Title: Soul Eater
Genres: Action, Comedy, Ecchi, Supernatural, Shounen
Author: Ookubo, Atsushi
Artist: Ookubo, Atsushi
Publication: Shonen Gangan
Start Date: 2004
End Date: Ongoing
Number of chapters at review: 89
Number of chapters read by reviewer: 89
Soul Eater is not only the name of this series, but also the name of the main protagonist. Soul Eater is a young boy who goes to the Death Weapon Meister Academy aka Shibusen Academy. Together with his “meister” Maka-chan he tries to become a death scythe, and in order to achieve that those two need to eat the souls of 99 people and 1 Witch soul. Will they really be able to do that? Find out by reading this awesome manga.
Category Ratings: (1-10 scale)
The moment you will open the 1st page of the 1st chapter of Soul Eater you will notice… the art. It is a polar-opposite to Takeshi Obata’s (Death Note, Bakuman) way of handling things detailed and realistic. Atsushi’s “clumsiness” is what makes Soul Eater’s art unique, and that way, it also greatly contributes to the plot. I’ve never seen Atsushi use tons of screen tones or make super detailed backgrounds. He keeps it simple but at the same time detailed enough to distinguish between the different characters/landscapes/weapons/attacks/etc. Another strong point in Atsushi’s art is “Battles”. You must not forget that Soul Eater is a MBM (Mainstream Battle Manga) and it obviously features all the aspects of one. Dynamical things like kicks or punches are handled beautifully, but the technological side like guns and armor is handled the same way if not even better. All in all, you will grow to the art more and more to the point where you want to see the next chapter not only for the plot, but for the art as well.
Soul Eater’s plot is something rather original. It’s actually very tricky to describe it. It doesn’t “absorb” from the very 1st chapter, and there’s actually nothing really special about it. It’s that kind of plot that you simply call “good”. Every chapter is like a good one-shot. And adding one chapter after another you start to become addicted. Not the actual story itself, but rather to this “good overall feeling” of the chapters. The plot is almost “out of the textbook”. Without any flaws, without any epic fails, without anything… Of course, like every other manga, Soul Eater has protagonists, and antagonists, and arcs where they face off, and Plot twists and all that, however that’s not the point here. The “good” plot is just one of the aspects that make Soul Eater a “good” manga.
Characters are the one thing that I love Soul Eater for. Every character has a unique feeling. Be that design or personality. And that’s not all. Atsushi manages to match those two things. For example, there is a character who is obsessed with symmetry (this ain’t a spoiler) and precisely because of that, his hair is made not symmetrically. You see what I mean? This may be just a small detail, but you know the saying: “Perfection is made out of details, but perfection is not a detail.” That aside, the characters are very well developed. You won’t see cases, where you don’t understand why a character does something. Nearly every character gets a flashback sooner or later, and even if he/she doesn’t Atsushi will explain his/her behavior through other means. Like I said, Soul Eater features quite a number of great characters, which you will remember for a long time.
Putting aside all the mainstream themes coming from all mainstream shounen mangas, the one thing that Soul Eater’s main point lies in is BONDS. The bonds between friends, rivals, lovers, children and parents, meisters and technicians, teachers and pupils, the list goes on. Another strong point that Soul Eater focuses on is madness. It shows all the aspects, starting from how someone turns mad, ending with how it affects his way of acting. Gotta praise Atsushi for doing it in a such a creepy and sending-chills-down-the-spine-way.
To make something original in the manga industry, relying solely on “Ghosts and Spirits” is definitely not enough. There are already series like D.Grayman or Ao no Exorcist or Nurarihiyon no Mago, and even Bleach in this category. However, just like with the “good” plot that doesn’t feature any astonishing and outstanding moments, Soul Eater is a manga not like any other. The art will give you a constant feeling that you read something “new”, because it is new. The battles are thought out from the beginning and are refreshing and interesting to read. Atsushi likes to add some humor where you least expect it, and most of the times it works. Even though all Shounen mangas are alike a priori, Atsushi manages to bring the “originality-aspect” of his manga to a very high point.
If you have never read a monthly series before and you are currently at the point of choosing one, then Soul Eater is a must-read. It’s probably the only monthly manga aside from FMA that I highly recommend for people to read. You will 100% be satisfied with this manga… literally . No, jokes aside, this mix of battle manga, with humor, added with Atsushi’s unique art and characters is a heavy combo, that is bound to get your interest. It may seem a little slow-paced and boring in the first few chapters, but Atsushi gets rid of this little problem very soon, and somewhere around the 2nd arc, you will be completely absorbed with Soul Eater.
Last edited by alphabeta; September 02, 2011 at 04:28 PM.