Original version posted October 31, 2012 on Geek la Femme
Happy Halloween everyone! I’ve grown to love this holiday more and more over the years. When I was a kid, I loved it because of trick-or-treating and being allowed to stuff myself with as much sugar as I could stand. Now that I’m too old to trick-or-treat (at least, not without a kid in tow), I love it because it’s a great excuse to get in costume. Not that I really need much of an excuse… but it’s nice to dress up without people constantly asking, “So, what’s the occasion?”
I’m not into horror movies or scary shows, but there is an anime that always gets me in the Halloween spirit: Soul Eater.
Soul Eater’s plot doesn’t have anything to do with Halloween, but witches, ghosts, black cats, pumpkins, mad doctors, and grim reapers abound… not to mention a truly creepy crescent moon drooling blood at night (which doesn’t seem to faze any of the characters.) The colors and animation style give the entire show a very Halloween-esque feel.
The premise of Soul Eater is that Death, a black-clocked specter with abnormally large hands and a cheery attitude runs an academy for people known as “Meisters” and “Weapons.” Weapons are people who can transform into scythes, shuriken, guns and the like (or perhaps they are weapons who can turn into people… I’m not sure which.) At any rate, Weapons are paired with Meisters, who learn to wield them. As partners, Meister and Weapon go around killing demons and consuming their souls. If a Weapon eats 99 souls, plus the soul of a witch, then they reach a higher level of power and can become a Weapon wielded by Death himself. The primary pair of characters is the Meister Maka and her scythe Weapon named Soul. Joining Soul and Maka are their friends Black Star (a loud-mouthed ninja) with Tsubaki (a transforming ninja Weapon), and Death the Kid (Death’s son) with his twin pistols Liz and Patty (the not-quite identical twin sisters).
The anime starts off more comedic and light-hearted, but gets dark fast, especially when Dr. Stein, a sadistic sociopath and former Meister who is a sometimes teacher, sometimes healer, starts to go crazy at the behest of the terrifying witch Medusa. Stein is my favorite character, closely followed by Death the Kid and Death himself, affectionately known as “Shinigami-sama.” Shinigami-sama acts in a manner completely opposite of what you’d expect from Death. He’s actually rather reminiscent of Terry Pratchett’s take on Death. (Those two are my favorite versions of the inevitable apparition.)
The animation for Soul Eater is pretty awesome and mobile (for an anime) with its own unique style. The opening song “Resonance” by T.M.Revolution always gets my blood pumping. I love the characters who are pretty unique with interesting backstories that get hinted at over the course of the series. While the Soul Eater manga continues, the anime doesn’t leave you hanging at the end. There’s still room for more stories, but I found myself quite satisfied with the ending. I haven’t read the manga, so I don’t know how it compares, but I enjoyed the anime. If you are looking for a good Halloween or an anime with a different take on the shinigami/demon-hunter genre, Soul Eater is for you.
Now, “Watch it… or I’ll take your soul!”