The Anniversary Celebration
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|While students and staff celebrate the anniversary of the Death Weapon Meister Academy's founding, Medusa Gorgon initiates her attack on Death City to unleash the Kishin.|
The Anniversary Celebration is the fifteenth chapter of the Soul Eater manga. It is collected as part of Volume 5 and was adapted as Episode 18, "The Eve Party Nightmare – And so the Curtain Rises?" of the Soul Eater anime.
In an unknown location, Eruka meets with Medusa, Free, Crona, and Ragnarok. Eruka has delivered from Medusa's (now destroyed) lab a briefcase containing a syringe and a vial of Black Blood. In exchange for Eruka's delivery, Medusa agrees to remove one of the snakes she had placed inside the frog witch's body. After confirming with Free that his Demon Eye magic stolen from Maba will allow him to augment Medusa and Eruka's Calculation Spell in order to form the Independent Cube, the snake witch says the time has come: they have only to wait for March 31, when the Anniversary Celebration of the Death Weapon Meister Academy will begin.
It is March 31. The Academy is decorated for its Anniversary Celebration, fireworks set off for the festivities. Maka Albarn, dressed for this formal occasion, encourages her friends to hurry into the building before the party begins. Her partner, dressed sharply, complains that Maka was the one taking so long to get ready. Black Star, dressed much less sharply (to his partner's consternation) promises to glut himself. The quartet is greeted by Liz and Patty Thompson, and their pensive meister. Hastily assuring a concerned Maka that he is fine—and reacting much as Tsubaki had at Black Star's slobbish attire—Kid welcomes his friends to the anniversary and tells them his father will arrive soon. Even as he feigns calm, Kid still cannot get over his father's revelation that "something like that" actually exists inside the Academy..
Finally, Lord Death arrives to take the stage with his son and Spirit Albarn, greeted with applause from students and staff, including Dr. Medusa and, near her, Dr. Franken Stein. Listening to the opening remarks from both shinigami, Soul is surprised at how brief Lord Death is in his greeting and, to make up for his father's nonchalance, how long-winded and precise Kid is in his greeting. Yet the opening remarks are interrupted by Black Star who, for seeking to bring all attention to himself as he hangs above the masses clutching the curtains, is kicked down by Kid. As Kid sulks over his failure to make his perfect and precise speech, Lord Death kicks off the festivities with music and dance.
As a band plays, students mingle, dine (on whatever food Black Star has not already consumed), and dance (in the case of Kid and his weapons, at a perfect 60 degree angle for synchronized kick-dancing). While entertained by her friends' behavior, Maka is distracted by her weapon's decision to separate himself at the balcony.
Coming to the balcony to speak with Soul, Maka brings a plate of food with her, ostensibly for herself and comments that Soul should quit worrying about standing in line and just get the tasty food already—especially because she refuses to share her plate with him. Her teasing fails to coax him out of his mood, as Maka remembers how Medusa claimed Soul told the physician information about his bad dreams and health concerns rather than revealing such information to his own meister. When Maka asks whether Soul is worried about anything and assures that he can speak with her when he is concerned, Soul is surprised at her abrupt remarks. Worried that she is annoying him, Maka bemoans aloud that she must be an unreliable partner—and when Soul teases her that she should have realized that fact sooner, she beats him.
As Maka pummels her weapon, however, she notices their classmates dancing and reasons that such an exercise would help the duo better match their soul wavelengths. Soul refuses, and when Spirit interrupts to dance with his daughter, Soul pushes the uninterested Maka away from him into the clutches of her father. While Soul says that such dancing will help the father and daughter interact, a frustrated Maka shouts for Soul to make sure no one eats her plate of food. Having sent her away, Soul complains that Maka is too greedy with her meal—but upon noticing that she added raw salmon to her dish despite her dislike for such food, Soul thanks Maka, realizing she had stood in line and came to the balcony to provide the asocial weapon with a meal.
Meanwhile, in Death City, cloaked figures—Eruka and Free—walk through the town at night. Eruka communicates through the snake in her body to send a message mentally to Medusa, who has stepped into the reception's hallway away from the students and staff. Eruka confirms her and Free's entrance into Death City and Ragnarok's eventual arrival with "them."
But Medusa's conversation is disrupted by a seemingly drunk Stein. Unable to determine whether Stein is "serious," Medusa too is dragged back into the party, the mad scientist desiring to dance.
Maka is just as upset by her own dancing problems. Her father reminisces a previous time he danced with Maka, at her kindergarten graduation ceremony, where she had to stand on his feet to dance. Spirit then recalls dancing with Maka's mother as well—but Maka corrects him that he actually danced with the mother of her classmate, Sara. Therefore, Spirit's assurance that he will be a good father to Maka is rejected as an unreliable promise.
Elsewhere on the dance floor, Medusa is nervous at the prospect of Eruka and the others seeing her dancing with Stein. Stein then comments how long Sid Barrett has been absent since his mission investigating a witch's lab in Libya—a witch's lab that Stein identifies cheerfully as Medusa's own. Initially stoneface at this accusation, Medusa smiles and claims Stein is just drunk. Stein drops the facade: he has not drunk any alcohol at all this evening.
As both adults threaten to kill the other while continuing their dance, Stein interrogates Medusa: why is she, as a witch, here at the Academy and interested in the Kishin? Medusa explains that she will use the Black Blood to resurrect the Kishin. She considers his power to be part of the evolutionary process, a potential progress that Lord Death and Shibusen have blocked with their focus on maintaining the status quo. As Stein is as much a scientist as she is, Medusa reasons, should he not also be interested in disrupting this monotonous world to bring about some change? Welcoming him to join her, Medusa pulls Stein closer to him, and as her lips are about to reach his, a bit of snake magic escapes from her mouth, heading towards his own.
"Stein!!!" Sid Barrett calls out, dragging himself through the hallway and onto the dance floor. His shout to evacuate the building attracts the attention of Lord Death, Spirit, Stein, Maka, and her friends. As Sid explains he escaped the explosion at Medusa's lab and that the snake witch has been waiting for this anniversary to enact her plan, Medusa dashes to the balcony and leaps off, shown later to have landed on one of her gigantic flying snakes to enact her plan.
Medusa communicates through her magic to Free, who waits atop a spire at the Academy. Maka senses him release his Soul Protect as he begins to form his Magic Box around the Academy's reception area. His magic is augmented by Medusa and Eruka's Calculation Spells to form through Spatial Magic an Independent Cube.
Sid calls to Mira Naigus, still in her knife form, to prepare Soul Resonance to help Stein and his students escape. As Free makes a key materialize to lock the Independent Cube, Sid transforms Naigus into a key of his own, slamming her into the floor. Sid and Naigus have formed Forced Burial: eight coffins emerge beneath the feet of Stein and his seven students, causing them to fall out of the reception area, out of the Cube, and into the underground. As Free locks the Cube, Sid calls out to his fellow teacher and their students: "I'm counting on you. Protect DWMA."
Outside the Cube, Free explains the Academy will be trapped for one hour before Lord Death will be able to escape. At that moment, Crona arrives, flying through the air as Ragnarok again assumes the form of a dragon to lead their allies, the Mizune Family. While Eruka happily welcomes her friends, she mentally apologizes to them, having lied that it was Shibusen, not their new ally Medusa, who killed their older sister. The Mizune use Beam Whiskers to attack the Academy before striking at the rest of Death City, providing a distraction to allow Medusa and her crew to go underneath the Academy to resurrect the Kishin.
Also under the Academy, Sid's Forced Burial coffins open from the ceiling, dropping the meisters onto their feet—and the weapons onto their backsides (a point not overlooked by an annoyed Soul). Kid can sense eight witches—and the Kishin—in the city. Stein explains that the school physician Medusa is actually a witch who seeks to release the Kishin, "the beginning of madness" that is imprisoned under the Academy. Kid adds that the magic seal trapping the Kishin is maintained by Lord Death, who can never leave Death City without also freeing this avatar of insanity. Without this seal, the Kishin will spread its madness upon its escape, and it is up to them to make sure that witch is not successful.
Back in the Academy's reception area, as Ox Ford wields Harvar D. Éclair in weapon form but fails to break through the Independent Cube, Kilik Rung urges Lord Death to go back into a mirror so to escape the room. Lord Death explains that the Cube also prevents him from entering "any world," so his escape is not possible for another hour. As Kilik and another student complain that peace in Death City has made students too complacent, Lord Death corrects them: peace is something that of course people should get used to, and it is up to them to make sure that peace is not destroyed. "All we can do now," Lord Death concludes, "is leave the rest to them."
The rest of them—Stein and his students—approach the entrance into the Death City underground. Before entering, Stein warns his students: this battle may be fatal, so if they are not prepared to confront fear itself, they had best turn back. "Your souls will decide the answers," Stein tells his students, as he lights his cigarette. As his students change from their formal attire into their usual clothing, Maka Albarn speaks for her friends: "We're going with you!!" Stein smiles.
Manga and Anime Differences
- Whereas the manga locates Medusa's lab in Libya, the anime did not clarify where her lab was.
- This chapter is the first appearance of Harvar D. Éclair (who appears only in his weapon form) and Kilik Rung, but they both appear in cameos as early as Episode 4 in the anime. In Episode 4 and all subsequent episodes, Kilik looked much as he does in later chapters of the manga Soul Eater: in most of those chapters and in all anime episodes, he wore glasses. But in this chapter, his very first appearance in the manga, Kilik lacks his trademark glasses; therefore, in the corresponding anime episode, Kilik looks like he does in this chapter, only with the addition of those glasses.
- This chapter is also known by the titles "The Eve of the Establishment Commemoration Festival" and "Foundation Commemoration Christmas Eve." These titles may owe to an initial confusion about the time in which the Shibusen anniversary celebration takes place: whereas many readers initially thought the ceremony takes place on Christmas Eve, Chapter 32 would reveal that the date of the anniversary party is April 1.
- When Stein initially approaches Medusa and pretends to be drunk, he shouts, "Kanpai!" (Japanese for "Cheers!") before mispronouncing it as the similar-sounding "nanmai" ("how many"), which indicates his supposed inebriation.
- In the Yen Press English translation, when infuriated with Stein, Medusa refers to him as "kid." This remark may be an indication of just how much older she is than Stein.
- This chapter leaves it ambiguous whether Medusa successfully kissed Stein, and whether she transmitted her madness through the snake that briefly emerged from her mouth.
- Free's Independent Cube technique is spelled with Chinese characters as "area of non-interference."
- Kilik's remark that the students have become too used to peace may clarify how dreadful the Kishin's release could be when this chapter is placed in the larger chronology with the manga Soul Eater NOT! In other words, if Kilik considered the near-fatal assault by Shibusen students upon each other as caused by Shaula Gorgon's possession to be "peace," then the danger that is the Kishin looks all the more dire.
- ↑ Chapter 32, Soul Eater Volume 9, Yen Press edition, Page 11
- ↑ Soul Eater Volume 9: Yen Press English translation, Page 186
- ↑ Soul Eater Volume 9: Yen Press English translation, Page 186