The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Soul Eater

Title: Soul Eater
Genre: Action
Company: BONES/Dentsu Inc./Media Factory/TV Tokyo
Format: 51 episodes
Dates: 7 Apr 2008 – 30 Mar 2009

Synopsis: Maka Albarn is a teenage “weapon meister” who attends Shibusen, a school for children of her talents. With her partner Soul, a “human weapon”, she, and her friends, Death the Kid and Black Star, must collect the souls of 99 evil humans and one witch to turn their human weapons into the final form of a Death Scythe.

The Highlights
Animation: Bold, stylish and usually consistent.
Story: Takes too long to get interesting, and plagued with episodes that accomplish very little.
Ending: Greatest cop-out since the end of Gundam X.

I suppose it was only a matter of time before BONES tackled a pure, filler-filled, power level driven shounen action anime. Though a part of me laments this shift, I do appreciate the sheer amount of effort put into even the most banal episodes. Though the script and characters are all too typical of the genre, the music is strong and the visuals are often top of the line. I usually put story, character development and novelty above aesthetics, but Soul Eater is a strong enough experience that it has kept me from denouncing it as everyday shounen junk.

Unlike most shounen anime, Soul Eater doesn’t start out with easily relatable characters who go through a series of comedic gags in filler episodes that transitions the viewers into the show’s world. No, it goes through the same motions (especially the filler episodes), but the comedy is incredibly unfunny, the world is not all that interesting and the primary protagonists are a mixed bag. Some characters like Maka and Soul are passable, but others like Death the Kid and Black Star are quite grating. The latter is actually quite well described in a motivator: “Black Star: Because Naruto was not annoying enough.” On the flip side, the antagonists are quite strong since they have the combination of neurosis and intellectual brilliance to have a truly menacing presence. It is, however, how BONES chooses to visually represent these characters that makes the anime worth watching.

Much of the stylish imagery can be directly attributed to the manga, but BONES does a commendable job bringing these still shots to life. Though there are inconsistencies, Soul Eater is visually so incredibly well realized that large portions of it can be enjoyed because of the animation. As an added bonus, the show doesn’t suffer from having thirteen episodes of mediocre visuals followed by one episode of incredible animation; virtually every single fight scene has an exceptional segment.

Soul Eater is a show for fans of shounen action anime. Though the story is both coherent and complete, the excessive filler and the common shounen quirks simply doesn’t make the experience worthwhile for most casual viewers. As for fans of the genre, I must warn you that though this anime certainly is above the curve on the sole merit of its superior aesthetics, don’t expect the same level of likable protagonists as other shounen juggernauts.

The Rating: 5
5/10

Reviewed by: Shadowmage

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