For the past two months or so, Atlus has been releasing new videos as part of its “Daily Demon” series to showcase each and every demon that will be playable in Shin Megami Tensei V.
There have been a variety of demons so far, but today on Volume 46 of the Shin Megami Tensei V “Daily Demon” series, they have unveiled a brand new demon that Southeast Asians will surely recognise.
Our non-Malaysian readers might not know what a Manananggal or Penanggalan is, so let’s get everyone up to speed. The closest thing to a Manananggal or Penanggalan in western legends would probably be a vampire. There are multiple variations of the Manananggal or Penanggalan across Southeast Asia (Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, etc.), each with its own unique characteristics.
The Manananggal is a mythical creature in the Philippines whose body or torso is detached from its lower body, while its fangs and wings give it a vampire-like appearance. It is usually depicted as female, and always capable of severing its upper torso and sprouting huge bat-like wings to fly into the night in search of its victims.
The word Manananggal comes from the Tagalog word “Tanggal”, which means “to remove” or “to separate”, which literally translates as “remover” or “separator”. In this case, “one who separates itself”. The name also originates from an expression used for a severed torso.
The Manananggal is said to favour preying on sleeping, pregnant women, using an elongated proboscis-like tongue to suck the hearts of fetuses, or the blood of someone who is sleeping.
Meanwhile, a Penanggalan is very similar in that it is a detached or disembodied female head that flies or floats in midair. If that’s not frightening enough, the one defining grotesque trait of the creature is that its stomach and entrails remain dangling below its head as it flies/floats through the air. However, the Penanggalan doesn’t have wings or lower body part like the Manananggal.
In Malaysian folklore, a woman becomes a Penanggalan when she dabbles in black magic or demonic forces to obtain beauty. Other variations of the myth state that the woman either died during childbirth or broke her pact with demonic forces, resulting in a curse. During the day, a Penanggalan looks like a normal human being. At night, its head will detach from its body and search for fresh blood to drink. Its victims are often young women, children, or pregnant women who are giving birth.
Speaking of the Penanggalan; here’s a fun fact for you: even Hellboy has fought this demon in the comics (you can find out more about that here).
Shin Megami Tensei V is slated to launch exclusively for the Nintendo Switch on 11 November 2021 in Japan and 12 November 2021 worldwide. It will feature English and Japanese voice-overs, with English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish subtitle options.
In the meantime, check out that Shin Megami Tensei V Mananaggal trailer below: