Shemhazai is the second of two female Espers, the other being Ultima. She represents the zodiac sign Sagittarius, hence the fact that she is half giant horse.
XII’s female representation in regards to the Espers isn’t all that amazing, especially because of the 5:1 male-to-female ratio and the fact that two of the male Espers (Mateus and Zalera) use women’s bodies as human shields. Shemhazai’s design, though, does not really give off a sexual feel. She’s wearing hardly anything on her lower half, but the human and feminine parts of her body aren’t made into fanservice. Shemhazai, the half-woman-half-horse demon, is no more sexual than Belias, the half-man-half-sheep demon.
There are also some really interesting gender-related implications hidden in Shemhazai’s lore.
Though she once served the gods as a guardian, when Ultima announced her rebellion, Shemhazai went to her, whispering of the gods’ hidden weaknesses. She then descended upon the land without leave of the gods, and taught men of destruction and evil. For this was she stricken down and bound.
Ultima commands all of the Espers, but she and Shemhazai - the only two female Espers - seem to have a special amount of camaraderie between them. All of the Espers played a part in the rebellion against the gods, but Shemhazai and Ultima really were the ones to make it happen. It’s definitely not a coincidence that these two were both bound to the Great Crystal.
What I also find interesting is that there’s a bit of debate over the demon on whom Shemhazai is based. Some believe that “Samyaza” is simply another name for Satan or Lucifer; Luke 10:18 is a quote from Jesus describing Satan’s fall - “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” However, the story of the Esper Ultima in XII and Tactics strongly suggests that she was based in part off of Lucifer, so that almost seems to imply another connection of sorts between Shemhazai and Ultima.
Another theory, however, is that Samyaza is not Satan but a completely different fallen angel. Some believe him to be one of the first fathers of Nephilim (half-angel, half-human) children. According to Jewish myth, Samyaza wed the maiden Istahar (often referred to as Ishtar) and told her God’s true name. This had to have been the inspiration for Shemhazai being the one to whisper the secrets of the gods to Ultima.
I’m not exactly an expert at Judeo-Christian myths, but I was surprised at just how much stuff there was to find about Samyaza. Almost all of it is relevant to Shemhazai in some way, meaning that Square Enix definitely did their homework for this Esper.
What’s with the rubbing?
just dean marveling at the beauty of their love child
The British rowing team stripped to fight homophobia.
They stripped to fight homophobia—I love them so much right now!
This is the fourth year in a row they’re done this. I thank them.
hehehe in a row
I’d like to be in that row, if ya know what I mean
i bet their hands can do more than just feather, if ya know what i mean
no i don’t that was a horribly oblique specialized pun thanks for using inaccessible language