Soul Eater, Part One – DVD Review

Review by: Kiki Van De Kamp

Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
MSRP: $59.98 US
Running Time: 315 minutes
Genre: Action/Supernatural
Rating: TV 14
Release Date: Available Now

A series with soul … a very tasty soul.

The minute you see a boy named Soul transform into a scythe as the moon is grinning like a maniac and you see the Grim Reaper karate chops his pistol-packing son over the head you know you’re in for something offbeat and offbeat in the best possible way. Soul Eater doesn’t come off as your usual shonen action series about guns and sword swinging action and that’s what makes Part One of this series a great introduction to this amusing, action-filled and ultra cool series.

Taking place in a world that’s more like an alternate reality where evildoers include the likes of mobster Al Capone, master thief Lupin, the great Rasputin and even Jack the Ripper, this is a universe where Death has started a school to combat evil and wayward demons that prey on the souls of the innocent. He’s so dedicated to the cause that he opened up a school known as the Death Weapon Meister Academy where the student body learns to become a weapon wielder knows as a Meister or become the weapon itself.

You see, when we meet a girl name Make who takes on Jack the Ripper, she fights him using a boy named Soul who – at her request – physically turns into a scythe she can wield. It’s the ultimate partnership and seeing as Soul’s biggest ambition is to become’s Death’s weapon it is Maka who wishes to help him achieve this goal even though her flirty father already has that title. When they do manage to stop the sinister Jack, Soul devours the evil soul.

We also meet another pair, this time the Meister is a male by the name of Black Star who sees himself as a master assassin but he is just too impulsive … and loud. Paired with a very patient girl named Tsubaki, Black Star fails to capture his target – Al Capone – but shows off an impressive skill that makes him an amazing agent for Death. Black Star is actually one of the show’s many highlights since his reckless manner gets him into trouble … plus he’s downright hilarious to the point that you feel sorry for Tsubaki for having to put up with him.

Then there’s Death the Kid, the Grim Reaper’s own son, who is seen in the company of the sexy Thompson sisters who turn into pistols of enormous power. Kid is actually one of the more lethal Meisters but, thanks to his biggest flaw, he often fails at his task. You see, Kid is something of a perfectionist and it tortures him that things aren’t exactly the same size or shape. He’s like TV’s Monk only even more flawed.

Together, the Meisters and their partners go on missions while attempting to learn a lesson about partnership and understanding their strengths and weaknesses. They even team up together such as the mission that has Maka and Soul taking Black Star and Tsubaki along to find out what turned their teacher named Sid into a zombie. The case takes them to the castle of one Dr. Franken Stein who turns out to be something quite different than what they had all expected.

It isn’t until Maka and Soul go up against a Meister and his legendary weapon named Ragnarok that the pair’s faith and trust in each another is shattered. It is a witch named Medusa who is pulling the strings of the rogue Meister and the fight not only results in Soul being badly injured but Maka unable to want to fight for risk of hurting him further. Their friendship and partnership is tested as Medusa helps release a prisoner who turns out to be a most vicious werewolf.

While there are serious situations like the case with Medusa, Soul Eater isn’t without its various funny and madcap moments scattered throughout. Whether it’s the scatter of fan service that comes in the form of the attractive Thompson sisters or the bosomy witch/cat named Blair or the hilarious pairings of Soul and Black Star or Black Star and Kid this series is genuinely funny so it doesn’t take itself too seriously and it works.

The series also has interesting animation with backgrounds that bring to mind the series D. Gray-Man as the landscape is filled with unusual buildings and a sun and moon with twisted expressions. There’s also plenty of action of which the series handles quite strikingly. Add an excellent voice acting cast for both the English dub and original Japanese and you have a series with a lot of talent behind it.

Anime this offbeat, funny and deliciously unique doesn’t come along that often but when it does you can bet that anime fans like us welcome it with open arms. Part One of Soul Eater is one of those fun series you can’t help to like almost immediately thanks to its stylishly unique backgrounds, likeable characters and amusing story. Do yourself a favor and pick up Soul Eater right away, you will certainly not regret it.

DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN

MOVIE/EPISODES: A
In order to protect the souls of the innocent from the more powerful wicked demons, Death opened up his Death Weapon Meister Academy to train students to being Meisters or to become a Weapon. We meet the young Meisters and their Weapon partners as they take on corrupted souls as well as a new threat that comes in the form of a dangerous witch.

VIDEO QUALITY: A+
You just have to love the art design featured in this series seeing as it definitely has its own visual style that sets this one apart from other series. Flashy visual effects and cool character designs just makes Soul Eater all the more fun to watch.

AUDIO QUALITY: A-
The original Japanese voices is the way to go and either way you slice and dice it Death is a real hoot to listen to in any language. I do like many of the performances for the English dub and despite not sounding too much like a boy it is still a blast to hear Britteny Karbowski as Black Star. The score is excellent and the closing song “I Wanna Be” by Stance Punks really rocks.

EXTRAS: B+
Sure there are trailers to watch and the opening and closing animation to watch sans credits but the real extras are the audio commentary and extra feature. The audio commentary track for Episode 7 is lively thanks to Laura Bailey (Maka) and Micha Solusod (Soul). The “Soul Eater Late Show” feature isn’t as cool as it sounds, though, but we’re glad it has been included.

OVERALL: A
Outrageously unique and totally absurd to the point of brilliance, Soul Eater is the type of anime series we would love to see more of thanks to its great characters and the offbeat world where they live. If you find yourself hooked after Episode 1 you are definitely not alone. We definitely cannot wait for Part Two of this series.

Review copy provided by FUNimation Entertainment

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