REVIEWED: ALL 51 EPISODES / DIRECTOR: TAKUYA IGARASHI / SCREENPLAY: AKATSUKI YAMATOYA / STARRING: CHIAKI OMIGAWA, KOKI UCHIYAMA, YUMIKO KOBAYASHI, KAORI NAZUKA, MAMORU MIYANO / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW (BLU-RAY)
Maka, a young Meister attending the Death Weapon Meister Academy, wants nothing more than to be the best in her class, rid the world of Kishin souls and to help her shapeshifting human-weapon Soul to become Lord Death's Deathscythe - but, after a lifechanging mission goes awry, the two realise that there is a lot left to learn in this strange world of demons and witches.
Based on the manga of the same name, Soul Eater was released back in 2008 and ran for 51 episodes. Brought to life by Director Takuya Igarashi and studio Bones (Ouran High School Host Club, My Hero Academia), this zany story of training to retrieve souls from evil beings fully encapsulates the wonderfully crazy mind of manga writer Atsushi Ōkubo. From the opening scene, Ōkubo-san's dark and mysterious world comes to life with a bang and doesn't hand-hold the viewers by taking multiple episodes to explain in-depth why things are as they are. Maka and her weapon Soul's chemistry bursts onto the screen from the word go and goes from strength to strength throughout the series - their witty back and forth oozes brilliance and their relationship goes on a thrilling rollercoaster ride - and those aren't the only stand out characters.
In steps the cocky Meister Black☆Star and his timid yet powerful weapon Tsubaki - with their story arguably being one of the strongest. Also along for the ride is the son of Lord Death (the headmaster of the academy), Death the Kid and his dual pistols Liz and Patty, the Thompson sisters. Every single one of our main cast of characters possesses a brilliant backstory and a host of standout moments throughout the 51 episodes. Studio Bones also did a terrific job with the animation - everyone has a distinctly unique character design and the action set-pieces are utterly thrilling to witness.
However, even though the story is gripping with all of its twists, turns and colourful characters, there is one major downside - the way it all ends. The Soul Eater anime ran concurrently with the manga throughout 2008-09 and, because of various reasons, the show ended before its source material could be wrapped up properly. So, as is the case with TV shows that follow a still-running book, the anime showrunners had to come up with an ending themselves and it all felt incredibly hasty in its approach. Various plots were left unsolved and it ultimately leaves you feeling sold short. Not only that but a host of episodes deviated from its source that a chunk of the 51 episodes can easily be classed as "filler" in order to try and space events out towards its ending.
With all that said, Soul Eater, is definitely a cult classic anime from the 00's that holds a special place in many peoples hearts - its bonkers concept accurately matches up with the world it takes place in and the characters all have their time to shine with some sublime comedic set pieces and interesting backstories. One would expect in a few years time to see a Soul Eater remake (similarly to what happened to Fruits Basket as that original series ran concurrently with the manga as well) to give fans and newbies alike, the true powerful Soul Eater experience.
The Soul Eater entire collection is presented on six discs and comes with a selection of fantastic little extras from commentary tracks revealing the English dub production to your more traditional Anime series extras such as textless opening and closing songs. For fans of the series, this entire collection is a must-own.
- Episode 7 Commentary (with the English Language Cast & Crew)
- Soul Eater Late Show - an alternative added content compilation for the Bones Studio 10th Anniversary; each episode from 1-26 contains roughly 90 seconds of bonus footage, some of which is not suitable for the TV version.
- Episode 23 Commentary (with English Language Cast & Crew)
- Textless Opening Song - "Resonance"
- Textless Closing Song - "I wanna be"
- Textless Closing Song - "Style" (Version 1)
- Textless Closing Song - "Style" (Version 2)
- Episode 30 Commentary (with English Language Cast & Crew)
- Episode 44 Commentary (with English Language Cast & Crew)
- Soul Eater Late Show - an alternative added content compilation for the Bones Studio 10th Anniversary; each episode from 27-51 contains roughly 90 seconds of bonus footage, some of which is not suitable for the TV version.
- Textless Opening Song - "Resonance"
- Textless Opening Song - "Papermoon"
- Textless Closing Song - "Strength"
- Textless Closing Song - "Bakusou Yumeuta"