Soul Eater, Vol. 15

By Atsushi Ohkubo. Released in Japan by Square Enix, serialization ongoing in the magazine Shonen Gangan. Released in North America by Yen Press.

Soul Eater is a series I love, but it’s also a series that’s very easy to put on my ‘I only have one paragraph worth of things to say’ list, which is why I’ve been reviewing it as a brief for the last two years. With this volume ending the Baba Yaga’s Castle arc, however, it’s a good time to take stock and remind ourselves just why this series works. It’s not just about the awesomely surreal art any more. (Though the art is great… in particular, the use of simple black scribbles to show everyone’s minds being taken over by “spiders” is absolutely horrific.)


The last time I did a big review was Vol. 6, where our heroes ended up losing their battle to stop the resurrection of the big bad. They fare somewhat better here, but it’s still something of a Pyrrhic victory. Arachnae, for all her disturbing spider imagery, was always going to fall into the category of ‘not as interesting as Medusa’. And the astute reader has been waiting for Medusa’s ‘helping’ our heroes to eventually rebound back on them for about 4 volumes, now, so it’s not much of a surprise when it does. (I do wonder what happened to the little girl Medusa was possessing… I assume she lived, but we never do see her again. The anime implied she was returned to her parents and absolutely not mentally scarred by all this, which… seems unlikely.)

And of course our heroes have some casualties of their own, namely Kid, who is still trapped within the villains’ book. This means that Liz and Patty are now a duo like everyone else, rather than a threesome with Kid, and Patty is now the meister. This is dealt with mostly in a lighthearted way (Patty is shown to be hella strong, and also has no qualms whatsoever in fighting dirty when the need arises), but I am hoping that at some point we get an explanation of their backstory, as Liz and Patty just aren’t as developed as the rest of the cast (no pun intended).

The end of one arc means the start of another, though, and there are several things in this volume that point forward to what is coming soon. We discover who the killer of B.J. is, and while it wasn’t obvious, it wasn’t all that surprising either – the killer has always seemed a little fishy throughout the series, so seeing he’s really evil is not that much of a stretch. As for Kim Diehl, it’s a bit of an anticlimax, as the far-too-understanding Shinigami seems to be perfectly OK with “she’s a witch, but not evil, so forgive her”. I wonder if Soul Eater Not! will deal with any of this fallout… assuming it ever catches up to this point in the manga. (I also want to meet her sister, who will inevitably be called Kelly Diehl.) Lastly, Maka and Soul hunt down a serial killer who is an amusing Freddy/Sadako hybrid, and finally gain the Death Weapon status they almost had in Chapter 1 before Soul messed everything up.

Everyone has matured and seem stronger now, which is good, as things are only going to get more dangerous from now on, particularly if Maka is still intent on saving Crona. Soul Eater has rapidly become one of the best shonen series available today. Get it.

(Also, trigger warning for spiders, but honestly, Soul Eater has so many terrifying art things that it seems a bit pointless to just narrow it to one.)

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