Soul Eater Not! – 02

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Yes, yes it is. Welcome to Death City, Tsugumi.

Hey, lvlln here back to blogging after a season-long hiatus. Unfortunately I couldn’t return in time for the first impressions post, but going forward I’ll be taking over this show from my able mates Fosh, OC, Kara, and Skylion. I watched the main series a few years ago and loved it to death, filler ending and all, but I do know to temper my expectations as this series is very explicitly Not! going to be like that one.

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Anya’s clearly just jealous she wasn’t invited to yuri bondage night.

Maybe it’s premature to say just 2 episodes in, but I’m starting to feel that this show has a pacing problem, one that I’m having a hard time putting my finger on. In the 45 or so minutes of the show so far, we’ve seen Tsugumi enter DWMA in Death City, Nevada, meet some classmates, find her dorm, and get a part time job. What vast ground it covered in the span of half of a feature-length film!

Well, that’s not being fair to Soul Eather Not!, since that’s not really everything that’s happened. We had a couple cool cameos from main series heroine Maka Albarn and a fight with bullies in the 1st episode, and we had a creepy and violent encounter with the dorm witch and some of Anya’s back story in this one. Such events have injected enough excitement into the episodes that they were almost never boring.

Yet I can’t shake the feeling that something’s off. Maybe it’s that the characters have been flat. The bullies in the 1st episode were far too comically evil to take seriously; they may as well have been cardboard cutouts with Post-It notes on their faces saying “needlessly mean-spirited character to challenge the protagonists so they get to know each other (and maybe believe more in themselves).” The main characters themselves aren’t all too intriguing either. Tsugumi is our heroine of course, the 1st among equals like Maka among the trio of Meisters in the main series, but what reason is there to root for her other than that she’s the designated protagonist, and she has a positive and bouncy but self doubting personality that’s oh so moe? And don’t get me started about her issues with her chest size. I can’t say Meme has left much of an impression on me either, outside of her sleep-martial-arts demonstration in this episode.

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It was short, but this action scene was directed very well, with great animation supporting it. I hope to see more such scenes in the future.

Anya (I keep mis-typing that as Yayoi despite never having seen an episode of Precure in my life)’s given us more to chew on thanks to her flashback and shopping spree this episode. Certainly this thread has huge potential, but so far it’s been nothing but cliches. Things like having every hour of her life controlled at home, her finding fascination in mundane aspects of commoner life, or her lack of care or skill managing small amounts of money. Oh, and she’s quite clearly a classic tsundere for Tsugumi. I’ve been slowly falling in love with Saori Hayami in the last year, and she’s done a fine job with her Mamiko Noto voice as Anya, but she’s not enough to carry the character.

Speaking of voice actors, I’ve enjoyed relative newbie Haruka Chisuga‘s Tsugumi quite a bit. She captures the character’s earnest but unsure energy very well, like a child trying to keep her balance walking on a narrow ledge. More than anything, it feels like she’s channeling Hibiki Tachibana from SapphoSymphogear, a role played by Aoi Yuuki, voice of co-protagonist Meme in this show. Yuuki is an industry vet despite being a little younger than Chisuga, and I’m sure her performance will be great when it comes time for Meme to shine. I’m pleased as ever hearing Chiwa Saito in her brief appearance as savior/extortionist Kim Diehl. I know Kim was in the main series, but my memory of her is nonexistent, and I’m hoping she will have a recurring role rather than just a cameo, just to hear more of Saito.

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Loved Kim’s entrance here. And the short pink hair gives her a passing resemblance to my personal favorite anime character.

This episode wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t enthralling either. I’m just desperately waiting for something to latch onto so that I can feel invested in these girls. Comparing a 51 episode shonen with a 12 episode school comedy probably isn’t kosher, but Soul Eater proper had a goofy and exciting start that demanded attention, very much unlike this series. And just between you and me, I had gotten the impression from the 4 or so pages of the Soul Eater Not! manga I read that this was an alternate universe story with Maka doing cute things rather than a side story within the same universe, so I may be a bit disappointed that I have to watch 3 whole new cute girls doing cute things. Well, let’s be honest here, I’m mostly disappointed that Chiaki Omigawa will be – at best – a recurring character instead of the main character whose voice I’ll get to hear constantly. Oh well. It’s still early, and there’s plenty of time for these new cute girls to do cute things that will make me fall for them, like Maka doing badass things that made me fall for her.


A math/science geek and a self-dubbed cynical optimist. I don't care if it's deep, if it can make me feel something or laugh, it's fine in my book. @lvlln
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23 Responses to “Soul Eater Not! – 02”

  1. skylion says:

    I’ve already fallen for Anya. She’s made of tropes at this point, but it’s a good canvas to work on.

  2. HannoX says:

    This episode was a letdown except for the brief appearance of the Dorm Witch and the crazy house mother and Meme’s sleep fighter battle with her. I realize these are new characters and it is titled Not!, but it is set in the same world so hopefully the next episode will have some of the inventive insanity of the original series.

  3. Di Gi Kazune says:

    I just realised… this season is filled with lolicon shows more than usual…

    Somehow, I’m glad I’m no watching them…

    • BlackBriar says:

      Let’s see. Black Bullet (or BB. Don’t anyone dare mix it up with my name!), Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka?, Hitsugi no Chaika, No Game No Life, Seikoku no Dragonar, Selector Infected WIXOSS, Soul Eater Not!

      Yeah, that is quite a handful of series that have lolis in them.

  4. Wanderer says:

    And just between you and me, I had gotten the impression from the 4 or so pages of the Soul Eater Not! manga I read that this was an alternate universe story with Maka doing cute things rather than a side story within the same universe, so I may be a bit disappointed that I have to watch 3 whole new cute girls doing cute things.

    Do you really think Maka would be suited to that? No, this is a side story set prior to the original Soul Eater that shows us the lives of the average DWMA student, rather than the crazy-talented ones who filled the original. In the process we will (and already have) learn a great deal more about DWMA itself, how the school functions, student life, Death City, and pretty much everything the original series didn’t take the time to go into because it was too busy focusing on shounen action to bother with explanations. It is exactly the sort of thing side stories are for, so I welcome it.

    • lvlln says:

      Well, Evangelion Angelic Days is a thing, so I thought it would be along those lines. Though I guess Soul Eater didn’t have an in-universe alternate universe to turn to like in the case of Eva. In any case, exploring the mundane everyday life of DWMA certainly does sound fun and should provide opportunities to make these girls really shine.

  5. Highway says:

    I still love this show to death, and I don’t know why. I didn’t feel like they didn’t get anything done, it felt like they were blazing along with stuff: Dorm introduction, cafe, Anya’s affinity for the things ‘commoners’ do, which I think is played very nicely – not contemptuous, not just “oh how quaint”, but that when she does those things she wants to do them well. My one wish is that Anya would be a little more honest with herself and with her new friends, because she’d enjoy herself more.

    • Highway says:

      The one thing I can’t get used to is Tsugumi’s collar or whatever that thing around her neck is. What is it????

      • skylion says:

        At first, we could have mistook it for an airline/long a$$ trip neck pillow thingy. But she still has it now! The long journey to Death Valley is over, dear. What are you anticipating?!

        • Overcooled says:

          I thought the exact same thing and every time I see her I feel frustrated that she’s not taking it off.

  6. BlackBriar says:

    So you’re not even allowed to have a dull day in the dorms. Tsugumi can officially kiss her nice, quiet, everyday life goodbye. Experience is a great teacher so maybe she’ll put together her own school survival guide. Evading the dorm witch Kim Diehl will be a crucial part to keep in mind. The moment an allowance spending limit every week was mentioned, I knew some of them were going to blow it on frivolous stuff.

    The sad part is Anya. She shows she’s capable of being a nice character that’s getting to know about the outside world, enjoying a less uptight lifestyle instead of one where one must uphold a prestigious image and follow strict schedules yet she forces herself behind a rude, tsundere, “everything is beneath me” high and mighty façade. It’s such a shame.

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