Soul Edge, as he appears in Soulcalibur V.
|Place of creation||Unknown|
|Powers||Can take various forms based on the wielder|
Cervantes de Leon (Soul Edge)
Siegfried Schtauffen (Soulcalibur and Soulcalibur II as Nightmare)
Nightmare (Soulcalibur III-Soulcalibur V)
Pyrrha Alexandra (Soulcalibur V)
Soul Edge is the central antagonist in the Soul series of fighting games and namesake to the first installment. Originally forged, at first Soul Edge was just an ordinary sword, but after being bathed in blood and hatred countless times, the sword turned into a demonic weapon and gained a wicked soul, which the games called Inferno. Those who grasp its hilt are unable to escape its curse, as its spirit invades the mind like a parasite and drives its wielder insane. As its blade is soaked in blood it grows in power, yet it manages to shine a polished red. Soul Edge is distinguished by the animate eye. However, the fifth installment of the SoulCalibur series offers a different explanation. According to the story, Soul Edge was originally forged out of the power and strength of the body of Algol, the Hero King, as opposed to Soul Calibur, being forged from his mind.
Consistently referred to as the Evil Sword throughout the series, Soul Edge has a reputation for devouring souls. The weapon is also known to be a shape-shifter – which form it takes depends on its current owner. Only those with great mental discipline can retain their will while wielding this weapon. In the games, a common trait of selecting Soul Edge as a combative weapon is that it depletes the health of the player whilst giving increased attack power or even draining an opponent's health upon contact. Either way, it is not unusual for the player to lose the battle as a result of wielding the weapon - without the opponent actually landing the finishing blow - thereby living up to its in-game legend of "consuming" its wielder.
Soul Edge's curse is called malfestation, and is inflicted not only upon those who wield the sword itself, but those who come into contact with its shards. Normally, the Evil Seed transforms the person infected into a demonic monster and feeds off the host's inner sinful deeds of bloodlust, controlling and manipulating their actions, and forcing the user to take the souls of whom they defeat in battle, as it does to Zasalamel when he obtained it, Siegfried-Nightmare, Charade, Night Terror, Aeon Calcos, Necrid, and Cervantes de Leon, from the main series, and Geki and Maki from Soulcalibur Legends, as well as other people mentioned in characters' backstories. The curse's newest victims are Amy, Voldo, Raphael, and Sophitia, and its newest allies are Tira, Solnhofen, and Johan Dürer. Many people have fragments of the cursed sword inside their body, such as Astaroth and Maxi, and others keep a fragment or fragments of it; some do so merely in order to test their own powers, such as Mitsurugi and Rock.
While Soul Edge is commonly depicted as a sword, he takes on many shapes and forms throughout the series, either through time periods or various characters wielding him. When he first gained his parasitic powers, he was a broadsword with a collection of flesh growing at the hilt and handguard area with a yellow eye. In Soul Blade, he was a normal sword with a flesh-like hilt and handguard with hooks on the latter part. When Siegfried took hold of the sword, the hooks gripped his hand tight to keep him from discarding him. By the time Nightmare arose, the weapon transformed into a giant sword with flesh filling the blunt side of the blade and the eye at the base of his hilt. One side of the sword featured an enlarged blade to greater fit Nightmare's fighting style.
After having sustained damage after the events of Soulcalibur and recovering Charade in Soulcalibur II, a portion of the blade is missing, and the flesh area is exposed and forced to grow to accommodate for his missing portion, to the point of creeping over the hilt himself. In an artwork piece showing Nightmare, the blade seems to be leaving decomposing shards and pieces of flesh, as if he is weakening, although there are weapons he can obtain which show a restored or "completed" version of himself, the latter of which is covered completely in a grotesque composite slab of eyes and meat. In Soulcalibur III, Soul Edge is no longer used by anyone in the immediate roster or available as an initial weapon. He had instead fused together with Soul Calibur where the holy weapon had pierced him from the hilt area, and several parts of the blade are folded and cracked. Nightmare is forced to use a "phantom" version of the blade which features a rough bronze blade with a black and purple eye as his core. The "complete" version of Soul Edge in this game no longer features an eye or exposed flesh, but is merely a large sword with teeth lining the blunt side of the blade.
Following Soulcalibur IV, the blade is once more whole and takes on an entirely new design, with a giant crystalline structure with a red hue covering the blade and a blue core while having formed a proper handguard again. The eye is now situated in the handguard instead of being on the blade himself. In Soulcalibur V, he retains his more familiar appearance from 1 and 2. However, when Pyrrha inherits Soul Edge after Nightmare's defeat, the blade becomes smaller and slimmer, and the handguard gains wings and a skull-like form in the middle with the eye situated just above him. The blade himself retains a crimson hue but with traces of black and flesh in the interior.
Represented in gameplay, Soul Edge is a weapon that grants users an incredible amount of strength to give them the edge. In some cases, Soul Edge can penetrate through defenses as well, chipping away health. The usual drawback to this is the constant loss of health. Soul Edge will usually drain health at an alarming rate, faster than any other weapon in the game. In return for this, the user is also given the ability to drain health proportionate to the amount of damage they inflict on their opponents. As a result, the player is forced to adapt an almost completely offensive style as they are racing against time before the weapon depletes their health completely, much reflected in the way of Soul Edge himself. Some characters can completely resist the energy siphoning of Soul Edge, and can safely draw on the power of the weapon and still drain health; needless to say, these characters are the best users of the weapon.
In Soulcalibur II, each character, including the guest characters, can wield Soul Edge and he transforms accordingly depending on the user. The parasitic attributes are shared with many characters, but very few exceptions exist, one of them (oddly enough) being Talim. In Soulcalibur III, many of the characters can use Soul Edge, namely the evil-aligned characters or those with a power-seeking nature.
The first known bearer of Soul Edge was the Hero King, Algol, whose strong will conquered the evil intelligence of the blade. However, his son, Arcturus, was not so strong, and quickly fell under the dark influence of the sword. Jealous of his father's power, he stole Soul Edge and instantly came under the possession of the evil sword. In a desperate battle against the deranged prince, the mighty king defeated Soul Edge, but at the cost of his son's life. Swearing vengeance against the cursed blade, which disappeared after the encounter, he forged from purified fragments of Soul Edge the holy blade Soul Calibur.
The second known bearer of Soul Edge was Zasalamel, during one of his many lifetimes. Trying to break the curse of his eternal reincarnations, Zasalamel obtained the cursed blade, but instead, his soul was possessed by the evil will of the sword, and he turned into the host of the blade until the end of that life. After that, records cease until several hundred years later.
During the 16th century, Soul Edge mysteriously reappeared in a secret antique auction, though it is unknown why it now existed as two blades instead of one. The swords were obtained by an English curio dealer, whose ship was attacked by the dreaded pirate Cervantes de Leon. Possessed by the will of the wicked swords, Cervantes slew the crew of the ship and then slaughtered the population of a Spanish port-town, where he stayed the next twenty-five years, waiting for the birth of the "Child of the Cursed Sword". But then a holy warrior sent by Hephaestus, Sophitia Alexandra, confronted him and was able to destroy the smaller of the two blades. Cervantes, enraged, defeated Sophitia and nearly killed her, but was stopped and killed by a demon huntress named Taki.
It was at that point when Siegfried Schtauffen found the object he had been seeking. When he tried to take the blade lying beside the dead Cervantes, Inferno (called "Soul Edge" in Soul Blade), in an attempt to restore himself, flowed into the corpse and fought Siegfried for the possession of the evil sword. Siegfried won the battle, and when he grasped the hilt of Soul Edge, he was unable to control its power, and released the Evil Seed on the world. Siegfried was further corrupted until he no longer had control over his own body, assuming the role of Nightmare. In the penultimate events of Soulcalibur, he was defeated by Kilik and Xianghua after her treasured Krita-Yuga weapon revealed itself to be Soul Calibur. Xianghua then used Soul Calibur to shatter Soul Edge. However, traces of Soul Edge were still present in Siegfried's body, and he eventually donned the azure armor again.
After succeeding in restoring much of the weakened sword's power, Nightmare was challenged by a swordsman searching for the legendary blade, Raphael Sorel. After a fierce battle, Nightmare stood victorious, but with his last breath, Raphael made a desperate attack and managed to strike his sword into the very center of the cursed blade. Screaming in agony, Nightmare fell back, and within his mind, Siegfried reawakened. After a fierce mental struggle, Siegfried regained his sanity. Shining from the core of Soul Edge, the holy sword Soul Calibur appeared to him, released from its entrapment within the evil blade. Taking Soul Calibur, Siegfried drove it into the cursed blade, piercing its eye and silencing the power of Soul Edge. However, it was not enough to destroy the cursed sword.
Inferno, thrust out of Soul Edge by Soul Calibur, transferred himself into the remnants of Nightmare's armor, but could not manipulate the bodiless husk. It was then that Zasalamel appeared and agreed to help Inferno if he assisted him in finding the two swords of legends, before using his ancient powers to bind Inferno to the armor. At this moment, the evil spirit of Soul Edge became the new Azure Knight and the true form Night Terror. Born from the memory of his old shape, the Phantom Soul Edge is dwarfed by the real cursed sword, but as Nightmare once again began his quest to search for his missing form, this weapon began to grow stronger. The real Soul Edge, silent with its counterpart Soul Calibur, was in the possession of Siegfried Schtauffen, who sought a way to seal the evil sword forever.
Though Soul Edge's power was vastly diminished, there were still many of its fragments scattered throughout the world, expanding Soul Edge's influence far beyond the sword itself. Cervantes de Leon carried another version of the cursed sword, born from fusing several fragments together, as did Taki with one of her blades. Even though the sword was sealed, its fragments still emitted the evil energies of the cursed blade.
Nightmare and Siegfried eventually meet in Lost Cathedral, and Soul Embrace is finally broken. The two knights clashed, sending a shockwave that ripped both their bodies apart and leveled the Cathedral. Soul Edge and Nightmare fell into a warped dimension, but even then, Soul Edge sought power. Because Nightmare had been given a body by the hatred and evil that dwelled there, the sword and body ended up at Ostrheinsburg when they fell out of the void. Soul Edge stretched its evil roots into the azure armor. The shockwave emitted at the cathedral had spread an evil energy that had made all of the sword's shards active; now Soul Edge called out to them, and they returned both small and great. These included the being Charade and the smaller Soul Edge that had been fused together by Cervantes. These pieces had been scattered by Evil Seed, but now they were being called home. The sword drank it all in, and, for the first time in decades, was mostly whole again. But it was not satisfied, and the sword continued to stretch into Nightmare. Now, the azure knight's body, which had been formed from the lingering hatred and tormented ghost, truly became Inferno.
Finally, drawn to the sword like it was a pulsating beacon, the sword's servants began to gather at Ostrheinsburg. The evil armor was no longer enough to contain the evil power, and so the power and mind of Soul Edge sank its roots into Earth itself, and Ostrheinsburg became a cursed city, a vessel that would consume souls to further strengthen the sword. Now the sword sits and waits for the final moment when it can clash with Soul Calibur again.
Defeated in battle by Soul Calibur, Soul Edge shattered, its fragments passing through a dimensional rift that scattered them all over the world. But the cursed sword's minions tracked down the shards, and reassembled as much of the sword as they could. Eventually, it regained consciousness; using a spare body it had hidden beneath Ostrheinsburg, Soul Edge was reborn.
Soul Edge's new host assumed the name "Graf Dumas", and worked its way into the inner circle of Emperor Rudolf II of the Holy Roman Empire. Undefeated in battle and brimming with knowledge from all corners of the world, Dumas quickly won the Emperor's favor and was granted dominion over the Kingdom of Hungary.
After the new Nightmare is defeated, Tira hands Soul Edge over to Pyrrha and the sword changes shape once again, becoming a smaller short sword. Pyrrha Ω becomes the unholy sword's new host as she promises to take souls for Soul Edge in exchange for the sword never leaving her alone.
When her brother is trapped in crystal, however, Pyrrha overcomes Soul Edge's will and chips away at the crystal, ultimately saving her brother. Together, the siblings seemingly rid the world of both swords, and the essence of both swords flows into Astral Chaos. It is unknown what happened to both Soul Edge and Soul Calibur - if they were truly destroyed or if they formed into Soul Embrace once more. Some shards of Soul Edge, including one broken off during the battle between the two siblings, still remain in the world.
- Soul Edge (Cocoon)
- Soul Edge α
- Soul Edge Ω
- Soul Edge (Complete)
- Soul Edge (Female)
- Soul Edge (Growth)
- Soul Edge (Larvae)
- Soul Edge (Male)
- Soul Edge (Phantom)
- Soul Edge (Nauplius)
- Soul Edge (Final Form)
- Soul Edge (Veiled)
- Soul Edge (Cleaver)
- Soul Edge (Axe) (non-canon)
- Soul Edge (Rapier) (non-canon)
- Soul Edge (Ring Blade) (non-canon)
- Soul Edge (Sword & Shield)
- Soul Edge (Longsword and Pistol Sword)
- Soul Edge (Katars) (non-canon)
- Soul Edge (Ax & Shield) (non-canon)
- Soul Edge (Katana) (non-canon)
- Soul Edge (Nunchaku) (non-canon)
- Soul Edge (Chinese Sword) (non-canon)
Through the ages, Soul Edge has acquired many hosts that kept the evil energy of the sword inside their bodies. Some hosts were willing to serve Soul Edge by offering their bodies, some misguidedly believed they could assert their own will over the sword's, some were tempted and then dominated by the Evil Sword against their wills.
When Soul Edge bonds with someone, it takes possession of their bodies and begins to devour the person's soul. In most hosts, their identity remains (at least for a time) but the darker, more violent aspects of their personality are drawn out under the thrall of the sword. In some cases (like that of the unstable young Siegfried), the mind of the wielder is so weak that Soul Edge is able to completely consume their identity and will, even changing their forms into a manifestation of the sword itself. It may also animate the dead to use as a body, as was the case with Cervantes after he was slain by Taki, and the body made for it by Zasalamel after losing control of Siegfried prior to the events of Soulcalibur III. At the height of its power, the sword can manifest in its true form, without the need for a host body.
The "Hero King", Algol, is said to have been the only host able to assert his own will over that of the sword.
The hosts of Soul Edge were:
- Tira (in her non-canon Soulcalibur III ending)
- Yun-Seong (in his non-canon Soulcalibur IV ending)
- Soul Edge was once a lifeless weapon, but being bathed in blood and hatred many times turned him into an evil sword along with an evil soul known as Inferno
- The Hero King's son, Arcturus, was the first known victim to die at the hands of Soul Edge.
- Certain characters like Tira, Amy, Sophitia, and Maxi are able to use him as their ultimate weapon in Soulcalibur IV.
- In Soulcalibur II, all of the characters, including the guest characters, wield him as Soul Edge (Complete).
- A few of the characters such as Raphael, Rock, Taki and Yun-seong try to use Soul Edge for good intentions, but inevitably the immense evil of the weapon makes using his power for good impossible with some exceptions being Algol and Pyrrha.
- Soul Edge was the very first weapon to have life force before Soul Calibur.
- In Soulcalibur III, Soul Edge mostly makes his appearance in every character's ending.
- In Soulcalibur II, he is responsible for Soul Calibur's transformation into an evil version of herself.
- Algol is the only character in the Soul series to have a strong powerful will to totally resist his corruption, and thus the only one to use Soul Edge for a truly good intention. However, in Soulcalibur V, Pyrrha was able to overcome Soul Edge's will for a short time, despite being malfested.
- Like Maxi, Xianghua, and Kilik's ultimate weapons, in Soulcalibur IV, Yun-seong's ultimate weapon is Soul Edge, Seong Mi-na's is Soul Calibur, and Talim's is both.
- Soul Edge made his appearance in Namco x Capcom.
- Astaroth's version of Soul Edge looks vaguely similar to Dark Edge of Insanity from World of Warcraft. Both are fleshy axes with a single, baleful eye.
- In Voldo's ending in Soulcalibur IV, Soul Edge is able to talk. In English, Soul Edge is voiced by Yuri Lowenthal.
- In Soulcalibur V, Soul Edge takes two new forms. The first in a new form of a longsword, which now reveals his face on the blade and the other used by the new Nightmare that closely resembles the Soul Edge (Male) of Soulcalibur I - III.
- In Soulcalibur II, according to his weapon profile, Soul Edge has fought against Soul Calibur in battles that are unbeknownst to man. This is also true in Soul Calibur's weapon profile as well.
- The weapon used by Caius Ballad in Final Fantasy XIII-2 vaguely resembles Soul Edge (a single, central eye and an organic appearance).
- Soul Edge makes a cameo as an equipable weapon in Guadia Quest, a subgame of Retro Game Challenge.
- Soul Edge bears some resemblance to the demonic sword Sparda from Capcom's Devil May Cry series.
- Soul Edge bears many similarities to the fictional sword Sō'unga from the Inuyasha series. Both are very powerful and sentient swords once wielded by heroic leaders (Inu no Taishō and Algol, respectively), possessed a malevolent spirit (Sō'unga being the sword itself and Soul Edge's being Inferno) and have the ability to brainwash and manipulate their hosts and both craft armor for them while doing so. In times of desperation, both can also take control by either using pieces of or whole beings of the dead as a potential host and became stronger and faster as a result of it and even have the same laterality, being left handed with their swords. Lastly, both have also possessed the main protagonist of the series and mutated their arms to a certain degree. They have also used similar weapons and fighting styles.