Monday, August 19, 2013

Soul Eater reread (Ch 0-22)

Soul Eater is finally ending! I've been waiting for it to properly end for like two years now. You see, I have problems with waiting for manga to end-- sometimes they just drag on and on and I simply don't have the patience to wait through new chapters. I mean, I understand that ending a long-running series is difficult in the best of times, but these kind of shounen battle manga can easily fall into a trap of too-many-battles-HOW-BORING. (Bleach, I am thinking of you right now) Soul Eater was definitely hitting that stage when I stopped reading. Besides, this was a monthly manga, meaning it took even longer in real time to get through the boring stuff. Hence the two year wait for it to end-- uughhh TWO YEARS!!! 

(Alright, it could have been worse. It could have been like Detective Conan. I've been waiting for Detective Conan to end for the better part of a decade and it still hasn't.)

Hence in celebration (??) I'm going to reread the whole manga from start to finish so I can figure out exactly what actually happened at the end (and also to tell Kathryn because lord knows she's never going to do it herself)

Early parts of the manga:

Long before I watched the anime, I'd tried reading Soul Eater and gave up by chapter two. The artwork was strangely squishy and uneven, and nothing about the characters or the school-of-gimmicky-fighting set up particularly appealed to me. Worst of all, the "fanservice", ughh

What is this thing called ANATOMY. And SPINES.
Two gratuitous bath scenes in 50 pages. Sigh.
Well at least it wasn't yet another bath scene, but. ...
Oh, and then THIS PAGE happened:

And everything that I might have liked or even remembered from the past 200 pages of manga got completely obliterated by the image of disturbingly underage camel toe in my face and complete and total disgust. 

So basically, after that I was determined never to give a second glance at the series. But Kathryn insisted I give the anime a try, and I was hooked after, like, just the first 15 seconds of the opening.

I wish I could find a gif here, but you may as well just watch the whole opening because it is that cool. Also the music for the opening is really fantastic. And yes, basically prettiness is one of the best ways to win me over.
Basically Bones did a fantastic job taking out most of the more objectionable content from the very beginning of the series and smoothing out the awkwardness in the character art. With that stuff more or less fixed, the extremely whimsical and stylized scenery and background art really stands out, especially with motion and color added by the anime. Seriously, I think that these weird whimsical somewhat psychotic aesthetics, more so than any of the particular characters or abilities or plot elements, is what really makes Soul Eater stand out as a franchise compared to a lot of other popular shounen series.

But anyway, enough anime digression. The manga art smooths out relatively quickly, and the gross fanservice, while still occasionally present, is nowhere near as pervasive as it was in the first chapters. And now that I'm not being blinded by frothing rage/disgust and am actively looking at it, I can really appreciate Ohkubo Atsushi's quirky and energetic art style and give him credit for all of the wacky architectural awesomeness in the series.

Also the man draws some damn cool fight scenes:

I really like the individualized designs of souls in this series too-- more on that later -- but eeee, what a nice scene.

The black-and-white-only pages are also used to great, great effect.

So yeah, I love two-page spreads :D also (remembering you read from right to left) it is very cool how your eyes will end up following the swirly bits of Maka's coat until it leads to her crazy face. Very ~*dramatic*~. It's a pretty neat bit of panel flow!

But anyway, this was all material that I think we should remember more-or-less from the anime: Medusa is very fantastic, Crona is very sad, you shouldn't try to eat good people souls or else you turn into a crazy thing and Death will have to tie you up in a bag of your own skin and keep you under a school until a witch frees you for SCIENCE. Yes.

The next installment will cover the Arachnophobia story arc, and I'll start going over the plot too for the sake of summarizing stuff for Kathryn. So upcoming spoilers, beware, if for some reason you both care about what happens and haven't read it already :P

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