Anime at a Glance: Soul Eater

A woman screams from a dark alley at night, no one is around to save the woman as a misshapen figure with metal claws on his hands cuts her apart. From her body, her soul appears and the creature plucks it from the air and devours it. Another woman sees the creature above the body and screams, running away into the streets. As he chases her down, two kids appear from the street above, “The Homicidal Killer, Jack the Ripper- we’re taking your soul!” Soul Eater prepares for the fight by shape-shifting into the form of a Scythe and they engage their opponent and swiftly dispatch him. His body dissolves away and his red soul, an egg of the Demon God appears and Soul Eater turns back into his normal form, eating his soul.

Maka Albarn and Soul Eater are students at Shibusen, or the Death Weapon Meister Academy, which trains their students to become Meisters and Death Scythes. The students that train in martial arts team up with other students capable of transforming into weapons. The end objective of each team of students is to become the best Meisters and the Weapons aim to eat 99 Souls that have strayed from humanity and become Eggs of the Demon God. After eating 99 Eggs, they eat the soul of a Witch and become a Death Scythe, making them more powerful and earning them the right to become a weapon personally used by Death himself.

After acquiring their 99th Egg of the Demon God for Soul Eater, they now just need to find the soul of a witch to complete their training. They find the witch, Blair, and aim to take her soul and finish turning Soul Eater into a Death Scythe. After several failed attempts, they rely on some trickery to get the upper hand and manage to defeat her. After eating her soul, she reappears in front of them as a cat, explaining she was never actually a witch. She’s just a cat with enormous amounts of magical energy. Meaning that they’ve completely failed their assignment of turning Soul Eater into a Death Scythe and now have to begin again from the start.

Among the students, there is Black Star and Tsubaki, a team where Black Star is a specialist in Assassination training and Tsubaki is an easy-going and caring weapon capable of multiple transformations to aid him. Death the Kid is the son of Death himself and has two partners, Liz and Patty, who basically enroll at school out of boredom. Between the three teams, their actual grades at Shibusen are actually near the bottom of the class and they’ll have to make up a lot of their grades by doing extra assignments to collect more Egg of the Demon Gods. With Black Star always needing to be the center of attention and Death the Kid mentally breaking down whenever something doesn’t fit into his ‘needs’ of having everything being perfectly symmetrical, the group of students are going to have an interesting year.

The best part of this show is that it’s always aiming to make a joke out of bad situations. Some of the most grim looking scenarios are set up by Death himself to help the students learn better. While they all have immature quirks, they all mature and grow through the series in their own way. Maka and Soul always strive to be the best partners and place the most trust in each other. Black Star is a huge goof ball that seemingly never takes anything serious, but he spends every other moment of his days training and strengthening himself so he can call himself the best. Death the Kid has a crippling phobia of anything not perfectly symmetrical, but with prodigious talent, can usually overcome any of the situations he gets into with relative ease once he gets passed his own mental issues. They always find themselves at the center of all the problems in the school, but always find a way to pull through.

I always recommend Soul Eater to my co-workers and friends who enjoy anime. It’s not only one of the first ones I’ve watched, but one of the best. It has also spawned some of the most recognized characters in anime, like the weapon Excalibur with his atrocious singing and obnoxious attitude.

There was a spin-off series called Soul Eater NOT which also focuses around Shibusen before the events of the main series but with a new cast of characters. They also have the previous cast make appearances throughout the series, but the premise of Soul Eater NOT is that the students are the bottom classes, where Maka and Soul Eater were actually in the top placements at the school, though you wouldn’t think so from the series.

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