Friday, July 10, 2009

An Otaku's Interests: Soul Eater

Soul Eater is, if this makes sense, original yet unoriginal at the same time. If that's confusing, note that it's published by Square Enix. Keep that in mind during this review, it should all come together by the end.

The premise is as such: the story takes place in a fictional Earth where everything seems as if Earth hadn't changed...if it wasn't for the fact that the world has demons and witches trying to destroy everything. The all-powerful Grim Reaper, Shinigami, is meant to keep the human world and the demon world in check, but is unable to do it alone. As such, he starts a school to train other reapers to do as such. There are two classes of students: Weapons, beings that can actually transform into a literal weapon, and Meisers, humans that are able to use said weapons in battle. The goal of every weapon and meiser pairing is to obtain 99 demon souls and one witch soul, powering up the weapon to become a DeathScythe, a weapon capable of use by the Grim Reaper. This also prevents one of the demon souls from becoming a Demon God, a demon with unfathomable powers.

The main characters, Maka and...Soul Eater (Huh, I wonder how he got that name?), are a weapon-meiser pair with the distinction that Soul is an actual scythe. Beyond that and Soul Eater's name, there's no real distinction from this pair and the other pairs of weapon-meisers beyond the fact that they're the first characters with the most air time in the first episode. The anime focuses on many characters, and while you know Maka and Soul are the main characters, their personalities seem so flat in comparison to the other weapon-meiser pairings, as well as the rest of the cast; they just don't stand out as much as you'd want them to. That said, there's definite personality in every character featured, including Mr. Death himself. I found every character to have some memorable characteristic about them that made me interested in what they were doing. While the plot in and of itself is a bit too convoluted and divided past episode 20 or so, it does hold up until the last episode. More on that later.

The graphics are well done, and the animation flows dynamically in almost every scene. Whether the mood be serious or comedic, or even both at the same time (which you see pretty often in this anime), there seems to be honest effort in showing what the hell's going on. And while the faces of the characters don't have too many features, when it's needed, the emotions are distinguished vividly on every character except Soul. Seriously, even though you can tell his emotions, they seem so similar in regard to his facial expression. While the music is a bit bland and unnoticable at times, I loved the opening and ending songs they put into the show, as well as the battle music that comes up in the latter half of the series. I've already added them to my anime music library.

One thing that pissed me off, though, was the ending of the entire series. The overall climax that they built up for the finale is shattered by the final attack, and in no way is that a good thing. I don't do spoilers in my reviews, but oh was I tempted to here. Also, there's no real wrap up of what happens after the climax, not even in the credits like a lot of anime does. It's just "Final Hit, Win, Victory Poses, Credits". No other disposition beyond that. They could have done so much with the ending, but nope, it all stops there. Also, from what I've been hearing, the anime veers off from the manga so far that there's no way to re-affirm it to the manga, so this pretty much means no sequel or second season (although I hope I'm wrong, honestly).

All and all, I'd recommend this one. Squeenix did pretty good for a company primarily focused on games. I just wish it did more, really, though I am glad it wasn't a series that goes on forever like Naruto or Bleach. You can tell, though, that they borrowed a lot from series like that, as well as their own gaming concepts. Limit Breaks and finishers for everyone!

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