Death City is home to the Death Weapon Meister Academy, established by Shinigami—the grim reaper himself. Created to maintain peace, the academy trains Meisters and Demon Weapons—people who take on the form of a weapon—to defend humanity against evil. The ultimate goal of a Meister is to create a "Death Scythe" worthy of being wielded by Shinigami. To do this, their weapon partner must consume the souls of 99 wicked humans and one witch.
Maka Albarn and her partner Soul Eater "Soul" Evans are two students who hope to make a Death Scythe. They are joined by the boisterous Black☆Star and his partner Tsubaki Nakatsukasa, as well as the perfectionist Death the Kid—simply known as Kid—and his partners, the twins Patricia "Patty" and Elizabeth "Liz" Thompson. These ambitious students all work towards becoming the ultimate Meister and Demon Weapon team, through misadventures, missions, and many class trials.
However, many mysteries surround them, and as new enemies are discovered and secrets are revealed, Maka, Soul, and their friends must fight to protect the academy, Death City, and the world itself from enemies far worse than humans.
Soul Eater was published in English by Yen Press from October 27, 2009 to March 24, 2015, as well as in eBook format from April 8, 2014 to March 24, 2015. It was also published in Spain by Norma Editorial from September 1, 2010 to October 1, 2014, and in Brazil by Jbc from July 2012 to August 2014. It has been published in Argentina by Ovni Press since September 29, 2017.
After I watched Soul Eater, everyone said, “The manga ending is better.” So I decided to take them up on that and read it.
Why oh why did I finish this manga? Because I’m an idiot?
More likely than not it's because I wanted to reach this “better ending”. While I’ll admit that “bravery” isn’t the best ending to a series, the Soul Eater anime surpasses the manga.
Let’s break down why, shall we?
The characters ranged from bland to erratic with no one I formed any particular attachment too. I liked Crona in the anime, but the character went from interesting to relatively
boring in the manga. I enjoyed watching/reading about Death the Kid and Excalibur, but, in the manga, the rest of the cast fell short.
Most main characters—like Black Star, Tsubaki, Soul, Patty, Oxford, Maka, etc.—seemed dull and underdeveloped. While some had vibrant personalities, they still lacked emotional depth. Sure, some matured as the manga went along (Black Star in particular), but I never found them compelling or a driving force of the series.
Soul and Tsubaki were capital offenders. Between the two of them, I can’t think of any adjectives to describe them apart from their shounen trope counterparts. Soul barely had any personality besides his “cool” vibe and wish to live up to his brother. He played the piano, but that didn’t really add to his personality. And Tsubaki was “nice” and a powerful weapon but that’s about it.
After 20 something volumes, I had hoped for a bit more from the cast. Instead, most of the characters battled a single problem throughout the series and received a single chapter of backstory (or a few scattered panels) for development. The caricatures were fine, I guess, but difficult to distinguish from other characters like them. Needless to say, I didn’t attach.
None of the character annoy me, but I didn’t care for them either. At the very least, I found Death the Kid’s eccentricities amusing, as well as Excalibur’s. Both, sadly, lacked “screen time”, if you will. Excalibur remained a joke character, but Death the Kid whiplashed between a humorous and a serious one. It usually worked fine, but once in a while it jarred me.
While, I applaud Soul Eater for its distinctive art style and tone, the story trapped itself between humor and (attempts at) philosophy and ended up falling short of both. It couldn’t decide if the reader should take it seriously and transitioned from ridiculous panels to long spouts about insanity and madness—which I found about as compelling as watching paint dry. This is a real shame, because I usually enjoy a good philosophical meander.
The plot did move smoothly from A to Z without any hard to swallow plot jumps, but some fights dragged on for volumes. I quickly lost interest in an enemy who revealed a 7th or 8th form. It made Aizen (from Bleach, for those who don’t know) look as if he didn’t have too many final-final-final forms. Several antagonists in Soul Eater pulled this “my true form!” nonsense out. Oh, and the bad guys never die. I swear our heroes have to fight them 3+ times each throughout the manga.
Not only were the battles with the same opponents seemingly endless, but I never felt any tension during them. Relatively sure the characters wouldn’t die (good and bad), nothing seemed to be at stake, which made the battles feel a little pointless.
Uninvested in the characters or plot, the story often seemed to drag and frequently bored me. In the end, though, a lot of unexplained story elements came together nicely.
Nothing about the plot is particularly fantastic, mind-blowing, unique, or interesting. But, aside from the never-ending fights, it’s pretty average and moved at a solid pace.
The story had a sort of quirky-cool style that fit surprisingly well with the story’s main antagonist: madness. The art added to the feel of Soul Eater, and, I think, helped it stand out from other shounen. Soul Eater’s bold, Halloweenish style benefited the story’s humor as well. While I found the anime humorous, not even “the test” chapter made me laugh while reading the manga (and I loved that in the anime).
The lines were clean. The fights were (usually) easy to follow. Most panels were simplistic with an occasional “text panel” (what I call panels that have only text and no image). Some, though, were detailed.
The angles were pretty normal. I don’t remember it doing anything above and beyond to increase the story’s meaning. Same thing goes for the paneling. Of course it had some clever layouts, but, generally speaking, the angle of the panel and paneling itself did not add to the story. One chapter focusing on Crona was a big expectation to this. Stylistically, I thought it was the best chapter in the series.
The story did make great use of black and white, using black to help indicate madness and create some intense panels.
Female representation: 1/10
I’ve actually had people complain about this category before, but, if you aren’t interested, don’t read it. If I find the males of a series overtly sexualized and poorly written plot tools who serve solely as “dream boys” for girls, I’ll be sure to mention it.
In the anime, the first episodes were grating, but after those only certain scenes irritated me (like a cat fight between two basically naked women). I could swallow the ecchi fan service for the most part. It was nudity, but it didn’t make rape jokes funny or needlessly sexualize young girls. It had big boobs, short skirts, and accidental (and sometimes intentional) pervert scenes, but that’s typical for shounen. It was more of an eye roll than an issue.
But let’s get to the manga, which is a whole new story.
First, sexual assault was comedic. From boob grabbing to skirt lifting, Soul Eater frequently promoted rape culture through humor. I shouldn’t have to explain why that’s problematic.
Copious scenes unnecessarily took place in the shower to “cleverly” showcase naked girls. Females, especially villains, often wore outfits that sexualized the body and sometimes emphasized certain parts of it, which I found disturbing, unnecessary, and distracting. One villain continuously taunted her opponent, saying lovely lines like, “don’t imagine my naked body” and “I bet you want to touch my naked body”. If you can’t see through this thinly veiled plot device to entice young boys, than you probably enjoyed this manga more than I did.
Fan service aside, gender representation was far from equal. Aside from one female villain, the girls usually had less power than the boys. For example, Maka, the protagonist, was far behind the power level of her male counterparts. Some girls had power, and lots of girls were weapons, but that didn’t really resolve the issue.
What about Tsubaki!? Well, frankly, her abilities as a weapon did not factor into a fight nearly as much as Black Star’s skills and capabilities.
It is worth noting that, without the fan service issues, I probably wouldn’t complained too much about this. Shounen typically feature boys who are more powerful than girls.
And yet . . . when the characters were in “weapon form”, the manga showed their faces instead of a talking weapon. But the girls were always naked in this state, though the boys wore clothes. That was so obviously sexist it’s laughable.
We have another great addition to female representation problems: Blair. She served as nothing more than someone to strip down and treat the males to a little fan service (not that all men even want that. I know a guy who watched Soul Eater and found Blair annoying and unnecessary). She sexually assaulted a character constantly, pushing her impossibly large boobs into his face. Unamusingly, this also promoted rape culture (this time girls assaulting boys). She’s not the first cat-girl in a manga, though, and I’m sure she’s not the last.
I could go on, but I’ve hit the major points. If you’re into that stuff, go for it. That’s why it’s there, after all. If you like having female character with substance and something more to them than their bodies, which are constantly being displayed or touched to create jokes and “bleeding noses”, I suggest you find another series to read.
At the very least, the main protagonist, Maka, was not overly sexualized. While she fought in a skirt (always humorous and unbelievably stupid), she didn’t suffer many up-skirt shots or clothing damage. The females also had as much character development as the boys, which is to say very little.
The manga did offer a variety of female personalities and even one major female villain. But the endless ecchi fan service and rape culture promotion sort of nullify that.
I obviously did not enjoy this series. Why did I read it all? I heard the ending was better than the anime’s and wanted to find out. I'd take a crappy ending over the horrible female representation, snooze-worthy battles, long rambles about madness, and lost humor any day. Reading it probably wasn’t worth all the frustration and boredom I felt.
I can't recommend this manga enough, the only slight downside I can think of is that the art style changes very slightly. The later volumes have absolutely astounding art, incredibly detailed and intricate. The characters are really likeable and develop a lot over the story. One thing I found really cool is the little details that become really important later on, it makes the story feel well thought out and crafted. Another thing I really enjoyed is how this manga never takes it self too seriously right down to the last chapter, it manages to be deep and engaging while also being light hearted
I really enjoyed this manga and feel its definitely worth a read, it starts off a tad slow but really picks up pace so be sure to give it a good go.
My absolute favourite manga and I highly recommend it! :)
Man, it's not easy to make something that appeals to everyone. Often you encounter the issue of how to appeal to people who want something more mature, people who want something simple, people who want something complex and people who want something fun.
It's not easy to balance all that, and many manga have tried and failed miserably at doing so. This comes as no real surprise, since people wouldn't really want to read something that is unsure of what it it is. People want to read something, with a distinct purpose and a clear end result.
This is where the secret behind Soul Eater being so
popular and loved lies; it is a manga that balances a lot of things, from gray morality while dealing with the theme of nihilism and madness, to the excellent characterization, to its very simple presentation to simply being a very fun manga to read.
The story is tightly written yet is entertaining enough to follow from start to finish, all while extensively developing various themes from religion (aspects of religion, anyway) to nihilism to discrimination. Nothing feels overblown, and yet the story is aware of its own weight and never loses focus along the way. All of the subplots are resolved satisfactorily, and the manga is aware of when you should take it seriously and when you shouldn't, certain battles being particular examples of this.
Speaking of the battles, have I mentioned how well-written and balanced the power levels are? Nothing feels contradictory or moved forward for the sake of the plot, and strategies end up backfiring more times than they end up working. This means that I never lost immersion in any of the various fights and felt interested from start to finish, which doesn't seem like much but is a massive compliment in a manga like this.
The characters are very well-written and developed with a ridiculous amount of detail. None of them are as simple as they seem and all of them undergo massive development over the course of the manga. They never feel like plot devices and all of them stand on their own magnificently. Oh, and the interactions and dynamics between the various characters are absolutely amazing and fun to read, particularly between the Weapons and Meisters. I cannot praise them enough, and I honestly feel like I'm not doing them justice (I'm not sure anyone can, really).
The artwork is very well-drawn and works surprisingly well, especially during the manga's more humorous moments. This doesn't mean that the more nightmare fueled moments don't work; hell, if anything, the goofy artwork actually manages to make things more terrifying and compliments whatever the tone is extremely well.
I highly enjoyed this manga and consider it easily among my favorite manga series of all time. The story is enjoyable, the themes are well-developed and the characters are easily among the most loveable I've seen out of anime and manga.
I cannot recommend this highly enough.
If you are looking for something interesting + you are a Shounen fan and by accident read one chapter of soul eater be 100% sure you are going to get hooked!! But……
Our protagonist name‘s is “Evans soul eater”, and the story is not completely about him it’s a story about him and his friends hunting souls and witches.
Be aware that Evans is not your dominant main character it is more like the author just named the Manga because he likes soul eater‘s name which I found a little bit annoying because other characters is as strong as soul sometimes even stronger!
Good point that all of them get their fair amount of development.
Action is a little bit vague in some fighting scenes but art work is perfect to the point that will make your eyes fully satisfied and no character looks like another nor geometric distortion in different angles exist.
And for the story it is pretty good for a Shounen Manga but of course you have to close your mind about many things like where is death city‘s location on the map ? Also why does the story lack romance although the students work as pairs? why does “name” trying to f***k the world that badly ???????? why does the moon have a face? Why does it laugh like a foxy lady? and the most important quiz :
In this Manga are we on earth ? mars ? Egypt? Where?????????????ans: most likely it is alternative world shit.
Note: although ecchi is tagged it only appears on the first chapters subtly and the disappear until last chapters .
Personally I enjoyed this Manga you can say 71% because of the flows in plot and I felt Some rush in the end.
I recommend this work if you are looking for something interesting including action ,characters growth and supernatural, but be sure to read it twice a week because of the dense content caused by it‘s monthly serialization ,so it‘s difficult and boring for one go readers.
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