Over the last week, I watched (most of) the anime series Soul Eater.

I skipped large parts of it because the series got super-tedious at several points in the first thirty episodes.

This isn’t a review of the show but I feel I should make a few opinions of mine known: there were way too many characters, most of them contributed little to the story, and it could have been much better if it were about half as long.

Also, I was really disappointed with how the series abandoned its premise from the first episode: it rather felt the show struggled with a purpose throughout its entire run. That, and it really failed to explore most of the interesting ideas it raised. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, basically ever.

That said, there were some interesting ideas here.

The humans-who-transformed-into-weapons was really where I wanted the story to go: the implications of fighting a battle WITH another human being, even one who can become a firearm at will. Kind of cool, kind of bizarre.

It was an idea I had initially ignored the first time I saw the beginning of the show, mostly it felt uh, what’s the word? Gimmicky. It felt gimmicky.

But since Soul Eater came out, I’ve seen quite a few series put forth the same idea, and now I recognize it as an interesting premise worth exploring. So, let’s explore it.

Dune features Mentats in place of computers. Cookiemonger wrote a novel that features Operators in place of cell phones. Personification of objects has some history in fiction. Actually, it makes more sense than some future stuff in science fiction.

For millennia, it was more cost-effective to employ people to do things that required labor than to build machines because people were in abundance. In several parts of the world. The US is one place where it seems there’s always been a labor deficiency, for example. Here we love our automated factories and our robot devices.

It makes sense that in certain future societies, we’d turn people into hyperdrives or navigators (using Spice), or use telepathy in place of communicators (sorry Star Trek).

So I feel I should give more credit to the polymorphing weapons concept. Among other things, it gave me reason to reflect on Revolutionary Girl Utena and Bleach (and even Neon Genesis Evangelion).

The subsuming of human will toward a larger objective is definitely one of those touchier subjects in ethics, which makes fiction the best place to explore it. What happens when people can turn into weapons?

Well, there’s the simple fact they CAN through martial arts training, but what if they could literally transform into weapons like knives and swords and scythes, as they do in Soul Eater?

It seems like an untapped area of character creation and development. Is it the sort of thing that would be governed by the polymorph spell?

And what of sentient weapons already in fiction? Does it displace them, or replace them?

I don’t know. The weapons in Soul Eater seemed to outlive their wielders (one weapon, Excalibur, claimed to be almost eight hundred years old), so perhaps the process of polymorphing into an object slows natural aging? Maybe some weapons even forget how to change back–or choose not to?

I wonder, and I want to take some time thinking around this one. I mean, could a character transform into a book, if books were a weapon type? What would a book that was a character be like? Would they necessarily know what was written on their pages? Would the book be ABOUT them? Food for thought.