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Ronde is a game released on the Sega Saturn. It is the third game in the Majin Tensei series.

As the main staff of Atlus were busy developing Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers, which was released on November 13 of the same year, Ronde was developed by Multimedia Intelligence Transfer which also developed the Last Bible and Devil Children games. Character designs were handled by Kazuaki Yanagisawa, who was responsible for the Shin Megami Tensei: if... manga adaptation and its sequel Shin Megami Tensei: Kahn.

Plot[]

Disc 1[]

In Ueno, Crystal Statues from an Aztec digging site are on display in a museum and being studied, with scientists deciphering some characters. Asuka is visiting the museum along with his younger brother Satoshi, their dog Joker and his friends Sakurako and Keita. Suddenly during their visit, one of the statues comes to life as Molech and kidnaps Satoshi, making other demons appear while he escapes. Keita finds some weapons among the museum which the team uses for the battle but the demons escape leaving behind a "Devil Inject Shield" (Similar to a COMP), allowing them to summon demons, and then begins the journey to find what happened to Satoshi.

Next they investigate Yoyogi park where demons are apparently appearing. A man they meet sees the DIS and asks if they know Thompson, telling them where his lab is, but cautioning them before leaving. They also meet Charlie, a researcher from England who heard that deities from Celtic and Druidic myth were appearing. He then proceeds to explain that some humans, like him and Asuka, are what are known as Conductors. Conductors are people that were once deities in a past life. Because of these connections, they are able to make contracts with demons and use their magic.

Going to "Neo Coast City" to investigate Thompson's lab and they run into Azazel, who accuses them of stealing his "darling Lilim." Asuka tries to question him about Molech but Azazel seems unconnected. He says he can't reincarnate until after he finds Lilim, and then decides to join in order to look for her. As they enter the building they find a dark skinned man on the floor unconscious. When he wakes up he says his name is Muhammed, though he doesn't remember much else. Charlie notices the labs are connected to a Network he has access to.

Deciding next to investigate a networking company in Shinjuku they find a fortune teller who turns out to be another Conductor and fortune teller named Reika who is being harassed by a biker gang. There they also see Thompson, the researcher that was talking to Satoshi at the museum. Asuka asks him about Molech, and Thompson remembers what happened and who they are, and simply states that Molech likes sacrifices and they should ask demons for more information. Reika decides Asuka is cool and follows along with him, joining the crew.

Charlie helps the group access the networks, and instead of demons appearing they end up being pulled into a virtual space. Inside Mastema is attacking two US military personel Maria and Willie, who are surprised that civilians also know about the networks. Here they also meet the man that appeared at Yoyogi park, who states his name is Sawaki and he studies archeology at the nearby university. He tells the group to join him after the battle and then leaves. After the battle Willie explains that demons are invading the real world and Marines stationed in Japan have been mobilized against them.

Going to the University they meet Sawaki in person who explains that crystal statues were brought there from an Aztec digging site. He also has met Thompson before, as he's a professor of Anthropology. He gives the group a Disc to help them out, saying he doesn't particularly like Thompson and will investigate things on his own. When they activate the disc they learn that Thompson has been intentionally fusing demons, and the disc contains the fusion program.

Here the group either visits a Marine base, finding Maria and Willie, helping them out from demons attacking them, or protects a local Catholic church from demons after the priest, Solomon, gives them a place to rest despite the media claiming they are commanding the demons. Maria being a Conductor joins in both routes, while you can only recruit either Solomon or Willie but not both.

Back in Shinjuku to explore the virtual spaces more, Satoshi shows up in one of the spaces, begging for help before being sent away by Molech. Molech says that Satoshi was sent to Kaina, an underworld made for Cain for the murder of his brother. Osiris tells Molech to quit gloating, seeming to have a dispute with Molech, but fighting the group anyway. Here they also meet "Sysop" (Referred to as Katsura Genta in the manual), an employee investigating the networks of his company, and his dad who is only referred to as "Shop Owner" or "old man." (Actual name Katsura Kantaruu)

Meeting in the real world, Sysop explains that his old friend Sawaki helped him enter the network he manages when he noticed it was being invaded. The Shop Owner also mentions that Sawaki actually has a PhD in Theoretical Physics, but abandoned that for archaeology, though Sawaki says he has a good reason. After more banter the group go back to the University to hear from Sawaki about his findings.

Sawaki explains he's certain the Crystal Statues are the start of everything but he can't access the data from Professor Ando, the one that found and studied them. He also wants to talk to Muhammed, thinking he's familiar and asks him about his past. But Muhammed can't recall anything from childhood or even any family. But he perfectly answers the Pythagorean Theorem and Fermat's Theorem (Which had been unproved for over 300 years until the release year of Ronde). Sawaki then asks Muhammed to stay behind and talk more while the rest ask Sysop to help them access Kaina.

Shop Owner reveals Sysop just got fired from the company he is systems operator for saying he was accessing the network without permission, but he went to the company to argue that he had to. They try to follow but when they enter the building they're attacked by the Japanese Self-Defence Force. Unsure if they're actually on the humans side, they fight through and wonder who could have the influence to bring in the SDF. Further in they find a government agent who insists Asuka's group is fighting against the interests of Japan, as the Japanese government has signed an agreement with the demons. Maria says this would make the whole world Japan's enemy, but the agent states that Maria only feels that way because of her Western Christian ethics, when demons are much more than she thinks. Demons had once tried to communicate with humanity, having been hailed as gods and things of myth. But humans couldn't understand what they tried to share, so they disappeared, occasionally reaching out to see if humanity was capable of communicating with them yet. He then states the "invasion" was actually self-defense against human reactions to them, but the government has made contact and cleared misunderstandings.

Asuka thinks they have something to do with Molech, but the Agent denies this, stating that they are only interested in human demon relationships, and that while some demons have behavior like that, they can't risk the alliance yet. Asuka gets angry and breaks through, beating the agent and saving Sysop. He then tells the group to seek out the company president, who's been seen with Thompson. They decide to ask Sawaki where Thompson might be and Sawaki tells them what he's learned so far.

Asuka mentions that demons talked about reincarnating, and that humans may also have memories of past lives. However, demons by themselves don't have the power to reincarnate. He then tells them to try the hospital to find Professor Ando after overhearing a coworker. At the hospital they see Thompson but he promptly leaves, wanting to avoid a demon fight. Sysop manages to find the president and explains that Professor Ando and Thompson along with a government agent asked for access to the network for a national project. Lilim then sees Azazel, wondering why he's with the humans. After being told what's going on, Lilim mentions that Thompson forcibly took bodily fluids from her for his research. She decides to join the group along with Azazel.

Suddenly one of the patients in the hospital comes out declaring himself Minamoto no Yoritomo and accuses Asuka of being Yoshitsune, and accuses Keita of betraying Yoshitsune. Before anyone can figure out what's going on, Asuka sees a flash of light. Suddenly in the past Keita is shown as Benkei while Asuka is shown as Yoshitsune. A scene plays in which Yoshitsune is betrayed and killed by Benkei. Asuka wakes up and for a moment thinks Keita is Benkei before snapping back to reality.

Finally heading to Kaina, Satoshi gets mad at his brother for not coming sooner, saying his soul is being offered by Molech for a "great being." Molech then taunts Asuka for coming to a realm named after someone who killed his brother. Joker recognizes Satoshi and disappears with him. Molech escapes, but states Satoshi has chosen to stay with the demons of his own will. Upon returning, Muhammed states he's remembering a bit more and rejoins the team, wanting to help out. Sawaki also mentions that he's learned about demon factions, as they aren't united. One faction is the one that kidnapped Satoshi but he's not sure what the other one is or what their goals are. He then tells them to head to the university, as Thompson is using the lab there.

At the University, Professor Ando is with Thompson. Thompson says he wants to get rid of bad genes and wants the government to use the demons to this end. Professor Ando defends his actions by saying some things need to be overlooked for the sake of human progress. Lilim then recognizes Thompson, declaring she'll get revenge for violating her. But before anything can be done to Thompson he is suddenly killed by Aeshama, the demon he was contracted with. He refers to Lilim "losing her reincarnation qualification" and then kidnaps Reika. Managing to capture Professor Ando he further defends his actions as just following orders. He was told by the government to decipher the characters found on the crystal statues, but then they did it was a program that automatically created demons and virtual worlds to place them in. After this it was out of Ando's hands.

Maria manages to find Satoshi in a virtual network, where he is at an altar in Aztec priest attire. He declares he is going to make sacrifices to the deity Tezcatilpoca in order to fulfill a covenant. He is then about to sacrifice several children, but first he attempts to convince Reika to become his bride and rule the earth with him. But before anything can be done Asuka goes unconscious.

Asuka is now Capac, the legendary founder of the Incan empire, along with the sun deity Inti (Referred to as "Tupac" meaning "Shining"). They are with Nanahuatzin who are trying to stop an Aztec priest from sacrificing the goddess Thunupa. Although they stop the priest, the ground begins shaking, and Nanahuatzin wonders aloud about what the priest was trying to do.  Asuka then hears the voice of Athena stating that humans are remembering their past lives. Waking back up, Asuka dismisses it, stating they should go back to the networks.

Unfortunately the networks are unstable and the disc they use for demon fusion is acting unusual. When they look into it, the AI of the disc "Saturday" states that it is done taking orders from humans, and begins to refer to Muhammed as XP-08. It is revealed Muhammed is an android and Saturday forces him to fight the group. They manage to stop both of them, but Muhammed is damaged in the process and shuts off. They decide to leave Muhammed with Sawaki and continue to search for now. They then find Cassius, one of the demons that was seen fighting Molech, being attacked by enemy demons. They decide to help him out, and in return Cassius helps them to access Antinora, the underworld of traitors, where Molech is.

Disc 2[]

Seeing Satoshi, he berates Asuka for leaving him, but now the demons hail him as the demon king. He then tells Asuka to stop chasing him, since he has eternal life as the demon king now, ordering Molech to take care of them, and then leaves again with Joker. During the fight, Nimrod appears, accusing Molech of betraying Aeacus, declaring that he's there to reincarnate him. Molech denies that his time could have come yet, but is killed and wonders about his reincarnation.

When they get back both Asuka and Sawaki go unconscious as Asuka is an unknown man while Sawaki is a man named Hans, whose lover Joanna is about to be burned at the stake. He is helping her escape but suddenly betrays and kills her, as that Hans is revealed to be the demon Aeshama who was commanded to sadistically make her despair before killing her. As they begin to wake up, the voice of Athena wonders who are these people that interacted with her reincarnation, Joanna. After waking up and recovering, they decide next to head towards Mt Fuji, where a bunch of the demons seem to be heading.

They run into Abaddon who accuses humans of making demons that can't reincarnate just to meet their own ends. Asuka is confused, thinking that was the demon's ideas, but Abaddon states they just took advantage of human desire for power to get a foothold into the world. However, he's unsure what Satoshi has to do with this plan, merely trusting that it is in his interest, being commanded by Aeacus. He then tells Asuka to let himself be guided into the expanse from Mt. Fuji.

Heading into the underworld they meet Susano-o who accuses them of interfearing with the rules of reincarnation. But Asuka asks to meat with Aeacus to learn about "The contract that was made before the beginning of time." Susano-o states that reincarnating only to fight more is all that demons know, but wonders if Asuka can solve the secret of reincarnation. He then agrees to take him to Aeacus. At the temple, Aeacus says it's been a long time, confusing Asuka since they've never met, but Aeacus simply says "Not in this world." He cryptically states that he was waiting for Asuka to fulfill the words of the contract. Asuka asks what this contract is and what it has to do with Satoshi. Aeacus wonders why someone that "has the qualification" would feel this way instead says that while he is the ruler of the demons, they were brought by human desire. He questions why Asuka doesn't know that the world is only for reincarnation, and that Asuka has fought this battle before.

Asuka then has another flashback, this time himself as Hades and Maria as Hecate, about to go to war with Zeus. Waking up after, Aeacus asks Asuka if he accepts reincarnation, and that says he'll know when it is time, as reincarnation will continue until the last moment. He then gives Reika back to them, sending Asuka and her back to the human realm, as it isn't her time for reincarnation yet. But while they were gone demons began attacking the cities. Going to try to stop it, they run into Aeshama who is looking for a baby, and stating that it's time to go against Aeacus and that they'll turn the baby into the "genie".

Aeshama manages to escape, but they find the baby who communicates with Sakurako telepathically. He states that he is Lucifer, allowed to come back in the body of this baby for the Time of Creation. He then joins the group.

They then investigate the address Maria found in Muhammed's data, finding out there was a secret factory run by a Tokyo conglomerate. They fight through the demons here and get some parts they hope will help them fix Muhammed. After some work, Muhammed is managed to be rebooted and he thanks everyone for helping him. Jumping into another network they manage to find Satoshi again, though now he is fighting with Nimrod, saying he's going to ruin the plan. But Nimrod states that Satoshi doesn't truly understand the plan. He also tells Asuka he was sent by Aeacus to help and that they need to head to Mt. Fuji where Satoshi is also headed.

At the summit, Anat ambushes them, this having been a trap while Satoshi performs sacrifices. They head back to Tokyo and end up needing to Fight Satoshi who has now also turned Joker into Cerberus. After the battle, Satoshi tells Asuka to kill him, as it's time for his reincarnation and the contract to be fulfilled, and Asuka is forced to kill him. Wondering what to do, Aeacus appears to Asuka to explain what is happening.

There are a set number of reincarnations in the world and in the last moment the last reincarnation will be "The Genie" in order to birth a new world, made according to their whim. Satoshi willingly put himself in line for it to prevent Asuka from needing to do it, as they both qualify. He then asks Asuka if he will go back to the human world for its last moments, or go to the demon world and make his own fate.

In Ending A, Asuka decides to go back into the human world, and Satoshi reincarnates into Ahriman. Ahriman states he will make the world how he wants and fights Asuka. After being defeated, Asuka sees Satoshi in front of the tree of life. The spirit of Ahriman tries to take over but Satoshi resists and instead fades away. Asuka then wakes up in the real world, the fate of all else being ambiguous.

If instead Asuka goes to the expanse, he hears a voice telling him that all lives are just illusions, and every reincarnation is a new illusion created, for both humans and demons, as both of them emerge here from the expanse. He then awakens at Aeacus' temple with Athena, the Queen of the demon realm and one who guides reincarnation, welcoming Asuka for the contract. However, it's not time to reincarnate yet, so they send Asuka to survey the battlefields in the demon world over who gets to lead the reincarnation of the world. During these battles Aeshama, Abaddon, and Cassius are all killed.

Then, Athena notes that the final death has happened, and so her role to lead reincarnation has come to an end, stating that the final choice is up to the Great Will, implying that they are not necessarily on any side, and are merely the arbiters of the contract made at the creation of the world. Aeacus then asks Asuka if he will fulfill the contract made before the beginning of time and create a new world with a new contract, or if he'll break the covenant and fight against the demons.

In ending B, Asuka chooses to reincarnate as Ahriman and then remembers what happened. When he created the world, he scattered his essence into the world, as people with his essence repeatedly reincarnated to prepare for the final battle. He then kills all his former companions. He reveals that the new world will once again become a battlefield for who will next get the chance to become the genie. The demons then all celebrate before Ahriman destroys all matter in the universe and begins anew.

If Asuka refuses, it is revealed that Sawaki also had Ahriman's bloodline, implying that his previous research and involvement was searching for a way to prevent this. Unable to save him, the group is forced to kill Sawaki. They despair for a moment, but then Satoshi appears in the sky, with Asuka catching him and the others finding Joker back to normal. The demons then return to their world and with the contract broken, there is no more battle to fight.

At the end of the extra post game battles, Ahura Mazda appears, stating that he has to destroy Ahriman's bloodline, which means destroying Asuka and Satoshi. After the battle, Asuka receives the "Proof of Victory" and Ahura Mazda wonders how he has so much power despite not having awoken as Ahriman.

Ahriman Candidates[]

Throughout the game, multiple demons are trying to manipulate who becomes Ahriman, but since only those with his essence qualify, they had to try to do this with a known carrier. The known carriers are

  • Asuka
  • Satoshi
  • Lucifer
  • Sawaki

Characters[]

See Also[]

Gallery[]

Trivia[]

  • In the 1997 New Years special edition of Comic Bonbon, a self-contained Ronde manga adaptation was released by Meimu.
  • A "Ronde" is a dance that involves going in a circle, meant to reference the circular nature of reincarnation.
  • To go along with this theme of reincarnation, despite often being thought of as a Majin Tensei game, the subtitle is actually 輪廻転生 (Rinne Tensei) or "Cycle of Samsara."
  • Lucifer is technically the youngest playable character in the Megami Tensei franchise, being in the body of a literal newborn baby when he joins.

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