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Book Review: Soul Eater, Volume 3 by Atsushi Ohkubo

Soul Eater, Vol 3     

Author: Atsushi Ohkubo

Publisher: Yen Press

American release date: March 3, 2015

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/manga/paranormal/192 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Soul is hospitalized, following the fight with Ragnarok, unaware that some of the creature’s black blood has mixed in with his. What they are all unaware of is that the witch Medusa has become a doctor at the hospital! That can’t be good! A depressed Maka blames herself for Soul being hurt, but as she leaves his hospital room, she finds her father waiting for her. She goes up to the roof with him to watch the sunset.

Black Star balks at the remedial lesson he’s been assigned by Sid—he’s charged with cleaning and straightening up the library. Not sure where to begin, he runs across the library’s collection of manga, to his delight. When he expresses his joy a little too loudly, he draws the ire of Death the Kid, who is also there. Not accidentally, as Black Star assumes, but very much on purpose. Death tells him he’s looking for a book about a legendary blade, call the “holy sword” known as Excalibur. Dr. Stein weighs in and tells them even he could not draw Excalibur. So naturally Black Star and Death the Kid want to twith hiry their hand at it! Although, perhaps this isn’t quite the adventure they were looking for.

Tsubaki accepts an assignment to deal with the Uncanny Sword Masamune, even though Shinigami-sama warns her it will be a hard fight. But she feels compelled to do it, mostly because Masamune is her older brother! She and Black Star head to the village she came from. Black Star is his usual loud self. But when a villager notices his tattoo and recognizes it for what it is, Black Star’s story begins to come out. When they find Masamune, Black Star battles him, using Tsubaki. But the fight is ultimately Tsubaki’s, and she’ll do what she must, even if that includes getting into her brother’s head.  Black Star sets up a vigil beside Tsubaki’s body and vows to wait for her as long as it takes.

In the hospital, Soul confides to Medusa about his strange dream, which has a disturbingly Twin peaks vibe and ends in the same disturbing way—with him coming out of Maka’s stomach! Medusa tells him not to worry about it. On his release, Maka throws a party for him at their apartment, and Blair gives Make and Death the Kid quite a shock. Suddenly, Maka is startled at the realization that there is a presence in Death City that should not be there.

I especially enjoyed seeing more of Tsubaki in this volume of Soul Eater. She doesn’t usually get as much attention as Black Star, probably because he’s a hog for the spotlight and she is much quieter. Her interaction with her brother is touching. I also liked watching Black Star and Death the Kid in their quest to draw Excalibur from the stone. The cover, featuring Death the Kid and the Thompson sisters, is great. As usual, I love the artwork. I liked seeing a more tender, Dad side of Maka’s father. Too bad I don’t think it’ll last. He always manages to do something wrong sooner or later.

Another great volume, looking forward to more of the same!

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Book Review: Soul Eater, Vol 2 by Atsushi Ohkubo

Soul Eater, Vol 2   

Author: Atsushi Ohkubo

Publisher: Yen Press

American release date: May 6, 2014

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/manga/paranormal/192 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Shinigama-sama has given Maka, Soul, Black Star, and Tsubaki a remedial lesson – they must take the soul of one Dr. Stein. Watching from a distance, Death the Kid tells his father this is much too difficult a task for a remedial lesson. Dr. Stein is an unusual man,  stitched-together and more than a little clumsy. Dr. Stein tells Maka and Soul that their soul wavelengths are unstable, because she is a serious, hardworking person and he is a rebellious and cynical soul. Looking at Black Star and Tsubaki, Stein observes that Black Star has one of the most self-centered souls he’s ever seen, and that Tsubaki is highly cooperative and very accepting of people.

Meanwhile, Maka’s dad, Death Scythe, is having a good old time at the Cabaret Club Chupacabra’s. But his high spirits take a nosedive every time he thinks about his recent divorce, and the daughter who doesn’t love him.

Dr. Stein asks Maka if she is Spirit-senpai’s daughter, which was her dad’s name before he became Death Scythe. Apparently Dr. Stein was once his partner. According to Death Scythe, Stein experimented on him in his sleep, for five whole years! Stein tells Maka how much he would enjoy dissecting her, thinking of all the things he would do to her! Death the Kid tell his father he is going to go help them and when his father argues that he is not a student at DWMA, Kid instructs his father to add him to the Student Register, takes his guns and goes even as the students battle Dr. Stein for their lives!

Death the Kid has decided to go to school. But promptness is apparently not his forte, as he is already three hours late on his first day! Maka and Tsubaki are in class, where they belong, but Black Star is lying in wait for the shinigami’s son to arrive, because he can’t stand the idea of someone getting more attention than him, and Soul is just hanging out with him to skip class.

Death Scythe has been replaced as their teacher by none other than Dr. Stein, much to their chagrin. Maka says that for the first time she’d rather see her dad!  Death the Kid arrives, along with Patty and Liz, and Soul and Black Star are on it! Kid isn’t too concerned, until one of them spoils the symmetry of the school, then all bets are off! When the class becomes aware of the fight going on, Maka informs Stein that he is required to go out there, which he is less than willing to do, so he takes Maka and Tsubaki with him. Since Maka has learned to see souls, Stein gives her an extra assignment, to look at the wavelength between each meister and his weapon(s) and evaluate their resonance.

In Florence, a witch overs over the Santa Mario Novella Basilica. Inside is a demon sword master, Crona, and his demon sword, Ragnarok. Meanwhile, Maka and Soul are on assignment, devouring souls, when Maka hears strange noises coming from the Basilica. She senses a meister inside, along with fifty or sixty human souls. As they draw nearer, suddenly she can’t sense the souls anymore. It’s probably not a good idea but she’s determined to find out what’s going on….

I like the character development that is taking place in this series. You never know when someone you think is bad will turn out to be good, after all. Relatively speaking. For example, there is Dr. Stein, who is certainly eccentric but also brilliant.  I loved the scene where Death Scythe shows up at the school to see Maka but detours to the nurse’s office first for some TLC and runs right into his old meister, Stein, who is not hesitant to mess with him again. Death Scythe is easy to intimidate. He’s a lover, not a fighter. But later on, in the basilica, we see the fighter side of him, which is impressive.

Soul and Black Star teaming up to go against Death the Kid is hilarious. It’s no surprise to discover that their souls do not resonate.   The story of the encounter with the kishin in the Basilica is a good one, and the entire volume ends with an unexpected twist.

I’m enjoying the series and looking forward to the next volume.

Book Review: Soul Eater, Vol 1 by Atsushi Ohkubo

Soul Eater, Vol 1 

Author: Atsushi Ohkubo

Publisher: Yen Press

American release date: April 22, 2014

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/manga/paranormal/208 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Maka is a scythemeister and a student at DWMA—Death Weapon Meister Academy. Her partner is a living scythe named Soul Eater. Maka’s goal is to make him into a death scythe worthy of being used by Death himself. In order to do this, Soul must consume 99 souls and one witch. Easier said than done. Currently, Death (also known as Shinigami-sama) is using Death Scythe as his current weapon. Death Scythe also happens to be Maka’s father, who is constantly yelling at Soul, warning him not to touch his little girl. When he isn’t busy being a major horn dog, that is. Despite his many protestations of love for his daughter, Maka spurns him, which reduces him to tears. Soul already has his 99 souls, all he needs is the witch. They find a witch by the name of Blair, so now the battle is on!

Black Star is a shadow weapon meister who wields a demon shadow weapon called Tsubaki. So far, he has collected zero souls, mostly because he is an egocentric loud-mouth who can’t seem to keep from announcing his presence and his intentions even in situations that require stealth and silence. When Shinigami-sama tells them there is a special way to become Death’s weapon without absorbing the souls of 99 humans and one witch, Black Star wants to know more. This way involves humans who are stronger than normal humans. And there is such a human, named Mifune, who is nearby. He is the bodyguard for a witch named Angela. That’s all Black Star needs to hear. Off they go! Does he have what it takes to defeat Mifune and absorb Angela’s soul?

Shinigami-sama has a son, Death the Kid. He wields two weapons, a pair of demon twin guns who are sisters, Patty and Liz. Death’s biggest problem is his unswerving need for symmetry. If something is asymmetrical, it throws him off his game and he becomes obsessed with making it right. His own hair distresses him because he has three white streaks on one side that are not on the other. As a shinigami, Death the Kid doesn’t need to collect souls, but he wants to make his own weapon with his own two hands. Because he uses two weapons, that means he needs to collect twice the number of souls. He asks his father if he knows anywhere he can get a large amount of souls. Shinigami-sama sends him to the pyramid Anubis in Egypt, where a necromancer witch is creating a large number of mummies. Will he be able to find the souls he needs and defeat the witch, or will his need for symmetry disrupt his plans?

The first day of school! Maka is excited and goes to wake Soul, only to find him in a distasteful position! When she finally gets him to school, they speculate about who their new home room teacher will be as the previous one was killed. To Maka’s dismay, the new teacher turns out to be Death Scythe! From the beginning, he is very upsetting to his daughter, like when he announces he’ll only take attendance for the ladies. Luckily for Maka and Soul, their presence is requested by the Shinigami-sama, so they leave the classroom. They run into Black Star and Tsubaki, who have also been summoned. Can this be a special assignment for them? Or is it something a lot worse?

I loved the first volume of Soul Eater. The characters are interesting and the artwork is really cool. Maka’s father, Death Scythe, is pretty cute even if he can’t stop perving on all the girls. I like Death the Kid, even though he’s a little strange. There are a lot of strange people in this world, though, to be honest. We meet another one at the end of the volume, and learn what his relationship to Death Scythe is.

I like the artwork, especially the color pictures of the moon. I would say my only real complaint is the amount of fanservice in just one volume. By which I mean lots of boobage. Which is great if you’re into that, not so much if you aren’t. I just tend to ignore it and move on. I am also watching the anime, which left me a little confused, which is why I decided to read the manga too. That makes the anime clearer.

This story has a great deal of humor and a lot of soul – no pun intended. I recommend this for teenagers and adults alike. I look forward to reading volume 2.