For many, Soul Eater remains an important anime, even though it aired about 10 years ago. Fans have long since given up on any new seasons, but it stays recognizable in anime culture, often as one of the first anime that viewers tuned into! A blend of shounen action and rather dark themes sprinkled with bits of comedy, Soul Eater is a great mix, though many will agree that its final moments were a bit lackluster. So why does it continue to stand in the back of our minds, even years later?
Though we can’t answer for everything, we at Honey’s Anime decided to take another look at the elements that make up Soul Eater in order to see how it impacted the anime community as a whole. We will look at the story, characters, the world that it created, the animation and even the themes that this anime imparted. After all this time, Soul Eater still resonates (no pun intended!) with many of us, and we hope you won’t mind if we put more thought into why that is so!
With many shounen anime now, it is common to see comedy and action blend into one, as the excitement and depth of the story continues to mount. Soul Eater followed this style before many other anime, before popular shows like Ao no Exorcist and Boku no Hero Academia came to light. Of course, Soul Eater was not the very first to be this way; but in terms of exploring the darkest parts of humanity in a sometimes comedic fashion, it was among the earliest.
Soul Eater also features an abundance of fight scenes, much of the story encompassing the conflict between different meister/weapon partners and the interesting villains of the world. The way that characters reacted and acted in these fight scenes felt very realistic, whereas in other supernatural anime, characters can tend to seem overpowered. This is another aspect that supernaturally-based shounen anime have since embraced, though there will obviously be some element of fiction maintained in the genre.
As a classically shounen anime, many of Soul Eater’s characters follow specific tropes, yet throughout the course of the series, they are given more depth and growth until they each become much more than their trope. The show starts out with three separate episodes to get to know the main meister/weapon partners in the series, something which not many anime take the time to do. This care is taken with characters throughout the entirety of the show, making you truly care about the events that unfold around their lives. Though shows like Blood Lad and Pandora Hearts attempted to follow the same formula with their respective characters, Soul Eater Evans, Maka Albarn, and the others remain some of the best characters in anime simply because not many anime reach the level of character depth and growth Soul Eater embraces. Most anime that try simply fall into the generic shounen tropes without adding anything later on.
Setting And Animation
Soul Eater’s setting is truly one of the most unique for supernatural anime, with plenty of real-world myths and legends tying the world to its gothic, almost Halloween-esque atmosphere. Though a few anime like Blood Lad have followed this type of setting, no other anime seems to be able to pull it off as well or with as much depth.
The animation style is also recognizable as classic Studio Bones work, bringing in a sort of fluid, yet almost messy technique that adds quirky elements to the setting. Soul Eater fully embraced a dark and exciting style, bringing in rules that made the world believable, even as it was also intrinsically strange. Though the studio had worked on other popular anime before Soul Eater and the style of animation is present in a few of their works, the fluid fight sequences seen with the meisters and weapons (especially with Maka and Soul’s movements) now translates into other anime as well, including fighting sequences seen in Boku no Hero Academia!
Soul Eater’s dark and exciting atmosphere lends itself to some great themes along the way, including bravery and friendship, all while dealing with plenty of real emotions. It focuses on friendship and partnership without delving too far into romance, which is something that almost every shounen anime struggles with. Maka as a main character is fantastic, reacting to situations much differently than many of the male leads in other shows—which makes her that much more enjoyable to watch! Though many viewers were upset at the lackluster finale episode, the overall story teaches us that we can find true strength in ourselves and our friends, but does so in a unique way that stays with us. Other anime since Soul Eater may try to reach similar messages in the same quirky fashion, but none will be quite the same.
With all of the various elements it brings to the world of anime, Soul Eater has clearly had an impact on the anime industry, though it might not always be noticeable. From its fluid animation style to the impactful characters, Soul Eater has it all!
What are your thoughts? Did you enjoy our look back at this important series? Or do you think we’re overplaying Soul Eater?