Operation Capture Baba Yaga Castle (Part 4)
Baba Yagā no Shiro Kōryaku Sakusen (sono yon))
Operation Capture Baba Yaga Castle
|←Chapter 48, "Operation Capture Baga Yaga Castle (Part 3)||Chapter 50, "Operation Capture Baga Yaga Castle (Part 5) →|
|List of Chapters |Image Gallery|
|As Black☆Star and Mifune prepare for a fatal battle, this chapter shows what the ninja and Tsubaki were up to at her family's residence, including a meeting with The Will of Nakatsukasa.|
Operation Capture Baba Yaga Castle (Part 4) (ババ･ヤガーの城攻略作戦 （その4), Baba Yagā no Shiro Kōryaku Sakusen (sono yon)) is the forty-ninth chapter of the Soul Eater manga.
As alarms continue to sound, Soul Eater asks Maka Albarn what is happening, but the meister is silent. Elsewhere, Patty Thompson assures her sister that she did not trip the alarm. Liz Thompson asks whether the grinning Death the Kid knows what is happening, but he only thinks how Black☆Star has arrived late. Outside the castle, Black☆Star confronts a crowd of Arachnophobia agents ready to "watch my performance." Tsubaki Nakatsukasa assures Black☆Star that, with only three enemies, Black☆Star should have no problem in this battle. Before Black☆Star and Arachnophobia begin their fight, swords fall from the sky, colliding into the earth and setting up caution tape to prevent passage of Arachnophobia. Mifune warns the Arachnophobia members that they will fail in any fight against Black☆Star, ordering anyone who does not "live by the sword" to stay out of this battle. Black☆Star welcomes Mifune, but the samurai is surprised at a change to Black☆Star's stare. The ninja assures he has lost all hesitation because he no longer follows the path of the demon--and even if Mifune is in his way, he will knock him aside.
Nakatsukasa Residence, Japan (Flashback)
Tsubaki Nakatsukasa slides open the door to her parents' house, checking to see whether they are home. She is greeted by her father, Sanjuro Nakatsukasa, who complains how difficult it is to set up the house for her when she arrives without warning. After her father welcomes her return, she mentions this is her first time home since her battle against her brother. Sanjuro pauses before complimenting her fight, bringing her in for a hug. He already knows what Masamune must have said to Tsubaki, and he assures his daughter that Masamune trusted his power to her.
But Tsubaki's father also senses that she has brought a guest with her, so he must greet this guest properly. As Tsubaki tries to dissuade her father from meeting her meister, it is too late: Sanjuro finds Black☆Star, shouting as he twirls on one foot. Black☆Star explains he is spinning because, as he will be staying in Japan for a while, he must shift the Earth's axis to re-center it around his location. Tsubaki explains to her father that she only recently taught Black☆Star what the axis is--and he has not stopped re-centering the Earth since. This news delights Sanjuro, as he pats Black☆Star on the head and compliments him for being "big stuff!" Sanjuro welcomes Black☆Star into their house for tea and snacks, while Black☆Star orders the father not to judge him when he takes seconds. Tsubaki is suitably mortified.
That evening, after a lot of food and a warm bath, Black☆Star easily falls asleep. But his weapon, who lies next to him in the same room, struggles to fall asleep.
The next day, Tsubaki is awakened by the sounds of Black☆Star's training. He is observed by Tsubaki's father, who realizes it is Black☆Star's movements that motivated his daughter to choose this ninja as her meister. As Sanjuro watches, Black☆Star attempts to perform Soul Menace, and despite Black☆Star's soul wavelength returning to him, the attack is small. Tsubaki's father interrupts Black☆Star's training to ask why the ninja fights. Black☆Star explains he wants to be so strong that everyone recognizes him, and he will beat down anyone stronger than him. Sanjuro asks a pointed question: "Even if it means walking the Path of the Demon?" Black☆Star pauses, then answers that he is ignorant of this path--and he does not care. He refuses to limit himself when what he desires is more power, even if that means being on the Path of the Demon.
Elsewhere, Tsubaki stares at a photograph of her and her brother when they were children. She remembers Masamune's desire to master the Martial Way as a child, then one of his last moments alive when he determined to kill her so he would become a Kishin, at which point he could master the Martial Way. Tsubaki recognizes it was her brother's desire for more power that led him to leave that Martial Way and walk the Path of the Demon, until that Demon consumed him. Yet before he died, Masamune did return to the Path of Humanity. With the memory of his death weighing upon her, Tsubaki prays for her brother to help her determine what to do. What Tsubaki may not realize is that Black☆Star, standing outside her room, hears her turmoil.
That night, Black☆Star rests atop a rock, gazing at the stars. He considers how "shitty" his name is, which can mean "The World of Darkness," that which steals hope away from others. Tsubaki arrives, initially to tell him he will catch a cold with the lowered temperatures outside, realizing he is too strong for a cold anyway. Tsubaki adds that the sky here allows them to see the stars so much more easily compared to Death City. When Black☆Star says it is "pitch-black out here," Tsubaki says this blackness is "pretty." Black☆Star asks, as the last survivor of the Star Clan, whether he is destined like his family to "live in blackness." Tsubaki sits beside him, as Black☆Star realizes that, if he is to be the black sky, then at least Tsubaki can be those shining stars in that blackness. Tsubaki gently mocks her meister as not acting like himself before saying that it is more likely that Black☆Star is not just the sky but also all those millions of stars, and everything else. Black☆Star blushes, assuring his weapon he already knew that and was just trying to say thanks to Tsubaki.
Black☆Star then asks Tsubaki for a favor: he wants to see the Will of Nakatsukasa, that being within Tsubaki, one more time. Tsubaki transforms into her Uncanny Sword mode, as she and Black☆Star resonate. This time, Black☆Star can feel himself being pulled by Tsubaki along a path to face the Will, as meister and weapon stand with the Will atop a watery surface. The Will of Nakatsukasa asks Black☆Star why he has such a look in his eye, as if the ninja is not here to talk. Black☆Star demands the Will look inside his soul. The Will commands Tsubaki's body and asks for Black☆Star to show his soul. As Black☆Star assumes a fighting pose, he promises to. Before he can move, however, limbs splash out of the water below, tugging at Black☆Star. The Will-possessed Tsubaki launches Black☆Star back, allowing more limbs--now attached to bodies--to drag down Black☆Star. The Will explains these beings are the souls who failed in their pursuit for ultimate strength, devoured by the Demon.
After Black☆Star tries to disentangle himself from those souls, they dissolve, forcing themselves into Black☆Star's mouth. As he feels these "images" flow into him, he sees those warriors, including Masamune. Once those souls have entered into Black☆Star, he collapses, silent. The Will chides Black☆Star for his silence and his nervous shake because he now feels all that those warriors felt in their pursuit of war: bitter regret, fear, defeat, resentment, and despair. "You must devour them as you make your way forward," the Will argues, in order to follow "the Path of the Demon." Black☆Star tears up. The Will concludes Black☆Star is only a child, allowing that despair to overwhelm him until he cannot stand.
Black☆Star finally responds, that he will always stand up against fear. But now that he realizes the fear other warriors have felt, Black☆Star will not surrender. He calls out the Will to see that his tears are not his own but of those who died in misery and disappointment, so if his success will cancel out those souls' regret, he will walk away from "the Path of a Demon who kills the living," and instead walk "the Path of a Warrior who brings the dead back to life." He promises to take the Will along the way of the warrior, where this Will has never been.
Hearing Black☆Star's words, the Will bows before the ninja. "Our souls shall be with you," the Will says, returning Tsubaki to her body. Black☆Star replies that his goal now was that of Masamune, and he promises to make it come true for Tsubaki's brother. A crying Tsubaki agrees.
Baba Yaga Castle (Present)
Standing before Mifune, Black☆Star initiates Soul Resonance with Tsubaki. Mifune recognizes how much like a warrior Black☆Star appears, hence the samurai will fight seriously this time. But then Mifune notices how the shadows are gathering around Black☆Star's sword. Tsubaki feels her meister's wavelength flow into her, strengthening both of them. Together, she and Black☆Star unleash Shadow☆Star First Form: "Chain of Blackness."
Black☆Star screams as he rushes at Mifune, tossing his chain at the samurai. While the samurai repels the strike with one sword, the chain continues to move, circling back for another hit as Black☆Star, face to face with Mifune, pushes that chain more at the samurai's sword. Mifune pushes his sword, knocking both opponents back, both waiting. Tsubaki anticipates Infinite Sword Style, and as Mifune begins that technique, he warns Black☆Star: "Here I come."
Manga and Anime Differences
- In this chapter, there is a flashback to when Black☆Star and Tsubaki Nakatsukasa visited her father before the battle against Arachnophobia. While in the final episode, Black☆Star and Tsubaki visits her family after the battle against Arachnophobia and the defeat of Asura.
- Sanjuro isn't seen in the anime's final episode.
- The shops in Japan have signs that say Murata, Clothing Shop, Sanaemon, Yamamoto Soy Sauce, Yakisoba & Fried Chicken, Samurai, Balm, Shochikubai, Kirin, Coup de Grace, Jungle, Code of Honor, The Scary Sakayaki, Code of Honor, and Peasant Surgery Insurance. These are cliche references to Japanese names and products associated with samurai or yakuza, such as tabi (split-toe socks). Another entry makes a pun: "chozetsu tabi" ("transcendental journey"), which becomes a pun for "transcendental socks."
- Upon her reunion with her father, Tsubaki wears a DC shirt (referring to Death City), similar to the ones worn by Kilik Rung, Maka Albarn, and other characters in the manga.
- Black☆Star's name is written as "ankoku no sekai" ("world of darkness"). The Japanese word for "star," "hoshi," actually refers not only to visible stars but also to planets and comets, generally any visible, relatively fixed lights in the sky except the sun and the moon. Hence Black☆Star's discussion with Tsubaki refers to his status as being no more than a world of darkness.
- Black☆Star's Chain of Blackness attack, as a hybrid of his Shadow Star attack and Tsubaki's Chain Scythe form, is called "rengoku," "chained blackness," which is a homophone with another word meaning "hell of forging" or "Purgatory." Hence this wording suggests Black☆Star has overcome his psychological struggle.
- An Arachnophobia member refers to Mifune as a "blue-eyed samurai wannabe." Mifune responds, "If you're Japanese, that's enough to be a samurai? Must be nice." This dialogue suggests Mifune has blue eyes and leaves some doubt whether he is Japanese.