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Soul Eater: The Weapon Collection
Soul Eater has definitely been around the block a few times for such a recent show. Even so, the Blu-ray release is something to get excited for. Rather than having to pick up four installments, as FUNimation initially released the show as on DVD, Blu-ray collector's have merely two releases to buy. The first came out a few months back, and now it's time for the second collection.
The first installment of Soul Eater on Blu-ray featured episodes one through twenty-six on three discs. The second is fairly similar in the sense that it's presented with three discs, but this time around we get episodes twenty-seven through fifty-one.
In the first half of the show we were introduced to the truly bizarre world of the DWMA, which is a school run by Death. Here students known as Meisters utilize peers known as Weapons in order to collect evil souls and protect the world from those who would do it harm. The focus of the series is split between three meisters and their weapons, though they all work together as a team. Maka is paired up with Soul, Black Star works with Tsubaki, and Death the Kid teams up with Liz and Patty. Together they stand out as the stars of the DWMA, but the future of everything may just depend on them.
The first half of the show was largely episodic. Two episode adventures were put forth with the focus being on one meister and weapon at a time. Eventually some interesting continuity came about with Medusa the witch attempting to revive the Kishin, an entity with power nearly equal to that of Death. Naturally this doesn't bode well for the world, and to make a long story short the volume climaxed with the Kishin's inevitable release and confrontation with Death. It was pretty slick and it set up the long-haul conclusion brought about in this second half.
After the Kishin is released, I dare say that Soul Eater hits a stumbling point midway through. The early adventures here prominently feature Stein losing his marbles as madness spreads throughout the world. It's not nearly as interesting or meaningful towards the story as one hoped it would be, and honestly it's drawn out for far too long before it gets anywhere. The other thing that bogs the early episodes of this arc down is the fetch-quest for magical tools created by an associate of Death from long, long ago. Every episode comes down to the bad guys and good guys clamoring for one thing or another to a purpose that's not revealed until later. That's pretty much it for the bad here.
On the good side of things is the introduction of Arachnophobia, which is led by the ancient witch, Arachne. This organization brings a lot to the table and I dare say that Arachne is nearly on par with Medusa for antagonists. Speaking of the snaky witch, she still happens to be slithering around in the shadows as well.
Once the pieces all come together Soul Eater leaps forward with a climactic confrontation between the forces of good and evil. The fate of the world hangs in the balance and ultimately it's fate rests on the shoulders of our heroes from the DWMA. There's fighting aplenty here and the conclusion to the series is satisfying. One is left with the impression that there are still things to come, but the story the anime sought to tell is wrapped up nicely.
If you're a fan of the manga, or enjoyed the first half of the show, you'll be pleased to know that the collection as a whole is worth the cost of admission. Soul Eater is a tasty soul indeed!
Soul Eater is presented on Blu-ray with a full 1080p output, 1.78:1 aspect ratio, and AVC encoding. The show looks as good, if not better than, it ever has. On DVD the series looked solid enough with vibrant colors and sharp lines, and the Blu-ray is even more of the same. The stability of the image and quality of the video makes this one a worthy upgrade over the standard definition release. There are still some parts where aliasing and color banding can be noted, but these moments don't detract from the overall experience.
Dolby TrueHD tracks are available for the English 5.1 dub and original Japanese 2.0. Personally I prefer Soul Eater in Japanese, so the 2.0 track worked just fine enough for me. Sure the soundstage was a little limited, but the English track doesn't offer much in that regard anyway. The quality of both tracks, however, is crystal clear and all around solid.
For bonus features, this second installment of Soul Eater includes clean animations and trailers once again. The final episodes of the short "Soul Eater Late Show" are included, as are two audio commentaries (episodes 30 and 44). Again, if you have the DVD collection of Soul Eater already you may be disappointed with the fact that the Blu-ray includes the same features.
Soul Eater is wildly whacky and entertaining. The characters are memorable, the action is constantly one-upping itself, and the show has a brand of humor that genuinely works. All the pieces come together to create one heck of a ride. Sure there are some stumbling points along the way, but the adventure as a whole is a trip worth taking. Highly Recommended