Anime: Soul Eater Not (DVD & Bluray)
Released By: FUNimation
Release Date: July 21st, 2015
Retail Price: $64.98
Soul Eater Not is a 12 episode anime series that serves as a prequel and spinoff of the popular anime series Soul Eater. This particular anime centers on Tsugumi Harudori, a young teenage girl who resides in Japan, and to her surprise, discovers her body has the ability to transform into a weapon known as a halberd (which is a combination of a spear as well as a battle-ax.) Realizing that she is in fact a death weapon, Tsugumi enrolls in the Death Weapon Meister Academy located in Death City, Nevada (sounds promising right?) With Tsugumi trying to take control of her abilities, she finds herself selected for one of two factions of the academy Especially Advantaged Talent (EAT) class is used to teach students methods to fight the malevolent forces in world, and the Normally Overcome Target (NOT) class which is known to teach its students how to hone in on their abilities. Clearly based on the description, and name of the series, Tsugumi is selected to be a member of the Normally Overcome Target class.
In the NOT class, Tsugumi immediately befriends two female meisters, Meme Tatane a more bubbly personality who rocks a side ponytail, and Anya Hepburn, a more to-the-point character who could really care less about most of those around her because she would rather see more of the world. In the first episode, Anya expresses her desires to surround herself with commoners, but humorously feels that everyone is far from normal. When Tsugumi arrives, Anya takes in her appearance and describes her as average which brings a joy out of Anya, finally finding a so-called simple person. Tsugumi learns that as a weapon, she needs a partner (the meister referred to earlier). To complete the series as a crossover, they briefly bring in two characters from the Soul Eater series (Maka and Soul Eater) to show the others a proper example of a weapon and meister team to strive towards. Tsugumi quickly realizes that there is a lot to process, and she has a moment of weakness wanting to quit for a normal life, but decides to stick it out, but has issues deciding between Meme and Anya as to who will be her meister, which sets up for a main plot point to carry on. (and a slight yuri-ish love triangle? Decide for yourself…)
It is an interesting thing to differentiate itself from the original series, making the bond between weapon and meister to be determined when that is a pivotal point to what unfolds in the world of Soul Eater. Each of the three characters are extremely different in many ways, and you find yourself liking them all separately which only makes you wonder how the decision will be handled by the end of Soul Eater Not. To me, the most fleshed out character is Anya as she tries to uphold her high-class attitude and expectations for life, which ends up being the focal point of the comedic aspect in the series. Obviously like with most characters, there is more to her persona, and she tries to hide her moments of average humanity from the core characters. I can say I appreciated all aspects of her and wouldn’t have minded if Soul Eater Not was centered on Anya herself. Obviously there is more to expand on with the other two characters (Meme and Tsugumi) but Anya is continuously a scene stealer in the anime that will be sure to catch your attention.
The animation in Soul Eater Not has both highs and lows with the detailed artwork used to tell the story. In a general sense, the animation captures minor details and major moments, but sometimes the artwork used to show the hairstyles fro example, could definitely have used a more subtle approach. The houses/rooms are animated with vivid colors, and a grand appearance that has an old-rich manor aesthetic that makes every backdrop enjoyable, and for the characters (besides the hair complaints) it is easy to determine them by their varied appearance. There are moments of fan-service that are depicted in Soul Eater Not, but not as outright inappropriate as animes like Freezing or Hyperdimension Neptunia. The action sequences in Soul Eater Not are few and far between, but when there is a fight it is done well enough to please fans for unique fights. An example, in one of the early episode Meme fights an attacker (while asleep to embody that comedic aspect) that is pleasing enough to make me wish there were more drawn out battles for Soul Eater Not. In the end I surprisingly enjoyed the series (as someone who wasn’t sure how to feel about the original Soul Eater) and I kept an interest for the ongoing character development of the main three characters and the ending was fulfilling to fans of different ends of the spectrum.
Aedan’s Final Thoughts:
-The voice cast fit each character perfectly, and there wasn’t one that felt out of place.
-Anya carries a majority of Soul Eater not for her spoiled rich girl attitude, with a secret soft side
-the friendship (or potential romance) between Tsugumi, Anya, and Meme was actually a sweet ongoing storyline.
-Another interesting side character was Kimial Diehl, who although doesn’t get the same spotlight as the others, provides fun moments for the series on various occasions.
-Making Tsugumi a Maka fangirl was a realistic approach to conducting a spinoff series.