I’ve spent the past five or so days watching all the currently available Soul Eater episodes (hence my lack of posting in this time) and creating another connundrum on my MAL profile (47 eps? oh god, I can hear the comments already…) Back when the show was airing, I watched the first 6 episodes and was very torn with my thoughts about it. Most of this sprang from the show’s lack of direction in the beginning and a few lackluster early episodes. However, those episodes seemed better on the rewatch (possibly my lowered expectations?) and then once the show’s proverbial ball started rolling, it’s been consistently kickass.
I really don’t want to get too in-depth here since there is a lot to say about a show this huge and this thorough which I’d rather do in a comprehensive post once the show is complete. For now, though, I’ll just do a little fanboying over some things.
First of all, I have absolutely loved how this show takes things that at first seem meaningless and makes them turn out to be important. Almost every random side character has turned out to be of value to the story. Except or Excalibur. But I’m sure that will happen at the very end of the manga or something. Anyway, characters like Blair the Cat, Ox Ford, and that one dude with the hundreds of samurai swords all made very triumphant returns that made me smile. Oh, and Sid-sensei. That guy is fucking made of win.
Which brings me to this show’s strong point – a really amazing cast of characters. This is the first shounen anime I’ve ever heard of with such a completely ensemble cast – I honestly have a hard time considering Maka or Soul to be the main characters. It’s difficult to decide what makes an ensemble done ‘well’ but lets say I definitely like all the characters having plenty of episodes dedicated to them. And it’s not just the three main teams either, we get episodes about just the villains or side characters, or even EXCALIBAAA!!! As a matter of fact, episode 41 was all about professor Stein. While there is no particular character who stands out so much as to be one of my alltime favorite characters, there are very few that I don’t care about and a lot that are a consistent joy to watch.
So lets get it out of the way – favorite characters. My list is topped with a tie. First off, there’s Chrona. Long time readers may have learned that I’m a really HUGE fan of characters with a fucked-up past and a broken mind who reform through friendship. I fell in love with Chrona from the second time she said ‘hey, my blood is black, you know?’ She’s the perfect mix of lonely, demented, and adorable. Plus androgyny is a plus. I also find her relationship with Ragnarok interesting since he’s such a total asshole and yet doesn’t really seem to bother her and they have some kind of almost camaraderie.
My tie is with the badass among badasses, Soul Eater himself. Once more, he was a character I loved from the beginning with his style, sharp teeth, and obsession with ‘cool’. However, I didn’t expect him to be so deep. At first he was kind of a joke, but he ended up being the most serious and contemplative character in the show. Above anything, Soul is just outright interesting. I’m always drawn in when he’s on-screen. But more than anything is the room in his mind where he wears a dress suit and acts cool. That room constitutes all of my favorite scenes in the show. That’s my kind of style right there. I also love how Soul always seems to understand the exact circumstances of what he does and makes his decisions with that understanding.
Just under those two is Prefessor Stein, who is just totally made of win. He’s struggling constantly between complete insanity and mild reason. Stein is the ultimate ‘atheist’ type character (or rather, chaotic good?) who questions the world and tries to understand it on his own terms while always testing things to find a deeper meaning or interesting truth. Plus he laughs like a madman in a rain of blood – that shit’s just fuckwin.
I’m a fan of pretty much everyone else as well. Maka is cute and fun, Black Star beams with a confidence that I can only respect, and Death the Kid is OCD as ever. Kilik is awesome, but that might be my auto-bias toward black anime characters. Sid-sensei always makes me smile when he’s got his whole spec-ops thing going on. There’s too many more to name, dammit! All great! The only people I’m not really interested in are the Arachnophobia team – they are all pretty flat and boring. Medusa is a much more interesting villain and definitely fills me with rage-hate.
Highlights from the series, first of all any given fight scenes, which Bones beautifully brought to life. Some of the best are the rematch between Black Star and the samurai dude, said samurai dude against Sid-sensei, and Tsubaki versus the Fey blade. Episodes 20-25 or so were all just fucking splendid, but the cake was certainly taken by Maka resonating with Chrona and turning her good. That whole episode had fantastic directing, but the whole desert island part was especially nice and then the dialogue afterward brought me near to tears.
As mentioned earlier, any of the Black Room scenes were boss. The line where the demon says ‘madness and discord awaits’ and soul eater just replies ‘I can’t wait’ made me smile real wide. Maka and Soul dancing and Soul’s piano concert were also two of my favorite moments in the whole show. Of course, one cannot speak of highlights without mentioning Excalibur. All of the Excalibur episodes made me laugh out loud, especially episode 17 where they did a fucking West Side Story parody which made me WTF hard. Oh man, and the preview for ep 32 where Maka sang the Excalibur theme was sexy.
Excalibur~ Excalibur~ From Unity-King I’m looking for him I’m going to California~
I have been annoying everyone in my house by singing this excessively. I can’t get over how good Excalibur is with the ‘L’ sound.
As for negatives in the series, the early to mid 30 area was really jumpy as hell. Plot elements were soaring out of every direction without warning. But it wasn’t a big problem, and the show is pretty back on track now. Episodes 39 and 40 were both excellent and so I’m liking that the series is progressing nicely toward a foreseeable epic finale. I’ll definitely be rooting for a second season. In the meantime, I probably should hurry up and finish Fullmetal Alchemist since that too is getting another season. God I love Bones.