Demon City Shinjuku was the best adaptation of Shin Megami Tensei

Shin Megami Tensei doesn’t have the same anime adaptations as Persona, but a classic and violent OVA from the 80s had a very similar story.


Shin Megami Tensei may have spawned the most “bubbly” Person spin-offs, but the main titles are many times incredibly dark and apocalyptic stories. This scope and tone was once quite popular in Japanese anime and manga, especially when it came to big-budget experimental OVAs. Indeed, an ultra-violent action anime fits the world of Shin Megami Tensei to a t.


Shinjuku, the city of demons is an infamous OVA from the late 80s that revels in its demonic manifestations of death and dismemberment. Featuring a modern day Japan besieged by demons amidst a cyberpunk aesthetic, the film was the best adaptation of Shin Megami Tenseidespite being completely strangers. Here’s how the classic gnarly anime is similar to the Atlus video game franchise.

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Demon City Shinjuku was the last violent OVA of the 80s

Based on a 1982 novel by Hideyuki Kikuchi, Shinjuku, the city of demons it involves a version of Japan and later the world being ravaged by demons being summoned to Earth, brought about by the evil Rebi Ra. Shinjuku would be content in the aftermath of the “Devil’s Shake” that summoned the monsters, though life is certainly a lot tougher with humanity beleaguered by their new demonic aggressors. A young man named Kyoya, son of Rebi Ra’s rival Genichirou, is forced to call upon his latent power to fight his way into the heart of Shinjuku in order to avoid a complete demonic takeover.

The OVA is definitely a product of its time, featuring tons of gory violence and a storyline where the Japanese government has essentially taken over the world. It’s also incredibly beautiful, with its animation quality still holding up today. This makes sense, as it was directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri, who was also behind it Ninja scroll and an adaptation of Vampire Hunter D. With its gritty themes and apocalyptic nature, it not only fit well with other OVAs of the time, but also foreshadowed the popularity of the Megami Tensei Games.

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Shin Megami Tensei and Demon City Shinjuku are incredibly similar

The plot of the Shin Megami Tensei similarly the games involve hordes of demons and apocalyptic settings, starting with the second entry, Digital Devil Story: Megami Tensei II. This acclaimed game came out in 1995, several years after 1988 Shinjuku, the city of demons OVA. Even if the first Megami Tensei was itself a new adaptation, the second and subsequent games are where the similarities with Shinjuku, the city of demonsThe biblical levels of destruction do indeed increase. These newer games would focus on the Chaos and Order paradigm, with players choosing whether to serve God or Lucifer, or allow humanity to forge their own path.

There was an OVA based on the first one Megami Tenseieven if this meant that the similarities with Shinjuku, the city of demons they weren’t quite as obvious However, both share the vaguely cyberpunk color palette of violent OVAs in the ’80s, further cementing a similar tone and creative DNA between the two franchises. Such a color palette would be further emphasized smt spin-offs like Survivor of the devil and Soul Hackersthe first of which involves the demonic takeover of Japan as some kind of conspiracy.

Shinjuku, the city of demons it would become better known from the footage shown in the film Johnny Mnemonic, a cyberpunk story starring Keanu Reeves. This has been something of a full-circle effect, with cyberpunk and anime becoming more and more connected. Those connections extend to video games, as seen as the OVA also seemed to inspire the franchise that would come to fruition Person. Shin Megami Tensei still missing a new OVA in the modern era that captures the themes and settings of the most recent games, but anime fans can check out the old school Shinjuku, the city of demons on Crackle or Pluto TV to see what such a project might look like.

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