Light brings glory and grace.
May it open your eyes to the truth.
Shan’t eat. Shan’t eat.
…wait it is “Shanti, Shanti”?

Digital Devil Saga duology – a sci-fi take from SMT brand. It was a very clever take on the pantheism – which was a concept that was rarely taken at the time. SMT series however are well established on taking on the storylines that was out of the ordinary. However, was the story too ‘woke’ for me? As I was left with too many questions at the end of the duology.

The story follows the Embryon tribe fighting in a territorial war and was struck by lights that turn their world denizens into hungry monsters. Devouring one another for strength. The tribes were promised ascension to Nirvana for the surviving tribe. The embryon met Sear who was the key to the whole struggle.

DDS 1 follows on that territorial war and as the story progress – reveals that the Embryon characters were the central part of the story. They all had memories that reflects their humanity. Memories from another life. Sera however, regained her memories and knew what was in store for the Embryon if they reached Nirvana and tried to stop them from ascending. None of their stories were revealed in the short storyline of DDS1 and at the end – they did reach Nirvana. And Nirvana – the real world – was never a paradise.

DDS 2 follows the Embryon in ‘Nirvana’ – which was the real world. The world was a wasteland. Denizens of Earth has all turned to stone and the survivors lives underground and a protected dome that houses the research facilities against the state of the world. They created Sera to communicate with God who turned the world to stone. And in turn, Sera created the Embryons and their world based on the people around her. The embryons were ‘data’ in a bid to research ways of survival under the sun. They were data used to turn people into demons that can survive in the harsh world. And now, ‘Nirvana’ has given the Embryon forms in the real world. The embryons decided to save Sera from confinement and also in search for their true selves. And the struggle angered God – who disintegrates the world into data. The Embryons one by one sacrifices themselves so that Sera survives. In the end, the world was destroyed as Serph and Sera ascends into the Sun to confront God. Their data combined – creating ‘Seraph’, and God was confronted. ‘Seraph’ gained the answer to their struggles – that ‘one word’ and the Earth was saved from destruction.

And that left me with many, many questions that as far as I know remains unanswered in the game:
As the story progresses, the Embrons are shown to be key members in the research facility and were people around Sera as she was subjected to communicate with God by Serph. Sera developed a sort of Stokholm syndrome with Serph who were revealed to be the antagonist for a hot minute. And showing Heat as he tries to protect Sera from the manipulations of Serph. This answers Heat’s aggression towards Serph. There we see Argilla as the nurse who tends to Sera and also the one who killed Heat, as she protects Serph from Heat. Gale was David and is Angel’s lover and fellow scientist who tried to save Angel from a path of revenge – which fell into deaf ears, resulting in the antagonistic Angel. Roland – the only real human of the team was also a fellow researcher who experimented on the devils turn into the good guy leader of Lokapola, guardians of the God.

Significance to the story – Sera, Serph,Heat, Argilla, Gale, Roland – checked. Did we miss someone? Right, who was Cielo? It was never revealed who Cielo was and how he was a part of Sera’s memories. Did Sera just wanted a Jamiacan buddy? And since when did the romance between Argilla and Roland start? It came up from nowhere. Did Roland sticking his hand into monitors did it for her?

The story was going great – even to the point of the end of the world scene I thought that the duology would make pretty cool sci-fi movie. Adn sadly, that was then too where I was utterly disappointed. The higher Sera and Serph goes up into the sun, the more disappointing it gets. Serph + Sera combined to be ‘Seraph’ – wow did not see that coming did we. Why did old woman crash the party, smiling as if she was a part of the main cast? Why can’t both Heat and Roland join the fight? Heck, why not Angel, Jinana and Lupa too. And like what – they are all DEAD. the world was disintegrated to bits already. And Seraph demon form is just a triangular motif Ultraman. Roland/Indra has a cooler design than the deus ex machine of the story.

And so, as disappointing as it was – it was a final dungeon. Maybe the closure will satisfy my disappointment. And it did not. “We just need that one word.” “The answer was just one word.” – WHAT ONE WORD SERA? WHAT IS IT? And didn’t the world disintegrate but Fred was there to grow up and have a bunch of children named after the Embryons. And again – wtf is the ONE WORD??

As both games were actually very short outside of the main storyline and grinding (probably in the 10s hours mark) they could have added more story to flesh out the story even more. Digital Devil Saga 2 rushes the story even more. Questions regarding the main casts were left unanswered. I searched and that extra content too does not address anything storywise and was just tough bosses for extra perks gameplay-wise.

And not everyone is that ‘woke’ to understand pantheism that the game tries to invoke into the root of the story. Pantheism is the belief that the universe is One. Was that alluding to the ‘one word’? Was ‘one word’ just a translation cock-up? If being one with the world and God is the Nirvana that everyone is trying – so in the end only Seraph attained Nirvana? What about the other Embryons? Did they reincarnated as the children of Fred? So why was Sera and Serph there – separated if they have accended to Nirvana? So many questions.

Maybe I would better understand the story if I read the novel ‘Quantum Devil Saga: Avatar Turner‘. However, I cannot find any english copies after scowering Google. As I read the wiki of the novel however, the story as vastly different than that of the game. I am still interested to read if anyone could lead me to an English translation of the work.

How could we be so foolish?
We ignored something so foolish.
It’s one word…
One word is all we ever needed.
…One simple word can bind us together.

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