Filed under: Manga, Soul Eater | Tags: chapter 67, Manga, masami ookubo, Soul Eater
Chapter 67 of Masami Ookubo’s Soul Eater is out, translated, and blogged by Anime Kritik! w00t! For the first time ever, I’ve followed a monthly release and blogged the next chapter a month after the last one! Pretty exciting stuff for me. Anyway, this is a pretty nice chapter, and I definitely feel like it’s in the ‘groove’. For me, Ookubo has a sort of order that happens in his arcs – they start off well enough, then they get a little rocky, shape up for some great chapters in the middle, get a little rocky again, and then explode in a giant train of EPIC chapters.
The reason for this change in ‘grooves’ is quite simple – Ookubo is a great artist, great fight choreographer, and great character writer, but he can’t really handle a plot. Soul Eater’s plot is totally simple, and the characters and fights are what make it so great, so when he tries to explain the story too much, the manga can sag – it’s a necessary sag, because that little bit of plot will then spawn a fuckload of amazing fights that are driven with that much more purpose by the plot, but nonetheless it means dredging through the exposition.
Chapter 67 is part of that little bit of great chapters in the middle of an arc (really I should split between ‘early middle’ and ‘late middle’, this being ‘early middle’) which as usual involves the characters going somewhere to investigate something and exposing a part of the larger plot puzzle while also fighting some kind of monster. This has been great sometimes (Kid on the train, Black Star and Tsubaki at the village) and kind of iffy at others (Kid, Liz, and Patty on the ghost ship, Maka and Soul fighting the original clown, which got better as it went).
This time started out really, really great in chapter 66 which was a blast, and while 67 was good, it faulted in a way expressed by one question – “how do you fight a clown?” The original clown fight was pretty cool because it took place entirely inside of Maka’s mind and showed an example of the trippy edge that makes Soul Eater so fuckwin. This time, that was canceled by the plot because the Black Clown isn’t as strong madness-wise. So the fight has to get physical, but how does the Clown fight? The thing is designed in such a way that it can’t really do cool combat, and Ookubo figured this out himself since he pretty much had to make the fight a whole lot of Kilik wailing on the damn thing with his pot fists.
This image here was seriously almost enough to redeem the entire fight. Just thinking about how this would look in motion with Kilik flipping back through the tentacles as they cut through the ground is fucking badass – I almost wish it had been a series of two images, but I also think it’s amazing how perfectly Ookubo sells me on exactly what kind of motion is happening just in one image. The fact that there are no action lines on Kilik are what make this so brilliant – we can infer just from his being on one hand and the movement of the tentacles exactly what happened. Brilliant.
And then we get THIS!
Holy shit! Seriously though, this raises so many goddamn questions! Are Fire and Thunder actually teenagers who are in the form of small kids? Do they just have so much power in this moment that the bodies of children aren’t enough to contain it? FIRE IS A DUDE?! (Doesn’t make him any less cute, but as usual with gender identity revelations, it makes you want to go back and reread every part he appeared with this in mind!) Naturally, the older versions look badass (doesn’t everything in Soul Eater?) which is great because the kids always gave me a feeling of intense badassery themselves. And damn that was one big explosion!
After their fight with some surprise expository interjections by Medusa, we cut to Black Star and Tsubaki, who seem intent to be more and more badass with every appearance. Now, mind you, Black Star was quite badass right from the beginning. Anyone who didn’t think so was probably sold by his attitude in the Tsubaki’s brother mini-arc, and yet even with all that badassery, he STILL went of and Took A Level In Badass (I should add him to that article, actually) and came back to have one of the most badass fucking fights in manga I’ve ever seen. Now, evidently, he’s so badass that the story can’t even touch him. It’s like he’s physically incapable of being less than completely badass. And look at this!
Sure, we’ve known ever since that fight with Sid-sensei early on that Black Star is a better ninja than he acts like he is, but holy hell! He didn’t just sense the presence of someone, or just hear their footsteps from an absurd distance, but he actually sensed the acutely sporadic rhythm of the footsteps characteristic of the unstable personality exhibited by Chrona. BOOM.
There’s not much else to say about that run-in since it’s just starting, so now I have some things to say directly in reply to Anime Kritik’s post linked above.
First, in regards to the pots. The way Soul Eater is written (and maybe this is added perspective from having marathoned the manga and seeing several years of work laid out nicely before me) I kind of figure that Ookubo intends to explore the inner workings of every character at some point. Some of the minor characters who probably would never get a full-on exposition, like Free or Mosquito, get enough stated through their actions and dialog that we feel an understanding of their character. I think every character gets at least that much, even boiling down to the likes of the ghost ship captain who at least gets enough personal lines to be remembered at all.
The pots are very difficult to relate to just because they don’t talk. I think it would be totally unreasonable, though, to think that any of the named weapons or meisters wouldn’t get some kind of personality. Harvard and Jackie got it in their meisters’ major scenes, the bandaged woman who’s name escapes me gets it through her strong opinions on the situations around her – the pots are bound to get something. So far, while we’ve gotten Kilik’s personality, he is still the least developed character of the band, so while this little episode was a start, I’d like to think we can still expect a major expository chapter for Kilik and his Pots to come at some point. Probably during the next EPIC final battle of an arc.
And as for Medusa… maybe it was because of the translation, but I thought it seemed like Medusa wasn’t so much saying that what Arachne did was not a bad idea so much as that specifically her black clowns were not a bad idea. I think that Medusa’s plan right now is to harvest (an army of?) black clowns as a way of spreading madness faster and more to her liking (since it seems she operates them) and drive the world faster towards her vision and less relying on the Kishin. After all, even if the world plunges into madness, she wouldn’t want that madness resting in the potentially unreliable hands of the Kishin who could die or get killed or ruin everything somehow – it’d be much better to have your own finger on the pulse of the madness. She’s very independent, after all~
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