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Devils Devel Concept: Why I love it.


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A lot of people ask me: 'How can you list a VN with a protagonist who is fundamentally amoral, psychologically-challenged, and generally just out of sync with humanity so much?' 

 

There are a number of reasons.  One is the very reasons listed above.  Shigure Sora is probably the most inhuman protagonist I've ever encountered in a VN.  I say inhuman because his psychology only occasionally resembles that of a human being, for better or worse.   He's the type that can honestly look at average humans wistfully without being a hypocrite, because he really doesn't have anything in common with them, for the most part. 

 

One of the things I can't help but like him is that he is fundamentally honest.  Does that sound weird, when talking about a protagonist who is so obviously amoral?  However, it is true.  He knows himself for what he is, and he never tries to fool people by pretending to be what he isn't (except a normal human).  When others protest, he honestly can't understand why they think him stating fact is putting himself down.  He doesn't understand love, and he states frankly that that is the case.  The closest he gets is obsession and possessiveness, and that is what the heroines tend to misunderstand as being love.  He states that clearly, but it is the people around him who misinterpret his words and actions.  It is actually fairly hilarious sometimes how completely people fail to comprehend him.

 

The other aspect that makes me love this VN is the setting.  To be blunt, the demon hunters in this VN are so different from what you see in most similar settings that there might as well be no resemblance at all.  They aren't 'just normal people' who rose up against the demons or people who have sworn to protect humanity.  If anything, they are just as dangerous to humanity as what they are hunting.  The Hunters basically kill demons because they hate them instinctively.  Demons kill Hunters for the same reason.  Both sides are essentially the same, with the only real difference being in individual capabilities and closeness to humanity.  Hunters are just as likely to kill humans as Demons, and the only reason they pretend otherwise is because it is sometimes convenient for extorting funding out of human organizations and governments.  In other words, there is nothing even vaguely resembling 'a good guy' in this mess.  There are two sides intent on obliterating each other, and humans are only occasionally caught in the middle.

 

Last of all, it is just fun to read how the writers philosophize through the characters.  I thought I was reading a Japanese Chaucer at times, given the way characters suddenly start speculating on aspects of human nature, relationships, and morality. 

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Taichi was basically human, just broken by his experiences.  Sora's problem is inborn and inseparable from his nature.  To one extent or another, all of the Hunters are 'broken'.  Most can experience emotions such as love, hate, etc.  However, they lack anything resembling hesitation born out of morality, and they have a tendency toward 'emotional reaction based on rationality'.  As long as they have a logical or emotional reason to do so, they generally have no problem staying hidden in human society.  However, without such a reason...

 

Sora is fundamentally worse than even that.  He lacks most of the 'softer' emotions.  The closest he gets to friendly emotions in the classic sense is the fondness an owner has for a particularly stupid pet (toward Shinnosuke), or companionable emotion born of similarity (同族意識).  Oh, he also feels a general sense of ease in the presence of his mate (in the animalistic sense, rather than the human sense of it).  Sora's bloodline, the 'genryuu' (original bloodline), is basically the purest form of Hunter... but Hunters, though they can breed with humans, fundamentally aren't human, at some level (I'm deliberately glossing over a spoiler here).  Those closest to him by nature, the 'ro' (all but one of the heroines are of this type) are still closer to humans than him.  They can comprehend humanity and feel most of the things humans do.  However, he can't.  It is as simple as that.  The first time I played this, I thought he was a sociopath, but he  lacks a sociopath's narcissism and complete disregard for others as anything more than furniture or tools.  He just happens to lack a lot of the emotions most vital to be considered a human being, lol.

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I should say that only a Hunter can kill a Demon.  Why?  Because only Hunters possess the same ability demons do... the ability to rewrite reality like a computer program.  Most only possess the ability to rewrite it in a specific way - or a few specific ways.  Demons generally possess a dozen 'organs' that allow them to do so, as well as an extra 'brain' that lets them be conscious of a far wider area than a human or Hunter can.  Say a Hunter possesses the ability to 'rewrite' his flesh into something harder than steel (actual example), by constantly rewriting his body like that, he can protect himself against damage... but he might not be able to protect himself against a demon who decides to overwrite the physical law that says iron is harder than flesh. 

 

Battles between Hunters and Demons are basically contests to see which will manage to 'rewrite' the other into the state known as 'death' the fastest, over the other's efforts to rewrite their body into 'life'.  It isn't uncommon for high-ranking Hunters and Demons to die multiple times in the course of a single battle... but simply dying isn't enough.  They have to be rewritten into a permanent death or they'll just be back a few moments later.  Most Hunters can be killed more easily than that, but all Demons are capable of coming back from death if not properly 'taken care of'. 

 

What makes it worse for the average human is that they are literally incapable of fighting a demon... even thinking of fighting a demon.  To a human's instincts, a Demon is on the same level as a volcano or a supernova.  You can't fight it and there is no point in trying.  The Hunter's lack of this instinct causes a lot of the 'broken' parts of their personalities.  Sora is a bit different, because one of his specific abilities 'infinite branching' is basically impossible to use with anything resembling a sane human personality.  Worse, it is in constant effect, at all times.

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While I have yet to finish DDC (Misora's route is so...slow...), I'll say I found Sora to be interesting for the same reasons you've listed. Interestingly I tried out the game because one review I read compared him to Shiki, but so far he seems more similar to Kotomine than Shiki personality-wise except Sora seems more inclined to a neutral alignment (going by RPG terms I'd say Sora would fall under chaotic neutral, which I admit makes him even more interesting since most portrayals of characters of that alignment are that of a straight up crazy person).

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I think I'll talk about another part of the setting today.  All Hunters (except Genryuu like sora), due to their possessions of 'Devil's Organs' (the specialized 'organs' that allow them to use specific powers) gradually, both over time and as they use their powers, exceed the limits of what can be considered human.  Eventually, when that limit is passed, they became what is known as 'Outsiders', 'Stray Sheep', 'Predators', or 'Oni'.  Basically, there is a critical point where this occurs, and the human spirit warps beyond endurance.  Most show signs of 'changing' long before they reach this point.  Some develop a taste for blood (literally), others lose the taste for solid food but can survive on sunlight and water alone, and yet others have more subtle or extreme alterations (alterations to coloration are the most common, such as skin, eye, or hair color changes).  There are even some who stop aging outwardly.  Those who cross the 'Information Limit' tend to share certain traits.  Their basic abilities increase, they lose the ability to suppress impulse with rationality, and they tend to become cannibals. 

 

In comparison to a demon, though, they are still immeasurably weak, lol (exceptions are those women who possess a Ro and 'Fallen' or 'former' Genryuu bloodlines). 

 

Edit:  Oh, also Hunters separate themselves and humans by calling themselves 'Solid Pot' and humans 'Hollow Pot'.  This is a direct reference to the presence or lack of Devils Organs.  Hunter bloodlines will occasionally go dormant for a few generations (Hunter bloodlines breed slowly, to say the least), and occasionally a Hunter will be born into a normal family.  Lesser Hunters tend to possess the very human tendency to look down upon normal humanity, though that is less likely in those at the highest levels of power (Sora in particular fails to display this trait). 

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Oh and in response to the idiot reviewer who compared Sora to Shiki... rofl.  I don't think there could possibly be a more different person in existence...  That's like comparing Reinhardt Heydrich from Dies Irae with Chinami from Hoshimemo.  *Clephas snickers*

 

Soushou and Soukoku.  These are basically two aspects of affinity.  Soukoku is sort of like a magnetic repulsion, and individuals amongst the Hunters affected by another Hunter in this way instinctively hate, fear, and reject each other.  Soushou is the opposite, an intense attraction that can link to love, obsession, and possessiveness.  This also links to

sex, allowing those who possess soushou toward one another who have sex to enhance and stabilize one another's abilities... with unpredictable results (sometimes they'll cross the line and turn into an Outsider, other times they'll just stabilize).

 

 

Incidentally, Sora can be either or to anyone, depending on his mood, lol.

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  • 3 weeks later...

just finished the last route, i'm satisfied with the quite unique ending. overall this game is a bit too chuuni for my tastes, i find the infodumping and some long paragraphs of descriptions extraneous and against reader immersion. as for the "philosophy" and the protagonist's obsessions with keiyakus and sex, the approach is too bland with the characters, mostly the protagonist, flat out questioning human nature, the act of killing and repeatedly affirming I don't have this emotion, I don't understand that, etc. well that's what i call trying too hard, if anything, they should have left the philosophical implications as an undertone and leave it for reader interpretation and analysis. i'm not asking for a hemingway style narrative, but the author more or less built sora in such a way that eases his job of showing and pleading critical thinking. speaking of the protagonist, he reminds me of Civilization and its Discontents, but if the author is going to craft a largely supernatural world and strip him of fundamental human qualities, his behavior becomes entirely speculation, we cannot analyze much of his questionable behavior if the author has the broadly defined supernatural setting to back his reasoning. i know i shouldn't go too hard on a VN, especially given that this is already a rarity in the medium, i only hope that some of the characters and plot concepts were implemented in a more reserved and realistic fashion. looking at it as an action supernatural VN, it was certainly enjoyable for the most part. anyway, 67/100.

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