Soul Eater (ソウルイーター)

All posts tagged Soul Eater (ソウルイーター)

The main protagonist, whose name is used as the title of this anime.

In the end, I chose to watch the 51-episode (and not 50 as mentioned in my last blog entry) anime series titled Soul Eater, instead of the much shorter and recently finished High School of the Dead. The latter will definitely be reviewed here next though, because it is a high-priority title. Soul Eater is a 2008 anime, therefore it will fight the current ‘Anime of the Year 2008’ incumbent, One Outs and lose.

This is him alongside his partner in crime.

Set up in a made-up version of our world where witches and demons are pretty much part of the fabric of society, three technicians and their shape-shifting companions enrolls in a certain vocational high-school as they aspires to make death scythes out from 99 wicked men and the soul of a witch. Unknown to them, the school hid a terrible secret and a snakey sneaky witch is planning to expose the secret out and exploit it for her nefarious experiments…

Based on a manga that I didn’t read (but probably will after goes up again), this 51-episode anime series initially followed the manga storyline for the first-half of the series’ run before deviating from the source material in the second-half right after the end of the Kishin revival arc. This is kinda like what happened in the original Fullmetal Alchemist anime series. How on earth I seem to know about this even if I have not read a single chapter of the manga? The answer lies with the plethora of plot holes that this anime has, as a result from the deviating second-half plots that doesn’t address some questions that the canon first-half of the anime has raised.

I will list some of the most obvious plot holes seen in the anime as my example:-

  1. Why is that the witch conducts the ‘black blood’ experiment? Is it to awaken the original Kishin? Or is it to create a new one by using Crona?
  2. If it was the latter, why is that after swallowing a huge amount of souls in the Black Dragon episode, Crona doesn’t seem to advance towards becoming Kishin at all, or having her power upgraded? Even Shinigami-sama made an off-hand comment about this question, which is not answered even after the final episode finished playing.
  3. If it was the former, then why on earth the witch took the extraordinary but ultimately successful effort to awaken the original Kishin anyway? From my point of view, the witch doesn’t seem to be beholden at all to the original Kishin, unlike her older sister. Did she does so so that Kishin will destroy the school? If yes, wouldn’t it be far less riskier if she just pursued the second option of turning Crona into a new Kishin that she can control instead of awakening the original Kishin who are unpredictable at the best of times? After all, she has gone on record saying that the black blood research is successful. Plus, if she really wants to destroy the school using Kishin (original one or not), the anime doesn’t even state why on earth she wants to do so (revenge, curiosity or just being evil) unlike her older sister who has a real beef with the school.

The above list is simply just samples of the numerous plot-holes this anime has. I have a feeling that the snake witch in the manga will be significantly different than the one in the anime, and the black blood’s role will be even more prominent than it is outside its anime role of being the source of power-ups for the series’ main pairing. The same thing can also be said for some of the other side-characters too, but I hope Excalibur is not one of them. This kind of plot-holes doesn’t exist in the first Fullmetal Alchemist anime, which shows why that anime is one of the best shounen anime out there.

Of course, in any given shounen anime title, the hero must also has a pet that can obligatorily talk!

The presentation is not flawless, with the anime starting quite slowly for the first quarter of the anime before settling down  nicely just before the Kishin revival arc started. The Kishin revival arc is definitely the best arc in this series, and I stay up late watching 15 episodes in a single sitting at this phase. Consider that arc as this anime’s own version of the Soul Society arc (although the manga may have better arcs later in the timeline). Storyline progression is profoundly affected by the plot-holes mentioned earlier and also by some of the filler episodes, and the ending (definitely not derived from the manga) is stupendously underwhelming, ordinary and frustrating.

Character developments in this anime happened in two phases. In the first phase, when this anime still sticks with the source manga material, character developments are tepid at best, where you can see low character improvements despite the amount of character-specific episodes. In the second phase, where the anime started to deviate from the manga, character developments accelerates rapidly, usually during fights and sometimes illogically. And this happen despite there are fewer of those character-specific episodes that other anime titles will use to advance their character developments. There are no best character here in this anime because of this.

This anime can probably be salvaged if there is a second season for this long series. But alas, from the ANN page linked above, I don’t see any coming soon. The ending was not written to accommodate one anyway. Kishin is dead, and he wouldn’t have died if he reads this website.

The hero's cliques must also have a comic relief character, and he occupied that position with panache.

Character Design:-
The character designs in this anime is very good, and the lack of black hairs is forgiven in a setting where witches and shape-shifting humans abound. A positive aspect for this anime.

Voice Acting:-
This is where another of my complaint will come in. The first moment the main title male protagonist opened his mouth, I realized that we have another casting problem in hand here (like Lum, Excel et. al.). His voice actor is probably more suited to voice the pistol dual-wielder or the zombie teacher (those two original voice actors are fine though). The main male protagonist could have done with a more youthful voice, such as the one Black Star has. Then again, having two characters with huge airtime and with similar voice acting mannerisms is probably not a very good idea. Anyway, I simply learn to ignore it after 10 episodes or so. The director should have picked a better voice actor for him, that is of course also different than the one Black Star has.

Overall, if you count out the main male protagonist, voice acting gigs in this anime is great. The best character in this regard is definitely the main female protagonist, whose voice actress has completely outdone her colleagues in this anime. Her performances also mitigates the disaster that is the main male protagonist. A positive aspect for this anime.

Ass-poking – just one of the comedic moments in this anime.

The OST in this anime is decent enough for me, but only the 2nd OP and the 1st ED themes are good themes.

The animation quality in this anime is very good, even in fast-paced scenes. Choreography is mixed bag; for fights where techniques are not used (read: most brawls at the early parts of the anime), the choreography is good while for fights where fighting techniques are prominent (read: basically almost all battles at the end of the anime), the choreography is below average. The director screwed up with the plot management, and he has not done anything that can redeem that mistake.

He described my feeling as the final credits rolls in.

6 out of 10.
The next review is definitely for HighSchool of the Dead. Look for it to come in the very near future.

Some retarded filler episodes exists in this anime, featuring a certain character that didn't matter. Then again, if he really matters in this anime, he will make short work out of the Kishin and the witches, cutting down this anime episode count to 12 episodes or something. Is that a good thing?