In my review for Soul Eater: The Perfect Edition volume 2, I wrote this:
“I checked, and the Excalibur chapter kicked off volume 3 in the original release, but here it’s in the middle. Just as readers’ excitement continues to climb as Medusa skulks around the school, this filler-like episode brings it down like a rock.”
Change “kicked off volume 3” to “second chapter of volume 9” and add that Medusa is making Crona skull around the school, and yeah, it’s proof some things never change…
The students of DWMA prepare to be called upon more to prevent Arachnophobia from acquiring Demon Tools, not knowing Medusa is still alive and targeting them too. The only one who knows is Crona, and they are torn between loyalty and fear of “mommy dearest” and Maka and company. And Crona’s not the only one with parental issues: Kid begins questioning what his father’s been hiding from him and perhaps all of DWMA.
Much of the volume is establishing the various groups and getting readers to suss out characters’ motives and next moves. It does so in differing yet captivating ways. The main three meister/weapons group undergo some training. Medusa psychologically manipulates Crona, and although Crona is finally experiencing true joy, having emotions also means feeling sadness, loneliness, and guilt. Ragnarok’s proclivity toward chaos doesn’t help Crona’s twisting emotions either. Arachne, meanwhile, believes in strength in numbers and using those under her. She’s very impatient that her plans are moving more slowly than she would like even though her minions are putting up quite a battle against DWMA.
After the special chapter starring Excalibur, Maka gets a rude reminder she still has some maturing to do. It’s one of the least proud moments for Maka and doesn’t do a whole lot to dig Soul Eater out of the whole it keeps insisting on digging itself into with Excalibur. Seriously, does anyone like these chapters and their pointless endings?
Anyway, after Maka, Black*Star, Kid, and their weapons work on their teamwork, the very next chapter suddenly have them with another team. Two have been in the story before, although I think it’s been a long while. (Well, outside of the Excalibur chapter.) It’s quite jarring to go from emphasizing Maka and company’s need to believe in each other to having them suddenly on a boat approaching an Alaskan island with three other teams who are, evidently, also top tier. I wish Ohkubo had more smoothly transitioned to this new mission, first gathering everyone and then departing instead of starting just as they arrive.
During the battle for the next Demon Tool, the two groups end up separated anyway, but it is cool to see these new and underused characters demonstrate their abilities. Soul Eater doesn’t rush getting the main characters involve, and the next opponent looks to have a cool, powerful ability. There’s only one fight in the volume before this (with plenty of comedy), so in terms of action levels, this one is on the lower end of the spectrum. However, that’s hardly one of volume 6’s flaws. The intrigue shines as mysteries continue to deepen even as the war over the Demon Tools heats up.