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Anime / The SoulTaker

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The SoulTaker was created by Tatsunoko Production in 2001, directed by Akiyuki Shinbo, who would later direct the first season of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha. It tells the story of a young boy named Kyōusuke Date who... dies in the very first scene of the anime. Killed by his dying mother who loved him very, very much. For essentially no reason.

... And then he gets dug out of a cemetery by a girl named Maya, and things get crazier from there as he has to confront the forces of the MegaCorp Kirihara Group led by Corrupt Corporate Executive Yui Kirihara as well as the enigmatic mutants of "The Hospital". Backing him up at first is the equally mysteriously-motivated man named Shiro Mibu, and later on the young Hospital nurse Komugi Nakahara who often cosplays. Kyōsuke himself has the power to turn into a demonic creature that the Kirihara Group dubs The SoulTaker and resolves to find his sister while protecting the "Flickers", fragments of her soul given human bodies.

Like Nanoha, it starts out with a basic plot but kicks into high gear in the sixth episode, at which point the series starts bordering on Mind Screw territory at times which is why many consider it Devilman Meets Neon Genesis Evangelion. It's still a very good series nonetheless, with a unique aesthetic, a kickass opening which was the fourth song JAM Project made, and a stellar voice acting cast on both sides of the Pacific. Definitely worth a look.

The SoulTaker was later followed by Nurse Witch Komugi, which parodies this show.

Not related to the western film of the same name or to Soul Eater.

The SoulTaker provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Amazing Technicolor World: The color palette rarely resembles reality, scenes are often tinted with bright contrasting colors.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy
  • Badass Normal: Shiro Mibu
  • Big Bad: Runa, Kyōsuke's sister, is pretty much stringing everyone along
  • Brain in a Jar: The current status of Kyōsuke's grandfather. Doesn't stop him from getting a mutant form known as The Soul Killer.
  • Broadcast-Induced Plot Hole: At least in the United States. When Tech TV was broadcasting the series, they removed a few minutes of footage from each episode to make them fit within the timeslot. In some cases this made an episode seemed rushed. In others it made things very confusing. Case in point: near the end of episode 6, Kyōsuke is falling from a floating castle, and instead of rescuing him, Shiro shoots him with missiles, seemingly blowing him out of the sky. But within the last minute, Kyōsuke is shown to be fine, and he states that Shiro had done it to "wake him up," so that he could transform and stop himself from getting splattered in the fall. This last minute was cut from the American broadcast, however, making the beginning of episode 7 seem contradictory and ludicrous.
  • Break the Cutie: Runa's backstory.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Runa wants to mate with Kyōsuke since they're both essentially aliens. Even worse, its implied that she felt this way before she found out they're basically aliens. Twincest Squick!
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Yui Kirihara is the head of the villanous Kirihara Group.
  • Cruel to Be Kind: Kyōsuke's mother stabs him in the beginning. She did that because his latent mutant powers are awakened by trauma and only a betrayal from a loved one would fully awaken them. Runa suffered the same fate at a young age but didn't take it nearly so well.
  • Cute Monster Girl: Komugi, more or less. She even got her own short anime series, Nurse Witch Komugi.
  • Evil Plan: Runa plays everything out the way they do simply so she can get all the Flickers in one place and provide her a mature body, remove all her enemies, and be reunited with her beloved brother.
  • Finishing Move: The Lightning Breaker. Becomes a victim of the The Worf Barrage by episode six, however, and has varying effectiveness for the rest of the series.
  • Freudian Excuse: Runa was "killed" by Kyōsuke's real mother years ago to give her the power to defend herself. Poor Runa, who had previously been a perfect daughter, suffered a Heroic BSoD from it and resolved that even her own mother hated her because she really wasn't human.
  • Gratuitous English: Don't the Japanese have a word for "alien"? Also, "Hospital". And "Flicker".
  • Hand Wave: More than a few plot elements, like Kyōsuke's martial arts training and the fact he subconsciously couldn't step foot in the Kirihara Group's headquarters are glossed over in conversation.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Runa's motivation. Kyōsuke succeeds in convincing her otherwise.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Things like syringes are favored by the Hospital mutants.
  • It Was with You All Along: Runa has spent all those countless years masquerading as the alien that Yui takes orders from.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: In human form, Kyōsuke wields a lightsaber... Er, we mean high-frequency katana. The sound effect is even the exact same.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Kyōsuke, Richard Vincent, director of the Hospital is your father.
  • Mind Screw: Each episode has a bit of one, but episode six takes the cake.
  • Mundane Utility: You don't see a high-frequency katana used as a flashlight too often.
  • One-Winged Angel: Essentially, Kyōsuke's Mutant form is one of these, as is the Soul Crusher's, Soul Anubis's, and Soul Killer's. Runa also needed one of these so she'd have a mature body.
  • Our Demons Are Different: For one, they're all mutants created by exposure to Beta Applicon in the past.
  • Plot-Triggering Death:
    • Mio's dying actions are to stab Kyōsuke, and much of his personal story involves understanding why. This is also what awakens his mutant powers.
    • Maya's death inspires Kyōsuke to protect the Flickers, which takes up most of the early episodes.
  • Power Echoes: An echo can be heard the first time the Soul Taker uses his Lightning Breaker attack in episode 1.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Kyōsuke is the blue one.
  • Shock and Awe: The Soul Taker's Lightning Breaker attack.
  • Shonen Hair: Kyōsuke
  • Slippery Slope Fallacy: Dr. Kyoya references this in episode 1 when he believes Kyōsuke is lying to him to protect someone.
    "White lies today, armed robbery tomorrow!"
  • Spin-Off: The ridiculously silly Nurse Witch Komugi.
  • Super-Speed: Dr. Kyoya (the Hospital mutant who appears in episode 1) is initially thought to be able to teleport, but it turns out this is his special ability. He is fast enough that he is able to pass through solid matter, which he uses to enter tanks and manipulate them to fire at the SoulTaker during their battle.
  • Victim of the Week: The first six episodes involve Kyōsuke trying to protect a Flicker.
  • Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: For one guy fighting along against the Kirihara Group and the Hospital, Shiro has a lot of guns, planes, helicopters, etc. Later on we find out he's Yui's little brother and presumably has siphoned money out of the company for all this.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Runa wants to kill every single human so that she and Kyōsuke can be safe.
  • "No More Holding Back" Speech: While the Soul Anubis is pounding on Kyōsuke, he is apparently unable to respond due to his guilt over causing her death. Eventually, though, he decides taking the beating is pointless because it's accomplishing nothing.
    Kyōsuke: I wanted to feel the pain Maya suffered, even just for a moment. I felt that I should know that pain. But right now, no matter how many times I'm hit, I'm not able to feel the pain. So now, I'm ending it.
  • You Killed My Father: Shiro wants revenge on Yui because she killed Shiro's girlfriend, who was a Flicker.

Alternative Title(s): Soul Taker