Fifty one episodes and four DVD compilations later, Soul Eater finishes its run to the joy and heartbreak of many. The supernatural fighting series about a group of children who wield other worldly weapons sprung from the mind of Atsushi Ohkubo, who transcribed his ideas into a manga. The series gained a following and was later followed by an anime adaptation by Studio Bones.
In an alternate world not wholly unfamiliar to our own, the Grim Reaper, or Lord Death as he prefers to be referred to, has set up an academy in which people who wield death weapons can attend. Though they use the weapons to take the souls of villains, they are actually partners working toward a goal of collecting enough souls to transform the weapon into a death scythe.
Maka Albarn is a meister attending the academy along with her partner, Soul. Together they are joined by an odd assortment of loud and over the top personalities such as Death the Kid, who uses the twin guns Patty and Liz, and the egotistical ninja Black Star and the multi-formed Tsubaki. There are even stranger characters to be found, such as the teachers of the academy, who all display a level of eccentricity in mentoring the group.
In the previous volume, Medusa had once again risen after her apparent demise, manipulating her son, Crona into furthering Doctor Stein’s madness. Making matters worse, her sister Arachne had awakened from her slumber as a result of the Kishin’s revival, leading her to pursue an alliance with the unstable demon. With both sides prepped for a final battle, the fight for the fate of the world erupts, leaving more than a few characters forever altered by the time the dust clears.
While the last release acted as a set up for the finale, these last episodes bring everything that had been building to a head. The earlier episodes of the set act as a segue way into one battle after another, culminating with the clash between the academy and the Kishin. While the primary cast are given their obvious time in the spotlight, the supporting characters are far from neglected, as fan favorites such as Stein and Crona are given enough time to resolve their own various dilemmas.
Considering the show is based on an unfinished manga, the idea that it could resolve every loose thread by the end of the series was questionable. Though there are still some lingering questions to be answered, Bones did a fine job in tying everything together to deliver a more than satisfactory end to a series that maintained its momentum from beginning to end.
The animation has been one of Soul Eater’s biggest strengths, with visually arresting action sequences and solid character designs that remained consistent the whole way through. It’s rare for a studio to produce a show without even the slightest hiccup quality wise but Bones efforts are solid and among the studio’s best to date.
The bonus features are on the meager side, with a series of vignettes titled the “Soul Eater Late Show”, which originally aired in Japan later in the evening. Also included is an audio commentary that while not informative, is lively and fun to listen to.
Soul Eater has been among the best series to be released in years. With eye pleasing animation and no lack of action, the series exudes a feeling of “cool”. True, it’s not going to make its audience think, but fantastic pacing coupled with the consistent quality puts the series on a higher pedestal than most. With its unique blend of action and humor, the series goes out with a bang that is truly befitting of its bombastic nature. Fans of any animation should consider Soul Eater essential viewing.