Shin Megami Tensei is a series of video games with serious adult and religious themes. Apocalypses happen frequently. People die. Friends betray each other.
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Children has all of that. It's just got a cheerier art style.
Released only in Japan except for two games, Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Children starts off with Red Book and Black Book for the Game Boy Color (later given an Updated Re-release for the PlayStation), the story of Setsuna Kai and Mirai Kaname, a pair of human teenagers quickly revealed to be the titular Devil Children, half-humans and half-demons. This is a very rare occurrence and gives them great power when they come from the human world to the demon one - Setsuna, the hero of Black Book, to rescue his younger brother Nagahisa, and Mirai, the heroine of Red Book, to find out about her father. Once there, the situation quickly complicates far beyond their original goals, and to progress they must gather more partners, or demons, to fuse and raise in strength.
These games were adapted into an anime, Shin Megami Tensei: Devi Child, that takes liberties with the game's characters and plot, making it more like a typical shounen adventure series but keeping the mechanics of recruiting, summoning, and fusing demons. It also has a manga with an entirely different plot.
White Book (Game Boy Color) takes place a few years after Red Book and Black Book, though keeping many of the same characters and themes. Masaki Kuzuha is a teenage boy accused of putting Shou Ougi into a permanent sleep; both he and his friend Takaharu Ougi enter Makai in order to find a way to cure her. Forces seem set on putting them against each other, despite them being close friends.
Light Book and Dark Book were the two games localized in America as Demi Kids: Light Version and Dark Version for Game Boy Advance. They again take the same story and show it from two different perspectives, Light Book from the slacker named Jin and Dark Book with Akira, his friend, as the hero. Who battle against the tyranny of the Imperium from Valhalla. This also received a non-localized anime.
Fire Book and Ice Book for the Game Boy Advance still center around Jin, Akira, and their cast, which has angels and demons appearing on many worlds in order to fight each other and begin Armageddon after the events of Light/Dark.
Puzzle de Call, a puzzle game for the Game Boy Advance. It stars the demon partners of Jin and Akira, known as Gale and Rand, as they attempt to save the two Devil Children who have been captured in another world.
Messiah Riser is a Real-Time Strategy game taking place after Fire and Ice Book. Valhalla had been restored and unfortunately a demon sealed away by the Messiah had been free, reviving the Imperium that fell in Light/Dark Version to once again take over.
A game was released on the Mobile Phone named Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Children in Japan in 2011. Details on the game are for the most part unknown.
The gameplay is similar to most games in the series, and many demons from the rest of the world make an appearance.
This is the only subseries in the franchise that carries the title of Shin Megami Tensei in Japan. Light Version and Dark Version were also the first games to bear the title Shin Megami Tensei in the west, beating out the game people usually ascribe that honor to, Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne, by several months.
This series provides examples of:
- Adaptational Heroism: Elegy is soon on the heroes' side in the manga, and gets to be Setsuna's love interest when the two hardly share a conversation in Setsuna's game.
- Adaptational Villainy: Quite a few demons that were good or while not good but weren't aligned to a certain side ended up becoming the minions of the villains in the anime. Zebul became the Big Bad of the first anime, Raphael became a spy for the Obviously Evil Light Imperius and his Ars Goetia minions in the second anime, Enoch, and more.
- Adults Are Useless: It does have children as the focus, rather than the ambiguously teenage to adult protagonists of other games. Lucifer eventually realizes this and helps the children any way they can when something threatens the world.
- All Myths Are True: And some are Original Generation.
- Ambition Is Evil: Azazel's desire to rule over the demon world leads him to trap Lucifer and impersonate him in Red/Black book. He then plans on taking over the human world and sends demons to attack it. This is also Archangel Raguel's motivation in White Book.
- Apocalypse How: You can start one yourself! Please do the honors.
- Archangel Michael: Nagahisa's father. He's one of the ruling angels of Tenkai.
- As Long as There is Evil: Jashin, Seipher, Quazir, Secundus, and Zosma will all eventually be reborn even if they are killed.
- A Taste of Power: Both Jin and Akira's partners are in their ultimate forms at the beginning of Fire/Ice and face off against strong demons for the tutorial battle.
- The Atoner: Takaharu Ougi and several Angels.
- Back from the Dead: Amy and Lena at the end of Light/Dark.
- Badass Adorable: The art style applies to every demon, including the ones you've trained to be as gamebreaking as possible.
- The Bad Guy Wins: The second anime ultimately ends with Enoch brainwashing Lena, faking his death, and planning on manipulating the characters from the shadows with them none the wiser.
- Bad Future: In the Light/Dark versions, you can travel to the future human world- a desolated wasteland where humans are all but extinct, and demons are everywhere. However, you can change this future by planting a tree in the present - this turns the future into a primitive but green utopia.
- Biblical Bad Guy: Beelzebub (Zebul) in the anime. Sorta. Satan in the anime.
- Big Bad:
- Michael in Red/Black book.
- Raguel in White Book.
- The Two Imperius along with Seifer and Quazir in Light/Dark Book.
- Shugoshin in Fire/Ice Book.
- Dark Imperius in Devil Children Puzzle de Call!.
- Angel Beelzebu and Gaap in Devil Children Messiah Riser.
- The anime has Lucifer while he's Brainwashed and Crazy and Zebul.
- The second anime has the Light Imperius and Enoch.
- Big Bad Wannabe: Azazel in Red/Black Book.
- Big Damn Heroes: Zett loves doing this to Setsuna, and Setsuna loves doing it back to him.
- Bittersweet Ending: None of Red/Black Book's endings are completely happy. Either the world has been destroyed, Nagahisa is dead, or Setsuna/Mirai only exist as a god.
- Bonus Boss: Zebul, Phegor, and Berith in the Deep Hole of Red/Black/Dark.
- Bonus Level of Hell: The Deep Hole. It's hell in hell.
- Camp Gay: Fenrir in the anime.
- Canon Foreigner: The anime introduces the Queen Frost, who rules alongside King Frost.
- Card Games: Devil Children has one in Japan.
- Cast from Hit Points: Physical skills, as per series standard.
- The Chessmaster: Benevolent example in Zebul. He manipulates the events of Red/Black book to ensure that Ragnarok happens and not Armageddon. It's hinted early on but not apparent until Takajo Zett takes his true form in the Deep Hole.
- The Chosen One: Takaharu Ougi and Nagahisa Kai are the chosen Angel children. Masaki is the chosen hybrid that can defeat Jashin.
- Chronic Hero Syndrome: Setsuna and Mirai save people. A lot.
- Crapsaccharine World: The Expanse is a pretty bright and cutesy place, but it's also the home of wars between demons and angels and have all of the world ending catastrophes that one would expect from the mainline games.
- Cute Monster Girl: Many.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Many, many, many demons.
- Darker and Edgier: The manga has considerable amounts of blood and gore.
- Defector from Decadence: Zett in the anime. Azazels daughter Elegy sides with the Angels in Red/Black book after seeing what her father does.
- De-Power: Both Isaac and Mephistopheles return Jin and Akira's partners back to their original forms at the beginning of Fire/Ice.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu??: Red and Black Book's final boss fight is against Hoshigami. While Yahweh is stated to not be the creator of the universe itself, Hoshigami is explicitly stated to have done so. You fight her evil counterpart in White Book.
- Disposable Woman: Both Amy and Lena in Light/Dark.
- Doppelgänger: An enemy that looks like the current protagonist.
- The Dragon: Mephistopheles and Isaac to Ice Apostle and Flame Apostle in Fire/Ice Book. Fenrir and Abaddon to Lucifer in the anime. Crocell, Ose, and Gemory to Imperius Remiel in the second anime. Puck is this and Bumbling Sidekick to Raguel in White book.
- Dub Name Change: Plenty of demons had their names changed along with places in the Light/Dark translation. Earth became Rem, Makai became Dem, etc. There are some exceptions. Beelzebub (Zebul), Azazel (Azel), Belphegor (Phegor), and some others had these names in the Japanese version.
- The Empire: The Imperium of Light/Dark Version. Brought back in Messiah Riser.
- Evil Counterpart: Jashin to Hoshigami.
- Fate Worse than Death: Being left in the Deep Hole. It's used for the worst crimes demons do.
- Final Boss: Hoshigami in Red/Black Book, Jashin in White Book, Seipher/Quazir in Light/Dark Book, and Shugoshins in Fire/Ice Book.
- Forever War: Between the Angels and Demons of Muspellheim and Niflheim in Fire/Ice Book. They're also willing to drag all other worlds into their war by disguising themselves as angels or demons then attacking the other side. This is also the goal of Shugoshin who sees eternal, neverending warfare as the destiny of the universe.
- Fusion Dance: Series standard.
- Glamour Failure: The angels/demons of Muspellheim/Niflheim aren't very good at copying the appearance of the angels or demons they are disguised as.
- God Is Good: Hoshigami is a loving creator God. You do have to fight her, but that's just part of the process.
- God of Evil: Jashin is an evil god defeated by Hoshigami before she created the universe. Then returns as the Final Boss of White Book.
- Half-Human Hybrid: They don't happen often: rare enough to require a Title Drop even. There's also the Angel Children born between humans and angels. It's also possible to pass on the powers of demons/angels to a human to make them a hybrid. This is how Masaki becomes The Chosen One in White Book as he's part Angel, Human, and Demon.
- HeelFace Turn: Michael has become good by the time of Fire/Ice Book. He's also become a prettyboy in the process. Raphael does one in the anime.
- Other examples includes Bosses one might come across in certain games who either realize they've been duped or like the Protagonists enough to join them. One example is Remiel joining Jin after he learned that the Enoch he was serving is a fake.
- Hello, [Insert Name Here]: You can name Cool and Veil. After they've already introduced themselves to you.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: Setsuna doesn't really care about this whole Devil Children business; he's here to rescue his brother. He gets over it when it gets across how much is really at stake.
- "I Know You Are in There Somewhere" Fight: The last battle of the anime.
- Infant Immortality: Averted. Nagahisa is killed in any ending where you don't side with him in Red/Black book.
- Jesus Taboo: Jesus doesn't show up, but the Pope does. He's a pretty nice guy.
- Knight Templar: Angels in a big way.
- Light Is Good: Nathanael in White Book, Hoshigami, and Lord Light. Michael in Fire/Ice.
- Light Is Not Good: The angels goals are to destroy humans and demons alike in the first three games to create a world of order.
- Dark Is Evil: Some of the angels are dark element.
- Lighter and Softer: Sort of. By art style and script complexity, at least. Atlus really did make a valiant effort to produce this kind of game, but in the end they couldn't break out of their mold and just made the terrible things happen to younger people.
- Magic from Technology: The gun's not really a gun, it summons demons.
- Master of Disguise: An angel perfectly disguises herself as Lena in Devil Children Messiah Riser.
- Master of Illusion: Isaac, Mephistopheles, and Shugoshin.
- The Mole: Forlo and Drail in Light/Dark Book. Drail and Raphael in the second anime.
- Mons: Demons!
- Multiple Endings: In Red Book/Black Book you side with the angels and destroy the universe, side with Lucifer and remake it, or make yourself the new God?
- In White Book you can have Takaharu Ougi go ahead by himself to face Jashin alone, challenge Jashin with Hoshigami as one of your demons and allowing Takaharu to fuse with her to give her more power, or you face Jashin alone.
- Fire/Ice Book you either refuse Shugoshin in his true forms offer to become a God or you agree and become God of a world in a Forever War. The first choice just nets you a Non-Standard Game Over.
- New Game+: Available in some games depending on the choice.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Puck ends up making Masaki a human, demon, and angel hybrid by mistake.
- Noble Demon: A great deal of demons behave this way. Lucifer especially.
- Not Quite Saved Enough: Jin and Akira save Valhalla from the tyranny of the Imperium at the end of Light/Dark. Only for it and everyone who lives there that isn't Amy to die before Fire/Ice.
- Olympus Mons: There are quite a number of big name figures summonable here. Like Zeus.
- One Game for the Price of Two: Frequent.
- Oracular Urchin: The Angel Raziel's books always tell the future of what happens in Red/Black/White Book and are found throughout the game.
- Order Versus Chaos: The one time this isn't the main conflict of the game comes as a surprise.
- The first three games played it straight between Angels and Demons for the most part with them being Well-Intentioned Extremist in Red & Black Book.
- Demi Kids has the Imperium who seeks to remove free will from Valhalla against the Rebels.
- Fire and Ice Book have a similar theme but with Fire and Light representing Order and Ice and Darkness representing Chaos stuck in a Forever War.
- Our Angels Are Different: They vary in all forms, shapes, and sizes. Amongst them are the usual angels, several Ars Goetia demons, Satan, the Amesha Spentas, and concepts.
- Rage Against the Heavens: Angels are generally some of the last enemies in the games, and the ones you can usually blame.
- Redemption Equals Death: Happens twice in the anime Light & Dark.
- Azrael/Dark Imperius realizes he doesn't want to kill the girl heroes since the girl whom he loved appeals to his real self. Needless to say, Remiel/Light Imperius shows up and kills him within 2 minutes.
- Ose does an interesting twist on this... He invites Akira and Jin, pretending to give up his piece of the MacGuffin - only to start beating the living snot out of them. When Jin perseveres to attack him even when beaten horribly, Ose reveals he was simply testing his resolve to see whether he can trust him to defeat Remiel. Seconds after betraying his master, Gemory shows up and Ose does the Heroic Sacrifice by jumping in to block the shot.
- The Resistance: The Rebels of Valhalla.
- Sadistic Choice: Setsuna's spent all of Black Book looking for his brother, his only family in the world, to rescue him, and then finds out once he meets him again that Nagahisa is half-angel, hates him for being half-demon, and is helping him destroy the world. He fights him several times, and eventually Setsuna either has to switch sides or kill his beloved brother.
- Satan is Good: Lucifer wants to unite the demon, angel, and human worlds, and is as good a father as he can possibly be.
- Screw Destiny: White Book. Masaki may have the power of demons, but that doesn't mean he has to hate his friend with the power of angels, and nobody's going to tell him otherwise.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: The villains of Messiah Riser are this until the end of the game.
- Sealed Good in a Can: Hoshigami is usually sealed away somewhere in Makai where she sleeps. Lucifer for most of Red/Black book and Enoch, Zebul, and their brothers in Fire/Ice Book.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: More idealistic than usual for this series, but not so much that it's not a part of the series.
- Starter Mon: Each game in the series has one, and they depend on your version. One running theme throughout them is that they can evolve, unlike other demons, and they must be in your party. In Demi Kids, you can actually win the starters of previous player characters by participating in the game's series of battles.
- Suddenly Voiced: The Playstation remake has voices.
- Suicidal Cosmic Temper Tantrum: Raguel is willing to awaken Jashin to destroy creation by sacrificing himself since his goal to Take Over the World is foiled by his fellow angels, demons, and Masaki.
- ¡Three Amigos!: Setsuna, Mirai, and Zett in the latter parts of the anime.
- Time Master: Both Lord Light and Darklord. It makes the fact that they didn't foresee Muspellheim and Nifleheim destroying Valhalla weird.
- Time Travel: In Light/Dark Books onwards. This is also how Jin prevents Lucifers death.
- To Be Lawful or Good: Angels and Angel Children suffer from this by being lawful beings by default. Even if they know what they are doing is wrong their lawfulness usually ends up keeping them from disobeying.
- Tsundere: Masaki Kuzuha is one to his childhood friend Takaharu Ougi. Queen Frost is described as one in the anime.
- Utopia: Valhalla was originally one.
- Utopia Justifies the Means: Angels think this. Eventually the ones of Tenkai get better after White Book.
- Villain Decay: Uriel started out as an angel who will do genocide in Red/Black Book and is fought as a boss, but becomes a Dirty Coward in White Book.
- We Can Rule Together: After Takaharu Ougi fails to fulfill his role, Raguel offers Masaki a chance to aid him in conquering the world.
- Western Zodiac: Book of Light/Dark onwards have the twelve Zodiac Angels.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Demons vary in their personalities as much as humans do, but don't seem to be all that bad. Angels, too, aren't always jerks.
- Yin-Yang Bomb: Book of Light and Book of Dark along with Book of Fire and Book of Ice.
- You Can't Fight Fate: The Flame/Ice Apostles of Fire/Ice Book firmly believe in this along with all their followers in Muspellheim/Niflheim. Defeating them and proving them wrong has them ask Jin and Akira to defeat the true mastermind Shugoshin.