Review: Soul Eater
by Justin Jasso
As a kid, or an adult, did you ever wish you had the opportunity to go to a “cool” school to study? It may be safe to say that most of us did, and even safer to say that many people wish they could have attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Many probably haven’t heard of the Death Weapon Meister Academy, another great school run, not by the greatest wizard of all time, but by Death himself! Such is the setting of the anime series Soul Eater brought to you by Studio Bones (Full Metal Alchemist, Scrapped Princess, Wolf’s Rain), a school where you train as a meister and work towards turning your “weapon” into one of Lord Death’s personal weapons.
Years ago Lord Death created an academy for weapon meisters and their demon weapon partners (humans who can take the form of weapons) hone their skills in order to battle the forces of evil that populate the world. Enter Maka Albarn, a smart, cheerful, but surprisingly intense and determined meister student whose goal is to turn her partner Soul Eater, who happens to turn into a scythe, into one of Lord Death’s personal death scythe weapons. To do this Soul must absorb 99 evil human souls and one soul of a witch, who are the main enemies of their school. Enter Black Star, a kid small in stature but omnipotent in ego and his partner, Tsubaki, a weapon, very quiet and polite in nature, who can turn into a variety of weapons such as kusarigama, shuriken, and ninjatō. Enter Death the Kid, the son of Lord Death himself, a Mr. Perfect who has an unhealthy obsession with symmetry along with his pistol sisters, weapons Liz and Patty Thompson. Along with collecting 99 souls and killing one witch, the evil witch Medusa hatches a plan to release an all-powerful Kishin, Asura, into the world to destroy everything and sends her son out, Crona and his weapon, the sword Ragnarok, to collect human souls. As the story unfolds, not all is at is seems, loyalties are tested and each meister and weapon must grow in order to stop an ever looming threat which may destroy the world.
The quirky artwork and soundtrack add to the off-beat nature of the series, and FUNimation’s English cast is top notch. Seasoned voice actress and fan favorite Laura Bailey (Full Metal Alchemist, Samurai 7) leads as Maka, with relative newbie Micah Solusod (Baka and Test, Rideback) pretty much nails Soul. Other notable castings include Todd Haberkorn’s (Fairy Tale, Darker Than Black) Death the Kid, Chuck Huber’s (Mushishi, Spice and Wolf) Dr. Stein (the greatest Meister to walk DWMA’s halls — and getting madder by the day), and Troy Baker’s (Trinity Blood, Gunslinger Girl) Excalibur (FOOL!). Maxey Whitehead’s (Full Metal Alchemist, Baccano!) precious Crona is absolutely wonderful and Brittney Karbowski’s (Angel Beats!, Sekirie) Black Star is a whole lot of fun. You’d never know a female voice actress voiced him!
The main problem with this series is that it had far too many filler episodes for its own good. The story would get going and then there would be a filler arc for some unknown reason. Sometimes these arcs can be tolerated as we may gain new insight into a character, but in a series that contains 51 episodes, unless an arc is ABSOLUTELY necessary, don’t put it in there. Just continue with the story and build on the momentum that has been generated. No one ever liked going on vacation, making great time only to have a 3 hour flight delay for no good reason.
Some may say that Soul Eater couldn’t decide what it wanted to be, mixing humor into serious moments when maybe it wasn’t necessary. But the whole series itself is quirky and, as the show goes along, you expect these things from the characters as they reiterate their personalities and we get a laugh from it. Soul Eater is a series that deserves to be on the shelf of any anime fan. You can watch the entire series for free on FUNimation’s YouTube channel (in Japanese with English subtitles), but it’s highly recommended to purchase the series not only to support the show but to also enjoy the amazing English cast!
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars