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|Average Rating: 10.0|
Raz112 scored this with 10/10. Disagree?
"A sound "soul" dwells within a sound mind and a sound body."
So goes the key tenet of the Death Weapon Meister Academy. What the hell is the "Death Weapon Meister Academy", you say? Well, it's a school for training young human kids to become fully fledged meisters, and controlling their human/weapon hybrid partners as effectively as possible in order to defeat evil humans and witches. These corrupted humans contain Kishin Eggs which can contribute to the revival of the Demon Gods, "Kishin", which once plunged the entire world into chaos. To counteract that, the Academy was set up by none other than Death, and the method of containment is to have the weapons feed off these eggs. Upon consuming 99 Kishin Eggs and 1 Witch's soul, these weapons can become their ultimate form; a Death Scythe, usable by Lord Death himself. It is this that drives the human and the weapon on in a two-way partnership, travelling across the world on missions to fight, defeat and collect their bounties.
There are three sets of human/weapon partnerships that the series focuses on in this collection, all with refreshingly different personalities which contrast one another, yet they manage to get along - most of the time. The main female protagonist, Maka Albarn, is a determined, smart girl who has been burdened by the reputation and actions of her parents, resulting in a consuming pursuit to emulate and surpass them. Conversely her partner, Soul Eater Evans, a conventional scythe in weapon form, is laid back, nonchalant and cares only about being "cool". He also seems to be the only weapon who exhibits a liking of eating souls. They bicker from time to time, however what they do share in common is the desire to be the best, and ultimately they share a strong bond, portrayed through the syncing of their soul wavelengths.
The next partnership is between a ninja assassin, Black Star, and the shapeshifting weapon Nakatsukasa Tsubaki. Black Star has all the skills to be the best assassin, with great physical strength, tremendous movement speed and the ability to be undetectable to anyone...until he opens his mouth, that is. With his arrogance knowing no bounds, he's ridiculously loud and self-absorbed, constantly giving away his position at the most critical moments and adamantly declaring his entry every time. His headstrong nature and dependency on physical strength often leads to more trouble than not and is akin to Soul, being the basis of their friendly and jockish relationship. However, his obnoxiousness and what he lacks in subtlety he makes up for with his bravery, honour, and his "never say die" attitude. Tsubaki on the other hand is a very gentle and giving soul, caring for all of her friends and attempting to help others, regardless of whether or not it is possible to do so. Although tempted to resign to the thought that Blackstar will never make her into a Death Scythe, she believes in him and acts as a motherly figure towards him.
The last partnership actually involves one boy and two female twins. The boy happens to be none other than Death's son, aptly named "Death the Kid". Though his origins are unknown (Death had a son?), being a supernatural being, he holds considerable advantages in skill and ability with his two guns, Liz and Patty Thompson. However, he has severe OCD regarding symmetry that gets in the way from time to time. Elizabeth "Liz" Thompson is the more mature of the two twins, being slightly older, cool-headed and serious. She also has a fear of ghosts, is sometimes cynical and shallow, and finds Kid's OCD annoying. Like most of the weapons, she displays courage and determination whenever a friend needs protecting. Patricia "Patty" Thompson at face value is a carefree, ditzy character who enjoys Kid's frequent tantrums and adores her twin sister. Her childlike persona does give way to psychotic anger when annoyed though, which can make her very dangerous to everyone involved.
Some have criticised Soul Eater's look as lacking detail. Whilst it may not share the same detail as BONES's other work, Eureka Seven, the animation is not lacking in the slightest, and first impressions liken it to Production I.G.'s FLCL with its wacky vibrancy. It is also like the more extreme cult hit Dead Leaves, with a dash of Tim Burton-esque Gothic architecture, environments and atmosphere on top. It's a delight to see famous cities depicted in this manner as the kids globetrot to their destinations to encounter their next enemy. The character design is just as exciting as it is varied with characters wearing attire with various influences, whether it be gothic, hip-hop, ninja, typical schoolgirl, cowboy, and so on. Another highlight is the constant homage given to famous characters and items of the past. People like Jack the Ripper, Frankenstein, and the sword Excalibur are all re-imagined with a twist which more often than not makes one smile, though the balance is dependent on the significance given to them, and can be uneven.
That's not to say the balance of the series as a whole is uneven. On the contrary, it is kept pretty well, with this collection introducing the main partnerships and protagonists in the first three episodes. The rest consists of various two part arcs and episodic content, introducing other important characters along the way. The pacing, despite its overall wackiness and the frenetic nature of the fight scenes, is kept very well.
The Video quality itself is very good indeed. Vibrant, smooth, and dynamic; with the way that the creators have designed this series you really feel a sense of interaction at key moments, especially during the frantic credits and action scenes. Furthermore, it looks beautiful fully upscaled on a HDTV sitting at a suitable distance. There is a little grain, but you are not going to notice it unless you try.
The soundtrack shows variation with heavy doses of head-banging hard rock, funky hip-hop beats, and the odd refined classical touch here and there, all used effectively and fittingly. The voice cast in Japanese as always is solid, with particular highlights being Death's and Blackstar's voices. The English cast is also decent, though a bit more composed, which doesn't quite fit the eccentricity and wackiness of the characters on screen at times. Also, unfortunately as with all dubs, some jokes are simply not delivered as well as their Japanese counterparts. Others are lost in translation and are either ignored completely or replaced with a poor attempt at an English equivalent. Of course, you won't notice this if you don't know Japanese or if you stick to the English dub without using subtitles. The one key advantage of the English dub is that it's in 5.1 surround, and provides a little more punch than the Japanese 2.0 dub in terms of bass. Both audio options are decent.
The extras consist of a commentary for episode 7, textless credits, and something called the "Soul Eater Late Show". This is a collection of scenes cut out of the episodes due to their adult-orientated nature. Having said that, most of these are just added jokes/skits put in between commercials that aren't offensive at all, which makes it baffling why they were cut in the first place. Furthermore, most of the adult content is actually already included in the episodes which are now uncensored; don't worry, it is by no means explicit so far, hence the 15 rating. Still, it's nice that the Late Show snippets are there as some of them are very entertaining, and it shows you are not losing any content.
Soul Eater is Shonen at its finest. However, it is that which may be a drawback for some viewers, as Soul Eater conforms to Shonen's general conventions; the mood stays light and upbeat, and the episodes are full of adolescent humour. This is a genre issue only and if a person is not a fan of Shonen, this probably won't be for them. However, one could say that they're missing out, and this show is a must for anyone who likes anything Shonen. Dripping in slickness and with an emphasis on style, BONES have done it again. Soul Eater is extremely entertaining, hilarious, and packed with some incredibly cool action. Despite being typically Shonen, the premise is unique, intriguing and has a great personality. Add to that some excellent action and you've got a great action series. With BONES at the helm, you can be assured of quality in both the pacing of the story and the art department leading to another great 50+ episode series, with this collection leaving you wanting the next one as soon as you finish it.
Screenshots (click to pop out)
|Score:||10 out of 10|
|Date Published:||Mon, 28 Jun 2010|
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