Soul Eater – The Perfect Edition GN 4-6 – Review

volume four of the perfect edit go Soul Eater in pure action and shonen mode. It’s the classic setup of an evil villain waiting at the end of a group of enemies, with each of our main characters battling an established baddie as they fight for the fate of the world. The main event is the rematch between Maka, Soul, and the Ragnarok duo, and it’s grade A shonen fighting goodness. While the various beats it plays are pretty standard, they’re delivered with the series’ signature style and Ohkubo’s over-the-top choreography, and thus land with plenty of impact, especially once “crazy” Maka takes control and offers some of the silliest and creepiest. cute faces ever put on the page.

Although the fight itself ends up a bit disappointed. There’s a lot of talk about Maka resonating with Soul and giving into black blood, but that ends no matter much, as the fight resolves to a classic power-of-friendship conclusion. Don’t get me wrong: Crona’s backstory is emotionally moving, and Maka reaching out to them with unconditional compassion is probably the character’s best moment in the series so far. But it doesn’t quite match the tension and personal stakes that led to it, and it leaves the entire story of black blood feeling underwhelming when it should be a huge turning point.

But the star of the show here is Kishin himself, as the rest of the cast unsurprisingly fails to prevent his awakening. The sequence of Free and Eruka approaching his resting place is the most palpable horror in the manga thus far, and is followed by a gloriously disgusting sequence of body horror as Kishin is literally put back in his place. In classic Big Bad fashion, he crushes our heroes with barely a whisper, and the only downside is that his fight with Lord Death has to be cut short so we can prepare for the next arc. Again, that’s predictable for this kind of shonen story, but it’s still a bit daunting to close things out with the dangerous new villain on the run. This is also supposed to be a display of what Lord Death is capable of himself, and it ends up being a pretty disappointing display for the guy.

Fittingly, Volume 5 is all about setting up the new conflict, introducing new characters on both sides as Ashura’s awakening stirs up the rest of the world. On the good side, we are introduced to three of Lord Death’s other Death Scythe weapons, each with their own quirks and powers. And like much of Ohkubo’s extended cast, they’re a mixed bag to begin with, as we initially learn about them through their unique comedic antics. Marie Mjolnir has a great design and a nice personality, but she’s also obsessed with finding a husband, and that joke gets old fast. Likewise, Justin Law is a great fighter and has an interesting backstory as a solo Demon Weapon who became Death Scythe at only 13 years old, but his joke about always having his headphones worn out in record time. Azusa Yumi has probably the best powers of any weapon outside of Tsubaki, but she defines herself as the straight female of the group and doesn’t have much to do initially. They’re not terrible, but by the end of the volume she really wanted to see them get serious and stop being silly. This formula works well with kids because we already know their personalities beyond the tired gimmicks, but it’s a chore to go through with a bunch of new people.

The real delights come with the introduction of the new villains. Ashura himself is still in the distance, but his resurrection spurs the rebirth of Arachne, a powerful spider-like witch who immediately steals any page she finds herself on. Her subordinate weapon, Giriko, leaves a bit to be desired, as she initially feels like a meaner version of Free. But her chainsaw powers make for some wild fights that more than make up for her retreaded personality. His (?) diminutive butler, Mr. Mosquito, has a flashy, cartoony design that makes him stand out from the other Ohkubo villains, and his condescending attitude towards Giriko gives this new main group a lot of life. of villains. Throw in the return of Medusa, possessing the body of an innocent girl no less, and we have a great new group of villains even before the return of Mifune, who was forced to fight on her side under the threat of Angela’s life. .

The next volume is more scattered as we now need to introduce a common goal for the parties to disband while Ashura remains an imminent hypothetical threat. This comes in the form of a quest for Demon Tools, crafted centuries ago by a mysterious sorcerer named Eibon and scattered throughout the world. Volume 6 is booked with two different missions for these tools, offering some of the best action in the series so far.

The children’s skateboard race against an enchanted train through the desert is a real highlight. It’s a unique, fast-paced action setting, coupled with a three-way fight between the Kid and Arachne and Medusa’s sidekicks that works as a great show and a nice highlight for the main kid who had less to do in the arc. previous. The final battle in a snowy maelstrom doesn’t come to a conclusion in this volume, but it does have a lot of great and classic shonen moments for some of the supporting cast. Sid and his partner Mira, along with Death Scythe Azusa, have a fantastic, tactical fight against Mifune that showcases Ohkubo’s enhanced eye for close combat, packed with many clever twists involving both the snowy landscape and the zombie body. from Sid. Meanwhile, a secondary team of DWMA students really shines in place of Maka and company, which is always welcome in battle series with large casts. The big and important fight is of course reserved for our main team, but it’s still nice that Kirikou and his team can show their stuff for a bit.

Outside of the action, the forces of darkness are still active in other ways. Ashura’s awakening is causing a stir of madness among the general population, and especially Dr. Stein, who is slowly being consumed by the darkness within him. But the real kicker is when Medusa comes back into Crona’s life just as they start making friends at DWMA, and convinces her abused son to betray them and become her spy inside the school. After the progress we saw Crona make after his fight with Maka, it’s truly heartbreaking to see him regress, retreating into the madness and fear that once defined his entire personality. It’s by far the most affecting character arc right now by miles, easily overshadowing the fairly easy teamwork lessons Maka and Black Star face during a training chapter here.

Unfortunately, there’s a big, nasty pimple on the face of volume six, and its name is Excalibur. For reasons I can’t fathom, the story breaks into a whole chapter of comedy about Hero, a total joke character, teaming up with Excalibur to take over the school and get revenge on everyone who looks down on him. As someone who also loves to commit to overly long bits of comedy for the sole purpose of annoying the reader, I can at least appreciate the idea behind Excalibur, but that doesn’t make its dialogue any less tedious to sit through. Throw in a few unnecessary skirt-flipping and breast-groping jokes and you have a chapter that encompasses all the worst elements of Soul Eater here, breaking the growing tension of his story and character arcs. Perhaps this would have worked better on the original collected volumes, but with the perfect editThe expanded chapter count per book absolutely eliminates the strain while reading the volume on its own.

That blemish aside, these volumes represent a solid, if somewhat inconsistent, new arc for Soul EaterThe general history of . The biggest complaint, aside from Excalibur, is that the ever-increasing scope of the story leaves Maka and Soul feeling underutilized and out of focus. Perhaps that’s to be expected as a series with such a large cast continues, but after their partnership defined much of the conflict before this, it seems the series doesn’t know what to make of them, aside from occasionally hinting at a return. of the black blooded devil. But on its own, this is an effective, often exciting part of the narrative and offers some fantastic highlights.