Friday, October 21, 2011

Soul Eater

If there's an anime that has a Halloween ambiance it's studio Bones' adaptation of Atsushi Okubo's Soul Eater. Okubo has cleverly appropriated and redeployed the motifs of Western pop-culture Gothic in an amusing and unconventional way. (One unfortunate side effect of this is that the series perpetuates negative stereotypes about witches, without much concern for viewers of the Wicca faith.)

The story revolves around meister Maka Albarn and her weapon Soul Eater, who like other weapons is capable of taking human form. Both are students at the DWMA technical school, which is training them to prevent the reappearance of the Kishin, evil demon gods that once ravaged the world. The goal of the meisters is to have their weapons defeat and absorb the souls of 99 evil humans and one witch, which will turn the weapons into super-powerful Death Scythes.

While in general the story is rather conventional shonen fare of the Bleach variety, Soul Eater's distinctively stylized presentation and quirky characters help set it apart. The anime is mostly faithful to the manga, at least until the battle against Arachnophobia. The translation is adequate, but a few of the episodes refer to the Kishin as "Afreets" for some reason. And keep an eye peeled for a Twin Peaks allusion, although in this case instead of a dancing dwarf it's a dancing imp.

Update: I just thought I should mention that the Twin Peaks allusion comes in episode 12, not in the first episode that I posted here.

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