"That's why you'll never surpass me. Since when did people start expecting science to be humane? To study the body, you cut it open. To study the mind, you isolate it by crushing the heart. Historically, that's how science has advanced."
—Serph Sheffield, Digital Devil Saga: Avatar Tuner 2

Serph Sheffield is a major character in Digital Devil Saga: Avatar Tuner 2. A young, charismatic man, his actions are largely responsible for the disasters plaguing the world.



In Digital Devil Saga: Avatar Tuner 2, while similar to the AI bearing his name, he wears contemporary lab attire and has dark black hair. During That's Catch 22, he wears an oversized suit ensemble and a Davenport College tie. In A's Test Server he wears a similar outfit.

In Quantum Devil Saga, he wears the standard temple guard uniform and is described to be "downright womanly."


Serph is a talkative young man who, in Sera's presence, acts supportive and kindly, gently prodding her to maximize her potential in the Karma Society's God Project. He does not get along well with fellow scientist Heat O'Brien, who acts more brashly in comparison. Both scientists routinely locked horns on the direction of the God Project and Sera's role in it.

Sheffield's true motives was eventually revealed during a painful experiment: in reality, he is a cruel and manipulative young man who used everyone around him in his quest to attain the power of God for himself. To him, Sera was only an expendable tool in the pursuit of science and the power of God. He explains that even if she were to be destroyed in the process, he would move on to another child, and so on.[1] Along with brainwashing Argilla to cooperate with him and tricking Colonel Beck into continuing the project, his vile deeds are numerous and crucial to establishing the world and conflict of the Digital Devil Saga duology.


Digital Devil Saga: Avatar Tuner 2Edit

Serph Sheffield was a young man who graduated from Davenport College with a degree in psychology. Eventually, he joined the Karma Society's God Project, which consisted of selecting children with outstanding spiritual talents and experimenting on them so they could converse with God. Sheffield was eventually placed in charge of the mental health of the 19th child, Seraphita. His work immediately gained recognition from the Karma Society, and he eventually became the chief scientist of the project.

Throughout the experiment, another scientist, Heat O'Brien expressed a fervent opposition towards it. Sheffield calmly brushed them off, telling Heat that science is never a humane subject, and only through mental and physical manipulation can one attain a leap in science. Sera eventually grew to harbor romantic feelings towards Sheffield. It is also revealed that Sheffield was the one who promised Sera to take her on a ship should she manage to speak to God for ten minutes.

Later, to cope with the painful experiments, Sera created a virtual paradise consisting of AIs based on her perception of the real world. AIs of Serph, Heat, Argilla, Cielo and others are created, serving as her only way to release her stress. Eventually her virtual paradise was discovered by the Karma Society. Sheffield was disgusted by this display of sentimentality and emotion. A member of the Karma Society, Colonel Beck, however, was overjoyed to know Sera's virtual paradise, and proposed to change it into a training simulation, hoping to create the strongest AIs.

O'Brien immediately opposed Colonel Beck's plans, telling him that Sera's mental condition was at her limits; destroying her escape would damage her even further. However, Serph, as the scientist officially in charge of Sera's mental stability, calmly lied and denied Heat's claims, telling the colonel it was possible to make his proposal a reality. Heat was left speechless.

As Sera was suffering greatly from the experiment, Heat urged Serph to cancel the experiment, but Sheffield simply ignored Heat, telling Sera to continue. Unable to bear seeing Sera suffering under Serph any longer, Heat pulled a gun on Serph. A startled technician nearby accidentally patched the security camera link throughout the entire building, including to the EGG where Sera was. Serph calmly told Heat not to be a hypocrite, and exclaimed that in truth, Heat himself wanted to know the potential of God. Heat angrily stammered back, telling Serph that he had no right to manipulate others.

Serph then proceeded to answer Heat that a human's mind is no different than a machine, and that each of the subjects, including Sera, were expendable and could be replaced. Heat, repulsed by his callousness, tried to fire his gun, but was shot in the back by Argilla's human avatar instead. Serph mocked the dying Heat, before realizing that Sera had been watching the entire exchange. Heartbroken, Sera sends a massive surge of data, overloaded with her anger, sadness and feelings of betrayal towards the sun. The sun turned black, and the surge of solar data caused Serph to transform into Real Varna, a black demon: the reflection of his own heart.[2] Consumed with bloodlust, he devoured Argilla's human avatar and Colonel Beck, then went on a killing spree before finally being killed himself.

Sheffield would later reappear in the EGG facility as Solar Data along with Heat O'Brien. When these events were revealed to the AI Serph, leader of the Embryon, he was overwhelmed by the knowledge of his origins and the person he was based upon. O'Brien comforted him, while Sheffield expressed disgust at the "fake" Serph. Another Serph (Fake Serph), the AI originally created from Sera's paradise, manifests shortly after. This Serph's faculties seem very limited: all it does is blankly ask where Sera is.[3]

In spite of O'Brien's words that their time was over, Sheffield violently refuses to accept he is dead. Proudly exclaiming that he has achieved the power of God, Sheffield and Fake Serph transform into two distinct forms of Varna, challenging Serph and O'Brien to a fight. O'Brien assumes the form of Heat's Atma Agni, and he and Serph put the broken Fake Serph out of his misery, and lay to rest Sheffield's destructive ghost.

Quantum Devil SagaEdit

He is first introduced at the end of the first novel, disguised by a thick black cloak and tinted goggles. In the second novel, he meets the Embryon after the battle with Varin Omega, where Varin, after recalling his memories, refers to Serph as "Shin Minase" and to Heat as "Kazuki Homura." When he meets Serph in person, the AI is thoroughly confused and struggles to understand Shin's likeness to him. 

Additionally, at the end of the second volume, it is Shin who brings Sera to Nirvana, rather than Angel, who instead directs him from outside the Junkyard.

Digital Devil Saga: Avatar Tuner: A's TEST ServerEdit

Sheffield appears as the antagonist of A's Test Server, and serves as the final boss. During the game he is referred to as Count Baal, before becoming Beelzebub.


Real Varna, the Atma Avatar of Serph Sheffield
Fake Serph
Fake Varna, the Atma Avatar of Fake Serph


  • According to That's Catch 22, Sheffield lived in Portland, Oregon prior to attending Yale (though he's Japanese in Quantum Devil Saga).


  1. Serph: "If Sera dies, we move on to the next child. If that child dies, we use another... That's how it works. Honestly, we shouldn't be wasting time on trivial arguments."
  2. Real Varna: "Everything will be mine... Knowledge! Power! Everything!"
  3. Fake Varna: "Where... are you... Sera!?"

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