Soul Eater

Soul Eater

20140804-160147-57707493.jpgMaka Albarn is a weapon meister at Shibusen Academy. Her partner is living weapon Soul Eater, a boy with the ability to turn into a demon scythe. Along with all the other meisters, partnered with their own ‘weapons’, Maka wants the power to turn Soul into a death scythe – considered the ultimate weapon of death. The only way to do this is to devour the tainted souls of ninety-nine humans and one soul of a witch. Alongside student partners Black Star and Tsubaki and Death The Kid and the Thompson Sisters, Maka and Soul face off against the bizarre and dangerous minions of the underworld in their quest to rid the world of insanity.

These young teams of two are led by Shinigami-sama, rumoured to be the strongest man alive (or dead) and are working together to be the most feared team of meisters and weapons that the world has ever seen. Soul turns into a scythe for Maka, Tsubaki turns into a blade for Black Star, and Thompson sisters Liz and Patti turn into two guns for Shinigami’s symmetry-focused son, Death The Kid.

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Each of these duos has their own specific goals. Maka wants to turn Soul into a weapon capable of being used by Shinigami himself; Black Star, last survivor of a powerful clan of assassins, wants to surpass the power of a god, and Kid is being groomed to be a fully-fledged shinigami, just like his father. However, they all come together when a being by the name of Kishin is released from its eternal slumber and threatening to plunge the whole world into madness.

The two things that stood out for me with Soul Eater was first the artwork and also the characters. Atsushi Ohkubo’s work is very original, pulling off a consistent atmosphere of what I can only describe as ‘comic macabre’. Certain examples include the maniacal face on the sun and the even creepier one on the moon. Everything has a look of Hallowe’en about it which I really enjoyed.

20140804-160147-57707884.jpgI don’t often like to include comments in my reviews such as “Don’t watch the anime, read the manga – it’s much better”, but in this case I’ll have to make an exception. The main reason being was that episodes of the anime were being released faster than the manga chapters were being published. Whilst I approve of there not being an insane amount of fillers whilst the anime waited for the manga to ‘catch up’, this did mean that there was a bit of an awkward moment where the anime stopped following the manga and had to make its own ending. Needless to say, it wasn’t the best. The manga always seems to have that extra depth that serves it in its stead. This means that certain comical characters such as Maka’s father acquire a sympathetic, relatable side to them. It also shows how characters have developed and matured since the beginning, which is a big theme throughout Soul Eater with the students’ relative goals and aspirations.

20140804-160148-57708585.jpg20140804-160148-57708230.jpgThough I found that the pace of Soul Eater really took a dip in the middle, I really liked the ideas of this story and the complexity of the characters and how they helped each other to grow. Of course there are comic and fanservice-y moments that help break tension and lighten the mood, but it’s clear from the get-go what the real focus is, and I really enjoyed the ride to the end. I’m planning to pick up Soul Eater NOT soon, which is a spin-off to this series.