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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Manga Review: Soul Eater GN 7

Soul Eater volume 7
Author: Atsushi Ohkubo
Yen Press
208 pages

Spoiler warning: Review contains spoilers for the Soul Eater manga so far. Read with caution!

Shinigami-sama summons the strongest weapons from around the world to contain the rogue Kishin and the spread of his madness. As these powerful weapons strategize for what will be the most difficult battle of their lives, the students of DWMA try to get back to their normal lives as best they can. For Maka, adjusting to the dangerous times is nothing compared to Crona's struggle to adjust to life as a DWMA student!

After the conclusion of the First Kishin story arc, how will Soul Eater follow up on such a monumental shift in plot? The answer is apparently new characters, Chrona in school, and . . . a basketball game? But one thing is readily apparent: everything has changed for Maka and her friends, as the threat of the First Kishin hangs heavy over the DWMA, putting everyone in the world of meisters and weapons on high alert to the point that Shinigami-sama has to bring several of these weapons together to combat this new enemy. And as our intrepid gang of DWMA students set off on another adventure whilst dealing with their own various dilemmas, Soul Eater continues to find new ways to combine awesome action and character-driven drama with utterly horrific situations involving magic and science in a stylish way that continues to keep me as one of its avid readers.

A lot of Big Events happen in this volume, including the enrollment of Chrona into DWMA, the arrival of such weapons as Justin Law and Marie Mjolnir, yet another revival of a major villain-type figure, and SPIDERS (seriously, if you have a spider phobia, stop reading before chapter twenty-five. So there is plenty to keep Soul Eater fans on their toes, all waiting to see what happens with each major development that rolls in. But surprisingly enough, even with all these Big Events happening, this volume draws upon one of its major strengths – and that is the strength of its characters and how their actions and motivations manage to keep the series going and keep interest high.

For example, we have our resident weapon and mad man Doctor Stein who has not come out of his fight with Medusa unscathed; he is infected with madness, a madness that is slowly taking over his mind and body like a virus, and not even Spirit or Shinigami-sama himself can ignore how it is affecting him. 

Oh, and Medusa is haunting him hardcore, becoming the speaking avatar of the darkness brewing within him ready to explode. I just cannot be the only one who read the scenes between Stein and this newest form of Medusa and was reminded of the relationship between Gaius and Six in the Battlestar Galactica series; we just need a scene where Stein talks to Medusa and everyone else thinks he is talking to thin air.

So really, it’s a very solid volume of Soul Eater. Sure, characters like Tsubaki and Death’s partners don’t get as much page time as they deserve – which sucks but hopefully will change in the next volume. And the arrival of yet another new villain will most likely put the plot pedal to the metal, which is rather necessary at this point. 

Personally, as long as I see tons of Maka and Stein, I will always be happy with the direction Soul Eater is going in. As long as it doesn’t do something stupid like, say, kill off Stein (right?).