At First Glance – Soul Eater

Note: There are spoilers for the first episode of the anime in question in this article.
You have been warned.

Welcome back folks. As a quick reminder for those who are new or have forgotten, the idea of these “At First Glance” things is that I watch the first episode of an anime I’ve never seen and give my thoughts on it. Simple, right? With that out of the way, let’s get down to business.

Soul Eater

Odd as it may seem, I really never knew much about this anime before watching it. I’d seen clips of the anime used in AMV Hell, and I’ve seen some people cosplay as Soul Eater characters in my hometown, but that’s about it. Hell I doubt I even knew what anime the characters were from until now. Point being, I was going into this pretty blind despite this being a fairly popular anime as far as I knew.

As far as the plot goes, episode one of Soul Eater follows Soul Evans/Soul Eater (a human with the ability to turn into a weapon) and his meister Maka Albarn, both of whom are students at Death Weapon Meister Academy. The bulk of the episode, aside from the prologue/exposition dump is Maka & Soul trying to gain the soul of a witch. We’re told that Soul needs to consume the souls of 99 evil humans and one witch (in that order) so he can become a “Death Scythe”.

Unfortunately it turns out the witch they were chasing was just a talking cat called Blair who just happens to have a lot of magical power. As a result, and due to the rules of how this all works, Maka & Soul are forced to start their soul collecting all over again.

Honestly this is easily one of the best first episodes I’ve seen from all the anime I’ve covered so far. Whilst I’ve never found any so far to be bad, this one was very concise without feeling rushed. The episode sets up the premise of this world and show very effortlessly and never made me question it. It also helps that one of the first scenes in the episode proper is just Maka & Soul fighting one of the evil humans. Pretty badass thing to open on.

One thing I might’ve mentioned in a previous article that applies to Soul Eater is that I’m a fan of sexual fan-service being played for comedy. And boy, does this episode have that in spades. The entire dynamic between Soul & Blair is basically one extended nosebleed joke and it’s just hilarious to me due to how they play it. Funnier in retrospect when she turns out to have been a cat the whole time.

Moments like this must be awkward for him to think about in retrospect.

I also can’t really write this without talking about the character Lord Death (known as Shinigami in the Japanese version). I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from this character I guess, but Death turning out to be goofy as hell rather than stoic and serious was a nice surprise. Death Scythe/Spirit Albarn (Death’s human weapon & Maka’s dad) was also a good source of comedy in this opening episode, and the interactions between the two were well done. Definitely hoping to see more scenes with those two.

Overall I am definitely glad I finally gave this show a chance, and I do intend on watching the entire thing. Soul Eater is made up of 51 episodes, though there is also a spin-off show called Soul Eater Not! that was released in 2014 consisting of 12 episodes. Both Soul Eater & Soul Eater Not! are available in subbed and dubbed formats for those interested. If you’ve never watched Soul Eater, I’d definitely say it’s worth a shot.

Well, that about covers it. If anyone has any suggestions for anime I should watch for this in the future, give me a shout and I’ll put it on my list. If it’s already on my list, I’ll bump it up in priority. However if I’ve already watched it then I’m obviously going to have to decline. See you next time folks.

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Video Games That Ruled – Witch & Hero

Witch & Hero is a an action RPG released in April 2013, and is available for download from the Nintendo 3DS store. You control the titular characters, although you play mostly as the Hero. The Witch had been turned to stone in a battle with Medusa, and now the Hero has to take her across the countryside with the hope that he can find a cure for his friend.

This is a very simple game, but that’s part of its charm. Witch & Hero uses NES-style graphics. They’re fairly primitive by today’s standards, but quite effective. The entire game takes place on one of three single-screen locations: the map, the store, and the battlefield.

The map serves as a level select screen, and there are a few hidden locations along the way. You can revisit a level any time you’d like. The store is where you can spend your gold on 5 different upgrades: attack power, defense, speed, fireball, and tornado. The first three are upgrades for the Hero, the other two are for the Witch.

The battlefield is where all the action takes place. The Witch is placed at the center of the screen, and the Hero has to defend her as waves of enemies advance on you. To attack an enemy, simply run into it. If you hit an enemy from behind, you have less chance of taking damage as well. Both the Hero and Witch have their own health bar. When the Hero’s health runs out, he’s knocked down for a few seconds. After that he can get back up and rejoin the fight. The Witch’s health does not refill until you begin a new battle, so you lose if the enemies manage to defeat her. On the plus side, even if the Witch is defeated, you still get to keep half of the gold and experience points you earned in that battle. When you get to the fourth stage, you will be able to pick up “monster blood” as well as gold and XP. When you collect monster blood, it fills in a bar below the Hero and Witch’s life bars. Touching the Witch will give any blood you’ve collected to her. When her bar has filled, the Witch will to come to life for a few seconds and cast either the fireball or tornado spell. This adds a strategic element to the game, as bringing the Witch to life can really help when the screen is filled with enemies.

Overall, Witch & Hero is a really fun, very simple game with a few neat touches that almost anyone could pick up and play. This is great for short sessions, or for keeping you up all night with its “just one more game” style. Also, there is a demo on the 3DS Shop if you’re not sure if this game is right for you.