Hi guys I am 8theGreat and I was extremely obsessed with Soul Eater (errr, mostly Death the Kid...) from mid 2011 to early 2013. Maybe most of the way through 2013 too..... it was a bad time.
But you probably already knew that.
As fate would have it I am revisiting the series after some time away from it. As I was watching the first episode and half of the second episode I was talking about it on the Random wall thinking I would just spout off a few throw away a few nostalgic comments, but as it turns out I actually have quite a bit to say about it from a new perspective.
Obviously I held this series in pretty high regard for a long time. Let's see if it holds up to my current standards.
I don't expect anyone to see this so it's mostly for myself to take notes as I watch. I kind of want to do some sort of full essay about it in the future about why I loved it so much and what it means to me even now.
I might even try to convince some that Soul Eater had some genuinely good themes and even symbolism, because I've always felt that it has, though I seem to be in the minority here. At the very least I'm the only person I've ever met or even seen that feels this way about this series.
Either way I want to document my thoughts/feelings as I watch. Though I doubt
anyone will see this forum feel free to follow along and read through it if you'd like.
I'll watch the anime first and hopefully revisit the manga as well.
Edit 1: I'm going to add a sort of _table of contents_ so later if I just want to find my thoughts on a specific episode I can just go to the page it's on instead of searching through pages and pages of disjointed fluff. Since it's getting pretty clear that this is going to be pretty long it'll just save me some time later_
Edit 2: Okay so I know I said I'm taking notes and thats true but I also tend to be the type of person that talks to the TV during shows and movies, especially when I like whatever I'm watching. I would talk out loud while watching Soul Eater (and I did while I was watching while working when the internet was out) but since I've been doing this ~formal re-visitation~ at night while my significant other is asleep I've also been doing this as a means of talking out loud without actually talking out loud. I admit this fact. It has 2 purposes. Why am I bringing this up? Good question.
Edit 3: am also going to add a sort of, like, tally of themes I've noticed in the show? Just to keep track of different things and see how they tie up and are explored as the show goes on and so when I say "the themes" it's more clear what exactly I'm talking about.
Table of Contents
Episodes 1 & 2 link
First long-form post about Death the Kid, episode 3, thoughts on Prelude, start of episode 4 [u]link
End of episode 4, start of episode 5 [u]link
End of episode 5, limbs look oddly long, start of episode 6, staircase to nothing [u]link
End of episode 6, disjointed Lolita garbage, second long-form post about Death the Kid, start of episode 7 [u]link
End of episode 7, Redacting previous statement about a thing, "I can't believe you've done this." reference, start of episode 8 [u]link
End of episode 8, start of episode 9 [u]link
End of Episode 9, Excalibur Antics, Start of episode 10 [u]link
End of Episode 10, Start of episode 11 [u]link
End of episode 11, episode 12, start of episode 13[u]link
Theme... Counter? Table? Tally? Graph? Theme thing. The themes. (as noticed thus far)
obviously is one and I would say that madness is the main theme of the show.
of course, but more so how this ties into the general idea of insanity. Maka and Soul's arcs goes into this theme and explores it in the most depth.
●Order vs Chaos
Another major theme of the show. A little bit more nuanced than the typical "good vs. evil" you see in a lot of shows of this nature.Still a bit cut and dry as to what we're supposed to side with at least in these earlier episodes. Kid's obsession with symmetry is a direct part of this theme although many other characters also play an important role with this theme.
I hesitate to call this a specific theme so much as something the show features. Parents are a lot more present in Soul Eater than they are a lot of other anime or even other media with the same target demographic. Medusa and Spirit are directly opposite as parents and their children reflect this. Again I'm hesitant to really put this under a "theme" as Soul Eater doesn't really provide any sort of commentary or major narrative stuff about it but I still felt like the fact that some of the parent characters take active roles in the story and we see how their parenting has made an impact is worth acknowleding.
Aren't really a theme but they're there all the time. It's the show's aesthetic. Okubo is actually pretty good at drawing them I noticed while looking through the manga. just.... a side note. Side boob? Side note.
Oh and on that note
Again not so much a "theme" as much as a feature and something Soul Eater is exceptional at. I've talked nonstop since starting this about the show's keen aesthetics and how everything is so consistently aesthetic while everything also has a distinct aesthetic. The world really feels unique and well crafted in this regard. Although come to think of it Kid is always like "SYMMETRY IS MY AESTHETIC" and Soul is always like "THAT'S NOT COOL" so maybe there's more to this. Either way it's clear to see that Okubo has a keen eye for aesthetics and studio Bones was able to recognize this and put it into the show wonderfully.
●Religion, and religion vs science?
This is definitely more of a thing in the manga but Soul Eater contains some religious iconography and undertones. They're literally following the orders of a God without question. Spirit's tie is literally a cross shape. Black Star wants to transcend the Gods. Justin's entire character. I also don't think that the fact that Medusa and Stein- the two characters we see that most fall through the cracks of what this society considers moral- are both scientists is a coincidence. The religious iconography is what made me think about this show's themes all those years ago to begin with.
[u]Individual character arcs/themes[/b]
●Maka and Soul
- Fear, strength, madness, trust. Overcoming impossible obstacles.
- Overcoming impossible obstacles, self confidence.
●Death the Kid
Order and aesthetics.
Madness, following one's own morality. In general being a sort of moral grey area. Slipping through the cracks of an imperfect society.
Boobs lol. Also parenthood. Little bit on the moral grey area as well.
Madness. Chaos more than that though. Parenthood but the bad kind. Perhaps a bit of a moral grey area on this one too.
Madness, fear, fear resulting from low self esteem, low self esteem resulting from traumatic upbringing. Innocence being tainted for the sake of ideology/science? Whether or not someone can truly be faulted for their actions if they're being manipulated.
Will of course add to these.
Iconography and Motifs
Gonna fill this section up with stuff that reoccurs in Soul Eater that is core to the identity of the show. Mostly visual things that both do and don't relate directly to the themes if at all. Too tired to go on but I'm adding this now so I don't forget later.
Pic is one of many fanarts I drew of Death the Kid in high school. It's cropped though because the original was too large.
It was actually one of the last pieces of Kid I drew before I slowly started drifting away from both Soul Eater and art for many reasons. It seems rather fitting in this way.