If Tim Burton and Terry Pratchett ever collaberated and made a shonen manga/anime...
The following review is intended to cover both the anime and the manga (as published so far). It also contains some spoilers for the early episodes/chapters.
...the result would probably resemble this.
My first experience of Soul Eater
was with the anime. Having grown bored of Bleach
's endless filler arcs I asked a friend of mine if she had any suggestions and immediately got the title of this show as a (rather enthusiastic) response. Curious to see what begot such an impressive level of devotion and impressed by the artwork (which would make Tim Burton proud), I sat down to watch the first episode (of about 20 which were out at the time). I wasn't disappointed.
The series follows three teams of students who attend "Shibusen", an Extranormal Institute
for weapons (essentially humans who can shapeshift into a weapon form
) and their technicians (a partner who wields them), founded by the Grim Reaper
to protect humans from witches and corrupted humans. The first team is a hard working, bookish tsundere
named Maka Alburn and her more laid back partner; the titular Soul Eater (who transforms into a scythe). Next there's Black Star, an egomaniacal ninja
and his put upon partner Tsubaki (who can transform into several "ninja" weapons). Finally there's Death's powerful but Super OCD
afflicted son Death The Kid and his more down to Earth partners Liz and Patti Thompson (who become a pair of handguns). Even though having such a large main cast could lead to them being dull and two dimensional, the characters are all well written and likable.
The series as a whole has a very strong Dark Is Not Evil
vibe with even the witches
being shown in a sympathetic light and some of the heroic characters having a great deal of moral ambiguity (Doctor Stein, for example is a Mad Scientist
who's constantly at risk of going too far into the "mad" part of the archetype). There's plenty of standard shonen fare but it's rarely played straight, with villains and heroes of every morality present and some subtle deconstructions of the genre's tropes.
Manga: A well written shonen series with likable protagonists and an eyecatching gothic art style. 9/10
Anime: A decent animated adaptation, but the Gecko Ending
may disappoint. 8/10