A long time ago–last summer, in fact–I was asked by @nagabenang about Nocturne’s use of Kabbalistic elements, mainly the names representing the candelabra/menorahs. I was interested as well, so I looked up how the names corresponded but unfortunately had to shelve the idea of diving any deeper…until now.
Here’s how the candelabra and their Fiends match up to their respective sephirot on the Tree of Life, as seen above:
- Demi-fiend: Sovereignty (王国のメノラー); Malkuth
- Matador: Foundation (基礎のメノラー); Yesod
- Daisoujou: Eternity (永遠のメノラー); Netzach
- Hell Biker: Dignity (威厳のメノラー[栄光]); Hod
- White Rider: Compassion (慈悲のメノラー); Chesed
- Red Rider: Insight (理解のメノラー ); Binah
- Black Rider: Wisdom (知恵のメノラー); Chokhmah
- Dante: Knowledge (知識のメノラー); Daath
- Pale Rider: Majesty (王冠のメノラー); Kether
- Mother Harlot: Beauty (美のメノラー); Tiferet
- Trumpeter: Godliness (神威のメノラー[神々しい力]); Gevurah
The assumption you might make (I know I always did) with the incorporation of sephirot symbolism is that Nocturne is making a statement about the Demi-fiend’s journey or overall spiritual development as a result of Lucifer’s candelabra game. With the Candelabrum of Sovereignty given to him by Lucifer, representing Malkuth, the lowest sephira and the one farthest away from Kether, the “crown” and highest emanation, you infer that the Demi-fiend is at the bottom of the pecking order but expected to move along the “board,” so to speak, in a way that reflects internal development as the physical struggle illustrates external development.
But to save myself some writing and you some reading: this doesn’t actually work, sadly. It seems to be on the right track up until White Rider at Chesed, but the idea of some secret, ordered Kabbalistic subtext falls apart at Pale Rider’s placement via his candelabrum. It just doesn’t make sense for him to be at the highest level of the Tree when he isn’t the last one you fight; Trumpeter should have been the Majesty/Kether rep instead.
I also included and analyzed two other “journeys,” also included in the photoset, that show the orders in which you can collect the candelabra (based on earliest possible opportunity) and the placement of the candelabra on each of the five pedestals in the Labyrinth of Amala. The collection order shows just how weird the intended fight order is while the placement order reveals that there is no adherence to the 22 paths of the Tree of Life or even a linear advancement on the Tree’s “rows.”
All told, this was a neat concept but inconsistently executed. I am by no means a Kabbalah expert, as there’s a density and intensity to the subject of which I can’t match from my mere casual interest, but I do know that you wouldn’t reach the goal (Kether) and then take a sharp turn around to a lower level. A little more careful placement and consideration and this could have been as resonant as as some of the themes found in the core game.