Follow TV Tropes

This is based on opinion. Please don't list it on a work's trope example list.


Nightmare Fuel / Shin Megami Tensei

Go To
Just one of SMT's many angels;note  "holy" doesn't mean "easy on the eyes".
Shin Megami Tensei features brutal bosses, God-versus-Lucifer conflicts, horrible, horrible people, and, last but not least, good ol' demonic horror.

    open/close all folders 

  • Several games feature the Law Theme, typically sung by a chilling Ethereal Choir.
  • While all of these vague references to other games is really cool, it has a horrifying implication that all of these games take place in a loosely-connected multiverse where any of these apocalyptic scenarios are possible. Even Catherine has an obscure reference to earlier SMT games, so while it lacks any apocalyptic themes, it still has particularly evil and meddlesome examples of All Myths Are True.
  • The implication, asserted in Shin Megami Tensei IMAGINE, that demonic contracts offer virtual absolute control over the demon, to the degree the machine summoning them can be used to literally use them as People Puppets. Couple Humans Are Bastards with this gem. Whaddya get?
    • Shin Megami Tensei IV plays around with the idea of controlling demons. The demons in your party are loyal, but they occasionally show discontent when you don't let them change skills; on the other hand, they'll happily rejoin the party if they get lost. It also goes into Undying Loyalty territory, with demons like Ares and the Minotaur showing loyalty toward their masters, even years after they died, and your own demons continuing to fight for you even if you perish in battle. However, the game also ramps up the horrifying implications of this further, by having the Ashura-kai thugs summon demons to stop you, who are usually not pleased by their position, but are forced to fight. Later on in the game, the once proud demon Koga Saburo is forced by a thug who works for Tayama to fight you against his will, turned into a mindless attack dog, and thanks you when you kill him. This also in general counts as a Tear Jerker for him and the other National Defense Divinities as none of them are evil and want to protect mankind from demons and those who seek to harm humanity, whether actively, like the Ashura-kai, or whose methods would hurt humanity passively, like the Ring of Gaea.
  • In a standard fusion, the involved demons get merged into a single larger one, and it's implied the result has parts of each's accumulated experience/bits of each's souls. How large could the mass of memories/souls of a top-tier demon could be?
  • On a more meta example, and with some Fridge Horror for good measure: the fact most of the top-tier angels (Metatron, Sandalphon, Melchizedek, Ophanim, and most likely others) are portrayed as robots. Think about it for a sec.
  • The revelation of what Magnetite/Magatsuhi/Red is made of. Human minds and souls, for the curious.
  • The simple fact that God, the single most powerful entity in existence, is a psychotic, iron-fisted fascist obsessed with the idea of a World of Silence in which everyone mindlessly worships Him for all eternity, obliterating any hope for change or movement, no matter how small. All just to slake His unfathomably huge ego. That much power coupled with that much crazy - or worse, a benevolent entity warped into this by human belief, as has been heavily implied across the series.
  • Both the Law and Chaos sides have pretty shady ways of changing the world, especially for humanity. Law's goals are often either iron-fist theocratic dictatorship or brainwashing everyone into submission; see the above YHVH example for what happens when The Almighty directly gets involved. Chaos's goals range from Might Makes Right anarchy to purging out any and all civilized thought from humanity. While the Neutral paths of many games aren't much better since they just regress back into the never-ending war between Law and Chaos as the introduction of Shin Megami Tensei II sadly illustrates, they're popular choices for many players simply because Neutral is often presented as a reasonable balance and its endings are generally considered less immediately-terrifying than those of the Law and Chaos factions. The White from Shin Megami Tensei IV introduce a fourth option that may or may not be better than any of those three: Because they just don't care anymore, they come up with the idea of using a black hole generator to return the entire universe to nothing, which they believe is the only way to end the eternal, bitter struggle once and for all. And then there's the Divine Powers' fifth option in Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse, which consists of harvesting human souls en masse whether humanity wants it or not to create a new universe free of YHVH's rule, which most of the humans in Tokyo agree isn't much better than what Lucifer and Merkabah are doing. And then if you reject the Law and Chaos paths, it turns out that both Merkabah and Lucifer are creations of YHVH whose jobs are to uphold a massive farce disguised as a genuine Order Versus Chaos conflict just to make the Almighty look better.
  • Sure, being able to summon demons with technology that automates the summoning process sounds cool, and it sure as hell is easier than having to perform a complex ritual with your own two hands and some otherworldly chants (and Akemi Nakajima in the original Digital Devil Story is able to use his coding chops to make demon summoning programs). But what happens when this technology is mass-produced (e.g. as a portable device or a smartphone app) so that anyone, or close to it, can summon demons? Devil Survivor shows humans in a lockdown turning on one another and creating what's practically a war zone, while Shin Megami Tensei IV features an organized crime group establishing a monopoly on the smartphone market so that they can control the supply and easily kill anyone who wrongs them with their favorite level 99 demons.

    Demons in General 

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: