After Ashura kills and consumes Arachne’s soul, he transforms and surrounds himself with a barrier. Excalibur realizes that this is so that Ashura can heal his body after the fight with Shinigami-sama, and Kid, Black*Star, and Maka all head into the black bubble before it seals shut. The three reunited friends and their weapons are shocked to see how much Ashura has changed, but they’re still ready to fight and use Soul’s music to create a resonance link. However, although each of them brings out their most powerful weapon forms, none of them are able to do any damage against Ashura. Maka has a growing feeling of uneasiness as the battle goes on, and it all comes to a head when, internally, the red demon sneaks up on Soul and absorbs him. This reverts Soul back to this human form, leaving Maka without a weapon.
Since everyone is unsure of what happened, Ashura reveals that Soul used too much power. Surrounding the three with illusions, Ashura explains that Soul is paying the price for continuing to use a power that doesn’t correspond with his own abilities. Black*Star dispels the illusions, and he and Kid keep Ashura busy while Maka enters Soul’s internal world. Inside, she finds it void of any color, and there’s a door right beside her. On the other side of the door is a long set of stairs and several more doors, and it all eventually leads Maka to a room with a blue door. Within this room, which has color, Maka finds a phonograph playing music and a black and white Soul who claims that he’s been waiting for her. Back in the real world, Ashura easily knocks Black*Star and Kid aside, but they protect Maka and Soul from being destroyed by Ashura’s mouth beam, and they’re ready to settle things.
I wouldn’t call this episode boring, but it doesn’t feel like much happened this week. They spent a lot of time on the fighting, which was fun to watch but ultimately futile because – unlike Shinigami-sama – no one could even scratch Ashura. A significant amount of time was also showing Marie feeling bad about Crona, Giriko being no match for Justin, and Azusa recapping what was going on for Sid. The only really important things that happened then are that Ashura transformed and that Soul finally lost to his inner demon/the black blood. Concerning Ashura, I suspect they made him look bigger and uglier to give Maka and company a more monster-like foe to fight, i.e. evoking the classic idea of slaying a giant. And that’s fine except that Ashura now feels like a more generic, less powerful final boss – in these kinds of shounen titles, small and agile is normally much stronger than giant and daunting.
As for Soul, I’m curious to see where they take this development, and the preview seems to show him giving Maka a box and key. The one thing that crossed my mind during this scene was that it could have been a kiss, but I guess their relationship isn’t really romantic, and that’s probably the wrong mindset for this series in general. In any case, I’m excited about next week’s episode because it looks like something will happen to Kid – related to his father perhaps – and he’ll probably receive his final power-up or something along those lines. Only two more episodes to go…