Have you ever wondered what would happen if you crossed Mary Shelley’s Dr. Victor Frankenstein with Frankenstein’s Monster? Well, put away your fanart, because Okubo Atsushi‘s Soul Eater series has answered this burning question in the form of mad scientist Dr. Franken Stein. Soul Eater follows the exploits of three teams trying to collect 99 human souls and one witch soul. These team members all attend Death Weapon Meister Academy (DWMA), and one of their teachers is…Dr. Stein! (cue thunder clap). Dr. Stein is a firm believer in FOR SCIENCE!, so as you can imagine, he gleefully ignores the consequences of his experiments. So! Allow us to take a cautious step down this scientific tunnel to dissect what exactly makes Dr. Stein tick.
Dr. Franken Stein the Man
Dr. Stein has the brains of Victor Frankenstein and the appearance of Frankenstein’s Monster. He graduated from and now works at DWMA as a teacher, and he was the brightest and most capable student to ever attend the school. When we first meet him, he informs us that the whole world is made to be dissected. The man has a giant screw in his head and stitches all over his body, proving that when he says the entire world is made for dissecting, that includes his own body. Dr. Stein is also a strong fighter, able to read his opponent’s soul and counter their attacks by harvesting and analyzing data about them (there’s that super smartness kicking in). The name of his lab is Patchwork Laboratory, which is clearly not ominous at all. Dr. Stein is mad, not just in a “he wants to watch the world burn for the lulz” way, but in a “he is psychologically distressed” way as well. The latter manner plays a role later in the series, but shhhh…no spoilers here.
Dr. Stein’s Science
How exactly does Dr. Stein make use of science? Well…
- He turns a teacher into a zombie, all to give a group of students some remedial lessons. While we don’t actually see this process, we do see the aftermath: the zombie teacher hangs about in a graveyard and attacks students. When these students confront Dr. Stein over this, they get into a fight with the mad scientist and are waaaay outmatched (Dr. Stein even appears to kill one student in the process). These kids – and I stress the word “kids,” because they’re young teenagers facing off against an adult zombie and adult scientist – are thrown to the ground, humiliated, and seriously injured. But surprise! This was all to help the kids learn something. Hey, no pain, no gain, right?
- He manhandles students and draws lines on them to demonstrate where he would cut them up. First of all, he is grabbing students and touching them, which is clearly a no-no. When he first meets one of our main kid characters, Dr. Stein lifts up this girl’s shirt, compliments her smooth skin, and muses about how he’d cut her up. Do you have shivers going down your spine, gentle reader? Because I sure do. Secondly, he is threatening to slice students up and possibly patch them back up together if he feels like it. Although Dr. Stein is regarded as a good teacher by the students at DWMA, imagine the fear of always knowing that at any moment, your teacher could turn around and slash open your belly on a whim. Also, Dr. Stein tends to skip lessons in favor of dissecting creatures in the middle of class, so you’d better have a strong stomach.
- He experimented on someone for five years – while the person was sleeping. Yet again, Dr. Stein is inappropriately touching people, only this time he does it to an unconscious person. Had this series taken place on regular earth instead of anime earth, this man would be locked up forever. But anyway, Dr. Stein clearly had no qualms with illegally experimenting on his pal, and his poor victim (who, admittedly, is a bit of an airhead) didn’t even realize until he woke up with new scars the next morning. Let that sink in for a moment; imagine you go to bed, thinking everything is fine, only to wake up the next morning to find your body covered in stitches and marks. T-E-R-R-I-F-Y-I-N-G. And this goes on for five whole years! But that’s not all; Dr. Stein still sees this victim on a regular basis at the school, and he constantly teases his victim about dissecting him. The victim is so paranoid that when Dr. Stein remarks that he once switched the man’s left and right middle toes with each other, the man frantically takes off his shoes to check if Dr. Stein is lying or not. As you can well imagine, Dr. Stein just stands there merrily while the poor man freaks out.
Dr. Stein is a brilliant man and decent teacher, but his lack of empathy is shocking, I say, shocking. While he is much more than the mad scientist the anime initially paints him to be, he is still a mad scientist at heart. And Dr. Stein is still out there, biding his time, waiting to make his next move…All I can say is, don’t ever walk into Patchwork Laboratory unless you’re dared to (dares are binding, after all).