Right, last weekend I took a break from looking at manga due to reviewing the anime shows that were coming to an end, but now normal service will resume. As you can see from the title, I will be sharing my thoughts on Soul Eater spin-off prequel Soul Eater NOT!.
Atsushi Ohkubo wrote and illustrated this manga series that began serialisation in Square Enix’s Monthly Shōnen Gangan magazine on January 12th 2011. It ran until November 10th 2014 and was collected into five volumes.
The manga was also adapted into an anime series, and you can find my review of that by clicking here.
The first volume of the Soul Eater NOT! manga contains six chapters, naturally starting with number one and closing with number six.
Ding-dong! Dead-dong! Class is about to begin, and you don’t want to be late on your first day of school! Join Tsugumi Harudori in the “NOT” class at Death Weapon Meister Academy, a school dedicated to training transforming weapons like Tsugumi and the meisters who will wield them. Many “NOT” (Normally Overcome Target) students aspire to join the elite “EAT” (Especially Advanced Talent) class, but it may take Tsugumi some time to find her confidence – and a partner – at this crazy school!
That’s the blurb, let’s move straight on to the chapter 1: ‘Starting School!’. The manga starts with Tsugumi on the DWMA’s steps where she introduces herself to the readers and then meets with a familiar face for those who have read or seen Soul Eater.
Meme Tatane and Anya Hepburn are also introduced in this chapter – those two girls serve as main characters alongside Tsugumi. We learn a little about their personalities and that they are both meisters. Oh, and we get to see Sid’s appearance from before he became a zombie.
Meme gets hassled by a couple of boys who want to partner up with her, but Tsugumi and Anya step up and they end up fighting – this is the first time we see Tsugumi’s transformation into a weapon in the manga.
At the end of this first chapter, Tsugumi finds herself with two potential partners.
Chapter 2 is ‘Moving In!’, and is all about the girls moving into the DWMA Girls’ dorm. We also get parts where Tsugumi assesses Anya and Meme as potential partners – she calls Anya as beautiful and graceful as a princess, whilst she thinks that Meme has a nice body.
An older student tells the new girls to beware the witch of the girls’ dorm, before showing them round. We meet a fortune teller called Kana and the dormitory superintendent Misery. Misery takes a liking to Tsugumi.
During the night, Misery goes after Tsugumi but Meme fights her off, whilst sleeping. The commotion is soon interrupted by Kim Diehl. Turns out the one who bears the title of ‘witch of the girls’ dorm’ is her, which is pretty funny when you’re aware of Kim’s circumstances.
The chapter ends with Tsugumi, Meme and Anya without any money.
‘$$$! Money! Money! Money!’ is the title of chapter 3. Of course, since the three girls need funds they get a part time job at a café. We are also introduced to Clay and Akane in this chapter – a pair of characters who show up in the later parts of Soul Eater.
The girls are able to earn some money, and they grow closer to each other, what with Tsugumi saying that they should drop the honorifics when they talk.
Chapter 4 is called ‘Traitor!’ and begins with Clay and Akane investigating something for Sid. Classes begin, and Maka and Soul give a demonstration to the NOT students. Akane and Clay arrive late for class and report what they discovered to Sid.
After that, Sid asks everyone to pair up – both Anya and Meme want to be with Tsugumi. Unfortunately, Anya is partnered with someone else instead, leaving Tsugumi and Meme to get all touchy-feely with each other.
Anya walks home alone and ends up being confronted by someone.
‘Reality!’ is the title of chapter 5. It opens with Anya trying to fight against her assailant, but things don’t go her way. Meme arrives and shoves the assailant. She is prepared to fight, but Clay and Akane arrive causing the enemy to flee.
Back at the dorm, Kim puts a plaster on Anya’s wound and leaving.
Jacqueline waits for her outside, but Kim doesn’t stick around.
The first volume ends with chapter 6, ‘How To!’, Tsugumi wakes from a nightmare to discover Meme sleeping in her bed, something she actually does fairly often. Tsugumi tries to learn the reasons for why Meme and Anya are at the DWMA, but they aren’t very forthcoming.
Elsewhere, we are introduced to the main antagonist for this tale: Shaula Gorgon.
Tsugumi ends up talking to Akane and discovering he is from the Star Clan. The chapter ends with him asking Tsugumi if she would like to be his partner.
That’s the first volume of Soul Eater NOT!. Not as action-packed as Soul Eater, but it it does provide an opportunity to learn a little more about the DWMA and some of the characters from Soul Eater.
The cameos of characters from Soul Eater are great, particularly with Maka serving as inspiration for Tsugumi.
Of course, the thing I like most from this is the relationship between Tsugumi, Meme and Anya – there’s plenty going on here for yuri fans, and this is just the first volume.
Tsugumi, Meme and Anya make for an enjoyable trio characters, at least in my opinion and the slice-of-life stuff is a nice change of pace from Soul Eater‘s action. Soul Eater NOT! isn’t completely devoid of action, but that’s something I’ll get to later on.