The first volume of Soul Eater laid down the basics of the Death Academy and its students, or meisters and their human-weapons, who have to defeat and collect corrupted souls. The first volume introduced Maka and her weapon Soul, Black Star and his gentle but deadly weapon Tsubaki, Death the Kid and his twin guns the Thompson sisters Patty and Liz, and the rest of the quirky cast of characters, from the unhinged Dr Stein to Maka's overzealous father, Death Sycthe. The second volume picks up where it left off but takes us down a different path, away from hunting down souls and instead focuses more on the Death Weapon Meister Academy itself and the strange goings on within it. There is something evil in the Academy.
The second volume of Soul Eater arrives with the same awesome characters, setting and sticks with its emphasis on teamwork and friendships, with a big dollop of weirdness too. It steers away from the soul collecting elements of the previous series to focus more on the Academy's inner workings itself, the characters' schoolwork and the evil lurking inside the school.
This change of direction isn't perfect. The villains plans and the DWMA investigation into finding the villains never really get anywhere, and for the audience it's pretty obvious who the villain is right from the very start. It feels a little flat but luckily the characters themselves make it more than bearable and still enjoyable to watch. That is what makes Soul Eater so great, the characters themselves, the rest has in some way or another been done before, and even the characters themselves are similar to others, but there is still something about them that makes you sit up and pay attention.
Once you get past the less than stellar storytelling, the rest of the series is the usual fantastic battles between the DWMA and the evil witches. In most series long battles feel tedious and as if they are simply filler, but in Soul Eater, thanks to the great characters and quirky villains the battles are varied and always interesting. Each opponent is different and fight in different ways. Some pry into the characters minds to try and find a way to win, some tackle personal demons, and then there are some that are simply distracted by their surroundings and need help to see things clearly.
The second volume looks and feels the same as the first, which is fantastic. Everything is still fresh, clean and beautifully animated. The less important characters are still a little flat but some receive a little extra attention to fill them out. The English dub is still great, though some will still not be fans as it is a matter of taste.
Since the first volume the atmosphere has changed, and in the aftermath there are new characters and new threats looming over DWMA which can only lead to another fantastic series and high hopes for the third volume. As a viewer you can only hope it will live up to expectations.