The Soultaker: The Monster Within

The Soultaker: The Monster Within (2002)
Pioneer Entertainment
Extras: Non-Credit Opening and Ending, Image Gallery

’The Soultaker’ is an Anime series filled with elements of gothic horror, science fiction, mutants and modern Anime themes. It is a good mix as the series’ main character Kyosuke tries to find out more about his real past as he discovers his mutant ability to transform into a creature much more powerful than himself.

This DVD from Pioneer Entertainment contains three episodes of the series, ’The Crest Of The Devil,’ ’The World Is An Illusion’ and ’The Skull And The Maiden.’ A follow up release, called ’The Soultaker: Flickering Faith’ with more episodes is already planned for April 2002 and should nicely add to these episodes, continuing the story.

Pioneer Entertainment is presenting ’The Soultaker’ in an anamorphic widescreen presentation in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio on this DVD. The transfer is very clean and entirely free of defects or blemishes and also shows little grain. As a result the presentation is also very stable with bold colors that are nicely delineated. No signs of edge-enhancement are evident, giving the picture a natural look throughout. Blacks are deep giving the high contrast image good visual depth while highlights are also never overexposed. Color reproduction is strong and faithful, nicely reproducing the atmospheric, almost neo-gothic quality of the series. The only distraction are a few compression artifacts in larger areas of low contrast where shadows break up, creating some pixelation. Other than that, the presentation is very good.

The DVD contains an English dubbed language track as well as the original Japanese language track, both in Dolby Stereo. The audio is well produced and fairly natural sounding – if you can say so in regards to an English dub of any Anime. Frequency response is good and the dynamic range of the track creates an engaging, though unspectacular, experience.

As extras the DVD also contains the movie’s opening and closing sequences without credits as well as an image gallery form the films.

’The Soultaker’ is an atmospheric feast for Anime fans. It is much more accessible than some of the hard core material in the market and at the same time not nearly as shallow as the many run-off-the-mill productions. I found the three episodes on this disc quite entertaining and if you’re interested you should definitely give it a try.