Death Weapon Meister Academy (死神武器職人専門学校, Shinigami Buki Shokunin Senmon Gakkō; Literally meaning "Shinigami Weapon Meister Vocational School"), or DWMA (死武専, Shibusen; Literally meaning "Death Military Department") for short, is an academy located in the fictional Death City, of Nevada where Meisters and Weapons attend.
The school is run by Lord Death, the Grim Reaper himself, as a training facility for human wielders of those weapons, the Meisters. Each Meister has at least one Demon Weapon companion which has both a Weapon and human form. Lord Death created the school as an organization that protects peace in order to prevent the rebirth of the "Kishin" (鬼神), an evil demon god that in the past, nearly destroyed everything by plunging the world into chaos. The DWMA was founded on April the 1°.
The Aim of the DWMA
|“||Welcome to Death Weapon Meister Academy. More commonly known as the DWMA. It stands as a defense against the forces of evil, which would plunge the world into chaos and drag humanity into the very depths of fear and madness: the demons known as Kishin, and their eternal hunger for destruction. To ensure that the Kishin never regain their hold on this world, this Academy was founded by the Grim Reaper, Death himself. So basically we're an organization that serves to protect and preserve peace! I guess it's not exactly a typical school. Oh well, that isn't important! For now, let's roll up our sleeves and get to work!||”|
—Lord Death, Episodes 1-3
The main goal of the Academy is to protect the world from evil and preserve peace. In the world, there are humans that may abandon their life as a human and go on the path of an Evil human, a path that transforms them into vicious evil beings that kill innocent humans for their pure souls. When enough souls are consumed, the Evil human can transform into an incredibly dangerous being called a Kishin.
To stop this, the DWMA trains people to combat against these Evil humans, by training their students from a young age to fight and kill these beings. The DWMA trains these Meisters and Weapons to also combat against Witches, which also threaten the peace of the world. Many students are motivated into fighting against the Evil humans and Witches with their main goal: making or becoming a Death scythe. When a Demon Weapon has consumed a certain amount of souls in a particular order (99 Evil human souls and 1 Witch Soul) they gain extraordinary power and can be used by Lord Death himself. Creating a Death scythe is thus known to be a hard and difficult process, and many Meisters are respected for creating a Death scythe, and Death scythes themselves are respected among the students as well.
As well as an organization to protect the peace in the world, Death Weapon Meister Academy is also a philanthropic organization, donating a lot of its money in order to help with the upkeep of the world. In turn, the Academy runs on global tax.
|“||Our duty as Meisters is to feed our Weapons ninety-nine Evil Souls and one Witch's Soul. We collect Evil Souls to keep the world at peace. We work to create a Death scythe, Weapon of the Grim Reaper, Death.||”|
The students are split into two main categories: the Demon Weapons and Meisters. Meisters are humans who show great potential in combat and physical fitness, giving them an advantage in a fight. Demon Weapons are humans with the unique ability to transform their bodies into weapons. The DWMA pairs up different Weapons and Meisters together to form partnerships between them, in order to make powerful teams to stand against the Evil humans, with the Meister wielding the Demon Weapon. Many students at the DWMA are gifted with an abnormal amount of power, and because of this, they are sometimes shunned from normal society. The DWMA takes them in and teaches them on how to control their power, so they can be respected more by people around them.
However, pairing a Weapon and a Meister together is not easy, as their Soul Wavelengths (for more information on Soul Wavelengths, see the article, Souls) need to be compatible with each other. Therefore, the DWMA often holds large gatherings, where students gather together wearing badges indicating whether they are a Demon Weapon or a Meister and try to find the partner they are compatible with. It seems possible that even after accepting a partner, one can change partners if they wish to. Meisters or Weapons who are popular with more than one person can make 'sponsored partnerships' with others.
Once a Meister and Weapon team is formed, the students can take part in lessons and take assignments on the Mission Bulletin in the Reception area of the Academy to kill Evil humans. Well-trained Meisters and Weapons develop many new powers and abilities as their experience and bond as a Meister and Weapon team grow. Training sessions, physical fitness tests, sparring matches, etc. are thus held often in the Academy.
Some high-level Meister and Weapon teams are sometimes called upon to take part in large battles against separate societies that are declaring war with the DWMA.
However, it is also essential to have knowledge of the enemies one is up against. This is when the DWMA acts like a regular school, giving the Meisters and Weapons lessons inside classrooms, as well as homework essays and exams.
DWMA students seem to enjoy a high level of authority in the world. Various world leaders such as the Japanese prime minister are actually required to be DWMA graduates. Even the students of the DWMA are well-respected by most people, and they are actually able to break various rules because of their status (for example, Soul rides his motorcycle with Maka and Crona, which is against the law as one is not allowed to have three people on a motorcycle at one time).
The classes of the DWMA are split into two categories: the NOT Class, and the EAT Class. NOT stands for Normally Overcome Target. Roughly 90% of the students are in the NOT Class, and they are the ones who are more 'normal' than the EAT Class, and do not have much power, making them more like the non-combatants of the DWMA students. The EAT Class however, the remaining 10%, are exceptionally talented people with great power. They are given the duty to actually fight against any evil-doers. EAT stands for Especially Advantaged Talent. The combatants of the DWMA are also known as 'agents' (戦闘員 Eejento).
At the DWMA, there are two types of lessons. The usual lessons that take place in classrooms, and extracurricular lessons, which are missions that students undertake in order to fight Evil humans or Witches and solve various problems that are out of the range of the average police force. The class lessons are based mostly around on the subject of 'Soul Studies' (魂学 Tamashii Gaku translated as Phasmology in the English dub) as knowledge of souls are important for the students.
Extracurricular or supplementary lessons (課外授業 Kagai Jugyou) involve fighting and are quite dangerous. Various missions on offer are ranked and have specific requirements. Students must have their chosen mission approved by the receptionist. The Evil human souls collected are tallied. Students who purposely do not collect any Evil human souls on their missions are often punished by having to do school chores. Also, if a Meister and Weapon pair accidentally acquire neither an evil or witch soul or cause massive damage in a particular area, all of the souls they have collected are confiscated by Lord Death.
While not in lessons, students live either in rented apartments or school dormitories (first year students are required to stay in dormitories as part of their joining the school). Each student receives a weekly stipend of $200. However, if for some reason, they spend all of it, they will not be able to get any more money until the next week. Because of the large amount of students that end up penniless, many shops in Death City cater for students wanting to work part-time to earn money.
There is no set uniform for the students. However, there are a variety of uniforms one can choose from, and one can match any top with any bottom. Casual clothes are also accepted.
The DWMA is a rather special school in that students can actually change their names upon entering. These names are known as 'pseudonyms' (芸名 Gei Mei in Japanese). For example, the protagonist, Soul, changes his name from Soul Evans to Soul Eater. Once a student has changed their name, they are stuck with the same name for a minimum of two years.
Every year, the DWMA also hosts a grand party for all students and staff, commemorating the founding of the Academy, called the 'Foundation Day Eve' (創立記念日前夜祭 Souritsu Kinenbi Zen Yasai in Japanese) which means that it takes place the night before the actual day the academy was founded.
Occasionally, some people come to the DWMA to challenge its students. These people are known as Traitors (道場破り Toreta). Most of them are viewed as nuisances by the DWMA, and the students usually threaten them with their combat skills, driving them away. The kanji of their name is pronounced Dojo Yaburi and is usually a term used when an outsider of a certain dojo approaches the dojo and declares a match with the dojo's sensei. In order to do this, the outsider must fight through all the rankings of the dojo before facing the sensei.
Ranking System and Staff
The Meister students and staff in the Academy are separated into a three tiered ranking system denoted by "stars". Meisters of One-Star rank are considered rookies who make up the majority of the student body. Above this level are the Two-Star Meisters, the most advanced students like the members of Spartoi. The Three-Star rank is given to the most powerful Meisters in the organization and as such this rank is primarily associated with Academy professors like Sid and Stein. There is also the rank of a Death Scythe Meister, a Meister who has made their partner a Death Scythe. Although they are held in high regard Death Scythe Meister are not necessarily Three-Stars, as the protagonist Maka, has made her partner Soul into a Death Scythe and is still a Two-Star Meister.
At times, the collection of volumes found in the DWMA library seem to require a certain rank to be checked out. For example, books with secret information will require the status of Death Scythe. However, some exceptions are made, since Kid as a member of the Death family was capable of checking out a book normally off limits to DWMA students.
Demon Weapons are not included in the Star ranking system, and are only placed into two categories: a normal Demon Weapon or a Death Scythe though the differences in strength between Weapons can vary as much as it does for Meisters.
Instructors at the DWMA serve a multitude of roles from classroom teachers to elite operatives used on special missions by Lord Death. The remainder of the Academy staff is filled by employees in more logistic roles as nurses, receptionists, and librarians.
At first glance, the Academy can be said to have a rather eccentric appearance, looking a bit like a large funhouse rather than a school. Standing on a large platform which can be accessed by a long line of white steps, the school is comprised of a collection of large black towers and spires patterned with white lines and the occasional Grim Reaper mask. The roofs of the towers are conical and bright red in colour. Enormous candles poke out of shafts along the circumference of the buildings. Strangely, the flames of these candles never go out, and the candles never shorten. The Academy's most distinguishing feature however, are the three large Reaper skulls lined up at the entrance. The middle skull is the largest, and sports three blood red spikes going through its eye and nose holes. The skulls on the side are smaller and have slanted eyes. The gaps between the 'teeth' of these giant skulls serves as the school's main entrances. At the top of the school hover three strange black orbs, which may have something to do with the seal on Asura due to the way they reacted when he was released. However, it may also be due to the fact that the negative space of the sky, with the three orbs in the sky, looks like Lord Death's mask.
The Academy is completely symmetrical, which immediately impresses Death the Kid upon enrolling in the school.
The Academy is quite big and grand inside and contains many long corridors with arched ceilings and lamps to light the way and staircases. The corridors also have round windows looking out onto the school grounds. The DWMA is infamous for its winding corridors, many passageways and long staircases. There is a long staircase leading up to the school itself. This structure is on purpose as the Academy seeks to improve its students physical fitness and strength in mind and soul even in everyday school life.
Cafeteria: The school has a large cafeteria providing the students with food during the school day. It has a rich menu, serving meals from all around the world.
Library: The Library is incredibly big, a large room that goes up to at least three floors, with bridges connecting the opposite sides of each floor, with shelves upon shelves of books and has desks with lit torches for study. The Library follows a rule which restricts some students to only be able to look at a limited number of books in the Library. The books are divided into four categories: Level 1, Level 2, Level 3 and Level 4. Meisters up to Two Stars in rank can have access to Level 1 books, but cannot have access to Level 2 books, which can be read by Three Star Meisters. Level 3 books can only be accessed by staff and the highest rank, Level 4, can only be availabe to Senior Meisters or Death Scythes. However, as seen with Death the Kid, who is a Grim Reaper, exceptions can be made.
Mission Bulletin and Reception: One of the lively places in the Academy, the Mission Bulletin is where Meisters get their missions to hunt Evil humans and get more Kishin Eggs to make their Weapons Death Scythes. Descriptions of each mission are written on cards and placed on the bulletin. Students are free to pick which mission they want, but the missions can have special requirements written on them as well, like the ability to sense souls. Some missions can be dangerous, and mainly include killing Evil humans. However, some do not involve Evil human and are just missions to create peace and help people in distress (e.g. Kirikou and Ox take on a mission to defeat a rampaging giant). Near the bulletin is the Reception. Here, students who have chosen their missions take their mission cards to the receptionist who checks whether they are viable for the mission before actually assigning the mission to them.Classrooms: The classrooms are also wide and spacious and resemble lecture halls rather than classrooms, with pitched floors and conjoined desks and the blackboard and the teacher's desk in the centre. There are also windows at the back which provide a view of the grounds. Each class has a homeroom teacher. Maka's class, called Class Crescent Moon, has Stein as their teacher. It seems that students have free access to the classrooms, even outside lessons. There are also special classrooms lit with aromatic candles. The candles' scent is made to agitate anyone who smells it, but it is used as a room where Meister and Weapon partners overcome their differences and thus create a stronger Soul Resonance in between them.
Dispensary: The area where sick or injured Meisters and Weapons are treated. While nurses like Nygus usually work here, Stein is known to assist as well, especially with operations such as Soul's injury. The dispensary is a typical hospital room with several beds and an examining room, a doctor's office and a storeroom for all the medicine. In the hospital wards, a couple of health posters can be seen.
Running Track: There is a running track located outside the school building used for Physical Education classes.
Shower Rooms: It is also revealed that the Academy has shower rooms for students to use after Physical Education classes.
Dojo: The Academy also has its own dojo, where students, both Meister and Weapon, spar with each other, with Nygus as referee.
Dance Studio: Not really used for dancing, this room is usually used for beginner Meisters and their Weapons to improve their combat skills. The room is wide and spacious in order for plenty of movement for more than one person, and has some side benches and a locker area and changing rooms.
Shooting Range: For students wielding gun-type Weapon partners, there is also a shooting range to improve their marksmanship skills. The targets are made to look like Kishin with Asura's three eye markings painted on them.
Restrooms: The restrooms are quite spacious and lavish. Some, like Sid and Maka, use the mirrors in the restrooms to contact Lord Death in the Death Room.
Main article: Death Room
This is the room where Lord Death dwells, complete with a mirror as a medium of communication with Meisters and an observation screen.Witch Counter Measure Headquarters: A room which in which contains many things pertaining to Witches and their history. Also holds cases that're suspected/confirmed to have witches involved.
School Grounds: The Academy have wide balconies for students to access and the grounds in front of the entrance are also used as a makeshift battleground for training fights between students. During these battles, a member of staff must be present to view the fight. The area near Shibusen also seems to be a forest area, where some students like Maka and her team use it as a training ground.
School Gardens: Lush green gardens with many trees surround the school. It is a perfect place for various students to train individually.
Lockers: Lockers are also seen in some parts of the corridors. In Soul's case, Meisters (all female) constantly send request letters into his locker for him to be their partner when he becomes a Death Scythe, much to his chagrin. A few lockers are decorated with stickers.
Dormitories: For students who do not live in rented accommodation, grand, luxurious dormitories can be provided for by the Academy. They separated into single-sex dormitories, each run by a superintendent. They take care of basic living facilities, but any other luxuries and food need to be paid for by the students. The dormitories are known for their luxurious layout, with furniture from the 1800s and Meissen crockery.
Information Management Room: A confidential room only allowed by staff and highly trusted members of the DWMA, this is where all confidential information is stored, such as files on past incidents regarding beings such as Witches and Kishin.
Visitor's Residence: Located in the underground of the DWMA is the Visitor's Residence, where visitors of Shibusen can stay. This is where Crona stays whilst he goes to the DWMA. Since it is underground, the rooms slightly lack a home-like atmosphere, with stone walls, a bed and table and a basin as well as a barred window.
Dungeon:Although it is not used much, the DWMA does have its own dungeon for holding various prisoners. There is also an interrogation room present within them.
The Secret Vault: A heavily guarded and hidden vault containing various Demon Tools made by Eibon and various pages from The Book of Eibon. Few are trusted enough to be allowed access to it. The Demon Tools and the pages acquired by Shibusen are sealed away in this vault.
The Sealed Shrine: The shrine located deep underground containing the sealed Kishin Asura. Long and surprisingly grand corridors lead up to the shrine, with various ominous-looking statues with an eye theme, befitting Asura's three eyes. Most of it, for some unknown reasons, are in ruins. The shrine itself is a large room with a great shintai, or statue of worship, which, due to Asura's madness, has turned into a twisted statue resembling Asura. In front of the shrine is the large bag of skin with three eyes emblazoned on it bound up by chains with exorcist charms containing Asura. Because Asura's madness is so strong, even though he is sealed away, people who are even near the shrine can sense his madness.
Part in the Story
Plot-wise, the DWMA is the center of the story. Most of the story revolves around it as it is the place where the main protagonists of the story go to and the organization that all the antagonists seek to destroy.
- There are many disputes as to what day the DWMA was founded. Although various names of the Chapters in the manga made people think that it was Christmas Eve, apparently this is not so, as Kid later states that the 'Foundation Day Eve' party was held on April 1st, on April Fools. However, since the party is held on the eve of the Academy's commemoration day, then the actual day the DWMA was founded was April 2nd. The reason why the party celebrating its commemoration is the day before is probably due to the fact that it is April Fools, and that due to Lord Death's eccentricity and love of jokes, the Academy celebrates its commemoration on April Fools, the day before the actual day, in the manner of a joke.
- The three orbs at the top the academy are arranged so that they resemble the holes in Shinigami mask, whilst the gaps in between the towers directly below the three orbs form the outline of the mask's 'teeth.'