Kuzunoha Raidou XIV from Devil Summoner

I'm a big fan of the Shin Megami Tensei umbrella in general, but the Devil Summoner: Kuzunoha Raidou series for me is truly the upper echelon of this series of games. (I think I'm largely alone in this thinking. Also, can you really even call two games a series? Would anyone back a Kickstarter for a third game starring Raidou... please...??) Beautiful music, dark and fascinating stories, a throwback to Taisho Era style-Japan mixed with SMT otherworldliness—and a detective agency! The first time I saw this game, I felt like I marked all the checkboxes off of my "MADE FOR ME!" list.

"Didn't I tell you ladies? No need to worry. Our Raidou here isn't your garden-variety Devil Summoner."

Raidou is one of those good ol' voiceless protagonists of video games past, but if years of growing up with protagonists mimes has taught me anything, it's that a character without dialogue isn't a character any less loved. Much like other voiceless characters Raidou has his own way of showing his personality. (There's just something about the way Raidou enters the bath house and is willing to take off everything but his hat. Or that gentle reminder I have to give myself every few months that at one point in the games Raidou slips on a banana peel.) From the reactions you receive from other characters, one can only assume that he is quite reserved and very obedient. I personally headcanon that being rather young, he probably has a bit of an innocent side to him as well: it is said in Gouto's notes that Raidou has a surprisingly good singing voice, and that his favorite food is daigaku imo. I like to think that a young boy like him who runs around with a talking cat, negotiating with demons, has to be a little bit playful even if it is very subtle.

Beyond that, Raidou is as handsome as he is mysterious. Most Megaten fans will recognize Raidou even if they have never played the games before because of his iconic look. (That cape! That hat! Those sideburns that literally everybody comments on!) Aside from looking cool he's also a bonafide badass. The young tube slingers's skills with a katana and pistol are unmatched (only people who truly kick butt carry both a sword and a gun), and on top of that he has the ability to summon demons to fight alongside him. The title of "Raidou" is given only to those of the highest ranking devil summoners, and his job is literally to keep the supernatural world in check and make sure it doesn't leak out of the Dark Realm. What were you doing when you were Raidou's age?! My biggest responsibility was probably something like taking out the trash. My point here is that Raidou is kind of the embodiment of Shin Megami Tensei Cool. I guess it has something to do with the voiceless, self-insert nature of the game, but Devil Summoner has a way of making you feel like a True Badass when you're dancing alongside the demons you sweet talked.

Though these days SMT games are quite loved and get a lot of recognition for being "the Satanic games your parents thought Pokémon was", I think the Raidou games are some of the less appreciated—so if you ever feel like you're missing some good ol' 'demon negotation' in your life then I definitely recommend Devil Summoner! If nothing else, do it for the lovable cast of characters: because aside from Raidou you will meet some very amazing and unique friends along the way (of the human and demon variety)!