Anime Reporter returns for the next helping of Soul Eater for manga volumes 11-15. There were so many twists and turns with the last instalment that it was hard to report on without giving away some major plot points but if everyone’s caught up as far as volume 10, we can press on in the wake of some serious drama.
Well, now that we’re all caught up, we can sink our teeth into some serious Soul Eater plot with Volume 11. In the fallout of Joe Buttataki’s murder, all fingers are pointed at Franken Stein, though he’s not taking it lying down. Stein takes up his own investigation under the radar, in an effort to find out who really killed Joe and clear his own name. Maka and Soul start seeing some serious fallout from Asura’s escape. A truly grotesque and unnerving appearance from a clown-demon is balanced by a cartoonish escapade when Blair the cat steals a foe’s hat. This Looney Toons side story eventually proves as disturbing as the maniacal clown with the introduction of some graphic violence and splatter.
Volume 11 also sees the return of unnecessary and gratuitous shower scenes loosely tied in to the storyline. The volume wraps up with the revelation that a few students at DYMA aren’t what they seemed and some bonds are severed without warning. We also see the temporary departure of Black Star and Tsubaki to hone Black Star’s confidence and see if he can’t get his groove back.
Volume 12 give us the return of Medusa, whose been walking around quite creepily in the body of a young girl. Medusa gives Death a dangerous offer and before you know it, she and our beloved gang of mismatched DWMA students are storming Arachnophobia headquarters itself to take Arachne down. This story arc develops through Volumes 13 and 14 as well as significantly into Volume 15. It’s an excellent chance to get to see Ox and Kilik, the newest additions to the spotlight, in action. Ox is a bookish, incredibly serious student whose attacks are precise and strategic while Kilik, who, like Kid Death, works with two weapons, likes to fight with his fists. The two characters introduce a nice note of variety to the action and a surprising level of characterisation and plot development for mid-season additions to the cast.
We also see more of Medusa’s formidable dream-team helping the good guys as they take down Arachne’s base. While the action is constant throughout this story arc, each character has significant growth and development throughout it and this story arc is easily the most dynamic and gripping plot we’ve had so far. We’re treated to a few more surprising transformations from the mysterious Mosquito and Volume 15 rolls to a close with the tension once more being bumped up to new proportions. Joe Buttataki’s murderer is revealed at last as the tale dives into ever darker territory.
Soul Eater Volumes 11-15 expand the Soul Eater world significantly without slowing down on the plot, the dark tones or the action. Villains, heroes and apparent side characters alike all develop significantly, both in terms of power and emotionally. Underneath the supernatural premise and the light-hearted characters, Soul Eater delivers a strong message of loyalty, friendship and staying true to your principals.
Character Development: 9
Plot Development: 8.5
87% – “Hitting the Big Time!” – Soul Eater Volumes 11-15 up the stakes and deliver a story arc that is not only enjoyable reading but is shaping up to be a great story too!