Soul Eater Shows Elaborate Character Development In The Most Unexpected Way

By Nina Phillips | Published

soul eater

Anyone who’s watched Soul Eater knows that there’s next to no character development for the main heroes. However, this doesn’t mean this anime completely ignores the coming-of-age story—they just give it to someone else. Instead of the main characters learning, it’s actually the villain who becomes a stronger and wiser person at the end of the show.

The Heroes Never Change Where It Matters

In Soul Eater, there are seven main characters, broken up into three groups. Soul and Maka are arguably the two biggest characters in the series, but there is also Black Star and Tsubaki, and Death the Kid with Liz and Patti.

You’d expect, over the 51 episodes of the series, these groups would get better and stronger. They do learn new moves and get physically stronger, but all of their childish mistakes and problems stay exactly the same.

It’s a little frustrating to watch, to be honest. While Soul Eater and similar shows often focus more on fights and comedic scenes, there is usually a bit of character growth in the background, but it’s not something seen much in this series, especially in the main characters.

Crona And Stein

soul eater

While the main seven characters are ignored in terms of character growth, two other characters in the series show development in their own way. Stein, one of the adults working alongside the main seven characters, and Crona, one of the enemies of Soul Eater’s heroes.


These two characters grew in opposite directions. While Stein starts as a chaotic, but good man, it doesn’t take him long to descend into madness. It’s not until he realizes he can’t save himself alone that he learns to trust and open up to others and ask for help when needed.

Stein also shows that strength alone isn’t enough. Though he’s considered one of the strongest meisters in the world, he’s still easily controlled by Medusa and sent into the depths of insanity, and it serves to highlight that though the main heroes are getting stronger, they still have much growth ahead of them if they want to be the best.


Crona, on the opposite end, started insane. He was open and trusting, but unfortunately only to the ones abusing him. Crona relied on the heroes for help, but first, he had to learn to listen to himself and not blindly trust those in charge.

Over time, Crona learns who he is, who he wants to be, who deserves his trust, and how to help others.

The Manga

In the manga, the character development is much more obvious and is one of the reasons the manga is often considered better than the Soul Eater anime. The show doesn’t take the time to fully flesh out the characters, especially the main ones, so they feel a bit more shallow and the series feels incomplete.

The Anime Isn’t All Bad

soul eater

While character growth is weak, the anime does have some positives going for it. For one, the Soul Eater soundtrack is great and fits the story very well. The fight scenes and Chrona’s character development are also improved in the anime.

Soul Eater, despite its problems, is a pretty popular anime. My Anime List users gave the series an average score of 7.84. It is also ranked #909 with a popularity ranking of #63.

If you want to give it a shot for yourself, Soul Eater is available to stream on Crunchyroll. The first half is free with ads, but the second half of the show is only available to premium members.