Maka's instant anger whenever Blair threw herself on Soul: was it out of actual annoyance and frustration, or was she jealous and didn't know how to express it through anything other than anger?
How much of Justin's actions in the latter half of the series were his own? It was made clear that he was often on his own a lot, and was often partnered with a Clown after his FaceHeel Turn. Clown's are beings of Madness and can drive people insane, and with Justin not having anyone to pull him back from the Madness or keep him anchored, he'd likely be more susceptible to Madness. So was Justin always just a follower of Asura, or did he get driven insane by the Clown and made a FaceMonster Turn rather than a FaceHeel Turn?
Anti-Climax Boss: Often, despite the build up of their threat, the villains tend to go down easily especially Medusa.
Awesome Ego: For those aren't annoyed by him, Black☆Star in all his hammy glory. Excalibur as well.
Death the Kid too. As is to be expected from a character with a very enthusiastic fan base, those who don't like him have to deal with the fan girls.
Spirit, he's either hilarious (and hot to his fangirls), or a creepy pervert who Maka is oh so justified in hating.
Maka. Either she's a flawed but overall admirable main character, or a presumptuous hypocrite. The debate especially gets heated when discussing her relationship with Spirit: some think she's justified in disliking him for the womanizing habits that drove her mother away, and some think she's not giving him a chance despite him trying and that her "All men are terrible!" mindset because of her father is immature.
Blair. Many may find her as a funny comic relief character, while others find her as a pointless character whose only purpose is for fanservice.
Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The scene of Kid in the Sphinx and finding the circular animal-thing, then kicking it away when he sees that it is asymmetrical, is never elaborated on
Broken Base: The fans appear to be divided on just how good this show is.
Chapter 113 has left very polarizing opinions. It is either seen as an extremely disappointing ending that shoehorns breasts in the first half and doesn't explain or resolve anything, or a really decent and fun ending that makes nice callbacks to the prologues of the series and ties up everything just fine. The fact that the heroes never have a rematch with Medusa who ultimately offs herself as part of making Crona the ultimate weapon didn't go over well either.
Ironically the ending of the anime likewise was a source of breaking. Some fans found the whole "Courage" can beat Asura ending rather cheesy and cliche while others thought it was a nice and simple metaphor for the series as a whole. Now that the manga has ended, most opinions on this have shifted to the latter since at least they managed to put down Asura in a more satisfying fight in the anime as opposed to neither side managing to overcome the other in the manga and Asura essentially rage quitting when he can't break the main heroes and sealing the moon.
Manga: Medusa Gorgon is a sadistic witch and scientist who drives her child Crona to insanity by forcing Crona to murder animals repeatedly as part of her plan to envelop the world in madness. Unleashing Kishin Asura through an attack on the Death Weapon Meister Academy (DWMA), Medusa sets him free, intent on observing the powers of the god that could end the world. When defeated, Medusa takes refuge in the body of a young girl and feigns allegiance to the DWMA in the hopes of killing her older sister Arachne and taking her body to continue operating from within, happily using the violent conflict for her own ends. When heroine Maka Albarn succeeds on emotionally breaking through to Crona, Medusa utterly shatters her child's mind by playing the part of a loving mother and smiles wickedly as Crona snaps, killing Medusa, who knows she has left behind a broken monster ready to destroy the world, with nothing but interest in observing catastrophe motivating her.
Anime: Medusa Gorgon's time in the shortened plot does nothing to diminish her monstrosity. Once again a wicked parent to Crona, Medusa callously states her intent to abandon the child after feeling Crona has failed as an experiment and again manipulates her way into unleashing the Kishin Asura. Stringing along a conflict between the DWMA and her sister's organization, Arachnophobia, Medusa intends to reduce the world to a maddened-induced state to slake her curiosity; drives a DWMA professor to insanely attack his own allies; and fatally wounds Crona for getting in her way, even dying smugly remarking the world is doomed to Asura.
Too many examples to list. Suffice it to say that if you go three episodes without seeing something that qualifies, you aren't watching Soul Eater.
Black Star certainly qualifies. He constantly straddles the line between this and Too Dumb to Live. Slams squarely into the former, however, during the Rescue Kid arc. G.O.O.'s attempt to make him crazy just makes him more awesome and shakes the insanity off through a mix of being too proud and too stupid.
Stein is a frankenstein-y doctor those tendency for insanity makes him feared by both sides. The fact that he's also a Hot Scientist also helps.
Kishin Asura is a monster whose insanity can cause hallucinations by his presence.
The sheer menace of Justin's fully transformed self as a living guillotine makes it very clear as to why he didn't need a wielder to obtain Death Scythe status. Up until that point, he's simply been content with Blade Below the Shoulder, but when he fully transforms, he's got what are basically meat cleavers on the ends of Variable Length Chains, stocks to trap and sever the necks of anyone caught in them, and a seriously creepy Slasher Smile.
Designated Monkey: Spirit is the No Respect Guy among the main characters. His own daughter wants nothing to do with him no matter how hard he tries to support her, and everybody is just okay with his partner (who often subjected him to horrifying experiments) being part of the group. The justification is that he was an unfaithful husband, but more often than not, he suffers even when he's not being promiscuous.
Marie gets this treatment a lot by Stein/Medusa and Stein/Spirit shippers, particularly by the end of the series, where she's carrying Stein's child. Not that the shipping ever goes away, but there's at least one happy faction reveling in Canon.
Soul/Maka fans are scary, some fans have even reported being harassed at conventions for the "crime" of not shipping it.
Soul's older brother, Wes, is fairly popular, particularly with fanfiction writers. This is surprising given that every scene he appears in is either a flashback, or an illusion, that Soul is having. He never makes a proper appearance in series, and so what little we know of him comes from Soul's, most likely, skewed perception. But even so, he is more than often used in several fanworks.
Probably the only kishin that can be classified as this is Asura, if not only for that behind his mask, he is actually quite the Bishōnen. Too bad he rarely ever has his mask off. His introductory scene of him putting his skin back on didn't help either.
Ever since the ending of the manga, post-story fanfics have been popping up. Most of these address issues or concerns not touched upon in the ending proper such as how are Maka and Crona going to ever reunite given the latter's situation or the future of Stein and Marie's kid.
Everything about Maka's mother is another potential source of this.
It is also a very common plot point to have Hiro to meet and obtain a Weapon partner, usually an Original Character. Heck, Hiro in general receives more attention in fanfiction than the series itself.
For Death the Kid to talk to his father whilst in the field, he casts a spell by doing a couple of hand signs. The last sign◊ he does is American sign language for 'I love you'.
Having Justin be a very religious guillotine in charge of the DWMA's European branch might be a reference to a litany from the French revolution about "Saint Guillotine". Also in a case of foreshadowing or averting Artistic License Traditional Christianity, the upside-down cross is a very prevalent symbol on Justin's sleeves and his fully powered soul's guillotine which could account for either since while it is a Christian symbol used to show humility or as a tribute to St Peter it is often mistaken as a Satanic symbol.
Which makes for an odd comparison with Spirit. They are both loyal to the 'god' they serve. It just so happens that they're not serving the same being.
Germans Love David Hasselhoff: In Italy, apparently it was so popular among the scanlations-reading fans and such that the manga was translated and published because of it, and was quite popular for a long time. The fact that the anime was translated and aired uncensored (it's one of the few Italian dubs to include Precision F-Strike here and there) probably helped.
In North America it's a nigh-universally beloved Cult Classic and considered one of the greatest anime ever made (at least in the mid-to-late 2000's).
In the first opening, at one point Blair is seen jumping on a table in Maka and Soul's apartment with the whole gang over. Maka is disgusted/annoyed. Tsubaki doesn't seem to know what to think. Death the Kid and Black☆Star freak out, Soul gets a nosebleed. Patty and Liz, who were right near Blair, appear to be pleased with what they see.
Jacqueline and Kim, though it seems more from Jackie than Kim.
Crona and Maka, Maybe. The two share an extremely close bond, Maka being the sole reason Crona was first saved from madness, and Crona's devotion to Maka only being outclassed by their devotion to Medusa. When Crona snapped and almost became a Kishin, Maka desperately tried to save Crona before the rest of Spartoi found them and killed them, directly defying orders from the DWMA. Makadisobeyed orders. All for Crona. And it was thanks to Maka that Crona was able to suppress Asura and created the Black Blood Moon. It comes to a point where at times you have to stop and wonder if this is just friendship, or subtle Ship Tease.
Like You Would Really Do It: Chapter 112 ends with Spirit, Marie, Sid, etc trapped on the Moon thanks to Crona sealing away the Kishin, basically meaning they would have been killed off. Come Chapter 113 and it turns out Mabaa used her spatial magic to save them.
Magnificent Bastard: Death City and the world it resides in are both home to manipulative witches and power-seeking gods, but the ruthlessness and immense charisma these characters showcase puts them head and shoulders above the rest:
Lord Death/Shinigami is the leader of the Death Weapon Meister Academy (DWMA), founding and running the organization for the purpose of wiping out evil in the world. Recruiting hundreds of humans and Death Weapons alike to his cause, Death puts up the front of a silly goofball while truthfully masking a more vicious—but nonetheless noble—persona as he trains his students in taking on enemy forces. Death teams students in ideal groups to help them grow, sends them on successful missions tailored to their strengths, and keeps the DWMA afloat even amidst assaults by Medusa and Arachne Gorgon. When Kishin Asura escapes a prison designed by Death himself, Death instantly begins weeding out the monster's whereabouts, invading cities and forcing witches into assisting, before ultimately making a pact with the witches he's warred against for so long, realizing that Asura is the greater evil. A proud father to Death "the Kid" who willingly gives up his own life to help his son defeat Asura, a great leader to the DWMA, and a true friend to several characters, Lord Death's like-ability is only matched by his intelligent mind.
Dr. Franken Stein is the DWMA's most successful former student-turned-teacher, a diabolically sadistic scientist who controls his cruel urges by fighting alongside allies he genuinely cares about. Introduced to the story physically and verbally thrashing several DWMA students as part of a "test" of their abilities, Stein personally leads his students on several missions to train them further, and spends his free time deducing the identity of school doctor Medusa Gorgon as a scheming witch and working to end her plans. Destroying Medusa's physical form in combat through both skill and analysis, Stein is later framed for the murder of a fellow DWMA member, but he quickly flees into hiding, tracks down the true culprit, and exposes the attempted frame-up, clearing his name. During the final assault on Asura's moon lair, Stein brilliantly strategizes against and massacres swathes of enemy troops to the shock and awe of everyone around, all while maintaining his friendly disposition and care for his companions, even assisting in the final battle with Asura himself with great success.
The man known as "Mifune" and "God of the Sword" is a samurai and guardian of the young witch Angela Leon. Through sheer tactical acumen, Mifune takes down dozens of armed thugs and soldiers of the DWMA with his "Infinite One-Sword Style" technique. With Black*Star as his chosen Worthy Opponent, Mifune, through multiple clashes, teaches him to become a true warrior and through his own manipulations and deals, manages to ultimately secure protection for Angela within the DWMA, even at the expense of his own life.
The Index, aka the Table of Contents, is the guide of the Book of Eibon and the true mastermind behind the Noahs and their groups. The Index creates Noah from the Book of Eibon and uses him to infiltrate Arachne Gorgon's group, having him play the part of loyal servant before swooping in and stealing the powerful weapon BREW. When the DWMA Spartoi group enters the Book of Eibon to rescue an ally, the Index manipulates and strings them along, pretending to be a helpful presence but truthfully trying to orchestrate the group's destruction to prevent their interference in its own plans. Successfully evading suspicion as the mastermind behind Noah even after Noah's destruction, the Index simply creates another artificial construct of Noah, uses him to invade Asura's lair, and reveals its plans to absorb Asura into the Book of Eibon and use his power to spread vast knowledge and intelligence to all humankind, coming within seconds of completing his plans near-flawlessly before Crona interferes.
Moral Event Horizon: It's difficult to pinpoint exactly where Medusa crossed it, but forcing child!Crona to choose between killing a trio of bunnies or go without eating for five days is a good start.
Narm: The first half of the manga's final chapter. The side-effects of Crona's Mad Blood prison trickle down to earth. The population starts to act strangely based on that, manifesting as... an increased desire to fondle, urge, or otherwise think about breasts. Kid conjectures a new type of madness has been born and concludes it to be... the "Madness of Boobs." Now, this is supposed to represent Crona's desire for material affection, a completely legitimate feeling thanks to their backstory. This otherwise serious development is completely overshadowed by the ridiculousness of the Madness of Boobs.
Ships That Pass in the Night: Kid/Crona quickly became one of the most popular pairings in the fandom despite the fact that the two of them rarely, if ever, interact.
Somewhat Hilarious in Hindsight considering the end of the manga refers to the similarities in their upbringing and (intended) destinies, precisely the sort of thing shippers take as fanfic fodder. They are, in a technical sense, closer parallels than Crona and Maka.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Blair is absent for many of the major story arcs and her backstory is never given much details besides "a cat with magical powers." Tsubaki also gets only a couple of chapters to flesh out her character and then is basically resigned to a role as 'Black*Star's Weapon', reacting mainly to whatever is happening to him.
Maka's mom never shows up in person and is only mentioned in passing. She could've been a great way to shed some light on Maka's family life or introduce another badass character. Especially when you consider that early chapters hinted that she'd be an important character later on.
Poor Tezca Tlipoca... and he had to die more than once!
Mifune, Mosquito and Joe Buttaki.
For the villains Medusa as well.
Tough Act to Follow: The series was very popular during the 2000s and early 2010s. Atsushi Ohkubo's next work, Fire Force, hasn't reached the same level of popularity, since many of its story and character elements are more divisive among fans.
Unintentionally Sympathetic: While no one is going to defend Spirit's failures as a husband, the story tends to pick on him rather excessively in spite of his honest attempts to be a good dad, while putting a happy face on Maka's not-exactly-there relationship with her Missing Mom. It doesn't help that Spirit's positive traits show that he really does his best for Maka, while Maka's mom never appears once or does anything to show she is even remotely worth Maka's praises for.
Excalibur slurping his drinks. Slurping, while considered good manners in Japan, would sound obnoxious to someone from a Western country, including Excalibur's native England. However, we are talking about Excalibur here, someone who is painfully annoying to everyone. His obnoxious slurping would actually be in character to him. The English dub gets rid of the slurping, though.
A Breather Episode in the manga just before Maka discovers that the Kishin is hiding on the moon features the gang taking a trip to a Northern-European looking village...to hunt a whale. Whaling in Japan (and by extension, Iceland, Norway, and various Inuit tribes around the northern hemisphere)? Acceptable. Whaling in other countries? Frowned upon, often heavily criticized due to certain species being increasingly rare, and illegal.
Vindicated by History: The anime's ending was originally not regarded well, due to Maka defeating Asura with a single punch note Meant to symbolize her confidence in herself and her friends being considered very narmy. It also has issues with the pacing, where many found the story quickly went through plot points set up before it Overtook the Manga, and didn't execute them to what fans wanted. However, with the end of the manga, many people found this ending a lot more satisfying by comparison due to the execution being more cathartic in some ways, such as Medusa in the anime getting defeated by the heroes, compared to the manga where she is killed by Crona in a My Death Is Just the Beginning gambit that made her a Karma Houdini, and Asura actually being defeated whereas in the manga Asura simply rage quits the fight and is sealed on the moon. It helps that the finale of the anime does set up this moment, whereas the manga was criticized for not doing a good job of actually setting up some of the stuff from the finale, such as Crona choosing to stay behind rather than be redeemed.
What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?: Among other things, Crona's name is a play on "Kuro na", translating as "dark one". And just for a moment, Lord Death and Asura's competing auras form a yin-yang symbol.
Crona might just be the woobiest woobie that ever woobed.
They may be the biggest one, but they're far from the only one. We have Maka with her massive insecurities, Soul with his inferiority complex (manga only), Tsubaki with her brutal sibling problem, Liz and Patti with their Dark and Troubled Past, Stein with his constant struggle to keep sane, Eruka with her forced servitude to Medusa under threat of death, heck, even Ragnarok could qualify (see Fridge Horror above).
Woolseyism: To reconcile Crona's Ambiguous Gender with English's lack of gender neutral personal pronouns, the English dub has characters default to male pronouns while it's clear that they are only guessing. For Medusa, who obviously knows Crona's gender, the ambiguity is preserved by having her refer to Crona as "it." Which is a perfect way of showing what she thinks of Crona.