The Experiment (Part 1)
|←Chapter 9: "Persevering Soul"||Chapter 11: "The Experiment (Part 2)" →|
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|Maka Albarn has realized she will grow stronger by facing her fears, so she asks Franken Stein to tutor her how to improve her Soul Resonance with Soul Eater so she may be strong enough to protect Soul. This tutoring only agitates Maka and Soul, causing their soul wavelengths to diverge. They now face the Immortal Werewolf, the one who stole Maba's Demon Eye and has been freed by Medusa Gorgon. But as they confront this powerful Immortal, their diverging soul wavelengths prevent Maka from wielding Soul, leaving both vulnerable to an attack.|
The Experiment (Part 1) (頑張れる 魂, Ganbareru Tamashī) is the tenth chapter and thirteenth overall installment of the manga Soul Eater. It was adapted as Episode 13, "The Man with the Magic Eye – Soul and Maka's Diverging Soul Wavelength?" in the anime Soul Eater.
A goblet tumbles on a stone floor, its remaining drink spilling. This goblet fell from the hand of a prison guard, who is now asleep, much to the delight of Eruka Frog, who has successfully drugged this prisoner covertly. She hops across the floor, but it is her smell that alerts the attention of the infamous Prisoner 13, the man who stole the Demon Eye of the head witch Maba. Prisoner 13 sits, his feet restrained with a ball and chain and his hands held by clasps. Unable to see due to the blindfold of magical arrays over his eyes, he demands the frog identify herself. Eruka only introduces herself as someone present on behalf of someone else to release Free from prison. She has the key to his cell in her mouth, but before she may free Prisoner 13, he huffs, asking why he should accept someone else's help.
It seems that Prisoner 13 is easily convinced: he quickly departs the prison with Eruka. As she hops through the snowy forest surrounding the prison, so does the prisoner: his feet are still shackled with a ball and chain, and his arms are still bound by clamps.
The frightening Prisoner 13 is actually jovial, as he enthusiastically thanks Eruka for freeing him. The prisoner is quick to say that he is too powerful for any witch to stop, so to make conversation he tells Eruka to ask him why he was imprisoned; Eruka is not interested, telling him to hurry before the guards catch up to them. But Prisoner 13 persists, saying he wanted to imitate the characters in movies who dig escape tunnels out of their prison cells—but the Witch Jail meals came with only chopsticks. Prisoner 13 therefore concludes that he is not an "idea man." Despite her rush to escape, Eruka happens to mention that Prisoner 13 could have escaped by urinating on the cell bars: his urine would rust the iron little by little. Prisoner 13 stops hopping, then proceeds to find the nearest tree so he may slam his head against it and curse himself for not thinking of such an idea. Eruka urges Prisoner 13 to keep moving before the guards catch up to them.
Prisoner 13 then stops knocking his head into the tree, sniffing the air and warning Eruka that someone is nearby. But the unblinded Eruka already knows that: the prison guards are already around them, likely drawn by his loud curses.
One prison guard orders Prisoner 13 to surrender or face a difficult fight. The prisoner smirks, reminding the guard that he has been imprisoned for 200 years and refuses to be captured so easily. The guards immediately respond by piercing Prisoner 13's head and neck with numerous metal spears, each a near-fatal if not fatal strike. Eruka panics that the prisoner's death will disappoint Medusa Gorgon so much that she too will be killed. But Prisoner 13 is not dead: as one of the spears went through his opened mouth, he seizes his teeth around the metal spear, snapping it in half with one bite, proving he indeed is not willing to give up and is physically capable of defeating these guards.
One guard proceeds to attack Prisoner 13 with a flamethrower, shocking one of his peers who tries to stop him. But it is too late: flames engulf Prisoner 13 yet cause no damage to his body, not even his clothes, but do destroy the shackles on his hands. Now Prisoner 13 can remove his blindfold and show the guards why Maba locked him up rather than killed him: "I'm immortal," he says, as he shows his eyes, one of which appears like a human's but the other decorated with an array. Above that eye is not an eyebrow but "NOFUTURE." Eruka realizes this man who stole Maba's Demon Eye and put it into his own eye socket is an Immortal.
With his hands free, Prisoner 13 begins to charge an array in his left hand as he chants, "Wolf wolves, wolf wolves." The snow under his ball and chain, still shackled to his left ankle, melts away then reforms into an Ice Sphere, a ball of ice with a diameter as long as the guards are tall. With one swing of his leg, Prisoner 13 knocks the Ice Sphere into prison guards, knocking them away. Prisoner 13 then lifts his left up, swinging the Ice Sphere up with it. Before the weight of that Ice Sphere can pull Prisoner 13 backwards, he brings his left down to the ground, crushing two guards under it. Almost immediately, Prisoner 13 leaps on his right foot, bringing the Ice Sphere up with him to drop it upon another guard. But as the Sphere descends, Prisoner 13 chants again, transforming the Ice Sphere into an Ice Spindle, a towering icicle that splits the guard in half at the waist.
Caught in the middle of this battle, Eruka is surrounded by the corpses of the guards yet uninjured. She is shocked at Prisoner 13's display of power yet finds it to be "cool." Prisoner 13 then kneels atop his Ice Spindle and begins to howl like a wolf.
One Sunday morning, Soul Eater follows behind Maka Albarn, walking to Special Tutoring Room One. Soul complains that Maka decided for both of them to seek weekend tutoring from Franken Stein. Maka warns Soul that, based on Stein, they must prepare themselves for what will be dangerous training. Soul replies, "I'm not an idiot like you, Maka. I'm not all peppy first thing in the morning." Maka removes a book and decides to "show you how peppey I can be." A whack is heard, followed by "Ow!!"
Later, Stein welcomes Maka and Soul to the Special Tutoring Room, asking them to take a seat. There are no chairs, however, so the students sit on the floor. Soul looks around at the room, which has a low ceiling and, despite numerous lit candles in the room, seems dark. The candles are balanced on twisty, large stands extending from the floor and walls. The low ceiling is supported by columns decorated with curling twists. Soul mentions the room smells funny, which Maka assumes is due to the candles.
Before Stein begins his lesson, he warns Maka and Soul that this training is so dangerous that, should they fail, they will be unable to match soul wavelengths ever again. As Maka and Soul stare shocked, Stein asks whether they wish to proceed. Soul asks that they wait but Maka immediately agrees to pursue this lesson. Soul protests, but Maka responds that his meister has made her decision and he should follow. Soul glares at her, asking why she is "so worked up." Maka is silent, thinking that even if she loses her soul wavelength resonance with Soul, she has to become stronger so that Soul is not hurt because of her ever again. Stein intervenes, agreeing with Maka: "The meister has the authority to decide."
Stein begins the lesson by instructing the students to turn to face each other. Maka maintains a steady stare, assuring herself that she is ready for this lesson. He then instructs the students to identify each other's faults, prompting confusion in both students. But Soul quickly states Maka's flaws: "She's stubborn, reckless, her hobbies are reading and puzzles, she's gloomy, her ankles are fat--" He receives a Maka Chop for this remark. After proclaiming that he was just following Stein's orders, Soul adds that Maka is also violent. He receives another Maka Chop for that remark. As Soul lies injured on the floor, he asks Stein whether this is part of the lesson, but the teacher tells the student he should raise his hand before asking a question.
Observing how frustrated Maka and Soul are with each other, Stein thinks about how the candles in this room are specifically designed to rile persons' emotions. He chose these candles because, if Maka and Soul can handle these candles' effects, then they will resonate their soul wavelengths more strongly. Yet Maka and Soul still bicker, Soul asking why Maka has acted so oddly recently and decided to pursue this tutoring without asking him first. Maka replies that she wants to be stronger so he will not be hurt again. Soul reminds Maka that he told her before that he as weapon is ready to die for his meister. He thinks Maka's decision to ignore the usual meister-weapon relationship and determine that the meister should protect the weapon is "weird." Maka stands, upset, insisting she wants to be stronger and to protect him. Soul closes his eyes and tells her to quiet herself and sit back down. Maka notices Soul has acted weirdly lately as well and wants to know why he is against her goal of becoming stronger.
Soul grows silent. He remembers the Little Ogre haunting his nightmares, telling him that power will let him forget his fears. Therefore, says the Ogre, Soul should break the Academy's rules. Soul thinks that he is not afraid of that Ogre or of getting stronger, yet the nightmare of his body escaping Maka's body, killing her, still is on his mind. He again asks Maka to sit down and again she refuses.
Stein then realizes that Maka and Soul's wavelengths are not improving in resonance. Rather, they are now falling out of alignment. Soul looks away, Maka glares furiously, and neither is speaking to the other.
Maka and Soul's Apartment
Later that evening, Maka exits the kitchen with food, announcing that dinner is ready. Seated on the coach, Soul and Blair, in her cat form, greet this news with pleasure. But as Soul and Blair sit at the dinner table, Soul sees that Maka and Blair have prepared dishes, while on his plate is only a piece of flavored nori. Soul is shocked at such a paltry serving while Maka has made herself a meal, but she insists that if Soul dislikes what she is offering for a meal, then he can make his own meal. Soul announces he is going out to eat, slamming the door as he exits the apartment.
While Maka is silent for a moment, Blair observes that it was Maka's turn to make dinner, finding her behavior immature. Maka responds by leaving the dinner table and exiting to her bedroom, slamming her door shut as she throws herself onto her bed and mutters that she recognizes her immaturity.
Outside the apartment, Soul kicks the hallway wall, wondering what is wrong with Maka.
Far away from Death City, Medusa Gorgon sees that Eruka, in her frog form, has returned with Prisoner 13. While Medusa congratulates Eruka, who transforms into her human form, on a rock are seated Crona and Ragnarok. Crona worries that they don't know how to deal with these new people arriving, while Ragnarok tells them to shut up.
Eruka then demands Medusa fulfill her bargain: Eruka freed Prisoner 13, so Medusa will now remove all snakes from her body. But Medusa insists she will only remove one snake, leaving the rest in Eruka's body to motivate her to perform additional tasks. Eruka is shocked, realizing Medusa put an unknown number of snakes into her, far more than one, and hence can keep using Eruka for as long as she wishes under threat of death. Eruka tugs her hat over her face, upset with this "ogre" and "demon" Medusa.
Prisoner 13 realizes Medusa is "the crazy witch" who decided to release him. Medusa responds that she is pleased to meet the "Demon-Eye Man," prompting Prisoner 13 to remember that the witches took everything from him, even his name, in his 200-year imprisonment. Prisoner 13 then realizes that, as he is now a free man, thus will be his name: Free. Medusa agrees to refer to him as Free, but as she toys with him, she thinks that under her employment even the Demon-Eye Man will hardly be free.
The newly christened Free then asks how he may repay Medusa for freeing him. Despite her protests, Free insists, falling into Medusa's trap: she recognizes how she can feign humility in order to prepare him for the task she will assign. Medusa asks Free to destroy one meister and one weapon who will be performing an extracurricular lesson in London. Free realizes Medusa is referring to Shibusen students, which prompts him to agree with a wide grin: as an Immortal, he despises Death's rules.
London Bridge, London
"We're here!!" someone cries out. It is Black Star, announcing his arrival to all of London. Yet Tsubaki Nakatsukasa is concern that her meister is not dressed as warmly for the city's snow as are she and their mission's teammates, Maka and Soul. Black Star replies, "In this weather, I might take off more clothes, not put more on!!" He then directs his attention to Maka and Soul, complaining that Soul's injuries from the fight against Crona led Shibusen to require two teams per extracurricular assignment, so he warns the duo not to get in his way. Maka and Soul, however, are too busy glaring at each other to care for Black Star's remarks, eventually turning away.
While Tsubaki tries to distract her peers from their squabble by pointing out how beautiful London looks, Black Star asks Maka to use her advanced Soul Perception to locate any evil human souls on Death's list. But Maka need not bother: even if Free is not on Death's list, he has arrived out of nowhere, standing before them on the bridge. Maka senses something abnormal about Free's soul, as if it is mixed with traits of humans, witches, and something else.
Black Star asks to confirm that Free is on Death's list, excited at this "good start" for their mission. Maka warns Black Star that Free may be able to use magic. Upon seeing Free smirk at him, Black Star orders Tsubaki to assume Mode: Uncanny Sword. Tsubaki warns that he cannot yet control that transformation, but he insists that he will only need her form for 30 seconds to defeat Free. Tsubaki reluctantly follows orders. As Tsubaki transforms, Free is momentarily intimidated by Black Star's strength while Maka is surprised how stable is the Soul Resonance between Black Star and Tsubaki; even Black Star's soul has grown more powerful.
Black Star rushes at Free, accusing him of taking the center of the bridge. Free begins his incantation, forming Ice Spindle in Black Star's path, Free's own array decorating the ice formation. Surprised, Black Star quickly orders Tsubaki to use her new Uncanny Sword powers to use a shadow to halt the Ice Spindle, surprising Maka and Free. Black Star is already in front of Free, preparing his Shadow Star strike. But before Black Star can finish this technique, he collapses onto the street, his head becoming buried under snow. Free is silent as Tsubaki reforms into her human form to chastise Black Star for using the Uncanny Sword before he was ready. Soul notices Black Star could not use the Uncanny Sword for even ten seconds, while Maka, admitting Black Star is strong, "is still a moron."
Free turns to the remaining students, asking who next wants to challenge him—and gets a blade through his chest. Soul stands before him, his right arm transformed into his scythe blade to stab at Free while his guard was down. Soul reminds Free this is a battle, but Maka realizes Free is not fazed: he shrugs off this otherwise fatal injury as simply a minor error on his part of leaving his body unprotected. Follow Maka's order, Soul retracts his blade and leaps back, as Maka points out that Free's wound is healing. Free explains he is part of the Immortal Clan. Shocked to learn this clan that she read about actually exists, Maka thinks Free's revelation may explain why his soul is "all mixed up." Free then announces he will reveal his true form, as Maka sees his soul change shape. And as she analyzes his soul, Maka also realizes that Free is not just an Immortal but is that Immortal "who stole the eye of the Queen of the Witches: the Legendary Wolf Man!" Free concludes by bragging that his immortality and Demon Eye make him "the strongest in the world!"
Free howls as Maka commands Soul to transform into his scythe form. Maka reassures herself that Soul's Witch-Hunt Slash, if powerful enough against a demon, can defeat an Immortal as well. But as Soul's weapon form lands in her hands, her gloves start to sizzle. Maka releases the hot scythe. As Soul falls into the snow, Maka looks at her singed gloves and tells Soul that he is "too hot for me to hold." Tsubaki is shocked, realizing that this scenario is similar to when Black Star was unable to wield Soul due to his heaviness. Therefore, Maka and Soul's soul wavelengths are no longer matching.
Watching Maka is a frog, Eruka herself, who through her eyes and the snakes within her body, is projecting to Medusa's crystal ball the battle so far. The witch smirks as her arrow-shaped tongue flickers like a snake. "Soul Eater," she asks, "how will your body's Black Blood respond to a bad situation like this? Let the experiment begin!"
Maka stands as Free howls again, his power sweeping up snow across London Bridge.
Manga and Anime Differences
- In Chapter 10, Free's battle with the Prison Guards is shown, where he first deploys his Ice Sphere and Ice Spindle techniques with his wolf-themed incantation to graphically crush and dismember the guards. In Episode 13, the scene cuts away from Free's battle against the Prison Guards, with only the sound of Free's battle and the screaming of the dying Prison Guards heard. As such, this episode does not show Free's incantation and techniques until the London Bridge fight in the second half of the episode.
- In Chapter 10, Soul and Maka are shown entering the Death Weapon Meister Academy hallway for a Sunday class, with the meister delivering a Maka Chop to Soul's head. Soul and Maka then enter the Special Tutoring Room One. In Episode 13, the story skips to Soul and Maka entering the Special Tutoring Room One, skipping their entrance to the Academy, Soul's complaints, and the Maka Chop.
- In Chapter 10, when Soul asks Stein whether Maka Chops are permitted in their tutoring lesson, Stein replies that he should raise his hand before asking a question. In Episode 10, Stein instead tells Maka to stop hitting Soul.
- In Chapter 10, Maka retaliates against Soul by preparing a dinner for him consisting only of a dried seaweed snack, leading him to storm out of their apartment and, after hearing from Blair, leaving Maka feeling some shame for her behavior. This scene does not occur in Episode 13, and as such Maka and Soul's apartment and Blair never appear in that episode.
- In Chapter 10, Crona and Ragnarok watch Eruka and Free's arrival before Medusa. In Episode 13, Crona and Ragnarok are not present for this meeting.
- In Chapter 10, Maka and Soul's diverging soul wavelengths are represented as gears out of alignment with each other, which may mean the end to their partnership. A similar image will appear in Chapter 75 when Maka announces to Soul that she wants to end their partnership, and when they fight against the gear-powered Giriko.
- Free seems to sense how strong Black Star is. How Free is able to do so, and whether he like Maka was perceiving Black Star's soul, is not yet clear.
- Upon learning that Free is part of the Immortal Clan, Maka says, "So that's why his soul's all mixed up!!" However, whether his soul is "mixed up" due to being Immortal or due to the influence of Demon Eye, hence the witch part to his soul, is not yet clear.
- Maka claims her Witch-Hunt Slash is strong enough to work on demons. As she up to this point has been shown using Witch-Hunt Slash against Sid Barrett, which failed, and Stein, who defeated the attack, it is unclear which, if any demons, Maka has fought with this technique. Because Witch-Hunt Slash is referred to as a traditional attack used by Scythe-Meisters, it is likely that Maka is referring to the Witch-Hunt Slash overall, not to only her experience with it.
- The werewolf Free battles Maka in London, which may allude to a number of works in popular culture: