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Welcome to So Scandalous!, a tiny tribute to one of the most (in)famous demons in the Shin Megami Tensei pantheon, the demon lord Mara!

Mara

Nothing in this ordinary-sounding name quite prepares the viewer for the sight that is Mara. Mounted of an autonomous war chariot, the giant, tentacled green penis often surprises and confounds. What on Earth could have given an artist the idea to represent a demon as a giant penis?

The demon Mara comes from the mythology of Buddhism. Mara was the greatest enemy of Siddharta Gautama, sparing no efforts in attempting to distract him from enlightement and from becoming the Buddha. Among the most commonly mentioned feats of Mara, he sent his daughters to seduce Siddharta into giving up his search for enlightement. Then, when that failed, he led his whole army to march against the Buddha, but this was in vain too. Siddharta became the Buddha and Mara fled.

This doesn't explain his design in the Shin Megami Tensei series, especially the myth of his daughters, does it? Mara's design is actually a Japanese pun that explains itself quite easily if you are familiar enough with the Japanese language to know some of its slang. Written in kana, ⎡まら⎦ is slang for “penis”, hence the design.

Notable appearances

Mara has appeared in one form or another in most of the Shin Megami Tensei games by now as a demon on the Chaos side of the alignment war. Often a boss, he sometimes plays a more important role than just being a turgid mass of green pixels to defeat.

Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne

The demon lord Mara is summoned by a Baphomet at the request of two Manikins who are fed up with being mocked and beaten up. Unfortunately, because the Manikins were too impatient, or because the Baphomet was high, or both, the summoning fails catastrophically and Mara appears in the form of a huge blob of slime with the tell-tale mushroom head. Understandbly enraged by this offence to his magnificent self, he attacks the protagonist as the Baphomet and the Manikins flee.

Mara possesses the skill Diarahan, an extremely annoying skill for an enemy to have, that allows him to heal himself fully every turn. The trick to beating him is using the game's buff and debuff system to your advantage to finish Mara in one powerful blow.

Defeating him grants the protagonist the magatama Muspell, a demonic brain parasite that teaches the protagonists mental ailment skills (but sadly not Charm).

Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey

In this game, Mara is identified with Māra, a Hindu goddess of death, and thus referred to as “she” despite her virile appearance.

Mara is part of a series of sidequests that depends on the protagonist's alignment after the alignment lock point has passed. If the protagonist is Chaotic, Mara will ask him to stop an angelic ritual where angels fuse together to form a Seraph. The ritual will succeed, thrusting the protagonist into a boss fight with the newborn Seraph. After the battle, Mara laments having had to sit on the sidelines because she had to stabilize her body not to turn into a Slime, a reference to Nocturne's boss battle against Mara. She will then offer him the chaos-exclusive gun Peacemaker and will insert herself into the protagonist's party if he has an open slot.

In the Lawful path, Seraph is the ally and Mara, the enemy. Seraph will inform the protagonist that a new demon of illusion, Mara, has been born, and sends you to kill her. Mara is Weak to Fire and goes down easily. Once you kill her, her fusion is unlocked, and if you have a free space in your party, Seraph will join you in gratitude. He will also bring with him the Law-exclusive gun Megido Fire.

Devil Summoner 2: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. King Abaddon

Mara appears in a Case File (sidequests), male once again (though his Compendium profile says he was once a fearsome goddess), chasing Raido Kuzunoha the XIV through the Arakana Corridor all the way to Raidou Kuzunoha the XIV's home dimension. Raido, wounded, manages to trap it in a pocket dimension as he escapes, but Mara breaks free. Upon seeing two Raido(u), he decides this will be double the fun and challenges the “fresher” Kuzunoha first. Of course, the fresher one being the protagonist, Mara is defeated in a 5 minutes timed battle, however not before he manages to slip in a multitude of penis-based puns.

Though difficult to catch because he teleports around a lot, Mara is Frail to Fire and can be defeated easily enough by bringing demons with strong Fire attacks to the battle and by not letting the timer rush you. 5 minutes is more than enough time to soften Mara and finish him off.

Defeating Mara rewards you with Bead of Life × 3 and the Mara fusion at the Goumaden. He is a demon of the Pagan order and, as per game mecanics, can follow the protagonist along on the map. Who doesn't wanna walk around with a penis in a chariot behind themself?

Persona 4

Just imagine having that bursting forth from the sea of you soul.

All joking aside, Mara is a level 62 Persona of the Tower Arcana. Unlike in the other games, this time Mara absorbs Fire-type damage, which means all Fire attacks sent his way actually heals him instead of hurting him. He is, however, Weak to Light, a pretty big flaw for a Persona of this level, because most Light attacks are instant kills. Upon fusing Mara, then, make sure to give him some protection against that. On the other hand, he Reflects Dark attacks.

Mara comes with Agidyne and Venom Zapper, and as you level him, he learns other very useful skills, such as Power Charge, Makarakarn, Absorb Physical, and High Fire Boost. A fully-levelled Mara will be a beast, especially thanks to absorbing all Physical attacks and all Fire attacks while outputting highly damaging Fire attacks. If, on top of that, you cast Makarakarn to reflect the next magical attack at the enemy, you're on the road to victory! Unless the enemy absorbs the element you're reflecting back at him. Then it's terribly inconvenient.

Site-Related

This site was created on February 11, 2014 and last updated September 3rd, 2015.

Hello Amassment!

I bet you never expected a shrine like this to pop up! It's thanks to you regardless!

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The Mara sprite at the top comes from the Megami Tensei wiki. This site is built of Boostrap and uses the colour palette Spring Wedding. The banner was made by Aku, thank you!

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This site is not authorized by or associated in any way with Atlus®. Mara, Māra, the name, likeness, and everything related are property of Atlus®. No copyright infringement is intended. Site © 2018, Nyx Midnight. This site is a completely non-profit labour of geeky love.