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.