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Soul Eater (manga)

Soul Eater (ソウルイーター Sōru Ītā?) is a Japanese manga written and illustrated by Atsushi Okubo. Set at the "Death Weapon Meister Academy," the series revolves around three teams consisting of a weapon meister and (at least one) human weapon. Trying to make the latter a "death scythe" and thus fit for use by the academy's headmaster, Shinigami (better known as Death), they must collect the souls of 99 evil humans and one witch, in that order or they will have to restart all over again. The manga is published by Square Enix and was first released as three separate one-shots serialized in two Gangan Powered special editions and one Gangan Wing issue between June 24 and November 26, 2003. The manga started regular serialization in Square Enix's Monthly Shōnen Gangan manga magazine on May 12, 2004.




The first bound volume was released by Square Enix under their Gangan Comics imprint on June 22, 2004 in Japan, and as of July 2010, seventeen volumes have been released. The manga has been licensed for distribution in North America by Yen Press. The English translated version of Soul Eater is serialized in Yen Press' Yen Plus manga anthology magazine starting on July 29, 2008, and the first manga volume was released on October 27, 2009.



A single drama CD was produced on August 31, 2005 which came bundled with an art book. An anime adaptation produced by Bones first aired on TV Tokyo in Japan on April 7, 2008, and contained 51 episodes; Funimation licensed the anime series for North American distribution. An action-adventure video game by Square Enix for the Wii was released in September 2008, and an action video game for the Nintendo DS was released in October 2008. Another action game was released in January 2009 on the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable.



Death Weapon Meister Academy.
See also: List of Soul Eater characters
In Soul Eater, meister (職人 shokunin?) Maka Albarn and her weapon partner Soul Eater are students at the Death Weapon Meister Academy (死神武器職人専門学校 Shinigami Buki Shokunin Senmon Gakkō?)—DWMA (死武専 Shibusen?) or simply the Academy for short—located in the fictional Death City,[1] in Nevada, United States. The school has many other students including Black Star with his weapon partner Tsubaki, and Death the Kid with his weapon partners (who are sisters) Liz and Patty. The school is run by Shinigami, Death himself, as a training facility for weapons and the human wielders of those weapons, the meisters.[1] Maka's goal, along with the other meisters, is to have their weapons defeat and absorb the souls of 99 evil humans and one witch, which will dramatically increase the power of the given weapon and turn them into death scythes, weapons capable of being used by shinigami.[1] In the universe of Soul Eater, witches are powerful beings and the natural enemies of DWMA, as almost all of them have a destructive nature and desire chaos.



Shortly after the start of Soul Eater, Maka and Soul Eater face off against the forces of the witch Medusa, who forces her child, the meister Crona and Crona's weapon Ragnarok, to collect non-evil human souls to transform Crona into a kishin (鬼神?), an evil demon god. Medusa and her cohorts attack the DWMA on the eve of the festival commemorating its founding with the intention of reviving Asura, the first kishin who nearly plunged the entire world into madness before being sealed beneath the DWMA by Shinigami. Despite the combined efforts of Maka, Black Star, and Death the Kid, Medusa's group successfully revives Asura, who leaves to spread chaos around the world after a brief battle with Shinigami. However, Medusa is seemingly killed by the meister and DWMA teacher Franken Stein in the process, while Crona surrenders to the DWMA and goes on to enroll there and befriend Maka.
As a result of Asura's spreading madness, Medusa's older sister Arachne comes out of hiding after 800 years. Arachne reforms her organization Arachnophobia, which poses itself as a serious threat to the DWMA. The DWMA calls in the death scythes around the world to aid in the fight against Arachnophobia. During this time, Medusa resurfaces with her soul in the body of a young girl, and forms a truce with the DWMA so they can annihilate the threat of Arachnophobia together. The DWMA students and Medusa's entourage infiltrate Arachnophobia's headquarters where Maka defeats Arachne, only for Medusa to betray the DWMA, possessing Arachne's body and brainwashing Crona into rejoining her. Meanwhile, Death the Kid is captured by Noah, an enemy posing as the former meister Eibon. Following this, the meister unit Spartoi is formed at the DWMA to take down Noah, and Maka finally succeeds in turning Soul Eater into a death scythe.



Differences in the anime adaptation
The anime series deviates from the manga considerably after episode 35. The anime series faithfully adapts the plot of the manga until after the DWMA's first major battle against Arachnophobia, upon which it deviates from the original plot considerably. After giving the DWMA information on Arachnophobia, Medusa takes advantage of Stein's increasing madness to lure him away with her. The DWMA manage to bring back Stein, and Maka defeats Medusa. Meanwhile, Arachne finds and forms an alliance with Asura, intending to spread his madness across the world. In the ensuing confrontation between the DWMA and Arachnophobia, Shinigami and Asura resume their fight, which ends with Asura defeating Shinigami, turning on Arachne and eating her soul. In the final battle, Maka, Black Star, and Death the Kid defeat Asura, and the world returns to normal.
Development
After the end of his first manga series, B.Ichi, Atsushi Okubo created a one-shot story called "Soul Eater" published in Monthly Shōnen Gangan. Japanese readers were so fascinated by it that Okubo created two other one-shots called "Black Star" and "Death The Kid". The results were high and the editor Gangan Comics asked Atsushi Okubo to create a series from his one-shots that became the introduction chapters to the final manga series Soul Eater.[citation needed]



Atsushi Okubo reveals that he creates the main characters by inspiring from his personality; like the dunce for Black Star, the order for Death The Kid or the fun for Patty. Other characters like protagonists and antagonists are created from his imagination and also from his previous favorite manga, like the sun and the moon smiling over Death City are inspired from his favorite manga Dr. Slump because it used many nonliving objects as if they were humans. Unlike many shōnen manga, Soul Eater's main character is a teenage girl, Maka Albarn, because Okubo felt that readers would be more interested than with a male character. The background and design of Death City, the main town where the characters are living, is mainly inspired from Tim Burton and David Lynch films.[citation needed]
Media
Manga
See also: List of Soul Eater chapters
Soul Eater began as a manga series written and illustrated by Atsushi Okubo. The manga initially began as three separate one-shots serialized between June 24, 2003 and November 26, 2003 across two manga magazines published by Square Enix: first in the summer 2003 special edition of Gangan Powered,[2] followed by the autumn 2003 special edition of the same magazine, and finally in Gangan Wing. The manga started regular serialization in Square Enix's Monthly Shōnen Gangan manga magazine on May 12, 2004. The first bound volume was released by Square Enix under their Gangan Comics imprint on June 22, 2004 in Japan, and as of July 22, 2010, seventeen volumes have been released.[3] The manga has been licensed by Yen Press for distribution in English in North America. The manga was initially serialized in Yen Press' Yen Plus anthology magazine, the first issue of which went on sale on July 29, 2008.[4] The first English volume of the manga was sold on October 27, 2009; the second was released on February 23, 2010.[5]
Drama CD
A drama CD was released on August 31, 2005 by Square Enix entitled Soul Eater (Vol. 1): Special Social Studies Field Trip (ソウルイーター(Vol.1)特別社会科見学 Sōru Ītā (Vol. 1) Tokubetsu Shakaika Kengaku?).[3] The CD came bundled with an art book and a script of the CD dialogue. Of the cast used for the drama CD, only Black Star's voice actress Yumiko Kobayashi was retained for the anime voice cast.




Anime
See also: List of Soul Eater episodes
A 51 episode anime adaptation was directed by Takuya Igarashi, and produced by Bones, Aniplex, Dentsu, Media Factory, and TV Tokyo; Bones and Aniplex were responsible for the animation and music production respectively.[6][7] The anime's scenario writer was Akatsuki Yamatoya who based the anime's story on Atsushi Okubo original concept. Character design was headed by Yoshiyuki Ito, with overall art direction by Norifumi Nakamura.[6] The anime's conceptual design was done by Shinji Aramaki. The episodes started airing on April 7, 2008 on TV Tokyo, and two animated specials aired on May 29 and June 1, 2008.[8] The episodes also aired at later dates on TV Aichi, TV Hokkaido, TV Osaka, TV Setouchi, and TVQ Kyushu Broadcasting Co.[6] The final episode aired on March 30, 2009. The first DVD compilation volume was released on August 22, 2008 with the first three episodes. The second DVD compilation volume was released on September 25, 2008 with episodes four through seven. Each DVD volume will be released in monthly intervals.[9] The anime was licensed by Funimation and will be releasing the series in four half-season DVD box sets starting with the first volume in February 2010.[10] All 51 subtitled episodes are available on Funimation's website, along with the first twenty-four episodes dubbed in English. Soul Eater is Bones' third anime series to run with 50-51 episodes, after 2003's Fullmetal Alchemist and 2005's Eureka Seven.
The anime was regularly broadcast Mondays at 6:00 pm on TV Tokyo. The official Japanese website of the Soul Eater anime series announced that each episode will air in two different versions: the regular Monday 6:00 p.m. version and a late-night "Soul Eater Late Show" version. Special footage was added at the start and end of the commercial break; the next episode preview was also different from the regular version. The dual broadcast of this supernatural action series was being billed as the "world's first evening and late-night resonance broadcast". The "resonance" term refers to a story concept in which the characters, such as the heroine Maka and her living weapon partner Soul Eater, achieve maximum power by synchronizing their souls.[11] MTV Portugal premiered Soul Eater on February 1, 2010.[12] In the Philippines, Soul Eater aired in a Tagalog version over the cable channel Hero TV which will last from April to June 2010.
Video games
Soul Eater: Monotone Princess (ソウルイーター モノトーン プリンセス Sōru Ītā Monotōn Purinsesu?), an action-adventure video game exclusively for the Wii and developed by Square Enix with Bones was released on September 25, 2008.[13] in Japan only. Grimoire (グリモア Gurimoa?) and Ponera (ポネラ Ponera?) are two original playable characters exclusive for the game designed by the author, Atsushi Okubo. Ponera is the Monotone Princess and Grimoire is known as Noah in the manga. Soul Eater: Plot of Medusa (ソウルイーター メデューサの陰謀 Sōru Ītā Medyūsa no Inbō?) is an action game produced by Namco Bandai Games for the Nintendo DS and was released on October 23, 2008.[14] Soul Eater: Battle Resonance (ソウルイーター バトルレゾナンス Sōru Ītā Batoru Rezonansu?) is a fighting game produced by Namco Bandai Games for the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable and was released on January 29, 2009.
Music
Six pieces of theme music are used for the episodes; two opening themes and four closing themes. The first opening theme is "Resonance" by T.M.Revolution for the first thirty episodes, and the single was released on June 11, 2008. The second opening theme is "Papermoon" by Tommy heavenly6 from episode thirty-one onwards; the single was released on December 10, 2008 by DefStar Records. The first closing theme is "I Wanna Be" by Stance Punks for the first thirteen episodes, and the fifty-first episode; the single was released on June 4, 2008. The second closing theme is "Style" by Kana Nishino from episode fourteen to twenty-six; the single was released on August 13, 2008 by Sony Music Entertainment Japan. The third closing theme is "Bakusō Yume Uta" (爆走夢歌?) by Soul'd Out's Diggy-Mo from episode twenty-seven to thirty-nine; the single was released on November 26, 2008 by Sony Music Entertainment Japan. The final closing theme is "Strength" by Abingdon Boys School from episode forty through episode fifty; the single was released on February 25, 2009.[15][16]
The first character song maxi single sung by Chiaki Omigawa (Maka) and Kōki Uchiyama (Soul) was released on August 6, 2008 by Aniplex. The second single by Yumiko Kobayashi (Black Star) and Kaori Nazuka (Tsubaki) was released on September 3, 2008, and the third single by Mamoru Miyano (Kid), Akeno Watanabe (Liz), and Narumi Takahira (Patty) was released on October 1, 2008. Two original soundtracks for the anime were released on August 27, 2008 and March 18, 2009 by Aniplex. The theme song for Soul Eater: Monotone Princess is "Soul's Crossing" sung by T.M.Revolution, and is included on the "Resonance" single.[17]
References
1. ^ a b c "Story section at anime's official website" (in Japanese). http://www.souleater.tv/story/index.html. Retrieved 2008-04-20.
2. ^ "Summer 2003 issue of Gangan Powered" (in Japanese). Square Enix. http://gangan.square-enix.co.jp/powered/2003summer.html. Retrieved 2008-04-20.
3. ^ a b "Books section at manga's official website" (in Japanese). Square Enix. http://gangan.square-enix.co.jp/souleater/books/. Retrieved 2008-04-20.
4. ^ "Yen Press Announces Titles to Run in Anthology Mag". Anime News Network. 2008-04-19. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2008-04-19/yen-announces-titles-to-run-in-anthology-magazine. Retrieved 2008-04-19.
5. ^ "Soul Eater manga English volumes". Yen Press. http://yenpress.us/?page_id=451. Retrieved 2008-08-11.
6. ^ a b c "Soul Eater (TV)". Anime News Network. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=9070. Retrieved 2008-04-14.
7. ^ "TV Tokyo: Soul Eater - Staff, Cast" (in Japanese). TV Tokyo. http://www.tv-tokyo.co.jp/contents/souleater/staff/index.html. Retrieved 2008-04-14.
8. ^ "Two Soul Eater Anime Specials to Air in Japan". Anime News Network. 2008-05-17. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2008-05-17/two-soul-eater-anime-specials-to-air-in-japan. Retrieved 2008-05-17.
9. ^ "Goods section at the anime's official website" (in Japanese). http://www.souleater.tv/goods/index.html. Retrieved 2008-06-02.
10. ^ "FUNimation Adds Soul Eater Anime from Media Factory". Anime News Network. 2008-12-31. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2008-12-31/funimation-adds-soul-eater-anime-from-media-factory. Retrieved 2008-12-31.
11. ^ "Soul Eater to Air in Japan in Two Weekly Versions". Anime News Network. 2008-02-12. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2008-02-12/soul-eater-to-air-in-japan-in-two-weekly-versions. Retrieved 2008-04-17.
12. ^ "Soul Eater Episodios [Soul Eater Episodes]" (in Portuguese). MTV Portugal. http://www.mtv.pt/programas/Soul-Eater-t1/. Retrieved February 7, 2010.
13. ^ "Soul Eater: Monotone Princess Released Date and Price Confirmed!" (in Japanese). ASCII Media Works. 2008-06-20. http://news.dengeki.com/elem/000/000/087/87928/. Retrieved 2008-06-21.
14. ^ "D-pad and Touch Pen Resonance Operation Soul Eater: Plot of Medusa to Be Sold This Autumn" (in Japanese). ASCII Media Works. 2008-06-20. http://news.dengeki.com/elem/000/000/087/87608/index.html. Retrieved 2008-06-20.
15. ^ "Abingdon Boys School's "Strength" single". CD Japan. http://www.cdjapan.co.jp/detailview.html?KEY=ESCL-3171. Retrieved 2008-12-14.
16. ^ "Music section at anime's official website" (in Japanese). http://www.souleater.tv/music/index.html. Retrieved 2008-04-20.
17. ^ "T.M.R to Sing the Theme Song for the Soul Eater Wii Game!" (in Japanese). ASCII Media Works. 2008-05-12. http://news.dengeki.com/elem/000/000/079/79362/index.html. Retrieved 2008-06-04.

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