Story/Art: Atsushi Ohkubo
Translation/Adaptation: Jack Wiedrick
What They Say
Shinigami-sama summons the strongest weapons from around the world to contain the rogue kishin and the spread of his madness. As these powerful weapons strategize for what will be the most difficult battle of their lives, the students of DWMA try to get back to their normal lives as best they can. For Maka, adjusting to the dangerous times is nothing compared to Crona’s struggle to adjust to life as a DWMA student!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
After the intense last volume, Soul Eater steps back for a moment of serenity for the students. While Death meets with other weapons called in from around the word to discuss the release and escape of Asura, Maka and the rest of the students are back to being kids again for a short while. We see them fighting witches and the like so often that when they act like normal kids, playing a game of basketball, it comes off as weird. The teachers also have a moment of reflection and introduction as we meet some new faces brought in to combat the released threat.
Maka is given the responsibility of showing the shy and abused Crona the campus. The process of including Crona in the activities of school life is slow going, and Crona is still a very damaged individual, as evident by his ability to write poetry so dark it can bring even the most outgoing student to their knees.
Crona isn’t the only one having a tough time at normal life. Dr. Stein spends many of the scenes he’s in during this volume locked in an internal struggle against the madness inside him. His already thin grasp of sanity is strained by his previous interaction with Medusa, and he knows it. His friends in the faculty know it to, and it’s probably only a matter of time before the madness seeping into the world breaks him.
Easing back into the business of soul eating, Maka, Soul, and Crona are sent off on a field trip to Europe to investigate a village of golem makers. What the end up finding there is a challenge bigger than they can handle, an enchanter named Giriko. He’s a weapon without a meister who’s every other line is a profanity laced tirade against the students and the world. (If you’re adverse to profanity you may want to skim his word balloons.) His rage is ridiculously overboard. Crona gets to fight on the side of good for the first time, and he’s still a force to be reckoned with. Even with the help of death weapon Justin, they can’t stop the resurrection of the next big enemy that the school will have to confront, the witch Arachne.
As the volume ends the next big confrontation is already underway, with a new organization to confront and new enemies to face. The pace may seem swift, but it all actually flows in a very natural gait that doesn’t seem rushed to get back to the action. The volume closes out with a preview of the next, a short nonsensical author’s note comic, and translation notes.
There are some nice quiet moments in this volume of Soul Eater. The calm doesn’t last for long though, and soon it’s back to battling the forces of madness. I still love the Seuss-meets-Gorey spin that Ohkubo puts on the real world locations that are visited in the story. Dr. Stein is growing into one of my favorite characters, and the new weapons introduced are a great combo of competence and flakiness. The quirky humor is still in full force too. I’m looking forward to the next volume.
Content Grade: B+
Art Grade: B +
Packaging Grade: B
Text/Translation Grade: B +
Readers Rating: [ratings]
Age Rating: 16+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: October 25th, 2011