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Soul Eater Vol. #09 Manga Review

4 min read

 With the desert level done, we’re on the the snow level to retrieve the next objective!

Creative Staff
Story/Art: Atsushi Ohkubo
Translation/Adaptation: Jack Wiedrick

What They Say
Crona’s loyalties are torn as Medusa regroups and plots to beat both DWMA and her sister, Arachne, in the arms race for Eibon’s demon tools. As the madness of the Kishin continues to spread, Maka, Black*Star, and Kid begin even more rigorous training to master their weapons and work together as a team. Will they be ready to face Arachnophobia in time for their next mission? Or will internal strife tear them apart?!

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Soul Eater likes to take breaks between it’s action set pieces, and this volume opens with both a bit of levity and some disturbing foreshadowing.

Chrona finds himself being torn apart by his fear and obligation to his mother, and his developing relationship with the DWMA students. Chrona is forced to set up our favorite instructor to take a fall. Any time Chrona is on page you know it’s going to be bad news, and I really feel for the poor abused kid.

All of the pent up fan service and humor are packed into one side story chapter right before the next big battle starts up, and it’s about as nonsensical and ridiculous as you would expect. The so called worst DWMA student, named Hero, decides he will partner with the Holy Sword Excalibur and become the greatest Meister. Excalibur is personified as this bizarre cartoony thing with a top hat and long nose, and he is the most annoying creature in existence. This is a brilliantly illustrated chapter, with a hilarious internet meme-like example of how Excalibur’s mere presence is enough to drive people into loathing. What follows is the quickest rise to power and downfall yet seen in Soul Eater, and a typically quirky entry into their wide world of weird.

With that diversion done with, the hunt is on for next demon tool, which is located in a destroyed laboratory in the arctic. The setting feels like an excuse to have a snow battle and for the leads to power up yet again. Before they can leave they have to master group resonance, which proves to be a complicated task do to clashing egos.

I’m honestly surprised at Maka’s reaction to the whole training, and then her taking a punch from her classmate as a goodwill gesture. Her tantrum was a bit off-putting from a lead, even if I could see where she was coming from. I’m not convinced that their differences could be worked out so easily.

When the group arrived on the deserted island I wondered at the instructors’ logic of sending the students to stand guard. Surely they were expecting greater resistance from the enemy forces. Shonen logic gaps aside, the set up puts the usually trio and their weapons right into the center of the upcoming fray. It also gives a second student trio a chance to show off their moves while the adults that are there take on their own opponents. However, the action cuts off mid battle as the instructors take heavy damage, leaving Maka, Kid and Black*Star stepping in to take up the mission.

The book closes with the usual author extra comic, which is shorter than usual and still makes no sense.

In Summary
Soul Eater succeeds at being consistently entertaining, even if the quirky sheen is slowly rubbing off. The race to gain the upper hand over the newly arisen Arachnophobia continues to force the kids to step up their training, to mixed results. The action scenes are still fun to watch play out, and the art is still weird, whimsical and well drawn, even if the fetch quest style narrative is reminding me of level progression indicators and skill trees. I long for another big clash, and hopefully the next volume can provide one.

Content Grade: B
Art Grade: A –
Packaging Grade: B
Text/Translation Grade: B +

Age Rating: 16+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: May 29th, 2012
MSRP: $11.99

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