Ah, Chapter 96. It’s another chapter which means a bunch of new developments and the return of a few old faces. This time, it’s the reappearance of probably my two favorite characters in the series, so I’m beyond thrilled. And regarding the story, another character is revealed to be marked with a Stigmata. But with what we’ve learned in this arc about cloning and Eden’s Seeds, could this a true Stigmata or another fake? **Warning: spoilers below**
So far, we’ve seen only a handful of the twelve characters that possess Stigmata, specifically Arclight, Saten, and young Blade (possibly passed onto Eve). Characterized by the hidden mark upon the body of the bearer and an unbelievable increase in power with an Eden’s Seed release, these holy markings belong to only the strongest of Needless. Of course, we’ve seen a few misleading ones, too, such as the mark on Mengroze’s hand and the Eden’s Seed release from the clone of Teruyama, so it’s not entirely simple when determining who has a Stigmata or not. And in this chapter, we see what appears to be a Stigmata on Uten’s left leg following his new ability to turn himself invisible. So is this one a true Stigmata or not?
Well, let’s see what supports this theory first before trying to make a decision. For one, the mark is not always present, it only appears when Uten is using his strongest ability. The original Uten never was able to perform at such a level, turning organic matter invisible, and since he was already a Missing Link Needless, this is a sign of something even more powerful. Something that requires Eden’s Seeds to be more precise. And so far, every time a Stigmata has been seen, there has been an Eden’s Seed release. It has all the right pieces to make it a true Stigmata. But what about the other argument?
While it’s true that Uten’s Stigmata meets the main requirements of being a true Stigmata, you have to wonder where it came from. The original Uten never had it, so it needed to come from some external source during the cloning process. Arclight and Blade got their Stigmata from the cells of the Second Christ but his cells are no longer available, so there must be some other source. We are assuming that there were Eden’s Seeds implanted in Uten, like they did for Teruyama, but there was never any sign of Stigmata on Teruyama. Did they use a different line of cells (perhaps from Arclight who amassed the Second Christ’s body?) They did something different, that’s for sure, but there is something sinister about Uten like with Teruyama. There are some clearly demonic elements with Uten now (that sword for starters). And judging that Stigmata is a symbol for the holy, the fact that Uten has clearly demonic characteristics counters that logic. But then again, Arclight, Saten, and Blade aren’t really that holy either, so that might not even be a requirement for Stigmata here.
After weighing both sides of the argument, I’m going to favor the side that says it’s a true Stigmata, that this clone of Uten is one of the bearers of Stigmata. He might not be part of the original twelve that Saten mentioned during the Eve’s Story arc but he appears to be one now. Not sure what to make of his demonic sword, though, and what his goals are with Seto now, but he has proven he is an opponent not to take lightly. It will be interesting to see where he ends up next and who, if anyone, will be the one to take him down.
As for the rest of the chapter, I was pleased with the developments. I’m eager to see what Setsuna and Kuchinashi are up to, even if it’s something simple like capturing Cruz before he reveals his identity to the wrong individuals in the Simeon HQ. There was a lot of clarification on the clones when the helpful scientists were making Cruz uneasy and it will be interesting to see if Cruz learns anything more during the next chapter wandering around the labs. Perhaps he’ll see someone else in the facility. As for Blade, while his time was short, his scene was important. Not only did we see him learn that Cruz was in the Simeon HQ rather than safe in Blackspot but his serious reaction, counter to everything we’ve seen in this arc so far from him, seems to hint of something crucial coming up soon. Looks like Blade and Eve will be heading there immediately but you wonder if someone else will show up to slow their progress in the meantime…
The fight between Seto and Uten was sensational, showing the two powerful fighters square off, but it was a bit too short for my taste. I realize there is not a whole lot of space available for fights right now with so much going on but it was condensed into one chapter. Certainly Uten had the advantage with his new ability so the fight didn’t need to drag on needlessly (heh, pun) but the fight with Disk and some no-name police chief went on for about 3 chapters, so why not this one with two important characters rather than just one? Oh well, I’m guessing next month we’ll see Solva and Kafka brawl, so I’m looking forward to seeing those two in action since it’s been too long of an absence for both.