‘Soul Eater’ unique anime that breaks paradigm

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What do you get when you take away the manga a child has been using as a coloring book, dump it into a cauldron containing the essence of Halloween and then set it out to dry while soaking up punk music? An anime called “Soul Eater,” of course. 

Maka is a potential meister training in the Death Weapon Meister Academy. What is a meister? It’s a person who fights with weapons, except their weapons are people. Rather, their weapons are human-weapon hybrids, and Maka’s is a delinquent young lad-scythe named Soul Eater.

Maka wants to follow in her mother’s footsteps and make a Death Scythe, the ultimate weapon. To make a Death Scythe, a meister’s weapon must eat 100 corrupted souls and one witch’s soul. However, when a mysterious witch tries to revive the Kishin, a demon god who causes worldwide insanity, Maka and her fellow meisters get caught up in the madness. 

The mantra of the Death Weapon Meister Academy is “A sound soul dwells within a sound mind and a sound body,” and you will hear it every episode.

“Soul Eater” is a shounen (that is, male-targeted) anime, like “Bleach” and “Naruto.” Most shounen anime have become formulaic to the point that it has become almost boring. There is always a fiery, unintelligent guy destined to save the world, his brooding friend, his annoying love interest(s) and battles that consist of long interior monologues about what their battle plan is before they execute it. “Soul Eater,” however, breaks this paradigm.

For one, “Soul Eater” features a female protagonist, Maka, who is hands down my favorite character. She’s obsessed with being the top student, somewhat bossy and headstrong. She is determined and focused on making Soul become a Death Scythe, no matter what. However, they also imbue a humanity in her that makes her incredibly sympathetic.

Furthermore, they keep it short. Shounen anime tend to run for hundreds and hundreds of episodes. “Bleach” just ended at 366 episodes, while “Naruto” is currently on its 500th episode, which isn’t even counting all of the movies. 

In comparison, “Soul Eater” sticks to a much more manageable 51 episodes. In other words, you won’t get to the end of this anime and feel compelled to calculate how many days of your life you have lost watching it.

The most unique aspect of this anime is its style. The animation, drawing style and music all work together to create its own experience. Its cartoonish style at first gives it a childish feel. However, while the show has a quirky sense of humor, it is not dumbed down. While it is humor a child would find appealing, it also appeals to adults. When “Soul Eater” chooses to get dramatic, it doesn’t hold back.

The action scenes are entrancing. The characters do not charge head-on, endlessly barraging people with the same looped animation. Rather, the action is more like watching a well-choreographed sword fight. (Also, realistic fighting with a weapon as implausible as a giant scythe? Um, yes please.)

Overall, Soul Eater breaks the mold and makes for a refreshing and fun jaunt through well-worn territory. I rate it 4 out of 5 stars.

Cara Hillstock is a sophomore in English and theatre. Please send comments to edge@kstatecollegian.com.

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