So……Shinbo……you are a tough egg to crack. No, really, I think he’s that one anime director that I just don’t get. I mean, as you all know one of the series he directed and I liked was Madoka Magica but then again, it’s more of the writing of Madoka I liked than the direction. Other Shinbo works……they either seem too tough to grasp at first glance (any of the Monogatari series) or confusing as all hell (recently Mekaku City Actors) or just stuff that seems very creepy (Dance in the Vampire Bund) and he does have this style of his that is similar to Tim Burton (at least that’s what I think) and it has been since he started doing more of his work with SHAFT after this particular anime.
After being stabbed in the chest by his mother, Kyosuke Date returns from the dead to find out he has a twin sister named Runa, and the ability to transform into the amazingly strong, powerful and dangerous superhuman mutant known as the SoulTaker. As he seeks out his twin sister, he is being pursued by the strange mutant doctors and nurses of the Hospital, led by his own father, Richard Vincent, as well as the evil Kirihara corporation, led by Yui Kirihara, who are also tracking down Runa for their own malevolent purposes. Assisting him along the way are the mysterious Shiro Mibu and the nurse mutant girl Komugi Nakahara, who betrayed the Hospital out of strong romantic love for Kyosuke.
……..I’ve been foiled again. I was really trying to get into the story and while I did get into it for a little bit, I felt confused but not as confused as I was with other Shinbo anime. Granted, the story isn’t exactly wholly original but then again, anything isn’t exactly original nowadays. Inbetween the first and second halves of the show, it seems to pick back up in between episodes where I’m trying to pay attention.The show does borrow some elements from anime similar to this (Devilman, Guyver, etc.) but one to notice quick, they would call bullshit and since this is all fresh to me, it’s mostly passable. I wouldn’t call it great, but slightly above average.
I say for characters, these are basically stock character I’m dealing with. Some aren’t bad but they are just mildly forgetful. The lead Kyosuke Date is the basic hero character with a fucked-up past about how his mother stabbed him, his sister is missing, his father wants to kill him…OK, maybe it’s not entirely basic but he does have a very messed up family. Any other character is merely a stock character with stock emotions and reactions and yes, that goes to everyone especially Komugi, that nurse character who was slightly less annoying here than she was in her own spin-off (yes, this character actually has a spin-off OVA, which I already reviewed.) Go figure.
This is one weird and colorful artstyle and animation for the show. Tatsunoko Productions or Tatsunoko Pro, who’s been in the anime business since the 1960s and being that this is their first mature-themed series, it does have some of Shinbo’s style to the series, even before SHAFT got his hands on him. The color palette can be a bit distracting on the eyes and the character designs are a bit ‘meh’.
Musically, I really love the opening to the show as it has this vibrant superhero feel to it despite the show not being that. Probably a contrast to the darker tone of the series and the ending song was remarkably good as well considering that did felt the tone of the show, only on the lighter side of the show.
So……the dub…..from Pioneer (Geneon) and Ocean Group…..it was alright and convincing. Brad Swaile to me seems like the Canadian version of Johnny Yong Bosch or Yuri Lowenthal, playing the whiny hero role (well, not technically that whiny).
FINAL VERDICT: It’s an alright show. I think if you’re interested enough or if you got an attention span longer than 10 minutes, you might get into the show as well. This one is probably recommended for a day whenever you’re bored or something.
So how much is TheSoulTaker worth taking?
PLANET TYRO RATING: OKAY
The SoulTaker was licensed by Pioneer/Geneon but you should probably know this by now. It’s out of print. Nowhere to be found unless you see it on the cheap at RightStuf / eBay or someplace where it’s still available. Legal streaming options are zilch as well.
And until then, this is MAK2.0 aka The Blue Hybrid, bringing all the elements in one format.
THE SOULTAKER – animation by TATSUNOKO PRO / formerly distributed by PIONEER/GENEON (now out of print)