Shin Megami Tensei – Tokyo Mokushiroku (New Goddess’ Rebirth – Tokyo Revelation), directed by Osamu Yamasaki. Two 29-minute episodes. April 21 – June 21, 1995.
First off, Merry Christmas and Seasons Greetings to all. What better way to spend the holiday than to recount the pseudo-sequel to Digital Devil Story?
Despite the cliffhanger ending to Megami Tensei (Digital Devil Story) in 1987 (how did the last-minute addition of the Egyptian Dark God Set affect the plot?), it was eight years until Shin Megami Tensei – New Megami Tensei – appeared; and then it was from a different studio (J.C. Staff) and with a different story.
An airliner is approaching Tokyo. A stewardess tells the passengers to prepare for landing. She asks a blond teenager to close his laptop computer until they have landed. He does, but as soon as she moves on, he reopens his laptop and resumes typing. Winged demons appear and fly throughout the plane as the teenager walks off. The pilot’s and co-pilot’s controls freeze. An engine bursts into flame. The passengers panic. The plane explodes. The teenager falls through the sky but makes a safe landing, with glowing ashes falling around him. He says, “President Ose, this is my gift to you. Please accept it,” and laughs. Grabbing one of the glowing ashes, he comments that the magnetite is of inferior quality.
Another teenager walks through futuristic ruins to a Shinto shrine that greets him as “guardian of the land”. He awakens; it was a nightmare. This is Kojiro Soma – a traditional Japanese name, but he has blue eyes. This apparently doesn’t signify anything.
Kojiro is a friend of Yosuke Miura and Saki Yagami. They are all members of their high school’s newspaper club. Saki mentions that Kuwakara’s (presumably a fellow student) parents died in the plane crash, and they are holding a wake for them.
Their high school class is getting two new transfer students. One is Akito Kobayashi, the blond demon-controlling teenager. He introduces himself as interested in computers and the occult. The other new student is a girl biker, Marika Kusaka, shown with a male partner, Takehiko Kuka. A third, little girl with a teddy bear, Kyoko Shibusawa, remarks that interesting people are coming together.
Saki’s four girl pals are all hot for Akito, who is polite but privately considers them to be stupid, ugly girls that he hopes will go away. Saki, however, he considers to have great magnetite – “what a find”.
Kojiro explains to Yosuke that Akito used to be his classmate in elementary school. Kojiro was his only friend; all the other children picked on Akito. They are interrupted by Kyoko, who insists that Kojiro take an Aseimi knife that she has spent a year filling with moon power, to protect himself. (Kyoko is apparently a high school freshman despite looking and acting like a preadolescent.)
Kojiro and Akito renew their old friendship. This sequence establishes that Akito is still immature and selfish. He wants Kojiro all for himself, is jealous of Kojiro’s new friendship with Yosuke; and he expects Kojiro to drop his prior commitments to immediately go out with him. Akito’s interest in Kojiro is openly homosexual; he dislikes girls. Kojiro’s preferences are less obvious, but he shows no interest in girls other than non-sexual friendship.
Akito makes the four girls his thralls, and has them possessed by wolflike demons. (Either he addresses one of them as Cobalt, or they are all kobolds.) He orders them to bring Saki to him, and kill Yosuke while they are at it. An inhuman demon, Gagison, criticizes him for wasting time with Saki, and taking Kojiro too much for granted – he is the guardian of the Kanto region; the reincarnation of the “destroyer demon” Taira no Masakado (a particularly violent samurai warlord killed in 940 for trying to overthrow the emperor; believed to have become the demigod protector of Tokyo). Akito is too arrogant to listen, so after he leaves, Gagison summons Cerberus to kill Kojiro. Incidentally, this OAV takes full advantage of the OAV’s openness to women’s complete or full frontal nudity, which would not be allowed in TV animation.
The wake has ended. Kojiro, and Yosuke & Saki split up to go home. (A Shinto abbot is shown calling to Takehiko Kuki that “his master” is in danger.) Saki & Yosuke are attacked by the four girls possessed by the demons. Takehiko and Marika arrive to fight them. The girls, or demons in the girls’ bodies, are defeated. Saki can see the wolflike demons, showing she has enough magnetite.
Marika explains to Saki that magnetite is the same as life force, which Saki has about a hundred times the amount of that normal people do. Demons need the magnetite to change their forms.
The abbot arrives and envelops Cerebus with a paper sutra. He gives Cerebus a choice between being destroyed, or agreeing to protecting Kojiro and using his life force (“magnetite”) to restore Patra.
Kyoko is watching this on her crystal ball. She is warned by an older woman, Yuriko, not to get involved with Kojiro. Ultimately, he is the reincarnation of a guardian god (Taira no Masakado, the guardian of Tokyo), and he and they are incompatible. Besides, Kojiro already has protectors.
Kojiro returns home with his wounds. Sanshiro, his little brother, goes to get their medicine chest for him.
Saki leaves the Shrine to return home, accompanied by Marika. Marika explains that she and Takehiko are spiritual ninjas, part of a clan who have been secretly protecting Japan from danger for centuries. Saki’s ability to see demons shows that she shares their blood. With her amount of magnetite, she may even be a reincarnation of one of Japan’s goddesses. (Saki must be a traditional Japanese woman despite being very blonde.)
Kojiro finds a picture of Cerebus in a book about the occult, and reminisces about when he was a child and befriended Akito. Sanshiro’s spirit is kidnapped into the demon dimension through the Demon Summoning Program on his computer. Patra turns back into Cerebus and tries to protect Kojiro from it. Akito intercepts Saki and Marika as they walk home. He is more powerful than Marika, and calls the wolf-demons (reduced from four to three) to kidnap Saki as he implants a parasite into Marika.
Kojiro is drawn into the virtual world of the DSP by Gagison, who is an aide of President Ose. Gagison boasts that Kojiro’s surplus magnetite will feed many of his fellow demons and allow President Ose to materialize.
The enthralled Marika attacks the Shrine with the parasite, but the abbot destroys it. Akito arrives in the computer world, but is angry to find the demons attacking Kojiro, his only friend. He is taken prisoner. (Note that Sanshiro’s subtitles say “Kojiro!”, but the sound track clearly has him saying “Ni-chan!” – “brother!”) Kyoko, observing Kojiro’s danger through her crystal ball, intervenes despite the disapproval of the rest of her coven. Gagison, who has stripped Saki nude, says that they will use her magnetite to resurrect President Ose.
Kyoko brings Kojiro’s body back to his home in Tokyo, but his soul and Sanshiro are still trapped in the demon dimension. Kyoko says that she will awaken Kojiro’s full potential so he can save them. This requires her to strip naked.
Gagison kills Saki with a sword. This enables President Ose to materialize as a gigantic purple-&-red feline beast. But they are interrupted by Kojiro’s appearance in white, red, & black facial makeup as the reincarnation of Masakado, the divine protector of Tokyo.
Kyoko is berated by the Master of her coven for having the reincarnation of “a violent god”. (Taira no Masakado was beheaded in 940 for attempting to make himself the new Emperor.) Sanshiro awakens in his room at home and is horrified to discover the nude Kyoko. He tries to get rid of her before their parents see her.
All the demons and gods materialize in a battle that threatens to destroy Tokyo. Takehiko, Marika, Yosuke, and the abbot are horrified. Ose is indestructible because he is constantly renewed by Saki’s magnetite.
Akito awakens to see Kojiro as Masakado battling Ose. He pulls the sword from Saki’s body. Kyoko appears and offers to help him, but he wants to act alone, offering his life force to revive Saki and save Kojiro. Saki is resurrected as the pink-haired goddess Konohana Sakuya, who ascends into the sky. The OAV ends with her calming Masakado’s violent spirit, over the end credits. It’s not clear whether Saki and Kojiro ever return to life as their mortal selves.
Shin Megami Tensei – Tokyo Revelation was licensed by Manga Entertainment almost immediately. It was released in the U.S. as a single 60-minute VHS video in 1997, and as a DVD on August 27, 2002.
The shrine to Taira no Masakado, shown often here, is real. It’s in Tokyo, located supposedly where Masakado’s head was buried in 940. The four-video series Doomed Megalopolis, released by Streamline Pictures, was also about Masakado as the supernatural guardian of Tokyo.
Next week: Forgotten OAVs #50, “Battle Royal High School”