Soul Eater: The Midpoint Check!

Here we are, at the closest thing we can get to a midpoint for Soul Eater, and my internal thoughts upon the first half of Soul Eater bear much resemblance to the gnashings and thrashings and occasional screams of abject terror of the newly-released Kishin:

It’s not by Edvard Munch, but it will have to suffice. Unbearable agony of being indeed.

It’s not a clear-cut matter of “Soul Eater is awesome” or “Soul Eater is terrible” (this kind of polarized debate seems to be reserved for certain other series at the moment). It’s not even a matter of “I love Soul Eater” or “I hate Soul Eater”. In a psuedo-Zen statement (that, quite possibly, is entirely fabricated by my own self-defeating brain), Soul Eater just is.

On an episode-by=episode basis, Soul Eater has, very rarely, pulled out an actually bad, or at least unentertaining, episode–and, yes, I did not skip the two Excalibur episodes, since they were hilarious if only to see Takehito Koyasu have entirely too much fun being as annoying as he possibly can be (his glee is almost tangible, I think). In fact, there have been some downright amazing episodes, both for their sheer comic value and for their sheer dramatic value. And the overall thematic structure of the series remains intact and present throughout the series

And, yet, somehow, through some mysterious force of nature as yet unbeknownst to me, when I sit back at episode 24 and look back at the past half-year, the continuing sequence of episodes of consistently good quality is somehow less than the sum of its parts. Indeed, one of the first thoughts to cross my mind upon finishing 24 was “Why didn’t this happen ten episodes ago?” since, given the amount of actual plot we’ve seemed to have, that would be a much better place for it.

I chalk this up to the almost inconsistent nature of Soul Eater itself. Somewhere in the delicate balance between being comedic and being dramatic, Soul Eater has the ability to excel at both, but also seems to be incapable of working the two into a synesthetic whole. As far as entertainment value goes, it’s a great series–but, possibly, my desire for “something more” from the BONES 10th Anniversary Series is being left wanting. My latent inability to truly “get” shounen series on a general level (as opposed to a case-by-case level, which is where I operate) is also probably manifesting itself as well.

Negativity aside, episode-by-episode, I am still entertained by Soul Eater, which is exactly what it, as televised entertainment, wants to do to me, so I can’t really fault it for that. And this latest sequence of events–the battles underground to prevent the awakening of the Kishin–are much, much closer to what I was expecting when I started the series. The comedy/drama balance in recent episodes, too, has been much better. As things for Our Intrepid Heroes look down, Soul Eater as a series is looking up. I may be wavering and faulting now, but if the series keeps itself roughly along the same lines as it has been the past six or so episodes, then it’s highly likely that I’ll simply have to dismiss the above as a simple case of “slow start.”

1 Response to “Soul Eater: The Midpoint Check!”

  1. 1 otou-san 5 October 2008 at 12:35 am

    I don’t “get” shounen on much of any level, but I’ve been consistently entertained by Soul Eater as well. I wonder sometimes if it’ll make me “get” the genre, but I doubt it because no matter how much it may try to slip into the typical patterns of the style, it’s just not that typical.

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I cannot understand those that take anime seriously, but I can love them, and I do. Out of my love I warn them to keep clear of this blog.

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October 2008

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