12 Days of Anime, Anime, Daily Rant

Day 278: Revisiting Soul Eater (Episodes 1-3 + Ending)

First Heroman, then Soul Eater. I didn’t intend for the double Studio Bones combo, I swear.

Soul Eater has an odd place in my heart, as it was one of the first anime that I had ever watched. It was also the anime that made me realize just how bizarre anime could really be. And I watched this immediately after watching Dragon Ball!

The original Dragon Ball.

But time is a cruel mistress. Over it’s passing, many things hove gotten worse. Most movies from the 90s and early 2000s are fine examples of cruel aging. But even more cruel is the aging of my opinions. Things I used to love have turned sour in my heart, from films to my own work.

Never go back to your old work.

Today, I’m going to see if my nostalgia goggles are tinted rose or crystal clear when I re-watch the first three episodes of Soul Eater. Why not the whole series you ask? Simple.

I don’t have the time, nor the patience. Also because, nostalgia or no, I remember that terrible ending crystal clear.

The first three episodes are very simple prologue chapters before the main plot gets underway. Each introduces a set of characters, those being the Meister and their Weapon. First we have Maka and Soul, then Black Star and Tsubaki, then Death the Kid with Liz and Patty. They introduce the character, the setting and set the tone for the series.

Now, here are the problems with these three episodes. One: they don’t connect to the main plot in any way. As such, it comes across as a forced and lazy way to introduce the cast, rather than seamlessly introducing them through the main plot. Two: the characters themselves aren’t especially deep or interesting. Maka and Soul are alright, and they have an interesting love-hate dynamic that is actually pretty fun. Tsubaki is a sweetheart who has the patience of a fucking saint, Kid is ridiculously OCPD and mildly cocky, Patty is stupid and Liz is a coward. Their characters are so cut and dry that I need a drink just thinking about them.

And then there’s the single worst character in the entire fucking show, as well as one of the worst in any anime that I have ever seen: Black Star. I hate this character down to my core. He is brash, arrogant, and so narcissistic that it would make Narcissis himself go “Yo dude, that’s a bit much.” This one episode alone made me despise him to the point that his actions in the rest of the series still hangs in my mouth to this day. Sure, he has some redeeming moments, like when he spares the witch kid and protects Tsubaki as she fights her brother, but then he goes right back to being the most irredeemable and irritating person ever put to fiction.

Simply put: I hate this character and he drags the entire show down by himself.

Okay. We’re off to a rough start. But it’s not all bad, right? Maybe the setting fares better than the characters. Well, yes. It fares a lot better.

The setting and premise of this show is pretty cool. Death is a sort of teacher/protector of the world, fighting off corrupted souls that threaten humanity. In order to do this, he trains human Weapons, people who transform into weapons, and Meisters, people who can wield those weapons. It’s a unique premise, and the setting itself is incredibly bizarre and interesting. This is helped further by the art and animation, which… Do I really need to say it? It’s a Studio Bones adaptation. Of course it looks great.

It’s just a damn shame the characters and story within that world were mediocre at best.

Okay. So the first three episodes are a poor introduction that could’ve been cut without losing anything. And I don’t have the time to re-watch everything that came after it, so I can’t attest to the quality there. All I can say is that the beginning is poor…

And the ending is complete garbage.

This is one of the most rushed and poorly planned endings that I’ve ever seen in any anime. No, that’s not hyperbole, I’m being serious.

So in the final episode, the Keeshan (our main bad guy) has wiped the floor with Black Star and Kid, leaving Soul and Maka as the last line of defence. They fight for a while, Maka reveals that she’s both a Meister and a Weapon at the same time (it’s not as cool as it sounds, I assure you) and she kills the Keeshan with the power of… Bravery.

A trait in which she really hasn’t shown in great spades through the series. She’s no coward, but she’s not any more courageous than anyone else in the cast. But whatever, I guess.

So they kill the Keeshan and… That’s it. No falling action, no epilogue, nothing. They win and the series is over. And no one has changed a bit. Kid still can’t control his extreme OCPD and Black Star is still the worst person ever. No one has undergone any meaningful change, despite having just barely thwarted the end of the fucking world.

What a thrilling conclusion.

Maybe if I watched more, I’d remember why I loved this show so much. I mean, they introduce Dr. Stien next episode, and he was the best character in the entire show! But from what I’ve seen, I highly doubt it. It’s a show I loved at the time I discovered it, but it’s not a show that I can still love today.

Moral of the story: don’t ever revisit the things you love.

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