Author: Atsushi Ohkubo
Publisher: Yen Press
American release date: May 6, 2014
Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/manga/paranormal/192 pages
Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★
Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes
Shinigama-sama has given Maka, Soul, Black Star, and Tsubaki a remedial lesson – they must take the soul of one Dr. Stein. Watching from a distance, Death the Kid tells his father this is much too difficult a task for a remedial lesson. Dr. Stein is an unusual man, stitched-together and more than a little clumsy. Dr. Stein tells Maka and Soul that their soul wavelengths are unstable, because she is a serious, hardworking person and he is a rebellious and cynical soul. Looking at Black Star and Tsubaki, Stein observes that Black Star has one of the most self-centered souls he’s ever seen, and that Tsubaki is highly cooperative and very accepting of people.
Meanwhile, Maka’s dad, Death Scythe, is having a good old time at the Cabaret Club Chupacabra’s. But his high spirits take a nosedive every time he thinks about his recent divorce, and the daughter who doesn’t love him.
Dr. Stein asks Maka if she is Spirit-senpai’s daughter, which was her dad’s name before he became Death Scythe. Apparently Dr. Stein was once his partner. According to Death Scythe, Stein experimented on him in his sleep, for five whole years! Stein tells Maka how much he would enjoy dissecting her, thinking of all the things he would do to her! Death the Kid tell his father he is going to go help them and when his father argues that he is not a student at DWMA, Kid instructs his father to add him to the Student Register, takes his guns and goes even as the students battle Dr. Stein for their lives!
Death the Kid has decided to go to school. But promptness is apparently not his forte, as he is already three hours late on his first day! Maka and Tsubaki are in class, where they belong, but Black Star is lying in wait for the shinigami’s son to arrive, because he can’t stand the idea of someone getting more attention than him, and Soul is just hanging out with him to skip class.
Death Scythe has been replaced as their teacher by none other than Dr. Stein, much to their chagrin. Maka says that for the first time she’d rather see her dad! Death the Kid arrives, along with Patty and Liz, and Soul and Black Star are on it! Kid isn’t too concerned, until one of them spoils the symmetry of the school, then all bets are off! When the class becomes aware of the fight going on, Maka informs Stein that he is required to go out there, which he is less than willing to do, so he takes Maka and Tsubaki with him. Since Maka has learned to see souls, Stein gives her an extra assignment, to look at the wavelength between each meister and his weapon(s) and evaluate their resonance.
In Florence, a witch overs over the Santa Mario Novella Basilica. Inside is a demon sword master, Crona, and his demon sword, Ragnarok. Meanwhile, Maka and Soul are on assignment, devouring souls, when Maka hears strange noises coming from the Basilica. She senses a meister inside, along with fifty or sixty human souls. As they draw nearer, suddenly she can’t sense the souls anymore. It’s probably not a good idea but she’s determined to find out what’s going on….
I like the character development that is taking place in this series. You never know when someone you think is bad will turn out to be good, after all. Relatively speaking. For example, there is Dr. Stein, who is certainly eccentric but also brilliant. I loved the scene where Death Scythe shows up at the school to see Maka but detours to the nurse’s office first for some TLC and runs right into his old meister, Stein, who is not hesitant to mess with him again. Death Scythe is easy to intimidate. He’s a lover, not a fighter. But later on, in the basilica, we see the fighter side of him, which is impressive.
Soul and Black Star teaming up to go against Death the Kid is hilarious. It’s no surprise to discover that their souls do not resonate. The story of the encounter with the kishin in the Basilica is a good one, and the entire volume ends with an unexpected twist.
I’m enjoying the series and looking forward to the next volume.