The Clown (Part 1)
|←Chapter 40: "Resolve"||Chapter 42: "The Clown (Part 2)" →|
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|While Ox and Kilik prepare for a mission, Maka and Kid head to Russia, where a factory is manufacturing madness in the form of The Clown|
The Clown (Part 1) is the forty-first serialized chapter of the manga Soul Eater. It was reprinted in tankōbon form in Volume 11. Although a version of The Clown would appear in the Soul Eater anime, this chapter's story is original to the manga.
Death Weapon Meister Academy Extracurricular Assignment Board
While Kilik Rung struggles to decide on an extracurricular mission, Ox Ford has chosen one of the many recent Arachnophobia-related missions. Kilik offers to join Ox, but the exuberant lovestruck meister desires to partner with Kim Diehl. Kilik smiles and wishes Ox good luck.
Kilik turns back to the board to pick a mission to investigate an abandoned factory in Russia—that Maka Albarn grabs as well. Maka warns Kilik that this mission does not seem to be his type due to required Soul Perception abilities. Kilik easily gives up the mission, and Soul Eater offers a more "badass" fistfighting mission against "the Angry Wrath Giant," which requires "passion and enthusiasm." While excited, Kilik notices that the back of the mission features Black Star's signature to reseve the mission. Maka expresses sadness at Black Star and Tsubaki's departure, a feeling shared by Kilik and Soul. But Maka's sadness turns to irritation when she sees that Black Star wrote another message on the back of her own mission: "This is a stupid, boring-ass assignment. Let Maka or someone like that handle it." Soul notices how competitive Maka is when she irritably marches to the assignment manager, Auntie, to accept the mission. As Maka puffs her cheeks in annoyance and says goodbye to Kilik, Soul advises her to partner with Death the Kid's team.
Kilik turns to his own weapons, Pot of Fire and Pot of Thunder, to suggest they find a partner as well for their mission. He hears a footstep and turns, disturbed by how mortified Ox looks at Kim's rejection. While his weapon, Harvar D. Éclair, remains silent, Ox says Kim refused to partner with any person with such "a creepy hairstyle." When Kilik advises shaving his "stupid things" off his head, Ox says his unorthodox hair spikes represent the "Two Pillars of my existence: the intelligence to help the ones I love, and the strength to keep them safe from harm," "the thunder which stirs my soul." Therefore, Ox determines, Kim dislikes his pillars not for their presence but because he did not polish them enough. While Harvar nods in agreement, Kilik realizes how passionate Ox is, which makes him perfect for his mission against the Wrath Giant. Watching Ox and Kilik's discussion, Auntie agrees, approving the mission.
While Crona is on her mind, Maka reminds herself to take one challenge at a time, beginning on this mission with Kid and Blair. Liz and Patty Thompson are surprised at how much steam comes from a factory that is supposed to have been closed six years ago. Soul also notices the noise coming from the factory, but neither Kid nor Maka sense anyone's presence with Soul Perception.
Maka prepares to enter the factory through a air vent, but Kid protests and decides he and his partners will enter through an "official entrance." While Maka is annoyed, she and Soul depart. Liz is concerned leaving the duo alone, so Blair follows her friends. From above inside the factory, a ghostly being dissolves out of the factory and hovers to watch the intruding DWMA students. The Flying Dutchman speaks to himself how terrifying this factory will be for these students.
Kid is exhausted from walking through the steam, circling around the factory multiple times without finding an exit. Patty corrects Kid that they are seeking an entrance, prompting an annoyed shinigami to tell "Little Miss Particular" to shut up. Kid determines to reflect on the past to determine how to move forward—but becomes so fixated on whether he folded the toilet paper into a proper triangle, whether he straightened the picture frames, and whether he kept the candles at the same height, that he collapses on the ground, mortified. Liz tells Kid to stop over-thinking, but the shinigami intends to return home. Liz urges Kid not to leave Soul, Maka, and Blair alone. But as she sees how horrifying the Russian factory appear—and realizing with Patty that it is a Factory Monster—agree with Kid that they should go home immediately.
Inside, Maka is surprised that the meters are dead despite all the steam coming from the factory, and she still cannot sense any soul. But above her the Flying Dutchman dissolves from the ceiling, shooting the factory's pipes like tendrils at Maka to encase her. The Dutchman intends to take care of the cat first, but Blair unleashes Pumpkin Cannon, saving both her and Maka.
Maka asks why the Dutchman is in this prohibited area, while the ghostly being chuckles. He introduces himself as "a prisoner of madness," pleased at Asura's resurrection to be that light against the darkness of confusion, and intending to use this factory to manufacture madness in the form of The Clown to give freedom to the people. The Dutchman fades back into the pipes of the factory, but Maka gives chase, demanding to know, from this Kishin agent, Asura's location. Pipes emerge wrap around Maka again, but she slices them away with Witch-Hunt Slash.
Maka continues her attack with a modified form of Witch-Hunt Slash, Kamaitachi. While the Dutchman and Blair are shocked at this power, Soul brags how this move allows the duo to draw the soul wavelength around his blade with a Witch-Hunt slash, then fling that wavelength back. As Kamaitachi is not ideal for team work, it is effective in this one-on-one battle—except it spins Maka around so much that she collapses in dizziness.
Although the Dutchman laughed at Maka's fight, he realizes she is using an Anti-Demon Wavelength, which can damage the factory's madness potential. While the Dutchman is hesitant, The Clown emerges behind him, intending to turn her as he had "the other one." The Clown ignores this information, telling the Dutchman to do as he wishes, but as The Clown knows no person can avoid madness, it intends to turn Maka.
While Maka recovers from her dizziness, she still cannot get an accurate location of the Dutchman, as if his soul hides in the very steam of the building. Then Maka senses a soul—that of The Clown, who crawls from the ceiling above. The Clown introduces itself as "the one who lures people into madness," and Maka realizes that this being has the same wavelength as the Kishin Asura.
Manga and Anime Differences
- In this and later chapters, the Clowns are shown to be born out of madness, usually that emerging from Asura himself. In the anime, only two Clowns appear, and they protect the location of the key, without any association to Asura.
- This issue does not show the title page until Page 11.
- Borscht 7 Factory, in the original Japanese "borushichi," is a pun on two different words. First, "borushichi," sounds like "ball 7," a form of billiards. Second, "borushichi" is pronounced in Japanese like the Russian dish "borscht," apt for the Russian location of the Nidhogg's factory.
- In this and a few subsequent issues, the DWMA students and staff wear bands on their left arms, except for Kid who, for the sake of symmetry, wears one band on each arm. As The Clown will say to Maka in the next chapter, these students are wearing these mourning armbands in honor of Joe Buttataki, who died recently.
- The Flying Dutchman returns in yet another story with Kid and the Thompsons coming to a Nidhogg facility, only his opponent in this arc is not Kid, or even Crona, but Blair.
- The Flying Dutchman refers to having used The Clown to turn "the other one." Later issues reveal that the other one was Justin Law. Some of Justin's handiwork under madness is discussed in the previous chapter, in which Spirit Albarn informs Franken Stein that Joe Buttataki was killed by a blade slicing through his chest. In Chapter 38, Azusa Yumi claimed Justin was away from Death City on a mission, which suggests that the time when Justin was turned occurred some time before Joe's murder in Chapter 39.
- Maka and Soul's attack kamaitachi is spelled with the kanji that translates to "Scythe-Threat Cut," but it shares the name of the kamaitachi ("scythe-weasel," "demon weasel"), a mythological Japanese weasel-shaped monster with scythe-like claws.
- The Yen Press English translation for Volume 11 incorrectly lists Chapter 42 as Chapter 41.
- The sound effects associated with the Flying Dutchman include "gripper" ("guri") and "crystal" ("chuppa"). His gasp when losing his hat is, appropriately, "hatto."
- Death the Kid misquotes from William Shakespeare's Hamlet famous monologue, "To be, or not to be."
- Liz's misquoted motto to Patty while in Russia is, aptly, an allusion to Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky's Notes from Underground: "I say let the world go to hell, so long as I can have my tea whenever I want it."
- In Maka's madness-induced hallucination of her father, Spirit Albarn tells Maka that Black Star was taken into the DWMA on the very same day when Maka was born.
- Blair survives the Flying Dutchman's attempt to melt her, whether by using her own magic to protect herself, or because, as she told Maka and Soul, she has seven souls and can spare one.