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

April 17, 2010 by  



If you enjoyed the action and craziness from the first part of “Soul Eater”, this second part features more intense action and hard hitting battles!   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 Two

DURATION: Episodes 14-26 (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: March 30, 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 – literally. When Soul transforms into a razor-sharp scythe and Maka wields him against the supernatural forces of evil, he gets more deadly with every defeated soul he sucks down. They’re a freakin’ lethal team – but that bond is about to be tested.

The witch Medusa and her ghoulish minions are out to unleash the Kishin, who isn’t just a demon: he’s the greatest force of darkness ever known; a wicked fiend of unspeakable power. Luckily, Maka and Soul are used to saving the world from evil. But if they can’t stop Medusa’s freakish army in time, Maka, Soul, and their fellow Weapon/Meister classmates will be fighting to save themselves!

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 released volume 1 earlier this year and now the second volume covering episodes 14-26 has been released.

“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” 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.
  • Crona – The child of Medusa who was forced by Medusa to become evil (even though she didn’t want to) but with a mean weapon named Ragnarok and being locked in the dark, she now becomes the ruthless enemy of DWMA.

“Soul Eater – Part Two” features episodes 14-26 on two DVD’s. Here is an episode listing featuring spoiler-less summaries:

DISC 1:

  • EPISODE 14 – The Super Written Exam – Heart-Pounding, Reeling, and Restless. You’re Kidding!? – The students of the DWMA must prepare for a big test but a few decide to resort to cheating.
  • EPISODE 15 – The Soul Eating Black Dragon – Scaredy-Cat Liz and Her Merry Friends? – Kid, Liz and Patty investigate the Black Dragon.
  • EPISODE 16 – Fierce Battle Aboard the Ghost Ship – The Hell Inside My Head? – Kid vs. Crona and Ragnarok.
  • EPISODE 17 – Legend of the Holy Sword 2 – Wanna Go Drinking, Gambling, and Playing? – A story about Ox Ford and his encounter with the legendary sword Excalibur.
  • EPISODE 18 – The Eve Party Nightmare – And So the Curtain Rises? – Medusa and crew begin their attack on Death City.
  • EPISODE 19 – The Underground Battle Commences – Break Through Medusa’s Vector Arrow? – Lord Death talks about the threat and the origin of Asura.  Meanwhile, the battles begin!
  • EPISODE 20 – The Black Blood Resonance Battle! – A Small Soul’s Grand Struggle Against Fear? – Maka and Soul versus Crona and Ragnarok.

Disc 2:

  • EPISODE 21 – May My Soul Reach You – A Dry Heart Inside Unbearable Isolation? – In order to fight Cronus, Maka allows madness to consume her.
  • EPISODE 22 – The Seal Shrine – The Immortal Man’s Tricks? – Kid and Free continue their fight but Kid gets some help from Black Star.
  • EPISODE 23 – Dead or Alive – In the Rift Between Revival and Dazzlement? – Stein and Medusa fight to the death, while Kid and Black Star take on Free and Eruka.
  • EPISODE 24 – The Battle of the Gods – Death City on The Verge of Collapse? – Asura attacks Death City and Lord Death is forced into battle.
  • EPISODE 25 – The Death scythes Convene – Stop Dad’s Staff Reassignment!? – With Asura now free, Death summons the Death Scythes.  Spirit fears that because he was unable to protect Death Scythe, he will be demoted.
  • EPISODE 26 – The Exciting and Embarrassing Trial Enrollment! The DWMA New Lifestyle Support Fair Is open? – Maka and Marie try to help Crona with her new surroundings at DWMA.

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 2:

  • Episode 23 Commentary – Audio commentary by Vic Mignona (Death Scythe), Chuck Huber (Dr. Stein) and Lucy Christian (Medusa) talk about watching the fully rendered episode and hearing the other voice talents voices.  Also, what they love about the show.
  • Soul Eater Late Show – (22:24) Featuring episodes 14-26 Japanese promo/teaser spots for each episode. That range from opening and closing theme, naughty-like teasers, bumper art galleries to character-based goofiness. Each promo spot lasts around a minute and a half each.
  • Textless Opening Song – T.M. Revolution – “Resonance”
  • Textless Opening Song Version 1 – Style
  • Textless Closing Song  Version 2 – Style
  • Trailers – FUNimation Entertainment trailers.

“Soul Eater” is becoming a pretty awesome action/comedy anime series.  This latest volume is pretty cool because it’s more action-driven as Medusa and her group begin their attack on the DWMA.  And where the first volume was somewhat lighthearted when it came to the action scenes, things get a bit more darker with this series.

Especially some of the enemies, as one enemy who looks like a thin, frail man….has the ability to stretch his skin to attack.  In some way, it’s kind of a disgusting character to watch as it’s mannerisms of fighting was unlike a character I have seen before.  Typically stretching characters ala “Fantastic Four” Mr. Fantastic or Justice League’s Plastic Man look cool when stretching and fight in battle but this character of Free is just disgusting to watch as he just stretches out skin from his arms and each hit smacking their enemies with such force.

The storyline with Crona is quite interesting as well because you feel bad for her character and what Crona had to put up with.  The battle between Medusa and Stein is also awesome to watch.

But overall, this second part of “Soul Eater” really steps up the action and definitely sets things up for the third part as they will have to deal with a powerful nemesis that can bring the DWMA down.

For those who appreciate what Tim Burton was able to do for his own dark films can easily appreciate the twisted, dark world created by Atsushi Okubo.  The look and feel of “Soul Eater” 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.

Overall, “Soul Eater – Part Two” was even more enjoyable than the first part and the series has turned out to become an action-packed anime series which left me wanting more!   I look forward to part three!

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