When it comes to entertainment, nostalgia is the name of the game. Hollywood hasn’t been shy about resurrecting long-dead projects and revamping them for new audiences. Adaptations and reboots are what kind the entertainment industry running, and Japan has also jumped on the trend. In the last few years, franchises such as Sailor Moon and Digimon have been given remakes of some sort. It’s not too difficult to believe that other anime titles could be given reboots as well, even if they aren’t quite as classic.
The question is could Soul Eater be one of them?
If you are not familiar with Soul Eater, then you should know the supernatural shonen series was one of Japan’s most popular almost a decade ago. Square Enix published the manga originally in its Monthly Shonen Gangan magazine, and Atsushi Okubo was the creator in-charge of its direction. The story itself was set in an alternate world where students known as Meisters studied at the Shinigami’s academy. The students paired up with classmates who could transform into weapons, and the groups were tasked with defeating corrupted humans and witches to keep the world safe from supernatural forces.
The series was gifted an anime back in April 2008, and the show ended in March 2009. Soul Eater collected a total of 51 episodes, and many fans were left wanting after the finale due to its hasty end. The anime came to a close far before Okubo finished the Soul Eater manga in August 2013, and fans of the shonen title have wondered if Bones Studio would ever consider bringing it back.
While plenty of fans are hopeful, the reality surrounding such a reboot is disappointing at best. Japan has a heavily saturated market for anime, and shonen titles are the most difficult to bring on air. There are dozens of action-packed shows already on air, and networks aren’t willing to risk okaying an anime title that doesn’t have a current audience. Soul Eater may have had a rabid fanbase at one point, but the majority of viewers trickled away to other shows after it ended in 2009. When Okubo’s manga ended, Soul Eater was thrust back into the public spotlight for a short period of time, but the window has since passed.1comments
For a short period, fans were encouraged about Soul Eater’s chance at getting a reboot when Bones Studios created an anime spinoff for the franchise. Soul Eater Not! debuted in April 2014, but the short-lived series only last for 12 episodes. The show was well-received by critics, but it failed to sustain ratings in Japan where networks base their bank on.
There is no telling whether Soul Eater may make a comeback ten years down the line, but the chances of an immediate reboot are slim to none. Soul Eater continues to drive interest in the west as new anime fans come in contact with Maka and Soul - but that is about it. Without a heavy interest abroad, Bones Studios won’t push to revive Soul Eater for fear its time and money will be invested for not. So, for now, it looks like fans will have to wonder what might have been if the original anime had been able to ride out all of Okubo’s manga.