SOUL EATER – 05
Having arrived at Dr. Franken Stein’s lab, Maka and the others are greeted by the man himself after he stumbles out of the door on his office chair. When they confront him about what he’s doing, Stein explains that his motives are observation and research. In fact, he considers everything in the world to be research materials, and he immediately notices that Maka and Soul’s soul wavelengths aren’t stabilized. Black*Star doesn’t care about this and attacks, but Stein blocks and counters the moves without ever leaving his chair. As he battles Maka and Black*Star, Stein suddenly remembers that Maka is the daughter of someone called Spirit. Maka recognizes that name as the one that her father had before becoming Death Scythe, and as it turns out, Stein had experimented on her father. Stein then charges at her while still in his chair and knocks her down with just the palm of his hand.
Death the Kid is watching the battle with his father and is shocked to see this because it means that Stein hit his opponent without amplifying his soul’s wavelength through a weapon like other meisters have to do. Maka is so rattled by this move that she wildly charges at the now standing Stein, and he easily sends her flying back with just a burst of energy from his hand. Stein then grabs Maka and starts thinking about cutting her open. Fortunately for her, Black*Star then jumps back into the battle and reveals that Stein isn’t the only one who can directly attack with his soul wavelength by using his Big Wave attack. However, this has almost no effect on Stein because he had already figured out Black*Star’s soul wavelength, matched his own to that, and nullified the power of the attack. Stein counters by using his power to fry Black*Star’s head, leaving the boy a bloody unconscious mess.
The combination of Black*Star’s defeat and the enormous soul she sees in Stein shocks Maka so much that she no longer believes that they can win. Soul, however, refuses to accept the idea of giving up before fighting and tells her that she only saw Stein’s soul, not the future. He also points out that Stein is actually waiting for them, and all this convinces Maka to keep fighting. She and Soul immediately initiate a Resonace of Souls and charge up Witch Hunter attack, but Stein halts it with his bare hands. After much struggling on both sides, Stein is able to shatter the attack, and he approaches the defeated Maka. Soul is quick to protect her, but to his and Maka’s surprise, Stein suddenly announces that he’s giving them passing grades. Apparently he had been asked by Shinigami-sama to administer their supplementary lessons, and this all was part of that.
The following day, the group attends class, still tired from their supplementary lessons. To their shock, Dr. Franken Stein shows up – in his chair – as their new teacher.
So it was a head fake after all – all that just to teach Maka and company a lesson. I really liked the fight – Stein using the office chair part was every bit as great as I hoped it would be, and it’s a shame he couldn’t spend the entire battle in it – but I’m a little disappointed because I was hoping that this would be the start of a bigger story arc with either Stein or someone else as the villain and/or more about Maka’s mother. Instead, this was merely a cool battle that had more explanation about soul wavelengths, and it basically resets at the end with the only difference being Stein as the new teacher. That’s not necessarily bad thing since it’s still relatively early in the series, but what I’m really interested in seeing from now on is the development of something more involved in the overall plot.
As for Stein, I really like his character, but why the heck does he keep needing to screw his head? Is that to power his soul or something (his soul apparently has a screw in it too)? Since he’s a good guy now, I wonder if we’ll be seeing him putting his apparently amazing powers to good use for the students. For the time being though, it looks like next episode is about Death the Kid attending the school and going up against both Black*Star and Soul. Hopefully the story pacing will pick up a bit.