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Overview

The term demon in the Megami Tensei series typically refers to any non-human character, enemy, or ally the player can encounter, fuse, or converse with, usually consisting of gods, divinities, spirits, and creatures from a variety of the world's cultures. It is a localization of the terms "akuma" (demon) and "nakama" (friend) found in the Japanese versions of the series. Japanese romanizations will also use the word "devil" as a translation for these terms, which can be found in series titles like Digital Devil Monogatari, Devil Summoner, Digital Devil Saga, and Devil Survivor.

Usage of demon in English localizations is cognate to the Greek term "daimon," which could refer to certain types of gods and lesser spirits in Ancient Greece, though would eventually be specifically defined in terms of the lesser spirits. The former definition lends the term a more neutral quality that the English language otherwise lacks for a word that can refer to both deities and monsters at once.

Story

Within the stories of the majority Megami Tensei titles, demons are seen as supernatural entities that follow one of three major alignments--Law, Neutral, and Chaos--and are further defined by Light, Neutral, and Dark affinities each within those three, creating a total of nine different true alignments.

Summoning

Demons can be manipulated as digital data by using demon-summoning programs on handheld devices called COMPs, and manifest in physical reality by expending a substance called Magnetite (MAG for short), though it is unclear if this substance is the same as the ferrous mineral of the same name.

An exception is in Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne, where demons could be summoned directly without need of a COMP or MAG. However, Nocturne employs the concept of Magatsuhi in its world, which is a byproduct of suffering. The first three letters of Magatsuhi are also MAG, which implies a connection to Magnetite.

Newer games that still use COMPs, such as Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey, have dropped the use of MAG as a gameplay mechanic.

Gameplay

The different ways players can interact with demons constitute the majority of the gameplay of the Megami Tensei series. Besides common battle sequences, there are two defining gameplay characteristics for Megami Tensei's demons: conversation and fusion.

Conversation

Demon conversation primarily exists as a way to convince demons to join your party and thus increase your ranks and possibilities for fusion. Conversations are ruled by the demon's personality type and race. Personality will determine their attitude, types of questions, and demands while race determines if it is even possible to talk with the demon at all. Generally, Dark-affinity demons will refuse to converse with the player, while Light-affinity demons rarely appear in battle at all outside boss fights or other special circumstances. Phases of the moon will affect demon conversation, particularly a full moon.

Fusion

Fusion, a process performed primarily in the Cathedral of Shadows, combines demons together to make another one. Fusion results are based on the demons' affinities or other specific factors, such as special combinations or moon phases. Certain demon races exist primarily to affect fusion, such as Elements and Mitama.

Most demon fusion is relegated to two demons at a time, but certain games allow players to combine three at a time. Special fusion types, such as Nocturne's sacrificial fusion and specific combination fusion types can also be seen.

Demon Races

Megami Tensei categorizes demons into a large variety of races, largely based on comparative commonalities shared by the characters or roles the gods or spirits play in their home mythologies and cultures. The terms "race," "clan," or "order" are used interchangeably in different titles to refer to these categorizations.

A small handful of races include or are comprised of human or human-like units. Depending on the game, these may still be considered demons.

Localization

The majority of these races first appeared translated into English with the release of Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne. Certain races, such as Kishin and Megami, remain untranslated as of current releases. Typically, race names in English localizations have a hard limit of six characters, which, for example, will not fit the seven letter word "goddess," the literal meaning of the Japanese term "megami," a probable cause behind these localization choices.

English localization of race names also trends against translating names shared between races and demon units. For example, races such as the Divine clan, whose Japanese name directly translates as "angel," could not be transliterated due to their race containing a unit of identical nomenclature, otherwise causing the unit being referred to as "Angel Angel." This also affected the Herald clan, which was originally localized in Nocturne as "Seraph." With the release of Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey, which contained a unit named Seraph in that same race, the name was subsequently altered.

The following races are listed in order of appearance by chronological series releases. For demon races that have not yet appeared in a localized English release, their romanized Japanese name will appear first.

From Digital Devil Story: Megami Tensei

Being the inaugural entry in the Megami Tensei franchise, Digital Devil Monogatari: Megami Tensei introduces many of the races that became series mainstays.

Mononoke / Specter / 物の怪 / 物怪

A Bao A Qu in Kyuuyaku Megami Tensei.

This race only appears in Digital Devil Monogatari: Megami Tensei, and has thus never received an official translation. The Japanese term for the race is "mononoke," meaning "specter" or "mysterious thing." It is the precursor to the Foul race introduced in Megami Tensei II, and its name would in fact be replaced with that of Foul in the Kyuuyaku Megami Tensei remake compilation. Like the Fouls, Mononoke demons are largely comprised of shapeless, base matter, such as slimes. The Malay folkloric spirit A Bao A Qu is one.

Spirit / EG / 悪霊

Legion in Shin Megami Tensei II.

Spirits are generally represented by malicious souls or ghost-like entities, largely of a non-human form, and are aligned with Dark-Chaos. The Japanese word for the race is "akuryou," which means "demonic spirit" or "demonic soul." In Revelations: Persona, they were first called "EG." The Christian demon Legion is a commonly-seen member of this race.

Haunt / Ghost / GT / 幽鬼

Preta in Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner.

Haunts consist of humanoid undead creatures and apparitions, and are Dark-Chaos. Its Japanese name, "yuuki," can mean "revenant" or "ghost." This race was renamed to "Ghost" in the English localization of Devil Survivor 2. It was also first called "GT" in Revelations: Persona, due to character restrictions. The lowly hungry ghost of Buddhism, Preta, is a typical Haunt.

Genjuu / Phantom Beast / 幻獣

Bug in Megami Tensei.

The Phantom Beast race only appears in Digital Devil Monogatari: Megami Tensei. In its Kyuuyaku Megami Tensei remake, its name was replaced with that of the Monster, or Kaiju, clan, from Megami Tensei II. It has received no official translation and the term "phantom beast" is a transliteration of the Japanese name "genjuu." This race consists of destructive creatures, and one of its more standout members is the strange demon named Bug, as in programming error, but may also be the name of a common monster as related etymologically to the likes of the Bogle and Bugaboo.

Wilder / WM / 妖獣

Fenrir in Soul Hackers.

Wilders consist of malevolent monsters that largely hew close to animal-like forms, and are aligned with Dark-Neutral. In Japanese, their name is "youjuu," meaning "ghost beast" or "mystic beast." They were first translated as "WM" in Revelations: Persona. The monstrous wolf Fenrir from Norse myth is a common demon of the Wilder clan.

Jaki / EM / 邪鬼

Girimehkala in Soul Hackers.

Members of the Jaki race mostly consist of malicious humanoid creatures of the Dark-Neutral alignment. It has received no official translation into English, and thus modern games with this race still use the Japanese term "jaki" which means "wicked ogre" or "imp." The Jaki were first called "EM" in the limited translation of Revelations: Persona. The Sri Lankan elephant monster Girimehkala is one of the more noteworthy Jakis.

Femme / DW / 鬼女

Rangda in Soul Hackers.

The Femme clan can be seen as female counterparts to the male Jaki race and are mostly hags and other demonesses that represent negative female energies, though are not always outrightly evil. Femmes are aligned with Neutral-Chaos. The Japanese word for this race is "kijo," which can mean "ogress" or "witch." The Femmes were first called "DW" in the translation of 1997's Revelations: Persona. The Balinese witch Rangda is the most notable Femme.

Night / ND / 夜魔

Lilith in Shin Megami Tensei.

Demons of the Night clan are largely Judeo-Christian folkloric demons associated not only with nocturnal activities, but also sleep and the human dreamscape. Night demons are of the Neutral-Chaos alignment. "Yama" is the Japanese term, which simply means "night demon." It was first translated as "ND" in Revelations: Persona due to text restrictions, which seems to imply an abbreviation of the literal meaning. The early Biblical demoness Lilith is the most notable member of the Night race.

Vile / 邪神

Set in Shin Megami Tensei II.

The Vile race consists of gods that are part of a grand order of the cosmos, but often abuse their power or represent negative energies within that order. As such, they are of a Dark-Law alignment, to a more extreme degree than any other race. The Japanese term for this race is "Jashin," or "evil god." A typical demon of this race is the Egyptian god Set.

Tyrant / KD / 魔王

Lucifer in Shin Megami Tensei II.

Tyrants are gods or demonic entities that represent ultimate anarchy and freedom from laws of gods or nature. Demons of this race are also often a main opposing or antagonistic force within their original religion or mythology. Tyrants are thus squarely aligned with Dark-Chaos and, among other Dark-Chaos races, they are considered the most Dark and the most Chaotic. The Japanese term for Tyrants is "maou," which can mean "demon king" but is also appropriated to refer specifically to Western demons such as Beelzebub. Demons of this race also frequently appear in the series as bosses, such as the entire Tyrant roster of Digital Devil Monogatari: Megami Tensei and the majority of Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey's. The Tyrants first appeared in an English Megami Tensei game in Revelations: Persona, under the abbreviation "KD." The most iconic Tyrant in Megami Tensei is Lucifer, lord of Christian Hell.

Beast / MA / 魔獣

Cerberus in Soul Hackers.

The Beast clan are animals and creatures that are true Neutral-Neutral and act according to their own survival or whom do not distinguish between friend or foe in their home mythologies. The name is an exact translation from the Japanese word "majuu." They were first translated as "MA" in Revelations: Persona. Cerberus from Greek mythology is, with few exceptions, always a member of this race.

Jyuujin / Therianthrope / 獣人

A werewolf in Shin Megami Tensei.

This race consists of were-type Neutral-Neutral beastmen, and is not seen in titles beyond the Super Famicom era. Consequently, it has never been in an officially localized title. The Japanese term can be read "jyuujin" or "kemonobito" and is equated in meaning with the Greco-English terms for were-creatures, therianthrope or lycanthrope. The werewolf is always a member of this race when it appears.

Jirae / DD / 地霊

Gogmagog.

Jirae demons are associated with the earth, soil, and other chthonic representations, or as more minor spirits involved with the founding or manipulation of land. They are typically Neutral-Neutral. It is another race that has not received an official translation. "Jirae," or "chirei" as it is more accurately written, simply means "earth spirit" or "ground spirit." Their race name was first called "DD" in Revelations: Persona. The British giant Gogmagog is a common Jirae.

Fairy / FY / 妖精

A Pixie from Shin Megami Tensei.

Fairies are magical folkloric spirits from a variety of legends, with playful dispositions moreso than benevolent or malicious ones. Fairies are of the Neutral-Neutral alignment. The name is a direct translation of the Japanese term "yousei." The Fairy race was first translated as "FY" in Revelations: Persona, a truncated version of the full name due to space restrictions. The miniature trickster Pixie of British fey lore is the most notable Fairy, perhaps even moreso than even Jack Frost, as she is often one of the first demons available to join the player's party.

Element / Prime / 精霊

Flaemis in Shin Megami Tensei.

The Element race consists entirely of Flaemis, Aquans, Aeros, and Erthys, and in some titles adds to or replaces those four with Salamander, Undine, Sylph, and Gnome. They are Light-Neutral. The main function of these demons is to support fusion rather than to serve as allies. When used in fusion with another demon, that demon will rank up or down to the next corresponding demon in its own race. These results will vary by race and some races cannot be affected by Elements at all. The Japanese term for this race is "seirei," which means "spirit" but refers specifically to elementals. In Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey, the Element race was renamed to Prime, though subsequent titles have reverted back to Element.

Genma / 幻魔

Cu Chulainn from Devil Summoner.

Genma are gods and heroes that exist liminally, either as living between two planes of existence, being a demigod, or as a threshold guardian on the fringe between two realities. Genma are Light-Neutral. This race is yet another that has no official translation, though "genma" literally means "phantom spirit" in Japanese. The Irish hero Cu Chulainn and Hindu monkey-hero Hanuman are the longest-serving members of the Genma race.

Holy / 聖獣

Baihu in Soul Hackers.

The Holy clan consists entirely of animals that are considered sacred or act as protectors and benefactors. They are of a Light-Neutral alignment. The Japanese word for this race is "seijuu," or "holy beast." The Chinese celestial tiger Baihu is a frequently seen example of a Holy demon.

Avatar / 神獣

Barong in Soul Hackers.

The Avatar race's members are theriomorphic gods, or gods that primarily take the form of animals. Their alignment is Light-Neutral. In Japanese, the Avatars are referred to as "shinjuu," which means "god beast." The Balinese spirit king Barong is the most common and iconic member of the Avatar race.

Kishin / 鬼神

Thor in Shin Megami Tensei.

The Kishin clan are benevolent gods of fearsome appearances and are often portrayed as stoic guardians of immense fortitude or are prime exemplaries of the expulsion of evil. They possess violent demeanors, but their wrath is reserved for the enemies of mankind. Kishin own a Light-Chaos alignment. Another officially untranslated race, "kishin" means "fierce god" or "ogrish god" in Japanese, owing to their gruesome appearances and vast strength. While Kishin often consist of Buddhist protector deities such as Bishamonten and the other three Heavenly Kings Komokuten, Zouchouten, and Jikokuten, the Norse god Thor is the most notable member of this race and is seen prominently throughout the series.

Deity / DM / 魔神

Odin in Soul Hackers.

Deities are almost always male gods from polytheistic religions who act as creators of the world, benefactors to mankind, or preservers of the cosmic order. Their alignment is usually Light-Neutral, but is sometimes Light-Law. The English name is translated from the Japanese "majin" which means "magic god." The Deity race first appeared in an official Atlus translation in Revelations: Persona, under the abbreviation "DM." The Norse god Odin is a commonly seen member of this race.

From Digital Devil Monogatari: Megami Tensei II

The following demon races first appeared in Digital Devil Monogatari: Megami Tensei II.

Foul / OL / 外道

Slime in Soul Hackers.

The Foul race consists of lowly monsters of a highly volatile nature. Fouls are always aligned with Dark-Chaos. "Gedou" is the Japanese term for the race, which means "heresy." While it does not share the same connotations, "gedou" is etymologically connected to the Japanese equivalent of the Sanskrit word "tirthika" which is an ancient Buddhist term for followers of other religions. Their race was first translated as "OL" in Revelations: Persona. The most common of Foul demons is the amorphous Slime.

Kyoujin / Madman / 狂人

Impelliteri.

The Madman clan is made up of a mix of human and human-like demons. It appears only in Megami Tensei II and Giten Megami Tensei. While this race has never been an officially translated title, the Japanese term used, "kyoujin," literally means "madman." An example of a Madman is Impelliteri, a motorcycle-riding demon seemingly based on 1980's heavy metal guitarist Chris Impelliteri.

Machine / マシン / 機械

Rabbi from Shin Megami Tensei II.

The Machine race is used for robotic enemy units. This race has not been used beyond the Super Famicom era. The Japanese term is simply the English word "machine." However, in the Kyuuyaku Megami Tensei version of Megami Tensei II, the Japanese word "kikai," also meaning "machine," is substituted for the English loan word used previously in the Famicom version. An example of a machine is the memorable Rabbi mech seen in Shin Megami Tensei II.

Kaijuu / Monster / 怪獣

Hydra from Kyuuyaku Megami Tensei.

The Monster race consists exclusively of malevolent creatures and horrors from various folklore and mythologies. It only appears in Megami Tensei II and has never been officially translated. "Monster" is the direct translation of the Japanese term "kaiju," also noted for its use within the Kaiju subgenre of Japanese monster movies. An example of the Monster race is the multi-headed dragon from Greek myth, Hydra.

Brute / WD / 妖鬼

Oni in Kyuuyaku MT.

Brute clan demons are typically ogrish, humanoid entities with physically violent dispositions, and are aligned with Neutral-Chaos. The Brute clan's Japanese name is "youki," meaning "mystic devil." Their name was first translated as "WD" in Revelations: Persona. A common Brute is the red-skinned Japanese monster, Oni.

Yoma / SD / 妖魔

Ganesha in Devil Summoner.

Demons of the Yoma race are typically benevolent spirits, images of good fortune, or psychopomps acting between the human world and that of upper spiritual realms. Their alignment may change depending on the game, but are typically aligned with either Neutral-Law or Neutral-Neutral. The Yoma are another race that have been left untranslated in English localizations, using the Japanese word "youma," which means "ghost" or "apparition." The Yoma were first called "SD" in Revelations: Persona. A standout demon among Yomas is the pachydermal Hindu god Ganesha.

Divine / AL / 天使

Angel from Devil Summoner.

The Divine race almost always consists of the angelic hierarchies of Christianity, such as Dominions and Thrones, and is twinned with the Herald race of higher archangels and other characterized, named angels. The Divine angels are Neutral-Law aligned, though rarely are Light-Law. In games where there is no Herald race, such as in Megami Tensei II or Devil Survivor, those named angels such as Sraosha or Remiel may appear in the Divine roster. The Japanese term for this race is "tenshi," which is usually translated as "angel." They were first called "AL" in Revelations: Persona. A typical unit of this clan is thusly the Angel, lowest rank of the Judeo-Christian heavenly host.

Yuiitsukami / Only God / 唯一神 / Kami / God / 神

YHVH in Megami Tensei II.

The Only God race is used exclusively for Megami Tensei II's final boss, YHVH, reflecting his role in the monotheistic Abrahamic religions. As this race has never been in an officially localized Megami Tensei title, "only god" is a transliteration of the Japanese term used, "yuiitsukami." In the Kyuuyaku Megami Tensei remake compilation, the Japanese word "kami" was substituted. While that word usually refers to gods in general, it can also specifically refer to YHVH.

From Shin Megami Tensei

The following demon races first appeared in the Super Famicom title Shin Megami Tensei.

Megami / 女神

Lakshmi in Soul Hackers.

Megami are benevolent goddesses of creation, love, compassion or simply represent the positive feminine aspect. Their alignment is Light-Law. As stated, their name is officially untranslated, continuing to use the Japanese word "megami" which literally means "goddess." The Hindu goddess Lakshmi is a consistent member of the Megami race.

Saraf / セラフ

Michael as seen in Shin Megami Tensei.

The Saraf race's members are comprised of a handful of the more important archangels of Judeo-Christian tradition. Their alignment is Light-Law. This race is the direct precursor to the Herald race that would be introduced in Shin Megami Tensei II. This race also appears in Ronde. Like the machine race, the Saraf's Japanese name is unusual in that it is rendered in katakana rather than kanji characters, using the English and Latin angelic term "seraph," which in turn is derived from the Hebrew "saraf." The Judeo-Christian archangel Michael, and possible final boss of Shin Megami Tensei, is representative of this race.

Avian / 霊鳥

Design of Garuda as first appearing in Devil Summoner.

Avians are benevolent, wise birds of vast strength and stature, though they can also be heralds of periods of great fortune, victory in battle, or peace. Select members of this race may be considered gods or of divine nature. They are a Light-Law aligned race. "Reicho" is the Japanese term for them, literally meaning "spirit bird." Garuda, the eagle-man mount of Vishnu in Hinduism, is a typical Avian.

Tenma / Obstructor / 天魔

Asura in Shin Megami Tensei.

"Tenma" is a term within Japanese Buddhism to describe demons who test or obstruct believers along their way to enlightenment. It literally means "heavenly demon." While the Tenma race in Shin Megami Tensei does not entirely adhere to this definition, it nevertheless consists of Light-Chaos demons capable of great destruction, some evil, some benevolent. It is the precursor to the Fury race introduced in Shin Megami Tensei II but unlike the Furies, the Tenma race has never appeared in an officially translated game. This race also appears in Majin Tensei II: Spiral Nemesis, though it bizarrely includes the Zoroastrian god of light Ahura Mazda as its apex demon. A more appropriate example of a Tenma demon is the frightful lord Asura of Buddhism.

Dragon / 龍神

Qing Long in Soul Hackers.

The Dragon clan, as its name implies, is made up of great dragon deities who maintain the positive balances of the negative energies that they otherwise represent. They are of the Light-Chaos alignment. Their Japanese name "ryuujin" literally means "dragon god." One of the more commonly seen Dragons is the Chinese celestial dragon Qing Long.

Flight / BD / 妖鳥

Da Peng as appearing in Soul Hackers.

Flight demons are the lesser counterpart to the Avian race and are birds or bird-like creatures who are supernatural but do not possess godlike powers or dispositions. Much like the Beast race, members of the Flight order are typically animals that are foremost keen to their own survival. They are a Neutral-Law race. The Japanese word for the Flights is "youchou," meaning "mystic bird." In the localization of Revelations: Persona, they were first known as "BD." The giant bird creature of Chinese myth, Da Peng, is one such Flight demon.

Messian / メシア教徒 / メシアン

A Temple Knight from Shin Megami Tensei II.

The Messians are the traditional human Law faction of the Shin Megami Tensei series, of a Neutral-Law alignment. Their design and belief systems echo that of the crusading Christians of the 11th through 13th centuries. They are encountered in Shin Megami Tensei and Shin Megami Tensei II, and are alluded to in Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne. What look to be members of the Messian order also appear in early media released for Shin Megami Tensei IV. In the first Shin Megami Tensei, they go by the name "Messian Believer," or "meshia shinja" in Japanese. In Shin Megami Tensei II, the name of their order is changed simply to "Messian." The Messian Temple Knight is one such member of this faction.

Touki / 闘鬼

Yaksa in Devil Summoner.

The Touki are the Neutral-Neutral aligned equivalent of the Chaotic Brute race. Similarly, they also have tendencies towards physicality and violence, but either use it with discretion or without discrimination. This race is officially untranslated from the Japanese word "touki," meaning "sparring ogre." The Dharmic spirit Yaksa is an example of a Touki.

Fallen / FA / 堕天使

Halphas as seen in Soul Hackers.

The Fallen race mostly consists of selections from the 72 demons of the Ars Goetia which is part of the text of the Lesser Key of Solomon, an important text in Western esoteric and magical tradition. These demons are Neutral-Chaos, owing to their nature that, while they slant towards disorder, they are bound to do the bidding of whomever summons them. This race also includes some lesser Christian demons not in the Ars Goetia, such as Melchom and Nisroc. The name "Fallen" is an approximate translation of the Japanese word "datenshi," which means "fallen angel," appropriate given that the traditional origins of many of the 72 Goetic demons were as angels cast out from Heaven into Hell along with Satan after his betrayal. The Fallen race was first translated as "FA" in Revelations: Persona, a restriction of two-character limits. The regal bird Halphas from the 72 demons of the Ars Goetia is the most notable member of the Fallen race.

Snake / DN / 龍王

Yamata no Orochi in Soul Hackers.

Snakes are a race of dragons and serpents that have important roles in world mythologies, though mostly in support of the central gods, such as maintaining the cyclical procession of nature or representing infinity. This race was first classified as Neutral-Chaos but has been more recently seen as Neutral-Neutral. "Ryuuou" is the Japanese term for Snakes, literally meaning "dragon king." They were first called "DN" in the limited translation of Revelations: Persona. A commonly-seen Snake is Yamata no Orochi, the 8-headed dragon of Japanese myth.

Gaean / ガイア教徒 / ガイアーズ

An Onmyouji in Shin Megami Tensei II.

The Gaeans are the traditional human Chaos faction in the Shin Megami Tensei series, of a Neutral-Chaos alignment. Their design and beliefs are similar to that of certain esoteric sects of Japanese Buddhism. They are encountered in Shin Megami Tensei and Shin Megami Tensei II, and are mentioned in Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne, with one of their texts being the catalyst for that game's story. Gaean lookalikes have also been seen in early screenshots of Shin Megami Tensei IV. In the original Shin Megami Tensei, their name is "gaia shinja" or "Gaean Believer," though this was shortened in Shin Megami Tensei II to simply "gaiaazu" or "Gaean." The Japanese sorcerers, Onmyouji, are one such class that belongs to the Gaean order.

Raptor / CB / 凶鳥

Hresvelgr in Soul Hackers.

Raptors are malevolent birds that, true to their real-life taxonomy, act of birds of prey to unfortunate victims or represent misfortune, the reverse of the Avian race. They are aligned with Dark-Law. Their Japanese name is "kyouchou," which means "evil bird" or "bird of ill omen." This race was first translated as "CB" in Revelations: Persona. Hresvelgr, a giant eagle of Norse myth, is one of the most frequently encountered members of the Raptor race.

Grave / ZE / 屍鬼

A Bodyconian from Shin Megami Tensei II.

Demons of the Grave race do not just represent the putrid state of death, but also the condition of persisting beyond death, undying, and of being figuratively dead or hollow in character. Grave race demons are Dark-Neutral. The Japanese term for this race, "shiki," literally means "corpse demon." The Grave race first appeared translated in the original 1997 release of Revelations: Persona as "ZE," while it would take until the PSP rerelease of Persona 12 years later to receive a properly localized name. The hopelessly vain Bodyconian is an example of the Grave race.

Drake / ED / 邪龍

Tiamat from Soul Hackers.

Drakes are abhorrent dragons, and the members of its race represent the untamed primordial chaos or act as serpentine antagonists within their mythological origins. Drakes are Dark-Chaos aligned. Drake is a localized term from the Japanese "jaryuu," meaning "evil dragon." The Drakes' first translation in Revelations: Persona, "ED," reflects this literal meaning. The chaotic Babylonian mother goddess Tiamat best represents the characteristics of the Drake order.

Fiend / DM / 魔人

The Matador as seen in Shin Megami Tensei II.

Fiends are visages of human death and are undead reminders of the destruction man brings upon himself. Fiend demons mostly consist of entities from the Christian Book of Revelation, such as Mother Harlot and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and share a Dark-Neutral alignment. All of the members of this order are represented with skulls for heads. Fiends originally existed to be difficult rare encounters in the original Shin Megami Tensei and Shin Megami Tensei II. They became boss battles in the extensive sidequest contained in the enhanced edition of Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne, though were again rare, fierce battles as part of Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey's optional encounter system. The Japanese term for the Fiend race is "majin," which literally means "demonic person." This race name first appeared in an English game in the form of "DM," the same as the Deities' initial translation, perhaps due to both names being homophones in Japanese. The infamous Matador, conqueror of human game, is perhaps the most commonly encountered Fiend.

Meta / SM / 超人

Ubergestalt Gore in Strange Journey.

"Choujin," the Japanese word for the Meta order, is the equivalent of the German "ubermensch," the ideal of the "overman," or superhuman, in the works of the Prussian-born philosopher Friedrich Nietzche. While the basic connotations of ubermensch relate superiority or "aboveness," it is also related to his "God is dead" mantra, giving it a supreme humanist association. The officially localized term for this race, Meta, is a word that reinforces this definition as it can refer the states of being above or beyond, or transcendence of normal contexts. It was first translated as "SM," presumably standing for "superman," in Revelations: Persona. Both the Law and Chaos Heroes of Shin Megami Tensei are ordered into the Meta classification, as well as Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey's Commander Gore, after he transcends death and is reborn as the Ubergestalt.

From Majin Tensei

The strategy RPG spinoff Majin Tensei included one previously unseen race.

Hiryu / Flying Dragon / 飛龍

Ganga as seen in Shin Megami Tensei.

True to their name, the members of the Flying Dragon race are winged lizards and serpents. As it has never been in an officially licensed title, the name is a literal representation of the Japanese "hiryu." This race also appears in the Game Boy game Another Bible, but is otherwise not seen elsewhere. Among the ranks of the Flying Dragons is the Hindu personification of the Ganges River, Ganga.

From Shin Megami Tensei II

The following demon races first appeared in the Super Famicom game Shin Megami Tensei II.

Herald / Seraph / 大天使

Metatron, as his design first appeared in Devil Summoner.

The Herald race, like the Saraf race before it, consists of the great angelic beings and archangels of various Western monotheistic religions, specifically Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Zoroastrianism. As these angels are among the most powerful and important in their respective heavenly spheres, typically second only to their central patron deities, they often act as a direct link between God and man to relay his messages or vengeful judgments. The Heralds are the most extremely Light-Law out of any race and are in direct opposition to the Tyrants, who are the most extremely Dark-Chaos. The Japanese word for this race, "datenshi," meaning "great angel," was first translated in Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne as "Seraph," but was subsequently changed to "Herald" in Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey, as noted above. Metatron, the scribe of Heaven and angelic form of the Biblical patriarch Enoch, is often the apex demon of the Herald order.

Amatsukami / Heavenly God / 天津神

Amaterasu from Shin Megami Tensei II and If....

The Amatsukami are comprised entirely of Japanese gods, specifically those who are directly descended from the Japanese patron god Izanagi, and whom are the resident deities of Takamagahara, the Japanese heavenly sphere. "Amatsukami," meaning "heavenly god," is the actual term used to refer to these gods in Shinto traditions and, within Japanese history, the Amatsukami were claimed as the ancestors of the Yamato clan, who were to emerge as the preeminent clan in ancient Japan. The Amatsukami race is Light-Law aligned and has never been officially translated. This race only appears in Shin Megami Tensei II, Shin Megami Tensei if..., and Shin Megami Tensei: NINE. The Tenjin race, a similar order with nearly identical demons, appears in Majin Tensei II: Spiral Nemesis. Amaterasu, the central goddess of the Japanese Shinto pantheon, is the best representative demon of the Amatsukami class.

Fury / Omega / 破壊神

Shiva, as his design first appeared in Devil Summoner.

Demons of the Fury order are gods who act as positive representations of the destructive forces of nature, such as storms and fire, the renewal and fertility that springs forth from that destruction, and the resulting idea that death sustains life. Furies are classified as Light-Chaos, and are among the most extremely niched of that alignment. Their Japanese name is "hakaishin," literally meaning "god of destruction." While this term was first translated as "Fury" in Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne and used in many subsequent games, this race was retranslated as "Omega" in the localization of Devil Survivor 2 for unknown reasons. The demon that best characterizes the Fury race is Shiva, the destructor and regenerator of Hinduism.

Lady / 地母神

Kali, as her design first appeared in Soul Hackers.

Lady clan demons are chthonic mother goddesses and symbols of fertility as it results from the labors of the earth, or icons of the pain that women face in childbirth. Certain demons of the Lady clan are counterparts or wives to the male gods of the Fury clan, for example the betrothed Japanese gods Lady Kushinada-Hime and Fury Susanoo. Members of the Lady clan are aligned with Light-Chaos. Their Japanese name, "jiboshin," is the precise term used in Japanese mythological discourse to refer to these historically worshipped earth and fertility goddesses from around the world, and directly translates to the equivalent term in English discourse, "mother goddess." The Lady race first appeared in Revelations: Persona under an abbreviated name, but it is currently unknown. An example of a demon of the Lady race is Kali, the "black goddess" of Hinduism, who is representative of time and a form of Parvati, the wife of Shiva.

Kunitsukami / Earthly God / 国津神

Arahabaki in Shin Megami Tensei II.

The Kunitsukami are the terrestrial counterparts to the Amatsukami race, and consist entirely of Japanese gods of the earth and chthonic phenomena. "Kunitsukami", literally meaning "earthly god," is a word used in Shintoism to categorize these gods, again much the same as the Amatsukami. The majority of them were deities of the ancient Izumo clan, which was subsumed by the more powerful Yamato clan, but nonetheless had many of its gods incorporated into the overall Shinto mythological pantheon. Some of the gods of this race are directly associated with legends of the formation of Japan, such as Onamuchi/Okuninushi and Sukuna-Hikona. The Kunitsukami are aligned with Light-Chaos, and have never appeared in a game that has been officially translated. Also like the Amatsukami, the Kunitsukami only appear in Shin Megami Tensei II, Shin Megami Tensei if..., and Shin Megami Tensei: NINE. A similar race, the Chigi, with a nearly identical roster of demons appears in Majin Tensei II: Spirial Nemesis. Arahabaki, the mysterious god of ancient Japan, is one example of a Kunitsukami race demon.

Demonoid / デモノイド

Shin Megami Tensei II's Frankie.

The Demonoid race is exclusive to Shin Megami Tensei II and is made up of demi-mechanical enemies faced in the virtual space within Valhalla. They are Neutral-Neutral, and their Japanese name is one of the rare instances of English loan word usage. The reverse is unknown as Shin Megami Tensei II has never been officially translated. The Karloff-inspired Frankie belongs to the Demonoid order.

Vaccine / ワクチン

Shin Megami Tensei II's Jaws.

Like the Demonoid race, the Vaccines are exclusive to Shin Megami Tensei II and faced in Valhalla's virtual space. They are Dark-Law and too have never been officially translated, though the Japanese version again uses an English loan word. The Vaccine race contains exactly two demons, a humanoid unit called "Police," and Jaws, a mechanical dog.

Wood / 妖樹

Erlkonig in Soul Hackers.

Wood race demons are malicious spirits of the forest, taking the forms of flowers, trees, and other vegetation. They are of a Dark-Law alignment. "Wood" comes from a translation of the Japanese term "youju," or "calamitous wood." The German tree spirit Erlkonig is an example of a demon from the Wood clan.

Virus / ウイルス

Andromeda in Shin Megami Tensei II.

The Viruses complete the trio of Shin Megami Tensei II races that are exclusive to the game's early sequences in the Valhalla virtual space. They are Dark-Chaos and while they have never appeared in localized form, it's likely that the original term "Virus" would be kept as it is within the typical six-character limit that is found in English localizations. A trinity of three-dimensional programs named Moebius, Spider, and Andromeda are part of the Virus race.

Senshi / Warrior / 戦士

The Frost Five from Soul Hackers.

"Senshi," the Japanese term for "warrior," is the title given to a few of Shin Megami Tensei II's human characters, including Red Bear and Daleth. Simply put, this race is made of those who have a penchant for battle and conflict. While no alignment is given for the Warriors in Shin Megami Tensei II, the race would resurface with the heroic quintuplet of Jacks from Soul Hackers, the Frost Five, who are Neutral-Neutral and exemplify the hee-roism of those who call themselves Senshi.

Shinshou / Divine General / 神将

Mihira in Shin Megami Tensei II.

The Divine General race consists exclusively of the 12 Divine Generals found in certain denominations of Buddhism, especially Mahayana Buddhism. Within Mahayana Buddhist belief, the 12 Divine Generals are the guardians of Bhaisajyaguru, or Yakushi Nyorai in Japan, the Buddha of medicine and healing. This race only appears in Shin Megami Tensei II and has never been officially translated. No alignment is given for the Divine Generals. The Japanese characters used for this race, "shinshou," are the exact kanji found in the traditional Japanese term for the 12 Divine Generals, "十二神将" or "juunishinshou." The twelve demons belonging to the Divine General race are Mihira, Catura, Kumbhira, Vajra, Andira, Anila, Sandilya, Indara, Pajra, Mahoraga, Kimnara, and Vikarala.

Shinrei / Holy Spirit / 神霊

Satan in Shin Megami Tensei II.

The members of the Holy Spirit race are almost entirely composed of the forms of YHVH seen in Shin Megami Tensei II, including himself and his manifested epithets Elohim, Shaddai, and Sabaoth. This race also appears in Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers, used by Babylonian creation gods Tiamat and Apsu. As a collective, Holy Spirits can be seen as representations of the spiritual forces that support the Earth and its foundation. Though no official alignment is given for them, as a race representing the supreme god of Western monotheism, the Holy Spirits would presumably stand for the absolute extreme of the Light-Law philosophy. As this order has only appeared in Shin Megami Tensei II and Soul Hackers, it has thus has never received translation from the Japanese "shinrei," literally meaning "holy spirit" or "godlike spirit." One of the other Holy Spirit demons faced in Shin Megami Tensei II is Satan, obstacle to believers in Judaism and main antagonist of Christianity.

From Shin Megami Tensei: if...

The following races first appeared in Shin Megami Tensei: if... for the Super Famicom.

Kyoushi / Teacher / 教師

Ootsuki's third form in Shin Megami Tensei: if...

"Kyoushi" is a Japanese word that refers to academic instructors, commonly translated simply as "teacher." It is similar to the more familiar word "sensei," meaning "master," but more specific, as the title -sensei is used by a variety of professions, from doctors to martial arts instructors. This order has never appeared in a game that has left Japan. The Teacher race is used exclusively by Shin Megami Tensei: if...'s high school instructor, and gradual cyborg, Ootsuki.

Vermin / 妖虫

Mothman in Devil Summoner.

Vermin, as their name suggests, are demons that take the forms of monstrous pests with animal, insect, or arachnid features. They spread bad luck and death just as easily as disease. They are similar to demons of the Wilder clan in all but appearance. Vermin are aligned with Dark-Law, another attribute shared with the Wilder clan. The Japanese name for this race is "youchu," which translates to "calamitous bug." It first appeared translated into English as Vermin in Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey. The West Virginian cryptid, and likely barn owl, Mothman is a member of the Vermin race.

Majinnou / Demon God Emperor / 魔神皇

Hazama's first form in Shin Megami Tensei: if...

"Majinnnou," roughly meaning "demon god emperor," is a race used only by the two final boss forms of Hazama, the antagonist of Shin Megami Tensei: if.... The first two kanji characters in its name are shared by the Deity order, though as Shin Megami Tensei: if... has never reached English-speaking shores, it is without a proper translation. Ultimately, the Demon God Emperor race is evocative of the deep-seated narcissism and resentment in Hazama's character, a juvenile whose world was crushed after rejection.

From Majin Tensei II: Spiral Nemesis

The following races first appeared in the Super Famicom strategy RPG Majin Tensei II: Spiral Nemesis.

Soshin / Ancestral God / 祖神

Baal as he appears in Soul Hackers.

The Ancestral God race, found only in Majin Tensei II, deals exclusively with deities of ancient involvement within their original myths, such as preceding and/or being directly involved in the formation of the terrestrial sphere, or acting as the progenitors of the human, or monster, races who recognized or worshipped them as their elder gods. "Ancestral god" is a direct translation of the Japanese "soshin." It has never appeared translated into English. Baal, the Semitic storm god of Canaan, belongs to the Ancestral God race.

Tenjin / Heavenly God / 天神

Susano-O as he appears in Soul Hackers.

The term "tenjin" is a synonym in Japanese to refer to the Amatsukami class of Shinto gods and carries the same literal meaning, merely "heavenly god." It has never appeared in any other game and has never been officially translated. In Majin Tensei II, the Tenjin consist of most of the same gods of the previous Amatsukami race, with one exception: Susano-O, the Japanese god of storms and fury, belongs to its ranks.

Chigi / Earthly God / 地祇

Sarutahiko in Shin Megami Tensei II.

Similarly to the Tenjin, "chigi" is a synonym in Japanese to refer to the Kunitsukami class of Shinto earthly deities. It also transliterates roughly the same as Kunitsukami, as "earthly god." The Chigi order has also not appeared in any other game besides Majin Tensei II, and features largely the same roster of demons compared to the Kunitsukami race in Shin Megami Tensei II. Sarutahiko, the representative of the Japanese earthly gods, is a member of the Chigi in Majin Tensei II.

Joma / Virago / 女魔

Bastet in Shin Megami Tensei II.

The Joma are furious female deities, roughly equivalent to those in the Lady race. Unlike the Lady race, who are generally representative of the Mother Earth principle, the Joma are more dispositioned towards violence and war, though are similar to the Fury race in that they represent the positive transitional, transformative aspects of those elements instead of the negative. "Joma" can be translated as "demon woman," or more specifically "virago," a word for a masculine, aggressive, sometimes heroic, woman. The race has never been officially translated, and appears exclusively in Majin Tensei II. Bastet, the Egyptian feline goddess whose forms include the war goddess Sekhmet, is a member of Majin Tensei II's Joma race.

Jarei / Evil Spirit / 邪霊

A Lich in Majin Tensei II.

The Jarei race is inclusive of the Haunt and Spirit races in that it contains identical undead demons of corporeal and incorporeal forms from both orders. "Jarei", meaning "evil spirit" is a generic Japanese term for such monsters. Like the other races introduced in Majin Tensei II, it has never appeared in another game nor has it been officially translated. An example of Majin Tensei II's Jarei race is found in the Lich, the foul, magic undead common in fantasy fiction.

From Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner

The following demon races first appeared in the Saturn spin-off Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner.

Tree / 神樹

Haoma as he appears in Soul Hackers.

Demons of the Tree race are gods who represent the fruits of nature and the bountiful, nourishing harvests that have sustained human civilizations in the best of times. These deities are also recognitions of trees and plants as providers of materials, such as wood for housing. In some cases, these gods may be representations of hallucinogenic plants that provided ancient religious epiphanies and theophanies. The Tree race is aligned with Light-Law, and is the opposite of the Dark-Law Wood race. Its Japanese name, "shinju," means "godly tree." Haoma, the Zoroastrian deification of the ancient Soma plant, is a member of the Tree clan.

Enigma / 秘神

Kinmamon, as the deity appears in Soul Hackers.

The demons of the Enigma race are gods whose origins, roles, forms, or worship are shrouded in secrecy, intentional or unintentional. They are aligned with Light-Law. Enigma is taken from the Japanese term for this race, "hishin," which means "secret god." Kinmamon, a Japanese god of which very little is known, is of the Enigma order.

Mitama / 御魂

Ara Mitama from Devil Summoner.

"Mitama" is a term used in Japanese Shinto tradition meaning "honorable spirit." It can refer to the spirits of the Shinto gods or to the souls of deceased people. The concept of Mitama, in both Shinto and as a race in Shin Megami Tensei, is defined by the four aspects of the soul: Ara Mitama, Nigi Mitama, Kushi Mitama, and Saki Mitama. The Ara is the aggressive side of the spirit and the Nigi is the peaceful side, while the Kushi represents the wondrous or supernatural and the Saki extends blessings and luck. Within Shin Megami Tensei, Mitama serve specific gameplay functions in demon fusion by increasing demons' stats or augmenting their ability set. Fusion between a demon and a Mitama will always result in the same demon used. Mitama can be obtained only through the fusion of two Elements, or, in some games, through trade at Rag's Shop. Mitama are aligned with Light-Neutral. Their name in localized titles is of course an appropriate direct translation.

Hero / 英雄

Jeanne d'Arc as she appears in Devil Summoner.

Heroes are legendary human figures celebrated in folklore and poetry around the world. They may be demigods of incomparable strength or more mortal, nonetheless possessing inexhaustible, inspirational virtue. Heroes are generally Light-Neutral. In Devil Summoner and Soul Hackers, the Hero race can only be obtained by fusing the current form of the Dolly Kadmon Zoma with specific demons. "Hero" is a direct translation of the Japanese "eiyuu." When the Hero race appears in the series, the French heroine Jeanne d'Arc is a common member.

UMA / 珍獣

Sprite of the Hare of Inaba from Soul Hackers.

UMA, an acronym standing for "Unidentified Mysterious Animal," often used synonymously with "cryptid," is a localization of the Japanese term "chinjuu," meaning "rare animal." As the term suggests, demons of this race are legendary beasts of fleeting evidence or flights of fancy stemming from human hallucinations. It does include one real-life animal in Oliver, the "humanzee" that took the world by storm in the 1970s. UMAs are of a Neutral-Neutral alignment. A typical demon of the UMA order is the Hare of Inaba of Japanese myth.

Reaper / GR / 死神

Mot, captured from Soul Hackers.

Reapers are deities who represent death, the ultimate, inevitable state of all life. Within their religious origins, the demons of this race may have been part of a cycle of death and rebirth, opposed by a god of fertility and life. Others, such as Persephone, represent both states in a single god. Reapers are Dark-Neutral, and their name is a translation of the Japanese word "shinigami," meaning "death god." Their race name was first translated as "GR" in Revelations: Persona. Of all the gods of death associated with the Reaper clan, the Canaanite god Mot is one of the most frequently seen.

Zoma / Malleable Demon / 造魔

The base form of Zoma, Dolly Kadmon.

The Zoma race consists of alien-like demons that can grow and evolve via fusion from a base entity named Dolly Kadmon, under the tutelage of Victor in his Goumaden. The resulting Zoma is completely loyal to the summoner and is Neutral-Neutral aligned. Enemy Zoma, created by the insane Dr. Thrill, are encountered in the form of his Gargantua series. In Soul Hackers, Dolly Kadmon can be transformed across a number of different evolutionary paths depending on the classification of the demon used in the initial fusion. "Zoma" means "malleable demon." While the Zoma order has not yet appeared in an officially translated format, it will appear for the first time in English in the 3DS port of Soul Hackers.

Onryou / Grudging Spirit / 怨霊

Kashiyama in Devil Summoner.

The demons of the Grudging Spirit race are human souls who exist beyond death as ghosts, slighted in life by untimely deaths and seeking vengeance upon the living. "Grudging spirit" is a direct translation of the Japanese "onryou," as it has never appeared in an officially localized form. The Grudging Spirit race is seen exclusively with a number of Devil Summoner's bosses, including the spectral photographer Kashiyama.

Kohi / Ancient Princess / 古妃

Inaruna's first form in Devil Summoner.

The Ancient Princess race is used exclusively by the two forms of Devil Summoner's final boss, Inaruna, a fictional ruler of ancient Japan whose spirit was left vengeful after being conquered and killed by the mythical Emperor Jimmu and his advancing Yamato army. Concept art of pre-demon Inaruna depicts her wearing a headdress with the same goggle-eyed motif seen on the ancient Dogu statues of the historical Japanese Jomon period and consequently, the same used in the design of Arahabaki. "Ancient princess" is a direct translation of the word "kohi," as Devil Summoner has never received an official localization.

From Revelations: Persona / Shin Megami Tensei: Persona

The series' debut Persona game is the only one in the series to categorize demons by the traditional races, and only the first of three to include demons. Personas are categorized by the Major and Minor arcana of the Tarot, as is still used.

The title's initial 1997 release, Revelations: Persona, is notable for being the first localized game in English to feature the demon races, though they were constrained to two-letter abbreviations.

Karma / SS / 業魔

Pride as appearing in Persona.

The Karma race is translated from the Japanese "gouma," or "karmic demon." This race was first localized as "SS" in Revelations: Persona. Broadly, they represent the cyclical effects of human actions. Within Persona 1, where this race appears exclusively, it is comprised of monsters manifesting as six of the seven deadly sins, including Lust, Greed, Envy, Wrath, Sloth, and Pride. It also includes forms of the Snow Queen from the Snow Queen Quest.

From Ronde

The following demon races first appeared, and last appeared, in the Saturn strategy game Ronde.

Heni / Rogue / 変異

Gucumatz in Soul Hackers.

This race is translated from the Japanese "heni," a word literally meaning "rogue," especially in the sense of a "variation" of an established element. The Rogues have never been officially translated. The thread that roughly ties this race together is a shared sense of acting independently, in the true sense of the race's definition. An example of a Rogue is Gucumatz, the Maya equivalent of the Aztec Feathered Serpent god Quetzalcoatl.

Shin Akuma / New Demon / 新悪魔

Apsu as he appears in Soul Hackers.

The New Demon race consists of a roster of demons who roughly act as agents of change, or "newness." Otherwise, this is one of the most loosely categorized races seen in the series. "Shin akuma" literally means "new demon." They have never appeared in a game that has been released outside of Japan. An example of a demon of the New Demon race is Apsu, the Babylonian god of primordial waters.

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