The karasu-tengu (鴉天狗 or 烏天狗*)? is a member of the smaller and more malevolent kotengu family. They are easily distinguished from other kotengu by their distinct crow-like features and are known to taint the living through haunting them and whispering corruptive words in their ears.
"A member of the Tengu race in Japanese mythology. It is said to have a beak like that of a crow. It attempts to corrupt people by haunting them."
—Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne compendium
Known as Karasu, he can be obtained by evolving Koppa. Karasu can evolve into Kurama by leveling up. As such, he is excluded from demon fusion but can otherwise be obtained by persuading the enemy Karasu encountered in normal battles.
"Legendary creatures that appear in folk tales all over Japan. Virtuous monks who train in the mountains while alive are said to transform into Karasu-Tengu when they die. Karasu-Tengu are also known as "little" Tengu, serving as henchmen for "big" Tengu. Big Tengu have long red noses, but little Tengu do not, instead appearing as hawks with a crow-like voice. Some Karasu-Tengu have extraordinary powers. There are temples in rural Japan where Karasu-Tengu are the object of worship. Some believe that Karasu-Tengu are a modified form of the Hindu defender god Garuda, who reached Japan with the spread of Buddhism."
—Shin Megami Tensei IMAGINE compendium
Karasu-Tengu can be contracted on Ueno field and within Ichigaya Camp's bronze-level instance. They appear as enemies in higher levels of Ichigaya Camp as well as spawning alongside Tokisada in his boss room in B108's summon orb. They are among the invading forces that will appear in Shinagawa during the weekend invasion periods.
Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey
"A type of tengu. It does not have a long nose like other tengu, but instead has a sharp, hidden beak like a crow's. They are evil-natured, possessing and corrupting humans."
—Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey compendium
Karasu Tengu appear as normal enemies in Enemy Search battles in Sector Carina. A single Karasu Tengu appears in Sector Bootes, hiring the protagonist in an EX Mission to check upon his subordinate, Koppa Tengu, in Sector Antlia. Following a small crisis of conscience for not checking upon his subordinate well enough, he decides to become a better boss.
Shin Megami Tensei IV
Karasu Tengu is summoned alongside two Koppa Tengu by the terminal guardian in Ueno when they see that Flynn and company have entered the Domain that he has set up. The two Koppa Tengu will act as support for the Karasu Tengu during the battle.
Karasu Tengu can later be encountered as a normal enemy in Ikebukuro. He can also be evolved from a Koppa Tengu once it reaches level 22. Karasu Tengu and Koppa Tengu are needed for a special fusion in order to summon Kurama Tengu.
Chance of halving remaining HP of one foe. Expel-type.
Chance of halving remaining HP of all foes. Expel-type.
Inflicts random ailments on all enemies. Almighty-type.
Mega physical damage on one foe.
Karasu as it appears in Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne.
Karasu-Tengu as it appears in Shin Megami Tensei IMAGINE
In Other Languages
Karasu Tengu Karasu
Karasu's costume, the headgear in particular, in Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne is reminiscent of the kuroko (黒衣*)? in traditional Japanese theatre, kabuki. Their pitchblack appearance led to the misconception that they are related to ninja, when in reality actual ninja dressed like civilians.
The Last Bible III design and the tengu in the series which feature a crow-face and a beak is a more faithful depiction of the karasu tengu.
Karasu carries a Khakkhara which is known in Japan as shakujou (錫杖*)?, a long staff carried by Buddhist practitioners across the Asian regions, as well as the Japanese yamabushi (山伏*)? which served as the basis of the mythical tengu.
The knot on Karasu's headdress is called arajimusubi (あらじ結び*)?, a bulkier version of the musubikiri (結び切り*)? knot. These artistic knots are tied with stiffened rice paper cords known as mizuhiki (水引*)?. Arajimusubi or musubikiri are traditionally tied around the envelope which contains gift money for someone engaging in special occasions such as wedding or funeral. A knot with black-only cord is not traditionally common, and is mostly paired with white cord for funeral.