Great Reads for Teens and Tweens!

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Soul Eater, Volume 1 by Atsushi Ohkubo

Title: Soul Eater

Author: Atsushi Ohkubo

Publisher: Yen Press    Year: 2009

ISBN -13: 978-0759530010

Genre: Manga

Age: 14 and up

Themes / subjects: Science fiction, fantasy, comics & graphic novels, manga, weapons, school, death


Plot Summary:

Death Weapon Meister Academy (DWMA) is a school run by Shanigami Death where students (meisters) are partnered with living weapons and trained to battle and absorb evil souls. The goal of  meisters and weapons are to absorb the souls of 99 evil humans and 1 witch, greatly increasing the weapon’s power and transforming them into death scythes which can be used by Shanigami Death. Volume 1 of Soul Eater follows the individual adventures of Meister Maka Albarn and her weapon partner Soul Eater, Black Star and his weapon partner Tsubaki Nakatsukasa, and Death the Kid with his weapon partners Liz and Patty Thompson. The biggest issue is not the evil minions they face, but their own “quirky” personalities!

My Take:

This was my first Manga read and came highly recommended from one of my students who actually let me borrow her copy. A word to the wise, figure out how to read the book first! Soul Eater is a Japanese manga which is read right to left or “backwards” to the American reader. I didn’t realize this at first and was very confused because the story didn’t seem to flow right but a couple pages into it, I got it.

With that said, I am hooked on this series! I found the complexity of the meisters relationship with their weapons to be very intriging. Maka is a young, cute schoolgirl yet her weapon Soul is obnoxiously brash. Assassin Black Star considers himself a big show-off while his weapon Tsubaki is sweet and tries to keep him in line. Death’s kid is completely nuts about symmetry to the point he can’t continue his task if he thinks the toilet paper at home is not folded correctly. His twin weapons Patty and Liz don’t understand his problem but they still love him anyway. Despite the characters obvious personality differences, they work extremely well together and in fact make excellent teams. This goes to show that the most unexpected persons can make great partners.

Manga is a very unique and distinctive art style that is specific to Japanese graphic novels, typically intended for adults. Ohkubo’s chiaroscuro panels, askew close-ups, and quirky style blend to create supernatural worlds with a Halloween feel.

Soul Eater is a dark comedy/action series meaning it contains violence and some sexual content. I think it’s important to note that this book and its characters are not violent for the sake of violence, but rather they are battling demons and evil souls in an effort to save their world and mankind. Know your teen and what they can handle!

** Soul Eater is also an anime series (available through youtube) which I found to closely follow the book in both design and dialogue. Here is a link to the first episode

Rating: 5/5 stars … this book left me wanting more!

Similar Read: One Piece by Eiichiro Oda

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