The Atlus Twitter account has posted the latest commentary from character designer Masayuki Doi in regards to how Kaya-no-Hime looks in SMT V. While Atlus was releasing its daily demon digests prior to the official SMT V launch, we saw that Kaya-no-Hime is a magic-oriented demon. In Japanese mythology, she is a goddess of farming and fields.
Here’s Doi’s full statement regarding Kaya-no-Hime. Along with explaining her name and design, he also mentions the that Kaya-no-Hime’s design uses old concepts from SMT IV: Apocalypse.
Today, I’d like to introduce Kaya-no-Hime. We’re showing both her retouched 3D model and her concept art, as she was yet another demon we hadn’t intended to illustrate separately.
Kaya-no-Hime is a goddess from Japanese mythology, the fabled daughter of Izanagi and Izanami. The word “Kaya” refers to dried straws used in thatch roofs, and she is said to be the ancestral deity of grass or, in some regions pickled vegetables.
For this game, we designed her so that the straws would form what resembles a straw doll. The straws that make up her body have been dressed in traditional Japanese garbs and ornaments.
Her more human-like aspects were inspired but the “Hime” in her name, which means “princess.” As such, we decided to make her look somewhat naive and a little ditsy, leaning into the “oblivious princess” caricature where we could. A little while back, these sorts of characters were often employed in Japanese period dramas in order to give the stories a bit of a comedic touch, but we don’t really see them too often these days.
On a separate note, there are a handful of demons in this game that we designed without having any particular story role in mind. These were basically stray demons whose design preceded their purpose, and because they weren’t necessarily confined to a specific narrative role, we were able to be more experimental and innovative in our approach. In a way, I feel it was these periods of being able to really let loose that gave us the biggest sense of joy and satisfaction during development.
Kaya-no-Hime’s design goes back to earlier development stages as well, as she’s actually the result of us customizing and reworking an older idea we nixed for SMT IV: Apocalypse. There are so many more design ideas and demons that we’ve stockpiled for potential use in the future, so if we ever get the chance, we’d love to bring them out in future titles.