By Hailinel 34 Comments
In previous installments of this series, we’ve taken looks at bosses with a range of villainous motivations, from instinctual hunger to nihilistic psychopathy. But what about a final boss that isn’t the villain? No evil intent, thirst for destruction or hunger for pretty, pretty princesses? Such is the case in the third and final of Atlus’s games we’ll be examining in End Boss Month; Kagutsuchi of Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne.
What exactly is Kagutsuchi? He is, like Izanami and Izanagi, an ancient Japanese god. In fact, he is the fire god responsible for Izanami’s death; he burned his own mother as she gave birth to him, and upon her death, Izanagi took his revenge by cutting Kagutsuchi to pieces. These pieces in turn resulted in the creation of yet more gods.
Though Kagutsuchi’s mythological existence was short and painful, his role in Nocturne is central to the entire game. After a cultist performs a ritual to bring the world to an end, or more accurately, unmakes the world into a fetal, unborn state, Kagutsuchi appears in the center of this Vortex World. In terms of gameplay, the god acts as the moon does in other Megami Tensei titles, going through different phases as the game progresses and affecting the moods of the demons that inhabit the wasteland.
But Kagutsuchi’s most important role is that which he plays in the creation of the next world. When a human has succeeded in creating a Reason, the natural laws that shall govern a new world, it must be presented to him. The god then tests the will of the Reason bearer in a battle that shall determine if the chosen philosophy shall become the seed of the world’s rebirth.
Or, perhaps not. In addition to the three Reasons that the Demi-Fiend may choose to present, the player can choose to subvert the process. If the Demi-Fiend plays his cards right, he can fight Kagutsuchi with no Reason, thus allowing the world to be returned to its prior state. Or, if the player should go through the amazingly challenging steps required to ally with Lucifer, the Demi-Fiend will fight Kagutsuchi to prevent the birth of a new world, effectively becoming a villain himself.
Or, if the player does things wrong, Kagutsuchi will recognize the Demi-Fiend as a colossal screw-up and not even give him the chance to fight. Adios! No final boss for you, loser. Enjoy your wasteland, devoid of natural laws and reason.
He’s the supernatural force behind the creation of the next world, but he’s a supernatural force with standards.
So really, Kagutsuchi isn’t the bad guy here. Potentially, you are. And if you aren’t, well, Chiaki is there to run away with the crown. And she will sprint gleefully away, wearing it atop her head while callously murdering anyone she comes across.
(She’s not the final boss, but you fight her pretty damn close to the end. So, there’s that.)
As for fighting Kagutsuchi, you better be ready. Like all things Nocturne, he’s not exactly a pushover. Not by any means. And he has two forms. One is a giant disco ball. The other is a face that conjures up memories of YHVH, the final boss of Megami Tensei II and Shin Megami Tensei II. It is only with Kagutsuchi’s defeat that the fate of the world will be determined. But in that regard, he’s only doing his job.
And with that, ladies and gentlemen, I bring to a close the penultimate entry of End Boss Month. Tomorrow shall be my final write-up of this series. There are a lot of bosses that I’ve wanted to highlight for this feature. Picking out the roster was the toughest thing about this, and figuring out which boss to end the feature on was one of the toughest tasks. Because frankly, people are going to be disappointed no matter who or what I pick. But check back in tomorrow as I bring End Boss Month to its conclusion.