The Zombie Rights Campaign Blog

Soul Eater: A Zombie Perspective

This commentary will contain spoilers for the first half-dozen or so episodes of Soul Eater, so please be advised.

Soul Eater is one of the hottest new anime properties from Japan, a shonen-action show notable for its off-kilter art style and incredible visual inventiveness, combined with a very offbeat sensibility. How else to explain a show where Death, the Grim Reaper, is both the de facto leader of the world and a comic relief character?

Soul Eater is a gleeful pastiche/parody of horror tropes, especially Western ones, transported into a Japanese show. You’ve got werewolves, witches, Jason from Friday the 13th, Jack the Ripper and Rasputin, rubbing elbows with Lupin and Al Capone. It’s seriously screwy.

Why the ZRC interest? Well, because the show has a Zombie character, of course!

Initially I was very wary of Sid, said Zombie. He doesn’t start out as one; initially the teacher to the teenaged main cast, he dies under mysterious circumstances (stabbed in the head with a miniature Statue of Liberty.. seriously), and then comes back as an apparently hostile zombie, attacking his former students. Four of the principal characters are sent to deal with him and find the man ‘responsible’ for making him into a Zombie.

After defeating Sid and fighting in vain against his re-animator, it is revealed, however, that the entire story of a hostile Zombie was a ruse to see how these students would hold up in a real fight. Don’t get me wrong; Sid is definitely a Zombie. But he’s not a brain-munching hostile stereotype, nor a villain. He’s just now Undead. That’s all.

Sid further retains his lofty position as an instructor at the Academy run by Death and continues to educate the students from time to time. In this world it’s perfectly acceptable, it seems, to be a Zombie. You can hold a steady job, earn the respect of your peers and colleagues, and even be trusted with the lives of impressionable minors on dangerous field assignments.

So Soul Eater, I admit, threw me a curve, and it was by design. The show relies on the audience coming in with certain expectations about Zombies in media; they will be the bad guys, and if at all possible, they’ll be defeated and shoved unceremoniously off-screen as fast as possible. Not here, however.

Sid’s a regular role model, as it turns out. The ZRC couldn’t be more pleased.

Soul Eater can currently be watched free, either subbed or dubbed, on Hulu. Go here for the madness.

About The Author

The role of 'Administrator' will be played tonight by John Sears, currently serving as President of The Zombie Rights Campaign.


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