Soul Eater is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Atsushi Ōkubo. Set at the “Death Weapon Meister Academy”, the series revolves around three teams, each consisting of a weapon meister and (at least one) weapon that can transform into a humanoid. Trying to make the latter a “death scythe” and thus fit for use by the academy’s headmaster Shinigami, the personification of death, they must collect the souls of 99 evil humans and one witch, in that order; otherwise, they will have to start 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 in 2003. The manga started regular serialization in Square Enix’s Monthly Shōnen Gangan manga magazine from May 12, 2004 to August 12, 2013. The manga has been licensed for distribution in North America by Yen Press. The English translation of Soul Eater was serialized in Yen Press’ Yen Plus manga anthology magazine starting in July 2008, and the first manga volume was released in October 2009. A manga series that runs alongside the main series, titled Soul Eater Not!, began serialization in Monthly Shōnen Gangan on January 12, 2011.
A single drama CD was produced on August 31, 2005, which came bundled with an art book. A 51-episode anime adaptation produced by Bones aired on TV Tokyo in Japan from April 2008 to March 2009; 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.
Soul Eater is set at Death Weapon Meister Academy for short — located in the fictional Death City in Nevada, United States. The school is run by Shinigami, also known as Death, as a training facility for humans with the ability to transform into weapons, as well as the wielders of those weapons, called meisters. Attending this school are Maka Albarn and her scythe partner Soul Eater; assassin Black Star and his partner Tsubaki Nakatsukasa, who can turn into various ninja weapons; and Shinigami’s son, Death the Kid, and his pistol partners Liz and Patty Thompson. The goal of the school’s meister students is to have their weapons defeat and absorb the souls of 99 evil humans and one witch, which dramatically increases the power of the weapon and turns them into “death scythes” used by Shinigami.
Maka and Soul Eater battle the witch Medusa, who forces Crona, her child and meister of the demon sword Ragnarok, to collect non-evil human souls and eventually transform into a kishin, an evil god. Medusa and her cohorts attack DWMA to revive Asura, the first kishin who nearly plunged the entire world into madness before being sealed beneath 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. After Medusa is seemingly killed by meister and DWMA teacher Franken Stein, while Crona surrenders to DWMA and enrolls there.
As a result of Asura’s spreading madness, Medusa’s sister Arachne comes out of hiding and reforms her organization, Arachnophobia, which poses a serious threat to DWMA. Shinigami calls in death scythes from around the world to aid in the fight against Arachnophobia. During this time, Medusa reappears with her soul possessing the body of a young girl, and forms a truce with DWMA so they can annihilate Arachnophobia together. The DWMA students and Medusa’s entourage infiltrate Arachnophobia’s headquarters, where Maka kills Arachne, only for Medusa to betray DWMA, possess Arachne’s body, and brainwash Crona into rejoining her. Meanwhile, Death the Kid is captured by Noah, an artificial construct created from the Book of Eibon. Following this, Maka uses Arachne’s soul to turn Soul Eater into a death scythe. The duo become part of the newly formed meister unit Spartoi along with their friends, who rescue Death the Kid and defeat Noah.
Crona resurfaces in a city in Russia, destroying it and the death scythe stationed there, before being provoked by Medusa into killing her and getting taken by insanity. Maka is ordered by Shinigami to hunt down Crona; while searching for Crona with her powers, she unwittingly detects Asura’s location on the cartoonish moon within the atmosphere. DWMA launches an attack on the moon to defeat Asura, aided by the witches after Death the Kid convinces them to establish a temporary alliance. During the battle, Crona absorbs Asura’s body before being overtaken by him. Maka, Black Star, and Kid eventually restore Crona’s sanity and defeat Asura by sealing him on the moon with his own blood; Crona willingly remains with Asura to keep him imprisoned, and Maka promises to one day rescue Crona. The DWMA forces return to Earth, where Death the Kid becomes the new Shinigami following his father’s death, and establishes a peace treaty with the witches.