“Death City is home to the famous Death Weapon Meister Academy, a technical academy headed by the Shinigami—Lord Death himself. Its mission: to raise “Death Scythes” for the Shinigami to wield against the many evils of their fantastical world. These Death Scythes, however, are not made from physical weapons; rather, they are born from human hybrids who have the ability to transform their bodies into Demon Weapons, and only after they have consumed the souls of 99 evil beings and one witch’s soul.
Soul Eater Evans, a Demon Scythe who only seems to care about what’s cool, aims to become a Death Scythe with the help of his straight-laced wielder, or meister, Maka Albarn. The contrasting duo work and study alongside the hot headed Black☆Star and his caring weapon Tsubaki, as well as the Shinigami’s own son, Death the Kid, an obsessive-compulsive dual wielder of twin pistols Patty and Liz.
Soul Eater follows these students of Shibusen as they take on missions to collect souls and protect the city from the world’s threats while working together under the snickering sun to become sounder in mind, body, and soul.” – MAL Synopsis
Soul Eater holds a sort of special place in my heart when it comes to anime. As a kid, I had watched all the 4kids Saturday morning anime that they aired (thank god they don’t do that anymore btw). But it wasn’t until I was around 10ish when one night I woke up to Toonami and watched two shows that would come to peak my interest in anime as a whole. Those two shows being Inuyasha and Soul Eater. Fast forward about 10 years later and I’ve finally come around to fully watching this show. I tend to go into things with tempered expectations so I was expecting a solid to good show. I’m happy to say that’s exactly what I got. Soul Eater doesn’t do anything new with the genre but it does the genre well. I still do have some gripes with the show but after 51 episodes, I can firmly say I enjoyed my time with this show.
I liked the story and the world of Soul Eater. The first 3 episodes do a great job introducing the world and each set of main characters and their relationships. This show bamboozled me with the direction I thought it was going to go into. The first 3 episodes make it sort of an emphasis that these meisters are trying to collect souls so they can rank up and fulfill their respective goals. The show pretty much abandons that as soon as our main cast all get together. We get a more linear story about witches and the evil souls known as Keishin. With that being said, the direction that the show went in worked very well. The first half of the show blends solo adventures with group adventures and even some chill episodes. They all add to the overall plot in some way or another. The first half of this show is the strongest.
About the halfway point in the show after a major event, the pacing seemed to just be off. We still get the character moment-heavy episodes but it felt like the content was cut and things were moving along faster. A prime example of this is one of the main characters Soul. His loving to play piano becomes a major point to his character in the second half of this show. There’s a moment where he uses his piano skills to aid the rest of the group and they all comment on how they’ve been waiting for him to play piano for them for so long and how he’s so good at it. Problem is, before that moment, that was never mentioned. There was a throwaway comment from him about jazz and swing music early on but outside of that, there was no good build-up to that moment. Also during that same arc, there are a handful of characters that have some heartfelt “you’re my companions” “we’re such good friends we have to help” moments. And I’m just like… who are you guys? Things like that kind of suck, because an extra episode or two could have prevented that feeling that I’m missing something completely.
The ending of this show was good enough. Once again some of the fights and arcs felt rushed and undercooked. But all in all, I enjoyed the final arc enough. The final fight of the show might gain the scorn of some because it doesn’t end on a bang per se. The whole fight was great and the questioned being raised about fear were interesting to think about.
Now my biggest gripe about this show is the fan service. This is the first show I’ve reviewed on here with just mind-numbing fan service. So I’ll make my stance clear right now. I hate fan service. When I say that I’m talking about the overly sexy fan service that Shounen is known for. I’ve always hated it. Even as a kid and pre-teen I couldn’t stand it. It serves no purpose in my mind and it also ruins character designs (looking at you Oda). The first half of this show (more like the first 20 or so episodes) are sooo bad with this type of fan service. Unfunny sexual jokes, a sexy witch cat that in human form wears nothing, Maka’s dad is horny as hell. There’s literally a fight between said witch cat and another witch that devolves into them groping each other. I hate it. It’s sad too, cause outside of the fanservice and the sexual jokes. This show is actually hilarious. I found myself laughing out loud multiple times throughout. My enjoyment was definitely hampered by the fanservice early in the show but, to my surprise, after the first big arc. The show barely had any fanservice and it was definitely for the better.
I had a lot to say about the story and overall show so I’ll keep this part short. I loved the characters in this show. The main cast really felt like friends. They joked they fought, they made up. The chemistry was there and it was great. I enjoyed Maka and Soul’s relationship. They trust and depend on each other. Maka being the weaker of the main meister trio, her determination to get stronger was cool to see. Her seeking that strength led to some infighting but as I said these are all great friends so they understood.
Black Star and Tsubaki are hilarious. His boisterous personality was a great contrast to her laid-back and calm demeanor. Black star was one of my favorites. His goal to surpass god is such a high claim to make. But he really made me feel like he could do it. Also, dude is downright hilarious, Soul and his shenanigans (the breakup scene in episode 4 lol) are always fun to watch.
Death the Kid, Liz, and Patty, are a great trio. Their personalities are so different from his but as a character points out. It helps him balance out his personality. It’s a nice dynamic.
Death is such a weird character. His comedic personality almost comes off as disingenuous but authentic at the same time. I think it was the high-pitched comedic voice matched with a shadowy sort of ominous character design. I loved it, and I liked seeing his back story and how things came to be where they are now.
Stein was the only character that I remember from that late-night Toonami watch a decade ago. I loved his character design, basing it off of Frankenstein’s Monster was a great choice. his character design goes very well with his backstory and his character arc throughout the series. Which unfortunately seemed to fall victim to the latter half of the shows pacing issues. It felt like it ended so abruptly. Sad to see.
Medusa was awesome and she is the catalyst for basically everything that goes down in the whole show. Her character’s ideology was interesting and her cold-bloodedness while expected (I mean she is a snake witch) was still shocking.
Okay, so the last character I’m going to touch on is Crona. Crona is amazing. His character arc was (thankfully) fully defined and fleshed out. I really felt for the kid. The emotional abuse is very real and his voice actor knocked it out of the park.
Speaking of voice actors. I watched the dub (I know, I’m one of those) and the English cast knocked it out of the park. For all those characters I mentioned and more. Each and every one of their voice actors felt like they gave 110%. Which is consistent with the animation and the soundtrack. The OST bangs. both sets of openings and endings are certified bangers. The music played during fights and other moments is fantastic too. Now the biggest surprise to me was how consistently great the animation in this show is. From episodes 1 – 51, it was all animated beautifully. The art style did it for me and when this show does horror. Man, it does it well (that body bag scene was nightmare-inducing).
Overall, Soul-Eater is pretty good. It nails its tone and characters. The story is interesting, the voice acting and animation are top-notch as well. Unfortunately, the negatives weighed the showdown for me. The show started to feel very rushed after about the first half of it and that heavily weighed the showdown. The fanservice was ridiculous in the first part of the show as well. I’m glad it was cut down pretty much completely as the show went on. This show would have benefitted greatly from a few more episodes to flesh out some of the side characters and main characters more. Despite all of that, I left Soul-Eater satisfied.
Soul-Eater – 7/10