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The Flying Dutchman (さまよえるオランダ人, Samayoeru Orandajin) is the living Soul of the Ghost Ship Nidhogg (ニーズヘッグ, Nīzuheggu). Throughout his short appearance within the series, he is shown to be dedicated solely to reviving the Kishin by collecting the Souls of humans.
|“||This ship is my body and my body is this ship!||”|
—The Flying Dutchman, Episode 15
The Flying Dutchman takes great enjoyment in soul collecting, becoming instantly gleeful whenever an easy kill is in sight. He himself, however, does not collect souls for his own use, rather, he collects in order to one day present them to the Kishin as a sign of admiration and in hope of a reward. He usually laughs at people's naiveness and weakness when he views them as inferior to himself. Alongside this, he also takes pleasure in scaring and playing with his opponents, laughing at their pitifulness when they become openly afraid or run away.
As a worshiper of the Kishin, he naturally has a hatred towards Death and Shinigami in general. He also abides by a belief that what he does is not evil and that it is those whom judge him that are the ones who are truly evil. He has a vision of extreme freedom, imposed upon him by following the Kishin. This freedom is that of being able to act without restriction, and he remains very faithful to this idea. Anyone who opposes it enrages The Dutchman, who is disgusted by the idea of his freedom being taken away.
When Crona takes all the souls he had gathered for the Kishin, he drops into an extreme sadness, crying in belief that he failed Asura, and begging for forgiveness.
The Flying Dutchman has pale grey skin and shoulder-length, orange hair that flows down in a dreadlocks-like style. He also has a large, oval-shaped, pink nose and a very large, almost always open mouth; usually forming a huge-teethed grin or fearsome open-mouthed frown when angry. His teeth are so large, it is possible that he cannot fully close his mouth.
On his head, The Dutchman wears a pair of very small glasses and a black hat which is shaped similar to a narrow lamp head. He wears a red cravat and a green-stripped vest, which is worn closed, underneath which a plain white shirt is also worn. He wears a pair of black pants that slowly become very bulged at their ends. The pants are tucked into a pair of orange striped socks and plain, pale, cream loafers.
- Interior Teleportation: The Dutchman can teleport to any part of the Nidhogg ship or factory by slowly disappearing into a ceiling, wall, or floor and emerging elsewhere. As he does this, the wood of the boat and the metal of the factory at which he dissolves into, or emerges from, ripples like moving water.
- Barrel Gun: The Dutchman can fire powerful rounds from his large barrel gun.
- "NIDHOGG": A technique in which The Dutchman shouts the name of the ship and is then able to control the movement of floorboards or the entire ship itself.
- Cannons: The Dutchman uses a number of on-board cannons. He fires them all by calling to the cannons as if crewmen were operating them.
- Immortality: Although not invulnerable, the Dutchman appears to be un-killable, so long as the Nidhogg still exists. This ability is most likely due to his undead nature, surviving having his head chopped off and being split down the center. Upon the destruction of the Nidhogg Monster Factory in Russia, however, the Flying Dutchman is last seen ascending heavenward, as if he has died.
Relationship To Nidhogg
It is possible that The Flying Dutchman is actually the disembodied living soul of the ship and the factory itself. He states that he and the ship are one, and that, as long as the ship stays afloat, he cannot die. The Nidhogg and its unique soul also share fates; if a blow to the ship splits it in two, The Dutchman will also suffer the same.
Part to the Story
For some time on the Baltic Sea, the Flying Dutchman uses the ship Nidhogg to produce a fog and, hidden in this mist, surreptitiously sinks other vessels to claim all human souls on board. The rest of the world assume such wrecks are to be expected when ships are navigating such a popular travel route through thick fog. In anticipation of the Kishin's resurrection, the Flying Dutchman sinks these ships and claims all human souls aboard.
One attack by the Nidhogg on a particular Baltic Sea village draws the attention of the DWMA, which sends Death the Kid and the Thompson sisters to investigate. As soon as the DWMA students arrive, the Flying Dutchman emerges from the ship's deck, watching their arrival and pleased to have new living souls present that he may claim for the Kishin Asura. When Kid uses his Soul Perception to locate numerous human souls in one room of the ship, the Flying Dutchman emerges from the floor, surprised to be facing a shinigami. The Dutchman fires a gun at Kid, who dodges the bullets. Kid orders Liz and Patty to transform, but the Dutchman calls "Nidhogg!" The floorboards beneath Liz pull away, like tendrils, and gravity draws Liz downward into the bowels below. Those floorboards then close, separating Liz from her peers.
The Dutchman explains to Kid that, as Lord Death makes life increasingly difficult for beings like him, he has seized these souls to present to the Kishin. Kid is surprised that the being would give souls to the demon sword Ragnarok, but the Flying Dutchman corrects Kid: these souls are not for that rookie Ragnarok but "the Kishin who is right next to you," a statement that confuses Kid. The Dutchman refuses to explain to this "child" Kid, as he is knows so many people crave power that he wants to allow the Kishin to sing its song to those masses.
As Kid refuses to fight when he is armed with one rather than two symmetrical weapons, the Dutchman chases after the shinigami, asking why, if Kid is shinigami, he shows such a lack of power and refuses to pass judgment on his supposed evil. Kid claims the Dutchman has not seen all he can offer. Kid adds that he knows evil exists in the world, but his goal is not the eradication of evil, simply keeping it in balance. This remark infuriates the Dutchman, who says that a god's ideals about good and evil are not held by all humans. Kid responds that he does not care what humans think: his goal is precise and exactly perfect balance. The Dutchman aims his pistol, shouting that Kid would rob freedom from other, but Kid faces that pistol and says that there is one freedom no one other than a shinigami is allowed: "I grant no freedom to kill."
To escape the Dutchman, Kid and Patty explode up from the deck of the Nidhogg, reunited with Liz, who thanks to the guidance of the ghosts of the ship's claimed souls safely escaped the bowels of the ship. Kid orders the Thompsons to transform so he may kill this opponent. Kid aims at the Dutchman, who continues laughing and ready to attack. But a blade shoots through the air, slicing the Dutchman's head off at his jaw. It is the demon sword Ragnarok. His meister, Crona, walks towards the injured Dutchman, removing Ragnarok from the deck and slicing the Dutchman at the waist. Crona then claims all of the Nidhogg's souls, allowing Ragnarok to increase in size to more capably fight Kid.
As the Demon Sword meister and the shinigami battle, the Flying Dutchman, even only a head, can still talk and orders his ship's cannons to fire at Crona and Kid. The cannonballs fire at Kid, but the shinigami of course still stands, but what is more shocking to Kid is that Crona, thanks to Ragnarok's swelling soul wavelength, survived as well. Crona expresses hate towards all present, determined to kill anyone present who just cannot get along with others. Crona and Ragnarok perform Scream Resonance, dissolving the dragon wings and charging the attack Screech Alpha, which cuts the Nidhogg in half and, at the same time, the Dutchman's upper head. The ship actually roars before it begins to sink.
Crona uses the new powers of Ragnarok's increase size to fly away, pursued by Kid. The remains of the Nidhogg sink into the sea, except for a row boat with an eye protruding out of it. One part of the Nidhogg therefore remains, hence the Dutchman is still alive, his re-assembled lower body rowing away while the still decapitated and now bisected head begs the Kishin to give him another opportunity to bring new souls to him.
After leaving the Nidhogg ship to sink, the Flying Dutchman managed to re-assemble himself and seize an abandoned Borscht Seven Factory in Russia, coming to form a relationship with the factory similar to his relationship to the factory: he and the factory are one, thus he can control the pipes and structure of the factory to draw upon the Kishin's madness to produce clowns from the Kishin's madness, which only improves upon Asura's resurrection.
Once the DWMA realizes the abandoned Russian factory is operational again, the Academy assigns Maka Albarn, Death the Kid, and their weapons to investigate the Russian Borscht Seven Factory. From the top of the factory, the Dutchman watches Maka, Soul Eater, and Blair enter through an air vent, while an obsessive Kid circles the building, struggling to find a proper entrance. As Maka investigates, 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.
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 faces The Clown, Blair finds the Dutchman, stealing his hat and exposing his bald head. The Flying Dutchman gives chase, but Blair manages to elude the ghost, leaving him bloody and injured as the factory's machinery rips into him. Blair deposits the Dutchman's hat atop the factory's self-destruction button, such that, when the Dutchman finally requires his hat, he taps the button, destroying the factory and, by his association with that factory, killing him as well. The Dutchman is last seen ascending, like an angel, heavenward.
- The Flying Dutchman is a reference to the legend of the same name referring to a ghost ship, doomed to sail forever without returning home. Some versions of the story claim that the captain may only return to shore after a certain number of years to seek a woman to share his fate. Depending on the iteration of the story, the Flying Dutchman is either the ship itself or the ship's captain, which may explain why the Flying Dutchman in Soul Eater refers to the ship Nidhogg and himself as one in the same.
- The ship's name is a reference to the Níðhöggr from Norse mythology.
- The Flying Dutchman has a unique and rather peculiar laugh in the original Japanese manga/anime, ("Dutch chi chi chi chi chi!") which he usually uses when emerging from some part of the ship.
- The Flying Dutchman has a cartoonish appearance. In The Clown arc of the manga, his appearance is reminiscent of the style of Don Martin, United States illustrator whose cartoons appeared in Mad Magazine.
- ↑ Soul Eater Volume 11: Yen Press English translation, page 186