Soul Eater NOT! is a spin-off and side story that takes place one year prior to the events of the original Soul Eater. At the Death Weapon Meister Academy, humans born with the power to transform into weapons and those with the power to wield these weapons (Meisters) train to hone their natural talent. The characters of the main series are enrolled in the Especially Advantaged Talent class, where they train to become warriors of justice capable of defeating what threats prey on innocent lives—or even the entire world.
Other students at the DWMA are less talented. Members of the Normally Overcome Target class focus less on being warriors of justice and more on controlling their powers so they don't hurt themselves or anyone around them. Tsugumi Harudori, a new halberd-transforming student, meets Meisters Meme Tatane and Anya Hepburn and quickly grows indecisive about which of the two new friends should be her partner. As they learn to use these powers and settle in, their lives as everyday students will be far from normal.
What is Soul Eater Not supposed to be? Is it a yuri slice-of-life made to appeal to people unfamiliar with the original Soul Eater, or is it a necessary part of the Soul Eater canon, aimed at those who enjoyed the action and drama of the original series? The answer to that question remains a mystery. I'm not even convinced the author of the manga understands what he's working on.
Soul Eater Not is an exercise in mediocrity. It is a gust of wind with no particular destination. By jumping from genre to genre and trying to appeal to both the slice-of-life crowd
and fans of the original series, it ends up pleasing neither. The end result is something that, while not offensively dumb, lingers in the mind with no more than passing apathy. I doubt anyone will remember its existence after a year. Even half that time might seem generous.
The first few episodes were promising enough. It didn't seem like it would make any impact in the industry or do anything particularly interesting, but it was fun nonetheless to watch the banter between the innocent protagonist, Tsugumi, and her two companions, Meme (think Yui from K-ON) and Anya (the tsundere ojou-sama). The unique setting of the Soul Eater franchise even gave 'Not' its own distinct identity in the sea of indistinguishable slice-of-life, and hey, it did its job just fine in the moe department. There was no drama, no deep themes or underlying message, and that was OK. For the first half, Soul Eater Not is actually a fairly decent slice-of-life anime.
And then everything turns upside down in the seventh episode. The main three are off shopping, fooling around as they always do, and then from nowhere comes a generic villain who attempts to murder one of the side characters in gory fashion, throat slicing and all. Uhh... all right, then. What's supposed to come as a shock instead brings confusion and frustration. It almost feels as if the script was suddenly hijacked by a different team of writers. There is no consistency, no purpose in this except perhaps for a vague thought of "Well, I guess it's time to add in some drama so Soul Eater fans don't get bored." In reality, all that was accomplished was both sides of the audience being alienated.
The melodrama is guilty of more than just existing. It is terribly written, every scene reeking of some eye-rolling cliché. Even the accident at the end of the seventh episode is written off as inconsequential, the story awkwardly shifting back into yuri comedy just minutes into the next episode. The drama itself is so boring that falling asleep becomes a more exciting prospect, because, hell, how are we supposed to immediately empathise with characters who previously were only used for gags and fanservice? After trudging through the predictable 'one of the main characters is now possessed by evil!' cliché, the final episode treats the viewer with a full dose of stupid: said character comes back to reality with a kiss and the group then defeats the powerful villain (who they do not have the combat ability to even defend themselves against) with the indomitable power of friendship! Please. I want to puke.
Among Not's many issues is its clumsily-written romance. The fourth episode has Tsugumi falling for Akane, one of the few male characters, merely because he threw a few suave words her way. It's never explained whether Akane feels anything for Tsugumi, and of course nothing ever comes of the romance either. It's actually completely forgotten by the next episode. I guess one way of explaining it would be that the manga's later chapters are meant to focus on the two's romance, but even then it shouldn't be completely discarded and brought up again whenever the author feels it's convenient. It's doubly awkward since the author doesn't even know whether he wants to pair Tsugumi with Akane or one of the two girls; it haphazardly alternates between heterosexual romance and yuri. All of it just feels very out-of-place-- a lot like the drama.
On the plus side, there are plenty of cameo appearances with the cast of the main series. They don't add more than a few lines of dialogue here and there, though, so don't expect another adventure with Soul or Death the Kid. I suppose it's always neat to see what they were doing behind the scenes.
With regards to the sound and artwork, Soul Eater Not does not offend the eyes and ears but it never hits any high points, either. It looks okay. It sounds okay. The only issue is that the unique, paint-like art style of the main series is missing here, so those who enjoyed Soul Eater for its visual design will be quite disappointed. The opening theme is pretty nice, though. It's overwhelmingly cute and mirrors the fluffiness of the anime's first half. The OP was almost like a glimmer of hope in the show's unpleasant final episodes.
It's difficult for me to recommend Soul Eater Not because, well... who would I recommend it to in the first place? Soul Eater fans? They will be bored with the yuri of the show's first half. Slice-of-life fans? They will be frustrated with the tiresome melodrama of the second half. Critics? Well, maybe if they enjoy yelling at their monitor.
Soul Eater Not is an anime that doesn't really please anyone. It is not quite awful, but it also exerts no effort to be more than just a passing, colourless breeze. It's the kind of show that comes and goes every single season. It is destined to fade away, lonely and forgotten.
Soul Eater was an okay show. Soul Eater NOT!, however, is NOT an okay show at all. Hell, even the title is a good indicator. You see the word NOT? Honestly I see it as a sign. Do NOT watch this show. It's NOT worth your time. It's NOT Soul Eater. Okay, let's just move on to the review.
The story is just complete... meh. This girl discovers that she's a weapon, so she goes to this academy so she can sort herself out. She meets some friends and they have adventures together inside of the school.
Okay, that's pretty bland. It pretty much
leaves you wondering, "Wait, what the hell do they even do in this show then? Is this a slice-of-life?" Yes, it is. You answered your own question. This is a slice-of-life. The setting isn't particularly bad, I'm not biased against the genre, it's just not very good, either. It doesn't really add anything more than what Soul Eater offered. In fact, I think it offers less than before. There is a conflict (and when I say conflict, I don't mean who ends up with the main character), but honestly it's just pushed to the side until the very last episode. It's like they actually want to make the show more boring for the longest time possible.
The art is nice. Everything's bright and bubbly; it fits perfectly well with the tone of this show. I preferred the old art style, but this one's still okay with me. I don't really have any complaints.
The soundtrack isn't memorable at all. Really I can only remember the opening, and I don't even like the opening all that much. I guess it serves its purpose, and there weren't really any pieces that stuck out to me, but that's the thing; there are none. There's nothing bad, sure, but nothing good either. The only compliment I can give is that it's not bad.
The characters are absolutely the worst part of this show. They're seriously bad. The main character is a clumsy ditz. That's her character. She's just clumsy. She's also the most sensible out of the three main characters, but considering the fact that they're all mental that's really not saying much. Then there's that girl with the big boobs. I can't even remember her name, I think it's Sena, but if you can only remember a character because of her big boobs, that's a big problem. 'Cause, guess what, Sena isn't special either. She's even more clumsy than the main character, and the main character is already pretty freaking clumsy. I think she has short term memory loss too or something. Finally, my least liked character, is that rich snobby girl. Oh yes, the girl that acts like a snob and she's rich. Great. We really needed this type of character. So really, all in all, the characters are boring, there's nothing interesting about them, they're incredibly cliche, there's nothing new that they add to their stereotype, they're just plain bad.
Usually with slice-of-life shows, characters don't matter that much. Sure they might be horrible, but it doesn't matter if what they actually do or say is entertaining. Take for example K-ON. All of the characters in K-ON are trash. They're all boring. But, put them in a funny situation, and suddenly K-ON is somewhat nice. Soul Eater NOT!, however, does not do this. They put them in incredibly boring scenarios, and then you have even more boring characters, and what do you get? An incredibly boring show. Sure, mix in some ecchi now and then. That's really gonna reel me in. I think somehow they predicted that Soul Eater NOT! was going to be a horrible show, so they just said, "**** it, let's just make them lesbians. Who gives a ****!" And now, along with boring characters, they're now presented with more horrible and unfunny jokes. I honestly gave up in the middle of it. And then I went back after I decided that I might as well finish it. Now, I'm not going to say that that was one of the worst decisions of my life, but it was possibly one of the worst decisions of my life.
Overall, Soul Eater Not!, like I said, is not worth your time. The story is average at best while adding nothing new, the soundtrack isn't memorable, the characters are absolute trash, and the comedy is nonexistant. I found nothing funny about this show, except for maybe how hilariously bad this show is. No, really; it's that bad. Take a shot for every time one of the main characters start blushing because of some stupid yuri crap and sooner or later you'll end up in the bathroom of a Denny's. The only, and the only, good thing I can say about this show is the art. It's actually somewhat good. Too bad I can't say the same for, hmm I don't know, literally everything else in the show. Please don't watch this show.
The title "Soul Eater NOT!" should give you a warning if you're coming to this show expecting an action shonen like Soul Eater. It's exactly as it says it is, for the most part, its NOT Soul Eater. But does it NOT being Soul Eater make it automatically bad? Not at all. This is a fun experience and definitely a worthy prequel to Soul Eater, even if its not quite the same.
If you didn't already know, the whole concept of Soul Eater is about these kids that to go a school where they learn to basically fight witches and other evil. Every living person
has a soul and depending on your connection with your soul, determines how good a fighter you are, essentially. Certain people have the ability to transform into weapons. Other students wield these weapons and they partner up to fight evil.
Where as the original Soul Eater focused on pro students at the school that go on missions and leave the school quite frequently, Soul Eater Not focuses more on the newcomers of the NOT class. The story revolves around 3 cute girls that go to the school. Tsugumi is a weapon. Meme and Anya are misters and they both want to partner up with Tsugumi. The only problem is, you're only supposed to have ONE mister at a time, not two for one weapon. Nonetheless, the group befriend each other and leave that problem for later.
Now most people are very quick to judge this show for its complete change of style, both visually and genre wise. The whole first half of the show if not longer, other than the lore, its essentially nothing like Soul Eater at all and takes on the more "Moe Slice of Life" role similar to shows K-ON! or Yuru Yuri rather than an action show like Soul Eater. The show is even categorized as an Ecchi, though the fanservice here is relatively minimal to non existent at all. The show at first definitely isn't Soul Eater, but again, its not trying to be.
While it is very similar to other Slice of Life Moe shows does that mean its quite as good as them? I'd say no. The slice of life portions here are fine but shows like K-ON handle this genre much better. However, what's here I don't think is bad and I really do appreciate because they help show what Soul Eater didn't: how one BECOMES one of the higher class students and what life is like BEFORE they go out adventuring. In many ways, I feel like this show introduced the whole concept of a series nicely, (though it has some what of my same problems I had with the original where they hardly showed them doing any actual school activities at all.)
Near the end of the series, the story starts to pick up and it feels a lot more like Soul Eater. It transitions a lot more into an action show. Not only that, it also has a few connections to the original series that I think make this a nice prequel overall.
One of the primary knee-jerk reactions to this show was how much the art style had changed from the original show. The original show had a very unique and funky art sort of art style to it. This one, while still remaining somewhat different to a lot of anime, is mostly a very generic, cute art style.
Now many people see this as a negative, and to some degree I agree, but after a while I noticed that the original art style doesn't really suit this type of show, the same way this new one wouldn't suit the original. They're 2 different shows. While the old style was definitely better, this one works for this type of show and it's nice to see something a little different.
I like the opening and ending while the main BGM wasn't that memorable to me. Voice acting seems solid enough to me and I'm pretty sure most of the characters from the original cast have the same voice actors.
As for the new characters here, they aren't as good or fleshed out as the ones from the original series, and while many would complain that they're very simple, I still enjoyed them I found them over all to be likable and fun.
As for the returning characters, their cameos are probably a lot of the appeal to fans of the original series, though certain characters get a lot more appearances than others.
Overall it kind of had a slow start but as a fan of both Soul Eater and Moe Slice of Life I enjoyed this series a decent amount, especially near the end.
Many people label this show as a shameless attempt to cash in on the moe fanbase. Whether or not that statement is true, I personally still enjoyed this show.
If you're a fan of the original Soul Eater and also like or don't mind a moe slice of life type show, I'd say give it a shot.
However if you're a fan of the original series and are looking for a more action oriented show and can't stand a cute premise like this, this show probably isn't for you.
But also if you haven't seen Soul Eater and are interested in watching it, I think this is a nice way to introduce you to the series as by the end, it does transition into a more action type show and answer a few questions of how things happened in the original series. But again, that's only if you're into a moe type of show as well. If you are only interested in Soul Eater, skip this and just watch that. You won't be missing anything TOO important at all.
Alright so first let me get rid of the fact that this is taking place as a Soul Eater spin-off and that Soul Eater is even apart of the title because honestly, to be fair the title does say "Soul Eater NOT" so the thing you should expect is for it to be NOT soul eater. However I'm not gonna judge it based on that fact, I'm gonna be judging it as an anime as a whole and not some side series to an awesome shounen anime. I'll probably spoil a lot by the way. Grab some popcorn and sit down because I have a
lot to say.
The Story (2/10) (Prepare for a butt-ton)
So before some of you start trying to point fingers at me, I will say right now that the story for this anime was most unexpected. What I expected from this anime was a sorta action, shounen thing going on except from the perspective of the main characters being female teens, I mean after all, the genre does say action and shounen right, to my surprise the first episode actually made me believe that was going to be true as well however, episode 2 is where it all went downhill. Now I am not a fan of slice of life anime such as K-on or Lucky Star at all, I think they are dreadfully boring and nothing but girls screwing around doing random crap amongst themselves, having real life random conversations. I do believe the point of anime is to escape reality, so when I see an anime taking place in an unrealistically awesome place such as Death Weapon Meister Academy, the last thing you'd expect to see is the main action of the anime being the main characters planting pumpkins, going shopping and getting jobs as being maids at Death Bucks Cafe, a lot of this anime is just of them doing regular girl teenage stuff given the environment around them isn't normal at all, the things they do are just too normal for the setting.
Now unlike Lucky Star and other SOL animes, there is an actual plot in Soul Eater Not however, I wouldn't necessarily call it "Good" in any way due to the fact that the pacing behind this so called "Plot" is god awful, here's my brief summary of the plot pacing: Main girl almost gets killed by witch, goes to get a maid job. Main girl gets attacked by mind controlled man, Fanservicey Physical Exams and Pool Cleaning time! Girl slices her fucking neck open right in front of the main girl, plants pumpkins! I don't think shit like this mixes together at all in my opinion, even when the serious stuff like that does happen, its very brief and barely lasts before going back to the screwing around style, barely any of the story is really explained. It's like just when you think the story is actually about to pick up it slaps a big NOPE in your face.
The last few episodes didn't have much screwing around as it finally started to fully pick up on the background story that the first 9 episodes barely had but there was one problem here, it wasn't the main characters that were involved in the main pick up of the story, it was two side characters that got into the action as the main characters had their own little personal troubles to deal with like Meme being possessed, Anya being escorted back to her home and Tsugumi hurting her leg. Alright so why is the whole show based around these characters then? I know I failed to mention why all them ran into these problems but honestly I don't even care enough to explain. What I will mention though is that near the end, finally Tsugumi and Anya fixed their problems (with the shounen ways of friendship) and now wanna get Meme back from the clutches of the evil antagonist. Oh Yeah! By the way, there's an evil person behind the story, almost forgot. Haha must of not been important enough, maybe if they explained who she was a little better or why she is trying to kill everyone or just something, anything that would make me care to remember at all. The show ends in the most bs and predictable way possible however I won't spoil that much, you'll probably see it coming though.
That was a lot of typing so I'm hoping you got the main reason of why I think this story sounds like it was made by some 12 year old writing a bad Soul Eater fan-fic.
The Art (6/10)
I'm not gonna say the art is necessarily bad or anything but I'm not gonna say that I liked it. Personally I didn't like it because it made all the soul eater original series characters look like tools but I'll be lying if I said it didn't look polished and clean. Some awkward animation quirks here and there, action scenes really aren't the best either but I wouldn't write it off as "bad"
The sound (8/10)
The first time I heard that damn opening I just couldn't stop listening to it xD I found it very catchy. The ending theme wasn't my cup of tea but overall the soundtracks in the actual show were nice and fit the moods of the situations. The JP voice actors were also very good at portraying the voices of the characters, especially Anya, they got the snobby rich girl voice right.
The Characters (1/10)
Two words, One dimensional. One dimensional characters can be described as characters that have a set personality trait and right from episode 1 you can see that they set up these personality traits like they stamped it on their fucking foreheads. You got your nice but insecure girl Tsugumi. You got your busty air headed girl Meme and you got your snobby tsundere rich girl Anya. Character development is near non-existent, these personality traits stick throughout the entire show. Hell a side character named Kim got more character development then any of the main characters and even that was scarce. I can maybe see some people enjoying the personalities they have but I am not one of those people.
Did I enjoy Soul Eater Not? Yes I did! I enjoyed the parts that didn't include the main characters. I enjoyed the parts that included these two guy side characters and the soul eater main series characters. However since the amount of screen time these characters got ranged around 15 minutes in this entire 12 episodes series, that is not a good thing. To sum it up, I barely enjoyed Soul Eater Not. I didn't like the main characters at all and I didn't like the way they portrayed the show. It was boring. I found myself drifting off while watching it very often.
You could say I rated this show based on personal preference of anime. If you prefer the kind of anime where there are girls screwing and around doing shit all then by all means I recommend it. If you're like me and don't wanna watch a show that includes girls fooling around, doing barely anything in a place called Death Weapon Meister Acedemy, which by the way I don't think I saw in any point of this anime of them actually training as weapons and meisters but correct me if I'm wrong, then I do not recommend this show as it will just make you love and miss the original Soul Eater series even more (that is if you watched it). Remember though, this is just my opinion and if you disagree that's perfectly okay. Sorta. I mean seriously in any aspect I look at this show I can't call it good. I can't call it good for being a slice of life anime but then again I never liked Slice of Life animes in this style however all I do know about a lot of Slice of Life fans is that they like it for its cute style, well frankly I didn't find it all that cute so I'm gonna throw that out there. I can't call it good for being a action/shounen/supernatural anime because it barely had any of that, maybe the shounen part. For the comedy part well, I didn't find it that funny, only part that made me giggle were the flat chested jokes they were throwing at Tsugumi. Overall 3/10 and I still think I'm being generous about giving it this score.
Sitting down every Tuesday to watch this felt like a chore, I thought about dropping this anime numerous times but as I did with K-on, I kept pushing through. Bored out of my mind, I finished. This will most likely be the last Slice of Life anime I watch (In the K-on style at least). Huh, funny. I keep calling it a Slice of Life yet it's not even listed as it's genre. Something must be wrong. Whelp that's my first review done, this was probably written poorly so hopefully I won't have to come across something like this show that I'll have the urge to review.
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