Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Henshin-A-No-No, Baby! Why "Ultra" Odin Paints a Grim Future for Shin Megami Tensei Demon Design

by Soren and Eirikr

The mercurial Norse deity Odin is a fascinating subject, one interpreted in countless ways around the world. He has been variously portrayed as a warrior king from outer space, a slicing-and-dicing quasi-samurai, and even most recently as a mushroom munching megalomaniac. Still another imagined him as just a naked purple guy, a concept so unremarkable we expect its creator to be long out of a job.

But enter Masayuki Doi and his ultra-modern Odin designed for Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse. Cool, streamlined, and poised to kick major butt, this Odin is a perfect image of the contemporary pop culture zeitgeist--but a less than perfect image of Odin himself. Continuing from where we left off in our Kaneko’s Crib Notes examination of Doi’s career, we turn now to the burgeoning artist’s demons to examine their ups and many downs as refracted through Odin’s flawed prism.

Do the problems lie only with the adoption of superficial pop culture? Is it a desperation to ride Persona’s gilded coattails? Or is it deficient leadership and research? Can a series purportedly about mythology and religion continue to make that claim if its forms don’t reflect cultural standards? In an exhaustive examination of Shin Megami Tensei demon design past and present, we answer all of these daunting questions and much, much more… and offer a little wisdom for a brighter future with the eternal symbols of myth and legend.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018


by Soren and Eirikr

Masayuki Doi has the unfortunate distinction of being the black sheep of Atlus' main art designers, no doubt due to the fact that some of his best work is hidden within a dead series and that his rise to prominence came at a tumultuous time in the company's history. However, we think his surprisingly expansive oeuvre is definitely worthy of a comprehensive reevaluation and deserving of wider recognition, even if some of it is tarnished by lamentable choices and circumstances. Join Kaneko's Crib Notes editors Soren and Eirikr once more as they break down Doi's entire career, from Trauma Center to Shin Megami Tensei and much more!