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Top Ten Genital Demons in Shin Megami Tensei

Kazuma Kaneko.
Kazuma Kaneko.

Kazuma Kaneko, the main artist behind the Megami Tensei franchise, is known for his unique and often provocative designs for the literally hundreds of gods and creatures the series has seen over the years.

Most infamously, he bears no shame in illustrating a particular demon to resemble what are normally taboo items in video games: people’s naughty bits. And it’s as it should be, since world mythology in general is often highly sexualized with explicit iconography.

But amongst the many fertility gods and goddesses and other nymphomaniacs the series has seen, ten designs in particular best exemplify Kaneko’s skill at highlighting the imagery that merely represents our own thoughts and desires.

List items

  • Humanity often takes pause at the events that define who we are. Whether it’s the tragic death of a beloved icon or a triumphal against-all-odds accomplishment, the unification of emotion stirred by these events creates a moment in time that isn’t easily forgotten. And then there’s Mara. You may not recall when you first saw him, but by then his image had already been ingrained into your psyche forever. Truly, a power reserved only for the best of the best.

  • Since there’s not much traditional visualization to go on for Arioch, I’d like to think the design process for him was as simple as Kaneko scratching under his chin and thinking, “I’ll make him a walking vagina.” Add in some diseased-looking sores, rows of teeth, an insatiable tongue, and -- naturally -- a clitoris, and the subject of much suggestive Shakespearean poetry is suddenly transformed into an anthropomorphic nightmare.

  • Time has been rough on Mishaguji. He was once the popular Japanese god of lovemaking until some real squares put the kibosh on his debauched fun. Now, he’s just second-rate – a poor man’s Mara. He’s got no wheels, no bling, lacks a pair, and could really use a shave. But he’s a fighter. Despite it all, he still has the strength to stand erect on his own two feet, and that’s what really counts.

  • Our only human entrant, poor Kenta here has been twice the victim. Not only was his finest moment part of the Snow Queen quest that was axed from Persona 1’s initial US release, said finest moment involved a penis monster bursting out of his chest. Humility, thy name is Chunky.

  • Ometeotl is an Aztec god that represents the duality of gender – one half is male, the other female. Ometeotl as it appears in Soul Hackers stays true to this formula with the male half on top and the female half on bottom, except for the key artistic license that the male’s head is made up mostly of the female’s butt, with a suspicious little red diamond on his face that, just between you and me, probably isn’t a nose. See also the phallic horn coming out of the female’s face.

  • Albion seems innocent enough, especially given his childlike demeanor when he appears in Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne. His design as an anthropomorphic blob also seems rather tame -- at least until you realize it’s based on the Cerne Abbas Giant, an infamous hill drawing in England renowned for the size of its erect manhood. That said, whatever kiddy disposition he has instantly becomes really creepy.

  • Iconography doesn’t need to be terribly overt to get its point across. For example, take the Babylonian goddess Tiamat as she appears in Soul Hackers. Amid the mess of boobs and tentacles, there is a subtle red shape on her upper chest. It almost looks like a flower, or even a pair of lips. And that’s when you realize why she’s on this list.

  • Rahu’s attributes can easily be summed up in one simple sentence, but I’ll leave you to figure it out for yourself.

  • British occultist Aleister Crowley, who called himself Master Therion, might’ve enjoyed the Shin Megami Tensei series. Summoning demons was (allegedly) a hobby of his and he drew many of the ones he saw, unsurprisingly giving them all huge wangs in the process. It’s a tribute then that his incarnation from Shin Megami Tensei II would also sport a huge wang, though it was surprisingly censored in-game.

  • Okay, so breasts aren't genitals and many of Kaneko's designs have exposed nipples, but only Diana is made up of mammary glands in a cancer-like mass that's more terrifying than titillating. It’s ironic then that Diana’s actual assets are rather modest. Take it as a unique commentary on the portrayal of women in games.

12 Comments

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Hailinel

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Edited By Hailinel

This is easily one of the most entertaining lists on Giant Bomb.  I can just imagine having Mara and Arioch in my active battle party in Devil Summoner 2, and frankly the mental image would be scarring if I hadn't already been cut so deep.

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s-a-n-JR

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Edited By s-a-n-JR

Holy crap, some of those creatures are insane LMAO.
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JackiJinx

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Edited By JackiJinx

I approve.

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ahoodedfigure

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Edited By ahoodedfigure

Yeah, I took one look at Mara and I was like...  am I seeing this?
 
Then I looked up the actual mythological history behind it and...  yep, it's a penis. 

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zameer

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Edited By zameer

I can't tell which is scarier: Kaneko's artistic sensibilities, or you taking the time to compile this..

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mithical

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Edited By mithical

I can't believe Vinny and Jeff didn't react to Mara when they fused him in the P4 Endurance Run. They always joke about what the Personas look like when they fuse them, too. That would have been comic gold.

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Catolf

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Edited By Catolf

Greatest List, ever.

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Paulrus

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Edited By Paulrus

I have nothing to say. So I'll just recommend your list and be on my merry way. Good work.

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Soren

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Edited By Soren

This is amazing.

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Bigheart711

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Edited By Bigheart711
Approved!
...But seriously, looking at Mara for the first time, I cried out in my mind, "They allowed this!?"
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eirikr

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Edited By eirikr
@Bigheart711: The 90's, man -- people were into all kinds of shit back then.
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Zaxex

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Edited By Zaxex

The bit that surprises me is how blatant these all are. I expected way more subtlety or interpretation, but nope. There's a monster with a penis on his head, deal with it.

As disturbing as some of these are they could make for interesting monsters in a Silent Hill-esque game.

I recently read a manga which had a monster with boobs on the cover, with nipples. I was like "There's no way they sell this in the UK with nipples on the cover" and they don't, for better or for worse.

I don't see a problem with it when appropriate, squeamishness needn't be an issue with artistic freedom; bring on more freaky shit in video games!