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And it grew both day and night,
Till it bore an apple bright.
—Opening words from William Blake's "A Poison Tree", Devil May Cry 5

The demon tree Qliphoth (クリフォト, Kurifoto?) is the crux of the story in Devil May Cry 5.

StoryEdit

According to V, the Qliphoth is an ancient demonic tree that existed before the birth of the Underworld itself and, when sufficiently nourished, grows a fruit that imbues any demon that consumes it with divine power. Only one fruit can grow every few thousand years. Trish states the last being to consume the fruit was Mundus, and in doing so he became King of Underworld. Formerly the Qliphoth was prevented from manifesting in the Human World by the seal placed by Sparda. Cut off from its source of nourishment, the tree did not produce fruit for two thousand years.[1]

The Qliphoth thrives on human blood, and those whose blood it sucks are turned into lifeless husks. As a tree born in the Underworld, it is the inverse of trees from the mortal plane: the Qliphoth's branches are located deep beneath the ground, while its thorny roots grow up to the surface and eventually into the sky. When fully manifested, the tree possesses the power to fuse the Human World and the Demon World into one whole.[2][3][4]

DMC5 Qliphoth Humans Husks

Human victims of the Qliphoth.

The Qlipthoth has a symbiotic relationship with a species of demons called Empusa, ant-like monstrosities which are sent out to slaughter humans and bring their blood back to the tree's root system. It is also the host of a parasitic species called the Nidhogg. At least one full-grown adult Nidhogg attaches to the root system when the Qliphoth sprouts in Red Grave City, and a large number of immature hatchlings are dotted around the city close to weak points of the roots. The adult is described by Nico as having a symbiotic relationship with the tree, but the hatchlings are extremely destructive, voraciously devouring sections of the root system if they can find a suitable point to enter it.

Human and demon blood is concentrated in the Qliphoth's root system in bulging red structures referred to as "Blood Clots," which provide nourishment for nearby roots: without this supply, the roots quickly crumble into white powder. The tree does not appear to be capable of metabolizing demon blood, instead mostly storing it in tumor-like caches that sprout up from the ground near its root system.

The Qliphoth's roots are a constant obstacle to the protagonists as the story unfolds, with destroying root clusters in order to hamper the demon tree's growth being an objective for Nero and V throughout the first half of the story. Nero's entry to Red Grave City is barred by a particularly large Qliphoth root cluster, V goes after a cluster guarded by the Nidhogg, and even the mighty demon machine Gilgamesh is revealed upon its defeat to be a Qliphoth root cluster coated in demonic metal.

As it turns out, the reason why the Qliphoth invaded Red Grave City was because Urizen wanted to feast on the demonic fruit to gain power. It is unclear if Urizen broke the seal himself, or if the manifestation of the Qliphoth is a delayed result of the opening of the Hell Gate on Fortuna.

Urizen succeeds in his goal of fully manifesting the Qliphoth in the human world, and manages to consume the fruit of the tree to augment his demonic powers: however, he is still defeated by Dante, but joins with V to resurrect Vergil. Vergil relocates to the top of the fully-formed root system, now towering over Red Grave City, and it is here that he has his climactic battle with first Dante and then Nero. In the end, Dante and Vergil elect to journey to the Underworld to sever the Qliphoth's roots at their source, sealing the portal between the worlds once again and trapping themselves in the demonic realm, seemingly forever.

FileEdit

Nico's Enemy Report - Qliphoth Roots
We're seeing these bundles of Qliphoth roots all over Red Grave. The outer skin on 'em is so thick you'd have to spend hours working on 'em with your sword or gun to cut through. Figures—what other kind of plant would survive in the underworld?
Luckily these shrinkin' violets wear their hearts on their sleeves. Look for the pulsating mass of red somewhere within the roots. My theory is that these spots are like hearts, pumping collected blood into the Qliphoth.
Well, like any gal knows, if you put your heart out in the open then it's gonna get broke. Take out the pulsating red blobs and the roots should wither.
Just try not to think about how much blood they needed to get that big...
Documents - The Qliphoth
The Qliphoth is said to be the tree of life that resides in the demon world. It is the source of all life and gathers human blood—the source of demonic power. Once every several thousand years, the tree bears fruit made of this condensed blood.
Whoever should eat the fruit gains sovereign power to rule over all. Trish told of a demon named Mundus, who consumed one of these fruits to become the king of the underworld. The Qliphoth never bore fruit again after Mundus, as Sparda separated the worlds of demon and man.
But now, the border between these worlds is no more, and the Qliphoth is sure to bear fruit once again, I dare say the tree has appeared on the surface for this very reason.
The laws of the underworld differ from ours... Unlike the trees of our world, the Qliphoth grows from the surface to the deep underground. If you wish to reach the point where the fruit grows, you must head straight down.
And I doubt you need me to tell you what manner of abomination waits below...

StrategyEdit

Qliphoth roots are present in a lot of locations and are usually connected to a Blood Clot, a structure filled with human blood. These roots serve a purpose of being a blockade to the player. And to remove these vile coils, the core (Blood Clot) must be destroyed. After bursting the main source of energy, the roots will no longer be supported and crumble into dust, unlocking the pathway.

Sometimes, the chain of roots could be very complicated and twisted, which are likely to confuse the player. Because of that, always pay attention to which line was destroyed to successfully proceed and not get caught in the demonic maze.

The Qliphoth can also sprout tentacles from the ground to attack the unwary: these tentacles are stationary and can only attack if a player character moves close to them. They will either flail around to deal damage with their spines, or stab with the stinger at their tip. Their weak point is a miniature Blood Clot at their base, and they are very susceptible to long-range moves such as Nero's charged shots, Kalina Ann or Griffon's Flank Attack.

Qliphoth RootsEdit

Main article: Mission 01: Nero

In Mission 01, a boss titled Qliphoth Roots must be fought in order to proceed. This boss is a massive stationary Blood Clot surrounded by a number of enlarged Qliphoth tentacles, which lack the usual weak point at their base. The only part of the boss that takes damage is the Blood Clot. Nero can use his Buster Arm or Buster on it if it takes damage quickly enough to "stun" it, indicated by it briefly losing its red color.

The boss' attacks do not come from the Blood Clot itself, but from the many tentacles around it: these will sweep the ground or stab at Nero with their scorpion-like stingers. On Son of Sparda difficulty and above, it also gains the ability to spawn Hell Antenoras to defend itself.

EtymologyEdit

The Qliphoth (Hebrew: קְלִיפּוֹת) are the representations of forces that act to oppose or conceal God's power in Kabbalah, an esoteric form of Judaism. Qliphoth literally means "husks" (the term is the plural of qlippah), the Devil May Cry Qliphoth reducing its human victims to crumbling husks is possibly a reference to this. The Qliphoth are often defined as the opposite of the Sephiroth's "tree of life," a diagram of the ten aspects in which God's power is revealed.

Some of mythological references associated with the Qliphoth, such as it having a parasite called Nidhogg, are allusions to Yggdrasil, the world-tree of Norse mythology.

The fruit could be a reference to the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge in the Bible's Book of Genesis, also commonly depicted as an apple.

TriviaEdit

  • Qliphoth roots behave very similarly to the Strange Trees found in Mitis Forest on Fortuna. It is not clear if the demon infestation of that forest was an early incursion of the Qliphoth into the mortal world, or if this is simply how all demon tree roots behave.
  • According to concept artist Rintaro Komori's comment in Devil May Cry 5 Official Art Works, because Qliphoth confused Dante with his blood brother Vergil, the current demon king, it didn't attack the defeated Dante and formed a throne for him.[5]

ReferencesEdit

  1. "The Qliphoth never bore fruit again after Mundus, as Sparda separated the worlds of demon and man." - The intro to DMC 1 places this event "two millenniums ago."
  2. Devil May Cry 5: Before the Nightmare, Chapter 24 - V: "In the middle of the central square, the divine tree Qliphoth stretched out and grew, grew inexorably, closer to the sun — and, as it grew, the human world came closer and closer to the demon world."
  3. Devil May Cry 5, Nico Report — Hell Caina: "These things only appeared on the mortal plane be possessing a wooden doll, lump of clay, or something similar. Now? Those creeps walkin' around Red Grave are the genuine article. It's a sign that the barriers between the demon world and the human world are breaking down."
  4. Devil May Cry 5, Nero: "Enough, dammit! The Underworld is taking over, and we need to do something before it's too late."
  5. Devil May Cry 5 Official Art Works p.183: ダンテが魔界樹に襲われなかったのは、ダンテが魔王であるバージルと双子の兄弟であることから、魔界樹が誤認識したというイメージでした。そういった理由で、魔王の王座のように変形した魔界樹がダンテの周辺にあります。


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