Soul Eater (ソウルイーター Sōru Ītā?) is a Japanese manga written and illustrated by Atsushi Ōkubo. Set at the "Death Weapon Meister Academy," the series revolves around three teams consisting of a weapon meister and (at least one) human weapon. Trying to make the latter a "Death Scythe" and thus fit for use by the academy's headmaster, Shinigami (better known as Death), they must collect the souls of 99 evil humans and one witch, in that order; otherwise, they will have to start all over again. The manga is published by Square Enix and was first released as three separate one-shots serialized in two Gangan Powered special editions and one Gangan Wing issue between June 24 and November 26, 2003. The manga started regular serialization in Square Enix's Monthly Shōnen Gangan manga magazine on May 12, 2004. The first bound volume was released by Square Enix under their Gangan Comics imprint on June 22, 2004 in Japan, and as of September 2011, 20 volumes have been released. The manga has been licensed for distribution in North America by Yen Press. The English translated version of Soul Eater is serialized in Yen Press' Yen Plus manga anthology magazine starting on July 29, 2008, and the first manga volume was released on October 27, 2009.
A single drama CD was produced on August 31, 2005 which came bundled with an art book. An anime adaptation produced by Bones first aired on TV Tokyo in Japan on April 7, 2008, and contained 51 episodes; Funimation licensed the anime series for North American distribution. An action-adventure video game by Square Enix for the Wii was released in September 2008, and an action video game for the Nintendo DS was released in October 2008. Another action game was released in January 2009 on the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable. Another manga series which will run alongside the main series, titled Soul Eater Not!, began serialization in Monthly Shōnen Gangan on January 12, 2011.
In Soul Eater, meister (職人 shokunin?) Maka Albarn and her weapon partner Soul Eater are students at Death Weapon Meister Academy (死神武器職人専門学校 Shinigami Buki Shokunin Senmon Gakkō?)—"DWMA" (死武専 Shibusen?) for short—located in the fictional Death City in Nevada, United States. The school has many other students including Black Star with his weapon partner Tsubaki Nakatsukasa, and Death the Kid with his weapon partners Liz and Patty Thompson. The school is run by Shinigami, Death himself, as a training facility for weapons and the human wielders of those weapons, the meisters. Maka's goal, along with the other meisters, is to have their weapons defeat and absorb the souls of 99 evil humans and one witch, which will dramatically increase the power of the given weapon and turn them into death scythes, weapons capable of being used by shinigami. In the universe of Soul Eater, witches are powerful beings and the natural enemies of DWMA, as almost all of them have a destructive nature and desire chaos.
Shortly after the start of Soul Eater, Maka and Soul Eater face off against the forces of the witch Medusa Gorgon, who forces her child, the meister Crona and wielder of the demon sword Ragnarok, to collect non-evil human souls to transform Crona into a kishin (鬼神?), an evil demon god. Medusa and her cohorts attack DWMA with the intention of reviving Asura, the first kishin who nearly plunged the entire world into madness before being sealed beneath DWMA by Shinigami. Despite the combined efforts of Maka, Black Star, and Death the Kid, Medusa's group successfully revives Asura, who leaves to spread chaos around the world after a brief battle with Shinigami. However, Medusa is seemingly killed by the meister and DWMA teacher Franken Stein in the process, while Crona surrenders to DWMA and goes on to enroll there and befriend Maka.
As a result of Asura's spreading madness, Medusa's older sister Arachne comes out of hiding after 800 years. Arachne reforms her organization Arachnophobia, which poses itself as a serious threat to DWMA. Shinigami calls in death scythes from around the world to aid in the fight against Arachnophobia. During this time, Medusa resurfaces with her soul in the body of a young girl, and forms a truce with DWMA so they can annihilate the threat of Arachnophobia together. The DWMA students and Medusa's entourage infiltrate Arachnophobia's headquarters where Maka defeats Arachne, only for Medusa to betray them, possessing Arachne's body and brainwashing Crona into rejoining her. Meanwhile, Death the Kid is captured by Noah, an enemy posing as the former meister Eibon. Following this, Maka finally succeeds in turning Soul Eater into a death scythe, and the duo become part of the newly formed meister unit Spartoi along their friends, which successfully manages to rescue Death the Kid and take down Noah.
While the members of DWMA try to find about Asura's whereabouts, Maka and Soul follow Medusa's trail in hopes to rescue Crona, unaware that Crona was brainwashed and is once again her servant. Meanwhile, Crona resurfaces in Moscow and kills the death scythe that is stationed there and imprisons the entire city in a dome of black blood, which causes Soul to go temporarily insane when he comes in contact with it. Afterwards, Crona kills Medusa. Later on, Shinigami orders Maka to kill Chrona due to her destroying a city and killing a death scythe. When Maka uses her soul perception to try to find Chrona, she accidentally finds Asura on the moon instead.
Differences in the anime adaptation
The anime series faithfully adapts the plot of the manga until DWMA's first major battle against Arachnophobia, at which point it deviates from the manga's plot considerably. After giving DWMA information on Arachnophobia, Medusa takes advantage of Stein's increasing madness to lure him away with her. Crona and Marie leave the DWMA in search of Stein. In the ensuing battle, Crona and Marie manage to bring back Stein to the DWMA after Maka arrives and defeats Medusa. Meanwhile, Arachne finds and forms an alliance with Asura, intending to spread his madness across the world. In the ensuing confrontation between DWMA and Arachnophobia, Shinigami and Asura resume their fight, which ends with Asura defeating Shinigami, subsequently turning on Arachne and eating her soul. In the final battle, Maka, Black Star, Death the Kid, and their respective weapons defeat Asura, and the world returns to normal.
Soul Eater Not!
Soul Eater Not! is a side-story to the main series, focusing on a freshman weapon named Tsugumi Harudori, who joins two other meisters, Meme and Anya. All three take part in the NOT (Normally Overcome Target) class at the DWMA for weapons and meisters who aim to just learn to control their powers in order to overcome their difficulties to have a normal life in opposite to the battle oriented EAT (Especially Advanced Talent) class taken by Maka, Soul and their companions who usually make cameo appearances. Here, Shaula Gorgon, the third Gorgon Sister is introduced as the antagonist.
The time line appears to take place prior to the events in Soul Eater. Sid is not a zombie and Medusa is a nurse at the school; which suggests that the events take place before Soul and Maka encounter Blair at the start of the original series. Kim is also still yet to be revealed as a witch. There are also some other differences from the main series, such as Kim and Jacqueline not being partners yet. Also, in an effort to hide her status as a witch, Kim alienates other students through deceiving them and being cruel, which makes her personality on the surface much different from the main series.
After the end of his first manga series, B.Ichi, Atsushi Ōkubo created a one-shot story called "Soul Eater" published in Monthly Shōnen Gangan. Japanese readers were so fascinated by it that Ōkubo created two other one-shots called "Black Star" and "Death The Kid." The results were high and the editor Gangan Comics asked Atsushi Ōkubo to create a series from his one-shots which became the introduction chapters to the final manga series Soul Eater.
Atsushi Ōkubo reveals that he creates the main characters by inspiring from his personality; like the dunce for Black Star, the order for Death The Kid or the fun for Patty. Other characters like protagonists and antagonists are created from his imagination and also from his previous favorite manga, like the sun and the moon smiling over Death City are inspired from his favorite manga Dr. Slump because it used many nonliving objects as if they were humans. Unlike many shōnen manga, Soul Eater's main character is a teenage girl, Maka Albarn, because Ōkubo felt that readers would be more interested than with a male character. The background and design of Death City, the main town where the characters are living, is mainly inspired from Tim Burton and David Lynch films.
Soul Eater began as a manga series written and illustrated by Atsushi Ōkubo. The manga initially began as three separate one-shots serialized between June 24, 2003 and November 26, 2003 across two manga magazines published by Square Enix: first in the summer 2003 special edition of Gangan Powered, followed by the autumn 2003 special edition of the same magazine, and finally in Gangan Wing. The manga started regular serialization in Square Enix's Monthly Shōnen Gangan manga magazine on May 12, 2004. The first bound volume was released by Square Enix under their Gangan Comics imprint on June 22, 2004 in Japan, and as of September 22, 2011, 20 volumes have been released. The manga has been licensed by Yen Press for distribution in English in North America. The manga was initially serialized in Yen Press' Yen Plus anthology magazine, the first issue of which went on sale on July 29, 2008. The first English volume of the manga was sold on October 27, 2009; the second was released on February 23, 2010. Another manga series which will run alongside the main series, titled Soul Eater Not! (ソウルイーターノット! Sōru Ītā Notto!?), began serialization in Monthly Shōnen Gangan on January 12, 2011. Soul Eater Not! is licensed by Yen Press, and will be released in English simultaneously.
A drama CD was released on August 31, 2005 by Square Enix entitled Soul Eater (Vol. 1): Special Social Studies Field Trip (ソウルイーター(Vol.1)特別社会科見学 Sōru Ītā (Vol. 1) Tokubetsu Shakaika Kengaku?). The CD came bundled with an art book and a script of the CD dialogue. Of the cast used for the drama CD, only Black Star's voice actress Yumiko Kobayashi was retained for the anime voice cast.
A 51-episode anime adaptation was directed by Takuya Igarashi, and produced by Bones, Aniplex, Dentsu, Media Factory, and TV Tokyo; Bones and Aniplex were responsible for the animation and music production respectively. The anime's scenario writer was Akatsuki Yamatoya who based the anime's story on Atsushi Ōkubo original concept. Character design was headed by Yoshiyuki Ito, with overall art direction by Norifumi Nakamura. The anime's conceptual design was done by Shinji Aramaki. The episodes started airing on April 7, 2008 on TV Tokyo, and two animated specials aired on May 29 and June 1, 2008. The episodes also aired at later dates on TV Aichi, TV Hokkaido, TV Osaka, TV Setouchi, and TVQ Kyushu Broadcasting Co. The final episode aired on March 30, 2009. The first DVD compilation volume was released on August 22, 2008 with the first three episodes. The second DVD compilation volume was released on September 25, 2008 with episodes four through seven. Each DVD volume will be released in monthly intervals. The anime was licensed by Funimation, who released the series in four half-season DVD box sets starting with the first volume in February 2010. All 51 subtitled episodes are available on Funimation's website, along with the first four episodes dubbed in English. In addition, all 51 of the English dubbed episodes are also available for streaming on Netflix and Hulu is adding the episodes as they are dubbed. Soul Eater is Bones' third anime series to run with 50-51 episodes, after 2003's Fullmetal Alchemist and 2005's Eureka Seven.
The anime was regularly broadcast Mondays at 6:00 pm on TV Tokyo. The official Japanese website of the Soul Eater anime series announced that each episode will air in two different versions: the regular Monday 6:00 p.m. version and a late-night "Soul Eater Late Show" version. Special footage was added at the start and end of the commercial break; the next episode preview was also different from the regular version. The dual broadcast of this supernatural action series was being billed as the "world's first evening and late-night resonance broadcast". The "resonance" term refers to a story concept in which the characters, such as the heroine Maka and her living weapon partner Soul Eater, achieve maximum power by synchronizing their souls. MTV Portugal premiered Soul Eater on February 1, 2010. In the Philippines, Soul Eater aired in a Tagalog version over the cable channel Hero TV which will last from April to June 2010. The anime made its North American television debut when it started airing on the Funimation Channel on September 6, 2010. The series is being rebroadcast by TV Tokyo under the title Soul Eater: Repeat Show (ソウルイーター リピートショー Sōru Ītā Ripīto Shō?) as of September 30, 2010, featuring new opening and closing themes.
Soul Eater: Monotone Princess (ソウルイーター モノトーン プリンセス Sōru Ītā Monotōn Purinsesu?), an action-adventure video game exclusively for the Wii and developed by Square Enix with Bones was released on September 25, 2008, in Japan only. Grimoire (グリモア Gurimoa?) and Ponera (ポネラ Ponera?) are two original playable characters exclusive for the game designed by the author, Atsushi Ōkubo. Ponera is the Monotone Princess and Grimoire is known as Noah in the manga. A soundtrack called Shibusen's Treasure "Campus Broadcast Music Complete Works" (死武専秘蔵「校内放送楽曲大全」?) was released as a pre-order bonus CD. Soul Eater: Plot of Medusa (ソウルイーター メデューサの陰謀 Sōru Ītā Medyūsa no Inbō?) is an action game produced by Namco Bandai Games for the Nintendo DS and was released on October 23, 2008. Soul Eater: Battle Resonance (ソウルイーター バトルレゾナンス Sōru Ītā Batoru Rezonansu?) is a fighting game produced by Namco Bandai Games for the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable and was released on January 29, 2009.
Six pieces of theme music are used for the episodes; two opening themes and four closing themes. The first opening theme is "Resonance" by T.M.Revolution for the first thirty episodes, and the single was released on June 11, 2008. The second opening theme is "Papermoon" by Tommy heavenly6 from episode thirty-one onwards; the single was released on December 10, 2008 by DefStar Records. The first closing theme is "I Wanna Be" by Stance Punks for the first thirteen episodes, and the fifty-first episode; the single was released on June 4, 2008. The second closing theme is "Style" by Kana Nishino from episode 14 to 26; the single was released on August 13, 2008 by Sony Music Entertainment Japan. The third closing theme is "Bakusō Yume Uta" (爆走夢歌?) by Soul'd Out's Diggy-Mo from episode 27 to 39; the single was released on November 26, 2008 by Sony Music Entertainment Japan. The final closing theme is "Strength" by Abingdon Boys School from episode 40 through episode 50; the single was released on February 25, 2009. The anime rebroadcasting features two additional opening and closing themes. The first opening is "Counter Identity" by Unison Square Garden, released in autumn 2010, and the first ending is "Ao no Kaori" (碧の香り?) by Yui Makino, released on November 10, 2010. The second opening is "Ai ga Hoshii yo" (愛がほしいよ?) by Shion Tsuji was released on March 9, 2011, and "Northern Lights" by How Merry Marry.
The first character song maxi single sung by Chiaki Omigawa (Maka) and Kōki Uchiyama (Soul) was released on August 6, 2008 by Aniplex. The second single by Yumiko Kobayashi (Black Star) and Kaori Nazuka (Tsubaki) was released on September 3, 2008, and the third single by Mamoru Miyano (Kid), Akeno Watanabe (Liz), and Narumi Takahira (Patty) was released on October 1, 2008. Two original soundtracks for the anime were released on August 27, 2008 and March 18, 2009 by Aniplex. The theme song for Soul Eater: Monotone Princess is "Soul's Crossing" sung by T.M.Revolution, and is included on the "Resonance" single.
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- Manga official website (Japanese)
- Anime official website (Japanese)
- Soul Eater at TV Tokyo (Japanese)
- Soul Eater: Monotone Princess video game official website (Japanese)
- Soul Eater: Plot of Medusa video game official website (Japanese)
- Soul Eater: Battle Resonance video game official website (Japanese)
- Soul Eater anime at Funimation
- Soul Eater (manga) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
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