Soul Eater 63: Egregore

Well, it seems Soul Eater is a bona fide Death Scythe.  On top of which, Dr. Stein has just informed Maka that she is one of the Egrigori (only one in 50,000 souls is of this type).  One of the cooler aspects of the Japanese language is that crazy writers like Ookubo can write out regular Japanese kanji and then on the side place the most unexpected furigana, which are the characters that show you how to read the kanji out.

cute soul

cute soul

The kanji here are 天使型, usually read tenshi-gata, literally meaning “angel-type”.  But the furigana read Egrigori.  So as the narrative proceeds with Maka and Soul’s woeful attempts at using Maka’s newfound angelic nature in order to fly, we are made to think once more of deeper, darker things.

Egrigori is the Greek term for the Watchers, the fallen angels (briefly mentioned in the Bible) that infamously descended upon Earth and mated with the daughters of Men, thus producing Giants.  The mainstream view of the Watchers is that they were very, very evil.  In the apocryphal but relatively famous Book of Enoch, however, they actually teach human cultures technologies such as metallurgy, appearing in a more ambiguous, Promethean light. Last chapter I talked about Ookubo’s curious use of the name Spartoi, and this new borrowing just adds to the strangeness.  Almost as if Shibusen is in reality a hotbed of Evil underneath it all.

Egregore!  Fail!!

Egregore!!!

Egrigori, as the name of an ominous military-industrial complex, showed up in a popular shohnen manga series called Project ARMS, so there’s a good chance that Ookubo took the name from there.  Still, there’s another historical current to the term Egrigori that Ookubo seems to be tapping on.

In the occult, and directly (though somewhat tortuously) deriving from the Watchers concept, an Egregore is a collective mental being, a potentially powerful creature formed from the synchronized thoughts of a number of people.  Magicians will work in together in large numbers to visualize the same thing and make it “come true” as one of these entities.

In this chapter, Soul and Maka must visualize “wings” and synchronize their images in order for Maka to be able to fly: in essence, they must create an Egregore.  Come to think of it, the Technician / Weapon martial art as a whole is based on Egregores!

Training with live ammunition

Training with live ammunition

While short, I think the training scenes with Stein and Star, Liz and Patty, were great.  We really get a sense that Black☆Star keeps getting stronger and stronger, well on his way to being quite the monster.  Same goes for Patty.  Stein, on the other hand, seems to have settled down his monstrous heart.  All’s well on this side of the world, then.

Could it be that there’s a K-On! reference in this episode?!  When Shinigami tries to contact the Death Scythe Azusa on the mirror, he calls her Azu-nyan, just as Yui called little Azusa in the recently finished show.  I don’t at all remembering anyone calling Azusa that in Soul Eater before!!  And no, sticking -nyan at the end of a name is not exactly common practice I don’t think…

looks good, but overworked

looks good, but overworked

I wasn’t particularly impressed by the Kid scene.  I loved the drawings as such, but I wish Ookubo had put in more interesting dialogue.  The bit about Kid rearranging the book was funny, but after that it was pretty boring: Noah wants to go against Maka and he’s sending this Gopher dude/dudette (dudette IMHO).  Kid gets upset by it.  Giriko drinks all the while.  THE END.  More could have been done with this, but the set-up for Maka/Soul vs Gopher is there, and now we’ll just have to wait for the next chapter.

Kid looks remarkably unblemished

Kid looks remarkably unblemished

~ by Haloed Bane on July 11, 2009.

4 Responses to “Soul Eater 63: Egregore”

  1. Very interesting notes on the mythology, as well as the other series it might be referring to. You’re the only one I know who translates the translation, if you know what I mean.
    “Almost as if Shibusen is in reality a hotbed of Evil underneath it all.”
    …If this doesn’t materialize as a major plot point, I am going to feel so cheated. And maybe it’s just Soul’s cynical attitude that keeps him from visualizing Maka as a fluffy-wuffy angel, but I’m hoping it’s influence from Soul’s black blood, or something good and dire like that.
    And I’m happy as hell to see Stein back. He’s such an excellent loose cannon character. I didn’t know how much I missed him until he showed up again. You know that thing last chapter with the tape recorder, and how it only picked up background noise? I know it’s just my imagination, but I love the idea that he threw a wrench into that on purpose, for his own brand of laughs. No, I’m not saying he’s a saboteur, exactly, but come on, he’s Stein. He may want to extend this chase for personal reasons.
    As far as Kid’s situation goes, I agree with you. Set the angel bit aside, and let’s spend a chapter with Kid. He’s in a very interesting place right now; let’s explore it!

  2. I wouldn’t even mind a chapter with Kid just going thru his mental process of how to deal with this stuff.

    Shibusen’s totally got an evil vibe to it. I do hope Ookubo taps into it…

  3. Lol, I would have thought Shibusen was a hotbed of evil from the beginning. I mean come on, it’s a training facility for insane people to learn how to kill slightly more insane people! Using all the most goth-looking weapons imaginable! Half of them are named after classic monsters! Their military commander is a fucking zombie! THE RINGTONE IS ‘KILL KILL KILL DIE DIE DIE!!!”

    anywho, I agree that the Kid scene wasn’t strong, however I liked the part where Justin accuses Kid of not ‘going with the flow’. I think this gives us insight into his personality, which is pretty much that he simply doesn’t give a fuck. I feel like what sets this group apart is that Medusa and Arachne were real schemers, while this group has more of a Joker mindset – set up the situations as they come to light and do what feels right in the moment. Flow through, have fun, and meet the goal however it may come.

    • You sound like you like Noah’s faction…which is cool except that for a Joker-style they’re way too hierarchical (Noah Noah Noah). And how come they’re not doing anything with Giriko??

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