It’s time for the Kaneko’s Crib Notes Xth Post Xtravaganza! While this celebration looks like a random smattering of demons from the Goetia, all of them were hand-picked to highlight the fact that there are a multitude of borderline cases with Kaneko’s art where you can clearly see the influence of a particular source without it being a definitive copy, or that the particular depiction is so commonplace it would seem moot to argue its effect on Kaneko’s demon design philosophy. The former criterion is the case with these five demons and their seminal, influential depictions by Louis Le Breton shown here on the left column, from the infamous Dictionnaire Infernal.
BAEL: Bael actually fits both of the descriptors above; the triple-headed, spider-legged look is certainly iconic, while the SMT1 alters a few details here and there. Kaneko did try to mess with the formula with a Bael redesign for SMT2—with mixed results.
AGARES: Croc-rider Agares too is pretty close, but Kaneko’s surprisingly lacks the hawk Agares holds and the spurs on his footwear. Agares himself also looks a bit more like Furcas with the heavy disheveled hair, minus the bald spot, and beard.
PAIMON: All the major details of Paimon are present in Kaneko’s work—dromedary, crown, some kind of cape or cloak—but otherwise this SMT design is quite original, even with those commonalities.
BERITH: Aside from the rearing horse and rider, Berith’s depictions couldn’t be more different! Breton’s big-headed (conceited!), regal Berith looks a better fit for the demon’s position of Duke within Hell’s hierarchy, while Kaneko’s knight version is just a tad dull by comparison.
GAAP: Gaap is one of many winged, horned demons and Kaneko seemingly mimics this common archetype with great acuity. However, one big, somewhat unsettling detail is missing: look close at the original Gaap art and you’ll notice that a smaller figure is riding on his shoulders. This is probably a direct reference to the demonology descriptions that identify one of Gaap’s abilities as being able to “carry men between kingdoms.” Also, the original Gaap has ears of a size that would make a political cartoonist swoon!
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