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Shin Megami Tensei III demon reviews

Today's review is a pair of demons that form an evolutionary line.

Jirae Kodama

"In Japanese mythology, they are the spirits of plants. They are born from trees that live 100 years."


SMT III game model (it looks a bit odd because it's in the middle of a swimmy-rotate-y animation)


Atlus official artwork, apparently (disappointingly low-res)

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'A little flat ribbony ghost' on paper sounds like a good start for a monster. Unfortunately, I'm not seeing anything particularly tree-y in its design. Possibly it's meant to resemble a shimenawa rope or shide ribbon, which are items used to decorate sacred landmarks (such as a tree where kodamas dwell) in Shintoism - but it's not terribly obvious if that was the intention.

The lack of eyes is very good, and is perfectly believable for the spirit of an eyeless tree. I'm much less keen on the swirly 'bra', which looks isolated in the design and doesn't serve any purpose.

I quite like it as a funny eyeless ghost, but I find SMT's Kodama a letdown as a tree monster.


Jirae Sudama

"Earth spirits in Japanese mythology. They are born from ancient trees and boulders. They are not evil, but will transform into humans or monsters to warn people not to infiltrate their mountains."


SMT III game model


Atlus official artwork

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Kodama apparently loses its limbs and body upon its metamorphosis into Sudama. Did they get these designs the right way around? It's also an odd design for an earth monster. Kaneko said of SMT III's Sudama: "I figured I should give it a little more character compared to the previous game."


Sudama's appearance in SMT II

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But that's so much better! Some cute little tadpole-ghosts have come along for an adventure and they've brought their boulder-home with them. That's a charming design! It's so much more characterful than a flying coaster.

Kaneko's description continues: "It reached this form because I wanted to make it look like a Daphnia or a unicellular organism." That's a laudable goal, to be sure, because a Daphnia is a dear little animal, and a demon based on a water flea would have been a lovely addition to SMT III.


A Daphnia pulex, or water flea (credit: Paul Hebert, source)

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The Sudama we actually ended up with is so, so disappointing.






Images sourced from the Megami Tensei fandom wiki except where stated otherwise.
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