't use it. After that, the Hunters set up the fences and gates outside of the underground district to essentially state that they'll take care of themselves. Either that, the Terminal Guardian only intervenes when Flynn tries to access a Terminal, or Atlus just decided not to include the Terminal Guardian in Apocalypse.
  • This might just be me remembering things wrong, but apparently YHVH 1) denied all other gods as false and 2) made the Covenant that forced demons to take physical bodies. Why would he do that? Wouldn't giving demons physical forms make humans acknowledge their existence even more?
  • What exactly is a Godslayer? The database states that it is a human who can kill a god, but any human sufficiently strong enough can kill demons considered gods (there are a few at low levels, like Pele and Hamsa). Krishna refers to Flynn as his Godslayer and on Massacre, Flynn becomes Nanashi's, and Nanashi is Dagda's. While this can refer to a Godslayer killing a God with a capital G, Merkabah refers to the Crusaders as his Godslayers and he clearly doesn't want YHVH dead. How are Godslayers any different from other Megaten protagonists?
    • Krishna, Shesha and about every member of the Divine Powers is a god. Like Dagda, a lesser god, but gods nonetheless, so it's more of a title and what it entails than the actual powers that comes with it. Merkabah's probably sticking with calling them his Godslayers because he granted to Gaston a spear tailor-made for slaying dragons, which according to his logic, as far as we witnessed, is a gift as transhuman as he's willing to give to one of his "clean" Mikado subjects.
  • So why exactly did Nanashi end up going to Yomotsu Hirasaka instead of the River of Styx? Does it have to do with him being the reincarnation of Akira?
    • Given that Flynn is the reincarnation of the person who raised the Firmament and he still goes to the River Styx, reincarnation doesn't have anything to do with it.
    • Yomotsu Hirasaka is the "scenic route to the underworld". It is the Japanese equivalent to the River Styx, but goes to a different afterlife. Charon may be up to his ears in souls, but he isn't the ONLY ferryman.
  • Dagda reviving Nanashi is an Anti-Frustration Feature. The game repeating events right before a losing battle is an Acceptable Break from Reality (it would be very annoying to program two dialogues for every event), and so is the fact that resurrection doesn't return Nanashi to the middle of the battle he died in (it would make the game a triviality). The latter can be explained by 'the random encounter demon ate Nanashi and wandered off, and then Dagda revived him when the coast was clear' or 'Nanashi's allies dragged off his corpse while running away from the boss', but dying in Mikado after being arrested will boot Nanashi back to either before imprisonment or while he's running around in the city. Unlike the Hand Waves mentioned above, the pre-battle events are very dire. The party is completely surrounded by angels while mostly unarmed, and there is no escape. If Nanashi dies, then the survivors would either be sent back to prison or killed on the spot... but in the game, they're just sent back to the city with no consequences. Why?
    • The game hints (poorly) that there's some time rewinding involved, given that A) the theory about "dragging the body away" doesn't click because they don't even know about Nanashi's Death Is a Slap on the Wrist ability as a Godslayer until either Dagda or the enemy blurt it out to everyone, and even drag down the trust of your teammates while at it, in disbelief about how human Nanashi is, thus showing that Nanashi's resurrection is never witnessed and/or remembered by his teammates or whoever is close by; and B) this is shown proeminently in the Mêlée à Trois between angels, demons and hunters on Camp Ichigaya, en route to the Massacre or Bonds ending. Should Nanashi fall in battle against either Merkabah or Lucifer, who are fought in sequence with no breaks to recover in between, when he comes back, Merkabah is also in there as well, alive and in good health, ready to be fought once again. And so are the hunters that he kills on his pre- and mid-battle dialogues. Since Dagda has no reason whatsoever to bring those back to life...!
  • Why did Akira seal off Mikado? His plan was to create a civilization and then meet the other members of the Counter-Demon Force halfway. Chucking a Minotaur in Naraku and telling him to kill anyone who wants to mix with the 'Unclean Ones' is very counterproductive.
    • Demons of Minotaur's power are fairly common in Tokyo, and Medusa is prone to making additions to her collection. Death by Minotaur is far kinder than what Medusa would do.

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