With all the mythologies and name origins in DxD mixes up (not to mention several mistakes in the transliteration) I wonder if there is any post that specifically discuss about them. Since I've found none and I am a fan of mythologies myself, I decided to write this post.
This post will try to describe and discuss the source material aspect of mythology and stories which makes up the characters in our beloved series. Note that since Ishibumi took liberty of the characterization, please do not discuss their traits and in-story feats unless it is related to the real life/popular source material aspect of the character.
While this post will be kept up-to-date, it will come in an irregular basis since I cannot visit here quite often.
However, feel free to contribute with your own findings.
P.S. I arrange this by order of characters rather than the mythology they based on (it's easier this way. Besides, not all elements of the original lore are adopted). Also, SPOILERS ABOUND. If you do not catch up with the latest volume and the side stories, including the infamous EX spin-off, then you'll possibly lose the in-story explanation of the myths.
DxD MYTHOLOGY BESTIARY
PART 1: THE OCCULT RESEARCH CLUB
(I keep it empty since he is the main character [original one] and see how he develops his character, and most of his mythological aspects are his Sacred Gear and Ddraig).
(by extension the whole Gremory family, excluding Grayfia).
- As we all know, Gremory is one of the Devils in Ars Goetia, the 56th of 72, and holds the title of Duke. In the original Ars Goetia incarnation, Gremory commands 26 legions of lesser demons, and associated with events foretelling (all past, present and future), hidden treasures, and love, especially women/maidens. Most depictions are drawn as a beautiful duchess with a crown around the waist, and riding a camel.
- In-story allusions:
- Rias, as we all know and love, is a beautiful woman (with duchess-like exterior personality as well), and has a strong sense of love as a Gremory family trait.
- The radiant crimson hair is not an original trait, but I think it is more like tying with Issei's Sekiryuutei moniker.
- All members of the Gremory family also has a knack for treasures, each with their own preference (in the DX1 short story Ultimate!!! Oni-chan Mask!, Rias keeps all of her earned stuff in her house. The hidden treasure aspect comes into play when we learned that her prized stuff are all things Japanese. On the other hand, Sirzechs' hidden treasures are all things Rias. Hilarity ensues).
- Rias is afraid of camels but camel is her clan mascot (called Gomorrin, appears in an SS where Sairaorg needs to play a role as Bael clan mascot), which is funny when you consider the fact above.In one cover, Rias is drawn with a crown, alluding to the above fact.
- The Gremory domain is said to be similar in size with the Honshu Island of Japan. which alludes to the 26 legions of demons controlled in the original incarnation.
Asia mainly evokes the Holy Maiden archetype due to her origin as a healer and sister of the church, and examples are abound. I still cannot find examples of biblical/mythological healers who can be alluded to her (since patron saints of healing have many figures), but from her backstory, she has the vein of a combination of Mary Magdalene and Mother Theresa.
- From her father's side, Akeno has Fallen Angel blood. This means that Akeno is technically a Nephilim, where most popular opinions and depictions (in Christianity) dictate that they are offsprings between angels (who is not staying in heaven, most allusions will refer these as Fallen Angels or specifically, the Grigori/Irin/Watchers) and human women. As a side note, some commentaries noted that the Nephilim is meant as an anecdote of "a superhuman race", that is, humans with strong potential, and it shows.
- From her mother's side, Akeno is a descendant of a Japanese noble family who controls one of the Sacred Beasts. I have two explanations for this aspect:
- The Five Great Families (in turn the Sacred Beasts) is based on the Five Aspects of Chinese Constellation, which is adopted by the Japanese as a symbol of the Emperor and his protectors. The Himejima (literally "Princess Island"), which is Akeno's clan, controls the Sacred Beast Suzaku (Zhu Que, "the Vermillion Bird" in Chinese). Suzaku in Taoist elemental system represents fire and summer, as well as positioned at south direction (which alludes with the position of Jonangu Shrine in Kyoto).
- Incidentally, the five-clan system alludes to the five Japanese noble clans (the Imperial Clan and the Gempeitōkitsu, 4 noble clans of Japan).
- In-story Allusions:
- Her father is Baraqiel, one of Grigori's leaders (will be discussed in detail in the Grigori section). This grants her strong potential with magic, in addition to the genetic powers (Holy Lightning) she inherited. Holy Lightning itself is an allusion to Baraqiel's name (which is already explained in the story proper).
- The Himejimas are a family of Miko (shrine priests) residing in Kyoto. While the shrine is not stated (even in Slash/Dog), it is heavily implied that they are the resident priests of Jonangu Shrine in-story. Shuri, her mother, is one of them, but is forced to exile after she met Baraqiel.
- In addition, the Himejima theme-naming quirk stems from Suzaku's fire and summer allignment, in addition to, again, match Issei's Sekiryuutei moniker (naming prominent in-story characters after red and its variation, like Akeno ["red"], Suou ["Sappanwood" a plant known for producing a reddish dye], Shuri [朱璃, "scarlet"], and Kurenai [紅, "crimson']. The exceptions are Ageha [揚羽, "Swallowtail"], and Tobio [鳶雄, "male black kite"]).
- Akeno herself is not a Sacred Beast user, but her future son, Kurenai, is one. However, he does not control Suzaku proper (will be discussed in the Hyoudou-Gremory family section).
- Most of Kiba's mythological/historical aspects comes during his stint of the Holy Sword Project and his weapons.
- First of all, his codename during the above said experiment is "Isaiah". Isaiah is one of the prophets in Abrahamic faith (yes, Muslims also considered Isaiah to be a prophet, but he is not in the primary 25) whose scripture, the Book of Isaiah, is considered a Biblical Canon in Jewish and Christian traditions. Gregory of Nyssa (c. 335–395), believed that the Prophet Isaiah "knew more perfectly than all others the mystery of the religion of the Gospel". Jerome (c. 342–420) also lauds the Prophet Isaiah, saying, "He was more of an Evangelist than a Prophet, because he described all of the Mysteries of the Church of Christ so vividly that you would assume he was not prophesying about the future, but rather was composing a history of past events." Of specific note are the songs of the Suffering Servant which Christians say are a direct prophetic revelation of the nature, purpose and detail of the death of Jesus Christ (Wiki, with various sources).
- When you first see about Kiba's Sacred Gear, Sword Birth, some of you may recognize it as Archer's Unlimited Blade Works Noble Phantasm in Fate/Stay Night. Well, you're not entirely wrong. However, both Sword Birth and Unlimited Blade Works owe its concept from a real historical event during the early Sengoku period of the last Ashikaga shogun, Yoshiteru. On 1565, when his small force was attacked by a large coalition Miyoshi force, Yoshiteru knew he was more or less screwed but was determined to go down fighting. Bringing out numerous katana (some sources say a dozen, others say around a score), he plunged them into the floorboards of his castle in preparation. He then killed numerous enemy troops, throwing aside priceless swords that broke down as their blades became notched and grabbing new ones from the floor. But with no help arriving in time from supporters, Yoshiteru and his few troops were overrun.
- Oh, and his flash step? while it is true he uses his demonic powers to enhance his speed, it is possible the technique is passed down to him from his swordmaster mentor, Okita Soji. Real-life Okita is known to be a lightning fast swordsman, and some animes depict him using flash steps as one of his signature skill along with his Tennen Rishin Ryu. Also, this is very much true in real-life Japanese Kenjutsu schools (even the sporterized one like Kendo) where many masters will teach their students to do a pre-emptive strike, making it like a flash step to their opponents.
- Kiba's new Demonic swords, acquired from Siegfried, are all from Norse Mythology:
- As an interesting note, Gram, Balmung, and Nothung in the original mythology and the works are basically the same sword (this depends on the author which name is used for the sword), but here they are differentiated, each with its own unique attributes and abilities. In addition, Tyrfing and Dainsleif are said to be bloodthirsty swords, in that these must taste blood everytime they are unsheathed (which is surprisingly similar to the legend of the swords of Muramasa).
- In-Story Allusions:
First off, I just want to remind that while her anglicized name becomes stuck as it is, it was a mistransliteration (which causes me a bit confusion when her son's name, Zen, is revealed. In this sense, his name should be Xen instead of Zen, but that would lose its dual-meaning nature). I heard from zxzxzx that it was intentional, so here it is just a matter of preference. The kana, ゼノヴィア, is read "Zenovia". I suspect that Ishibumi actually meant it to reference the famous Romano-Levantine Queen Zenobia, but intentionally used the modern form (well, let's face it, the v spelling sounds cooler than b. However, not even all western readers are familiar with the name [except perhaps the Greek readers]). In Romano-Levantine history, Zenobia was a warrior-queen of Palmyra, Syria, and the second wife of the King Odaenathus, who led the rebellion against the Roman Empire and successfully conquered Egypt.
Her sword, Durandal (or Durendal) is the sword of Charlemagne's paladin Roland (which is very much explained in the novel about its history and characteristics). Unlike the BFS DxD version however, the original incarnation of Durandal is just your simple arming sword (a common type of double-edged sword in Europe, typically used by knights in shining armor and wielded in one hand), since well, it is a Japanese Shonen story.