Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Soul Eater Review (English Dub)

"Welcome to Death Weapon Meister Academy. More commonly known as the DWMA. It stands as a defense against the forces of evil, which would plundge the world into chaos and drag hummanity into the very depths of fear and madness. The demons known as Keshin and their insatiable hunger for destruction. To ensure the Keshin never regain their hold on this world, this academy was founded by the Grin Reaper, Death himself."

This 51 episode Action/Comedy series is based off the manga by Atsushi Okubo and published by Gangan Comics. The English translation is available from Yen Press. The anime went into production in Japan in 2008 by Bones Studios. Funimation received the rights and dubbed the series in 2010, releasing it into four DVD sets. I only had time to watch the Dubbed version, so please keep that in mind while reading this review.

The students at the DWMA consist of two types of humans: Weapons, humans who can into a weapon form and Meisters, who wield and control their weapon partner. The main task of each team is to collect 99 human souls who have fallen to evil, and one witch's soul, in that exact order. By doing this, the Meister can make their Weapon into a Death Scythe; a weapon fit to be used by Lord Death. However, if it some how gets messed up, they must start all over again.

Enter our seven main characters. You heard me right, seven. There are three weapon/meister teams the entire series focuses on. Maka Albarn and Soul Eater Evans, Black Star and Tsubaki Nakasukasa, and Death the Kid and the Thompson Sisters: Liz and Patty.

The show itself is colorful and can be abstract from multi color apartments to stitching on Professor Stein's house. The Sun and Moon even have smiling faces, laugh strangely, and have human emotion. In one episode, the Sun is trying to fight off sleep, being made fun of in the process.

The characters are developed fairly well throughout the series. The only ones with any real major developments are Kid, Stein, and Chrona. The rest don't exactly have any big revelations during the series, or they have at least one towards the end. Personality wise, they are all good. Each has their strong points and weak points. Maka is brave but extremely stubborn, Black Star is a good assassin but takes nothing seriously (except how much of a "star" he is), and Kid has level head, however he is obsessed to the point of being incapacitated by things being symmetrical. It's a running joke that he can't destroy anything that is "perfectly symmetrical." All in all, each one is strong in their own way, but have their very noticeable flaws to hold them back.

At certain point you can tell where there is comic relief in the story. Mostly, in the form of a weapon named Excalibur. Yes folks, Excalibur is in this series. And he is made to be the most lame thing in the entire world..... Oddly enough though, after someone I knew watch the first Excalibur episode..... They became instantly obsessed with obtaining the sword..... Even though Excalibur is very annoying and lame, more power to you for trying to get it.

The English Dub cast isn't bad either. Laura Bailey (Fruits Basket, Gunslinger Girl) and Micah Solusod (Corpse Princess, Birdy the Mighty) are perfect fits for the roles of Maka and Soul. Kid and Liz are good casting as well (Todd Haberkorn: Claymore, xxxHolic. Jamie Marchi: The Scared Blacksmith, Nabari no Ou). The only really obvious bi name that anyone would ever recognize is Vic Mignogna as Death Scythe (Full Metal Alchemist, D.N.Angel). It's not a big role like everyone is used to seeing him in, but he does bring in some comic relief that the series needs every now and again.

The one character I have problems with is Brittney Karbowski as Black Star. I know he is supposed to be one of the more annoying characters that doesn't stop talking about himself, but his voice borderlines nails on a chalkboard for me. Don't get me wrong, this is a good thing but goodness gracious I feel like punching him sometimes cause he just doesn't shut up!

The series was rereleased in September 2010 under the title "Soul Eater: Repeat Show". It's the same series, just different opening and ending themes. So if you watch a 3rd opening of this series and believe there's a second seaon, then I'm telling you now. There isn't.... Yeah I was disappointed too.

All in all, Soul Eater has a really good mix of action and comedy. You get filler episodes every now and again that give you a good laugh, like the Excalibur episodes. And even during the major action pieces there is some sort of comedy bit in there, making it more interesting then just the typical on going action series. And, if you're a big Vic Mignogna fan, it's a good series to see Mr. Edward Elric playing the butt of some jokes. This is certainly one of my favorite anime currently and I still get a laugh whenever I watch it. It's certainly one to take a look at for the action fan who also loves laughs.

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