The multi-prong attack on Arachne’s castle continues, and while momentum may be shifting in DWMA’s favor, Arachnophobia isn’t about to go down easily. And while taking down the castle has been the immediate goal for DWMA, there are still other things to worry about, like finding Crona and snuffing out the mole at the school.
However, most of Soul Eater: The Perfect Edition volume 10 follows in the previous’ footsteps with most of the chapters sharing the same title. “Operation Capture Baba Yaga Castle” finally ends at #15, and that means there are two freshly named chapters dealing with the post-battle fallout. In true Soul Eater fashion, these chapters are injected with some of its typical humor, although at least compared to previous comedy bits, you could argue the characters are putting on a bit of a show to get their minds off of what happened. But more importantly, these chapters roll out the red carpet for the next arc, which is directly connected to the events at Baba Yaga.
The climax of the castle infiltration arc focus on two battles: Black*Star vs. Mifune, and Maka/Soul vs. Arachne. While both fights showcase how strong the heroes have become, Black*Star’s is much more personal and physical. Mifune has represented the hill Black*Star has been unable to overcome, and more about why the flashy assassin is so flashy is revealed. This chapter is also heavy on brush strokes, and while you may expect the battle of the blade users to be fast-paced, Ohkubo instead often slows down the action. There are quite a few pages with minimal panels and/or dialogue, and the final moments are perhaps the goriest Soul Eater has been. The ending is also rather atypical for the situation, and those who have only watched the anime may be a bit taken aback by what happens here in the original story.
I’m sure many readers will find Black*Star’s fight thrilling and exciting, while others may prefer Maka/Soul vs. Arachne. Their battle relies heavily on tactics, and while Black*Star’s feels like the pinnacle of his development, the scythe and his wielder seem to have much more to do. They should, of course, being the two main characters, but Soul and Maka fight with tactics that are naturally developed from their previous skills instead of suddenly gaining a new power to take on a witch.
Personally, I enjoyed this battle more than Black*Star’s for that reason and the less gritty art, but I can understand why others would prefer the Black*Star vs. Mifune arc. But the end of this overall arc also means trading in one currently-regular character to the return of some older ones, and I think that leads to a loss in some excitement. However, I don’t think anyone will want to miss the final fights at Baba Yaga Castle, but for me, Soul Eater: The Perfect Edition loses a little steam as it spins off to this new phase of the story.