nenena: (Default)
nenena ([personal profile] nenena) wrote2013-03-12 21:26

Soul Eater Chapter 108: "YOU'RE WRONG! I dunno how to prove it but YOU'RE WRONG!!"

A GENUINELY SHOCKING PLOT TWIST: Changes everything that you knew or thought you knew about a character and/or their world. See: Justin Law. Or Darth Vader for a more classic and also somewhat more comparable example.

A GENUINELY BORING PLOT TWIST: Changes exactly nothing that you knew or thought you know about a character and/or their world. See: This month's Soul Eater. Low stakes (it changes nothing about the characters or their conflicts with each other) and very little accomplished in turns of plot advancement (again, just throwing the same characters into the same conflicts that they were already involved in).

But who cares about that boring plot shit because this month's chapter was still awesome for one reason: Black Star.

So we start exactly where we left off last month, right in the middle of a conversation between Excalibur and Big Daddy.

"The birth of a new shinigami... And you already gave away your fear, you say..." Excalibur says, helpfully recapping last month's conversation for us. "So giving all of your fear to that little fragmant of yourself was not such a great idea after all..."

"Fear and order... I thought that if he could become Fear, then I could become Order, and we could both rule together... But Order and Insanity are two sides of the same coin. Maybe it was simply fate that things would turn out like this... I used my own son for a grand experiment. I am no better than that witch Medusa." Uh I BEG TO DIFFER but anywhoo. "It should be my responsibility to clean up this mess," Big Daddy goes on, "yet now I can do nothing but shoulder Kid and his friends with my burden..."

"Old soldiers don't die. They just fade away..." Excalibur says. "Yes. Of course you aren't going to die! Never--!!"

But Big Daddy just drops some ellipseses and refuses to face Excalibur.

"Either way, I can't rest until I've seen the end results with my own eyes..." Which of the two of them will become the new shinigami?!

Back on the moon!

Asura is glaring down at Our Heroes. "Well now, Little Brother. Isn't it time to decide which of us is the true shinigami?"

Stein is looking up at the moon. Nice visual parallel there, Ohkubo. "I sense... an incredible insanity wavelength stirring..."

"Are the kids going to be all right...?" Marie frets.

Back on the moon again!

"Ki... Kid..." Spirit says.

"What... did you just say...?" Kid asks Asura. "I'm... your younger brother...?"

"We are both born from the same father, fragments cut from his soul," Asura explains, donning the Captain Exposition Hat.

"They DO look alike, don't they?" Patti says.

"Only if you're looking for similarities, I guess?" Liz says.

"N... No way... DON'T YOU DARE SAY ANOTHER WORD!!"

How can Kid be right in front of him and still manage to miss Asura with every single shot?

Oh look, magic skull-wings. Just like Big Daddy has.

"NOW YOU'RE REALLY PISSING ME OFF!!" Yeah uh we can tell.

Oh my god. In the next panel they're doing the classic snarling-at-each-other-while-clashing-swords pose except that neither of them has a sword so it's snarling-at-each-other-while-clashing-scarf-versus-gun instead. "Father could NEVER have created someone like you!" Kid snarls.

"Shinigami wanted to make himself into a perfect God of Order, so he ripped all of the fear out of his own soul. From that fear he created me," Asura explains, putting the Captain Exposition Hat right back on. "That one tyrannical act was the beginning of the world's path toward the Insanity that you poor whelps seem to so loathe."

"So all of this is because you're just Father's bad seed?!" Kid says. "You can't expect me to believe that!!"

Meanwhile, these guys!

"Maka, let's go help him!" Soul says.

"Yeah!"

"Let's go, Tsubaki!!"

Back in the Zone of Terrifically Unsurprisingly and Low-Stakes Plot Twists! "So then why is it that I, also a fragment of my Father, can know fear?" Kid asks Asura. "If Father had truly thrown away all of his fears, then the next child that he created should be unable to know fear as well!"

"Do you not understand?" Asura counters. "You were created to be immature. You were created as an inexperienced child, so that you could learn to feel fear as you grew... And you two must have had so much fun, doing things together as parent and child."

"Bullshit," Kid says. "My Lines of Sanzu are incomplete. Father couldn't have made me that way on purpose..."

"He did, because he was worried... That you would end up the same as your older brother..."

Suddenly, Maka! "Kid-kun is NOTHING like you!!"

Asura does not appreciate being interrupted. "Humans!! This broken world - as well as the world that you foolishly call 'normal' - everything is the result of Shinigami's designs. You pathetic humans are nothing but Shinigami's puppets!!"

Black Star.

"WE ALREADY KNOW THAT."

Oh, Black Star!

"Not bad for a human," says the King of Understatements.

Oh, but Black Star's just getting started.

He's powering up, and powering up, and powering up...

And what TERRIFYING FORM is Black Star's ULTIMATE BATTLE-AURA of FANTASTIC FEARLESS MUCHO MACHO GODDAMN LION-HEARTED TOTALLY FUCKING STUDLY SUPERSTAR BIG DAMN HERO MANLY MANLINESS going to take?!

Turn the page and---

Well, whaddya know.

His battle aura is shaped like a petunia.

Not a star. Not a lotus blossom. Not even a camellia, which would make sense because of Tsubaki and all.

Nope. None of the above.

That is a goddamn fucking petunia.

"HUMANS ARE STRONGER THAN GODS!!" Black Star screams from atop his petunia-shaped spirit flower. "AND YOU AIN'T GONNA DISAGREE!! AAAAAAAAAH!!"

Wow HOLY FUCK.

Okay Ohkubo, I forgive you for the petunia-shaped battle aura. Because the next page is legitimately fucking awesome.

...Except that Asura is still TOTALLY UNIMPRESSED. "If this is all the power that you have, then why do you still blindly follow Shinigami? Humans are weak and foolish."

"But Kid and Shinigami aren't my bosses, they're my friends," Black Star says. "Also I DON'T LIKE YOU!!"

Oh my god, Black Star! Best lines in the entire chapter.

"You're the ruler of fear or whatever!!" Black Star goes on. "So why don't you try to understand other people's fears?! How come you can't do anything but freak out because of your own fear?!"

"Because that is the nature of a god," Asura says. "What would be the point in a god trying to understand garbage?" When he says "garbage" he uses the kanji for humans.

"When I sought 'power,' I took a vow to shoulder the regrets of those who had been destroyed by 'power'!!" Black Star says. "That's why I can't STAND an asshole like you!!"

"Oh, but your Shinigami is just the same as me," Asura says. "Humans live and die according to his designs."

"YOU'RE WRONG!!" Black Star shouts. "I dunno how to prove it but YOU'RE WRONG!!"

Yeah and then Asura finally delivers the beatdown.

"Let him go!!" Maka shouts.

Yeah that doesn't work out too well for her either.

"Aaaa ha ha!" Asura laughs. "I'm scared. I'm scared!"

I really can't tell if he's being sarcastic when he says that anymore.

Uh-oh, here comes Vajra.

Uh-oh, I'm...

...I'm reading Fairy Tail, all of a sudden?!

Oh who cares. This shit looks awesome so let's just roll with it.

Five pages later:

"Hoooooo... This is definitely scary... Too scary..." So why does Asura look so happy about it? "I never knew that a human could do such a thing..."

Oh, Black Star. Dat background. He is covered in blood and laughing and sparkling like a shoujo manga. "THERE'S NOTHING A GOD CAN DO THAT I CAN'T DO!! AND THE ONLY THINGS THAT I CAN'T DO ARE THE THINGS THAT *I* CAN'T DO!!"

"?" Patti says.

"In other words, there's nothing you can't do," Liz says, helpfully translating Black Star's screaming for the more succinctly-inclined.

So then Black Star starts puking blood everywhere.

"Are you okay?" Kid asks.

"You assholes! Are you gonna let me take him on by myself?" Black Star gripes, blood dripping from his mouth. "Not that I can't or that I really mind or anything, but. You know."

"S... Sorry," Maka says. "I flew back here as fast as I could..."

Now Kid is glowering and think-bubbling menacingly. So Father created the Kishin, huh... From total denial to total acceptance in just twenty pages. Wow. Clearly this shocking plot twist has left a deep emotional impact on Kid and is causing him to question everything that he thought he knew about Big Daddy and Asura oh wait.. See, this is what I'm talking about when I say that this is a boring plot twist: Now Kid is right back to doing and feeling what he was doing and feeling at the beginning of the chapter. He just found out that his mortal enemy is his brother and it's having little to no impact on him whatsoever.

ETA: Again, for comparison's sake: When Luke Skywalker found out that Vader was his father, it changed everything for him - his goals, his literal purpose in life, everything. When Arjuna found out that his mortal enemy Karna was his brother, it changed everything for him - it left such a devastating emotional impact that it nearly tore his family apart. Insert other examples here, etc etc etc. I will not make a comment about Attack on Titan and the Sad Titans in Snow Arc here but by GOD is it tempting to make that comparison right now... Anywhoo, what makes plot twists interesting/meaningful is that they a) cause us to see something about the characters and their world in a totally new light and b) they have some sort of lasting impact on the characters involved. The Big Reveal in this chapter, however, tells us nothing that we didn't already know (or at least nothing that wasn't already so strongly hinted at as to be totally fucking obvious) about Asura, about Big Daddy, or about Kid. Hell this has been a popular fan theory for YEARS so it's not like it should be surprising to anyone. But even then it could still be an interesting/meaningful Big Reveal if only we could see it having some sort of real impact on Kid in terms of his character development, world view, emotional state, anything at all... But no. Yeah at first he's in total denial but after a mere twenty pages we're already back to "well okay I guess Daddy did create Asura after all oh well back to killing him just like I was trying to do five minutes ago." Come oooooooon Ohkubo at least give us some angst about brother-killing or something! Or heck at this point I'd even settle for Kid having another freakout about his father making mistakes because even though we've seen Kid dealing with and solving that exact same conundrum several times before at least it's SOMETHING in terms of a meaningful reaction to the revelation. Ohkubo, dude, throw us a bone, man!

But anyway, back to Kid's thought-bubbles. So then what were the shinigami that came before Father...?

Then who was phone?!?!

"Kid!" Black Star says. "This isn't the time for you to get caught up in your boring stupid thoughts again. The three of us have to defeat the Kishin right now."

"...I know," Kid says.

Down below, Spirit!

And finally HOLY SHIT IT'S SID!! Christallfuckingmighty I've been wondering for months what happened to him. "Deathscythe!" Sid shouts. "Where's Crona?"

"Oh, Sid!" And Akane too, apparently. Anywhoo, Spirit goes on: "They're in the middle of the real battle right now. I hope Maka will be okay..."

It does not look like she's going to be okay.

"Very well..." Asura says. This is a fucking awesome panel of Asura. "Now that I'm all fired up... Soon you all shall know what it means to be as crushed by fear as I am."

"After taking that massive hit from Black Star, he's not even hurt..." Maka gasps.

"Because he's not just a kishin, he's a kishin with black blood, thanks to Medusa," Kid says. "We'll never hurt him with our ordinary attacks."

Oh look, Soul is having black thoughts now.

Literally.

"Soul! It's your turn now," the Little Demon says. "Yes. Didn't you hear them? The only way to fight the kishin's black blood is with our black blood."

"I know. That's my plan," Soul says.

"Then come," the Little Demon says. "This is the gig that you've been waiting for."

To be continued next month!



Thoughts and reactions:

Black Star is awesome. But you all know that.

Ohkubo and muppet-faces. Argh. But you all know that too.

Asura being created by Big Daddy and therefore technically Kid's brother... Meh. It's not terribly surprising, it's been a fan-theory for a looooooong time, and again: It's a pretty goddamn low-stakes revelation. It changes virtually nothing. Before the tragic story was that Asura went insane and Big Daddy had to turn against his fellow ruler/ally/possibly friend? and skin him alive in order to save the world, yadda yadda yadda. This is made only slightly more tragic with the whole Asura-is-his-son reveal, but other than that? Asura is still fundamentally Asura - this changes NOTHING that we knew about him - and Big Daddy is still Big Daddy, Kid is still Kid, and the conflict between Kid and Asura is still THE EXACT SAME CONFLICT NOW that it was BEFORE THE BIG REVEAL so blargh.

The only thing that this reveal actually changes is that it makes the cosmology of the SE-verse much less interesting and much less complex than what we got back when Eibon and Kid had their conversation in chapter 88. And here I thought Ohkubo was being all clever and Ontological with that whole “order creates chaos” thing. And not just in chapter 88, but throughout the entire moon arc: Every time we've heard "the kishin is born from order!" until now I've thought it was Ohkubo actually being thoughtful and clever about the nature of good and evil in the world. But no, I guess he was being completely literal all along. Which is actually pretty disappointing.

Meh, whatever. Hopefully we'll get to seem some black blood action next month!

ETA: This month's Gangan Mobile bonus emoji!

(Anonymous) 2013-03-13 01:45 (UTC)(link)
I'm confused.. how is Kid still going to be Kid after finding out this revelation?
He could be changed by interacting with his brother. There could be like an Itachi/Sasuke tension going on here only the older brother is actually evil... You never know.
Ohkubo might be taking a more character-centric focus on the plot from now on. And to be honest I never really found the order/chaos arguments Ohkubos constantly talking about very enthralling, they're kinda drab and repetitive... Maybe the characters' revelations and developments will shape what we understand about the order of the world, and how it will change, instead of constantly speculating on it.

Other than that the BS scenes were A+. Can't believe the artistic quality that went on in this chapter, it looked kinda Kubo-ish when Star summoned that demon thing. Soooo cool. And excited for when Soul uses black blood too!!!

(Anonymous) 2013-03-13 03:15 (UTC)(link)
Poor Tsubaki, man :( "Blackstar" is literally all she gets to say anymore. I also miss Patti's laugh dearly and I really thought Blackstar barfing up magic god breath and blood warranted a hardy chuckle out of her lol. Anyway, the art was actually consistently great this month so woot! Thanks for the recap!

[identity profile] z-raid.livejournal.com 2013-03-13 19:14 (UTC)(link)
I would have liked the reveal a lot more if it actually did have an affect on the characters and the plot, but like you said, it didn't. If Ohkubo didn't make Asura Kid's brother everything would still be the same and everyone would still be fighting for the same goals so to me it just kind of feels like an unnecessary plot twist.

I'm slightly beginning to prefer anime Asura over manga Asura. At least when anime Asura says he's scared he shows he's extremely scared too. Manga Asura just sounds sarcastic all the time which I still like but it makes him kind of flat in personality compared to anime Asura.

Thank you for the recap and translation!

(Anonymous) 2013-03-13 20:58 (UTC)(link)
Hmm, I have mixed feelings. I don't pay attention to the fandom so for me this whole Asura being Kid's brother was actually REALLY new to me. I didn't see it coming at all.

But as to everyone's reaction...I don't know. On the one hand, normally I'd expect something more of a reaction out of the cast like what you and others have said. On the other hand, by not having a reaction, it's actually against the normal. The first anon made the connection I was thinking of, which was Sasuke and Itachi. While I wouldn't mind sudden SURPRISE BROTHER TENSION, it also would feel...off. Kid didn't know about it and from his reaction, I'd say he just does not care. Asura is the 'source of evil' and there is no love lost between them. Whether that's in his character or just bad writing, I don't know. But at least to me, it makes sense that he wouldn't care that Asura was his brother outside of the wtfuckery factor. Now his thoughts afterward were definitely weird. I'd expect him to wonder more about what his father was doing and the acceptance did seem pretty quick. Though as Black*Star and even Kid himself noted, now was not the time to think about. That could also be Ohkubo's way of saying "Hey I threw this in there but you know what screw it because we're in a battle here no time for that." Which leads to my next point.

I think the plot twist was more to garner a reaction from the readers and less from the cast. You would expect the cast to have a reaction, but by not having one it goes counter to the usual BROTHER BATTLE FOR THE WORLD trope. It seems so brushed off, but maybe that's the point. Here you have a possible cliche but in the end it doesn't matter. Related to one another or not, they're going to have to duke it out. Just skip all the possible emotional backlash. Maybe it'll be dealt with later with Kid confronting Dad about it, but I don't see it coming from him and Asura unless something else happens.

Whether that's a good thing or not, I don't know. Sloppy or creative, no idea. Those are just my thoughts and how it hit me at first. It was definitely weird, and hell I'm probably stretching this a lot so it's cool if no one else agrees. Just throwing in my two cents.

Maka

(Anonymous) 2013-03-14 04:46 (UTC)(link)
Ah Okuubo seems to be back to his old great artwork! I didn't see any ridiculous tiny feet in this chapter haha. Anywho...the whole Asura thing...meh. Whatever. I honestly couldn't care any less, with or without this reveal (as you explained) it doesn't really change anything...furthermore I feel that Maka has gotten further and further away from being a main character, these past couple of chapters I haven't really seen her do much of anything minus a couple of lines here and a tap on the shoulder there...I mean i know Kid and Black star are AWESOME...but I miss the times where all three of them (plus their weapons) could fight as a troupe and kick ass (like against Mosquito). Ah but oh well, on the other hand I'm very much excited to see Soul's "new development" remember...he hasn't used his Black Room since he became able to manifest a piano on his scythe...sooooo....a big reveal next time? LET'S HOPE SO!!! Also...Black Star is the man. End of story!
ext_412055: (PH ♚ THIS GIVES ME WOOD)

[identity profile] spongefan1.livejournal.com 2013-03-15 20:28 (UTC)(link)
I almost forgot how irresponsible all of the adults are in this manga. Almost.

(Anonymous) 2013-03-18 01:35 (UTC)(link)
Apropos of absolutely nothing, is Kid sporting a jet pack in this chapter? The raw I'm looking at is really crappy, but he appears to be zipping into the air sans skateboard and there are clouds sprouting from little Shinigami skulls on his shoulders. I've never noticed it before. Is this new or am I just denser than usual?

The Big Brother Asura reveal is so underwhelming that I'm more interested in a possibly imaginary jet pack than I am about the "plot development". That just about says it all for me.

luke_777: (Default)

[personal profile] luke_777 2013-04-29 23:21 (UTC)(link)
I wonder if Crona will get to meet the Black Mass while inside Asura.