Soul Eater is an action-adventure-comedy series following a group of kids as they venture around the world, purging it of evil souls, and work their way up the ranks to become great Weapon Meisters and turn their partners into Death Scythes.
I've always had something of an interest in this one. People who turned into weapons was a completely new concept to me, but it sounded interesting. I've also been a big fan of things to do with ghosts and spirits, what happens to them, how and why. I'm not sure why I haven't watched this show until now, since it suits my interests so well. But, I've finally done it.
We start with young Weapon Meister Maka Albarn and her weapon partner Soul Eater Evans as they're finished collecting evil souls and are now out to get a witch's soul to complete Soul's transformation. Needless to say, things go wrong when the witch they choose turns out to be a cat with nine souls inside her. Having retrieved the wrong soul, all of their progress is wiped clean, and they must begin their hunt all over again.
Next, we look at the present setting of Weapon Meister Black Star and his partner Tsubaki Nakatsukasa as they attempt to capture an evil soul. We are soon to learn that this would've been the first and only soul that the two have ever collected, as Black Star has a tendency to be loud and overly exhibitionistic when he knows full well that he ought to be quieter and more stealthy. Needless to say, they don't manage to capture even one soul, and are sent to a remedial class with Maka and Soul.
Lastly, of the main characters, anyway, we are introduced to Weapon Meister Death the Kid and his two partners Liz and Patty Thompson. A competent, mostly synchronized bunch, they are a force to be reckoned with. The only reason they can't seem to collect souls is because, should anything be thrown off balance, the slightest bit of asymmetry gets thrown into the mix, Kid loses his mind, and will not focus on the mission at hand until balance is restored. Be that as it may, this group is told that they needn't attend any classes if they do not wish too. Kid has them attend anyway, in order to build his skills up.
This set of stories and characters kept me smiling all the way through. Each of them is pretty unique with their own special skills that no other characters share in the series. All the characters have moments of tremendous bravery and points where they grow up a little, right before your eyes.
Albeit, some of the fights are predictable. Some of the twists are easy to see coming. But, this isn't much of a think-piece as far as anime goes.
The heroism is good. I've seen better. And I definitely didn't know it would be this good until the last two or three episodes, when they pulled a few call-backs and turned the tables entirely.
The themes kind of drew me in, though. I love all the Halloween themes, perfect for this time of year! There were some historical and mythological references of interest from the very beginning. Perhaps they were all big names, but it was still an interesting thing to see. And there's a small mix of cultures and their fighting styles that all just works together. I don't know how or why, but it does.
Coming back to the main characters, I must say, Maka is interesting. From her design, to her general demeanor, to her voice, she was different from most leading ladies in Shonen anime. She's more studious and by-the-books at first, but gradually becomes more impulsive and instinctive as the show progresses. Obviously, near the end of the show, I was a bit miffed that they decided to spring new abilities that hadn't even been hinted at before, just for the sake of filling up time, but she pulled through well enough. She really isn't my favorite character, but as main characters go, she's not too bad. Her journey was fun to watch.
Soul... I couldn't quite figure out what I thought of him. I thought he was the impulsive, 'let's just fight already!' person of the duo, but then he was the voice of reason most of the time, though he didn't look or sound or act like he would be that person most of the time. He still kind of irks me, but he and Maka really were a very good pair, somehow.
Black Star annoyed me, at first. He was funny once in a while, but I despised how loud and obnoxious and stupid he often was. But, then, he was given the opportunity to easily take out ninety-nine souls and one witch's soul in one fell swoop. And, upon seeing that the witch was a child... he wouldn't do it. And, at the risk of having her outshine him, he lets Tsubaki take over a few fights, offering her a standing ovation when she succeeds. It doesn't sound like much, but when you get to know his character... that was the closest I got to crying throughout the series, I believe. When Black Star would openly let someone else take the spotlight, and he would applaud them. So, perhaps he and Tsubaki are my favorite characters?
I can't go without mentioning Kid, though. He, too, was mostly comic relief throughout the series. But, as long as everything was right within his symmetrical world, he was a smart, level-headed individual. He's rather kind too, at points. Liz and Patty lived on the streets, flying by the seats of their pants before he came along and recruited them, despite their criminal reputation.
And lastly, Crona. If any moment in the show rivaled Black Star applauding Tsubaki it was Crona realizing he didn't want to be Medusa's minion anymore. My heart broke for this character so many times. He's such a good person, I can't imagine how that happened with his parentage. But, I loved him, and I really wished he'd been in more episodes.
Medusa was my favorite villain, hands down. Arachne was basically standing by and doing nothing, and Asura was much the same. I can appreciate that the latter was rather dangerous and powerful, but Medusa wasn't afraid to get her own hands dirty. She was cunning and despicable in every way, and manipulated many many people to get her way. She was an ideal villain, I feel.
The music was an interesting set. I don't normally like Japanese rap, but I found myself nodding along with many a song in this show. The score itself has a special sort of sound when the fights get serious, and I liked the mood it set.
The first opening was the only song I really liked of all the openings and credits. Even then, I'm not truly partial to it.
The voices were nearly all-star. Naturally, I watched in Japanese, of course. Maka's voice, Chiaki Omigawa, was particularly unique to me. She didn't really sound like the usual anime character. She sounded like a normal person most of the time. There were very few moments where she sounded like a regular anime character. Even with this completely unusual voice, she melded nicely with the character, and she did a fantastic job up to the very end. I just wanted to note her voice. Everyone else was as good as I knew and expected them to be.
The animation was better than I thought it would be. Obviously, most of it was reserved for the fight scenes, but it was pretty fluid, very few cheats. The colors are flat, but the details to each drawing were really nice. This one was pretty carefully drawn, even if they didn't care to do a lot of coloring. I actually kind of prefer this. More shadowing and less coloring. It looks nicer to me, somehow.
Plot armor is a little stronger than I would like, but it didn't really take from the entertaining factors of the show.
All over, a pretty solid anime. I recommend this one to anyone looking to get into anime, as this one has easily become a classic, and a must-watch basic show for any anime fan. I would gladly watch this one multiple times, too. It strikes me like a good comfort anime. One you can watch when you don't feel so great, and it can make you feel better.