The first disciple of a rare matrimonial union appeared on this show. A show that was more than meets the eye as it progressed. This is Soul Eater NOT! By the way, this will also be a review from someone who has, as of this writing, not yet seen the original Soul Eater.
Genres: Action, Comedy, Supernatural, Slice of Life
Themes: Yuri, Human Weapons, Shinigami, Superpowers, School, Witches
Number of episodes: 12
G-Rating: 8/10 (Favoritism) 7/10 Overall
Plot Summary: Three freshman girls: Tsugumi Harudori, a “normal girl” in every way; Meme Tatane, an airheaded girl; and Anya Hepburn, a tsundere ojou-sama, encounter and start their new lives at Death Meister & Weapon Academy (DMWA).
Soul Eater NOT! (Or SEN as I will refer to the show for the rest of the review) is a spinoff/prequel/semi-midquel of the original Soul Eater series. The Soul Eater universe’s main setting is a superhero training academy, ala X-Men or Gakuen Alice, where the purpose is to educate Weapons (Humans born with the power to transform into weapons) and Meisters (Humans gifted with the potential to wield and form bonds with Weapons) to fight crime…or at least that’s what SEN taught viewers. I’m certain the main show reveals deeper meanings behind the academy and stuff like that. SEN circles around the different grades but mainly focuses on the NOT (Sidekicks) class.
Newcomers like myself need not have seen the original to know what’s going on or how the universe works as the show does a solid job of introducing newcomers to the nuts and bolts of the Soul Eater universe without going too deep into more intricate details. Veterans who are of open mind will have the pleasure of understanding the confines of the world and easily identifying familiarities.
The pacing of SEN’s story is similar to another show I watched in 2013, Zettai Bouei Leviathan. See, for the most part SEN is a show about three gifted girls doing cute things and learning about the world of Soul Eater with its laughing sun and moon. As the show progresses tidbits of the show’s looming darkness pop up every now and then, sometimes even more so than usual. The reason why I believe SEN is better than Leviathan even though the plot structure is similar is because SEN’s CGDCT (Cut girls doing cute things) segments were more fun and its looming darkness was even scarier.
Next we’ll talk about the cameos from the Soul Eater veterans. Several veterans make appearances and play different roles, be it occasional or origin stories. What I mean is viewers get to see what some of the veterans were like before teaming up or becoming part of the main cast. While some of them had shorter screen time than others few of the veterans felt pointlessly shoved in as fanservice. Their appearances served as solid introductions to newcomers who choose to continue on with the main series and find out what all the hubbub was.
Now a fan of the original show who is on the fence with this one would probably ask whether SEN is still worth picking up. I think it depends on how hardcore of a fan of the main series the viewer is. If the viewer is open-minded and patient then it should not be an issue picking this one up. However, if they are diehard fans religiously devoted to everything about Soul Eater and would not change the main series’ structure for anything…then I am afraid picking SEN up will probably produce the same reactions hardcore “Kiddy Grade” fans had towards “Kiddy Girl and”, meaning not very favorable.
With some of the girls being physically gifted in more ways than one it should not be surprising that SEN has fanservice in it. It is not excessive, for those who are concerned but it is there. Unfortunately no beach episode but there is a short pool segment at least.
The animation is colorful and bright, which is important for a show that’s mostly fluffy. Honestly I only paid attention to the the characters’ cuteness, sexiness and badassery while enjoying the scenery. The action scenes ranged from solid to kickass believe it or not.
The OST’s solid while the OP’s awesome and the ED’s fine. Not much I can say about the soundtrack.
I would talk about the cast but all readers need to know is that they’re all cool, good and bad, and especially the main trio. Tsugumi being my favorite. Her undeniable cuteness and willingness/acceptance to learn how to become stronger for the sake of her two lovers was most admirable. She’s the kind of girl anyone can become friends with and admire her resolve to fight. She is obviously not a “yes” girl as she usually took time to think things through before acting.
As for the yuri, it was most satisfactory. Aside from an impressive secondary couple, the second most important storyline on the show can be summed up, without giving anything away, as a friendship-love triangle between Tsugumi (the weapon) and her two suitors Anya and Meme (the two meisters).
Overall SEN is a pretty enjoyable watch with a mostly fluffy exterior and a disturbing hidden interior. The fun times are enjoyable, the serious moments are not to be underestimated and the occasional fights are neat. Casual Soul Eater fans can enjoy this show just fine as it has several references to the main series and the veterans’ cameos are not wasted. Hardcore fans will have to decide for themselves whether SEN is worth their time or not. Yuri Nation members should at least give it a try.