Manga Pages: Soul Eater Not! chapter 1

I’m not dead! I’ll be slowing down, though; I was on a manga binge when I started this blog, doing a post every three days, so I’ll be cutting back significantly with two posts a month—still better than dead, right?

Ookubo Atsushi‘s Soul Eater is one of my favorite manga, but it’s no secret that it’s gone downhill since entering the third major arc. Anime Kritik theorized that Ookubo had generally stopped caring about his story, and before he could take another breath, Soul Eater Not! had been announced.

This new story stars a young Japanese girl whom I promise will be voiced by Hanazawa Kana in the anime adaption, freshly moved to America to attend DWMA. Right out of the gate, Maka Albarn shows up to cheer on our new protagonista, and the cameos don’t stop there.

Kilik is seen on this billboard as a “sponsored” meister, which is interesting because Kilik was introduced later into the original manga, whereas now we see his influence on the early part of the narrative. Soul Eater Not! apparently starts around the same time as the original manga, as first evidenced by Sid-sensei still being alive (whereas he’s already dead in his first appearance during Soul Eater chapter 4).

Sid also makes a reference to calling “nurse Medusa” later in the chapter. Anyway, Tsugumi, whom I’m only likely to remember as “Halberd,” is so-far a boring protagonista—I’ve seen too many characters like her to care, unless she shows some spectacular quality. Sadly, nothing about Soul Eater Not! is spectacular as of the first chapter.

Copying Maka's hairstyle to give her confidence was the funnest moment of her character so far.

Soul Eater’s strong point has always been its unique, stylish, and detailed artwork. None of those adjectives describes Soul Eater Not!. The art is simple, not stylish at all, and not particularly attractive. Whereas Soul Eater boasts some of the most memorable and cool character designs around, Not’s characters are utterly forgettable. It feels awkward that this work is being made after Soul Eater, when it clearly doesn’t live up to it. I understand that it may be difficult for Ookubo to do this chapter while also working on Soul Eater, but then why bother?

I think I found my favorite character.

Not! isn’t bereft of potential. It seems like Ookubo wants to treat it as a magical girl/shoujo-ai version of Soul Eater. Maka always felt like a shoujo protagonista to me, so maybe Ookubo wants to tap back into that feeling. Halberd’s relationship with the other two girls will clearly be a focus here, and will likely lead to some buddy-comedy trappings. I’m a fan of that genre, so I don’t hate the idea, but what I’d really like is for Ookubo to focus on making Soul Eater good again instead of worrying about this.

Halberds are my favorite weapons, so I do love their inclusion here.

Honestly, I can’t get my hopes up about Soul Eater Not!. It’d be a different story if Soul Eater was going great and this chapter was released; it’d be a different story if Soul Eater was in the state it is, but Not! had a strong start. With Soul Eater being weak and Not! starting weak, it’s hard to have faith in Ookubo.

At least it ended on this wonderful note.

(Images taken from Mangastream & Bintopia‘s scanslation.)

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