Thursday, August 26, 2010

Soul Eater DVD Box Set Review: Part the First

The first volume of “Soul Eater” was quite entertaining and I have to admit that my favorite episodes are the ones that feature the ninja meister “Dark Star”. A young and brash kid who thinks of himself as the best hero out there despite not receiving the attention or respect of his fellow students and those who he tries to save. But overall, each of the characters have been quite fun and it’ll be interesting to see if more characters will be added and what kind of missions that these groups will take on. You can easily tell that the first round of episodes are more or less, character development episodes. They feature a lot of action but it’ll be interesting to see if the episodes will retain its humorous and action-driven flair or will it get more serious.

Overall, “Soul Eater – Part One” was a fun and action-packed anime series which left me wanting more! Definitely an animated series worth checking out!

Maka is a Meister and Soul is her Weapon. As students at the Grim Reaper’s Death Weapon Meister Academy, their study habits couldn’t be more different. But in battle against the supernatural forces of evil, they’re a freakin’ lethal team.

That’s when Soul transforms – literally – into a razor-sharp scythe, and every defeated wicked soul he sucks down makes him more deadly. That’s when Maka unleashes the merciless slayer within, wielding her partner and dropping monsters. Seriously. Monsters. Like the witches, werewolves, and zombies that lurk in the shadows and feed on the souls of the innocent.

Every freakish ghoul Maka and Soul take out strengthens their bond, and fighting alongside their fellow Meister/Weapon classmates, Maka and Soul are the world’s last line of defense against evil.

Soul Eater DVD Box Set One

A sound soul, resides in a sound mind and a sound body was narrated by one of the main characters of the popular Anime series, Soul Eater. The show took Japan by storm as BONES and Square Enix, companies that brought you the popular Full Metal Alchemist and Final Fantasy Saga, bring a unique style of animation, story and characters, different approach to anime. Soul Eater was soon license by FUNimation, who has given America and other English Speaking countries Full Metal Alchemist.

The story revolves around a young female meister, Maka Albarn, and her Human Scythe Weapon, Soul Eater, as they try to recover ninety-nine Kishin souls (evil souls) and a witch soul, to create the Ultimate weapon, Death Scythe. The Grim Reaper (Shinigami-sama) is in charge and founder of the elite school just for meisters and weapons, Death Weapon Meister Academy (DWMA) (Shibusen). Also, the story revolves around other main leads as well, along with Maka. The arrogant Assassin, Black Star, and his Demon Tool Weapon Partner, Nakatsukasa Tsubaki, as they also complete the their mission of creating a Death Scythe. Last but not least, the Symmetrical-obsessed son of the Grim Reaper himself, Death the Kid. With his two demon twin pistol partners, Elizabeth (Liz) and Patricia (Patti) Thompson, also known as the Thompson Sisters.

Disc One Cover

The First Box Set includes Two Discs containing episodes one through thirteen. The first three episodes are prologue episodes, introducing the three main meisters and their partners. After episode three, they encounter the notorious scientist, Franken Stein, who was said to be the strongest meister to ever graduate DWMA (stated by Lord Death himself). Black Star, Maka and their partners try to stop Sid and Stein as they battle it out against the three-star meister.

Following the Stein arc, Death the Kid asks (forces) his father to enroll him and the Thompson Sisters at his father’s school. At his first day of school, he encounters and engages in a duel with Black Star and Soul, who decided to become partners with them to defeat Kid.

In later episodes, we encounter new antagonists that will be the stepping stone for the next DVD box set presented by FUNimation. The gang meets Witch Medusa (who is an undercover nurse at the academy), her Black Blood Experiment Crona and Ragnorak, the immortal werewolf, Free and a few more witches. Along with them, but not on the same team, Tsubaki confronts her brother and her past as she and Black Star battle it out to stop him from becoming a full-fledge Kishin.

Disc Two Cover

The voice talent, both in English and Japanese, has some powerhouse actors, bringing the characters to life. Kobayashi Yumiko had reprises her role as Black Star from the Drama CD and was the only voice actor from the early Drama CD cast to be casted into the anime adaptation of Soul Eater. The award-winning voice actor Miyano Mamoru voices Death the Kid and Uchiyama Koki voice Soul Eater. Both Miyano and Uchiyama worked on Square Enix’s Kingdom Hearts video game series. Maaya Sakumoto also voices the Black Blood Antagonist, Crona.

In the English side of things, Laura Bailey was casted as the lead character, Maka Albarn. The popular and lovable Todd Haberkorn voices Death the Kid and Brittney Karbowski voice her first male role as Black Star. Other powerhouse senior Voice Actors are Vic Mignogna as Maka’s perverted, womanizing father and current strongest Death Scythe, Death Scythe (Spirit). Chuck Hurber as the sadistic Stein, Luci Christian as Witch Medusa and Travis Willingham as the invincible Free.

Both the Japanese and English Cast also has some rookie and first time voice actors make their debut in Soul Eater. Omigawa Chiaki made her debut as the heroic heroine Maka Albarn. Narumi Takahira also made her voice acting debut as the hilarious, over excited Patti Thompson and Uchida Yuuya as Franken Stein.

Micah Solusod is new to the Voice Acting gig, but in Soul Eater he has a major role as he voices Maka Albarn’s cool partner, Soul Eater. Along with Micah, Maxey Whitehead voices Crona, who is also voicing Alphonse Elric in the newly restored anime, Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood.

Soul Eater Bonus Sticker

The DVD box set part one has special features and bonus material that any anime fan would enjoy. The special features an episode seven commentary in Disc one, with Laura Bailey, Micah Solusod and the ADR director of Soul Eater, Zach Bolton. In Disc two, textless opening and endings and the Late Night Soul Eater Specials (still in original Japanese context). Lastly, every box set includes a bonus collectible sticker.

Soul Eater Part 2 DVD box set is set to release March 30, 2010, including episodes fourteen through twenty-six.

As a fan of the Japanese version of Soul Eater, I just adore having this box set. Having the original Late Night Specials when I wasn’t able to view all thirteen of the specials back in 2008, I was fortunate and happy that I bought the box set and that FUNimation decided to included them in the DVD.

For the English Dub cast, I was doubtful when I heard some of the cast announcements. Some of the voice actors I was familiar with, others I had never heard of until I looked up their roles on Wikipedia. I was somewhat relax when FUNimation gave us a preview of the first three episodes with the respected actor voicing their character. Some did a fantastic job, other actors didn’t do so well.

When I received my copy of the box set, I watched episodes one through thirteen in English, laughing and screaming at the horrific voices. For the last year, I was so used to my favorite Japanese Seiyuu that I didn’t keep my mind open at all when I watched it. However, I didn’t give up on the series. I continue to watch the series and sooner of later I got use to the voices and started to like the English roles.

Actors I would like to acknowledge their acting in this beloved series are Todd Haberkorn as Death the Kid. As much as I love Miyano Mamoru as Kid, I thought his voice was too low for the part, but both Todd and Mamoru did a magnificent acting job at this dynamic character. Todd’s voice range for the spoiled rich son of the Grim Reaper was simply perfect. Todd’s performance was way beyond from what I expected and he definitely out did himself in this role.

Micah Solusod is another I would like to acknowledge, having only a few roles so far in his career has made a new stepping stone for himself as Soul Eater. Playing the cool guy, Micah really nailed the part and has definitely brought cool factor in Soul. However, Micah does sound similar to Johnny Yong Boush (Kurosaki Ichigo from Bleach), confusing many viewers out there.

Vic Mignogna was one of the actors I had my doubts on. He is famous for his role as Edward Elric in Full Metal Alchemist. He is a very good actor, but having the image of Edward Elric screaming for Maka was very odd to see. However, when the dub release the first episode, my worries about Vic voicing one of my favorite characters dissipated.

It took me awhile to accept it, but Brittney Karbowski as Black Star was one of the actresses I thought FUNimation made a mistake on. Not myself, but other fans didn’t like her voice. Acting wise, she’s perfect, but the tone of her voice was way too feminine that Black Star’s partner, Tsubaki, had a deeper voice (voiced by Monica Riel). However, after watching the dub a few times, I started to like Brittney as Black Star. It was hard to adjust from Yumiko as Black Star, since Black Star is my favorite character in the series, but I learned to like Brittney and I could not think of another actress who could voice my overzealous character.

Overall, I had mix feelings about the English release. I was skeptical about some of the voice talent, but I overcome that sooner or later. The special features were a bit lacking, for as I am a fan of English Cast Outtakes (Ouran High School Host Club outtakes are great!), which I was hoping for, but unfortunately it wasn’t available for this box set and the next box set coming out on March 30th.

Scanned by MasterChick. All images and rights belong to FUNimation and BONES.

The main characters of “Soul Eater” Part 1 are:

  • Maka Albarn – One of the primary characters who is dedicated as a scythe meister of the demon scythe known as Soul Eater (Soul Evans). She and her partner Soul Eater want to collect 100 souls in order to make Soul Eater into a Death Scythe and surpass her father Spirit, who she doesn’t get along with. She cares about her partner Soul.
  • Soul Eater (Soul Evans) – Maka’s partner and a cool person who loves to eat souls and crazy about sexy women with big boob. He and Maka tend to argue quite a bit but he is loyal to her.
  • Black Star - A very egotistical young ninja/meister who thinks he is the best there is. He is the sole survivor of his Black Star ninja clan and is partners with Tsubaki. He is very athletic and very persistent but at the same time, sometimes his emotions get in the way and thus prevents him and his partner from collecting souls.
  • Tsubaki - Black Star’s partner and is a “dark arm” weapon. She can turn into various ninja weapons and in human form, very calm and quiet girl.
  • Death the Kid – The son of the Shinigami and partners with Liz and Patty Thompson. He is a powerful fighter but is obsessive compulsive about things being in symmetry and that everything must be balanced in his life. This obsession also affect his focus.
  • Liz and Patty – The weapon partners of Death the Kid. They can turn into guns. The eldest Liz tends to bicker with Death the Kid but is often scared while Patty is always cheerful. These two can wield each other if needed.
  • Shinigami (Lord Death) – The founder and head of Death Weapon Meister Academy. Often secretive and playful.
  • Spirit Albarn (Death Scythe) – The weapon of the Shinigami and also the father of Maka who is divorced from her mother and is often drunk and messing around with women. All he wants is his daughter’s attention but she doesn’t give it to him and thus it makes him depressed.
  • Dr. Franken Stein – The mad scientist of the Academy. Always wants to research and dissect things. Also, a three star meister who can fight.

Soul Eater Episode 42 Dubbed "Charge!" Part 1/2[HD]

Charge! Baba Yaga's Castle: Why is Everything Suddenly so Unclear?
As Shibusen prepares for a huge battle against Arachnophobia, it becomes clear that Marie and Crona are the only ones who can deal with Medusa without breaking the deal with Shinigami. Meanwhile, Maka, Soul, Black Star, and Tsubaki, go to Baba Yaga's castle whil Kid goes to retrieve the latest demonic tool.