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Top 10 Shadow Designs In The Persona/SMT Universe


If I could live my life like a Phantom Thief, I would. Enough time and energy to go to school, improve my skillset, socialise, and fight Demons for the good of the universe almost every single day? Now that’s a successful school year!

Having now played three Persona and two Shin Megami Tensei games (more if you count remakes and ultimate editions), many of the colourful Shadows and Demons in this secret universe are seared into my mind.

There are so many intricate, clever, and beautiful designs that capture my interest on every playthrough. There’s no better feeling than fusing Shadows together to create one that just oozes immense power—one that you are excited to use next time you dive into Tartarus, the TV World, or Momentos.

But which Shadow designs are the best? Here are my top 10 Shadow designs from the Persona/Shin Megami Tensei universe.

No spoilers for gameplay or plot—unless you want every new Shadow to be a surprise.

#10: Belphagor

Let’s start off with a fantastically ridiculous Shadow design—Belphagor, the demon lord of Sloth, one of the 7 Deadly Sins. And the toilet, apparently.

Belphagor is associated with all forms of debauchery and is invoked by those willing to find fame and wealth as fast as possible. This laziness means that these mortals fall into failure and depravity, procrastinating and daydreaming instead of bettering themselves and moving forward with their lives.

It makes sense, then, why Belphagor is shown as on the toilet, his eyes vacant and his head on his hand, gazing into the distance. As the prince of hell, it also makes sense that he scrutinises his subjects from the laziest throne he can find—his toilet.

It’s a silly design, but one I enjoy immensely as a bit of a palate-cleanser before we get into some of the tougher Personas you can find and fuse.

#9: Lilith

Lilith has a colourful past. First known as a storm demon in ancient Mesopotamian mythology, she was later integrated into Abrahamic religions as the temptress first wife of Adam before Eve. She was cast out of Eden for her sinful ways, and when she refused to return at Adam’s request, she was turned into a demon. In some versions, she’s the mastermind behind the snake that coerces Eve into eating the forbidden fruit.

In past SMT games, Lilith is designed as a typical feminine beauty, with long flowing hair and curvy body. In the newer Persona and SMT games, she is given more of an androgenous look—her curves aren’t as obvious, despite her lack of clothes, and her hair is slicked back in a David Bowie-esque quiff. She has a snakeskin tattoo coiled around her whole body, and, if that wasn’t enough for Lilith, she also has a huge serpent draped across her as her constant companion.

Perhaps it’s just my bisexual side speaking, but perhaps she’s more androgenous as that adds another layer of temptation onto the desire-led men (Adams, if you will) of the world. She isn’t a stereotypical feminine beauty that “any man would fall for given half a chance”. She represents a harder temptation that puts more of the blame on the man than solely on Lilith herself—which, in my opinion, is a far more realistic view of the original sin story than is always told. The man wanted to sin. It wasn’t all Lilith’s doing.

#8: Satan

Didn’t expect the literal devil to be mentioned here, did you? Well, if you’ve seen him, you might not be surprised.

Satan, the prince of darkness, is the highest Persona of the Judgement Arcana, and is truly formidable to fuse and fight with. He takes up a huge amount of the screen when executing his powerful Ice and Almighty skills, sure to strike fear into any opponent.

For good reason. Satan is a deep blue, mosquito-snake hybrid with multiple arms and udders that run down his torso. When you’ve fused his grotesque form, you really do feel like you’ve spawned a demon monster—one of the only Personas to truly make me gasp out loud once he was mine.

Satan was a real MVP on my latest run of Persona 3 Reload, where I made sure he was immune to both Light and Dark attacks to avoid insta-kills stopping me in my tracks in the endgame. If you have the resources, I’d say joining the dark side isn’t the worst thing you could do.

#7: Skadi

What a striking design. The epitome of winter, Skadi is also known as the “Quaking Lady of Shadow”, truly characterised by her shadowy form and cloaked body. Not to be left in the dark, however, Skadi has a gold and green trimmed cloak and two horned quiffs of silver hair threaded with grey—perhaps she’s older, and wiser, than at first glance.

If you’ve played God of War, you’ll be familiar with at least some of Skadi’s origins: she is a jötunn, a giantess in Norse mythology and stepmother of Freyr and Freya. She is called the “snow-shoe goddess” and represents winter. According to legend, all gods will return to her once Ragnarok is over.

Cool, eh? Pun intended!

As you can imagine, she’s a late-game Persona with powerful Ice skills. Plus, in Persona 5, Skadi has a high chance of inflicting Fear and then casting Ghastly Wail, which insta-kills all foes inflicted with it. Super annoying, super effective.

Extremely fitting for a dark Norse goddess, I’d say.

#6: Baal

Isn’t this the most regal fish-man you’ve ever seen?

Whilst “Baal” can refer to a variety of different deities, this particular one is actually Hadad, the Canaanite and Syrian god of fertility, life, rain, agriculture, and thunder. That must mean that its Wind skills are incredibly strong!

Baal’s incredible aquarian headdress, fancy hand placement, and studded chalice cement his Emperor Arcana, whilst the horns on his helmet are a nod to his traditional association with bulls. I also just quite like that he’s quite a feminine male-designed Shadow, which we tend not to get in favour of bulky Physical male damagers, attractive women, or terrible monsters.

The fact that he doesn’t look like he could pack a punch, but is one of the later game Shadows, emulates a lot of the core messages of the Persona games. As “powerless” teens, you might not be able to make much of an impact in your everyday lives, but through the force of your heart, determination, and the close bonds you form, you can change the world.

#5: Scathach

It’s time for another fantastically dusky design. Also known as “The Shadowy One”, Scathach is one of the most badass ladies in all of Persona. A legendary Scottish warrior woman, martial arts teacher, and ultimate goth chick, Scathach is known for training Cu Chulainn, another high level Shadow.

She’s the ultimate Persona of the Priestess Arcana in Persona 3, meaning that you can only obtain her when you’ve maxed out Fuuka. Considering Fuuka’s quiet and cute personality, this fusion is somewhat surprising at first. Perhaps this showcases Fuuka’s ultimate resolve to fight alongside her friends, reflecting a darker determination just waiting to be unleashed.

In my opinion, Scathach’s appeal is twofold. Not only is she a powerful magic user, utilising Ice, Fire and Wind skills to damage opponents and buff the party and herself effectively, but her design is mysterious and effective. Her hat with a giant, 4-pronged rim and matching cloak certainly speak to her “shadowy” appearance, whilst her kneeling posture—that she holds while floating!—shows her militaristic discipline. She’s just that good. Her black underwear and crucifix necklace speak both to her Celtic ancestry and her gothic style, whilst the mask once again evokes mystery.

Overall, she comes across as cold, attractive, and ready for anything—a proud woman who you both want to be and want to be with.

#4: Chernobog

Imagine coming across this fun guy (get it?) in the black of night.

Chernobog has always given me creepy but regal vibes whenever they’ve popped up. You can imagine them almost melting out of the ground, eyes empty and yet endless and piercing. Their mushroom skull head is turned away, like you’re not worth troubling with. Little spore-like fungal growths creep up from the ground, surrounding them—and you, if you’re not careful. And yet, their flowing robes and shining sword give them a real majesty, like they’re the dark king of the forest.

And what could be hiding in the deep folds of their robes…?

Their name literally means “Black God”—a deity of darkness and bad faith. Associated with destruction, darkness, and winter, they’re not a force to be trifled with. They’re also considered synonymous with evil and the devil.

So, watch your back. They might not be looking at you now, but when they do…you’ll regret it.

#3: King Frost

Surprised to see King Frost here instead of his cheeky, better-known counterpart Jack?

For me, King Frost is better than Jack as he’s big. Just huge. He looks like a king, with a huge smile, blonde curls, royal sceptre, and a billowing outfit that looks like he’s just a big old jolly guy. However, don’t be fooled—he’s ruthless, with unyielding power that he likes to wield as ruler. In SMTV, he guards a pile of frozen fish in a warehouse, and has no qualms about attacking you if you try to take what he believes what is his.

But…is he that ruthless? In Persona 5, his description states he “has the power to freeze the entire world, but is unaware of it due to his naïve personality”. Plus, he could just be a punny character, referencing playing cards (King and Jack, get it?).

As funny as this makes King Frost seem…he’s not to be trifled with. In SMT IMAGINE, we learn that, when he dies, the padlock on the front of his chest opens to reveal a bunch of Jack Frosts, dying in his frozen snow body. Creepy. Mysterious. Foreboding. What a great design.

#2: Alice

I don’t know how I had never fused Alice in any of the Shin Megami Tensei or Persona games I’d played until my most recent, Persona 3 Reload. Almost as iconic as Jack Frost, Alice is introduced in SMT1 as a strange, creepy little girl who lives with two demons.

Of course, as you can see from her design, Alice is based off the titular character of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. However, whilst we know this Alice as a curious little girl attempting to escape the monotony of her life, SMT’s Alice has darker origins. She died at a young age and was then driven to madness when she gained incredible magical powers. Chillingly, as a result, Alice visits misbehaving children at night and “befriends” then by killing them in their sleep.

Alice is such a striking Shadow because of her design as a typical creepy, supernatural child that haunts horror films all over the world. As a late-game Shadow, she’s tough to fuse, but when you do, she’s one of the most powerful allies out there. She even has a signature Dark move, “Die for Me!”, which is an eerie reference to a question Alice asked the protagonist of the original SMT game. Upon the command in P3R, soldiers of the Queen of Hearts descend from the sky to skewer targets on the ground.

A fantastically campy but frightening character, Alice is sure to be seared into any Persona-user’s mind. Just don’t stop being her friend. You never know what she might do.

#1: Queen Medb

Queen Medb is certainly Queen of my Shadow-recruiting heart. Also known as Mab or Meive, Queen Medb is the Queen of the Unseelie Court: the dark fairies and evil creatures who are responsible for catching and breeding wild beasts, turning them into terrible hunters for the Queen’s entertainment.

Queen Medb’s design emulates this dark, mischievous nature flawlessly. Her beautiful voluminous purple hair matching her sleeves and collar is true icon behaviour, and her scale armour and flowing cape shows she is a warrior queen that cares both about beauty and combat in equal measure. Her sword, almost hidden behind her, shows that she doesn’t need her weapon to be at the forefront to be a threat. Her red gloves are a nod to Medb’s origins as an ancient goddess of sovereignty. Finally, her purple-and-green skin and masked face may be evocative of warrior tattoos, but it also makes her look mysterious and other-worldly, menacing, and non-human. It’s a fantastic design that says “I am beautiful, but don’t look too closely”.

A fun fact about Queen Medb: she has origins in folklore, certainly, but she’s described heavily in Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet where she is “the fairies’ midwife”. Mercutio even states that “she gallops night by night / Through lovers’ brains, and then they dream of love…Which oft the angry Mab with blisters plagues”. Shakespeare ultimately gives her the duty of bringing nightmares; a chilling, fantastic role bestowed perfectly to this mystical, dreamy Shadow.

Terrifying, captivating, vengeful, breathtaking, brutal, seductive. Every time I find or fuse Queen Medb, all these words come to mind. I always love having her on my team, ready to deal high Magic damage and decent Support without having to wait for the late game.

Honourable mentions

Considering the sheer number of Shadows, it’s hard to narrow down to just 10 designs. I feel like we must mention Jack Frost, the unofficial mascot of the SMT and Persona universe, as well as its mischievous sidekick brother, Pyro Jack.

Plenty of the god Persona designs, like Vishnu and Sarasvati, are beautifully designed as well. Ethereal and impressive, I love when I can get into the late game and start fusing these regal Personas to add to my team.

And who could forget Mara? For “reasons”, I won’t describe it here, but I just remember laughing out loud the first time I fused it.

What are your favourite Shadow designs? Let us know via our Zatu socials!