Originally a manga by Atsushi Ohkubo, Soul Eater became a popular animated series in 2008. The show made waves and garnered a lot of attention here in the States. That meant when it came time for FUNimation to announce the acquisition of the license, there was already a large group of people eager to get their hands on it. Through 51 episodes we've had the opportunity to watch the show, and today we're taking a look at the final installment.
What it's about:
Soul Eater takes place in an alternate reality where Death runs his own school called the "Death Weapon Meister Academy". 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. Despite that focus other meisters and weapons such as Death the Kid and his twin guns Liz and Patty, and Black Star with his partner Tsubiki also get plenty of time in the spotlight. The first chunk of episodes balanced the focus of the cast pretty well, so the larger than average collection of characters doesn't hurt in the least.
What's in this volume:
As stated, this is the fourth and final volume for Soul Eater. It's a sad state of affairs because, damn it all, this show is such a blast! This installment really cranks up the intensity and pushes the envelope for plot development. To this point the majority of the show has been broken up into an episodic structure with two episodes featuring a larger story. For the most part that's present here to some degree, but the episodes here change that structure a tad towards the end.
There are climactic battles with the show's antagonists all over here. For instance there's essentially all-out war between Death's school and Arachnia's forces. Medusa's kid, Crona, gets caught in the crossfire, and in the end the whole thing boils down to a massive battle with Asura. The intensity is cranked up to a degree the show hasn't had before, and the final stretch of the journey is one hell of a ride. I don't want to get into too many details about what exactly happens here in the end, so let's just say that if you appreciated the rest of the show you'll love it. Things wrap up quite nicely and the tone of the series is kept right through to the end.
If you missed out on Soul Eater then you should absolutely consider it a must buy. It's such a kick-ass show in every sense. From theme to characters and story, Soul Eater has a lot going for it. There are plenty of reasons to sing praises for it, and I can't stress enough how pleased I am that the show ended on the note that it did. Highly recommended!
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 probably one of the most vibrant and dynamic series to come along in quite some time. Everything pops here and it draws you in with the marvelous palette that was employed. 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. Otherwise this show is awesome looking!
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.
For bonus features there are some trailers, clean animations, and a commentary track. As one might expect the commentary track is more entertaining than it is informative, but it's still worth checking out once you finish watching this set. There's also another installment of "Soul Eater Late Show" which is a collection of mini animated clips with some random content. It's basically an additional bit of animation that aired with the episodes in Japan.
Soul Eater is the kind of show that throws a lot of over the top action your way, but it does so with plenty of style. There's an explosive energy to the series and the storylines are more successful than they're not. In this final leg of the journey all hell breaks loose, but it's downright epic at times. If you've been watching the show then you'll want to pick it up, however, if you just haven't seen the series yet then consider it a high recommendation.
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