Wow. Well, the story is very good; it does tend to follow the standard shounen pattern to an extent, but it's incredibly well-executed. Basically we have weapons (which are basically people with the power to turn into a weapon), and meisters who have the power to wield them. They're enrolled at Shibusen, which was established to prevent the demon god from taking the world. The story flows quite well and is made really compelling by the characters; without the uniqueness of the characters and the brilliant, Tim Burton-esque art style, Soul Eater probably wouldn't be all that special. However... I've taken 3 points away from the 9 it was going to get solely because of the ending. I obviously won't spoil it for you, but it was far too cheesy and felt very rushed to me. I wouldn't advise against watching the anime because of this, since in my opinion it comes close to being a masterpiece, but be ready to rage and feel a bit let down.
I also skipped 2 episodes because they focused on Excalibur and his journey through history, and the relevance of it all was just lost on me. I couldn't sit through his ramblings, so I just skipped through to find the parts with story-development.
I've never seen an animation style quite like it. As I have already mentioned, it's very Tim Burton. There's so much attention to detail; even down to Death the Kid's skull pin (it has a sad face when he's in distress) and the sun and moon. Especially the sun... it makes me chuckle every time it's on screen. The fight scenes are very fluid, and even the backgrounds tend to be well-drawn and engaging in themselves. The designs are incredibly inventive and I love the colour schemes that have been used.
Both opening themes are great - especially the second one - and I found the voice-acting incredible. Especially Chiaki Omigawa (Maka) - she doesn't have the squeaky, over the top baby voice that a lot of school girl type characters seem to have and it was quite a refreshing change. I found that her voice acting is at its best when Maka is upset about something; she's actually really believable. Rikiya Koyama (Shinigami) is a great comedy voice actor as well, and they seem to have chosen voice actors that really suit all of the characters.
The background music is always good in Soul Eater and it really adds to the mood without becoming intrusive. All of the audio is just outstanding.
Soul Eater took a very big risk with its characters; they could so easily have been thoughtless cliches. Stein the mad doctor, Blair the witch, Medusa the witch, Soul the scythe, Spirit the death scythe, Black Star the arrogant ninja... I was almost put off just by going through the character list before I watched it. But give it a chance; they've put a lot of thought into the way the characters and the story intertwine and it runs really smoothly. I loved Blair (mainly because I find her cute as hell) and Black Star was hilarious despite all of the hatred I've seen against him. Maka was a bit of a vanilla character but it worked for her role in the story to an extent. I found that Soul wasn't featured as much as he should have been. Crona and Ragnarok were probably my favourite characters alongside Death the Kid and Patty. I loved that they showed weakness in some of the characters; usually in shounens they tend to steer away from emotions like that.
It didn't get a 10 for characters because there were some definite faults; Excalibur struck me as a pointless character. I think he was supposed to be comic relief, but I honestly just groaned whenever he came on-screen and I even skipped through the 2 episodes about him to see if there was any actual story. You can't have filler in a 51-episode shounen, there's no time.
My only other complaint is the way some characters became essentially disposable; Free was awesome and had the potential to become a great villain, but I'd actually forgotten he even existed until I was reading some other reviews and saw him mentioned for falling out of the story.
Soul Eater is a fast-paced shounen with quirky characters who I just couldn't help but love, and it takes the usual formula then puts a twist on it with a fantastic art style and brilliant fight scenes. I would go as far as saying that this is a must-watch anime and I'll definitely be watching it again at some point. I'd give it 9.5/10 if it wasn't for that damn ending.
*Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagaan