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Alignment

Shin Megami Tensei IMAGINE's Demon Alignment Chart

Alignment is a generalization of the ideals of the characters in context, and refers to the factions that they represent in the universe of their series.

Most Megami Tensei games have some form of the staples Law, Neutral, and Chaos to represent different routes the player can take even if each faction is not explicitly stated as such. Additionally, in the classic styled entries, demons have alignments to determine a level of affinity with the player depending on the protagonist's own alignment.

In general, the alignment of a demon is measured on a horizontal axis of Law-Neutral-Chaos (LNC). In addition to Alignment, Tendency is the other axis perpendicular to the Alignment axis. This axis measures the morality in the scale of Light-Neutral-Dark (LND) than the ideology represented by Alignment.

Generally, the series uses the color blue to represent Law, green or white for Neutral, and red for Chaos.

In total, there are nine possible alignments a demon can have:

Alignment
Tendency Light-LawLight-NeutralLight-Chaos
Neutral-LawNeutral-NeutralNeutral-Chaos
Dark-LawDark-NeutralDark-Chaos

AppearancesEdit

RoleEdit

Shin Megami TenseiEdit

Human characters also possess alignments. There are certain items that can only be equipped to a character of the correct alignment, and the Messian (Law) or Gaean (Chaos) Ashram will charge more money if the Hero is of an opposing alignment. Demons will also refuse to join the Hero if his alignment directly opposes theirs.

The alignment of the Hero is determined by a number of factors. During the course of the game he is asked several philosophical questions (e.g.: "Your mother has been possessed by a demon and pleads with you to end her suffering. Do you kill her?"), the answers to which affects his alignment. Summoning demons will alter the Hero's alignment slightly towards the alignment of the demon summoned. Most importantly, the Hero will be given tasks by both the Law and Chaos factions in the game. Completing one of these tasks will heavily alter the Hero's alignment in favor of the respective faction, while completing both will keep him on the Neutral alignment. The alignment of the Hero directly affects the ending of the game.

LawEdit

This alignment is associated with God, order and peace. In the game, it is represented by the Messian religion and the colors blue and white. The Law alignment promotes order and safety, but taken to an extreme, it leads to dictatorship and elitism. The main goal of the Law factions in the game is to establish the Thousand Year Kingdom, a paradise on Earth ruled over by God. The truth is that only a select few who are judged worthy would be allowed to live in the Thousand Year Kingdom while everyone else would be killed. Those who do live in the Thousand Year Kingdom would be subjected to its strict, absolute laws.

NeutralEdit

Also known as "Balance", this alignment accepts the need for laws to govern the world but not at the cost of personal freedom. It rejects the concept of relying on Lawful or Chaotic powers to focus instead on personal empowerment, refinement, individuality and the inherent strength of mankind. Although presumed to be the most idealistic alignment by many, it is also the hardest alignment to attain because of its isolationist nature, destroying everything in your way and even standing against former friends. The "canon" neutral endings of many of the games are also depicted as often leading directly into the problems that arise in the next games, the best example being Shin Megami Tensei II. As shown in Strange Journey, a world of balance is often seen by angels as one where humans become neglectful of the world around them, leading to a gradual period of decay and languishing for the world.

ChaosEdit

This alignment is associated with Lucifer, freedom and war. In the game it is represented by the Gaean religion and the colors red and black. This alignment promotes freedom of choice, thought, and action above all else in stark contrast to the controlling nature of the Law alignment. However, this freedom can lead to a vast amount of suffering and anarchy, leading the world into a primal state of unsuppressed vice and survival of the fittest. The main goal of the Chaos factions is to crush the Messian forces opposing them and attain complete and total power over Tokyo.

LightEdit

Light demons are deities that are usually worshiped in their religions. However, Light does not equal "good", just as "Dark" does not automatically mean "evil" in this series.

NeutralEdit

Neutral demons are minor gods and supernatural creatures from myths or others that fall between the lines and are neither good or evil. The vast majority of demons in the series are Neutral.

DarkEdit

Dark Demons are generally evil gods or devils, reviled by whatever religion believes in them. However, not all dark demons are wicked or vile creatures, and some can be friendly in conversations or quests.

Shin Megami Tensei: if...Edit

Unlike the previous games, alignment plays only a small role in Shin Megami Tensei: if...; no equipment is alignment-restricted and there are no alignment-based endings, the only role alignment plays is in determining which demons can be used by the protagonist - lawful demons cannot be summoned or recruited by a Chaotic party, and chaotic demons cannot be summoned or recruited by a Lawful party. Human characters start Neutral-aligned, and every time a demon is summoned to the party, it will shift the party's alignment toward its own, with how much it shifts depending on the demon's race and the party's current alignment, which can be seen on the protagonist's status screen.

Shin Megami Tensei IMAGINEEdit

Alignments function similarly to Shin Megami Tensei. Law follows the beliefs of the Order of Messiah, while Chaos follows the beliefs of the Ring of Gaea.

The alignment of the player's Demon Buster primarily affects the amount of Magnetite required to summon the demons at his or her disposal. Demons will still join the player regardless of their alignment, but opposing alignments will cost the player a much greater amount of Magnetite to summon.

A player's alignment can restrict a player's ability to use certain equipment and will lock them out of certain quests. For acts and some dungeons, players of certain alignments will have to pay more for access, will receive debilitating status ailments, or will fight different bosses entirely. Some enemy mobs, such as the Gaian Fanatics of Ueno's Kuchinawa Cave, have features that deal additional damage to those of other alignments.

Shin Megami Tensei IVEdit

The alignment system was heavily tweaked; the player can now recruit Dark demons (with the exception of the Undead race, which must be recruited through Scout+), but Light demons still cannot be recruited and thus, must be fused. Demons of an opposite alignment to the player are also recruitable.

Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse Edit

The traditional alignments of Law and Chaos exist, they serve merely as antagonists, and following them leads to the game's two early endings. Instead, the primary alignment system is Neutral and measures whether the protagonist is Light-Neutral or Dark-Neutral. No matter the choice between Light and Dark Stephen will support them, but his actions in the process are either more ruthless and warnings or friendly advice.

Light-NeutralEdit

The route advocated by Danu and her vessel Nozomi that values bonds above all else. Light choices are nice and friendly answers that earn points with friends. Being Dark aligned and picking this route results in the deleting of demons in the battle with Dagda.

Dark-NeutralEdit

The route advocated by Dagda that values self-freedom, individuality, and the will to do what's necessary no matter what above all else. Dark choices are unfriendly, brutally honest, and antisocial answers. Being Light aligned but picking this route results in Navarre destroying all consumable items.

Majin Tensei II: Spiral NemesisEdit

The party's alignment starts out as Neutral-Netural, but will change to Law/Chaos-Neutral depending on their answers when confronting Masakiyo Ogiwara and having their alignment changed. If Naoki Takeuchi answers his questions in a Lawful or Chaotic manner, Ogiwara will be fought and killed. Camael will ask a series of questions later in Megalopolis, which will determine if they follow the Light or Dark paths of Law/Chaos. Karen Rose will join on Law/Chaos, while Ogiwara will join on the Neutral route.

The Five Routes are:

  • Light-Law
  • Dark-Law
  • Neutral-Neutral
  • Light-Chaos
  • Dark-Chaos

Devil Summoner 2: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. King AbaddonEdit

The game's variation of Law and Chaos is low key compared to the one found in the main Shin Megami Tensei games, as Raidou's actions reflect him as a person rather than trying to force his will upon mankind by picking a side.

Law is represented by keeping the status quo and preventing change, and that one should simply accept their lot in life, even if the current order is corrupt and stagnant. Chaos is represented as the path seeking change and the betterment of now at the cost of hurting others, selfish actions, and determination to do what's right even if goes against the rules. Neutral is simply the acceptance of both paths of life and not condemning others for their choice.

Devil SurvivorEdit

Each of the five routes in the game represent one of the alignments. Overclocked added 8th Days to Kingdom of Saints, King of Demons, and Desperate Escape.

  • Kingdom of Saints: A Law route represented by Amane Kuzuryu.
  • Silent Revolution: A Neutral route represented by Atsuro Kihara.
  • King of Demons: A Chaos route represented by Naoya and Kaido.
    • Warlord/Despot 8th Day: Two alternate Chaos paths determined by whether the protagonist decides to kill humans or not.
  • Song of Hope: A Neutral route represented by Gin.
  • Desperate Escape: A Neutral route by represented by Yuzu.

CatherineEdit

Similar to Shin Megami Tensei, Vincent can make a variety of decisions that determine his alignment in regards to relationships and views on life.

  • Law, as represented by Katherine represents a commitment to a lifelong relationship and accept that his life is better off living a long if unexciting lifestyle.
  • Chaos, as represented by Catherine represents a life of excitement and unpredictability and realizes he should not be concerned about the nuances of age and live life as recklessly as possible.
  • Neutral has Vincent rejecting either philosophies towards life and embracing his true desires, seeing a life without following one's own dream as meaningless.

VariationsEdit

Shin Megami Tensei III: NocturneEdit

ReasonsEdit

The Reason is a school of thought or philosophy intended to become the core belief in a new world. Every time the Conception comes to pass, a Reason is selected for Kagutsuchi to release its powers and revive the world according to one of these visions. A god embodying the Reason must be brought forth into the Vortex World by the power of Magatsuhi and a champion of the same power pitted against Kagutsuchi, an extension of the Great Will, to be tested and acknowledged as the Master of Reason, worthy of raising the new world.

While they are not alignments per the description, they are the embodiments of the actions, manifestations, and results that all alignments can take, through either ways that are both planned and intended or through corruption by extremity, hypocrisy, and arrogance. It can influence from any sort of degree, ranging from a societal level to even a universal law, as well as from a subtle and changeable state to a passive occurrence. There are examples throughout the Shin Megami Tensei series, being a "Lawful Yosuga", shown in Shin Megami Tensei II, to the "Chaotic Shijima", from the Ozawa-ruled Shinjuku in Shin Megami Tensei, and even to the rejection of both.

ShijimaEdit

Shijima is a Reason of serenity, a world in which every being is one with each other and God. It is a Universe devoid of free will, with a single unified consciousness governing its acts along the guidelines set by the Universe itself, with no passion or conflict. Individuality is obliterated in favor of a collective inner peace equalizing all beings with God himself. It is a lawful, nihilistic Reason with strong similarities to the concept of Nirvana.

MusubiEdit

Musubi is a Reason of selfhood, a myriad of worlds, each containing a single person. Each person is completely separated from all others and thus, unable to hinder or help any other worlds beyond his or her own. Each human is a diminutive god capable of altering their world as they wish. This is a neutral, solitary Reason based upon the philosophy of René Descartes, as embodied by the axiom: "I think, therefore, I am."

YosugaEdit

Yosuga is a violent, classist Reason which postulates the needlessness of certain things in the world - namely, the weakest. This Reason emphasizes class position and survival, becoming a testing ground for a purely Darwinist state - a constant fight for evolution and power, with fear and paranoia running rampant as the world continually attempts to test and weed out the "impurities" in its society.

RejectionEdit

It is possible to reject all Reasons, leading to three possible outcomes in the game. Aradia is the key catalyst for two of them - she will ask whether the Demi-fiend fears rejection and ridicule for his choice or the punishment the choice of freedom will cost him. If he fears, the world will remain as it is until the next Conception, as the Demi-fiend will have proved himself as a weak-spirited person unable to correlate to either Reason but yet incapable of imposing his own will to create his own world. Should he acknowledge he no longer fears either punishment or ridicule, he will instead recreate the old world as it was, as a person who has mastered his own destiny and has decided to return to a world of endless opportunities to make his mark known.

A third, possible alternative exists: to reach the Fifth Kalpa of the Labyrinth of Amala and meet with the Old Man - to decide to willingly destroy the cycle of death and rebirth, ending the possibility of the emergence of a new world forever and instead commencing the countdown for the final battle of all time - the end of the Universe.

LightEdit

It's rare to encounter Light demons in battle and can only be found in a few optional dungeons. Being chief gods, they are unwilling to submit to the Demi-fiend's commands, and will not join his team or even negotiate with him. However, they can be fused and tend to be more powerful than their Dark counterparts.

NeutralEdit

Neutral demons can be recruited normally through negotiations and are of use, instead of just being ingredients for better demons.

DarkEdit

They appear quite frequently, though not as often as Neutral demons. Dark demons are very difficult to recruit, but some can be recruited under special circumstances.

Devil Survivor 2Edit

Instead of having the typical alignments, the game instead has routes based on the quality of the star signs.

  • Fixed: Represents stability, persistence, and determination. Daichi Shijima embodies this quality and seeks to return the world back to the way it was for peaceful coexistence, or to take down the administrator Polaris.
  • Mutable: Represents adaptability and change. Yamato Hotsuin embodies this mode with his Meritocracy, which will create a structured hierarchy where ones place in society is based on ones own skill and ability.
  • Cardinal: Represents taking action and creation. Ronaldo Kuriki embodies this quality with his goal of Egalitarianism.
  • Rebirth: The fourth path that does not have a quality to it and is an outsider due to being based on the star sign Ophiuchus. Anguished One and his goal of overthrowing the Administrator and creating a new world embodies this path.

Record Breaker brings with it four new endings in the Triangulum story.

  • Miyako Hotsuin: The first ending available. Choosing her ending leads to the game over screen.
  • Endless War: Chosen by agreeing with Ronaldo's suggestion of constantly fighting the rest of the Administrators and their Swords, while using the Astrolabe to undo the damage by the previous fight and advance humanity at the same time.
  • Guardian: Chosen by agreeing with the Anguished One on electing a new Administrator. The protagonist sacrifices his future life with his companions to become the benevolent Administrator of the next world, with the Anguished One as his Sword.
  • Record Breaker: Available only if the player has discussed with Yamato on how the Astrolabe can be used. The party divides their Administrative Authority across all of humanity's data, and uses it to recreate a world completely free of the Administrators' influence.

QuotesEdit

On the topic of LawEdit

Everyone is a lawfag

Lawful guys are awesome!

"Lawful guys should stay home and play Atlus games. I hear they're awesome."
—Certain demons in Megami Ibunroku Persona
"The angels doth call themselves an army of light... But in truth, they can do nothing without a command from on high. There is nothing to fear."
—Ongyo-Ki, Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey

On the topic of NeutralEdit

"And humans? Incoherent creatures who believeth different things from morning to evening. A pack of fools who drive themselves to ruin and seek the cause elsewhere. We must correct these errors."
—Ongyo-Ki, Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey
"If the humans create a country... It shall eventually lead to decay."
—Azrael, Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey

On the topic of ChaosEdit

"If the demons create a country... It shall eventually lead to ruin."
—Azrael, Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey

GalleryEdit

 
Ideal Law World (Strange Journey)
The ideal of a world ruled by Law in Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey
 
Perceived Netural World (Strange Journey)
The perceived fate of a world ruled by Neutrality in Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey
 
Ideal Chaos World (Strange Journey)
The ideal of a world ruled by Chaos in Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey

TriviaEdit

  • The concept of alignment is based on the Dungeons & Dragons alignments. In the Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) fantasy role-playing game, Alignment is a categorization of the ethical (Law/Chaos axis) and moral (Good/Evil axis) perspective of people, creatures and societies. The earliest edition of D&D allowed players to choose among three alignments when creating a character: Lawful, implying honor and respect for society's rules; Chaotic, implying the opposite; and Neutral, meaning neither. Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (AD&D) introduced a second axis of Good, Neutral and Evil, offering a combination of nine alignments. The D&D Basic Set retained the system of three alignments, keeping it through the D&D Rules Cyclopedia.


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