Friday, December 14, 2012

Manga Review: Soul Eater Not! Volume 1

And now for today's regular review, won a copy of this in a contest from The Manga Critic although I'll admit that I did read some of this story as scanlations. I stopped once Yen Press started serializing it in their magazine, since it wasn't a manga I enjoyed enough to pay for an entire magazine each month but I'm not going to be such a big douche that I'd continue to pirate it, and also from the summaries I was reading it seemed like the story was starting to make less sense as time went on. So I was curious, would I still enjoy these early parts or has my love for Soul Eater faded entirely by now?

Soul Eater Not! by Atsushi Ohkubo

Summary: Set shortly before the main Soul Eater starts, Tsugumi is a new student and DWMA and unturned weapon whose excited and scared to start this new life. And so far it's up and down, she has people fighting over being her partner but they're all girls and some of her other classmates are mean. But all in all things seem to be going well, although there are some darker things going on behind the scenes.

The Good: There's a surprising amount of background information in this series which, while not vital (why some of the students have weird names, more on how DWMA works) I'm a bit surprised some of it didn't make it into the main story (like the third Gorgon sister). So if you like Soul Eater then yes, check this out, it's a fun companion to the story, however if you haven't read Soul Eater I'm not sure how much you'd enjoy it (especially since I think SE is the stronger of the two). 

The Bad: Yeah just for some reason this story just isn't grabbing me as much anymore, before I thought the relationships between the three girls was rather cute but now it comes off as pandering and just rather dull. I think part of the reason Soul Eater worked was because the characters weren't raw newbies and here none of the characters seem to know what they want to do yet and it's a bit dull. There's nothing new on the take and filling in details for the main series (which I stopped reading awhile ago after getting frustrated at it) can only go so far. 

The Art: I'm not sure why but Yen went with a different kind of cover for this book. Instead of being a straight up luster (shiny) cover it's actually matte (not shiny) with raised shiny bits for the title, a bit like embossing. It's pretty nice, the cover has a nice texture to it, although it did throw me off when I opened up my package. In any case, the art is what Soul Eater itself looks like these days (which has evolved a bit since it's early days, it's a little more rounded and cutesy but still recognizable) and it works. Ohkubo can draw fairly good fight scenes and the characters look distinct enough, although honestly that's because everyone's hair and clothes are rather distinct, just look at the cover to see how similar the faces are....

So I suppose if I found future volumes of this at the library I'd get them but otherwise I don't feel a burning need to own this series. As for SE, honestly I'd like to buy it digitally up to where I stopped liking the series (around 14 or so, Yen hasn't even gotten to their yet) but you have to buy it through the Square Enix shop and last I checked you have to have a PC to read the manga and frankly I don't want to have to install a completely different operating system and dual boot my computer just to read manga. So for the moment I'm in a bit of a pinch, I don't have the space to buy these series but would like to support the part of the story I did really and truly enjoy, Square Enix can you guys just get with the 21st century and update your store? Please?

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