After about two months without a review I’ve finally been able to sit through a whole anime and it is none other than that hilarious erotic comedy/romance Soul Eater. Wait, that’s not right…
Soul Eater is fifty-one episodes of pure good. Never does it amaze and never does the plot really go anywhere exciting, but it is good for what it is and an enjoyable respite from all the other generic shounen crap out there. It is even 94.3ish percent story and 5.7ish percent filler with only three filler episodes, which is a miracle. Of course, this filler will be described below in full. Please enjoy my first review in forever.
The plot of Soul Eater revolves around Maka Albarn and Soul Eater. Soul Eater is a weapon, esentially a human that can change into a scythe and Maka is a weapon meister, a fancy German word for master. They go to a school (imagine that) for weapons and meisters run by, who else, but Death himself. In order for a weapon to become a death scythe, it must eat ninety-nine souls and one witches soul. This idea is completely swept under the rug by about episode four and the idea never comes up again. The plot, after introducing us to Maka, Death the Kid, and Black Star (also known as “I wish that guy would shut the hell up”) starts into a story rife with intrigue. A bad witch has infiltrated the DWMA (name of school/organization that Death heads) and is going to awaken the Kishin, a crazy guy who Death defeated eight hundred years before. This Kishin guy will envelope the world in madness and essentially destroy it.
At first I though “Okay, it’s not that generic, but it’s still not that exciting” and I maintained that feeling all the way through the end. One of the things I was starting to commend at the beginning were the fight scenes that I felt were engaging and didn’t last too long. But as I continued the series I found myself hating the fight scenes. Not that they were bad per se, but they just follow that generic “I found another secret power that trumps the last secret power I found” feel. Even worse are the fights that go nowhere, and these are found throughout (fight with Flea, fight between Justin and the bipedal loggers shed).
One of the worst parts of the end of the series is the fact that major bad guys are offed in ten seconds. It’s ridiculous the amount of build-up to these climactic battles that is then completely rendered obsolete by a single quick punch that should have been used from the beginning so I wasn’t sitting around hoping for someone to quit getting beat up and start into some epic clash.
And then there is Arachne. First of all, she comes out of freaking nowhere. Halfway through the anime we are introduced to a bad guy that just shows up like she’s been late to a cocktail party for eight hundred years and coincidentally went the night her drunk sister was violently murdering everyone at the party and the late sister decided to join in on the fun. Her drunk sister who is also eight hundred years old.
And here’s the kicker that is a major SPOILER! She dies by being punched once by the Kishin at around the very last episode. That’s it! There is all this build up to a fight. Then she never fights anyone, she just stands there and wants a freaking hug from the Kishin, he punches her, and it’s over. THAT’S IT? ALL THIS BUILD UP TO A SINGLE PUNCH FROM A GUY WHO WAS SUPPOSEDLY ON HER SIDE?
And then the ending! I think I learned something from the ending. Something about that one word that was tossed around more times than there were episodes to the series.
Oh yeah: “GWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!”
No, that’s the sound of a character powering up and screaming like a man giving birth to a colony of sea urchins.
The word is: courage (which coincidentally is the name of the last episode)!
It was shoved down my throat like I was in some sort of Sunday school or something. “Everybody has courage! Right here!” *Points at heart*. Shut up Maka. Quit trying to cram life lessons down my throat. I watched this to see things die, not get lectured to death by a teenage girl wearing a skirt so short it’s a wonder her panties don’t show every time she takes an inch step.
The animation is…strange. Not strange in any bad way, but it’s just a little different. Characters don’t look particularly good, though I do find that the designs are cool. What I found to be the greatest part of the animation, though, was the oddball scenery. The world of Soul Eater is beautiful. It looks like a new version of Wonderland. Though, I do believe the architect of some of the buildings should be fired.
I had no problems with any of the Japanese voice actors minus the voice actor for Black Star. We’ll talk about that idiot in the next section though. There was also the voice of Excalibur which made me want to hammer icepicks into my eardrums. Otherwise I especially found Death’s voice great.
The openings are all surprisingly good. I wasn’t impressed with the second ending, but the third was great and the first wasn’t bad either.
Oh boy. I get to violently rant about the characters now. Sounds good, let’s go:
Maka-Boring and two-dimensional, there is absolutely nothing relatable about her. While I do find her to be a bit of a badass, especially at the end (people who have seen this know which part I’m speaking of), she still gave off the impression of a typical, boring, good-natured nerd.
Soul-Likeable to a certain extent, though still two dimensional and unrelatable.
Death the Kid-He’s actually a fairly funny and likeable character.
Patty and Liz Thompson-They are like Kid, funny and likeable.
Black Star-He is the worst character in the whole show. He is like Naruto’s annoying brother…eh, that’s a bad analogy. If Naruto and the anti-Christ were to have a baby, it would be Black Star. He’s arguably one of the most annoying characters ever who does absolutely nothing but talk about transcending God while simultaneously being pretty much the most useless of the three main meisters.
Tsubaki-I liked Tsubaki. She was calm, she was level-headed, and she seemed to be one of the few characters with any sort of common sense. While she did look like she belonged in Naruto, she was probably the coolest of the main characters.
The other characters are…debatable. Death, Death Scythe, and especially Dr. Stein are all pretty badass. The bad guys are…the opposite really. With the exception of Medusa who I thought was actually pretty cool, the bad guys are all pretty lame. Crona is just a big bag of tears and boring, though I guess I did feel bad for him. Arachne and the Kishin were just not compelling in any way.
And this section right here is where you’ll find my biggest gripe with the series. There were very few compelling characters. Most were likeable, but they just didn’t come across as anything more then powerful people looking for something else to kill. The few human moments between the characters are usually ruined by Black Star.
And between the three best characters; Medusa, Tsubaki, and Dr. Stein, it’s hard to truly pick a favorite. I guess Dr. Stein was my favorite.
Soul Eater is a good shounen. When I sit through fifty-one episodes of a show, you know I like it. The problem is in the pay-off and the weak characters. Truthfully, I felt like I had been punched in the scrotum repeatedly after watching the show because of the fact that only three bad guys out of nine are killed. The rest are shown in a beautiful finale where they stand and stare at the sun or sit and let the wind dramatically blow their hair. And out of the three bad guys that die, none of their deaths or fights are seriously that great. Maybe I sound a little sadistic in wanting more violence and more brutal deaths, but I just felt like the pay off wasn’t worth the build up. I don’t understand why the anime doesn’t follow the much more exciting manga.
Minus the three idiotic Excalibur episodes that are pretty worthless and can make your brain hurt, the series is sometimes fun, sometimes dramatic, but always good. I have a lot of complaints about it, but for what it is, it is entertaining. It’s in no way a masterpiece, but it can be a good distraction from whatever you need to be distracted from.
Soul Eater earns a 6/10.