Soul Eater NOT! is a spin off story of the popular shounen manga Soul Eater (a personal favorite). The story takes place before the events in Soul Eater and it’s recommended that you read Soul Eater first so you’re familiar with all the terminology.
The story is about three girls; students of Shibusen (DWMA) in the NOT program, rather than the main series students who were in the EAT program. Soul Eater NOT! is more of a slice of life story, making it vastly different from the parent manga. In fact, the main character is having difficulties changing into a weapon in the beginning, whereas in the beginning of Soul Eater they were just about to collect their 100th soul.
NOT! is the slice of life manga that Soul Eater could have been if it weren’t a shonen. That being said, it’s unlikely that there won’t be any action in it, but there’s going to be less compared to it’s parent. As of volume one, the character doesn’t have much direction; she doesn’t know what to do and is pretty easily influenced by others. I expect her character will develop a deeper personality as the story goes on. All of the characters in the manga have their own quirks and motives that make them unique, making for a very diverse cast. Soul Eater spends less time in the actual school setting, so you’re never given a chance to see how lessons actually happen. NOT! mostly takes place in the school, so you’re able to see what happens and how the school is operated. You get to know the main characters better through rumors the students in the NOT! program pass around, as well as through the interactions between the main characters of NOT! and the main characters of the parent story. NOT! also brings back the light comedy of Soul Eater’s less serious early chapters. Old fans can enjoy this breath of fresh air in the form of new light material from Atsushi Okubo.
The same Tim Burton/Halloween-esque aesthetics are applied to the scenery, making the backgrounds more interesting to look at. The character designs are all varied, reflecting each character’s personality well. The character designs for the girls are more ‘moe’ than in the parent series, keeping NOT! a lighter variant.
Age / Warnings-
There are a few chapters in which the characters work in a maid cafe. Some characters have large busts, a fact that’s sometimes pointed out and commented on by other characters. One girl gets hit on (very one-sidedly) by some unscrupulous upperclassmen until another character steps in and shoos them away. There’s probably going to be more blood later on in the series.
Soul Eater NOT! Volume 1
by Atsushi Okubo
Yen Press, 2012
Publisher Age Rating: OT (16+)