Written by Jonathan Wojcik

The 31 Best Shadow Hearts II Monsters!

Images from Kethryveris' LP!

If you read our first foray into the shearts series, you can't possibly forgotten how drop-dead bonkers its sensibilities are, and I'm happy to report that the series kept that up:

See? Ducky Toy is terrifying. Nobody knows who's controlling it! It was also very important that we know these three ducks were named Moe, JDOG, and Sqwalk.

Moving on, Arachne here is interesting, because usually when a spider monster used to be a human woman it's just designed as a sexy torso sticking out of a spider body. Here, we actually get a spider formed disturbingly out of human anatomy, with a giant set of hands for its legs and an unsettlingly human mouth. I'm especially surprised that this series turned down an excuse to put boobs on something that shouldn't have boobs.

So Ekimmu here is supposed to be what happens when a snake and a human corpse merge together, which is filled with infectious bacteria and fascinatingly looks a whole lot more like one of those geese made out of cockroach parts. You know the ones I'm talking about. The geese.

You can put "death" in its name, give it a skull for a shell, and cover its foot in blood-draining suckers, but a snail is always just going to be adorable, every time. How does it keep finding "larger" human skulls, though? Does it start with babies? I guess from what we've already seen, baby skulls must litter the world of Shadow Hearts like autumn leaves. People probably have to go out and rake them into big bags for the baby skull guy to come haul away. It's not a glamorous job, but it cuts back on all the death snails.

That's certainly an interesting strategy. How many people really care to intervene when a little girl is being "attacked" by a moth? I mean, a kid's not gonna learn much in this world of death snails and man snakes if it needs help with a damn moth. Even if it's your own child, you should probably just let them figure this situation out on their own, and if it isn't your child, you really shouldn't mess around with it or its parents might reject it from the nest.

I'm assuming we sometimes get to see what Katherine really looks like, but I can't find any pictures of that. We can see a mothy abdomen, at least.

There are certainly a lot of lovely insects and invertebrates in this one, aren't there? Here we have a beetle that somehow has access to bright pink feces, murders human beings and buries them inside it. That's not exactly what the model seems to show, though. Entire human bodies can't possibly fit in there, unless the ball is bigger on the inside. I'd actually care about watching Doctor Who anymore if the Tardis were a colorful ball of shit and the doctor was a malevolent soul-eating dung beetle.

Eternally tortured soul? Some sort of snake involved? Something about dead babies? Naked boobs? Yeah, this is definitely a Shadow Hearts enemy. This might as well be the face of the franchise. The Pikachu of shadow hearts. Japanese children would flock to have their picture taken with Echidna at the mall.

The ghoulish, human heavy-metal-singer face on Asmodeus here is surprisingly scary, especially on such a bizarre body. What's even going on with that body? It's got kind of a worm-ike torso but also a veiny, fleshy carapace with legs?

This would just be like any other dinosauroid demon if its putrid texture weren't explained as a covering of rancid-smelling plant life. That's pretty awesome. It's like a dinosaur Swamp Thing.

How many Shearts monsters are going to be dead, pregnant women? At least the name "Langsuir" actually comes from the mythological spirit of a woman who died this way. The Shearts design is pretty interesting, with apparently two statue-like torsos erupting from the same fanged, crawling spider-womb.

Okay, I love the concept of a lucifer-like demonic villain that just looks like a floating plant. Is there even a "face" in there somewhere? It's difficult to tell. I don't see a lot of plant-based demons in general, oddly enough. Imagine Gaap here doing all the usual devil stuff, rubbing its little vines together malevolently while a human signs their soul over. So cute.

Oh look, it's that "chaos orb" womb baby thing again. Now it's a form taken by a shitty monarch and he apparently wants to "ruin every possible system of order" or something. EVERY possible system? Will King Tamakos just storm into every last library and shuffle all the books around? Sneak into your bedroom and make sure you're not keeping a separate "sock" and "underwear" drawer secret from him? At least you might not have to worry about being punished for it. If he rejects EVERY system of order he's as likely to sentence you to snuggle baby goats or eat slightly too much ice cream than to have you beheaded.

I think it's prety interesting to have a big, weird, floating toadstool thing as a being of "overwhelming power," let alone one that got that way by consuming a god. That's pretty impressive for a fungus! See what you can do when you believe in yourself??

Maybe all these naked woman ghosts fused into things are getting old, but I do like Bethlehem's many tubular, worm-like appendages, which seem to sprout from her head like Medusa-snakes, so that's cool.

There's that good old Shearts flavor text, spicing up something otherwise unassuming. These reskins of ducky toy seem like just thre cute, ordinary stuffed animals, but their description is devoted entirely to telling us that they are full of maggots, and that's the only reason they move around. Hilarious.

I'm pretty sure this one is a reskinning of the lava lump, though this thing is formed out of tree sap, and surprisingly, I really haven't seen a plant monster made entirely of sap before. Feels like a niche sorely missing from a lot of other series with lots of botanical monsters in them. Where's our molasses-slug grass type pokemon??

This sure looks related to gaap, but apparently it's just a completely different flying green plant with a pale violet flower, an this one's gimmick is that it acts like a mosquito. That's pretty damn original. I've seldom seen a flower creature behaving as a flying insect, even though there's an obvious thematic connection there.

If it really couldn't photosynthesize, though, it probably wouldn't be green. A lot of parasitic plants are more of a lovely, ghostly pink or yellow.

I'm pretty sure this does not really happen in Spain. If an upside-down torso man with a scorpion stinger for a head really appeared every month like clockwork to sting women for cheating, not only would most of the world know about it, but we would have probably turned it into something marketable by now. Tammuz day would end up a whole mini-holiday. You could buy little stuffed toys of Tammuz and there'd be folk songs about him and everything. He knows when you've been sleeping.

Well, this sure took a very dark turn, very fast. Apparently a trendy metal toy staged a violent uprising one day and slaughtered thousands of children. Who's even still HAVING children in the Shearts world? If they're not going to be murdered by their own toys, they're just going to get some sort of disease and get eaten by a man-snake.

I like how this creepy little mouth-eye-sphere is actually a small, weak god, and that it's not always a malevolent entity either. It's just prone to throwing a little tantrum if it hasn't been getting its way, and what kind of cold-hearted person wouldn't honor such a roly-poly little thing with the most innocent little eyeballs?

A recycling of corpse-goose-snake-cockroach gets an eyeball instea of teeth and a little head-frill of what look like fly wings, but they're apparently feathers that make you hallucinate to look at. I think everything about my life might have been retroactively ripping off Wormgaur. Even my FACE.

A snake that parasitizes wasp pupa is one weird, bad-ass concept, especially as it somehow turns the pupa into a xenomorph-head-viperfish-bee and becomes a secondary jaw. It's just all-around totally wicked, except when I look at it a little bit different and what I see is more like a snake peeking out of the mouth of an elaborate mascot costume. I don't care what the hell they're selling, if this is how they advertise, I am going to buy it.

Mythologically, Otoroshi is a serpent known for its multiple heads, but Shearts has decided it should be a tattered scroll brain-ghost with multiple, hovering eyeballs. Any brain that still has even one eyeball is an instant hit with me, so clearly this one is trying way too hard for my affections but I'm not about to tell it to slow down. If anything I'm gonna keep feigning being unimpressed and see how many more hovering, detached eyeballs it's really willing to show me.

We're now getting into monsters that appear exclusively in the Japan-only Director's Cut of the game, and they are as magnificent as you ever could have imagined. Several of them might not have gone over well in a Western European version, even considering all we've seen them get away with thus far. For instance, this monster, Luvart, looks a whole lot like it has bleeding genitalia between its tapering, chitinous lower legs. The rest of it looks wonderfully like something I really want to describe right now as an "armpit stingray," but that might be because I fell asleep writing this post and just now woke up eight hours later. You're gonna get some quality commentary before I'm finished separating dreams from reality...but I BETTER now wake up all the way to find out I didn't actually get any of this extra work done or that I never even had a website and you're not real people.

If you're not, I hope you're at least something else, like a pug I didn't remember I owned or maybe a big basement full of tiny cakes.

Oh yeah, apparently Luvart is a demon that absorbs human bodies to live longer.

It doesn't look like much more than some nondescript, rotten beast with horns, but Rasetsu is actually a demonic parasite living in a cow's brain, twisting its host into a hideous abomination! Apparently it also targets sacred cows in India, because demons like to defile anything people see as holy. Not the most culturally sensitive Shadow Hearts description, but it does go on to say that it was successfully driven out by mystics. I guess that means it had nowhere else to go but Japan, because they love monsters there. It probably already has a wildly successful career peddling rancid beef flavored kit-kat bars by now. There's probably a collectible Hello Kitty cosplaying the beloved celebrity Rasetsu as we speak.

Housougami is definitely one of my favorite designs. Its name basically means "smallpox god" and its description says that it not only brings smallpox and other diseases wherever it goes, but knows the secrets to curing them and will only give them up in exchange for "liquor and women." This is all thoroughly horrible, but it's difficult to hate something so cute, like a skinned dinosaur with exaggerated, meaty spider chelicerae that sort of turns its face into an ass. That's awesome, right? Assrachnosaurs are the in thing right now, aren't they? If they're not, we should make it happen!! Me, and whoever you are in particular reading this could be trend setters! PROMISE me you'll wear one of these out so I'm not the only one!!!

This little sweetie is Tsunemotomushi, and it's a "spirit of maggots" born from the corpse of some dead jerk named Tsunemoto. This is actually taken from a Japanese legend where a villainous samurai gets buried under a tree, and every year, the tree spawns insects with his face on them.

And if you think Tsunemotomushi is awesome enough as a fat, reddish, faceless grub with little arms, check out its special trick:

YEAH!!! These little maggot spirits pop open into little GHOUL PEOPLE wearing maggot suits!!! How wonderful is that!? I probably miss so, so much not actually ever even playing or watching these games. Yeah, I totally didn't. I've never seen more than a few moments from a Shadow Hearts title. I'll get around to it some day, I SWEAR.

What Shearts considers a "Baphomet" isn't a topless goat-headed demoness but a demon "born from the raw union of a girl and a crow in dedication to a baleful god." It apparently feeds on human body fluids and can transform into the guise of a young, human woman but can neever change its clawed hands.

I dunno why Baphomet would want to change anything. She's gorgeous exactly as-is. A vast majority of things on this page look smoochable but none quite like Baphomet's perfectly smooth, featureless skull. What else would that be for?

THIS ONE is Futsutachi, and in Japanese myth, a futsutachi is any animal that becomes a larger, more powerful youkai by living to an advanced age. Surprisingly for this series, this monster is exactly what it's named after, but the animal they chose here is a wood ant, which lived for hundreds of years and never forgot when a human tried to burn it with a magnifying glass.

I really love how this youkai ant looks more like some faceless, creepy wooden effigy of a person, though it kinda looks like it has a head or at least eyes on its thorax. I also really dig the perfectly globose abdomen with just a big, giant hole in it like a potter's wasp nest. I haven't seen a video or anything so I have to assume something comes out of there. If it doesn't, something obviously ought to. The obvious choice are ants, but that'd be a little too normal, wouldn't it? If you asked me, I'd have Futsutachi fart cobras as an attack. That seems a lot more like a shadow hearts kinda thing for an ant monster to do.

This isn't one from the director's cut, but it's one I wanted to save almost to the end because I think it's honestly one of the coolest and creepiest things in the game, even after things like snake-bees and eyeball brains and JDOGG. This is nothing more than a "fallen angel" in concept, but its design is extremely similar to a real-world cyclops baby, which doesn't normally survive more than a few minutes. That's just such an unwholesome thing for a fallen angel to look like, and maybe this is accidental, but it actually ties in with some oft-forgotten Christian lore where hideous and evil giants were actually the results of angels mating with humans.

To top it all off, I'm not entirely sure we're even actually seeing a being with one eye, here. The "eye" looks identical to the mouth, and in between the two is an upside-down nose. I think I like this monster so much because it's the only one on this page I wouldn't just want to snuggle and take home and put a little pink sweater on. I JUST find Muscida uncanny and terrifying. More fallen angels should be this disturbing. Why are they always hokey crap like flaming devils or black-winged hunky goths? Give me chilling, uncanny, nauseating fallen angels. Giant mutant two-mouthed fetus fallen angels.

It looks like we have my favorite. Itsumade borrows its name from a mythological flaming bird youkai, but in Shearts 2: Sheartsier, it's a human soul that "took on the appearance of a carrion fly." You've already grabbed me with the fly part, but this "fly" also has horse-like legs, and its face looks more like some kind of carrion flower made of flesh, with a mouth like a toothed, swollen anus and eyes on its bulbous "petals" that look kinda like the eyes painted on to old rubber toys. Sometimes, when I was a baby and I had toys like those, I'd just up and peel the eyes off because you could. Then I'd regret it and try to stick them back on, and sometimes it would work, but sometimes they'd just fall right back off at me.

Itsumade is said to appear before people, call its own name, and transform them into Itsumade as well, so where's MINE? Where have you BEEN, Itsumade!?! Am I not good enough!?! Where were you twenty years ago, ten years ago? Where were you when I was new? When I was one of those innocent, young maidens you always come to?!!!!?????






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