Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Soul Eater Not Thoughts So Far

I really really like the original Soul Eater. I always go on and on about how I prefer anime of the old Toonami era but Soul Eater is probably the anime that put me in a place where I knew things would be okay. It's not necessarily the best but it was good enough to put my mind at ease that we weren't headed into a fanservice, moe, myopia when I saw it back in 2010.

Soul Eater Not, a prequel series is not Soul Eater. Not by a long shot. Soul Eater had this whole action horror comedy thing going for it and so far Soul Eater Not barely touches its mindfuckery. The main antagonist of that show IS fear.

But Not does justify its own existence. Soul Eater had a lot working under the hood and one of the things it had going for it was that the relationship between weapon meister and weapon were tantamount to actual personal relationships many of which were romantic. Spirit and the protagonist's mother. Stein and Marie. The show uses a working partnership as a metaphor for partnership more generally.

The story used Maka's conflicted feelings towards her partner weapon Soul to tell a story about puberty and a girl's first love. All while she kicked bad guy ass six ways to Sunday. Ahh aint that cute.

The strongest justification for Soul Eater Not is that it does the same thing except for same sex-relationships and like I said that justifies its existence. I don't know if it succeeds and who am I to tell, but it takes some balls to even try that with a show so connected to the Shonen (teenaged boys) crowd. On the other hand the show does skirt the line. I feel dirty watching some of those glomps and pillow fights, and of course there is a maid cafe in Death Valley. Still though I like that it basically is telling young girls that those feelings are okay. We have a quasi-lesbian love triangle front and center. Though if you find love triangles annoying in general...

Beyond that though I'm on the edge as to whether or not it can avoid the trap of the sequel series. Both Last Exile: Fam the Silver Wing, and Eureka: AO Astral Ocean were most interesting when they were featuring characters and themes from thier parent shows. In both cases there wasn't a whole lot interesting besides that. In A.O in particular the highlight of the entire 20 some odd episode series is a two part episode in which the eponymous Eureka shows up and makes you realize just how boring Ao is in comparison as a protagonist. She's fun but only so because you spent 50 episodes watching her series where she had actual honest to god character development and you feel happy that her personality shifts stuck (for the moment grrrr another time). And Fam can die in a fire. Last Exile needed a sequel but that ain't it.

Soul Eater Not has moments like that. But they too justify themselves. In the original the Thompson sisters had mostly mellowed out, their wilder days being back story and its fun to see them a little rougher than I remember. Stein went through so much in the original that he almost seems like two characters by the end of it both of which are wholly enjoyable.

It was fun seeing him again before the fissures started forming. Though the series was clear to a degree he was always like that and was just barely holding the madness at bay.

And that's him mostly sane. Mostly.

It's really early so I'm not that worried about it and there are some interesting ideas that could go places. Medusa and Arachne were really good villains and set the baseline for how witches work in this franchise and it looks like this show is going to play with that.

Arcahne's backstory is complicated but Medusa was pretty much pure evil for the hell of it. Arachne wasn't much far off. Witches are always chaotic evil. Or are they. Damn it Glinda.

P.S. When I wrote this I had just made it to episode 9 after which shit gets real.

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