Fresh off the introduction of a new arc accompanied by an injection of new faces to the mix, the eighth volume of Soul Eater follows up with a little ground work for future events that see one enemy returning and Crona’s budding friendship with the Meister’s at the DWMA. But even with Atsushi Ohkubo’s focus on progressing the story, he still finds time to slap together bizarre characters, slap stick humor, and shonen-style fights.
Where Soul Eater’s plot is thinner than a matchstick, its true strength lies in its ingenuity with colorful characters that inventive battles. Visuals are where the series excels, whipping up grotesqueries like Fisher King, and Medusa’s deceptively cute new body to keep reader’s attention from straying too far. And that’s not even scratching the surface of some of the faces that have stumbled through this series. But for every Fisher King, there is a Death the Kid to smack them down in style.
But the clash between meisters and monsters isn’t the only point of interest here. With the advance made toward incorporating Crona into the main cast, Medusa’s sudden resurrection begins an internal struggle that proves compelling even in its tease at the tail end of the volume. But Crona isn’t the only character struggling with inner doubts, as Kid uncovers a foreboding secret that will no doubt have lasting implications heading into future volumes.
Volume 8 offers a bit more exposition than one would expect from the series. After the showdown with Medusa and the Kishin, it’s only natural that the series would take some time to set the stage for future events. Medusa’s temptation of Crona, Arachne’s growth in power, and Kid’s questioning of his father’s authority are all twists that will fester in the minds of readers until the next volume comes around. In the wrong hands, Soul Eater might have proven to be an unwieldly jumble, but Ohkubo’s enthusiasm for shonen works with a dark edge make this a guilty pleasure that no one should feel guilty reading.