What’s a Death Scythe in ‘Soul Eater?’

Maka Albarn and Soul Evans from Soul Eater.
Screengrab via YouTube/whitewolfmoon98

Warning: The following article contains spoilers for Soul Eater.

In Soul Eater, working in the service of Lord Death is a grueling job that requires a team effort. Obviously, most souls don’t want to be reaped, so it’s therefore necessary to force said souls into compliance to get the job done. This is where Death Scythes come in.

To perform the task of soul collection in Soul Eater, reapers-in-training, such as heroine Maka Albarn, must become a Scythe-Meister, achieving said title through Death Weapon Meister Academy. Moreover, the feat involved requires the use of a Death Scythe, which also makes the cooperation of a Demon Scythe vital to the process.

So, just what is a Death Scythe?

The definition of a Death Scythe

Scythe-Meister Maka wields Death-Weapon Soul.
Screengrab via YouTube/Crunchyroll Dubs

First of all, it’s important to note that the definition of a Death Scythe differs between Soul Eater‘s manga and anime versions. In the manga, it’s a type of supernatural weapon that has consumed 99 evil human souls on Lord Death’s list, along with one Kishin soul (a malevolent being spawned from the over-hunting of good human souls who wields power capable of destroying the world). However, in the anime, it has eaten 99 Kishin eggs and one witch soul instead.

Basically, a Death Scythe in Soul Eater is both a rank and an identity, a weapon that’s been classified as worthy of Lord Death’s possession once the Scythe-Meister and Demon Scythe (such as Maka Albarn and Soul Evans, Soul Eater‘s main duo) have achieved this accomplishment together, teaming up to reap the specified number of souls.

Although they vary somewhat in appearance, Soul Eater‘s Death Scythes all, as the second half of the name implies, resemble a traditional scythe (a tool that was used for cropping wheat in ancient times, which sported a long, curved blade attached to a long pole, with a few short handles attached). They boast special powers as well, such as the ability to shapeshift (the Demon Scythe’s body transforms into a weapon form and can even change shape based on the needs of each battle) and utilize magic (obtained from the consumption of the witch and deriving its mojo from her specific supernatural energy).

As far as the usage of Death Scythes is concerned, Soul Eater’s Scythe-Meisters must fine-tune their scythe-handling skills, such as learning basic twirling maneuvers. Some become quite adept with their weapon, utilizing advanced moves such as witch-hunt slash. It’s a technique that allows souls to resonate with each other, changing the size and shape of the demon scythe’s blade, an outcome that has proven deadly to witches, demons, and immortals, and can cancel a witch’s magic techniques. However, some rely on their weapon to employ its own independent techniques.