The best part about the book is that it featured not only the interpretations of different artists, but also Kaneko’s comments on his own designs. Some of them may be interesting, some of them may hold nothing new, I’ll let you decide. What’s certain is that I’ll have to make separate (and several maybe) posts, so for the time being, here’s the first part. Each demon’s name links to a hi-res version of its design, so you can have a clear image of what Kaneko is talking about.
EDIT. Aaand since things obviously didn’t go as planned, I changed the links. Not sure how many people wanted to see pictures for ants.
EDIT. 04.10.17 added a missing word to Archangel’s description thanks to a confused anon.
I can’t really change the design of the Hindu gods no matter how much I want to, so this was the final result, but maybe I’ll change it after this.
Scandinavian mythology has quite a lot of mapper type gods. He’s an old man, but I drew him as a warrior. It’s a design that’s been around since the first game, so there was no need to change it much.
I made Amaterasu into a man for the first time. There are also theories that she was a woman, so I actually wanted her clothes to be a bit more androgynous, but the model had its own build, so it ended up like this.
Atavaka has remained the same as before. He has a lot of arms though, so it was unpleasant for the staff. I really wanted to draw such a large design.
He’s a sun god, so he’s shining. If he’s too shiny when he’s by your side in a fight, well, that’s life. Horus is also a demon whose design hasn’t changed a lot.
She’s a teacher, so she really gives off the feeling of a witch. Rather than fighting with a sword, she’d the type to overcome you with her fighting spirit. So, for some reason, she’s sitting in mid-air. Masters always sit in a kneeling position, but if someone tries to attack them from behind, they’ll block them in no time.
Her design has remained the same since the first game, but I’ve been playing with various colour schemes. Well, she’s got a dancing image. A demon that always appears in the series.
I made her look like she’s burning; it’s a powerful image after all. She may be wearing a veil, but changing this demon’s appearance is difficult.
I used the motif of the huge drawing on the ground of Dorset in England. Now that I look at it, the sword he’s carrying resembles a seven-branched sword. He’s made of something like a ball of energy.
One of the most popular characters in the whole series. The design has changed to some extent, but I figured I should make him look more Celtic from now on.
He’s always appeared in the series and is a popular and easy to recognise character. The eyes of the Hanuman of Hindu mythology are big and round, it’s pretty cool.
A typical design, don’t you think? Jinn’s boss, fire edition. I’ve actually been told he resembles me a bit. I distinguished them by giving one the ponytail and the other horns.
Ganesha, Nepal version. His outfit resembles that of the indigenous people of the mountain regions. I’m really into that kind of fabrics, they’re beautiful.
Another typical design, just like the Efreet. I’m not sure why, but this is the image of Jinn I have in my head.
Starting from some theories about the Tengu being mountain priests, I gave him the image of a mountain ascetic. Or maybe a member of a ninja-like hidden group in the service of an influential person.
Dis is the name of a group of goddesses, so her clothes are like their uniform. The tattoo is partly based on Irish design. She’s got the image of a nun, so I gave her a shaved head.
The main attraction is his size and, anyway, I just wanted to make him small, since things do change with size, even though it’s the same model. He’s small, but flashy, resembling a street performer.
Isora is a god of the sea, so his model was connected to Forneus’s. Fish faces creep me out actually, so to me he’s the most frightening of all demons. If something like this attacked me, I’d start crying.
I changed her design to make her a bit cute. Indian inspired leotards are cute, right? This is a group of goddesses, just like Dis, so what she’s wearing resembles a uniform.
Since the Fairies are supposed to have a joyful image, I made Titania have the same air about her. Until the previous game she used to have a cuter image, but now she’s a bit sexier.
His clothes are typical king’s garments. He’s rather small this time, but, truth be told, I wanted to make him smaller than this. He’s actually an extremely small character everyone laughs at. Actually…
Since now we have a system based on evolution, I designed him to be easily identified with the later Cu Chulainn. His clothes are white but I wanted to emphasize his origins, so I added a tartan pattern.
He resembled an Oni in Shin Megami Tensei, but I drew him as a cute, dumb guy starting with Devil Summoner. The medal seems to be his elegant feature. At least according to him…
An extremely typical design. Unlike with Kikuri-hime, I based him on parts of the design that had previously appeared.
His origin is Jack-o’-lantern. He’s a character designed to be a mascot of the Shin Megami Tensei series, so his Halloween motif is the same as always.
Simply Pixie’s advanced version. Her hair is standing up straight because she’s…high. She’s arranging it to stay high. A character that has appeared since Shin Megami Tensei II.
The design of a demon resembling a snowman came first, and while searching for a name, I realised there are very few legends about Jack Frost himself. The little guy has a tail actually.
Her costume from Shin Megami Tensei is stuck as my mental image, so I brought her in like that, but I want to change her to be in tone with the times~.
She was a character in Shin Megami Tensei, so her image is a symbol of free will. Half of her body is covered in what looks like scales rather than tattoos.
She was human at first, so her image gave me a bit of trouble. I love fur so I put it on her collar and sleeves. I asked a lot, but did receive the model as it is. Her upper half is covered in pearl-like scales.
A character that’s been around for a long time. I wanted to change his silhouette a bit, but he’s a demon I really love. Loa are served in various types of Voodoo.
I wanted a god that resembled a star, so I found Kaiwan. He’s a god with extremely rare appearances. Design-wise, the black and white pattern is his main point.
The seductive type. She’s got the same origin as Lilim, but she appeared when the people of old blamed being horny on demons. She’s got nuts hanging from her ankles. Hidden meaning, you know.
The design appeared halfway through the series. The male version of Succubus. The cover of his pride and joy is decorated with heart marks. There are nuts hanging from his ankles. Hidden meaning, you know.
A big favourite of mine among all these demons. He’s cute. His face resembles a goat’s, and I really like that kind of dumb faces.
If I had to say, Lilim are demons of Christianity who attract people. They’ve always appeared in the series, but this is the first time they were introduced as Lilith’s daughters.
He’s a god of death, so I put him in a coffin. The coffin’s pattern has a winged discus from the region of Mesopotamia and the figure of Inanna, to represent the realm of the dead. Speaking of which, he’s very shy, so he doesn’t leave his coffin.
Same design as Abaddon, but since he’s something like a king of Hell, I gave him a crown. The crown is strange, it looks like a tomato.
I gave him a sword of fire to match the legends. There’s a difference in his design, his joints look like cones now. They match the top of his head.
One of the characters I really love this time. He’s a fallen angel, so I gave him wings and made his face very expressive. Too bad you can see his shoulders when he attacks.
He’s an old character, so he’d keep his old form no matter what, but I finally gave him underwear this time. He’s civilised now. Odin is here at the same time as well.
He’s a god of weather, so I made him rainbow-coloured. There are a lot of snakes who symbolise continuity, like Ouroboros, and I made it so that you can’t tell which is the head and which is the tail.
Legend says he’s a feathered snake, so that’s how I drew him. Well, he looks more like a cross between a bird and a snake than just a feathered snake. This is also a character with a long history in the series.
He is a king, so I gave him a rather grandiose appearance, with a muffler that resembles snake scales or fins. There are rumours that normal Naga look grandiose as well, but still.
He’s a dragon that dwells in water, but the water is solid, so I gave him a snake shape. There are all kinds of legends about him, but I exaggerated his design a little.
I gave him a shield and made him resemble a warrior. He’s got a bell attached to his tail though, so it’s easy to tell where he is.
An earth dragon. Well, what’s long here is the nose, or is it the mouth…He really feels like a monster. I want to design more and more of these really strange looking creatures.
Horus was already here, so I didn’t make him resemble the sun, but I made his beak golden; he doesn’t look like a normal crow anymore. His story can be expanded upon, so I’ll focus some more on him.
I was thinking I design a lot of plain characters. I figured I should make a sheep-like polygon but…didn’t do it in the end. He’s often encountered in China, an apparition that only charges at you.
I wish I had emphasized his mouth or something, since it’s actually a wolf, but I prioritised its figure. If you look hard enough, you’ll notice the paws. So cute.
The so-called composite monster – I left it like that and it became the easy to recognise Chimera. Scary, isn’t it? Its movements are monstruous as well, it truly feels right.
His body reminds you of a cloud, but it’s a powerful one. He’s a representation of power and movement. He’s one of the Four Symbols too, so originally he may have been a dragon. Perhaps he’s the representative of quadrupeds.
He looks like a peacock and although peacocks are blue, I made him red; I also added the eye motif to his feathers to make him look elegant. I like how big and impressive he looks in the game.
I was thinking about her movements, but… Even though she’s based on Nekomata, the latter feels more sophisticated, while Senri is more rural. The conical hat shelters her from the rain as well.
This is simply a typical Unicorn. There are a lot of horse-type characters this time, but this one is the base.
He’s an old man. He actually resembled Barong, but now he’s a human-faced dog. He’s got a big face and is clenching his teeth. He’s yellow, so in Feng Shui that would signify good dependent origination*.
The most common image of Cerberus has three heads, but since he’s connected to the protagonist, I only gave him one. For example, in battle mode, it turns into three heads. That negligent watchdog air he’s got about him is cute.
A bird from Garuda’s lineage, wearing a headdress. A big factor for birds is the plumage, so thinking about their design is difficult. If I drew them all normally, there would be no difference between them, so it gets complicated every time.
His rank is lower than that of Cerberus, so he can’t pull and draw back his heads. That is why he’s permanently stuck in the two-headed mode and his master doesn’t spoil him as much.
She’s a person, but since the legends linked her to a crow, I drew her as one. I’ve tended to do this in Megaten since a long time ago.
Maybe I went too far with the anthropomorphisation…? I actually designed her as a werecat, and since those are humans who turn into cats, I made her look really human.
Inugami have their head cut, so that’s the only tangible part. Its body is half transparent, like a ghost. It looks cute this time, one of my favourites. The length of its body is a representation of the soul.
* I am not particularly well-versed in this type of concepts, so let me know if I made a mistake.
The design is in the image of a big white eagle. He’s also a messenger of the realm of the dead however, so I gave him a lot of dead man faces on his wings.
I made his general shape look like a heart. The actual Mothman has similar shoulders as well. And since he’s from America, his face is like Do_npa’s*. Get it?
I love this kind of air headed air, with eyes out of focus rather than expressionless. I decided to make him look rounder in the end.
An energy type. He’s crackling. His movements are also sharp and abrupt and feel like a flurry. I think it would be nice if this kind of movements differed from time to time.
For some reason, he just feels like a big goat to me. He’s a horse though, so he’s got a big body. This is also why his hoofs won’t break.
This is what would happen if a seahorse became a bird. Birds actually give me trouble, so I used that as my motif. He’s supposed to be a poisonous bird, so I gave him colours associated with poison.
It’s easy to recognise these spirits as the four elements, but trying to turn them into pictures is rather difficult.
Water has gone the opposite way in this representation. In the game though, the Elements are just something to spice up fusion.
A surging image. The Elements are more ingredients than actual characters, so I didn’t dwell on the anthropomorphisation aspect too much.
Erthys is a rock. Well, he’s the most polygon-like among all Elements, so perhaps the easiest to work with.
The Mitama are easy to recognise, just like the Elements. It’s the first time they appear in the Shin Megami Tensei series.
This expression really suits Kushi Mitama. The Mitamas’ faces show their personalities. The Elements are a representation of nature, but the Mitama represent emotions.
In contrast with the Elements’ Western air, the Mitama are part of the Japanese culture. I find it really interesting how the ideas they represent are completely different.
This time, the Mitama appear as raw fusion elements. They are easy to draw and I chose them because they were easy to work with.
I reused some parts from Will o’ Wisp, but gave them different movements. Their faces kind of look like a footprint, but oh well.
This one reuses the frame of Will o’ Wisp as well, but I’m really glad I changed some of its parts and its expression and ended up with something different.
It’s a stronger version of Slime, so I made its eyes go round in circles and emphasize its power. I’m happy all the demons in the Slime family have really good movements.
This type of concept or ghost are beings made of energy, so they can’t actually be seen, but I figured I should represent them through some suggestive colours and actions.
At first it appeared randomly in RPGs, probably because it’s a major figure, so coming up with a design for it was difficult. Its face is rather human.
Will o’ Wisp
I wanted to at least make it Willy. This is the base for all its family. This form is also a type of anthropomorphisation.
The movements are Nataraja, the embodiment of dancing Shiva. All that moving around is really entertaining. What he’s carrying are his possessions, the clothes are the hide of a white tiger.
He appeared together with Nanto Seikun in Devil Summoner, and while Nanto Seikun is an embodiment of fire, I drew this one as an image of ice.
A paranoid, hippie or maybe psychedelic feeling. I captured him as a god in the middle of a drinking and furiously dancing crowd.
In temples, statues of Kali have parts that resemble skeletons and this is why the design is like this. I made her look a bit robotic, so she also resembles a killing machine.
I’ve emulated so much of her design, but I wonder if she’ll look at least a little splendid? As expected, having Shiva and cute Parvati is good.
I gave him the image of a viking combined with a macho. Mjolnir is just big this time, but I’d like to make it more similar to the original.
The Four Heavenly Kings have retained their old designs. Together with Tamonten, Bishamonten is the most popular among them, so he’s pretty respected in some places.
He looks so plain compared to Bishamonten. I differentiate between the Four Heavenly Kings based on their belongings. Jikokuten has the sword. It’s supposed to match the image from a famous Japanese temple.
I tried to design him like Japan’s Cu Chulainn, or more like a fine man. He’s someone who is even kind to animals. The colour of his armour is a bit too dark, it’s actually supposed to be a beautiful silver.
One of the Four Heavenly Kings. Koumokuten is pretty famous as well. He’s actually carrying a brush, but I wasn’t sure whether to draw it or not, so I changed it into a polearm.
He is also one of the Four Heavenly Kings, but a plain one. What he is actually carrying is a spear.
His arms were ripped off by Take-Mikazuchi, so I chose to show his figure after this event. I also like his attack pattern. I feel there’s something very engaging about people forced into a certain situation, like him.
He was called Kangiten halfway through development, but we settled on his old name. Since this is an early design, his belongings aren’t the right ones. He’s one of my favourites though, so I want to improve his looks.
I designed her as a warrior riding a horse. She’s dual wielding. I haven’t really touched her design too much this time, but I would like to work some more on her in the future.
*I spent some good minutes looking for this one. Kaneko is talking about Doronpa, an American obake from the manga Obake no Q-tarou.
He’s a snake type, but I really had to made him look different from the others, so I gave him a lot of wings and made him look tall. He also has seven eyes. This is a representation of Satan or an alias for Christ.
It’s a goat, so I left it like that, but thought I’d also make it a little cute. It has its origins in a person as well – a story about how he became one of the four evil creatures of the world, symbolising the amalgamation of some of the seven sins.
Not even I am sure why there’s only one eye. Maybe because I wanted to make him a dark character. I’m also the type who sets fights on auto, so this guy gave me a lot of trouble.
This time he actually resembles Baphomet. The end result is a usual picture of the Sabat. He’s got the caduceus, the pentagram, his symbols turned into objects.
When I was little, I used to think that clay figures were aliens, but later on finally understood that they are an interpretation of the clothes from the Joumon period. It’s an impressive design, so I left it like that.
I actually adopted the image from a certain European church. I was thinking how I should make each archangels different, so he became the oldest and the dragon killer, hence the spear.
Has also been said to be a woman, so I also gave her a lily. She’s a special existence and I made it obvious in Shin Megami Tensei II, but this game will be different.
Raphael and Uriel haven’t really changed, but you can tell them apart because of their hairstyle and colour. I thought of Raphael as the symbol of ‘duty’.
Uriel is ‘justice’. I think he’s also happy because of his evolution from the Thrones.
Thrones are wheel angels and I kept that in mind while designing them. This type of angels don’t have individual names, they’re just named as a group.
Dominions are the gods of rules, or you could say that their image is related to law, so I gave them scales.
The red thing is their heart. Aren’t there stories of offering your heart in order to prove your faith in Christianity? That is why I came up with this design of glass, to emphasize an image of cleanliness.
I think of Powers as a group of fighting angels. There are various models on their shields, so I guess I should make them Octopus Corps from now on~.
They have the image of a king or a goddess of freedom because they represent monarchy. The image of a light radiating glory.
Not like Power, but I thought of them as a lower ranked fighting squad and their design reflects that. What they’re wearing on the banner on their head is similar to the symbol that adorns Power’s shield.
They are God’s dogs or servants and their role is to connect Him to humans, so I gave them chains. Maybe these chains are fastened to Throne or Dominion.
He’s got a panther’s head, but I wanted to change the rest of his design and ended up with this result. He’s got a sword in the middle.
This demon appears as a pentagram and I followed that image. He’s making puppy eyes, like the chihuahua from a certain advertisement*.
I left Ose’s leopard head in its place, unlike Flauros, and went in the opposite direction, making his body a combination between human and leopard. Wait, doesn’t he look like he belongs in G_in Saga**?
Eligor is of a lower rank than Berith, but he still manages to look impressive. He’s got both a mantle and a pelt.
A new design. I drew him as a fusion result, with a human clinging to his back. This new image clearly emphasizes his character.
This design hasn’t really changed. I’m glad he’s a bit more yellowish this time though.
He resembles an evil Garuda. His face is like a bird skull, but I actually wanted to make only half of it a skeleton.
* I assume he’s talking about this.
** Forgot about this, it’s Guin Saga. Thanks, greed92-smt!
I went a step further from the Rangda that appears in the Barong dance and gave her the image of a witch, removing her lower half, and having her sway to and fro. She is the mistress of Leyak, so I included scrolls in her design.
The three sisters are new characters. They belong to the Greek pantheon, but I’m glad I managed to make them look fresh.
These three are connected by a thread on which they can read the destiny of men: ‘Here we go, sister!’.
There are a lot of three-sister sets in legends all over the world, the Moirai included. I think there’s something about the number three.
Dakini is a new design and I wanted her to feel like an Indian witch. I’m glad she ended up looking so good.
In contrast with Dakini, I left her old design as it was. For some reason, her hair stays in place when she moves. It’s vexing. I think she should be seen as a witch type as well.
They have a humanoid body, which is actually formed by their hair. Imagine all the shampoo they use.
Her design is between Kali and Yaksini, a bit more of a fighter than Yaksini.
A colour palette of Yomotsu-shikome, but she’s sitting down and holding a wooden grave tablet, a stupa. I wish her attacks were actually her hitting people with it. That’s what I intended for her when in the beginning.
He’s a mysterious ninja, so I drew him as small, but highly efficient, but he looks big in the actual game. ‘Now they’ve done it! Oh well, he looks cool, so it’s fine’.
He’s got a fine air hole in his face. There are also several cyclone patterns on his body and I made his weapon look like a propeller. He is related to wind after all.
I emphasized his heavy armour. He looks like an athletic guy or a wrestler.
He’s actually the evolution of Shikigami, but I love the Izanagi school onmyoudou, so I mixed it into his design. He’s a prince, so he should be strong, but since he is already high level, I made him a little bigger.
They are dead warriors, so they don’t really eat anything leading to their skinny body. It seems that, depending on the region, this type of conical hats are used in funerals, so I figured I should include it as well.
I’ve been saying this for a long time, but Oni are like rebels against humans and have this punk image, so I designed them as punkers of the Heian Era.
The design itself is old and I finished him quickly, but he’s supposed to evoke a common soldier of old Japanese times.
This is none other than the shikigami of the Izanagi school onmyoudou. I thought I understood how it worked by looking at pictures, but once I started drawing it I had no idea what went where.
The former stage of Albion, but it’s completely different if you take a good look at it. Since this is the image of a threatening giant, I’ll make it like the ones from the Tassili ruins! There’s an explanation that says the giants came from Africa.
It’s exactly the design of a giant, a titan. His armour looks a little Roman though.
He actually has a long nose. This Sarutahiko doesn’t. I added some armour to Take-Mikazuchi’s base.
It is said that if more than three people hang themselves on a tree, they’ll turn into a Hua Po. It’s like a three-way fusion in a way. She’s actually white, but she would have been too similar to Pixie, so I made her as red as a flower.
It feels like the brother of Sudama, who has got this constant, rhythmical movement. Like a Daphnia or a sea monkey. In the end, I guess it was difficult to get over the Kodama from that movie.
It’s been showing up for many years, but every time under a different shape. This design had the insides removed and now looks like a walking corpse. If one of these things appeared in front of me I’d be terrified.
Another old one. They couldn’t insert this in the game, but it actually has all kinds of forms. I want to make more variations of it, you know~
Skeletons are one of humanity’s primal fears. We’re normally completely unaware of the bones inside us and in a way they evoke fear as an existence both close to and far from us. Not to mention that having them laugh at us is truly terrible.
It used to look like a newt floating over fire, but I wanted to make it look more like a body of energy.
It’s nice how he looks like an enjoyable, cute guy. Truth is, the charms are like a piercing, and if you remove it, he starts getting hungry and can’t help it… This is just my idea though.
In this setting, if there are gods, then it is absolutely necessary to have humanlike beings as well, so they are like mud dolls created as the new (human) inhabitants of the new world.
I wanted to make a big guy in the style of Will o’Wisp. Specter is a variation of spectrum, so it’s burning.
Things aren’t working well for Mara, so she’s small this time. Compare her to Shin Megami Tensei II where she was even riding a chariot. Her design is going to be a little unstable from now on.
Jack and Black (heart) sounds good, right? One of the Frosts said he’d become the emperor of the night in Kabukichou, but he got lost in the crowds and the white snow became black.
He’s only got the name of the original Futomimi, but perhaps genetic information or memories travel by the Vortex as well.
He’s the drifting god, so I drew him in the image of a whale or a more ancient creature. Isamu’s ‘This is my god, cool, isn’t he!’ touched me. I couldn’t help but think he was like a big kid.
It’s designed to be the avatar of Baal. Hallel comes from Hallelujah. It would have been good to make them proper angels, but I turned them white and gave them a halo and my job was done.
I wanted to make him more geometrical. Point is, he’s the sun. There are many other names for YHVH all over the world, so one of these concepts is the god of flames, of sun.
 I know next to nothing about Kamen Rider, so I assume I got it right…
 The Izanagi school is a style of onmyoudou and a folk belief particular to the former Monobe village of the Tosa Province. It is said that it originated from 24 types of magic following the instructions of the Great King Izanagi of India. It uses special shikigami during ceremonies and despite being a folk belief, it was transmitted through organised ritual prayers and charms. Here’s a video.
 Another legend says that the regrets of the three or more people will fuse and form Hua Po. It is said the palm-sized, white-skinned little beauty’s voice resembles the cry of a parrot. If you leave her alone, she will dry up, but sprinkling water on her will bring her back to normal.
 ハギ hagi – colour combination worn in autumn – dark red exterior with blue interior
 The infamous Jack/Jack distinction that only exists in Japanese! Jack Frost is written as ジャック・フロスト(Jakku Furosuto), while Black Frost actually ジャアク・フロスト(Jaaku Furosuto). The pun here is that ジャアク can also mean ‘evil’ (邪悪) and…the rest is history.