While the dark world of the Shin Megami Tensei franchise is full of adorable demons like Atlus mascot Jack Frost and loyal good boy Cerberus, it's also filled with grotesque designs that would look right at home alongside the grossest of body horror. These demon certainly earn the series its Mature rating, though one recurring demon stands out as being particularly NSFW: the Tyrant Mara.
Like other SMT demons, Mara takes inspiration from mythology. According to Buddhist myth, Mara is an evil tempter who controls humans using their proclivity for lust and fear of death. He is said to have sent his daughters to try and seduce Buddha, though this ended in failure. This in part explains the demon's phallic appearance, though the design also is a crude joke based on the fact Buddhist monks use the term "Mara" as slang for "penis." However, while the demon's origins in the SMT games may be a joke, Mara's power certainly isn't -- and this holds true in Shin Megami Tensei V.
Mara has been part of most of the franchise's games since its debut in 1992's Shin Megami Tensei for the Super Famicom. A member of the Tyrant race (or the Tower arcana in more recent Persona games) with the Dark-Chaos alignment, Mara is generally not available until late in the game. While it sometimes appears as a enemy or boss, Mara is not encountered in SMT V, meaning players who want one to accompany the Nahobino on his journey will need to fuse it themselves.
Similar to its previous appearances, Mara's skills, potential and resistances in SMT V include plenty of sexual innuendos. When fused, it will start out at Level 67 with the skills Hell Thrust (which "pierces through" regardless of the foe's resistance or immunity to Physical attacks), Toxic Spray (which can inflict Poison to one foe and allows their defense), Slumber Vortex (which can inflict Sleep and Mirage on all foes) and Charge (which boosts Mara's next Strength-based attack). At later levels, it can learn Enduring Soul (which lets it survive a lethal attack and heal all of its HP one per battle), Megaton Press (a heavy, but inaccurate, Physical attack) and Poison Master (which greatly boosts the effect of Poison).
Mara resists Light and Dark attacks, drains Electric and is weak to Ice. It is also immune to being Charmed. As for its Skill Potential, Mara starts out with +5 Physical, -6 Ice and +3 Ailment. This means Mara is best used as a Physical attacker who can hit hard and take hits thanks to its high Vitality. Another good strategy is using Mara to inflict ailments and letting those incapacitate or damage the enemy. Magic is Mara's weakest stat, so those who want to give it some elemental coverage through fusion or the use of Essences should consider going with Strength-based options like Fire Dracostrike.
Though attention-grabbing and memorable for its design alone, with the right build, Mara can be a useful member of any party. While some player may, understandably, be put off by Mara's looks, which (even by Shin Megami Tensei's standards) are unconventional to say the least, those who choose to fuse one may end up with a powerful ally -- though one who can't help but make dirty jokes.
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