This time around I’m going to be talking about Soul Eater. In this world, balance is constantly fought for: witches who are reputed for their dark powers and greed constantly clash with the meisters of the Death Weapon Meister Academy, an academy run by Death to train individuals to fight against dark forces. The story focuses Maka, a scythe meister and her weapon Soul. The series begins when Maka is about to finish gathering a witch’s soul so that Soul can become a Death Scythe–but fails spectacularly. Things get a lot hairier once a crazy witch frees a powerful kishin, and Maka and her DWMA friends must confront far darker forces.
Soul Eater is longer than my usual anime series–I tend to prefer series that are between thirteen and twenty-six episodes–so I was a little bit dubious about this series, particularly since the beginning was a bit slow and too goofy for my tastes. Ultimately, however, I quite enjoyed it. I personally think that it could have been better shorter–thirty or so instead of fifty-one episodes–but I thought the series overall was strong. The tension of the series–particularly the second half–was superb, and I thought that it could have been even better if it had been shorter. My main complaint was that most of the filler episodes took too much away from the action.
I also thought that the philosophical stuff toward the end was interesting; madness has always been a topic of interest to me, and I thought that the series handled it in a neat way. Initially portrayed as a evil thing, the series gradually grows to address it as something that must be kept in balance. Soul Eater demonstrates that very well in that characters other than the villains have an era of madness. One of the DWMA’s professors Dr. Stein has a touch of madness in him, as well as the wimpy Crona. Stein is a particularly good example of one who gets out of balance, but gradually finds himself again. That’s the way I interperted it anyways–I think you can examine the series’ madness aspect from more than one angle, and that’s what I liked about it.
Along that line, another strength of the series was the characters. The characters were all strong in their own ways, and I liked that. Most of the main characters were memorable; I initially found their one defining trait–such as Death the Kid’s OCD–to be kind of annoying, but over time, the characters did round out to an extent. I liked all of the kid heroes for their strength and defiance. The fact that most of them are kids will appeal to younger audiences, although some of the language in the subtitles might be thought too strong for younger audiences. Additionally, some of the adult characters were pretty sweet. Stein was one of my absolute favorites, just because of his various conflicting aspects. He’s smart, powerful, more than a little crazy, and somewhat goofy.
I also loved Medusa the main villain of the series. She is extremely powerful and cunning, and I found all conflicts and scenes with her to be the most exciting. Although I know that it probably wouldn’t have been interesting if she was the only villain, I really found the other witches to be superfluous. I would have loved her to have teamed up with the Kishin, although that might have meant that the good guys would have been completely doomed. Ah well.
Overall, I enjoyed the series, and would recommend it.