As I’m sure many can relate, the Soul series has made quite the impression on my life. I discovered the series as a demo for Soul Calibur II back as a child while I was perusing the electronic section of my local Toys “R” Us store. My time spent playing with it and the already fixated fascination with the character named “Nightmare” proved to be the deciding factor in begging my mother to buy it for me. Soon enough, Soul Calibur II was among my library and became one of the many classic games of my childhood.
Fast forward sometime, due to the fact that I only had a Gamecube throughout the 2,000’s, our family decided to get an Xbox 360, with which we were able to buy Soul Calibur IV; and soon enough, Soul Calibur V. Throughout its history, many characters have come and gone—45 major characters, to be precise. Some have made the Soul series into the lasting legacy that it’s become, while others haven’t the intrigue or the super glue to be able to stick to the hearts of gamers everywhere… or even future rosters.
In this list, I will be chronicling the top ten characters from the Soul series universe that have successfully super glued their place within my own heart. This is normally the part where I add any stipulations toward my list, but I can’t really think of any, knowing my list of characters beforehand. Don’t expect any bonus characters, I suppose?
Predictably enough, Ivy is one of the most iconic characters in the Soul series. Even if you’ve never heard of the games, you’re likely to come across this voluptuous woman somewhere on the internet.
Perhaps Rule 34.
Ivy is a character tormented by her blood. By that, I mean she’s inherited the lineage of one of the original wielders of Soul Edge: Cervantes de Leon. Because of this, the fragments of the wicked sword Soul Edge are innately drawn to her, as she to them. Her physical growth has all but deteriorated, leaving her body forever young in age, and the pain of holding back her desire to wield Soul Edge has made her into a brooding and lonely character. Despite her role in the original Soul Calibur, Ivy has good intentions at heart, but craves the desire to free herself from the blood that occupies her.
It’s also interesting to note that while her appearance in every Soul series game except the first has her in next to nothing, she doesn’t have the typical sadistic or playful nature that one would expect from a lady dressed so lightly. To me, this gives her a sense of independence from other characters assumed within the role of the scantily-clad “babe” in fighting games. Her mood suits her backstory, and I’m all the more thankful for it.
If not for her body, one may know Ivy for her weapon: the Snake Sword. A sword with the ability to contort and manipulate its blade into a rope-like whip, giving both an edge on power and on range. Project Soul has made a lot out of her moveset and taken advantage of the unique weapon at her disposal. All in all, there’s a reason why she’s so beloved, with as many reasons as there are stars in the sky. Well, perhaps not that much, but Ivy is a character a lot of people can find to appreciate.
Speaking of characters with revealing outfits and unique weapons, meet Voldo, the strangest character ever conceived by Project Soul.
This old fart (age 67 by Soul Calibur V) gets points immediately for memorability. His mummy-like appearance and inability to speak or see gives him a sort of fanatical spirit that transcends the realm of reality, even more than the Soul series already does. His agility and maneuvering capabilities have given him many comparisons; most notably a spider, which reflects his appearance in Soul Calibur V. In a nutshell, this thing is a dignified weirdo, and it’s awesome.
Voldo has always been one of my favorite characters to play as. His fighting style is a forest of kinks and widgets that the player can only hope to maintain in a coherent manner. His throw commands are always a treat to watch, simply on the basis of how bizarre they are. And the Mantis Crawl is deliciously on-the-walls. I mean that, too; he can climb on walls doing that.
This mummified monster could’ve placed higher on this list, had it not been for his predictable and repetitive storyline. In every game, his purpose seems to remain the same: get Soul Edge because “Vercci,” his master in life, told him to from beyond the grave. Voldo, as loyal as he is, does just that, over and over, game after game. It ends up making him the residual “evil lackey” of each game—always being pushed aside by the good guys, never to be heard from again. He never seems to have any focal point in the games he’s a part of, one who doesn’t seem to interact with other characters in the series either, aside from Yoshimitsu in Soul Calibur II, or serving under Nightmare, always cementing his lackey status.
Nevertheless, gameplay and aesthetic points alone are enough to make Voldo a likable and memorable character within the Soul series. It helps when he’s been in every major title to date.
People new to my blog or don’t know me aren’t aware of my fondness for manipulative women. Those who do know probably saw this pick coming at some point. Or maybe they didn’t. I don’t know. I like manipulative women.
Truth be told, while I think Tira is an interesting character in her own right, she probably wouldn’t have made this list if Soul Calibur V were never released. Like Voldo before her, she always seemed to fit into that “lackey” role in the two major games she was a part of. However, she did play more of a role setting up the plot to Soul Calibur V than any other character. I don’t know if I should be thankful for that. In any case, her influence on other characters and her actions have created a rift in the Soul series universe that can never be changed… probably. For that, she deserves a lot of credit.
What Soul Calibur V did for her was establish her into a menacing and effective lead antagonist. Sure, Soul Edge or Nightmare are typically thought of as the central antagonist, but I’d make the case that Tira is the character that gets the plot moving and allows for things to take a turn for the worst. She, in essence, upgrades herself from lackey to independent, antagonizing threat. To top it all off, her reasoning for all of this? Destruction and chaos. She loves the satisfaction of death, and indulges in sweet, sweet anarchy. While she realizes she can never have the incredible power of Soul Edge, she can at least allow it to flourish throughout the world.
Why not continue the chain of unique weapons? Tira’s Ring Blade is something unlike any has seen before in a fighting game. While I appreciate the use of creativity through and through, I never really cared for her fighting style. Perhaps I’m bad with her, but I’ve never really been any good with her, nor does her style feel comfortable to me. But my own incompetence won’t subtract any points overall. I love how you can even change her personality by having her pound her head against her blade to give her a slightly different moveset. It seems Tira is as fun a character for the development team as she is fun to watch go all out.
If I had anything truly negative to say about her, it’s her voice in Soul Calibur IV. Fuck her voice. I’m also not a huge fan of her poofy-green appearance in Soul Calibur III, but that’s not anything concrete.
I’m really beating this whole “creativity personality” thing to death, huh?
Allow me to clarify something for hardcore Soul series fans before we continue: I’m referring to Yoshimitsu before Soul Calibur V, as those who are aware know that the Yoshimitsu in that game is a different person than the Yoshimitsu in previous titles. Sure, they share the same name, personality, voice, fighting style, and are essentially clones of one another aside from slightly different heights and weights, but that’s just a cop-out.
This fanatical character is basically the Robin Hood of the Soul series. He has a heart of gold and a resolute pride unmatched by anyone. He tends to the weak and the poor while carrying out his mission to eradicate all evil from existence. But fear not, shounen-loathers! His personality is anything but the standard angsty speeches and barren social skills. His knowledge is overwhelming and his demeanor is wacky and mirthful. Many a quotable line beckons from his concealed lips, and his upbeat, offbeat voice is one that can sooth the innards of any foul temperament.
His fighting style is also a charming crusade. Not only does he arm himself with a katana, but he even attacks with the short flag and pole planted on his back. He even uses it as a flotation device. Something more absurd, you ask? Well, why not use your blade as a pogo stick? With Yoshimitsu, anything is possible. Perhaps you’re feeling guilty over your own wrongdoing. That’s okay! Yoshimitsu can stab himself in the chest! That’s right, Yoshimitsu has a move where he stabs himself in the chest, having the blade stick out of his back to inflict massive damage to the opponent. All this and more to behold upon the fighting style of the blade called… “Yoshimitsu.”
Namu, namu, namu, namu, namu, namu!
A man with a harrowing past and an inner struggle with evil, Kilik is one of the more “normal” characters in the Soul series universe. However, what he lacks in wackiness, he makes up for in resolve and the pursuit of peace. His life is a constant struggle to maintain, as the residue of Soul Edge powdered his conscience and controls him to do his bidding. Only the sacred mirror, Dvapara-Yuga, can ease him into his own state of mind.
His beginnings are similar to that of Siegfried: he had unintentionally killed one of his precious family members, and because of it, holds himself accountable and desires to atone for his misdeeds. While Siegfried becomes the poster child for all that is good and just later on, Kilik quietly has been doing so on the side, even aiding Xianghua in defeating Nightmare in Soul Calibur. His selfless nature and almost spiritual presence has made Kilik one of the more intriguing “normal” characters amongst the roster.
His training under Edge Master allows him to control his evil energy and become stronger with his ambitions. By the end of Soul Calibur IV, he sacrifices every desire within himself to become the protector of all he cherishes. He does this by warding off evil in solitude, away from everyone and everything, so that he doesn’t have to get anyone involved. With this, he takes on the role of the new Edge Master by Soul Calibur V. It’s a bittersweet progression for a troubled hero, but one that I feel is appropriate for someone of his conditioning.
Kilik has always stood out to me, ever since my first time playing Soul Calibur II. His rather pessimistic, but altogether pure intentions have given me a sense that there’s a lot underneath his skin. Not to mention, his fighting style is rather user-friendly, I think… not to mention cheap when exploitable. He’s also one of the more quotable characters from the game, humorously or not. I often mishear the things he says, giving me hilarious memories of exclaiming, “Cats! Cats! Hey-yah!” or “S’alright!”
A memorable character on his own, while also humorously so in my own mind, Kilik is another mainstay of the series that doesn’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon, appearing in every major title after Soul Edge.
Again, I’d like to clarify that this entry is Astaroth from before Soul Calibur V, as the entity that appears in that game is one of an army of clones created after the original Astaroth’s death at the hands of Maxi.
Astaroth, like Voldo and Tira, tends to fit into the category of “evil lackey” from time to time. However, it’s been shown on numerous occasions that Astaroth is a being of his own accord, who is simply waiting for the opportunity to provide himself with more power than he can imagine. His thirst for power and souls is his calling card, and damn any worm or cur who dares to stop him.
His portrayal in Soul Calibur II is the form I cherish most notably, as I’m sure many would agree. While his dark attitude and lust for power translates into future games, his appearance and voice are by far the most delectable in Soul Calibur II. In future games, he tends to become more outright monstrous, eventually evolving into a… stone golem… bird… thing… that I don’t really care for. It is his human form, complete with pupil-less eyes and a heart beating out of his chest that clamors the most appreciation from me.
His voice is also perfect for him in SC: II. The raspy, yet dreadfully sinister and low tone of his booming voice rolls off the ears like Whitney’s Miltank. His future cackling pales in comparison to his previous portrayal, not to mention his dialogue in future games becomes entirely too tryhard. Oh, J. S. Gilbert. How I miss you so.
Although a tad one-dimensional character-wise, Astaroth’s aesthetics make him one of the more, dare I say, “badass” characters in the Soul series. What can I say? He just looks, sounds, and plays ferociously savage, and it’s fantastic.
If not Ivy, this may be the single-most well known female character in the Soul series. Y’know how everyone loves ninjas? How do you think people would react to a female ninja with large breasts? Positively? Yeah, I’d think so, too.
Taki’s outlook on life is similar to that of Yoshimitsu: her goal is to destroy any and all evil from the world. The only difference between them is their demeanor. While Yoshimitsu is kooky and spontaneous, Taki has a stern, no-nonsense personality that makes her as deadly as she is lovely. However, like most with a basic sense of justice, she has a caring and empathetic heart, one that shows through throughout the Soul series’ story. Taki’s character is one I can get behind and one of the more appealing storylines in my mind. One of good intentions, but with antihero-like attitude or behavior.
Taki is my favorite female character to play as. Her fighting style is quick and merciless, much akin to her line of work. Many a created character I made in Soul Calibur IV and V were based on Taki’s moveset. I suppose that decisiveness with every minor swing is appealing through her own character, much more than just arbitrary attacks. I enjoy the speed and the dexterity of her actions, while also feeling the weight of every skillful swing. Hell, I even somewhat admire Natsu for this, even if she’s just a glorified clone character.
It’s really unfortunate that she didn’t appear in Soul Calibur V, however, I expected it based on her age. She had been in every major Soul title up to that point, and with going on 46 years of age, I’m not sure her body would be able to handle that same agility she had before. At least we have Natsu though, right?
When comprising this list, this took me completely by surprise. I would have told you yesterday that my favorite female character in the Soul series was Taki (Oops, spoiler). However, as I pondered it more and more, there’s really something about Talim that gets to me. I don’t know if it’s her optimistic and pure-hearted nature, her youth, or her looks, but Talim has a strange essence wrapped around my mind. There’s something about her that even I can’t explain, that makes me like her a lot.
Fun fact: according to a poll organized by the Soul Calibur Facebook page, Talim ended up getting the most votes by the end. I predict this was simply out of spite that she wasn’t in Soul Calibur V, despite her being only 32 by its timeframe, but it could also show how much Talim’s impact left the fans. I’m not alone in thinking she’s strangely attractive.
What makes it all the more alarming is that, as a character, she isn’t really all that interesting. She’s the “Mother Theresa” archetype who does everything for the sake of others and is kind-hearted beyond her years. She doesn’t care to fight, but does when all others options are exhausted, and she even has a spiritual guidance, in the form of WIND. This dependence on WIND is also an important part of her character, as she spouts the word WIND constantly throughout her dialogue. Whether she’s using it to her advantage or letting it blow her wherever it may choose, Talim’s obsession with WIND is sure to provoke some more than others.
Focusing solely on her physical make-up, she’s small and young, being the shortest and the youngest character (prior to SC: V) character within the game (aside from perhaps Amy). Perhaps the paternal instincts in me and fans everywhere root for her like one would root for the innocence of an infant trying to walk. Perhaps her compactness and perceived naivety is considered “moe” to many. While I find her design appealing and definitely find her to be cute, I don’t think I’d fit her into that category. I suppose she’s considered doll-like in stature. Weebs love that shit, right?
There’s also the perception that she has a romantic interest in one Yun-seong. I know fans are into romance as much as I’m into femme fatales, but could that translate into individual fans of her, herself, and not for the exploitation of “shipping” her with others? I’m not sure. I’m not even sure of what I’m writing anymore, clearly. Bottom line, I really like Talim. A lot. And I’m not really sure why myself. She’s cute, I guess. And her WIND mantra makes her an easy target of insult. Ho-hum.
Final clarification for this countdown: the Nightmare I am including on this list is the Nightmare from Soul Calibur and Soul Calibur II. The Nightmare that has Siegfried held hostage inside the azure armor, being controlled by the might of Soul Edge.
And yes, it is a very predictable choice.
While characters such as Ivy, Taki, and Voldo may be recognizable faces of the Soul franchise, Nightmare is the franchise. Look at the logo for Project Soul up at the top of this page. Who is that pictured there? Nightmare. He (or occasionally it) is the most recognizable and single-most important antagonist to each Soul game aside from Soul Edge. By the way, do you know which rendition of Nightmare the Project Soul logo has? Soul Calibur II. Y’know which Nightmare portrayal is my favorite? The one from Soul Calibur II. His impact left quite the mark.
The way he looks, feels, sounds, behaves; everything about his portrayal in SC: II is perfect. It is, again, the image that most fans think of whenever they think of the Soul series. While future renditions of Nightmare are nothing to scoff at (except SC: V, which I personally loathe), I feel the controlled and ominous appearance of Nightmare in I and II becomes more impactful than the outright malfested mess of chaos it ends up becoming. Not to mention, with Siegfried as a host, the continued struggle for control and the manipulation of the sins that he had once committed, this Nightmare becomes a lot more intriguing based on an innate unpredictability and a symbol of his war against himself.
Nightmare’s fighting style is my favorite to control, in SC: II in particular. I love the power behind every attack, and the onslaught he’s capable of with moves that terrorize the opponent. And his screams only suit the mood, ranging between heartless abandon and controlled agony. Nightmare’s voice is, dare I admit, orgasmic. I personally love his only line with his Destined Battle against Raphael: “You conceited, wretched human!” His unfiltered outrage and energy behind every threat, every aggressive bark, suits his appearance greatly and makes for, well, a nightmare.
His impact is unquestionable, but I feel the Nightmare playing host to Siegfried provides an ultimately more intriguing kind of monster: the monster inside us all. As I said before, everything about him is perfect in SC: II, but they soon put him inside a swarm of chaos that, while still awesome to behold, doesn’t have the same intrigue as once present. Nostalgia may also be highly present in my deciding of this, but nevertheless, Nightmare is one of my favorite characters in the Soul series, and he’d be the favorite, if not for—
Yes, my favorite character in the entirety of the Soul series is a swordsman thirsty for a challenge. My fondness for the Japanese swordsman has not gone unnoticed by Project Soul, as he holds the distinction of being a playable character in every game in the Soul series. That’s quite the feat.
What can I say about Mitsurugi that isn’t already common knowledge? He’s popular, he’s respected, he’s fun to play as, he looks awesome; he is awesome. His fighting style, if not for Nightmare’s/Siegfriend’s, would be my favorite fighting style to play with. His cocky, albeit humorous demeanor makes him an immensely likable character. There’s something almost satirical in how he involves himself in every Soul series game. He goes up to random people, strong or otherwise perceived to be, and challenges them to duels. Seeing as he’s still searching for a challenge up to this point, he seems to have won every one, which has garnered him some enemies, one of which being Setsuka.
He also seems to have gotten a rival in Taki, who prevents him from ever coming close to Soul Edge. To this day, Mitsurugi has never successfully come across Soul Edge in any canon storyline, which I find hilarious for one so prevalent and so popular within the franchise. Taki must work wonders. Also, color me slanderous, but I had thought at one point that Taki and Mitsurugi were an implied item. However, reading more into it, Taki doesn’t seem to come up much in Mitsurugi’s story, and vice versa. It seems odd to label her a rival even though they don’t encounter one another very often, or so it seems.
In any case, Mitsurugi has everything one could possibly want in a character: personality, motivation, physical appeal, and an unending quest to strive for. While he may seem plain on the surface, Mitsurugi is a character who is respected even by the game designers, as he’s constantly regarded as one of the strongest warriors in the game. This is evidenced by his duel with Algol, the supposed Hero King, the one man able to resist Soul Edge’s influence, in which he almost won. Aside from all that, he’s just another character who seems to be consistently great in every game he’s a part of. I like him quite a bit, as I’m sure many do. That’s why he’s my favorite character in the Soul series.