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(3.5 STARS) Volume One Is Actually Three Prologues and One Chapter,
This review is from: Soul Eater, Vol. 1 (Paperback)
Some kind of comic is an acquired taste. To some readers, a certain type of artwork, humor or character just doesn't appeal. Atsushi Ohkubo's "Soul Easter" may be one of such examples.
First, "Soul Eater" is NOT a horror manga. It's an action comedy about three "weapon meisters" - a spirited young girl Maka, a (over)confident boy Black Star and ultra-perfectionist Death the Kid - in some alternate universe, where, to turn their partners, or "living scythes," into ultimate weapon called "death scythe," the three meisters have to collect the souls of ninety-nine evil persons and one witch.
The meisters and scythes are also students of Death Weapon Meister Academy. Now one of the Academy's teachers has been turned into a zombie, and Maka and her scythe Soul Eater, and Black Star and his weapon Tsubaki, are given a difficult task (it's a remedial class) to stop their former sensei from attacking the students.
Confusing? I know, but you may forget the details. In short, the comic is about action and jokes (one of the witches is named "Blair") - even though "action" includes cheating opponents. The creator Ohkubo's artwork is often dynamic, but uneven. He is obviously talented, but he also looks as if he is still trying to find his style ("Soul Eater" started after his short-lived comic series "B-Ichi").
Though, at the time of writing this, "Soul Eater" has been serialized in magazine Monthly Shonen Gangan since 2004 (following three "prologues" in 2003-04), but somehow the comic has not attained the same popularity as "Fullmetal Alchemist" published in the same magazine. Such a long-running series (with one anime adaptation) should be as popular as Hiromu Arakawa's hit comic, but it hasn't turned that way.
Volume 1 of "Soul Easter" consists of three "prologues" (originally three separate "one-shot" comics I mentioned above) and "Chapter 1." Perhaps "Soul Eater" has failed (so far) to attract the wide fan base because of its weak storyline including strange narrative structure of the opening chapters. Or maybe it is because of the male characters (whose motives are not convincing) that often act like a spoiled kid. Or too much fan service (which I don't mind).
The first volume (with two-page translation notes) is actually only an introduction of the long series (21 volumes in Japan so far). Fans may say: "Keep reading the series and its story and artwork will get better." I hope so.