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Episode 23

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Episode Name
English Title

Dead or Alive – In the Rift between Revival and Dazzlement?

Kanji Title

デッド オア アライブ!~復活と幻覚の狭間で?~

Rōmaji Title

Deddo oa Araibu! 〜Fukkatsu to Genkaku no Hazama de?

Episode Data Report
Running Time

23:50

TV Rating

TV-14

Story Arc

A Fight to the Death at the Anniversary Celebration Arc

Episode Guide
Episode 22 Episode 24
List of Episodes |Image Gallery


Synopsis 
Stein gives his answer to Medusa's invitation to join her fight against the DWMA, as he and his opponent find themselves at a standstill in their battle. Meanwhile, the battle between Medusa's army and Stein's students comes to a conclusion that will forever change this world.


Dead or Alive – In the Rift between Revival and Dazzlement? is the twenty-third episode of Soul Eater.

Featured Appearances

Characters

DWMA

Medusa's Army

Other Characters

Locations

Techniques

Objects

Plot

Kishin Shrine (Flashback)

Free pushes open the doors to the Kishin Shrine, as he and Eruka Frog hear metal rattling. These chains are connected to the bag of skin housing Asura, who moves inside. Free announces that the Kishin is near.

Death City Underground (Present)

Franken Stein, armed with the Death Scythe Spirit Albarn, and his opponent the witch Medusa still stand apart from each other, encircled by numerous copies of her Vector Plate, each one ready to thrust the opponents at each other.

Stein worries that time is running out to catch up to his students to stop the Kishin's resurrection. Stein rushes at Medusa to attack with Soul Sutures again, but he cannot get close enough to the witch, who balances on a Vector Arrow seeming to extend from her cloak and embedded into the floor, which allows her to levitate around Stein, kicking at him before retreating to her original position. From her back emerge three more Vector Arrows, which Stein manages to disable or dodge. Medusa swings along her Vector Arrow, outside of Stein's reach to slice at her with Spirit.

Stein realizes Medusa's snakes allow her to stay balanced no matter her position, while Spirit recognizes that Medusa is purposefully delaying them, not trying to kill the two but occupying them. Spirit calls out Stein for his lack of intimidation, but the scientist muses that Medusa also knows that he is not much of a combatant when he is distracted, forced to curb any madness he feels. Therefore, Stein must focus not on what is around him but removing irrelevant thoughts. As he tends to work his best when he allows his curiosity to draw his focus, he therefore focuses on just Medusa.

Stein begins cracking his neck, as Spirit senses the scientist's tension alleviates. As Stein then tightens the screw through his head, Spirit remembers what a sadistic pleasure-seeker his meister is, as the mad scientist announces his intention to dismantle Medusa. The witch chuckles at how adorable Stein can be, but Spirit smirks upon seeing how madly his meister grins.

Death Weapon Meister Academy, Second Campus (Past)

A student is kicked back into a tree. He falls to the ground--but a hand cover in a sleeve with stitches along it comes down to pick the opponent up again. The beaten student begs his tormentor to stop, but the child, Franken Stein, is not through: blood along his cheek, Stein intends to rip apart his opponent, the only question being how best to dismember him, only after killing the opponent, of course. The student shudders.

A hand falls onto Stein's shoulder, telling him to stop. "You stay out of this, Spirit," the bloody Stein tells his classmate, as he intends to finish this fight as he desires. Spirit frowns, asking whether Stein intends to violate DWMA rules. Stein relents, letting go of his opponent, who immediately scurries away. Stein too attempts to walk away, but Spirit persists, asking whether Stein thought he could do whatever he wanted once he joined the Academy. Stein lowers his head and smiles, wishing he lived in "a godless world." When Spirit expresses shock, Stein assures that he was only kidding, finding such a world to be "diseased."

Death City Underground (Present)

Medusa again asks Stein to turn against the Academy and to join her, as he should know this unchanging world does not suit someone like him who desires to make this world evolve, which he could accomplish with the Kishin's power. Stein only grins more madly and tells of how, in his youth, scientists diagnosed his "violent tendencies and selfish thoughts."

Stein runs forward, swinging Spirit at Medusa's head. As she dodges, Stein continues to attack and rant, telling how those scientists seemed elated to examine him like he was some puzzle to solve, to learn what trauma made Stein the kind of person he is. With one hand, Medusa blocks Spirit and thrusts towards Stein, but the scientist laughs, pushing the Death Scythe's staff against Medusa's forearms, struggling to knock her off balance. Stein then explains there is no puzzle to why he is who he is: he has always enjoyed ripping apart things.

Medusa still smiles, asking whether Stein thinks she is similar to those same doctors. The Vector Arrows extending from her back come forward to knock Stein back again. Stein continues, claiming in kindergarten that he was nauseated how his classmates would listen to their teacher, play games, and took notes, all lacking originality. Medusa expresses similar disgust, albeit at how dull is Stein's tale. She sends more Vector Arrows to slice at Stein, who runs forward. Rather than slash at Medusa, he aims for the Vector Arrow wedged into the floor that keeps her aright, forcing Medusa to leap into a somersault and plant that same arrow into the floor again. Stein turns, hoping to slice through her this time, but she already blocks with another arrow. Medusa concludes that Stein's attacks are also repetitive, hence dull.

As he presses Spirit's blade against Medusa's arrow, trying to slice through it, Stein persists, explaining that what he is saying is his response to her invitation for an alliance. He continues: with age, his madness increased. He asks her what made him curb his madness, and she answers: fear. Stein confirms that his madness was limited by how afraid he was of the person he would become. Yet the desire to do as he wished persisted, which led him to realize that he needed a guide--not "a greedy despot" but "the rule of a god without an ego." As Stein speaks, his resonance with Spirit increases. Medusa offers to let Stein create a new world with her, but he responds that she speaks with ego. Medusa disagrees but admits such will be "the standard before long," one for Stein to follow.

Medusa slices at Stein, who maneuvers around her attack while the witch flips. Finally, Stein has forced Medusa onto her feet--but she wraps Vector Arrows around her right hand, and those arrows begin to spin like a drill that she stabs into Stein's abdomen. Blood escapes from this wound, as well as from Stein's mouth, as Spirit calls out to him and admonishes him not to attack with only sheer force. Stein falls onto his knee and hand, but still he can ask Medusa what will happen to his "immoral feelings for gods before ego becomes the standard." Stein therefore concludes that he cannot join Medusa. The smile remains on her face as she retracts the drill-like arrows from her hand. Medusa responds she just will not be able to get through to Stein. The mad scientist charges his left hand for a Soul Force attack and announces his desire to rip Medusa apart without losing his immoral feelings, his very soul, which Medusa assumes is how he channels his madness.

As Stein rushes towards Medusa, numerous Vector Arrows extend from her back as she stretches out her arms. These arrows stab through Stein's limbs as he screams--yet she is shocked as he persists, bringing his arm all the way towards her to shove Soul Force through her chest. Although held up by Stein's hand through her chest, her toes still touch the ground, but she wobbles. The Vector Arrows--her very snakes--slither and dissolve. Blood drips. Medusa coughs up blood. Spirit announces that Stein has defeated Medusa but that the damage was too much for just one hit.

Medusa says she has overestimated Stein, as she lifts her head and mocks how pathetic is this one attack after his rejection of her alliance. One more Vector Arrow emerges from her back, held above his head ready to decapitate him.

Stein orders Spirit not to move. Medusa's arrow descends--and stops right above Stein's neck. She realizes this tail snake, as well as her entire body, is immobilized. Stein begins Soul-thread Diffusion Sutures, but Medusa is confused: Stein has not sewn her to anything--until the threads appear along her very body, blocking every nerve ending so she may not move. Medusa goads Stein, asking why he does not execute her now with his Death Scythe. But Spirit cannot move either: the accuracy of such an enormous wavelength as Stein's requires absolute immobility. While Stein shuts his eyes so to force himself to stand still, Medusa mocks the meister for such a desperate, energy-consuming, hence short-lived attack, asking how he will fight once he removes these threads when the snake is ready to decapitate him. All Medusa needs to do is wait for the Kishin's resurrection, then Stein will die.

Kishin Shrine

Free confirms that the bag of skin chained in front of him and the less than convinced Eruka is the Kishin. Studying the room in which they stand, Free muses that the surrounding structures tethered to the skin bag was once an object of worship, but upon the Kishin's arrival to this prison, the structures were twisted by the Kishin's very madness.

Eruka deposits her attaché case to the floor and puts her hands together to begin her chant. The incantation causes the case to break open, the parts of the syringe levitating towards her. Eruka thrusts her hands to grab the materials, filling the syringe with the vial of Black Blood, some of it spilling to the floor as she does so.

Before Eruka can approach the Kishin, light falls upon the floor as she and Free hear the doors behind them break open, as a boy armed with two pistols descends on a skateboard. Recognizes that Eruka holding the Black Blood, Death the Kid commands Beelzebub to quicken, a burst of fire propelling him forward so he may knock her down with his very skateboard. But Free blocks the attack with his own chest.

Although pushed back, Kid flips through the air until he can aim the Thompsons at his opponents--only to find that who stands before him is not Eruka but Asura. The scarves around the Kishin's head fly towards Kid, wrapping around his legs. Yet Kid remains suspended in the air, hence begins firing rounds at the Kishin--only for each one to be blocked by what seems to be a force field around Asura. Kid is shocked, wondering who is this person.

But Kid's opponent is only imaginary: the Kishin's madness has affected him, as Free and Eruka see Kid, supine on the floor, firing upward into the air. As Eruka takes this opportunity to dash for the bag of skin, Free still watches Kid--until he is stabbed in his chest, blood coming from his mouth, as he sees, or rather hallucinates, Asura stabbing his hand into him. Meanwhile, in his hallucination, Kid imagines Asura finally wrapping his scarves around his chest as well, pulling the younger shinigami up to him. Kid closes his eyes, trying to calm himself to see through this illusion. Free does likewise, as both the shinigami and the werewolf awaken from their hallucinations almost simultaneously, their images of Asura disappearing.

Kid lands on his feet, seeing Eruka heading towards the bag of skin; before he can aim, Free again stands in his way, preventing every round from passing him. While Free admits these rounds hurt much more than when he was only projecting an illusion in front of Kid, the shinigami realizes he is getting nowhere so long as he aims at the Black Blood. But he also senses his colleague is behind: he calls out to the newly arrived Black Star to follow Eruka while he himself keeps Free occupied. As Black Star rushes past him, Kid warns the ninja not to fall for the Kishin's hallucinations, but Black Star replies that his "sixth sense sucks" so badly that he will not be able to fall for any illusions.

Black Star leaps above Free, who warns Eruka at this new opponent's arrival. Black Star transforms Tsubaki Nakatsukasa into Enchanted Sword Mode. Eruka stops running, initiating an incantation to form a Tadpole Bomb that she hurls at Black Star, its explosion knocking down Black Star into a smoldering pile but also knocking Eruka to the floor as well, causing her to lose her grip on the Black Blood syringe. Black Star rushes for the object, while Eruka is too distracted to act quickly enough as, atop her not hat-less head, she feels something wet pour down. In her hallucination, she imagines the Kishin's drool pouring upon her. She awakens herself from her hallucination in time to see Black Star about to slice the vial in two--only for a tendril, belonging to Eruka's familiar Tadpole Jackson, to wrap around the syringe and fling it back to its master. Eruka thanks Jackson, only to see her pet pummeled by the annoyed ninja. Although heartbroken to see her familiar's injuries, Eruka cannot pass up this distraction: she seizes the syringe, runs to the bag of skin, and stabs the syringe into it.

As Eruka struggles to push the syringe through the resisting bag of skin, Black Star runs to prevent this frog witch from injecting the Black Blood. Free and Kid call to their teammates to finish their missions. Tadpole Jackson is still beaten and still smoldering. Even as Black Star feels the Enchanted Sword is at its limits, he increases the power of his soul wavelength, willing to defeat Eruka even if such a feat shreds his muscles. Glowing with soul energy, Black Star leaps and upon descent slices Tsubaki through the vial of Black Blood, causing such contents to spill along the floor. All in the room are shocked. Eruka drops the remainder of her syringe, while a victorious Black Star, exits from Enchanted Sword mode, and catches his breath. "No revival for the Kishin!" the smirking ninja says.

Death City Underground

Meanwhile, Stein and Medusa are still at a stalemate, as neither can move without risking fatal injury. Spirit thinks this gamble requires that they take the offensive, while Stein anticipates he is most likely to lose, his only motivation to maintain his focus being his desire to dismember this witch. As Stein resolves to take a chance, a mad grin forms on his face, then on Medusa's, as the underground starts to quake.

Fearful, Spirit asks what is happening, only to realize that the Kishin's madness is increasing, which means that Kid's group has failed. Medusa chuckles.

Death City, Aboveground

The three dots above the Death Weapon Meister Academy are now suspended in a crimson sky, ominous clouds circling around this building. Lightning strikes, forming the eyes of the Kishin. Then energy circles around the three dots, replacing them with the Kishin's eyes, which hurtles more lightning down to the ground.

Kishin Shrine

Within the bag of skin, Asura's three eyes glow.

Although opponents, both Eruka and Kid look horrified at what they have allowed to happen. Confused, Black Star manages to stand again, asking for confirmation that they won. Kid excoriates Black Star, as despite his limited sixth sense, he was so focused on defeating Eruka that his sixth sense indeed kicked in, hence he still fell under the Kishin's madness. His massive strength did not slice through the Black Blood vial as he imagined but actually the Shrine, which kept the Kishin sealed, now allowing the being to free itself. What is worse, as Black Star did not slice the Black Blood vial, Eruka indeed successfully injected all of its contents into the bag of skin. It is too late: the Kishin's revival is imminent, and he will be more powerful than before. Shocked at his failure, Black Star collapses to the floor.

Below the bag of skin, a shadow forms on the floor, expanding in diameter as three eyes form upon it, and energy ripples from it to produce something like a tornado.

Death City Underground

Medusa continues to cackle at her opponents' failure. Stein pulls back, letting out a bellow as with one swing of Spirit he sliced Medusa's apart, slicing through both of her arms and her waist. Her arms dissolve into Vector Arrows, her eyes lose focus, and a sickening sound of wetness is heard as her seeming corpse falls to the floor. As Medusa's own blood floats upward in the shape of her own Vector Arrows, Spirit is shocked. More bloody arrows undulate out of Medusa's waist, as the witch, still alive, adjusts her mouth and stares at her opponent. Eventually, her lower body dissolves completely into the bloody arrows, explode from her and raining down upon Stein and soaking the scientist as he cackles madly.

"Disappointing, isn't it?" Stein asks Medusa, as he places a cigarette in his mouth and removes a match to light it. He explains that the Kishin's revival distracted her long enough for him to kill her. "I managed to win thanks to the Kishin," Stein thinks. Spirit and Medusa look at the scientist as he realizes that, in the end, he has failed to stop the Kishin's revival. But then Stein extends his arms outward to look up at the blood raining down upon him, as he concludes with a mad cackle, how refreshing this experience has felt. Stein is now affected by the increased madness of the Kishin.

Kishin Shrine

While Black Star and their enemies do not move, Kid sees the bag of skin form appendages like scarves and more red energy zap from it. The shinigami aims and fires his pistols, screaming for this Kishin to die. Eruka covers her ears against the sound of Kid's rounds, as each one fails to destroy the bag.

From the bag's center, something bulbous begins to form and extend out from it, like a long cylinder where, at its tip, a face forms. Eruka realizes that the Kishin is exiting. Two more mounds snake up the cylinder then out from it, forming arms, then a tone abdomen and a spine. With this extra weight, the malformed body collapses to the floor, undulating and kicking up smoke. Eruka brings her hands to her face and steps back, while Kid realizes the Kishin is reforming its skin from the bag across its body.

Something pokes through the arms and to their ends, forming hands, then fingers. The right arm pulls back, far further than most arms should be able to, then both of the Kishin's hands slam down, fingertips rubbing against the wooden floor as the body still undulates. The Kishin slams its right hand repeatedly against the floor. The body then slithers to allow the head to pull up, as a face pushes through the skin, its mouth open like the Kishin is screaming. But the elevation seems to be too much for this newly reborn body, as the body slams to the floor, its head knocking into the wood. But still the head can turn to its side, and from within that bag of skin, the Kishin grins madly.

Manga and Anime Differences

Trivia

  • In the post-credits teaser for the next episode, Medusa announces her retirement, happy to have accomplished her goal. But as Medusa lists some desires to have caused "a bit more mayhem," perhaps speak with the Kishin, and toy with Stein more, Maka suggests the witch regrets more than she is letting on.

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