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|Maka Albarn and Franken Stein struggle to bring her partner out of madness, while trapped in his own soul, Soul Eater himself must ask what kind of person he is.|
Recovery is the eighty-fourth chapter of the manga Soul Eater. It is collected as part of Volume 20. Although there are similarities between this chapter and Episodes 49 and 50 of the Soul Eater anime regarding Soul losing himself to madness against a much larger iteration of the Little Ogre, this chapter as a whole has not been adapted into the anime.
From within Soul Eater, the Little Ogre cackles at the prospect of ruining the Death Scythe's life. A blade growing from his arm, and a blade-shaped set of energy emerging from his chest's scar, now holding an eye upon it, Soul faces down Franken Stein, wielding Jacqueline O'Lantern Dupré and ordering Kim Diehl to fall back. Maka Albarn realizes that Soul's scar has reopened to the point that madness itself leaks out. Calling out to the "idiot" to draw him back into sanity, Maka hears Soul respond that the concern should not be what is wrong with him right now but what has been wrong for so long: he has been holding pain for so long, now it has erupted.
With a blast of madness hurling him upward, Soul leaps to slice at Stein, who blocks with the chain on Jacqueline's weapon form. While Stein's attack initially grounds Soul, it takes a moment for Stein and Jackie to feel cuts caused by Soul's intensely sharp blade of madness. Soul smirks, claiming he has finally awakened the real power of a Death Weapon. While Stein shares Jacqueline's worry, his madness also increases his desire to analyze Soul's new abilities by dissection.
Soul demands that the Little Ogre explain what has happened to him—only to see the creature is no longer little but towering over him. The Ogre explains that Soul has finally become honest with himself, and he wants to hear the weapon answer: "What kind of guy are you?"
Realizing he cannot block with only Jacqueline, Stein decides to attack Soul directly, using the fire of her lantern to propel his punch forward. But Stein cannot make contact: Soul repels any blow with sound itself to carry forward his madness outward, to draw Stein and everyone else into his madness. Stein smirks.
But then Stein feels pressure around his chest, as the madness ebbs: Kim has wrapped her arms around Stein, using her Regeneration Magic to negate this madness (and to cop a feel, much to Jacqueline's annoyance). Maka hugs as well to transfer her Anti-Demon Wavelength to Stein before the scientist cuts Soul apart. Stein complains, hesitantly, that although the hug is soothing, the two students are blocking his path, while an Eastern European Branch staffer stares enviously.
Soul is not deterred, his blade transforming into a keyboard upon which he strikes, blasting more madness-holding sound to knock back his teacher and colleagues. But Stein realizes that, as Maka and Soul are resonating, her own Soul Perception should be augmented by the attack. Maka smirks, claiming such a fact should be obvious to Stein and especially Soul, as she tries to chide her partner to remember that both she and he have augmented each other's abilities since the beginning of their partnership.
Again, Soul is not distracted, blasting his sound again at the DWMA agents. But Stein manages to take one student in each arm to dodge the attacks, earning Jacqueline's compliment for carrying such a heavy person on each arm (earning an annoyed remark from Kim but no obvious reaction from Maka).
Stein asks Maka what is happening to her partner's soul at this moment. Maka explains that Soul has not fallen completely into madness, as she senses he is resisting, and she knows he will return to them.
As he faces down Soul, the large Ogre identifies the weapon's problem: he is afraid to be more reckless and exploit the Black Blood to its potential because, even if it would make him stronger, then he would be judged for his madness. Soul hides behind excuses of his fear of madness and his desire for discipline.
This is Soul's pattern, the Ogre decides, as the weapon has always held back out of a family history in fear of never being as good as other members of his musical family, including his brother Wes. But the Ogre challenges Soul: has anyone ever actually aloud made any comparison of the Evans brothers? So long as Soul says he is not really trying, then he does not have to be judged for coming up short. If Soul had tried to compete and actually try his hardest, then he would no longer look cool. The Ogre reasons this fear is why Soul changed his last name, so not to ruin his family's reputation.
The Ogre issues a challenge: how much longer will he spin his wheels? Why not, as he has today, firm up, "grow a pair," and unleash that power? "Start playing for keeps!" the Ogre screams. "Who are you?"
Even as the Ogre has its mouth up against Soul, screaming at him, Soul clicks his tongue. To answer who he is, Soul responds, "I already know." But as the Ogre is up close to him, he sees how things really are: the Ogre never grew—he somehow is piloting a larger robotic duplicate of himself!
The Ogre leaps out of the robot, refusing to take credit for this robot: it was Soul's madness that manifested this form before the weapon. Soul counters that Ogre makes poor assumptions: the weapon changed his last name not out of fear of embarrassing his family or to run away from them. "It was to draw a line."
So the Ogre asks again: "Who are you?"
More confidently, Soul answers: "I'm the Demon Scythe, Soul Eater." The madness has ended.
The Ogre is disgusted at how anticlimactic Soul's answer is, lacking "flair" or "gusto." Soul responds that "not being able to" speak with such qualities is just "part of who I am."
As Soul answers, he fails to notice his meister standing in front of him until she smashes his head in with her hand. Maka criticizes Soul for trying to act cool now that his madness is gone. As she proceeds to punch him more in the head for tugging on her pigtail, Soul asks why she is also kicking him.
With Soul recovered, Stein orders the Eastern European Branch members to raise the threat level around the Black Globes from A to S and to lock down this Russia branch, which requires evacuating the facility. But Stein is interrupted by a report from Ukraine that Crona has been seen. This news distracts Maka's beatdown of Soul.
DWMA helicopters have located the results of Crona's attack: a hemisphere similar to the Black Globe appears, only this one has swallowed up almost an entire town. Crona's power of the Black Blood is increasing.
Manga and Anime Differences
- As in Episodes 49 and 50 of the anime, the Little Ogre assumes a larger form, his closeness to madness as well as his slow process of wearing down Soul's defenses allowing him to increase in size both in those episodes and in this chapter. In those episodes of the anime, the Ogre appears larger and actually confines Soul so he may take over his body. But in this chapter, the Ogre's larger size is actually a robotic copy of itself that it conjures out of Soul's madness, and by the end of this chapter, the Ogre seems less interested in possessing Soul's body than getting Soul to define himself more confidently and to embrace madness. As well, in the anime, the Ogre's larger size also owed to Soul's physical nearness to Asura and his madness, whereas in this chapter it is Crona's more adept use to release the potential of the Black Blood, and Soul's physical nearness to the Black Blood Globes, that strengthens the Ogre's abilities.
- The chapter's English translated title can refer to both the recovery of Soul Eater from madness and Maka Albarn's attempt to recover—whether to capture or persuade—Crona.
- The Little Ogre refers to the Evans family as musically talented. Who else aside from Soul and Wes is musically talented is not yet clear.
- The Little Ogre claims that Soul never satiates himself, refusing to eat until he was full and instead to leave himself hungry.
- Stein reveals that the DWMA ranks some threat levels on a scale that includes "A" and, more severely, "S." Presumably this threat level system is based on an S-Rank to D-Rank scale.
- DWMA helicopter pilots wear skulls resembling Death's mask on their helmets.