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"There is no inherent right or wrong in this world. Those labels are just artificial constructs. Right and wrong are held by positions of authority. That's the way it has always been. So how could anyone know this truth you speak of? Don't you see the reality is that truth long ago became nothing more the a shadow of itself; It is a mere echo of the past now....The world is one, big gray moral area. It just makes you feel safer that it can be categorized into good and bad. That's not how it actually works."
Doctor Franken Stein (フランケン シュタインは, Furanken Shutain) is an eccentric albeit talented meister and was the most powerful person to graduate from the DWMA. He would go on to be one of the DWMA's finest instructors.
Stein is loosely based upon one of the central characters from the 1818 novel by Mary Shelley, "Frankenstein", an amalgamation of the mad scientist named Victor Frankenstein and his man-made monster.
Much of Stein's background is unknown. However, his insanity was always a problem. When he was a child, doctors would try to find why he was so insane. They would think a tragedy had occurred at some point in his life. He would later join the Shibusen, Spirit as his first weapon, and Spirit made sure Stein didn't get into trouble. Over the years, Stein became the most powerful Shibusen student to graduate from the Academy.
Being a man of science, Dr. Stein sees everything in the world, including himself, as an experiment. This is the personality that he had as a child, as he often wanted to dissect the people around him. He was often stopped by Spirit. This personality trait made all those around him afraid of him. This strange hobby of wanting to dissect anything he thinks is interesting was still present, even when Stein became an adult; once, as part of a lesson, he tried to have his class dissect an endangered animal, claiming that it would be bad if he did not find out anything from it before it became extinct. Stitching across his face suggests that he had worked on himself at one point.
He also exhibits a sadistic and intimidating personality. During his battle against Maka and Black☆Star, he grabbed Maka by one of her pigtails, lifted her shirt up and drew marks on her body, to signify where he would put the knife through, and ponders if he should turn her skin into sand paper. When Black☆Star tried to attack him, he countered by knocking him out in a seemingly painful and bloody manner. His smiles are normally filled with sadistic intentions.
Stein seems to have dormant madness. He has even admitted that he is especially sensitive to it. Stein ultimately did go insane and struggled to maintain it. He even quit smoking as a way to convince himself.
Emotionally, Naigus has described him as always alone and that he has no love in him. He has admitted that he can't understand Spirit's reaction to Maka asking him to go out shopping. This shows he can't feel deep emotions other than the need to dissect whatever interests or irritates him. This tendency likely seems to be more destructive or psychotic, which explains his dormant madness. He is depicted as morally bankrupt, at least back in his youth. In Sid's flashback, he questioned Sid's decision to adopt Black☆Star, who was a baby. This suggests that if it were Stein's decision, he would have left Black☆Star. His immorality is supported further by his repeated experiments on Spirit back when they were kids.
Despite this cruel and twisted personality, Stein does have a kind and compassionate side that worries for his friends and students and he feels the need to protect them. He also exhibits a rather paternal demeanor towards his students. He also expresses deep disgust and moral outrage towards Medusa for stating that she would abandon her own child, Crona, when they would become useless to her. It is never stated when this other personality arose.
Dr. Stein is a tall man with silver-gray hair and big, round glasses and handsome face. He has a large screw/bolt going through his head, which he turns, often as a means to focus his thoughts. A signature hallmark of Stein's is his trademark zig-zag stitches. He has sewn stitches all over his body and clothing (his house is even covered in stitches). His most notable piece of clothing is his doctor's lab coat. He is also surprisingly well built for a man his age, due to a large portion of his time being devoted to combat training.
He is often seen with a caster-wheel chair. A running gag is that, despite his coordination, he often hits a ledge or frame and ends up falling backwards when travelling on it.
His soul is light blue featuring his trademark stitches and single giant screw.
As a child, his bolt and glasses are noticeably absent. He is also much shorter and visibly smaller than Spirit.
- As the name suggests. Stein is a combination of Dr Frankenstein and his "creature" in Mary Shelley's novel, Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus. This includes his main mindset, as he wishes to live in a world "without God," setting his own rules rather than following those of some higher power.
- This is further shown by the fact that his attack "Soul Thread" closely resembles electricity and his current partner Marie's attacks center around electricity. The "creature" was given life via lightning and in a way runs on electricity.
- The screw/bolt in his head is another element that makes Stein resembles the Monster, as it's known to have two small bolts on the head or neck.
- A running gag in the series is that whenever Stein goes and sits on a rolling chair, he leaves rolling backwards and falls in the exit.
- In the official popularity poll taken by the manga's readers, Stein ranked 8th.
- "Shitai" which is part of Stein's name in Japanese (Shitaiin) means "corpse" in reference to his corpse-like appearance.
- Stein calls Spirit "senpai" (Upper Classman) while Spirit calls him "kouhai"(junior), implying that Spirit is older than Stein.
- Stein always rotates his bolt clockwise.