“The Taste Of A Soul” – Soul Eater (anime) – 9/10 Pumpkin Pies


Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. ~Winston Churchill

Genre: Action/Comedy/Fantasy/Supernatural/Shounen

Review Status:
Compelete (51 Episodes/51 Episodes)

Licensed: Yes, this anime is licensed in the US

Art/Animation: This looks fantastic in all regards. The animation is beyond fluid, the character designs are great and easily recognized, and the colors are deep and vibrant, and often in the darker color palate which matches the mood and the world fabulously.

Dub Vs. Sub: The dub is fabulous. I love everyone in their roles, except I’m less fond of Soul’s VA. It’s a little too deep for his supposed age. I actually prefer the dub over the sub, because I feel the humor of several voices (most notable, Death’s) comes off better to American audiences… or to anyone who has English as their native language. I do prefer some voices in sub, such as Death The Kid’s, but the dub overall has won my heart.

Summary: Maka is a Meister and Soul is her Weapon. As students at the Grim Reaper’s Death Weapon Meister Academy, their study habits couldn’t be more different. But in battle against the supernatural forces of evil, they’re a freakin’ lethal team.
That’s when Soul transforms – literally – into a razor-sharp scythe, and every defeated wicked soul he sucks down makes him more deadly. That’s when Maka unleashes the merciless slayer within, wielding her partner and dropping monsters. Seriously. Monsters. Like the witches, werewolves, and zombies that lurk in the shadows and feed on the souls of the innocent. Every freakish ghoul Maka and Soul take out strengthens their bond, and fighting alongside their fellow Meister/Weapon classmates, Maka and Soul are the world’s last line of defense against evil.

Review
: This is one of the top shounen anime for a reason. This has pretty much everything you could ask for- awesome opening and ending themes (my favorites have to be the first and last opening themes), great characters that don’t fall into stereotypes- the lead being a female, for once!- that have some of the more memorable traits that I’ve come across in characters, fantastic battle scenes… I cannot help but sing praise to this show. This avoids the pitfalls that would take so many other shows down.

The world itself will catch the attention of most viewers. From the people that have the ability to become meisters and weapons and witches, to the ever-expressive sun and bleeding-grin moon, the world is a treat to become engaged in. This doesn’t focus on the world all that much, though- it’s about the people in it.

This is where the show shines. The characters are fully-realized, with pasts and goals, people that you can easily get behind. You will recognize some stereotypes turned on their head, like BlackStar who is THE shounen protagonist, made a side character and not the one that eventually defeats the Big Bad. Maka, one of our mains, is the Chick. She would hit you for saying so, and it would leave a mark- there is nothing useless or weak about her. Her constant struggle with what it means to be a Meister drives much of the show, and the relationship between her and Soul is one of the best partnerships/friendships that can be seen in the medium.

This chooses to focus on a few of the students and teachers, but has tantalizing glimpses of the sheer amount of different weapons and abilities that are out there. The way these grow and change in the circumstances they are put under is astonishing. Chrona is the star of this, put into one of the most difficult positions possible. His mother, or his friends? Can he overcome his abuse and reach for a new future?

The opponents and situations are genuinely interesting, to boot. While Medusa’s schemes for why she wants the Big Bad out is still somewhat obscure, though her sister’s motivations seem to be pure insanity. The Big Bad himself is quite a character, and I highly enjoyed seeing how insane he could be. It seemed reminiscent of Johan, one of the best psychopaths that I have ever seen in any anime or manga, and that really excited me. While this is a typical save-the-world storyline, I still felt it was pulled off with enough panache and characterization that it is one of the most interesting shounen I have seen.

Something that does bother people that is worth a mention because it bothered me, too, is that one of the characters is ‘brought back’ in a way that seems fairly disproportionate to the terrible things that were going on. In short, it was far too easy. The ending also doesn’t live up to people’s expectations. I have to say that I’m not sure whether I liked it or not. It was somewhat typical but I felt that perhaps it had more to it than what other shounen do with similar moves. The jury is out, probably always will be on it, but it didn’t hamper my enjoyment of the rest of the series.

Overall, this was totally worth my time. Yes, even with that ending.

Recommended: 16+. This has Barbie-doll fanservice quite often in the first 6 or so eps, but cools down to nothing after that. There’s a good amount of blood, a fair amount for purely comical reasons. A few instances of the d-word, and one of the a-word, said very deliberately at a pretty appropriate time.

Other titles you might enjoy
:
Shaman King (anime or manga)
Ao no Excorcist (anime or manga)
Pandora Hearts (manga)
Claymore (anime or manga)
Occult Academy (anime)

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