First Impressions Digest – Mangaka-san to Assistant San to, Soul Eater Not!

Mangaka - 01 -2 Mangaka - 01 -12 Not - 01 -13 Not - 01 -14

I don’t deny the real title is factually accurate, but I really think this should have been called Soul Eater Why??

Mangaka-san to Assistant-san to – 01

Mangaka - 01 -1 Mangaka - 01 -3 Mangaka - 01 -4
Mangaka - 01 -5 Mangaka - 01 -6 Mangaka - 01 -7
Mangaka - 01 -8 Mangaka - 01 -9 Mangaka - 01 -10
Mangaka - 01 -11 Mangaka - 01 -13 Mangaka - 01 -14

Mangaka-san to Assistant-san is about as straightforward as it gets.  This is ecchi and silly and makes no pretense at being anything else, though it does get a little more earnest at times than what we saw in the premiere.

This is half-length (with full-length OP and EDs) and based on a 4-panel manga from the same author as Doujin Work.  Short format is probably for the best here, in hindsight – this series is like Seitokai Yakuindomo in that it’s basically a machine-gun of ecchi humor, and that series probably would have worked better for me if it hadn’t been full-length.  Most of the humor is derived from the mangaka’s unapologetically ecchi nature and the way his female assistant and editor react to it, and probably the funniest thing in the premiere is Matsuoka Yoshitsugu’s balls-out performance as that mangaka, Aito Yuuki.

This one isn’t going to win any awards for enlightened approach to gender politics, the ZEXCS animation is – well, ZEXCS, and most of the comedy is decidedly on the dumb side.  But it’s sort of fun, like the manga is, and at least for me I actually laugh when I’m supposed to a decent percentage of the time.  I certainly won’t be blogging it but this is a show that makes for pretty respectable escapist entertainment.

Soul Eater Not! – 01

Not - 01 -1 Not - 01 -2 Not - 01 -3
Not - 01 -4 Not - 01 -5 Not - 01 -6
Not - 01 -7 Not - 01 -8 Not - 01 -9
Not - 01 -10 Not - 01 -11 Not - 01 -12
Not - 01 -15 Not - 01 -16 Not - 01 -17
Not - 01 -18 Not - 01 -19 Not - 01 -20

I didn’t have high expectations for Soul Eater Not! (which is why I didn’t include it in the preview) despite being a reasonably big fan of the original series.  Or perhaps it might be just as truthful to say it’s because I’m a fan of Soul Eater.

When I first saw the announcement for this prequel/spinoff manga, my first thought was “Wow – it sounds like Ookubo-sensei is blatantly trying to cash in on some of the most banal trends in the industry.”  Then I read some of the manga, and my reaction changed to “Wow – Ookubo-sensei really is blatantly trying to cash in on some of the most banal trends in the industry.”  Still, I love Soul Eater and I love BONES so here I am.  But things are what they are.

There’s no mistaking what Soul Eater Not! is – it’s a cute girls being cute series designed to milk the franchise for more cash by cutting straight to the Blu-ray market.  It’s like seeing an old friend after a long absence, and they’ve become a twisted and deformed version of themselves – you recognize them, but it’s impossible to miss that something terrible has happened to them.

If this sort of show is your thing, I think you’ll find SEN! to be perfectly fine – Ookubo is not a hack by any means, and the production is adequate (though it’s singularly mediocre by BONES standards).  Nevertheless I don’t personally feel this style plays to Ookubo’s strengths as a writer and the whole thing  – the fanservice, the moe, the revealing pratfalls – feels every bit as calculated and pandering as it is.  It may very well be that eventually this series proves that it has some reason to exist besides the most crass and cynical (I never found it in the manga before I bailed), but the occasional glimpse of a familiar face and the beloved setting aren’t enough to keep me around to find out.  Ookubo-sensei has every right to sell out and make as much off his property as he can, and I have every right to choose not to follow along.

One final thing must be said, and that’s the original Soul Eater adaptation – with which BONES did a very good job – was left hanging, and that series really deserves a proper conclusion in anime form.  But I think it’s a good bet that series wouldn’t sell as many discs as this one will, so I suppose the parties involved are simply making the smart financial decision.

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15 comments

  1. S

    Gee, I'd like to hope this is a prelude to Soul Eater getting the Brotherhood treatment – that would be great. But it doesn't sound likely.

  2. I wouldn't stake the ranch on it. As I recall, the first SE didn't sell all that well on disc.

  3. To clarify that, SE averaged 3766 for 13 volumes. That's probably marginally profitable (though at 4 eps per volume, maybe not), but not enough for a sequel. The thing is, I very much doubt the original SE would ever have gotten an adaptation at all today – and certainly not an initial 4-cour commitment.

  4. M

    Should really finish Soul Eater! I like it better than Brotherhood.

  5. w

    There's so little of the stylishness and flair here that made Soul Eater such a fun watch. I've only read a few manga chapters, but it seems they're really stretching this one out as well.

  6. i

    Seitokai Yakuindomo was also just sexual innuendos all the time, but that is that, sexual innuendos. Mangaka-san to Assistant-san to is just full out sexual assault. It just felt really lazy when I was watching it and it took me until half way in for me to even be able to try to enjoy it.

  7. m

    Haha I was not expecting Mangaka-san to Assistant-san to be that type of show, but I was laughing almost the whole time. I wasn't sure what type of show it was. usually I don't get Japanese style humor, but this one worked for me. It never ceases to amaze me at how different Japanese and American cultures are. From bigger things like senses of humor (is there any sarcasm in Japan at all) to seemingly smaller but indicative of much bigger differences like the number of times I hear someone say some form of "I was being conceited/don't be so full of yourself" over something that Americans would call basic knowledge not being full of yourself. Not that one culture is better or anything, just that I find myself struggling to understand why things are considered funny, or why characters say/act a certain way.

  8. G

    I'll be honest, I actually enjoyed the first episode. For what it is, the execution isn't bad. I have a feeling my interest will dwindle as the show goes on because from what I can see, comedy is its main driving force. You just have to treat it like a spin-off that intends to milk the franchise rather than something to satiate the creative desires. It's the same with Watsuki-sensei restarting RK – to cash in on the popularity of the franchise. Actually, it's a tad baffling considering the original Soul Eater didn't really sell that well………I have a hard time seeing SEN will make a difference even when it specifically panders to otakus. I HOPE it sells because god knows Bones needs some real profit. I'll stick around for now.

  9. That's basically where I'm at – I hope it sells, because if crap like this is the toll to be paid to allow BONES to continue to try and do things differently, then so be it. They actually seem to be doing pretty well with Noragami (V1 is over 6K now, and will climb tomorrow) and Space Dandy was surely successful for them given how happy CN is with the ratings.

  10. G

    Ugh…I don't know why it doesn't let me reply in the same thread. Anyways, yeah..I'm surprised how well Noragami is doing (big whoorah). I desperately wants that show to do well because we need a second season. Actually, I found it odd Bones decided to drop the "father" bomb at the very last minute….because in the manga, he doesn't come out until after the Bishamon arc gets resolved. We would need two more cours if Bones wants to get to that part of the story with a comfortable pace.

  11. R

    This is unrelated to the post, but since I saw the conversation about profits and sales it reminded me of a question I wanted to ask.

    Enzou, any idea when actual sales numbers for Hoozuki will be out? I'm genuinely curious as to if it sells as well as the preliminary results imply. Like, really really curious. Because, just like you, it'd be a huge surprise for me, but a very nice one.

  12. Next Monday US time.

  13. C

    I kinda wish I lived in a world where SEN was never adapted by bones but what can you do….

  14. e

    >Cute girls doing cute things
    >Apparently turning into weapons,fighting with said weapons, and trying to find yourself is just cute things
    Good to know

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