Imagine you suddenly have the ability to turn into a dangerous halberd. With nowhere else to go, the only place for you to belong is none other than a magical school. And that is exactly what happened to Tsugumi Harudori, a shy but enthusiastic girl who accidentally discovers that she can transform into a ‘weapon’.
Transferring to the Death Weapon Meister Academy (DWMA), this was the start of a great adventure for Tsugumi Harudori and her two ‘meister’ friends, Meme Tatane and Anya Hepburn. However, to succeed at DWMA, Tsugumi must make the difficult decision of choosing a meister in order to become stronger. But with a strong bond for each of her friends, it proves to be a challenging task.
In many anime series, we often see characters competing to become the strongest of the pack. Whether it is the amount of training they have undertaken or getting their hands on the best weapon, SOUL EATER NOT! offers a fascinating concept that differ from other shows.
In this compelling world of DWMA, you are either classified as a ‘weapon’ or the wielder of the weapon also known as a ‘meister’. A meister and a weapon must work in mutual unison in order to bring out the pair’s full potential. On one hand, there is great pressure for a meister to be strong, and to choose a compatible weapon. The weapon also needs to be just as strong in order for a meister to utilise you in battles. As students of DWMA, this is essentially a great opportunity for them to control their powers, and become warriors of justice down the track.
For a Soul Eater spin-off prequel, Studio Bones’ Soul Eater Not! is definitely not the series we were expecting. On a different tangent from the edgy-yet-dark Soul Eater delivered by Takuya Igarashi, Masakazu Hashimoto’s Soul Eater Not! boasts a completely different tone and art style.
Despite the Tim Burton-inspired backdrop, everything from its storytelling to the characters in Soul Eater Not! is flourished with a sugary charm. From the moment we stepped into the world, we are overwhelmed by its quirky and mysterious nature.
Focusing on the main trio – Tsugumi, Anya and Meme – many of the episodes revolve around their lives as DWMA students. From their days working at the cafe to growing pumpkins to getting away from the ‘witch’, the audience sometimes forget about Soul Eater Not!‘s main plotline (
was there even an actual plotline?). Soul Eater Not! strongly reminds us of K-On! –– just a bunch of lively students having the time of their lives at a magical school …that we don’t see much of.
But don’t let that mindset fool you. Beyond the happy-go-lucky characters and light-hearted plotline on the surface, there is an underlying ominous plot that hides in the shadows. Operating from the background, the mysterious Shaula Gordon sends minions out to DWMA in the hopes of poisoning and brainwashing students in attempt to destroy the school. Kidnapping Meme as her pawn, can Tsugumi and Anya rescue their dear friend before it is too late?
Giving Madoka Magica a run for its money, Soul Eater Not! will impress viewers with its sudden twist and dark content. With plenty of blood and malicious acts on display towards the end, Shaula’s character is to be commended for her pure evilness. But as the story drifts in and out from the filler episodes to Shaula’s evil doings, it was difficult to take Soul Eater Not! seriously. To further fuel the disappointment, an anti-climatic battle takes place between Shaula and our dynamic trio. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the explosive finale that we were hoping for, but regardless, it was enlightening to see the trio saving the day with their unstoppable friendship.
Overall: SOUL EATER NOT! provides a fascinating insight into
the world of Soul Eater, serving as a good introduction to the main series. With a mix of moe, comedy and dark content, Soul Eater Not! is a highly enjoyable series that will entertain you — but it may eventually become a forgettable series in your collection.
SOUL EATER NOT! COLLECTION is now out on DVD. You can view more info on Madman Entertainment’s site [here]