Nov 03

Anime Review – Soul Eater

A sound soul dwells within a sound mind and a sound body.

If you were at Anicom on Thursday, you had the pleasure of seeing both the first episode of Soul Eater and the brilliant Halloween AMV the series spawned. Hopefully your appetite for its been whetted already, but in case not, allow me to tell you why I freaking love Soul Eater, and why you should be watching the other 50 episodes of it right now.

To briefly surmise the plot, there are two types of human. Meisters and weapons. Meisters help bring out the best in the weapons they partner with, the end goal being to get 99 “Kishin” souls and one witches soul to make them a deathscythe, to be used by Lord Death himself. With that premise in place, the series focuses on three weapon / meister sets, and their battles against witches and other evilities.

Left to right – Maka, Liz and Patty, Death the Kid, Tsubaki, Black Star, Soul Eater

First up are Maka and Soul, a scythe weapon. Soul is obsesed with being a cool guy, while Maka is a smart meister trying to both live up to and surpass her parents, while following what she believes in. Then there’s Black Star, a larger-than-life showoff who craves the spotlight more than anyone else, leading to him performing extraordinary feats, paired with mild-mannered Tsubaki, whom takes the form of several weapons as she tries to calm Black Star and keep him focused on the task at hand. Finally, you have Death the Kid, son of Lord Death, a consumate professional with an overbearing sense for style that makes him crazy about things being symmetrical, and his partners Liz and Patty, former outlaws and now trying to keep up with Kid’s eccentricities as his twin gun weapons (symmetry, remember).

If it seems I’ve gone on for a while about characters, trust me, I’ve only scratched the surface. The cast is wide and varied here, the show itself opening up with 3 intro episodes, one focusing on each of the lead character sets, before throwing you face first into the story and continuing at a pace, not letting up or getting distracted (except maybe for Excalibur, but that’s forgiveable).

Sanity? Who needs that.

Going back to the story briefly, being a shonen, the other key element besides characters are the battles, and the series doesn’t disappoint there either. Everyone behaves, well, as you’d expect, fighting smartly, with no giant stupid leaps of logic or ridiculous amounts of exposition between each strike, and our leads don’t always come off the victors. The characters do go through pain, suffering, and, as shown above, insanity as the series rolls on. This applies especially to Crona, her story being the most tragic of all, but I won’t spoil it as its something I’d rather you experienced than had told.

The animation itself is crisp and far more vibrant than a lot of shonen shows. Part of that could be down to Studio Bones, the animation studio whom worked on this, having this as their tenth anniversary series (if you get a chance to see the Soul Eater Late Show, which is Bones having some silly fun with their work, its worth it). Either way, its a visual splendor and really helps the cast and world come to life.

The audio track, while not full of pieces that you’ll remember forever, still suits the mood, and some of the opening and ending themes are brilliant to listen to (Style in particular, especially after one episode which I won’t spoil).

I could go on and on, so if you want to know more, feel free to ask, but I’ll conclude this article by saying that Soul Eater is certainly a shonen series for the ages. And while it does have a slightly cop out ending after splitting off from the manga so it could conclude (think along the lines of the original Fullmetal Alchemist anime), it doesn’t stop the product as a whole being phenominal. The entire series is also out on DVD (I have them all), and I have to say the dub’s pretty dang good too, if you hate subs. So you’ve got no excuse. Get watching.