In the fictional Death City, stands the Death Weapon Meister Academy or DWMA for short. There teenage weapon specialists, referred to as Meisters, along with their weapons attend for proper training on how best to convert their weapon into a death scythe. The weapons themselves possess a diverse range of powers including allowing them to take the shape of humans.
Volume 3 of the series proved to be an improvement over the previous two, with its push to develop the characters and the much needed focus on the series main antagonist, Medusa. There are some great moments that show off her menace that cements her as one of the most interesting characters in the manga despite her limited page count.
That said, the bulk of the volume is devoted to Black Star and Tsubaki, as they square off against the latter’s brother in an attempt to prevent him from becoming a Kishin. Admittedly the fight is one sided but the emotion of the combatants coupled with the overall style of the artwork will hold the interest of even the most jaded of shonen fans. There is also the expected goofy humor thrown in for good measure, featuring Kid and Black Star’s quest to claim the legendary Excalibur. Considering the absurd nature of the character, Excalibur threatens to steal the spotlight away from the main cast as he sings, dances, and insults everyone within proximity to him.
In reference to the artwork, it shows improvement over the previous volumes, with the character designs taking on a more distinct form and proper care being given to the layouts. Whereas the last two volumes appeared rushed, volume 3 finds Ohkubo perhaps growing more comfortable, rather than hurriedly penciling through page after page of blank backgrounds.
Fans of Black Star will find much to appreciate in this volume as his character displays the most growth in the amount of space afforded to him. While he continues to be an annoying loud mouth, there are bits pertaining to his past that make him sympathetic and likeable, especially pertaining to the focus on his relationship with Tsubaki.
Overall, Soul Eater volume 3 is an entertaining read that shows a little of the potential of which the series is capable. The artwork continues to move away from the “Sunday strip style” and into a more traditional shonen look that is better suited for the story it is telling. The added emphasis on Medusa and the developing of characters such as Black Star will leave readers looking forward to the next installment.