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Soul Eater – Part One (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

February 18, 2010 by  



Crazy, action-packed and all-out fun!  Get into the trippy, dark fantasy world of Atsushi Okubo’s “Soul Eater”.  Definitely an anime series worth watching!

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

DVD TITLE: Soul Eater – Part One

DURATION: Episodes 1-13 (315 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: 16:9 Anamorphic Widescreen, English 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound, Japanese 2.0, English subtitles

COMPANY: FUNimation Entertainment

RATED: TV 14

Release Date: February 9, 2010

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 following voice talent:

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

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.

Contains episodes 1-13.

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 Entertainment has released the first 13 episodes of “Soul Eater” ala vol. 1.

“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.

The main characters of “Soul Eater” Part 1 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.

“Soul Eater – Part One” features the first 13 episodes on two DVD’s. Here is an episode listing featuring spoiler-less summaries:

DISC 1:

  • EPISODE 1 – Resonance of the Soul – Will SoulEater Become a Death Scythe? – Meiser Maka Albarn and her partner Soul Eater need one more soul in order for Soul to become a Death Scythe.  Will they accomplish their mission?
  • EPISODE 2 – I Am the Star! The Big Man is Showing Up Here? – Black Star and Tsubaki are sent on a mission.  Will they collect their first soul?
  • EPISODE 3 – The Perfect Boy – Death the Kid’s Magnificent Mission? – Death the Kid and his partners Liz and Patty go on a soul-hunting mission inside a pyramid.
  • EPISODE 4 – Engage the Witch Hunter! A Remedial Lesson in the Graveyard? – Because Maka, Soul, Black Star and Tsubaki have not collected a soul, they must take a remedial class.
  • EPISODE 5 – Shape of the Soul – Enter the Ultimate Meister Stein? – Maka, Soul, Black Star and Tsubaki take on Dr. Franken Stein.
  • EPISODE 6 – The New Student – Kid’s First Day at the Academy – Will it be an Entrance to Remember? – Death the Kid enrolls at the Academy and Soul and Black Star decide to go against him.
  • EPISODE 7 – Black-blooded Terror – There’s a Weapon Inside Crona? – Maka and Soul go on a mission but they encounter another young meister named Crona.

Disc 2:

  • EPISODE 8 – Medusa the Witch – The One Who Possesses a Great Evil Soul? – The aftermath of the battle against Crona and Ragnarok.
  • EPISODE 9 – Legend of the Holy Sword – Kid and Black Star’s Great Adventure? – Black Star and Death the Kid go on a search for Excalibur.
  • EPISODE 10 – The Enchanted Sword Masamune – Break the Soul Possession – Black Star and Tsubaki are sent on a mission to collect the soul of the demon blade Masamune.
  • EPISODE 11 – Tsubaki the Camellia Blossom – What Lies Beyond the Grief? – Part 2 as Tsubaki takes on Masamune.
  • EPISODE 12 – Courage that Beats Out Fear – Maka Albarn’s Great Resolution? – Medusa continues her infiltration of the Academy, while Maka wants to become stronger.
  • EPISODE 13 – The Man with the Magic Eye – Soul and Maka’s Diverging Soul Wavelength? – Medusa sends Free, the werewolf to kill Maka and Soul.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Soul Eater” is an interesting anime series when it comes to animation and character design.  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.

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.  Although, for those with modern home theater receivers, you can definitely enjoy the Japanese stereo track via setting stereo on all channels for a more immersive soundscape.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

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

DISC 1:

  • Episode 7 Commentary – Audio commentary by Zach Bolden (ADR Director), Laura Bailey (voice actress of Maka) and Micah Solusod (voice actor of Soul).  The voice talent talk about working on “Soul Eater” and enjoying the series.

DISC 2:

  • Soul Eater Late Show – (20:59) Featuring a total of 13 Japanese promo/teaser spots for each episode.  That range from naughty-like teasers, bumper art galleries to character-based goofiness.  Each promo spot lasts around a minute and a half each.
  • Textless Opening Song – “Resonance” by T.M. Revolution
  • Textless Closing Song – “I Wanna Be” by Stance Punks
  • Trailers – FUNimation Entertainment trailers.

After watching the first episode of “Soul Eater”, I thought the series was about two people and we followed their adventures in trying to conquer demon souls.  But after a few episodes later, I realized that this is a series about a group of characters who are all trying to make their own place as meisters or weapons of the meisters and prove to themselves that they can be among the best in the Academy.

In some way, what I enjoyed about the series is that it had that “Naruto” like vibe, in the sense of friends from different groups who can act as rivals but also as friends when they go out on a mission.  But aside from that, “Soul Eater” is an interesting anime series on its own with this wacky but really cool and twisted, dark world created by Atsushi Okubo.

For those who appreciate what Tim Burton was able to do for his own dark films can easily appreciate “Soul Eater”.  The look and feel of the series is quite different from any other anime series that I have seen and that’s a positive.  Sure, character designs may be a bit minimal without the usual shading and detail that people expect from an anime series, especially from Bones.  But I really dig the character designs because it’s fresh and different from what I’m usually seeing and for the most part, it works.

Oh, and for the unusual and twisted worked that was inspired by Tim Burton, Okubo said that his inspiration for this series also was from David Lynch, so I’m waiting to see what Okubo has planned in upcoming episodes.   Especially if he gives the series a David Lynch style of conclusion.

The first volume of “Soul Eater” was quite entertaining and I have to admit that my favorite episodes are the ones that feature the ninja meister “Dark Star”.  A young and brash kid who thinks of himself as the best hero out there despite not receiving the attention or respect of his fellow students and those who he tries to save.  But overall, each of the characters have been quite fun and it’ll be interesting to see if more characters will be added and what kind of missions that these groups will take on.  You can easily tell that the first round of episodes are more or less, character development episodes.  They feature a lot of action but it’ll be interesting to see if the episodes will retain its humorous and action-driven flair or will it get more serious.

Overall, “Soul Eater – Part One” was a fun and action-packed anime series which left me wanting more!  Definitely an animated series worth checking out!






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