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7 Hidden Plotlines Everyone Missed In Shin Megami Tensei 5

Shin Megami Tensei 5 is finally here. The long-awaited latest installment in the mainline Shin Megami Tensei series sees the JRPG pioneer return to a landscape that has changed significantly since its last console outing; with the popularity of spinoffs like Persona and spiritual descendants like Dark Souls, it seems like this cult classic franchise is finally getting its moment in the sun.

But Shin Megami Tensei 5 is a big game, taking dozens of hours to complete. Given the philosophical pondering that the franchise is known for, you might miss out on some important hidden plot details that will help you understand the characters and the world you're trying to save… or destroy. Spoilers ahead!

7 Tao Is A Unique Demon…

Early on you'll meet Tao Isonokami, a classmate of the protagonist. As the story progresses, she ends up sacrificing her life to save him, and she'll be reborn as a demon. However, if you investigate her demonic form, you'll learn that she isn't like any other demon that you'll meet.

Each demon has a race, and hers is "Panagia," which is unique to her – even taking into account the entire Shin Megami Tensei series. This name etymologically is Greek, and is one of the titles of Mary… like, the mother of Jesus. So the main character, the dude you're controlling, is implicitly parallel with Jesus. No pressure.

6 …And The Protagonist Is A Unique Nahobino

The main character is a Nahobino, a fusion of demon and human. You'll encounter other Nahobino throughout the game, but you'll notice that their physical forms are different from yours, appearing much larger and a little more monstrous than human.

One reason for this difference might be because the demon you fuse with – Aogami – is a proto-fiend, an artificially-created demon, rather than a natural one. Your form reflects the difference between you and the other Nahobino, but it also might just contribute to the power you gain throughout the story; you're a demonic fusion that still has the power to think about what you're doing, like a human.

5 This Has All Happened Before

A major part of Shin Megami Tensei lore is the Conception, a cataclysmic event that ends the old world and recreates the new one. This event was the focus of the previous console entry in the series, Shin Megami Tensei 3: Nocturne, and if you speak to Tsukuyomi in Shin Megami Tensei 5, you'll learn that the event that touches off this game's plot is also a Conception.

Furthermore, the Conception in this game happened 18 years in the past… which roughly corresponds to the real-world time that's passed in Shin Megami Tensei 3 was originally released. Do the two games feature different Conceptions, or are they different perspectives on the same event?

4 Mara And Girimekhala Have History

One of the Shin Megami Tensei series' trademark elements is demon fusion; you can recruit demons you encounter in battle to your party, then fuse them together to get even stronger allies. But recruiting demons can be challenging, as they each have their own personalities and desires, so you'll have to convince them to join you.

This can lead to some interesting dialogue. For example, Mara is a suggestively-designed demon you can acquire through fusion, while Girimekhala can be encountered as an enemy. If you have Mara in your party and have him talk to Girimekhala to try to convince it to join you, the two will trigger a unique dialogue sequence that nods to some… sensual history between the two.

3 Gustave Is A Deceased King

In Shin Megami Tensei 5, you'll meet a spooky character named Gustave, who serves as a merchant. At his shop, the Cadaver's Hollow, he'll sell you items and Essences, and he'll heal you for a nominal fee. He also collects Relics from pre-Conception Tokyo, and he serves as the "boss" of small creatures called Miman, which you'll encounter hidden throughout the world.

Hmm… with a crown on his zombified head, his obsession with treasures (like an ancient Egyptian ruler), a shop name that's surprisingly close to a tomb, and loyal subjects throughout the world… is Gustave an ancient, dead king?

2 There's A Reason Why NPCs Don't Have Faces

Though you'll meet plenty of named NPCs with faces and personalities in Shin Megami Tensei 5, you might also notice unnamed NPCs hovering in the background before you turn into a Nahobino.

Though this is par for the course for modern Shin Megami Tensei games, as Persona 5 and Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE handle their non-speaking characters in a similar way, this design choice could also have another reason behind it. After the Conception, the Tokyo that the main character grew up in was merely an illusion, and the post-apocalypse world is the real one; so the people you see are just mirages.

1 There's A Secret Ending

At the end of the game, you'll get a choice between different philosophies regarding humanity. One will recreate the world in a way that values order and obedience, one will value free will and chaos, and one will not recreate a new world at all. These choices align with the smaller choices you'll make throughout the game, and each will open up some new quests and abilities.

However, there's actually a secret fourth choice that you can only make if you complete eight specific sidequests, and this will lead to a secret ending that raises more questions about the nature of gods and humanity.

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