One of the biggest success stories for FUNimation in recent anime news is easily the release of Soul Eater. This series has been a hit in both Japan and the States, and the throngs of English speaking fans can finally sink their teeth into the third installment. Containing episodes 27 through 39, Soul Eater, Part Three is presented on DVD with two discs. That means there's only one set left to come out, and that makes for a sad Todd.
Soul Eater started out in 2003 as a manga by Atsushi Ohkubo and became a 51 episode animation in 2008. The series takes place in an alternate reality where Death runs his own school called the "Death Weapon Meister Academy" (DWMA). Here he and other monster types train humans to work in pairs in order to collect souls. One person is a Death Meister who wields a powerful weapon, while the other actually turns into the weapon. Together they make a formidable team, but their mission is to transform the weapon into a Death Scythe which only happens when they collect 99 regular souls and then the soul of a witch. Right out of the gate the show sets up the premise and goal for the characters which is definitely a good thing. Thankfully the personality of the cast, and outlandish brand of humor, come together to complete the package.
The show more or less focuses primarily on the duo of meister Maka Albarn and her partner, Soul Eater. They are the students who see the most action and are quite interesting to watch due to their dynamism and chemistry. Other meisters are featured in the anime, though to a slightly lesser extent. Death the Kid works with a pair of twin guns named Liz and Patty, and a goofball ninja named Black Star (who would really give Naruto a run for his money) teams up with Tsubiki to get the job done. In addition to these characters there are plenty of others from recurring villains to a cat-witch who endears herself to Maka and Soul.
Through the first two collections the show followed the students of the DWMA as they went about their business and tried to collect as many souls as possible. Some big time villains were introduced, such as Asura, who is a demon god that used to work for Death himself. If you have been watching the show then you already know he's been locked up beneath Death City for some time now. In addition to Asura, Medusa and some other flunkies have come out of the woodwork, and in the third installment that trend continues.
Part Three follows the pattern the series has already established. There are mostly episodic adventures here with some of the kids facing off against a monster or another. For instance, the villain Arachne gets thrown into the mix early on. She's a spider-loving sibling of Medusa and she's a recurring threat throughout this installment. In addition to Arachne we get to see some of Crona, Medusa's kid, who gets in close with the DWMA crew in order to appease Medusa's plans. Both of these characters play fairly important roles in this volume, and it's clear that Asura is pulling the strings from afar, which sets events up that open possible plotlines for the final installment.
If you haven't seen Soul Eater then you're missing out on a uniquely entertaining series. The premise is wild, the characters pop in every sense of the word, and the action is second to none. In some ways I'd say this show is an amalgamation of Gurren Lagann, Bleach, and Naruto. There's really something for everyone here and despite that comparison it's really its own entity. If you have been watching the series, then you already know what I'm talking about. This third installment is every bit as awesome as the rest of the show has been and it really leaves you looking forward to Part Four, despite the fact that it's the last set.
Soul Eater is presented on DVD with a 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio that has been enhanced for anamorphic playback. One of the first things you'll notice when watching this show is that it's one of the most vibrant and dynamic series to come along in quite some time. Everything pops here and it draws you in with a marvelous color palette. The designs in the show are unique and all around the animation is very good. From a technical standpoint the transfer is solid with very little grain and only a couple moments where aliasing creeps in. No digital defects of any sort were found during this viewing, and I'm pleased to report the transfer is smooth sailing.
Equally good is the audio package which features Japanese 2.0 stereo and English 5.1 surround. Both dubbing casts do a phenomenal job here and quite frankly I didn't have a favorite out of the two. Technically speaking the English track stands out with more use of the soundstage and nice implementation of the rear channels. The Japanese 2.0 is no slouch in quality, but in terms of directionality it's relatively flat.
Some clean animations, trailers, some more "Soul Eater Late Show", and an audio commentary for the 30th episode are included. The commentary is rather lightweight, but it's certainly energetic. If you enjoyed the tracks on the previous releases then you'll enjoy what's offered here.
I simply can't get enough of Soul Eater and it pains me to no end to know that the final episodes are looming on the horizon. This is one of the most entertaining and action-packed shows to come along in quite some time and in just about every conceivable way it's highly recommended. The episodic nature of it all does grow somewhat tiresome, but even so it's very addicting. If you're new to the series consider it highly recommended, and if you've been following to this point chances are good you're already eyeing the third installment. This one's highly recommended as well.
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