An Assessment Of Shin Megami Tensei Protagonist Endings

By Spencer . November 23, 2010 . 5:12pm

imageJapanese blog Hachimakikou posted an assessment chart of how various Shin Megami Tensei characters end up after the game.


While the chart doesn’t spell out the fate of each character, it shows where they stand. Were they rewarded? Was their situation a catch-22 or did their actions determine their outcome? Before you glance any further note there are *major* spoilers. The chart covers MegaTen games that weren’t released in North America like Devil Summoner and the original Shin Megami Tensei.





Seriously, are you sure you want to see this? You can still turn back!






Spoilers, ahoy!




When you put it this way, the protagonist of Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 has a rare happy ending. I can’t imagine Vincent from Catherine being that lucky. I wonder where he will end up.

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  • urbanscholar

    When you take into account P4 MC’s fate that’s some progressive movement. So when you remove the fate of the MC’s from Strange Journey & Devil Survivor into consideration, then the next MC may get the short end of the stick whenever he or she comes.

    Side bar: SMT2 hero got a catch 22? Well that one way of looking at a never ending cycle of living I suppose.

    • Testsubject909

      Think about it for a moment. Nocturne.

      Remember the journalist in Nocturne? The one who happened to be outside prior to the destruction of the world and the start of Conception? Yeah…

      Remember how he remained alive nevertheless in that demonic world and was ultimately sacrificed for his Magatsuhi? Yeah…

      Remember that speak from Lucifer, about how God punished him for his grave sin by forcing him to forever record the rise and fall of the worlds forevermore?

      Definitely a catch 22. His soul is experiencing a neverending hell, and he’s unaware of it… But one could argue, is it truly a catch 22 if you’re just unconsciously being led by god and fate to continuously follow danger and experience life anew constantly? One could argue yes. He lives a life without his own free will, his actions are pre-ordained by God who forces him where he wishes.

      • urbanscholar

        yep you’re right. I was too quick to point that in the bad direction really.

      • Yui

        Only problem with that is that it was never really stated outright that Hijiri and Aleph were the same dude. So, much as we like to believe the implications, we can’t really be sure. =D

        Still, excellent chart. Need to learn who a few of these people actually are. =P

  • SneakyHawk

    …I hate to ask but…what’s a catch-22?

    • It’s an expression for a situation. Like being stuck between a rock and hard place, but because the way the rules are set up there’s no way out.

      • SneakyHawk

        Thank you, Spencer.

    • MemeticRichard

      Think of it like purgatory. It more or less sucks.

    • dont worry, i didnt knew what it means either, im spanish native speaker so is harder for me to know this kind of stuff as well, but google helped me find the answer xD
      If you want a more lenghty answer than spencer’s here is where i looked at :P

    • fuzzy_hobo

      Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

  • urbanscholar

    I was wondering who is at the center of the diagram? The MC from the novel/ova the series is based from?

    • Exkaiser

      No, Nakajima from the novels is the guy with the dark hair on the far right.

      The person in the center is the protagonist of If…, IIRC.

  • d19xx

    I really feel bad for P3s protagonist, he’s also my fave.

    Despite knowing their fates, it won’t stop me from enjoying P2 when it comes out….

    • Testsubject909

      Ah, I take it you’ve played Persona 2.5?

      Oh man… I hope it’ll get localized. I’ve been itching to play the game prior to 2.5, finally wrap my head fully around the entire story and experience it myself…

      But yeah… Minato is pretty much perfectly placed. Stuck knee deep in a catch 22 and pretty much unrewarded for his self sacrifice.

      But I still see a few in there that are debateable in their positioning… And waiting to see if my previous lenghty post gets accepted by the moderators too.

      • Thanks for the long post! Not sure why it got swept in the moderation queue (it shouldn’t!), but it’s approved.

        • Testsubject909

          Many thanks.

  • Testsubject909

    Persona 3’s hero: Die unknowingly or fight against death and die anyways in a valiant sacrifice using your soul to keep darkness at bay. Definitely Catch 22 and definitely towards the unrewarded part as he’s basically an unknown martyr.

    Persona 2.0: I unfortunately haven’t played it yet, damnit. But I do remember 2.5. Everybody getting their wishes and being the first if not the only one to fully remember everything that occured is definitely a terrible thing, I also remember the flashback with Maya bloodied in his hands, odds are he definitely had one of the suckiest ending in his own game, poor guy.

    Speaking of Maya… Where’s Maya?

    Trinity Soul: interesting to see that there… Catch 22 huh? yeah… Well considering how the ending went, the family did patch up so it is a generally okay ending, though there were many losses along the way, definitely one of the more depressing ones even though peace returns. Though the loss of a dear one is… ouch. Though I forget what his catch 22 might’ve been.

    Devil Survivor: Catch 22? That sorta depends on the ending doesn’t it? And even then he can have some pretty happy endings, no? I’m also unsure as to whether or not he should be placed in the Unrewarded category…

    Raidou Kuzunoha: He’s never really in a catch 22 situation, that’s true. He saves the damsel in distress, saves the world and lives well and comfortably too according to the first game’s ending… Oh Shit! I forgot, I still have the 2nd one to finish. Damn freaking backlog.

    DDS: Serph reaping what he sew… I suppose that depends on interpretation. I mean, he himself as he existed didn’t do anything, but he’s an alter ego. His real self though definitely received what he deserves. But arguably, isn’t that Not the same Serph? Shouldn’t that put him more towards the center, neutral, neither reaping what he sew neither is he in a catch 22?

    Nocturne: Catch 22 unrewarded? Hmm… well, all the endings are, except for the neutral one, relatively good and bad… Lucifer/True Demon ending is freakishly awesome, but he does sacrifice all humanity in him for it, and choosing one perfect world over another is indeed nothing short of a catch 22, as that same interpretation of heaven can be a hell, and returning everything to the status quo also doesn’t do much to aid the situation, but could be seen as a happy ending.

    And unrewarded… Depends on the ending again.

    There’s quite a bit that could be debateable on this chart. And due to the multiple endings in some of those, it could also differ from one or the other pending on the ending in question, and in some cases, do we know which is the Canon ending? Nocturne for exemple, is it either the Neutral ending or the Lucifer ending that is Canon?

    • Zeik56

      “Speaking of Maya… Where’s Maya?”

      Maya at the end of EP just goes back to her normal life, except none of her IS friends remember her, which is super-depressing. (People complain about P3’s ending being too depressing, but EP’s was way worse IMO.)

      Maya’s basically dead in IS’ world. <_<

      • Everything return to normal but Tatsuya forgets everything (because he is the one of “this” side instead of the one from IS) Maya and the others don’t forget anything except the IS character as you said but I think she don’t talk to Tatsuya in the final scene because she plans to leave him alone so he can live freely and happy as a reward.

        For me it was a good ending and happy in a different way.

        • Zeik56

          I guess I found it depressing because I liked IS’ cast way more, so the idea that they will never even remember eachother despite the fact that they literally changed the world for Maya’s sake is just depressing.

          • IS were good cause they were funny. In EP the cast is more serious but I’ll give them credits because is the only Persona with adults instead of Highschoolers.
            You know that Persona Trinity Soul, Akihiko said that an adult can’t use a Persona and that’s stupid IMO.

          • Testsubject909

            I saw that as nothing short of a simple plot device to provide some gruffier character for Akihiko and an excuse for the drugs.

            Persona, as I see it, is the metaphysical manifestation of the power of the ego, of the ID, of the self.

            That power doesn’t weaken as we grow older, only as we forget ourselves. So long as we maintain a healthy amount of introspection, of self-honesty, that we continue to apply wisdom in our lives and remain true to ourselves do we maintain the power of our Persona.

            And just like a Persona, we humans are capable of adorning many different stances, many different personalities, masks, or putting forth different parts of us pending upon the social situation we are in.

            Oh and, when I asked “Where’s Maya”. I meant, I don’t see her on this chart… Are they considering the MC of IS as also the hero of EP?

    • Alrai

      re: Devil Survivor, even in the conventionally best ending (returning the world to the status quo) the lead ends up getting a thinly veiled threatening email from Metatron basically saying, “If you fuck up, we’ll come down like a ton of bricks, enjoy having the weight of the world on your shoulders for the rest of your life, MC.”

  • Exkaiser

    I suppose SJ’s protag would be over in the top right quadrant, going by the Neutral ending, huh?

  • P3’s ending was so epic, ill never forget it, he might have died but he DID IT FOR HIS BELIEFS.And lol i was thinking that before watching the pic, p4’s char ending was like, hey! cool! great! im pro! bye! xD and back to his normal life, with a cool experience behind him

    I wanna see p2’s ending, he is the only one unrewarded O_O that sounds cool xD

    • M’iau M’iaut

      That’s kind of why I quite disagree with the placement of the P3 hero on that matrix. I’ve always seen that decision as less of a ‘catch 22’ and more of accepting the fate laid out for you. He DOES get what he wants…..the protection of his friends and the sealing of Nyx; it just requires his life in order to do so. He makes the choice not with the attitude of “I wan’t to live but dammit I can’t” which to me would better define a catch-22 situation.

      • Exkaiser

        It’s a situation he can’t get out of. A Catch-22. The fact that it it is fate willing it and not his own actions that bring about his fate is why he’s placed on the Catch-22 side, since it’s basically a slider between “fate” and “karma.”

        His choices were basically to let the human race die or become a sort of cosmic deadbolt.

      • Well, its weird, because all he do/says can only be taken by ourselves individually, if i remember well, you could kill the DEATH before going to the last part of tartarus, and everyone of SEES would forget everything, the end would come anyway, but hey!, they wouldnt notice or be worried too much before it xD

  • Soul Hacker has a bad ending for me because I liked Nemissa ;___;

    P4 has a bad ending too because It doesn’t matter how many girlfriends you have, they send you to your city again and your harem dissappear XDD they needed to do some extra ending at least hehe.

    • glemtvapen

      I hated that part of the P4 ending. It’s as if nothing happened between you and your girlfriend/s. They respond like nothing happened. D:

      Note: I just recently found out that there are no consequences of having multiple girlfriends in P4. What’s the point of the ‘warning’ if there are no consequences?

      • M’iau M’iaut

        Because you were there to love em and leave em. The non-party member girls who you got did get their own little goodbye scene there at the end, but I would like to know if the girlfriend of ‘final record’ was based upon some sort of internal love mechanic or just who you happened to bed in that last scene.

        • speaking of P4’s MC girlfriend who is his real girlfriend?

          In P3 it’s Yukari…. DUH (the answer P3FES) then on P4….

          • M’iau M’iaut

            Have not read any of the related materials from Japan, but my own thought would be Yukiko is the most likely canon GF. She is the most prominently displayed heroine on the gamebox and set right beside the protag. She is basically thrown at the main by Chie and no one else in the team really does much to stop it. She is also a nasheshko character type and has that tie to Amateratsu.

          • Devonian

            I say it’s Naoto.

            The fanbase seems to agree.

        • glemtvapen

          Gah. I still didn’t like it. It was an oversight from Atlus to ignore the team members’ romance.

  • Strain42

    Why did they mention Vincent at the end of this article. He’s not a MegaTen protagonist. And what about Jin and Akira? :P

    • Vincent is in the MegaTen universe though with Teddy sitting in the background of the Stray Sheep and the P3P female protagonist meeting up with him…

      But, it was in good fun, that’s all.

  • Rowtaro

    I’ve pretty much only played the pre-PS2 era ones, but the nail really is hit on the head with SMT1’s protag getting it really, really bad. Poor guy never got a break.

    But seriously, I could sit here and support/argue some of the placements here for fun for hours.

    • Bruce

      SMT 1’s ending is happy , the hero and the heroine are to rebuild the city of japan together , sure his mother is eaten by a monster but it’s still happy .

  • wait what?
    why mention vincent?

    Then again, dubbing the game SMT: Catherine would definitely get them more sales over here :P

  • fuzzy_hobo

    From the SMT games I’ve played, yeah, P4 has a way happier ending. In the true ending, the entire party is alive, Inaba is saved, and no major consequences. Sure, the protagonist must leave his friends, but he only has to finish school and take the train to see them again.

    Other SMT games…very depressing endings.

    • I really like your comment dude but we still have hope there is still P5 maybe minato(P3 MC) will be back to the human’s world again LETS HOPE

      • Zeik56

        Let’s not hope. Minato returning would ruin everything that made P3’s ending memorable.

        • Nah, he wont, all “reviving” matters were already covered in FES :) and in a pretty epic way

  • Yesshua

    Ok, I need to ask: who is that character who placed even lower on the “rewarded” axis than the protagonist of Persona 3? I mean, how much worse does it get than death?

  • There sure are a few protag faces I do not recognize in that diagram…I feel like a failed fan! I must play them all!

  • Why is Souji(P4’s MC) is on the top left ?
    Well his ending is the most rewarding after all and one of the most happy/sad ending(sad because he left the town)!!
    But catch-22 hmmmm please tell me…

    • Devonian

      He’s got his own little seperate category there (under “blessed”).

  • Bruce

    the only sad ending is the ending of SMT2 the others pale in comparison .

  • Eri

    Vincent will probably end up in the bottom right or left, depending on your choices. Somehow I can’t imagine him getting a really happy ending, complete nutral at best?

  • cmurph666

    I will not look… I will not look… I will not look… I will not look…

    …dammit, I looked.

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