Soultaker: The Monster Within is the latest anime release from Pioneer Entertainment. Soultaker is a recent show, one that combines many elements found in quite a few anime titles released in the last few years. So many bizarre shots and angles are used, along with heavy goth imagery and lighting, that it can easily be said that Soultaker does not disappoint visually. Gothic style horror mixed in with some mecha influenced shootouts makes for an entertaining view, even if you don't know what the hell is going on. I say this as the DVD only contains the first three episodes, which offer up a lot of interesting characters and situations, yet hardly any background details. Honestly, likely other good anime shows, that is the way it should be. Such setups traditionally offer more fulfilling explanations over time, or at the very least pique the viewers' intrigue level to the max. Will Soultaker measure up? I think it will.
Pioneer Entertainment presents Soultaker: The Monster Within in stunning anamorphic 1.78:1 widescreen. The transfer is very clean and nearly defect free. Grain and blemishes are seldom on-screen. Colors and visuals are vibrant and rich, with deep blacks. No blanding of colors is seen on Soultaker, which is often seen on many other anime DVD releases. Next to Akira on DVD (also from Pioneer), no other anime has ever looked so good on region 1 DVD.
Along with the original Japanese audio track, an English dub is also available. Both are presented in Dolby Stereo. A fair amount of directionality is to be heard on both tracks, with ample clarity and very good bass response. I can't think of any other recent anime title that has given my subwoofer such a workout. Not bad for a stereo mix.
Pioneer follows their pattern of including opening and closing credit sequences sans text. Here, they are presented anamorphically, which is a plus. An image gallery showing off some conceptual artwork is also available.
Pioneer manages to score again with another winning anime title. Soultaker has atmosphere and depth to spare. While these first three episodes offer only tidbits of information and background, they are none the less visually exciting and have managed to combine many familiar anime elements in a very original fashion. Soultaker is a multi-layered title with a lot of mystery, one that should please a lot of jaded viewers looking for something outside the norm.