This volume of Soul Eater is a brisk read. There is a little bit of expansion on the events of the last volume, and some new developments in the last chapter, but most of it is a standalone story.
The last volume reveals that Joe, the investigator invited to DWMA in the last volume, was murdered. Stein is immediately under suspicion for carrying this murder out, so some faculty stop by his lab to arrest him. Stein complies, but he also takes issue with the idea, as he’s been in his lab the entire time. Long story short, the staff believe him and let him escape to uncover the true murderer.
Crona’s status weighs heavily on Maka, so she decides to talk to him the next day. Lo and behold, they’ve left DWMA without saying goodbye.
The rest of the book involves Maka and Kid taking an extracurricular assignment to a factory, where they battle the Flying Dutchman from earlier in the series, as well as a new villain known simply as the Clown.
The battle here is a visual delight, and features some cute bonding for Maka and Soul. I like how Ohkubo draws Maka’s inner psyche. The idea of her being a young child is a bit cliché, but it works as a way for her to combat the madness the Clown is dishing out. They are able to defeat him quite handily, learning a new attack in the process. The main revelation here is that the Clown is a physical manifestation of Asura’s madness, which means to DWMA faculty that it’s spreading further, wider, and faster than they anticipated. And that’s kind of it.
The last chapter reveals a literal witch hunt on DWMA grounds. It focuses on two characters, Kim and Jackie, the former of whom is a witch enrolled at DWMA. The witch hunt puts her at risk, and later, we find out that DWMA learns her secret and wants to talk with her. Kim freaks out and runs away from school, later coming in to contact with… Mosquito!!
I didn’t enjoy this volume as much, mainly because Asura hasn’t been a concern for our crew for a while. The focus has been on Arachne, who, at least based on what we’ve seen so far, doesn’t have a direct connection to Asura. This doesn’t really advance the plot of thwarting her much at all. The battle with the Clown was fun in and itself, but I wasn’t as enthralled when I sat down and thought about it. Oh, well – on to the next volume.
Soul Eater is written and drawn by Ohkubo Atsushi and was serialized in Square Enix’s Monthly Shonen Gangan from 2004-2013. It was later collected in 25 volumes. It has been licensed in North America by Yen Press, who released all 25 volumes between 2009 and 2015. Check out Yen Press’ page on the manga here.