Friendship Through Necessity: What Soul Eater and Princess Leia Have in Common
I didn’t expect to find a connection between Princess Leia #1 and Soul Eater Prologue 1. The plot for these stories can be found at opposite ends of the comic book ether, so it stands to reason that you’re probably scrunching your eyebrows together about how to make the connection. To put the pieces together, you’ll have to bear with me and read my once upon a time story.
Once upon a time, an extremely introverted girl moved with her family to a very small town in South Georgia. The town was so small that the entire seventh grade consisted of one class with approximately thirty students. Even though the girl and her family had lived in the town from when she was born until she was about four years old, and she had many relatives in the town, most of her elementary years had been spent elsewhere. She moved back to this town friendless.
On the first day of school, this girl made a teeny faux pas when she didn’t immediately agree to belong to a group of girls who handed her a list of names. The list of names included all the girls in the seventh grade class except three. Not agreeing to the list in writing meant her immediate descent into days upon days of being shunned, called names behind her back, and sometimes to her face. One time she was even the bearer of the cooties. She tried to win the class over with what little social skills she had, but the harder she tried the more their dislike of her grew, and the girl fell into a deep sadness.
More than once she begged her mom to send her to another school in an adjoining town thirty minutes away. She learned her lesson and would never make the mistake of turning down an offer of friendship, no matter what contract she had to sign. Her mother asked her to give it another week, and she did.
During that final week a very interesting thing happened. Two of the three girls who did not belong to the larger group of seventh grade girls were absent on the same day. This left the third girl with no one to talk to. So, the third girl approached the very sad and lonely girl and did what no other girl in the seventh grade had done since the name-list incident. She befriended her. Thus, a camaraderie began out of necessity and has since blossomed into a twenty-four year friendship.
You’ve probably guessed that the sad, lonely girl was me and my best friend. She thinks I’m crazy when I tell others she saved me. My twelve year old soul was being eaten alive by sadness, and I can’t imagine the path I’d be set on today if she hadn’t approached me. I’ll confess, I had severe anxiety that she’d turn her back on me after her friends returned. My faith in her was somewhat unsettled, but she surprised me and everyone else by standing firm on our newly conceived friendship. The somewhat mercenary reasons behind the beginnings of our friendship didn’t matter and still doesn’t. All that matters is that I connected with someone and that connection made all the bad bearable. The other girls still didn’t like me, but that no longer mattered. Because I knew at least one person had my back. And it’s because of this impressionable time in my life and the events that shaped me that I can’t help but be drawn to the complicated relationships between friends and how friendships come to be.
If you haven’t read Princess Leia #1 then you may want to skip the rest of this section, because I’m about to spoil. In the first issue, we are introduced to Evaan, an Alderranian like Leia, and pilot for the Rebel Alliance. Princess Leia overhears Evaan talking smack about her behind her back and after a confrontation, Evaan calls Leia frost-blooded to her face. Not the beginnings of a beautiful friendship or a friendship at all, but here we see some of the building blocks of what true friendship requires. An important one being honesty. As Leia concocts her plan to save her fellow Alderranians from being hunted, she makes Evaan her confidant and ally. This is where many will stop me and say Evaan didn’t have a choice as she has already made the claim she’s a royalist and will follow Leia’s orders. But to me that doesn’t matter. Leia chooses her because Evaan’s honesty has filled her with a sense of security. Leia thinks this woman will have my back because she cares about the same things I do.
Evaan proves this theory when their shuttle is set upon by Luke and another pilot whose goal is to bring Leia back to base. Evaan tricks everyone, including Leia, into believing the shuttle has lost its hyperdrive so their escort will back off. Leia thinks they have failed and just when she questions the faith she’s put in Evaan, the shuttle thrusts into hyperdrive and they escape Luke and the other pilot.
When Leia realizes they are free to begin her plan, she literally throws her arms around Evaan and asks if they can be friends. Evaan says no, but the reader already knows they have forged a connection. Evaan saves Leia, and from this issue forward, I can’t help but be invested in the relationship between these two women even more so than Leia’s mission to save the remaining Alderranians. This may not be the creators’ intent, but for now I’m on Leia + Evaan BFF watch.
Now let’s switch over to Soul Eater. This is a long standing manga series, but I’m going to limit my thoughts to Prologue 1 and the relationship between scythemeister Maka and her demon scythe Soul Eater. Maka’s goal is to make Soul Eater in a death weapon. To do this they must kill—and Soul Eater must eat—the souls of ninety-nine humans and one witch. We begin the story with their ninety-ninth soul, and you can quickly assume they’ve had a pretty great working rapport to have made it this far. The trust between the two already exists, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be tested.
Enter the naked witch Blair. The naked part is important, because when Soul Eater fails to work with Maka to gain this very important kill, Maka blames the distraction on Soul Eater’s lust for Blair. Friendships can’t be developed on a deeper level without some conflict strengthening the bond. And we see Maka and Soul Eater fail several times in their attempt to kill this particular witch, which makes for good conflict between the two. Now, there may be the argument that Maka made Soul Eater, and therefore, they are more of a forced team, like Leia and Evaan. But most close working relationships require all the basics of a good friendship. After all, my best friend and I may have begun our friendship out of “forced” circumstances, but that doesn’t mean our friendship is any less genuine or couldn’t grow into a fierce bond because of such a beginning.
And this is where I connect the two stories. Maka believes that Soul Eater is going to betray her because Blair asks him to. Maka questions her faith in him and their relationship. Soul Eater proves her wrong by tricking both Maka and Blair into thinking he’s switched to Blair’s side. He then saves Maka by killing Blair and eating her soul. Soul Eater saves Maka and their friendship bond is strengthened. Of course, if you are familiar with the manga, this isn’t the end of Blair or their search for a witch soul.
Watching the ebb and flow of a good friendship makes for compelling reads. The plot can be silly or even dark and twisty, and I’m willing to keep turning the pages for the characters. I want to root for their friendships because of what friendship means to me: trust, honesty, faith, and having the other’s back even when things get complicated.