Soul Eater, vol. 3

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Author’s note: I got sick earlier this week and needed to take some time to rest. I’ll probably post these reviews a little more frequently in order to catch up with the volume I’m currently on.

This series is so much fun to read each day. It switches things up so regularly that it always feels fresh.

This volume had three different stories. The first was about Black Star and Death the Kid going to the top of a… mountain?… to find the sword of Excalibur. Black Star has to tidy the library as a remedial lesson after not collecting a single soul in his last battle, and when Kid visits and tells him about the sword Excalibur, they decide to ditch and go on a quest to claim it for themselves. Little do they know that the person inhabiting the weapon is SO. VERY. annoying. He’s inconsiderate and a terrible listener, and forces the two to listen to him ramble about nothing important. They later put the sword back in its place and go back to DWMA. They make the best face when Excalibur is brought up. I won’t spoil it for you – just Google “soul eater excalibur face” when you have a moment.

The second, easily the best, was a two-parter about Black Star and Tsubaki traveling to a remote village in order to find Masamune, a kishin on the loose. It let us in on the dynamic between those two characters, including the revelation that they were members of rival tribes in the old days. It just so happens that Masamune is Tsubaki’s older brother. It shows us both the lengths Black Star will go for Tsubaki (standing guard by the sword Tsubaki has to jump into to fight Masamune and taking several stones to the head – he’s positively drenched in blood by the time Tsubaki’s done), and also gives Tsubaki some space to break out of her shell. She’s usually a docile girl, but she has to face Masamune on her own. It’s a tough fight, but she perseveres. I loved it.

The last story focused on Medusa and her gang. This one was a bit tough to get through – Medusa does some pretty twisted stuff in order to scare her fellow witches. She orders Eruka, a frog-themed witch, to break a guy out of jail. This guy possesses something that grants him immortality, which she thinks will be useful in fighting our DWMA students. This chapter is more setup for what comes next, admittedly.

I’m starting to repeat myself in these write-ups, but it bears mentioning that I really love the characters here. Ohkubo likes to shuffle the stories up a bit in a way that lets you spend time and fall more in love with each cast member. The Masamune story was a great way to develop Tsubaki’s character, particularly when I was worried she was getting the short end of the stick. By giving some time to the villains, it makes me feel like we’re getting closer to a more obvious, overarching plot. Part of me is anxious we’ll never get there. But with characters this entrancing, I find I can’t complain too much.

Soul Eater is written and drawn by Ohkubo Atsushi and was serialized in Square Enix’s Monthly Shonen Gangan from 2004-2013. It was later collected in 25 volumes. It has been licensed in North America by Yen Press, who released all 25 volumes between 2009 and 2015. Check out Yen Press’ page on the manga here.

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