As someone with a degree in Classical Studies, and a particular interest in the mythology, I’m always on the lookout for Greco-Roman myth references in media. (Hell, I’m into virtually every mythology out there, and catch things whenever I can, but that’s beside the point.) Thus far, one of the best places to find unique takes on the classical gods is video games.
Saint Seiya aside, Japan loves making what TVTropes calls “Olympus Mons.” The Greek gods are in Digimon, Puzzle and Dragons, Shin Megami Tensei (which PREDATES Pokemon, by the way), and, let’s cut to the chase, God Eater.
God Eater is what I call a “big game hunter” (“BGH”) game. The first well-known entry into the genre was Monster Hunter (first released in 2004 for the PS2), which featured giant dragons and dinosaurs as Cabela’s-style hunting targets. Common features of BGH’s include a high degree of character customization, breaking certain parts on bosses for extra drops, mission-based plots, and really cool armor and weapons.
I’m a late adopter. Only recently did I get anything relating to the PlayStation network. The anime was also okay (glorious to look at, with things like a boring lead holding it back). It nonetheless got me immensely curious about the Aragami designs, including their version of Venus:
In-game lore has it that this Aragami wants to be beautiful. Using methods unknown, (we’ll see one possibility later), she’s assimilated various parts from lesser monsters in order to modify her appearance. As per BGH logic, she gets weaker based on what chimeric parts you break.
For the uninformed: Venus is the Roman equivalent of the Greek goddess of love, beauty, and sex, Aphrodite. While there are slight differences in character when you dig deep into their respective literatures, the general idea of the goddess of lurve stays the same. Don’t worry; Aphrodite and Venus will get like 7 entries unto herself, with smaller, shorter ones as they surface.
At first I found myself puzzled by this Venus’s design. After mulling it for a minute, I went, “actually, that kinda works. Given some of the stuff I’m into, I have no right to judge your sense of beauty, do I?” I’ve also had constant issues sticking with a persona almost anywhere, so why not use a beautiful, nigh-godly monster that seems just as indecisive?
The more I looked into GE, the more I realized that Venus was also unusually intelligent for an Aragami – if a little touched in the head. After all, art is largely a human thing. It takes intelligence to appreciate beauty in the same way that humans do.
Recently, my suspicions about Venus being special were confirmed by a years-old theory thread. According to an unknown (i.e. only debatably credible) source, Venus does not die when she is killed, and was human at one point:
“Well, according to a Japanese magazine, Venus is sorta a “Legendary Aragami”. Rumor between God Eaters says she used to be a beautiful Fenrir East Branch God Eater, obsessed with her beauty; she became infected by aragami cells and started rampaging as “you-know-who”, eating other aragami to survive. She became crazy, and became even more obsessed with her beauty, trying to become the perfect, ultimate being. Thats why she laughs so much, screams, grabs her head and move like a possessed, because she’s just a crazy lady who is bound to live like that forever, only to devour and become “perfect”.