Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Soul Eater Volume 4

By Atsushi Ohkubo. Released in Japan by Square Enix, serialization ongoing in the magazine Shonen Gangan. Released in North America by Yen Press.

The plot is ramping up in Soul Eater, and again I found that there was more here than just the insane art-deco art. The villain is trying to destroy Maka and Soul, and even though they manage to beat off the minor villain sent to help her along this time, there's the sense that it's an ongoing project. Then, after a comedic chapter about final exams, we get a 2-hander devoted to Kid and his two weapons, sent to a haunted pirate ship to investigate a whole bunch of dead souls there. They run into Crona there, who is also trying to collect the souls, and a melee battle ensues.

I note once again how Soul Eater is not afraid to have a very high body count. Lots of innocents die in this, including a cute if grumpy girl ghost who's trying to get Liz to get over her fear of the supernatural. Her whine of 'cowardly oneechan' as she's sucked into Crona's soul bag thing is both amusing and creepy. We also once again see how our heroes are on the more chaotic end of the hero side. Maka and Soul are still fighting down corruption from within, and we see that before they joined up with Kid, Liz and Patty apparently were on the streets mugging and killing people for their money. (Patty is particularly deranged, even for her, in this volume.)

The fights are getting more interesting, with the 2nd half of the battle between Maka/Soul and Free being particularly good. The author also seems to have found the right balance between his oddball sense of humor and serious shonen business, though that may simply be that Black*Star wasn't in this volume quite as much. It looks as if things might get even worse next volume, with Medusa finally being discovered at the school and everyone being sent out to stop her.

If there's a drawback, it's that, like Fairy Tail, I have trouble recalling what happens after I read a volume. This does not happen with One Piece. Soul Eater is quite good shonen candy, but it hasn't yet reached the point where it's a tasty meal yet.

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