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2045 is decent enough despite looking like shit (even the opening CG looks worse than the opening of the original SAC); but it would be borderline unwatchable I think if Netflix had Evangelion'd the SAC cast. I don't think anyone not as comfortable with the material and the characters would be able to save it like this.

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So I tried to give Soul Eater another chance last night and not much doin. I watched the first episode quite a while ago and wasn't really feeling that either, though now I have an even stronger grip on the problem than I did before: it still comes down to the dialogue.

Simply put (and I do mean simple), it sounds like they translated the lines from Japanese into a decent state and then called it a day. I suspected this was the case before, but I've since learned and seen a little more on subs to grasp that as the core problem. It seems Japanese have certain tendencies about their language and culture that while understandable in English, is either pretty straightforward or presumably not as awkward to say.

The obvious source of that habit here would be the emphasis on a particular thing like Maka being called flat chested--you get it, but you also notice how awkward and/or repetitive they are to include in the script. That's something that I knew the Japanese think more casually about and likes to toss in where they can for humor, but I don't believe it reads well in English and you could even argue it's a less than comfy thing to talk about outside of more slice of life contexts. The climax of the first episode noticeably did it in what was supposed to [appear to] be a cruel sharp turn of events, but it just kinda makes you grimace and feel it could've been expressed differently--hold on to that thought.

The second episode is less awkward, but definitely more repetitive and thus less interesting/tolerable as Black Star seems to have a neutral Napoleon complex obviously due to being the little kid of the cast(or most of it anyway). Which I guess is a fun idea in tandem with his shared ninja motif, but him literally using the words "Big Man" to describe himself everytime kinda took away from the comedy and made him feel more one dimensional. The episode overall felt like it had a specific direction and yet also didn't because while it was mainly about establishing Blackstar & [scythe maiden] as characters, there honestly wasn't anything encouraging me to care about them compared to Maka & [Shark teeth]. I was already playing a game on my phone while I was watching it, but I honestly felt more engaged with the rather lowkey play compared to the episode because the latter was more rudimentary than it needed to be and there was less attention required to follow what very little was going on.

Which is the main issue I have with this show thus far: everything expressed through the script feels so literal and there's no pizzazz to any of the rather basic characterization and storytelling going on, even for the very beginning of a show. Focus on Black Star here, the word big is one of the broadest words out that even toddlers learning to speak grasp as one of their most important words, likely due to being easy to use yet important for comparison; that means there's a large number of synonyms and associated words that can used in its place for a variety of reasons, but they insisted on just having him say that consistently even though he accurately cites astronomy as a category as well as a theme.

So let's apply that one of his exchanges with his partner(Tsubaki?) for example: I believe he said something about her and everyone not being much compared to a big man like him or some shit like that? Well why not change that interaction to have him claim she looks up to him? 1. It's obviously varying up the terminology, 2. it inherently brings age into the conversation, emphasizing that he's a little kid, and 3. there's even a little humor to him saying that, given that she acts his humoring mentor but mainly due to how she's clearly one of the taller characters whereas he's the shortest. That's just something I pulled out once I noticed that angle, but it goes to show how the dialogue could've had a bit more life to it to go along with the attempted emphasis on the show's quirkiness.

But as all that dialogue talk hammers in again, it's that the show itself is either not being sold that well or maybe even doesn't have much going on even for where it's at. From the getgo, Souleater is a show that feels like "boy, the Zanpakto Arc of Bleach was cool!" being explored alongside the weirdness of something like Panty & Stocking or Bobobo Bobo-Bobo. The characters are agents of the Grim Reaper going around collecting the many souls of bad guys like monsters, witches, and gangsters to  rise up in their grade level or something while keeping them under control. While it's been enough time that I don't remember much of the specifics, I will say that the first episode was comparatively more engaging in establishing the leads, the dynamic regarding their pairing ([Sharkteeth] was a rogue weapon, right?), and their dual motivations in tandem with their connection to the Grim Reaper and his scythe-man; as an aside, it was also neat how the three put in a brief appearance in the second episode, even if [Shsrkteeth]'s relevant line did nothing to actually help Blackstar be established beyond stating the very general given.

It's just that, while it's good to establish your main cast at the beginning so you can accustomed to them for the journey ahead, I'm kinda not seeing any hint of where this can go even with the intro showing more significant characters? It feels like it's trying to be character based hijincks in the meantime before the plot itself comes about and I realize I'm literally only two episodes in, but again they didn't do much to earn my interest or entertain between the Blackstar duo being bland templates for a funny character with "depth" and Maka's somewhat interesting premise having had a questionable joke about their goal at the end of the debut. So both the humor and to a lesser extent writing are a bit lacking to start off with.

The next episode is about Death the Kid and those twins? Idk, getting mixed vibes from that; maybe it'll be better than the first two combined and actually encourage further watching or maybe it'll just be another eh that'll verify my original decision to not bother. We might see. 

 

EDIT: It's marginally better and even declares that the prologue is over so the real story can begin, funnily enough.

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