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Soul Eater: The Weapon Collection (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)

August 5, 2011 by  



An awesome final second half of the action anime TV series “Soul Eater”.  The story, the dramatic elements and of course the action-packed battles is elevated to an all new high…you are literally hooked!   If you enjoyed the first half of “Soul Eater” on Blu-ray, all I can say that it gets even better with this second half.  Definitely recommended!

Images courtesy of © Atsushi Okubo/Square Enix. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Soul Eater: The Weapon Collection

DURATION: Episodes 27-51 (650 Minutes)

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition 16×9 HD Native, Dolby TrueHD English 5.1 and Dolby TrueHD Japanese 2.0, Subtitles: English

RATED: TV 14

COMPANY: Showgate/Sentai Filmworks

RELEASE DATE: August 9, 2011

Originally created by Atsushi Ohkubo

Directed by akuya Igarashi

Series Composition by Akatsuki Yamatoya

Music by Taku Iwasaki

Character Design by Yoshiyuki Ito

Art Director: Norifumi Nakamura

Sound Director: Kazuhiro Wakabayashi

Director of Photography: Yohei Miyahara

Anime Production: BONES

Featuring the voices of:

Chiaki Omigawa/Laura Bailey as Maka Albarn

Kouki Uchiyama/Micah Solusod as Soul Eater Evans

Yumiko Kobayashi/Brittney Karbowski as Black Star

Kaori Nazuka/Monica Rial as Tsubaki Nakatsukasa

Mamoru Miyano/Todd Haberkorn as Death the Kid

Akeno Watanabe/Jami Marchi as Liz Thompson

Narumi Takahira/Cherami Leigh as Patty Thompson

Toru Ohkawa/Vic Mignona as Death Scythe (Spirit)

Rikiya Koyama/John Swasey as Shinigami-sama (Lord Death)

Yuya Uchida/Chuck Huber as Dr. Franken Stein

Chieko Honda as Mari Mjolnir

Emiri Katou/Leah Clark as Blair

Houchu Ohtsuka/Barry Yandell as Little Demon

Houko Kuwashima/Luci Christian as Medusa

Junko Noda as Mira Nygus

Keiji Himeno/Sonny Strait as Ragnarok

Maaya Sakamoto/Maxey Whitehead as Chrona

Masafumi Kimura/Kent Williams as Sid Barett

Michiko Neya as Arachne

Takehito Koyasu/Troy Baker as Excalibur

Toshiko Furukawa/Chris Patton as Asura/Kishin

As students of the Grim Reaper at Death Weapon Meister Academy, Maka is a Meister and Soul is her Weapon – literally. When they take on the supernatural forces of evil, Soul transforms into a razor-sharp scythe and Maka wields him in battle. He gets deadlier with every defeated soul he consumes and each victory strengthens their bond… but Maka, Soul, and their classmates might not be ready to face the darkness headed their way.

After 800 years, the witch Arachne has returned to spin a web of wickedness, leading an army of ghoulish minions in a war against Death Weapon Meister Academy. As demons from the past rise amid betrayal and madness, Maka and Soul are definitely in for the fight of their lives. Luckily for the fate of the world, they’re a freakin’ lethal team!

Contains episodes 27-51.

In 2003, mangaka Atsushi Okubo created his Japanese manga “Soul Eater”. Published by Square Enix, the manga had several one shots and eventually serialized in Square Enix’s “Monthly Shonen Gangan”. The manga went on to receive an English translation in 2009, several video games on various consoles but in 2008, the series received its anime adaptation by Bones and shown on TV Tokyo and featured a total of 51 episodes. FUNimation released “Soul Eater” last year on four DVD volumes and now, the series gets the HD treatment with the first 26-episodes on Blu-ray known as “Soul Eater: The Meister Collection”.

“Soul Eater” is directed by Takuya Igarashi (“Ashita no Nadja, “Ojamamo Doremi”, and many “Sailor Moon” episodes), series composition by Akatsuki Yamatoya (“Blue Dragon”, “Fullmetal Alchemist”, “Inuyasha”, “To Love-Ru”), character designs by Yoshiyuki Ito (“Fullmetal Alchemist”) and music by Taku Iwasaki (“R.O.D.”, “Gurren Lagann”, “Getbackers”, “Persona – trinity soul-”).

“Soul Eater” is a series that focuses on a group of students who attend the Death Weapon Meister Academy in a place known as Death City in Nevada. The school is run by the Shinigami known as Death and human wielders train with their weapons which are known as meisters.

The meisters and their weapons collect various souls that they are assigned to, but at times, the missions are quite difficult, challenging and can be deadly. And if they do not collect the correct soul, by the rules of academy, their soul collecting is reset to zero.

As Lord Death runs the school, the evil Medusa wants to unleash Asura, who tried to plunge the world into the darkness until he was sealed beneath the DWMA.  Medusa was able to succeed and in doing so, now Asura and Medusa’s evil sister Arachne intend to spread their madness throughout the world.  Meanwhile, another evil group led by Noah is also interested in joining with Asura who also despises the DWMA.

Can the DWMA stop Noah, Arachnophobia and Asura before it’s too late?

Find out in the final second half of the “Soul Eater” anime series with FUNimation Entertainment’s Blu-ray release of “Soul Eater: The Weapon Collection”.

The main characters of “Soul Eater” are:

  • Maka Albarn – One of the primary characters who is dedicated as a scythe meister of the demon scythe known as Soul Eater (Soul Evans). She and her partner Soul Eater want to collect 100 souls in order to make Soul Eater into a Death Scythe and surpass her father Spirit, who she doesn’t get along with. She cares about her partner Soul.
  • Soul Eater (Soul Evans) – Maka’s partner and a cool person who loves to eat souls and crazy about sexy women with big boob. He and Maka tend to argue quite a bit but he is loyal to her.
  • Black Star – A very egotistical young ninja/meister who thinks he is the best there is. He is the sole survivor of his Black Star ninja clan and is partners with Tsubaki. He is very athletic and very persistent but at the same time, sometimes his emotions get in the way and thus prevents him and his partner from collecting souls.
  • Tsubaki – Black Star’s partner and is a “dark arm” weapon. She can turn into various ninja weapons and in human form, very calm and quiet girl.
  • Death the Kid – The son of the Shinigami and partners with Liz and Patty Thompson. He is a powerful fighter but is obsessive compulsive about things being in symmetry and that everything must be balanced in his life. This obsession also affect his focus.
  • Liz and Patty – The weapon partners of Death the Kid. They can turn into guns. The eldest Liz tends to bicker with Death the Kid but is often scared while Patty is always cheerful. These two can wield each other if needed.
  • Shinigami (Lord Death) – The founder and head of Death Weapon Meister Academy. Often secretive and playful.
  • Spirit Albarn (Death Scythe) – The weapon of the Shinigami and also the father of Maka who is divorced from her mother and is often drunk and messing around with women. All he wants is his daughter’s attention but she doesn’t give it to him and thus it makes him depressed.
  • Dr. Franken Stein – The mad scientist of the Academy. Always wants to research and dissect things. Also, a three star meister who can fight.
  • Marie Mjolnir – A Death Scythe in charge of Oceania.  Wears an eye patch and dreams of being married one day.
  • Crona – The child of Medusa who was forced by Medusa to become evil (even though she didn’t want to) who was once and enemy is now a friend and member DWMA and has developed a bond with Maka.
  • Excalibur – The legendary weapon but also so annoying that every meister that controls it, dumps it because he talks and sneezes too much.

Arachnophobia

The nemesis of the DWMA with goals of joining Asara and spreading evil and madness throughout the world.

  • Arachne – The Heretic Witch and leader of Arachnophobia.  The sister of Medusa (who she doesn’t get along with) who wants to join Asura in spreading darkness throughout the world.
  • Mosquito – Arachne’s loyal servant and will do whatever he can to protect her by fighting the DWMA.
  • Mifune – A samurai who likes children and protects a witch named Angela Leon.  He believes that in order to protect her, he must join Arachnophobia.  He becomes the rival of Black Star.

“Soul Eater: The Weapon Collection” features episodes 27-51 on three Blu-ray discs. Here is an episode listing featuring spoiler-less summaries:

DISC 1:

  • EPISODE 27 – 800 Years of Bloodlust – Advent of the Heretic Witch – Maka and Crona fights against Giriko and the golem.  Meanwhile, Stein finds a heretic soul inside the golem.
  • EPISODE 28 – The Sword God Rises – Does It Have a Sweet or Salty Taste – Blackstar takes on Arachne’s new bodyguard, Mifune.
  • EPISODE 29 – Medusa’s Revival! A Spider and Snake’s Fateful Reunion? – A young girl is possessed by Medusa’s snake.  Stein teaches the students about “Duel Arts”.
  • EPISODE 30 – The Red Hot Runaway Express – A Magic Tool Left Behind by the Great Wizard – Kid, Liz and Patty investigate a magic tool and confront Mifune.
  • EPISODE 31 – Drying Happiness! Whose Tears Sparkle in the Moonlight? – Crona encounters the revived Medusa.
  • EPISODE 32 – Legend of the Holy Sword 3 – The Academy Gang Leader’s Tale? – A story about Hero and his sword Excalibur.
  • EPISODE 33 – Resonance Link – Play the Melody of the Souls? – Is Stein going insane?
  • EPISODE 34 – The Battle for Brew – Clash: The DWMA vs. Arachnophobia? – The DWMA and the Arachnophobia fight for the magic tool “Brew”.
  • EPISODE 35 – Mosquito’s Storm! Ten Minutes to fight in the World of the Past? – The group encounters the powerful Mosquito.

 

DISC 2:

  • EPISODE 36 – Unleash the Seven’s Resonance Link! A Recital of Destruction and Creation? – The battle against Mosquito continues and the group try to pull of the resonance link.
  • EPISODE 37 – The Detective’s First Case – Kid Exposes the DWMA’s Secret? – The introduction to Joe Buttaki of DWMA Internal Affairs Division.
  • EPISODE 38 – Asura’s Temptation – The Big Man’s Uncontrollable Irritation? – Black Star challenges Kid in a duel.
  • EPISODE 39 – Crona’s Escape – Show Me Your Smile, Please? – Maka and Soul look for Crona.
  • EPISODE 40 – The Cards are Cut – Medusa Surrenders to the DWMA? – Medusa makes a deal with the DWMA to show them the location of “The Brew” in return for their protection and freedom.
  • EPISODE 41 – Twirl ‘Round and ‘Round – A New World in Which the Doc Dances? – Crona and Marie decide to search for Medusa and rescue Stein.
  • EPISODE 42 – Charge Baba Yaga’s Castle! Things Are Kind of Gloomy? – While Crona and Marie go after Medusa, Maka is confused about the latest decisions made by the DWMA.
  • EPISODE 43 – The Last Magic Tool – Missing Impossible for Unarmed Kid? – Kid enters the mysterious town of Sekkikan and takes on a clown.
  • EPISODE 44 – Weakling Crona’s Determination – For You, For Always Being By My Side? – Maka and Soul try to join up with Crona and Marie who are taking on Medusa.

 

DISC 3:

  • EPISODE 45 – Anti-Magic Wavelength – Fierce Attack, The Anger-Filled Genie HunterMaka, Soul, Marie and Crona vs. Medusa and Stein.
  • EPISODE 46 – Resonance Link – Play the Melody of the Souls? – The final battle between Black Star and Mifune.
  • EPISODE 47 – The Battle for Brew – Clash: The DWMA vs. Arachnophobia? – The Brew is activated by Eibon.
  • EPISODE 48 – Mosquito’s Storm! Ten Minutes to fight in the World of the Past? – Asura revived.  Asura vs. Lord Death.
  • EPISODE 49 – Unleash the Seven’s Resonance Link! A Recital of Destruction and Creation? – Maka, Black Star and Kid along with their weapons take on Asura.
  • EPISODE 50 – The Detective’s First Case – Kid Exposes the DWMA’s Secret? – Black Star and Kid take on Asura while Make tries to save Soul.
  • EPISODE 51 – The Detective’s First Case – Kid Exposes the DWMA’s Secret? – The final battle… Maka and Soul vs. Asura.

VIDEO:

“Soul Eater: The Weapon Collection” is presented in 1080p High Definition and is an HD-native anime series.

When I first watched this anime series on DVD, I said that this was a series that needs a Blu-ray release. It’s a colorful anime series and because of that, “Soul Eater” looks much more vibrant than its DVD counterpart.

I did notice banding though, as the series does feature a lot of red. So, it’s not entirely perfect but still I noticed that the painted backgrounds and the details are much more evident on Blu-ray vs. DVD and once again, the colors really pop in HD.

With mangaka Atsushi Okubo inspired from Tim Burton and David Lynch films, “Soul Eater” is anime series that features many vibrant colors but also uses minimal detail. Character designs are quite simple and not detailed nor are they shaded, but the art backgrounds are detailed and colorful and thus enhance the look of the character designs.

Typically, I’m not a fan of anime series that feature minimalistic character designs but in the case of “Soul Eater”, because of its Burton-esque flavor, Okubo’s world around these characters is brought to live in animation and for the most part, the quirkiness and creative style works for this action-driven anime series.

AUDIO:
As for the series, the anime is presented in English 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound and Japanese Stereo. Voice acting on both the Japanese and English dub is well-done but of course, the action scenes are much more pronounced audio wise for the English dub.

In terms of the lossless audio track, while I do prefer to listen to the lossless Japanese soundtrack, the fact that the English soundtrack is 5.1 and since I watched the original DVD’s on Japanese, I watched the series on Blu-ray via the English dub and the dub is fantastic and the use of the surround channels is more evident. But if you prefer to watch anime in Japanese and have a modern receiver, you can easily sent your receiver to stereo on all channels for a more immersive soundtrack.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Soul Eater: The Meister Collection” comes with a few special features. Included are:

DISC 1:

  • Episode 30 Commentary – Audio commentary with voice talent Cherami Leigh (Patty Thompson), Todd Haberkorn (Death) and Jami Marchi (Liz Thompson).

DISC 3:

  • Episode 44 Commentary – Audio commentary with voice talent Colleen Clinkenbeard (Marie), Monica Rial (Tsubaki) and Maxey Whitehead (Crona).  The three talk about the series and what they love about the show and the characters.
  • Soul Eater Late Show – (38:48) Featuring episodes 27-51 Japanese promo/teaser spots for each episode. Japanese promo/teaser spots for each episode. That range from opening and closing theme, naughty-like teasers, bumper art galleries, Excalibur, video game spots  to character-based goofiness. Each promo spot lasts around a minute and a half each.
  • Textless Opening Song – (1:32) Tommy Heavenly6 – “Resonance”
  • Textless Closing Song – (1:32) Abingdon Boys School – “Strength”
  • Trailers – FUNimation Entertainment trailers.

When it comes to the  “Soul Eater” anime series, I have complimented the artistic style of the series but also how each volume has gotten better and better.

Here we are now with the second and final half of the “Soul Eater” anime series on Blu-ray and as this second half features the conclusion of “Soul Eater”, lets just say that this series literally ends with a bang!

Not only do we get more action-packed battles but there is good amount of dramatic elements as certain characters (may or may not) die to a much more better conceived storyline that really worked out in the end.

When “Soul Eater” first started, the focus was primarily on Maka and Soul but then the series started to branch out with focusing on storylines that included Black Star and Tsubaki, Death the Kid with Liz and Patty and then we got to see things change a bit with Medusa and Crona, Dr. Stein and more.

So, I figured this anime was a series that focused more on an ensemble group of characters.  But in the end, the show reaches full circle and the primary characters Maka and Soul become the main protagonists and literally the two who put everything on the line in order to fight the powerful Asura.

And if you are more of a fan of Black Star or a fan of Death the Kid, no need to worry as there are a good amount of action scenes featuring these two as they take on Arachnophobia and other enemies.  These characters still get a lot of face time in this final volume.

And as mentioned, the dramatic elements were definitely in full force as we see Crona trying to prove herself as a friend and wants to fit in with her new DWMA friends, we have Black Star willing to put his life on the line against Mifune and of course, the battle between Maka and Soul vs. Asura takes an interesting twist.   I was definitely happy that the writer Akatsuki Yamatoya definitely set the pace and built up the storyline towards the end.  The payoff for following the series this long was definitely worth it!

After watching every episode, I will say that the series is not a type of series that you want to jump in at any point, you will want to watch it from beginning to end to understand Medusa’s intentions, who is Asura and Arachne, who is Excalibur and more.  But with that being said, the series was enjoyable from beginning to end.  Stylishly cool, humorous and action-packed.

Once we get to the final episodes of “Soul Eater”, I was pretty impressed.  The story, the dramatic elements and of course the action-packed battles is elevated to a new high and as mentioned in my last review for “Soul Eater: The Meister Collection”, the storyline for “Soul Eater” gets better and better.  Well, the episodes featured in “Soul Eater: The Weapon Collection” definitely got better and as a viewer, you are literally hooked!

The story, the dramatic elements and of course the action-packed battles is elevated to an all new high and as a viewer, you are literally hooked!

The Blu-ray has its fair share of special features with two audio commentaries and also the crazy “Soul Eater Late Show” features.  So, fans of the series will no doubt be entertained after they finish watching the series.

Overall, “Soul Eater: The Weapon Collection” was an enjoyable, action-packed anime series and definitely one of the more stylish and fun anime series on Blu-ray.

Definitely recommended!






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