If you haven’t seen Soul Eater then cover your ears because there will be spoilers in this review. Soul Eater Not! is a slice of life anime revolving set in the same world as Soul Eater where some humans have the ability to turn into weapons. The plot mainly revolves around Tsugumi Harudori: a halberd who enrols at the DWMA (Death Weapon Meister Academy) which we are told has two classes: EAT and NOT. The EAT (Especially Advantaged Talent) class is the one that Maka, Soul and all the characters from the original Soul Eater are in. It is the advanced class where students go out into the field and hunt witches etc. The NOT (Normally Overcome Target) class are the rookie students who are not expected to do any physical fighting. Tsugumi is put in the NOT class where she meets Meme: a girl who loses her memory on a daily basis, and Anya: the daughter of a noble family. Both are meisters (and pretty good ones at that), and both want to partner up with Tsugumi, but she feels she must choose as it is unheard of for a weapon to have two meisters (although a meister can have two weapons).
The rest of the story revolves around the “will they/won’t they?” thing, but there is also a witch named Shaula Gorgon (as opposed to Gorgon Zola!), who is trying to destroy the DWMA using her scorpion powers. Her antics make for some pretty dark scenes in an otherwise harmless anime. For example, one of the girls in the dorm is called Eternal Feather: a switchblade weapon who gets caught by Shaula’s mind control and is ordered to cut her own throat. She is saved by Doctor Franken Stein from the original Soul Eater. Other characters you’ll know and love from Soul Eater also make the occasional appearance including Maka, Black Star, Tsubaki, Death the Kid, Liz, Patty, Sid and Soul Eater himself.
If you expect Soul Eater Not! to be more of the same, you’ll be in for a nasty shock. This anime is nothing like Soul Eater. In fact, if it weren’t for the DWMA, the returning characters and the name, you’d think you were watching something completely different. Soul Eater was very “to the point” and full of action. Soul Eater Not! is much slower paced and plays out more like a comedy romance anime with very little action for the most part. Personally, I wouldn’t have minded seeing a slice of life comedy revolving around Soul Eater, but I’m sure that exists as fan fiction somewhere in the bowels of the internet.
Some parts of this anime left me feeling confused. I can’t reveal them, but you’ll know them when you see them, particularly near the end. I’ll just say that the ending isn’t jaw dropping or unexpected. There is actually a manga for Soul Eater Not! in fact, I’ve seen it in book shops. I can’t say for certain what possessed Atsushi Okubo to write Soul Eater Not! but he supposedly started writing it while Soul Eater was still ongoing (I haven’t actually read the manga by the way!). All I can deduce is that it takes place before the events of Soul Eater because Sid is still alive and Death the Kid hasn’t partnered up with Liz and Patty yet. I would actually be tempted to recommend Soul Eater fans not watch this. It has its moments where the old characters do cool stuff that gives you that satisfying feeling, but the rest of the anime is just not that good. Maybe just watch the bits with Soul and Maka and skip out the rest.