Now I’ll be taking a look at the fourth volume of Atsushi Ohkubo’s Soul Eater series. This volume contains five chapters (10 to 14), with the black blood pretty much being the focus for most of them.
As usual, starting with the blurb:
Maka and Soul meet with Stein for an intensive tutoring lesson. Though Stein warns that they may not be able to resonate if they fail to complete the training, Maka insists, desperate to become stronger so that Soul is never hurt again. But Soul’s strange nightmares have made him reluctant to seek power, and his unwillingness to share his fears only frustrates his partner. With their soul wavelengths pulling apart, will the pair manage to come together when danger emerges on their next mission?
Chapter 10 is called ‘The Experiment (Part 1)’, and begins with Eruka breaking the ‘Man with the Demon Eye’ out of the witch jail. We learn that the man is immortal and able to use ice magic as well.
As stated in the blurb, Maka and Soul undergo special training – however, things don’t work out in their favour as a simple argument results in their souls falling out of alignment.
Elsewhere, Medusa meets with the ‘Demon-Eye Man’, who calls himself Free. She asks him to crush a certain weapon and meister from the DWMA.
The second half of the chapter takes place in London, where Maka, Soul, Black☆Star and Tsubaki encounter Free.
Naturally Black☆Star leaps into battle, but he is unable to handy Tsubaki’s Uncanny Sword mode, leaving Maka and Soul to confront Free. Free reveals he is a wolf-man.
Elsewhere, Medusa observes the battle.
‘The Experiment (Part 2)’ is the name of chapter 11. Maka tries to fight Free, but her inability to sync souls with Soul leaves her at a disadvantage. Fortunately, though Free can use magic, he is also out of practice and manages to impale himself with an icicle.
For part of the battle Maka uses Tsubaki, but ultimately she ends up going back to Soul – though not without some arguing. However, Tsubaki is able to put a halt to that, and the pair are able to use soul resonance.
That was what Medusa was watching for – if a weapon has black blood, the soul resonance causes a weapon’s soul to engulf its meister. Of course, Soul fights against this and the two are able to put up a decent battle against Free.
At the end of the chapter, Maka coughs up some black blood.
After the (sort of) serious battle against Free, chapter 12 is the ‘Ultimate Written Exam’, which focuses on the students of the DWMA preparing for their exams in their own ways. Black☆Star’s method is to cheat, but Stein catches him in the act.
When the exam actually happens, we see that Kid is far too concerned with writing his name perfectly, and that Patty makes a papercraft giraffe – a rather silly chapter, which serves as a nice cooldown after the battle against Free… and there’s also the small matter of what is yet to come.
Chapter 13, ‘Black Dragon (Part 1)’ focuses on Kid and his weapons as they row across the Baltic Sea in search of a ghost ship. The ship is called the Nidhogg, and onboard they encounter its captain, the Flying Dutchman.
Turns out Nidhogg and the Flying Dutchman are one and the same, and Liz gets separated from the other two. Of course, since it is a ghost ship, Liz spends most of the chapter being scared out of her wits whilst Kid and Patty deal with their enemy.
They reunite, and before Kid can do anything against his foe, Crona appears, taking Nidhogg (that would be the person, not the ship) out of commission.
Volume 4 finishes up with the 14th chapter, ‘Black Dragon (Part 2)’. Kid fights against Crona, putting up a better effort than Maka did previously as he is the son of the Grim Reaper.
Turns out Nidhogg wasn’t killed by Crona’s attack, so he interrupts their battle. Crona sinks the Nidhogg (that would be the ship) and retreats. Kid tries to chase after Crona, but gets distracted – Kid being Kid, he would rather take in the symmetry of the world than chase a threat to the DWMA.
One thing that concerns Kid is something Nidhogg said: ‘the kishin closest to you guys.’
Towards the end of the chapter, Maka discovers that she has no traces of black blood in her body, which confuses Medusa. Talking of Medusa, Stein confronts her – it’s clear that he’s had his suspicions about her, and he just outright asks if she’s a witch.
Medusa laughs it off, but Stein detects her intent to kill, even if it is just for a second.
Sid investigates Medusa’s home, but she had things prepared in case of intruders.
The chapter closes with Kid asking his father about the ‘kishin closest to us’, which he realises is the reason that Shinigami doesn’t stray far from Death City.
So as you can see, four out of five chapters have a connection with the black blood – Soul’s first battle since being infected with it and Crona appearing again. I suppose it does give Maka and Soul a unique powerup, but that’s only if they lern how to control it – at this point in the story, they’re pretty much in the hands of Medusa, which is not a good position to be in.
It’s nice to see the humour mixed in with the more serious parts – Free’s use of magic provides some comic relief in an otherwise serious fight, and the entire written exam chapter is a good laugh.
Another enjoyable volume of Soul Eater, though I suspect I’ll probably say that about all of them – I think the fact that it was originally serialised monthly means that each chapter has plenty of content to advance the plot. So far, no major battle has taken more than two chapters. Things do change in the future, though that’s bound to happen when you start involving more combatants.