Soul Eater is an impressive anime. It's one of those where you will no doubt enjoy watching
After watching some of the first episode you'll think Soul Eater will have your typical Shonen story. Basically, human weapons and their student technicians reside in Shibusen and have to collect 99 evil human souls and 1 witch soul, the reward being that the technician's weapon will transform into a Death Scythe.
It seems pretty formulaic, nothing you haven't seen before. The way the first few episodes pan out will make this seem like the main goal, but soon after you'll realise there is actually a deeper story developing.
This story isn't something complex or too clever, but events that happen during the story makes Soul Eater watchable and interesting, the action is ever present, it always keeps humour in mind, but can be serious and emotional when it needs to be. Eventually you will forget what the main characters were initially trying to acheive because the story drags it in such a different direction. The problem is that the story isn't anything memorable. At points you might watch and forget the reason why they are doing something. That is the anime's weak point
This is what Soul Eater will be remembered for. Its colourful cast of characters.
Maka, our main character and a technician, despite being flawed she is always looking to do the right thing, always thinking of others, easily annoyed and determined. She grew on me as I realised she is probably the most human of all the characters. Soul, Maka's weapon. Just your typical cool guy? No. He is much deeper than he looks. Despite what he says he is only concerned about one thing: To protect Maka.
Black*Star is Energetic, rash, loud, bashful and his one goal in life is to become bigger than God. He can provide you with comic relief and become involved in intense battles yet shows his human side often, his weapon Tsubaki is always willing to help him whenever she can.
Death the Kid seems like some 'Mr Perfect' character. And he can be, but also has his flaws, most notable his obssessive compulsive disorder about symmetry. Anything slightly out of alignment will either cause him to fix the problem immediately or spiral into goth style depression. His weapons Patty and Liz are usually around to comfort him when he goes crazy or gets depressed.
The supporting cast are memorable as well. The grim reaper is always cheerful and relaxed; Spirit (Maka's father) is desperate for Maka's attention, even though she doesn't enjoy his company much; Blair is your typical fanservice character; Professor Stein is strong and clever yet deeply maniacal; Crona is shy and fearful, but powerful; Medusa, the main antagonist is pure genious; Mifune is an action and Samurai fan's dream character and plenty more who you'll come across.
Most characters will stand out at least once giving you reasons to like or dislike them. Characters are a strong point in this anime.
::ANIMATION & ART::
The good thing about this anime is that nobody looks ordinary or familiar, you'll notice every character has a certain design, from Soul's sharp teeth and Maka's plain green eyes to Kid's strange hairstyle and Liz & Patty's odd hats, all characters are uniquely styled.
All scenes are quite detailed, the atmosphere is usually dark but manages to look bright at the same time (a rare sight in anime). If its what the background artists were going for, I think they nailed it. Shortcuts are rare which is good, you can see that episodes weren't rushed. The art stays consistent (unlike Naruto) and the quality remains the same throughout.
The action is fluid, creative and non-standard (unlike Bleach) fight scenes aren't just repetitive movements shown at different angles, or just sword bashing and gun blasting. It manages to keep fight scenes interesting. Another strong point is action, which never fails.
At first you will be introduced to 'Resonance'. A memorable opening track that fits very well to the series. This would be among the best if it wasn't for 'PAPERMOON' the 2nd opening which is even better than Resonance. I'm yet to come across anyone who thinks otherwise. This opening is epic. All ending themes are decent. Some are generic, the best being the current ending 'STRENGTH' and the 2nd ending 'Style' which stands out more than the 1st ending 'I wanna be' and 'Bakusō Yume Uta' which you will not remember at all.
Audio is decent, but there aren't any special moments or tracks that will hype you up or give you that tingly feeling inside when coupled with a good action scene. Songs aren't memorable like something Bruce Faulconer could cook up but do fit well with most happenings.
Soul Eater is an anime that manages to keep consistency throughout. It's lack of fillers (with the exception of the excalibur episodes which will drive you nuts) is enough for action fans to watch without worry, seriously 98% of the episodes are significant to the story (unlike Bleach which has whole filler arcs. 20+ FILLERS IN ONE GO!!!).
I find this more enjoyable to watch than Naruto or One Piece (which are heavily overrated). Mainly because the anime has a point and sticks to it. The Medusa Arc is to stop Medusa reviving the Demon God. The Arachnophobia Arc is to stop Arachne to allow the Demon God to spread madness over the world.
People complain about lack of originality but I am yet to find an anime that is truly similar. Shinigami's have been used before, but Shinigami literally translates to The Death God or The Grim Reaper, who in this case rules Shibusen and his son. Due to the halloween theme of Soul Eater I find the Grim Reaper necessary and is in no way similar to Ryuk of Death Note or characters like Rukia of Bleach. Let's get this straight their only link they have is the word 'Shinigami'
And finally Soul Eater is a must watch for any Shonen (Action, Comedy) fan. It has already been licensed by FUNimation which means a dub is coming soon and I believe Soul Eater will become another one of those famous anime shows. The only difference is it is actually has consistent entertainment value. show less
Soul Eater is about a group of students who attend a school for aspiring demon hunters, Shibusen. The story follows Maka, an scythe weilder and her partner, Soul, who transforms into the scythe she uses. Each hunter is paired with a partner who can turn into a weapon, and the two must fight in unison. The other main characters include Death the Kid, and his weapons Liz and Patty who become twin pistols, and Black Star, along with his partner Tsubaki, who has the unique ability to transform into several weapon types as a jack of all trades. These students as well as their teachers
now fight the various demons and witches who want to destroy Shibusen in order to take over the world without consequence.
This show is incredibly stylish, literally everything has a very cool vibe about it and really stands out from other similar animes. If FLCL and Bleach came together and had a love child, that child would be Soul Eater. The characters are all likeable and unique, even if they do follow the list of shonen anime stereotypes (loud kid who wants to be the best, check; quiet cool guy, check; self-depricating girl who holds much potential power, double check.) The adult characters are less stereotypical than the kids, which can make them more interesting to watch in certain episodes, however. Even if their personalities are familiar, there is enough unique and enjoyable about them that it never becomes a problem.
The fights themselves are very well animated and choreographed. They're all ridiculous and cartoony, but they are always visceral and exciting to watch. The progression is also very shonen in nature, with enemies that are way stronger than the heroes, and the heroes having to train to beat them and gain new powers, but again its so entertaining it shouldn't become a big issue. The fights are all about style and execution though, and if you keep that in mind and don't analyze them with rational thought, they all become very entertaining and exciting. The first 26 episodes are great flashy entertainment for anime fans.
I really wish I could stop the review at this point, and tell you Soul Eater is a really fun shonen series that fans of action anime should see. Now the bad point of the show, the entire second half of the series. Around the halfway point, Soul Eater changes from a lighthearted, entertaining fun action anime into a serious, melodramatic action anime. The story starts to take itself way too seriously, and the enjoyment of this anime greatly suffers because of this. When your anime is about people who transform into guns and swords who fight witches, it's kind of hard to take the change in tone seriously.
Soul Eater ends up losing most if not all of its charm because of this drastic and unnecessary shift in tone. All of the characters become whiny punks who sulk all day, and Maka becomes borderline unbearable as a main character with her melancholic attitude and constant bitching about how she's not strong enough to fight the main enemy of the show. All of this nonsense comes together in a final episode that is so ridiculous I would sound stupid if I tried to explain it in this review. Let me just put it to you this way, all themes the show was building up to this point are thrown out the window, the main villain turns into a gigantic pansy, and the logic behind the ending makes absolutely no sense in the grand scheme of the show. Oh, and it tries to copy Evangelion in ways that are so unnecessary and artistically nonsensical in the show that I laughed out loud when I first saw them in this episode.
What in the world happened to Soul Eater? What happened to this really fun, always entertaining action anime in the second half of the show? What is with all this ridiculous emo nonsense that gets introduced in the second half? How the hell could Bones, the studio behind Fullmetal Alchemist and Eureka Seven fail so badly at this show? I have no idea how to answer any of these questions. If you are going to watch Soul Eater, watch the first 26 episodes, and then stop. Otherwise, you are in store for one of the strangest, confusing, and most disappointing action animes ever made. Come on Bones, you are better than this.
Here we have Soul Eater, a shounen anime produced by Bones (Wolf's Rain, Full Metal Alchemist, Ouran High School Host Club) that came out in 2008. I've never read the manga, so this is based solely on the anime. Set in the fantastical Death City, Soul Eater focuses on the Shibusen Academy, where students both work together and compete in order to turn their partners - boys and girls that can turn into various different weapons - into world-class Death Scythes. My university pally and I blasted through all 51 episodes in about a week, if you don't count the days that we were too
busy to watch any. Let me tell you, this does not make for hard watching.
The first few episodes start off as prequels for the main seven characters - three 'Meisters/Technicians' and their 'Weapons'. These episodes are ones that I found to be somewhat disjointed, and to be honest I probably would have given up on the anime after 4 episodes or so if it wasn't for aforementioned pally. Swiftly afterwards, once the main characters start to interact together, I was hooked. And shortly after that when the frankly ingenious support characters were introduced and fleshed out, I was manic about it to the point where I was screaming in outrage at the screen if any other character DARED to so much as harm a hair on their heads.
Plot - [7/10] I wouldn't describe the plot as being either typical or particularly inventive. I will say, however, that it does dangle a standard premise in front of you for a good few episodes (in order for a Technician to turn their Weapon into the ultimate Death Scythe, they must collect 99 evil souls and then one Witch's soul; cue epic quest) and then almost entirely removes it for something much better - a pleasant surprise that, as I understand it, doesn't quite happen in the manga. While some elements of the plot remain unclear and somewhat incomplete by the end of the series, I ultimately felt that it didn't detract too much from my enjoyment. Bar the very last scenes, unfortunately, in which I was left starving for a bit more of a tie-up, or better yet, a follow-up montage in the ending credits. Still, I suppose that's what the manga's for.
Characters - [9/10] The meat of Soul Eater, with some big-name voice actors who really give the characters life. Firstly, we have Miyano Mamoru-san (Yagami Light of Death Note, Kiba of Wolf's Rain) as the symmetry-obssessed Death the Kid (an awkward-sounding name, I have to say, that belies a truly slick character); the ever-prolific and utterly fabulous Koyasu Takehito-san (Sakarazuka Seishirou of Tokyo Babylon, Zechs Merquise/Milliardo Peacecraft of Gundam Wing) as the Weapon Excalibur, who will surprise you in several different ways with his presence throughout the series; and Kobayashi Yumiko-san (Sarah McDougal of Love Hina, Dan Taichi of Prince of Tennis) as the headstrong Black*Star, to whom a nod must go for the most subtle yet engaging main-character development; to name a few. On top of these, Soul Eater showcases a surprising amount of young, new talent - notably, the voices of Soul (the title character) and Maka Albarn, the female lead who I unfortunately found to be incredibly irritating.
Let me make my point hard on this. Maka is hard-working and academically very smart, with a down-to-earth attitude that helps her to deal with her absent mother and womanizing father, who recently divorced prior to the start of the series. But (and oh, it's a big But) it doesn't last. Rather than character growth, we seem to have a case of the exact opposite as the series progresses. Maka repeatedly ends up making absolutely ridiculous decisions that can in no way be logically justified. As much as I don't like to use Naruto as a comparison, I think I have to. Maka's choices aren't a Naruto-style situation wherein Naruto makes sometimes-stupid decisions because of his raw emotions, because that's Naruto's character and way of life; plus, Naruto has (for the most part) the strength to back up his convictions. Maka, on the other hand, does not. Not only that, but she apparently doesn't learn from her monumental mistakes. And /then/ she'll bitch to the series' headstrong character Black*Star about how he acts before he thinks. Though, come to think of it, at least Maka isn't exactly a hypocrite on that matter because it's shown that she does in fact think about her actions before she carries them out, comes to the conclusion that it's stupid... and then does the wrong thing /anyway/. If it wasn't for almost every other character providing sustained interest and sheer compelling brilliance whenever Maka's off-screen, I think Soul Eater would fall far short of greatness.
Art - [9/10] And of course, there can be no characters without the visual art. While the quality of the animation itself is fairly standard shounen-style fare, the rating for this section gets bumped up enormously for originality. The designs of virtually everything - from the fantastically surreal moon and sun to the laboratory of the anime's resident Mad Scientist (who would have an entire paragraph in the above section if it wouldn‘t turn into an essay on why he’s such a /darn good character/ on both an emotional and a story-telling level) to the eyes of the later villains - positively shines with mouth-watering creativity. I could wax lyrical about the brain-melting inventiveness of the character designs all day. It's honestly worth watching for the artistic genius alone.
Music - [8/10] With the exception of the very first ending theme (which was painful, if I'm honest), I thoroughly appreciated each different ending and opening. They were well-chosen and fitted the style and feel of the anime well. The music used throughout the episodes themselves suited the atmosphere wonderfully - the fighting music was driving, the sad-scenes music was sorrowful and the cheery music gave the anime a smile. While it wasn't as memorable as, say, the music to Gundam Wing or Gintama, it did its job in style. Also in this section, I'd like to add that the song sung by the Weapon Excalibur made me almost die of Sheer Heart-Rending Joy.
Overall - [9/10] Easy to watch and a great mix of creepy, surreal and fun. Objectively, I'd give this a high 8, and then I'm going to take the liberty of bumping it up to a 9 for the downright enjoyment I experienced with this show. I thoroughly recommend this to anyone who enjoys Full Metal Alchemist or Gintama - or, for that matter, any shounen manga/anime - as well as anyone who enjoyed the quirks of such series as Ouran High School Host Club.
Okay, I'm not a fan of reviewing shows in their early stages, but when I read the other reviews here; I just had to write up one, because I don't find it as great as most of the reviewers here on MAL. I find Soul Eater to be a bit of a rip-off from Bleach. It's still decent, though.
Okay, so some people have criticized my opinion that Soul Eater is a rip-off of Bleach (though making an entire review for that is a bit over the top). I'm fully aware that Bleach is very similar to a few older animes too, but the fact still
stands that Soul Eater is too similar to Bleach. And evt. older animes about shinigami or similar stuff. It's got it's original contents, but overall it's just too similar for comfort.
The story up to ep. 18 has mostly been an episode-by-episode story, but a plot slowly beginning to sneak in behind the scenes from here on. I'm not sure what direction it will take from here, and this is why I don't like reviewing so early. However, I believe that it will get better as we go on, so for now I'll keep the story at a 7, for unoriginality and because only the latest episodes have shown a continuous plot.
The animation is more cartoony than many anime out there, I feel. That's not necessarily a bad thing; I mean, coloring and shading and effects are very good, but some things bugs me a lot - f.ex. the Shinigami, the moon and the sun aren't very pleasing to look at. The animation deserves an 8: It's good quality and lovable character designs, but there's just something about the overall feel of it that bugs me.
The soundtrack isn't very remarkable either. The background music isn't anything noteworthy, but it's not bad either - it fits with the mood. The OP and ED themes are decent, but I think I'd only listen to the first ED theme outside of watching the show. The voice acting is good too. All in all, I'd rate it a 7.
The characters are fair too. I mean, they're funny to watch, but funny isn’t enough to rate it high up. They lose some points for spurs of unoriginality, but there's still some original characters there. I'm especially fond of Death the Kid and his obsession with symmetry, because I can somewhat identify with him (though not on such an obsessed level). There hasn't been a lot of character development so far either - only Maka's desire to get stronger -, and the series is already 1/3 done. However, much can happen, and again, since I'm reviewing at such an early stage, I won't prejudge them. But for now, I'm keeping it at a 7, losing points for unoriginality and low character development so far but gaining points because they're funny as well as the presence of a few original and likable characters.
I'm enjoying Soul Eater, but only enough to watch it. It loses too much because it hasn't got a large amount of originality. It's good entertainment, but not necessarily good.
To 'Not Helpful' voters (and you 'Helpful' voters too): Feedback greatly appreciated =)
Soul Eater is one of the most unique anime’s I have ever seen in the sense of graphics and story. The graphics are ultra-high quality, along with very interesting anime cut-scenes. Soul Eater has a little taste of everything an anime should have – a first-class story, superior graphics, a modest bit of pervert, and a VERY interactive world. Camera angle and character motions are very musical, flow very well with each other, and so on - which is one of the biggest plus sides to this anime. The characters are very fun and surprising - which is a big part of
10/10 ~ Epic.
This review will be updated as the series progresses.
If you did in fact find this review helpful, I do take value in my “Helpful” rating, so please take a moment of your time to tell me how you liked this review.
Dazzling animation, zany characters, seductive story-lines, awesome music scores - these acclamations yet still fail to justify Soul Eater enough as my favourite anime of the current season.
Produced by Bones, who brought us Ouran High School Host Club and Darker than BLACK, Soul Eater is adapted from the manga by Ookubo Atsushi. It is of personal importance to mention the manga for the animer is a very close adaptation of the latter. In a nutshell, the story follows three student weapon technicians and their respective partners, as they embark on a journey to combat evil, and yet grow up with each other at the
same time. Each of the main protagonists are attractive in their own right - ranging from the slick yet ridiculously symmetry-compulsive Death the Kid, to the broodingly cool scythe, Soul, Soul Eater provides characters which are strong enough to carry the series on their own backs.
The story follows a general plot-line really, with the student weapon technicians going to school, equipping themselves with combat skills, so as to fight the forces of evil in the context of the show. Throughout however, we are treated to comedy and mere innocence from the characters - for they are really just kids trying to grow up - so Soul Eater as a show generally turns out to be quite the light-hearted pick. Nevertheless, there are episodes which tug at the strings of the heart, where the emotions of the characters really reach out to you, and also episodes which are pure comedy, where you inevitably laugh at the zaniness of the world. Why can't school and friends be like these, you wonder?
The music is awesome - produced by Iwasaki Taku, of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann fame. Responsible for tracks in the latter, like Libera me from Hell and FIGHT THE POWER (remember?), he delivers as well in Soul Eater. The music fits the mood perfectly, fighting and comedy scenes are complimented by their music, and I really believe he does a good job here.
Art is Soul Eater's strongest selling point. Bones did really well animating the fight scenes in the manga, and the colours are so rich and beautiful, that every episode is a joy to behold. The drawing of the characters are good - but these are pretty normal, I must say. It is the sketches of the environment, and the animation that really stands out. Soul Eater was the anime which spoiled me in terms of fight scenes. Used to think that Bleach offered really good ones - but after watching this, the former seemed really average at best.
Characters are attractive, and you will find yourself liking some of them more than the others. Antagonists are seductively evil, and you cannot help but like them. Powerful, and pretty witches make up the cast of the latter - and it is quite fun to watch the inner dynamics where they manipulate each other for their own benefits. Voice talent is not too great, but it is acceptable. Most notable is Miyano Mamoru, who did Yagami Light in Death Note, but that is pretty it, really. The seiyuu for Soul and Maka are making their debuts, and they have quite a mixed reception. Not its greatest selling point, that's for sure.
Nevertheless, Soul Eater is a great show for all its strengths in animation and music. Its light-hearted tone throughout is also ideal for those who seek to enjoy the anime after a tough day at work or school. There is no need to think too much about plot implications (apologies if you are a sucker for these), Soul Eater allows you to just sit back and gawk at the wonders of modern-day art. Definitely a show worth your time.
Soul eater, soul eater, soul eater. What can I possibly say about thee?! The description at the top tells you the base of the story but it doesn't nearly touch on how great and truly entertaining it really is! As I continue to watch this anime is never ceases to make me laugh and I just want more and more and more.
This story takes place in a area called death city where a shinagami helps humans destroy eggs of kishin by turning them in meisters and giving them weapons to obtain these eggs of kishin and one soul of a witch and turn there
scythe into a death scythe. Though this is what all students at the school Shibusen school aim for they are also being taught how to fight and protect the world against the development of a demon god and a demon sword. Though the plot seems pretty basic kill the bad guys, it is far from it and has its own unique characters and twist itself. It somehow manages to tie in school life and relationships between people without being overly cheesy and turning everything into a romantic story.
THE ART IS ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! When I first began to watch this I just kept saying in my head the art is great the art is great the art is great and thats what it is its great. The art is very different from the typical anime it sleek and it gives something new and fresh to bring to the animation table. By just looking at the first 5 minutes of the show you can see that. Props to the artist. You will definitely not be disappointed in the art.
Ah and so TMR strikes again with his poppy tunes. The opening is awesome I suppose it matches the anime very well and not mention very catchy! Th ending theme is well, I've heard better lol. But I guess it also fits it well. So music gets an A.
I must say these characters are all hilarious! They all have their own special charm about them. My favorite being death the kid. His obsession with everything being symmetrical provides many laughs for the viewer. Black Star is the overly hyper kid who wants to be the best (sounds familiar) but unlike others he actually doesn't win all the time, very funny character as well. Maka the lovable heroine. Soul the unpredictable side kick always giving maka words of advice. All the characters as I said are very fun to watch and you get to know them well.
I thoroughly enjoy this anime. It has its action but is full of laughs. Everything in it just works out really well with each other and theres always something new to learn about everyone and everything in every episode. Very interesting, very addictive, and I expect you who reads this to watch the show!
Trust me you will laugh more than once! Its worth the watch. So now go on whatever site you go and search for it now!
Story: While Soul Eater does have an pretty good story line, it seems somewhat stereotypical. There is an organization that was created to protect the world from bad guys, and some evil organization is plotting against them and trying to destroy them. (Other examples are Bleach, Naruto, Tokyo Mew Mew, etc). Then suddenly out of nowhere, collecting almightly weapons all over the world comes into play, and now it seems that the characters are tied somewhere between Tsubasa Chroncle and Bleach, and are doing too much at once.
Art: The art is probably one of the most unusual characteristics
of Soul Eater, a sort of alternative anime look like many that have popped up over the years. The use of 3-D animation is astounding, there is pretty good detail, and colors and shading well support the story itself and the essence of the anime. The art work is not like any other anime that I have seen yet at least, most notibly the bloody sun and moon. The animation is also quite appropriate to the story line, and overall runs smoothly.
Sound: The music was what got me addicted to the show. The opening theme astounded me as I watched all the characters go through the motions. As the theme song ended, I looked forward to the show itself, a sure fire way of knowing that the music is good. But then, the ending theme comes along. While not bad, it just couldn't compare to the opening, and left me slightly dissapointed. The animation and the sound were seemed together almost flawlessly, and that highly raised my liking of the show.
Character: While not all the characters stood out to be memorable and interesting characters, there were a few characters that caught my eye: Death the Kid and Dr. Stein. Death the Kid adds a lot of the comedy with his addiction to making everything perfectly symmetrical, almost a pushover when fighting a symmetrical being, but a complete powerhouse when not doing so. The other Dr. Stein, with the awesome bolt in his head, has a fetish for dissection and experimenting, no matter how cruel. Also somewhat creepy and a sadist, but making him just a more likable character. While these two stood out the most, the other characters unfortunately seemed to blend too much in the background or were too stereotypical of commonly seen character types. All the characters were obviously well thought out however, and I praise that. Each character gets a fair amount of screen time, and have a decent past, and that just adds so much to the anime itself.
Enjoyment: As you can see, I fairly enjoy this anime for many reasons, and I hope you enjoy it too, which I'm sure you will! The show is only about half over, so there still is a lot more Soul Eater to come! : )
Overall: Overall, it's a great anime, and that's why I'll will give it an 8.
Ultimately my main complaint about this series lies in this area. And I am going to be a little hard on it because of how much potential I saw that it could have had. I guess I should start by saying that what the story lacks is organization and commitment. Throughout the entire series, different conflicts would be shoved on the backburner right in the middle of their climax, the conflcts would be built way up and then fall flat within a single episode or two, and sometimes conflicts would be forgotten about all together without any resolve being made at all. It became
frustrating after being promised some huge development so many times only for it to either turn out to have no relevence to the story at all or just never followed through with. This applies to characters as well. There were several times where there were characters who took up whole episodes to be introduced and set up to do big things only to poke an uneccesary line every 20 episodes or so. I mean, I'm still mad about how this show handled Free and Eruka. Even the tone was a little flakey. It started out almost primarily a comedy but around halfway through almost stopped with the jokes entirely.
But with all that said, I want to point out the good things they did, because there were things done well. I've found that many shounen series are a little shallow, and use things like "cool action" as a crutch. While this series did utilize action, it definetly wasn't a crutch, simply because it didn't need one. The action and the traditional main story of a larger than life villian out to destroy was used effectivley as a medium and as dynamic for what the show was really about, which was the inner growth of the struggling main characters. There will be pieces of the story where you find yourself in an expressionist environment that represents one of the character's soul, where the character grapples with personal conflicts in impressionistic ways. I found these portions of the story to be very profound and moving. Through this process you develop strong relationships and understanding of the main characters and really makes you care about what they are doing and what happens to them.
The art and animation was truly great. It perfectly fitted the tone of the series as a whole and was furthermore customized to perfectly fit each character. Technically speaking, it was innovative and very fluid. I especially enjoyed the creativity shown in the design of pretty much everything. The characters, the buildings, the backgrounds, even the sky (you'll see what I mean if you haven't seen it yet) was drawn very cleverly and creatively. I could honestly say that someone could enjoy this series for its appearance alone.
As said before, the characters are one the series' strengths. I'm sure the fact that a lot of the story comes from character development helps. Each character has tons of defining personality and everything about them, from their appearance to their diction works together and makes perfect sense. What really set the characters of this series apart from others is the intimate introspection we are subjected to as a viewer. What I think this did for the viewer is that it gave a deep understanding of the characters and because we understood where they stood emotionally and what drives them, it made it very difficult to dislike them. The bad guys hardly got the same treatment, which was fine because that wasn't what this show was about. All we really needed to know about them is that they sought to hurt and destroy the heroes (although I would have liked for Asura to retain his crazy mindless monster role instead of turning into the cliche arrogant bad guy).
I hate putting a numbered rating for this because of how subjective it is. It really comes down to what you appreciate in an anime, and even still, it depends on what you are feeling like at the time. So I just put what level of enjoyment I found myself getting from Soul Eater. This series definetly fits a niche and provides easy-to-watch stimulation. Despite a good handful of deep moments, I don't know if a classy no-nonsense viewer would like wading through all the episodes to find them.
This anime could have been truly great, but all the extra, unimportant nonsense they threw in kept it from excelling. But still, if this fits your style, it'll definetly be one among the good ones.
So to put it simply, I don't normally do this. To put it specifically; Soul Eater is balls out entertaining as balls with balls on top. It's an action fantasy type school anime that tries to be Naruto and the Nightmare Before Christmas, then tries cocaine, develops a split personality and decides that it's both. And I'm not trying to fanboy all up in here but seriously Soul Eater was the perfect show to start out with as it got me into the medium of anime in the first place. The characters, action, and costumes try to be as over the top and flashy as
possible just for the hell of it and that's really what dragged me into it. The show has three main teams of characters; two pairs and one threesome, a bunch of villains, and a ton of supporting characters, that each have their own abilities and personalities. What's weird is that Soul Eater takes a colorful cast of characters, throws them into the wacky world of Death City, as if to say "Look. We know this is crazy so roll with it!"....and it actually works. The first three episodes introduce the main teams and setting, and then treats the building blocks of the show like clay and does whatever it wants, adding new characters, villains, settings, trials, tribulations, plot elements and powers, and the plot still manages to chug along at a strangely consistent pace. The dialogue throughout is pretty heartfelt and also well written, in addition to the fact that there's a lot of fun humor in the show (or rather any time Excalibur is onscreen). I have very few problems with the show, but they did add some characters that I could care less about, namely some of the students like the guy with the swirly glasses and Mosquito, and I just could care less about them because they were just kinda there and they didn't affect the plot hardly at all. Plus if you're looking for a deep anime don't watch Soul Eater, it's able to play with the emotions but it's fairly shallow and not thought provokingl whatsoever. But other than that and the super corny ending of the show, Soul Eater is a consistent and extremely entertaining romp that will keep your attention throughout.
I respect the opinions of all the people who find this show interesting. After all, people are allowed to have different opinions. However, I find it hard to understand when someone claims to hate Naruto yet at the same time loves Soul Eater. Sure, Soul Eater is not as a huge rip-off of Naruto as Nabari is, but it still incorporates many elements that make Naruto unwatchable in the first place. My point is, don't let Naruto-bashing become a trend. It's not like you have to hate Naruto just because a lot of people on the forums dislike it.
As mentioned previously, I find this show
unwatchable. Not only does it have nothing interesting to keep me watching, this show has as many annoying elements as Naruto ever had. The voice acting is one of the worst, especially Maka's voice. The director probably thinks that a bland voice might sound cute to the audiences, and I agree with that. However, there is a difference between being bland and being emotionless. A good bland voice acting that's still cute is found in Akazukin Chacha, a classic comedy anime. Maka's voice, on the other hand, feels as if the seiyu has not received any formal traning and just reads the words off the script.
The plot lacks depth and the worldsetting is not as original as the fans claim. A world of Shinigami has been done thousands of times already so why starts a new one? The biggest problem is the characterization however. The number of annoying characters even exceeds that in Naruto, not to mention all of them have no depth whatsoever. Black Star has this huge ego that stems from nowhere, Kid has mental problems for sure, Maka's dad makes me feel sick with his overexaggerated emotions, and Shinigami is...well, he is just weird. I can go on for pages but you get my point. After 13 episodes, I just can't stand these annoying brats anymore, that's when I decided to drop it.
I completely redid this review since we are now at the half-way mark of the series. But my mind hasn't changed much: This series went from amusing to downright exciting.
Story: 7 (Good)
Let's face it, Soul Eater doesn't have a really strong plot. We're half-way through the series, and I fail to see (thus far, anyway) why characters such as Excalibur were even introduced, since at first he seemed that he might be a major character eventually, but we hardly ever see him do anything. This might well change of course, who knows, and this goes for more than one character, such as Blair for example.
whatever plot Soul Eater does have (yes, it does have one) is apparently split up into two "arcs". The first Medusa Arc, and the new Arachnophobia Arc seem to be the two major parts of the series. Neither so far seemed/seems to be too clear in what the final goal really is, but we know there is a main enemy waiting to be defeated, and of course, Soul and Maka's quest to turn Soul into a Death Scythe.
All in all, the story is the weakest part of this show, but it doesn't render it unlikable or unwatchable. Not at all.
Art: 10 (Outstanding)
It's top notch, there is nothing more to say. The quality has remained consistent through-out, and hasn't been cheapened in any way. Worth the watch in HD!
Sound: 10 (Outstanding)
You thought Resonance was awesome? I like Paper Moon even better, myself. Sound effects, music, this show has it all, just the way you'd want it. No complaints.
Character: 9 (Great)
New characters are now being introduced, and all the old ones are still there. Character development in this show is done in such a way that you learn as you go, but still get a general idea what each character is about and how they tackle their situations. Black Star is brash and rushes in without thinking (and has a huge ego), Soul is cautious and calculating, yet can also be somewhat direct, you get the picture. If you're watching the show (which you should be), then I don't have to explain much more. If you're not watching it and are reading this to see if you would like to, trust me, you'll get to know the characters within the first three episodes. It's all you need.
Character development could be better, but is pretty great as it is.
Enjoyment: 10 (Outstanding)
So far, I haven't watched a single episode I haven't found enjoyable. I'm not kidding, every single episode has something in it that will make you laugh or go "YAR! KICK THAT ASS!" You'll find yourself cracking a smile here and there even if you are the harshest anime critic around, and you can't but help rooting for the good guys. Enjoyment is a hard thing to explain, but you always know that you're enjoying something when you... Well, when you are.
Overall: 10 (Outstanding)
Despite some of the obvious flaws in this series, it's really one of the best shows running right now. I won't say THE best, far from it, but for a shounen especially, it's very good. It's not brainless and DBZ-ish like Naruto is becoming, and it's not a take on Bleach. It's entirely different, and in it's own way, brings something new to the shounen genre.
Sure, some of the core ideas have been done, but where Soul Eater wins is on presentation, and that impossible-to-deny, genuine enjoyment factor. Just give it a try, you will not be disappointed. But make sure to watch it in HD, it really is worth it.
Soul Eater succeeds in delivering large amounts of entertaining filled with a combination of fine comedy and action in every episode. Aside from the few obvious shonen-ish vibes there aren’t many flaws that I can find. I, myself, am certainly not a fan of the shonen genre however that does not stop me from finding this anime to be greatly remarkable.
Possibly the second strongest point is the music department. It’s fast paced and has a nice beat. I rarely skip the opening theme when I watch SE, thing that not always happens when I watch other anime. The new
ending themes are nice to listen to. No complaints in this department.
It’s fairly good but it’s not where it shines the most. The story takes place in a Shinigami Weaponry Vocational School, where “technicians” and their partners attend in order to get rid of the evil spirits that wreck chaos upon the world. Likewise, as technicians their goal is to ultimately turn their partners into “Death scythes” for “Shinigami-sama”, the founder of the school, to use for greater good by collecting 99 corrupted souls and a Witch soul.
Not out of this world but it gets the job done. It definitely fits the anime.
The strongest points are the characters in the show. They manage to be hilarious and mature at the same time. Similarly, they all have strengths and weakness but try their best to every time. Surprisingly enough, I didn’t find much of the so common “I want to become the strongest of all to “protect the people I love”, etc etc philosophy here. To be frank, I lost count of how many times I’ve heard this recycled statement and I bet you have too. Having watched my fair amount of shonen shows in the past I tend to avoid anime that religiously emphasizes this philosophy. Luckily, Soul Eater manages fairly tone it down in and present the anime in a way that you can enjoy the show if you aren’t into the genre.
Plenty. After you’re done with the silly “you know what this anime reminds me of?” phase, you will find SE to be a result of clever combinations of factors. I’ve watched 30/50 episodes and not a single one have been ever dull. Soul Eater has not disappointed and hopefully it will never. I’m tempted to buy the manga once it’s released.
Before I was introduced to SE I expected it to be yet another super clichéd and awfully overhyped show. It came as a nice surprise that it was not. I have not read the manga myself but if there are any fillers in the anime I hardly felt them. If you enjoyed Bleach or FMA there’s a high chance you’ll love this one as well. Prepared yourself to NOT be disappointed.
One liner: "One wacky anime you really got to see, just for the non-confirmism in it"
UPDATE: I have brought down the rating of this anime. Why? Because the ending was simply pathetic and did not follow the manga, which is still very good.
UPDATE2: A user mentioned on my profile that I shouldn't bring down the score of the anime just because I didn't like the ending as compared to the manga. He/she is right. Am sorry for that. But I still don't want to raise the score up, because this review represents my opinion and I
stand by it. You can say I am biased. So read this review with this in mind...
I would advise checking out the manga, but the anime has been a rushed let-down at the end.
- [ Story - 6 ] -
Soul Eater revolves about the Weapon named Soul Eater and his (yes, it's a guy) technician called Maka. Weapons usually have a human form, and transform into the weapon form when required. Soul Eater is in fact a scythe. The point of the anime is that Technicians use Weapons to hunt down evil souls called Eggs of Kishins. These evil souls are then absorbed by the weapons. After 99 souls + 1 witch's soul is consumed, the weapon turns into a Death Scythe which is more powerful. The Technicians and Weapons are students of Shibusen Academy, headed by the grim reaper, Shinigami-Sama.
As you will see, there are some resemblences to Bleach. Zanpakutou, Shinigami, Hollows are replaced by Weapons, Technicians and Kishin.
However, in my opinion, Soul Eater is much better than Bleach. There is much more humor, and the pace of the story is slower and better. In Bleach for example, fights can last for episodes on end. Not in Soul Eater. There is also less seriousness and the fights are a bit toned down. The blood is still there though.
The good points is that Soul Eater contains its fair share of action, suspence and fun. Also the plot is not very linear, and not always fights-focussed. I appreciated the breaks, eg. the Excalibur episodes really makes you laugh. Each episode contains a bit of everything, even echiness. Overall, Soul Eater is a well balanced series I should say.
There is also some innovation like human-form weapons, the concept of witches, Shibusen and some other things that you haven't probably seen in animes before. So it's worth checking out Soul Eater.
Apart from those, the story is a bit generic, Bleach-like "people with weapons chase souls". Nothing overly special. There are also some plot holes, which I hope will be filled as the series goes on.
- [ Animation - 9 ] -
That's where the nonconformity begins. The style is anime all-right, but not your general kind of anime. It seems more comical in fact. The weapons are less frightening. The characters, backgrounds and everything else looks a bit cartoonish. Goofy you might say. Not grotesquely toons, but there is some similarities.
Take for example, the sun with a big smile on its face, or the moon with a grin, with what looks like blood dripping from its mouth. Even the Shibusen building has a funny look with candles popping out of Shinigami's masks!
Due to this style, you can't really expect highly detailed backgrounds full of tiny elements. I'd say the backgrounds are full of creativity.
I liked the non-conformism in the animation style. The way the characters were illustrated is good too, and makes a nice change from your general run-of-the-mill anime. In fact, this style accentuates the light-heartedness of the anime, and makes things better. Come'on, a laughing sun is fun! Thumbs up to the artist!
- [ Characters - 8 ] -
This is the strongest point of Soul Eater according to me. Its cast of characters is totally awesome! Each and every one of them has a very unique personality, and are totally unpredictable. Take for example Kidd. He looks formal, polite and outright classy. Just show him something not symmetric and watch the reaction! These people are awesome. I never liked a cast of characters as I liked those of Soul Eater. They are all so lively and varied that it's a real pleasure to discover them all.
Shinigami, the oh-so-powerful shinigami has a pleasant and easy-going personality. Maka's father, Death Scythe, is overly protective, and his actions (and reactions) will give you laughing fits!
Those characters have rather unique properties too. Many of them allude to legends and stories. Like Gorgon Medusa. Or Jack the Ripper in the 1st episode. The best part is the attacks. Kidd uses revolvers in reverse position, firing with his pinky finger! That's un-conformism for you!
That's something I truly liked about Soul Eater. It doesn't copy what other animes before it did. It does things that no anime before it did, and does these magnificently.
Why 8 then? Because there are some elements about the character's background that should have been cleared. What are weapons actually? Where do they come from? What about the Technicians? Are they normal people? Who is Shinigami? These are some questions that should have been answered by now. Or at least some hints give. Soul Eater lacks some character development, so I decreased the rating by 1 from an otherwise 9.
- [ Enjoyment - 6 ] -
UPDATE: Brought down the score down to 6 due to rushed ending in anime. Most elements were still there, but after reading the manga, I did not enjoy how the anime was completed.
Straight 10! Soul Eater is one of the rare animes that really makes me laugh, or at least gives me a smile. The action is great. The humor is ever-present. The art is a delight for the eyes. The story has a good flow, not too fast, not too slow. There is no time-wasting a-la-Naruto-Shippuuden. It's your perfect anime, if you want to watch something and really feel good after it ends, and eager for the next episode to air next week.
The action is really catching, but really funny at the same time. In the middle of a fights, some totally unpredictable and wacky things can happen after a relatively long pause, and really get you laughing uncontrollably. Nothing is really predictable, and this makes the real beauty of Soul Eater. A perfect blend of everything you'd want in an ideal anime.
- [ Sound - 8 ] -
Not much to say here, except that I love the opening and closing scenes. The music there is superb, coupled with a good animation and presentation style. It even gives you snippets about what will happen later. The music is good. The music just fits in well and augment the scenes appropriately, and the voice actors are ok. 7 is ok, but 8 for the great opening which I like! 8 too for the catchy music tracks here and there in Soul Eater, which makes nice hearing.
- [ Conclusions ] -
UPDATE: Ahem!! Go read the manga. The anime started well, but ended in an awful manner (if you compare it to the manga). The start is still enjoyable.
You absolutely need to see Soul Eater. The characters and animation deserve your view! And I guarantee that you will laugh at least once (minimum!) per episode. Seeing the trend of Soul Eater, overall I give an 8.5 for now, though it might fluctuate to 7 or 9 depending how the series goes.
As you know, Soul Eater is still airing, so if there are changes, or if the series unexpectedly starts turning bad, I will edit my review. For now, it's totally worth it.
This truly is a unique anime, but it lacks something in all departments. I found this anime quite overrated, considering how much potential it had. The pacing is horrible, the music (especially the piano score) is annoying and some of the voices sound so unnatural (Patty, Soul, Maka), and the art varies a whole lot (the character's noses annoyed me). Still, I've never had so many mixed emotions about a show. I found myself annoyed, confused, curious. bored, excited, sleepy, refreshed, amused, intrigued and laughing. Mostly because the episodes varies so insanely much.
But the show indeed has a cool feel to it, with a unique
steam punk style, with different abilities and personalities in each character, a cool concept (shinigamis, witches, samurais, shinobis, magic, demons) and a whole new world we unfortunately get to see and experience little to nothing of, since almost everything revolves around Death City, an illusion or inside someones head...
Soul eater can also be quite funny at times and the anime has its quirks and charm. It's not the characters, it's not the concept, it's not even the story, but how the story is told that I have a problem with. Soul Eater's character development is frankly quite annoying... since almost everything they experience happens inside their head.. and some abilities aren't even explained, suddenly they just get this epifani and BOOM, there's a new ability.
The story is quite intriguing actually, and it's what kept me going. Making it one of the few animes I haven't dropped midway through. But it had so much potential here. It should have been darker, more violent, more serious. One of the most positive things about this anime is actually hitting a good joke at the right moment, but the show doesn't really get any serious until the last 5 episodes or so, and these are the episodes I found most amusing (I stand corrected: All the episodes where we get to see Lord Death in his true form). Actually, the whole series should've been more like the last episode. At least the fight sequences.
Several of the characters are just too annoying and gets far too much screen time (Excalibur, Crona, the guy with saws) and some get way too little screen time, especially in fights (this includes almost all the characters). The ultimate bad guy, however, is just plain bad ass (Kishin).
As I wrote earlier, Soul Eater lacks pacing in all departments, not just in the character development, but how the story is told, not to mention the most annoying thing about this anime, the fights. Some of the fights could have been really epic, instead there's always a bunch of talking, a reason for not fighting or not going all-out or one of the sides just forfeits. A battle would just end, just as the climax hits. I kept thinking that we'll probably get to see a real fight by them soon, but some battles never actually finishes... it just ends.. Not to mention how almost every single fight is interrupted by some kind of illusion, dream or thought sequence inside one of the main character's head. It could have been cool, but it just ruins the suspension and climax in the fight, since they keep over-using it!
Now back to the story... the different arcs varies a lot. Some of the arcs feel rushed, and some of the backstories of the characters could have gotten more depth and better told. (I would love knowing more about Spirit's backstory, Lord Death and Black star). I find myself thinking that the series could have been a lot better if there were more episodes (but then again, a lot of the episodes are just simply garbage).
Overall I actually did enjoy the series and I can see why there are so many fans. The characters are lovable and funny. Their friendship and loyalty warms your heart. The concept is cool and refreshing, the abilities are unique and intriguing, the weapons are huge and deadly. The world they have created is exciting and amusing, but it could have been so much better.
Soul Eater is a good series with a great sense of humor, art style, and an excellent cast of characters but lacks the strength to be an over 50 episode series. What really stops this series from being a great series is that the story is dull and you feel like that the show is moving like a snail on a freeway in the middle of the series.
From the beginning, Soul Eater threw you the three meisters and their weapons. These short "monster of the week" episodes were exciting with tons of action and humor which kept me laughing and admiring the direction this
series was going. Once the main plot kicks in you start getting introduced to more side characters and antagonists which keep the story interesting. I would have gave this story an 8 if the other half of the series wasn't so long.
It seems at the second half the action starts to repeat itself and the show suffers from the main plot not going anywhere. The plot is predictable and probably because the second half has not been written in the manga and it just makes the ending seem rushed. It feels to me that the story is your average "Kids save the world" story and acts like a generic show because of this.
I have to say, the art in this show is awesome. The fight scenes look slick and the animation never seems to slow down or I never really notice. Bones is a studio that knows how to use animation right and it amazes me.
The atmosphere of the show is done in a Halloween like style that really works with all the characters and the setting and makes it stand out to other anime out there. The characters all look great and all have a clever design.
The only thing that really bugged me with the animation was that the random people were just purple, I found this to be lazy and question why they make them fit in with the classroom.
The OST of the show has a varied selection of songs which is I love in Anime. There is a feeling of jazz, rock, and hip hop surrounding the soundtrack and I never felt like I was hearing the same song over and over again. I never felt that there was a song that I was in love with during the show but all and all I recommend you try out the soundtrack for yourself.
As for the Openings and Endings I really enjoyed a lot of them. The first opening "Resonance" felt like it was kind of a pump up to the series and had to be my favorite out of all of them.
All the characters in the show are very unique looking and have a nice style to them. Maka and Soul are both enjoyable characters that are fun to watch. Black Star and Tsubaki were a mixed bag for me and Black Star most of the time felt obnoxious and Tsubaki was dull but they had their moments. My favorite out of all of the main characters has to be Death the Kid and the Thompson Sisters because they were all so goofy and different from other characters I have encountered. Kid's obsession with symmetry was a funny gag and the sisters acted like two nuts but all and all it worked.
The supporting characters (there a ton of them) all have something to offer the viewer and you can choose which one is your favorite. All I have to say is that all of them are unique and throws something different to the table.
The main problem with these characters is the lack of development with them. Since the number of characters is so high I never really got attached to a character and notice their potential. The series constantly jumps from one character to the next which slows down the story. If the anime was more focused on its protagonist than every other character in the show I think it would have been stronger.
With everything negative I said about this show, I still enjoyed it. The first half was hilarious and the humor is something this series did an excellent job on. The action scenes looked awesome and kept me watching and seeing all these characters throw crap at each other was just so satisfying. The only thing that killed the enjoyment of this show was the second half lacking the same punch as the first and I wish the humor was as well delivered in the second half as well.
I enjoyed Soul Eater and it was a solid series and I wouldn't mind giving it another watch another time. I will conclude saying that this is a show that you would like if you are a fan of the action and comedy, it does a great job with both of these and if you are a fan of either one of those genres, give it a try. If you are a fan of the series, go check out the manga as well because it does a better job with the later parts of the story than the anime.
If you have any comment you want to share or questions about the review please message me on my page.
OMG!! Another masterpiece in 2008!!!!! This anime is simply the best!!!!
Unlike Bleach and Naruto which has a more slow and simple battle style, Soul Eater is much more faster and the battle style is much more interesting!!!!
This anime begins as Maka Alban (protagonist) and Soul Eater (also protagonist) hunts for 99 eggs of kisshin and a soul of a witch. Maka is a meister and Soul is a weapon who take form in a human form. If they succed in their mission, the weapon (Soul) can become the Death Scythe. If you want to know more, XD you can watch this anime yourself ^_^..!
Truly fascinating!!! The art looked like Tengen Toppa Guren lagann, since the art itself is artictic and yet beautiful. The OST is just nice and perfect for those peace moments you will enjoy throughtout the anime. When battle emerged, you can enjoy another wild and adrenaline-burst soundtrack.
Character & Enjoyment
Maka, Soul, Black Star, Tsubaki, Death the Kid, Thompson sisters (Patty & Liz), Blair, Spirit (current Death Scythe), Stein and the others definitely brings anime to a whole new level, as they all have their own personality. Even though they are mostly phycho (XD), their battle is both artistic and special. Well, you can see for yourself.
OMG!! T_T this anime sure rocks. Everything is just nice. BUT!~!! Beware of subbers!!!!!! There were severe subbing problems. The sub is NOT accurate!!! (some only)
If you’re a fan of the nineties stop motion movie The Nightmare Before Christmas, your vision of a land based entirely on the tropes, designs and conventions of Halloween is a dark, depressing town where every single resident is ironically joyful and pleasant towards one another. Soul Eater, on the other hand, takes this idea and turns it over on it’s head. Death City, for all of it’s creeps and ghouls, is a bright, happy place where even the Grim Reaper is more of a cuddly uncle than a terrifying specter of doom. The Reaper, or Lord Death, as he prefers to be called, is
the headmaster of the Death Weapon Meister Academy, a school that teaches young people how to join their souls to protect the world from witches!
To do this, one student must become a living weapon, and their chosen partner must wield them against creepy, devious witches who hide in the shadows and... Do stuff, like transforming into all manners of creepy creatures! Once each team has devoured the souls of 99 corrupted humans and one witch, they will be advanced to the status of Death Scythe, the preferred weapons of Grim Reapers everywhere. But one witch has decided to take matters into her own hands... She plans to awaken an ancient, sleeping demon that will drive the entire world past the brink of insanity! Can Meister Maka, her weapon Soul, and their friends stop this plan before it’s too late, or will the world lose itself to the clutches of chaos?
The animation studio behind this heaping helping of Halloween was Studio Bones, the studio that gained fame from Fullmetal Alchemist and Wolf’s Rain. Like the majority of their projects, Soul Eater has solid, kinetic animation... About half the time. The animation is never quite as smooth or expensive as it is in the first season opening, but it is more or less solid for the most part. There are a few embarrassing moments, such as where characters look like their walk cycles were just copied and pasted onto the environment, but thankfully, they’re few and far between. What’s NOT few and far between are the still shots. There are several occurrences where a character is talking, but the camera is focused on the environment, other character’s faces, or just the eyes of the speaker, leaving the lip flaps off screen.
There are a lot of action and fighting scenes throughout this series, and the fact that most of the budget is saved for those scenes is a life saver in the long run. The editing and angles can be a bit too amateurish and generic for their own good at times, and there are way too many close-ups of characters’ faces, but it works over-all. The character designs are it’s best visual aspect by far, although the highly detailed backgrounds are also noteworthy. There was so much inspiration and creativity in the aesthetic of this series that even the Grim Reaper is like no other reaper you’ve ever seen before.
Aside from a couple of female background characters who are retroactively given names and identities in the later episodes, every single named character is given a unique and unforgettable look that goes beyond just their hairstyles and fashions. Some of them are grounded, some of them are insane, and you can tell instantly which witches are based on which animals. If you haven’t seen the anthropomorphic version of the legendary sword Excalibur... Think Puttin’ On the Ritz from AMV Hell 5... You would never guess what he looks like or acts like in this series, as he has one of the most insane gimmicks in a series full of insane gimmicks.
The music... I think existed? Well, that’s not fair. The music is decent in this series, but for the most part, it does it’s job in the background, rarely ever calling attention to itself... Which is good because trust me, a lot of it’s tracks are reused over and over again through the series. Besides, who cares about the score when you’ve got such amazing opening and closing songs? The first opening is called Soul Resonance by TM Revolution, and it’s the kind of high energy, intense tunes that grabs you the first time you hear it and demands you come back for more, and the animation in the video more than keeps up with it. The second opening is a bit more generic, but it’s serviceable enough. There are four closing themes, and while the first one (I Wanna Be) is probably the best, I still personally prefer the much more mellow second one, Style, as it offers the coll-down that I felt each episode needed. Your opinion on this may differ, which is fine... They’re all great closings, in their own ways.
The English dub was of course a Funimation effort... They’ve been getting dangerously close to Disney levels of ubiquity at this point... And while I’ve heard some people call it average, I think it’s great. I can normally call out a star performer in any dub I review, but in Soul Eater’s case, there are just too many to pick from. Luci Christian rarely ever plays a villain... Elfen Lied being one of the few examples... But she plays the role of Medusa, school nurse/evil mastermind, and she clearly enjoyed every second of it. She sounds downright diabolical and as slithery as the snake she’s based on, even when she exploits her cutesier voices to mock or manipulate people. Troy Baker is unrecognizable as the pretentious nuisance Excalibur, and Vic Mignona excels in the role of an overly-enthusiastic dad who wants nothing more than the forgiveness of his estranged daughter.
Todd Haberkorn brings out both the strength and neurotic tendencies of Lord Death’s son Death the Kid in the ways that only he ever could, Chuck Huber handles Dr. Stein’s insanity brilliantly, and Maxey Whitehead fully embodies the androgynous Crona through all of his/her psychotic, awkward nuances. Brittany Karbowski starts off a little roughly as Blackstar, the hyperactive ninja who makes Naruto look stealthy, and it can be a little difficult to take her seriously in the early episodes, but she hits her groove hard and fast. Laura Bailey and relative newcomer Micah Solusod play the main partnership of Maka and Soul as likeably as they can, although for the majority of the series, their jobs aren’t really as demanding as everyone elses. Pretty much every Funimation actor that was around in the late 2000s is in this at some point, and everyone’s at least on point.
So after speaking so highly of the sound, acting and production values, you’re probably expecting me to remain positive for the rest of the review. you’re expecting me to keep rambling on about how awesome the series is, how well written it is, and how much I love it. Well, much like this series did to me, I’m afraid I’m going to have to disappoint you. The truth is, I don’t think I’ve ever encountered this large of a disparity between writing quality and popularity... Well, not in the anime medium, at any rate. I can think of at least one web cartoon that’s far more popular, despite being even worse.
To begin, let’s take a look at the main characters. One of the easiest ways to pinpoint bad writing is to notice that a character who you’re constantly being told is smarter than the rest of the cast shows no actual signs of enhanced intelligence to back up that claim. In Death Note, we were given no explanation of Light Yagami’s study habits or scholastic strengths, but at least we knew he was good at strategy and manipulating people. In No Game No Life, the two stars made it very clear which of them was skilled in which areas, and we saw their talents unfold during some of the game sequences. In Soul Eater, there is no evidence whatsoever to support Maka being the top student at the Academy. She never uses her intellect during battle, and the only test question we see her answer is the show’s line about sound minds and bodies. The only brainy thing she ever does is dump exposition on the viewer.
All of her accomplishments are due to her bond with Soul, rushing into situations courageously, and coming up with new attacks. We never see her outwit or outsmart anybody... She just resolves conflicts through the application of virtues such as bravery and friendship. But hey, that’s no big deal as long as the title character is interesting, right? Well, sorry, he’s not. Soul Eater, and yes that’s his alarmingly prophetic name, is a laid back cool guy who likes playing the piano... And that’s pretty much it. I learned more about him from a single paragraph on Wikipedia than I did from a 51 episode series that’s specifically named after him. You never learn his name, his backstory, or why he wants to become a Death Scythe in the first place.
And that just brings up another problem I had with this series. We know what happens when a partnership achieves their goal of eating 99 corrupted... Or, “Keishan” souls, and one witch soul... The weapon becomes a Death Scythe. But what happens to the Meister? What do they get out of it? The only Meister in the series whom we know for sure was able to accomplish this was Maka’s mother, and she’s off on a trip for the entire show. We know that pursuing this goal benefits the weapons, but we know nothing about what the Meisters get out of it. And what’s really messed up about this is that in each of the three main partnerships in the cast... Maka and soul, Blackstar and Tsubaki, Death the Kid and the Thompson sisters... The Meister side is the more interesting side. It’s the Meister that’s driven to succeed, and it’s the weapon that’s there to support them and guide them to their dreams, and the Meister’s have much clearer motives than the weapons, so shouldn’t it be the Meisters who stand to accomplish something?
There are a lot of people out there who say Soul Eater would have been great if it wasn’t for the ending, which strayed from the plot of the manga. Well, I’ve never read the manga, and I don’t intend to until after this review is done, because no adaptation should ever require a knowledge of the original material in order to work. In my opinion, the worst thing about this show isn’t the ending, it’s the beginning. As many viewers have pointed out, the plot that this anime starts with is not the same as the plot it picks up towards the end. Now, that’s not necessarily a bad thing... Plot evolution can be handled well, just like it was in Toradora. But the plot has to actually evolve. The first plot must in some way become the second plot, otherwise it will feel like a waste of time. Which is exactly what it feels like here.
Only in Soul Eater, it’s not just a waste of time. It’s far worse than that. Throughout the first several episodes of the series, we’re given boatloads of exposition about how the Death Scythe system works, what it’s rules are, and why it’s important. That exposition is handled about as well as it was in The Last Airbender. Another obvious sign of bad writing is when one character explains something to another character for the sake of the audience, but since both characters already know everything, the explanation is opened with the phrase “As you know...” And it gets worse than that, as the rules for having the souls you’ve collected revoked(Ripped from your stomach?) sound arbitrary and downright draconian. And to make matters worse, the change in plot leave tons of questions unanswered, the worst of which I’ve already gone into.
And the exposition gets even worse as the series continues. In the second half, there’s an arc where the DWMA sends it’s students and teachers to a snowy location called the Lost Island. no, not that Lost Island. Not only is this expedition not foreshadowed or brought up in any way before we’re dropped right into it, but the pre-op portion of it’s first episode consists of Lord Death telling us... Yes, telling us, talking directly to the audience, as though the fourth wall never existed... about why they’re going there and what they’re expecting to find. That should not happen. It should be set up in the dialogue, and it should occur seamlessly. Hell, even showing Maka and Soul in their dorm preparing for and discussing the mission would have felt less jarring, and it probably would have taken up just as much time. The world-building is so bad that I have no idea where Death City is located, and how it’s bizarre logic exists in a world whose locations so clearly mirror our own.
And as for all the people saying the ending was the worst part of the series? I honestly thought the final quarter was the best one. Yeah, okay, the final battle was really weak, anti-climactic and full of deus ex machina BS, but it was the only stretch of episodes that felt like one smooth, connected story that didn’t veer off into filler episodes or unnecessarily complicated plot annexes... Well, for the most part. This part of the story does waste a disproportionate amount of time on a “Let’s collect magical artifacts and expose the DWMA’s dark secret” sub-plot, which is paid off in the stupidest way imaginable. I halfway want to just spoil it, because if I were to describe what that sub-plot and all the characters it introduced was leading to, you’d probably think I was exaggerating. Spoiler alert: The school turns into a giant mech and tries to swat a giant robot spider. See? Unless you’ve seen it, you don’t believe me! And all this time, we’re constantly told that the awakened demon is causing outbreaks of insanity around the world, but we never actually see this happening!
The reason I love that section of the story above the others is because it advances the two plot elements that feel the strongest. The first one is the friendship between the seven main characters. The writers of this anime understood humans and emotions far more than they understood basic storytelling, and the relationship between the primary weapons and meisters are proof of that. When they’re hanging out together, it feels like a comfortable party that you’ve been invited to. When they’re fighting as a unit, their strengths and weaknesses complement each other perfectly. When they’re fighting among themselves, it feels tense, like there’s genuinely something at stake if they should go too far and disband. Every interaction, from the bond between the Thompson sisters to Blackstar’s complex of inferiority to Death the Kid and Maka, is executed well. Even Maka's issues with her cheating father are dealt with maturely.
And the other element revolves around someone whom I consider to be the best character in the series, and it’s saving grace in a lot of respects: The snake witch, Medusa Gorgon. My god is she an amazing villain. Her motivation is basically evil for the sake of evil, but not in a lazy way... In a good way, like Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty or Johan from Monster. There is no act that’s too diabolical for her to stoop to it. She’s also smart, staying one step ahead of everyone as much as possible and saddling both Soul and Stein with the very issues that make them interesting and memorable. She’s such a great villain that she completely over-shadows the villain that succeeds her. The long term plot involving her evil schemes is by far the most fun to follow. These two plot elements are tied together perfectly by a character named Crona, but in the interest of not spoiling anything, I’ll say no more.
And it’s a good thing these two elements exists, because holy crap is there a lot of unnecessary pulp in this show. It’s constantly throwing new ideas and new chaacters at you, and it ultimately reaches the point where at least a dozen of them could have died for all I cared. It would be so easy to reduce this show to twenty six episodes without hurting it’s strongest elements or losing the charm and personality that’s won so many otaku hearts. Because let’s be honest, how many of these characters and plot points are important in the long run? How many of them are so necessary to the story that they couldn’t be either removed altogether, or written out with a few job reassignments?
As an experiment, let’s remove the plot point about becoming a death scythe, and just call the main characters witch hunters. Let’s get rid of pointless characters like Yumi, Joe, Hero, Arachne, Giriko, Eibon, Justin, Ox, Kilik, Kim, the younger Mizune sisters, and yes, even Excalibur. Characters who are only temporarily important, such as Sid, Mifune and Blair, can be kept long enough to perform the barest of plot essentials. Hell, as much as I loved Eruka Frog and Free, they could have just been eaten when Asura woke up. Entire episodes could be scrapped, with their relevance to the magical item hunt removed. Take these changes into account, tighten up a few loose ends with some quick rewrites, and this story could have been reduced to twenty five episodes with a much better sense of pace and direction.
Soul Eater is available from Funimation. It’s been released in several different DVD sets, including 13 episode quarter sets, 26 episode half sets, and finally, a much more affordable complete set, and more recently, a premium Blu-Ray set, as though Funi hasn’t wrung enough money out of us just yet. I’ll be honest, I’d hate to be one of the people who spent 60 dollars apiece for each of the quarter sets, only to see the price drop so rapidly over the course of less than ten years. It’s also up for free on Netflix The manga is available stateside from Yen Press. A spin-off manga called Soul Eater Not is also available stateside, An anime adaptation was released in Japan last spring, and since then, it’s also been released stateside by Funimation, but I haven’t watched or read it yet, so I have no idea if it’s any good. A mini-show called Soul Eater Late show is available on the series DVDs, and it's amusing enough.
As Maka tells us at the beginning of every episode, a sound soul dwells within a sound mind and a sound body. Soul Eater has neither a sound mind OR a sound body, and thus, it’s not a sound series. Even so, I guess I am underselling the parts of this show that work. Soul Eater is a lot of fun. It’s very unique and creative, and even in it’s more pointless moments, it has a great sense of humor. I can drone on forever about just how terribly, terribly written it is, but the things it does right are strong enough that it’s still worth returning to for multiple viewings. If nothing else, it has a sound heart, which is why I get how it’s found resonance with so many people. I won’t make any excuses for it, nor will I ignore all of it’s problems just because I enjoyed some of it, but I can still understand how a show that’s this timeless would stand the test of time. I give Soul Eater a 5/10.
Yes, that's the annoying scream you will have to endure when watching this anime, the one who screams is the main character of Soul Eater, Maka Albarn. Now before writing this review I was thinking about in which order to put the good things and the bad things that this anime contained. I decided I'd start with the bad feautures. First of all; Soul Eater is a shounen anime, hence it has shounen screenplay which is to say it exists not to be either good nor bad, it's just there so that the characters have something to say. In truth though, the screenplay/script of the
very last few episodes of Soul Eater was a bit of a joke. What the hell were they talking about? No really, please can someone explain to me what they were talking about? I've never seen such meaningless nonsense.
Let's swiftly move on to storyboard, Soul Eater had a storyboard that was all over the place, which is also fairly akin to the typical shounen storyboard we're used to, still it never deviated far from the overhanging main storyline which is a good thing, then again the story became blurry as the anime continued and it ended in, well I don't want to spoil anything but it ended in a way I found far from satisfactory, I'd even have appreciated some random comic relief ending more than how Soul Eater ended.
Moving onto to the characters; as I might already have hinted the main, main character Maka Albarn is annoying. She's not only annoying because she's an annoying character, she's annoying because of her character design which to me looks like some jacked up hobo and also and foremost her voice actor (seiyuu), it was a bad choice. She screams all the time, and even when she doesn't scream her cracky teenage sounding voice is just annoying. The Shinigami was supposed to be funny, he wasn't funny, he was stupid, not funny stupid, he was really stupid. These two characters pulled this anime down a notch by themselves. Now let me move onto to the redeeming characters. First we have the idiotic ego-trip of a testosterone filled brat, his name is Black Star, his goal and purpose in life is to surpass God. Now we have seen these characters in numerous shounen animes before, one of the most famous ones is of course Uzumaki Naruto. The thing about Black Star is that it works for him. He shows no humility or subtility, he is never humble, he never drops his act even once and for this he turns out to be this animes best character, he knows he's the best, he knows the world exist only for him to have something to walk on and for him to rule. He is genuinly funny. You know who else is genuinly funny? Excalibur. Excalibur is annoying, self centered and has a bigger ego than Black Star himself, but he is funny.
Do not get me wrong now, I have been bashing this anime quite a bit and rightfully so because everything I have said I believe to be true, but I still watched this anime in like three days. It's very easily watched, you never feel weary when watching it and the next episode comes along easily as you want to watch what happens next. Soul Eater pulls this off partly because of some of the characters, partly because of the vivacious and colourful art and animations (not even the CG feels misplaced) and partly because the storyboard, as blurry as it may be at times, still has you compelled to keep on watching.
In our community there exists animes which receive a large amount of hype, ones which everyone knows and most have watched. Soul Eater falls into this category. But why? This is what I am to explore in this review. (Please note, I have not read the manga, so this review will be written looking solely at the anime)
Soul Eater introduces a very interesting and unique plot. Students who fight evil sprits with their companions who transform into weapons to fight said spirits. Going into Soul Eater, I loved this idea. The students aimed to fight 99 spirits and one witch in order to transform
their weapon companions into "Death Scythes", weapons used by Lord Death himself. This goal was introduced in the first episode, in stuck for awhile, and it was dropped. I sat there as the plot went on wondering where this idea went. I wanted to see how our protagonists tried to accomplish this goal.
Instead, Soul Eater gave us a large cast of protagonists dealing with the issue of "Asura." While I liked the direction this went, it suddenly flipped roughly 15 episodes in to the issue of Medusa and her plans. It was by no means bad, but the first 15 episodes just seemed like a waste at that point. Yes, there was valuable character development, but it would have been much more effective if factored in to the direction the plot went.
Another issue I had was the constant idea of teamwork set through the entire anime which seemed to be dropped during the ending. I can give it the benefit of some good comedy, though.
The art was one of my favorite parts of Soul Eater. The art was comedic yet serious, which fit the anime very well. It was very fluid, and the fight scenes were animated brilliantly. The art style used was very unique and distinguishable. The biggest issue was the dull appearance of the colors on occasion.
The voice acting in Soul Eater was stellar. Every line was delivered masterfully by the diverse and strong cast of voice actors. The sounds track, unfortunately, did not meet the same standard. While the tracks used fit their relevant scenes, few, if any songs were memorable. They acted a lot more as ways to fill empty space rather than an intriguing way to enhance the different scenes.
I have a lot to say here, so I'll try to keep it as concise as can be.
The first group of characters to discuss are the set of protagonists: Maka, Soul, Black Star, Tsubaki, Death the Kid, Patty, and Liz. It seems that writers like to give characters in stories with lots of characters very specific quirks to keep them memorable and distinguishable. Each of characters in this set of protagonists had his or her specific quirk. The unfortunate thing was, some were focused on more than others. Some received significantly more development. Maka seemed to be the focus for the development. Soul fell short though. And it got annoying having him talk about being cool all the time. Black Star remained his arrogant self through the whole anime. He had brief moments of camaraderie, but never really developed. We did get a fair amount of backstory on him though. Tsubaki fell to the same weakness as Black Star. She was never really developed past a bit of background information. Death the Kid was definitely the most well written character out of the protagonists, he was developed clearly, and as he became more suspicious of his father there was a clear shift in his personality. I still can't quite figure out what's going on with Liz and Patty. We got their backstory but they weren't really developed well.
The side characters were significantly better. Professor Stein was interesting. He went on a journey that began and was seen through to the end. Medusa had the same sort of experience. Crona had a great set of development and adventures to his character. Soul Eater seemed to put a lot more effort in the side characters than it did the main characters. However, there were still a plethora of not so well written side characters. Sid never really seemed to change, and just kept going on about what kind of man he was before he became a zombie. Death himself was made to be hyped to hide the fact that he really had nothing behind him. He oversimplified things and frankly it made him uninteresting.
I've been pretty critical of Soul Eater in this review. It's not bad. I thoroughly enjoyed all 51 episodes of Soul Eater, and I'm really glad I watched it. From a writing stand point, it had some weaknesses, but I also take into mind the audience Soul Eater is intended for. I'm someone who prefers a story that challenges me - the viewer- to think. Soul Eater most certainly isn't intended for that. I can still respect it though because it interested me enough to keep watching.
Overall, Soul Eater gets a 6, which MAL defines as "fine". I can consider it an above-average anime, but it doesn't go above and beyond. If you haven't seen it you should watch it, even with it's weaknesses it's still a great anime worth seeing for any anime fan.