Talim (タリム, Tarimu) is a fictional character in the Soul series of fighting games. Created by Namco's Project Soul division, she first appeared in Soulcalibur II, followed by Soulcalibur III and Soulcalibur IV.
Hailing from the Village of the Wind Deity, located in the Philippines during the time of the Spanish colonization, Talim is the daughter of a priestess who could control the wind to perform miracles. She would also take the position eventually, but after receiving a fragment of the cursed sword, Soul Edge, and sensing its malicious impact on humanity, she decides to travel the world so she could return it to its rightful place and restore balance to the world.
The character has received positive reception, often noting her unique speed-driven fighting style as well as her sexual appeal, despite her relatively young age. Her absence in Soulcalibur V has induced criticism from various outlets.
Talim is regarded as the first Filipina character introduced to the fighting game genre. In the character's native Tagalog language, her name means "edge" or "sharp". Her design and concept were built to revolve around them, starting with gender, then physical measurements, and lastly background details. Once established her appearance and movement were fleshed out by the team's concept artist Aya Takemura and rendered as a 3D model by a design team that worked solely on the character. Talim was then animated by a motion designer using motion capture and working directly with the team. During this phase the team additionally worked with the Soulcalibur story creators, refining the character's own role in the plot as needed throughout development.
As a character introduced in Soulcalibur II, Talim's weapons, a pair of elbow blades, were decided upon before other aspects of the character were. Originally considered for the first Soulcalibur, the weapons were selected to be unique amongst the others characters' weapons in the title. Talim's weapons were built around the concept of dual-weapon usage, with special emphasis that while bladed, the weapons themselves were not actual tonfa. During development it was considered to allow them to transform and be sentient, however the idea was abandoned. Talim's character concept was designed around the idea of introducing a young female character that the developers felt the series lacked, while at the same time making her appear androgynous.
In the Village of the Wind Deity (Nayong Anito ng Hangin), Samar island, there lived a tribe of people who could control the winds. Talim was the granddaughter of this village's elder, Kalana, and daughter of its shaman, Lidi. Due to turmoil caused by the influences of Spanish and Portuguese culture, she was reared to be its last priestess or (babaylan). The day that the Evil Seed spread across the world, Talim felt the winds, and an evil aura that devoured everything in its path surged into her body, causing her to lose consciousness for days.
Years later, when Talim was 15 years old, a man from the west brought with him a strange metal fragment, claiming it to be a vitality amulet. Talim, however, recognized the evil energy as the same energy she had experienced years before and left on a journey, believing that if she were to return the fragment to its rightful place, peace would eventually be restored, despite the elders' misgivings. Having collected several of the fragments, she eventually learned that the source of the evil energy was an evil sword called Soul Edge. Sensing another source of evil energy, Talim traveled to a mountain range, eventually locating it in a sick child living at a watermill. A young man named Hong Yun-seong arrived later as Talim settled into the watermill to try to heal the child, also searching for clues regarding Soul Edge, and came to stay with her. Talim ultimately healed the child by releasing the evil energy from within him all at once into the wind. She then left the watermill with Yun-seong and continued to search for Soul Edge in Soulcalibur IV. They met Seong Mi-na on their travels, and together she and Talim tried to convince Yun-seong of the dangers in attempting to attain Soul Edge's power. However, Yun-seong vanished the next day, leaving both of them worried but hoping he would make the right choice. The two parted ways: Mi-na to look for Yun-seong, while Talim carried on the search for Soul Edge alone.
Talim wields Syi Salika and Loka Luha, a pair of tonfa-like weapons called Elbow Blades, used by the wind-worshipping people of Southeast Asia in ceremonial dances and thus are more ritual items rather than weapons. Her movement and fighting style were designed around her culture and a bird-theme, emphasizing close horizontal strikes upon opponents as well as freedom of movement. In Soulcalibur III, these weapons, and Talim's "Wind Dance" fighting style are available under the discipline Soul of Talim to characters created under the Saint class. The names of her moves are mostly in Tagalog. According to 1UP.com, Talim is a difficult character to master as the player using her "has to rely on tricks, gimmicks, and stuns to really apply any damage, and these need a bit of time -- and timing -- to set up."
Talim's initial addition to the series has been received warmly, with reviews of Soulcalibur II describing her as a welcome addition to the series as well as a "speed demon". GameNOW described her as "profoundly unique not only to SC2, but to fighting games in general." GameSpy's Christian Nutt stated Talim's "unpredictable nature" made her interesting, though added "she's almost too cute to fit in with the rest of the SCII crew." Insert Credit's Tim Rogers called Talim "the cutest of the young girl characters [in Soulcalibur II] by far," and a preference for her symmetrical outfits. Electronic Gaming Monthly noted a positive impression in her ability to fight against the title's much larger male characters, an effect University of Delaware professor Rachel Hutchinson described as "entertainment through deviation from the norm" against stereotypical gender expectations. In 2013, Complex ranking her the eighth best character in the series. In 2015, Talim was voted the most popular Soulcalibur character in the West in an official poll by Namco Bandai.
Despite her age, Talim has been utilized in material revolving around her sex appeal as a female character, such as PSM's swimsuit issues and Play's "Girls of Gaming" publications, and The Village Voice noted concern over the character's portrayal in such material, describing it as "troubling". An absence of Talim in Soulcalibur V was criticized in the reviews by some outlets such as Kotaku and Game Revolution. However, Brittany Vincent of Cheat Code Central featured her on the 2011 list of top ten most overrated video game characters, stating that "she grates on the nerves with her angelic personality and 'never give up' spirit. Now, Taki on the other hand..." In 2012, Kristie Bertucci of Gadget Review ranked her as the 14th "hottest" female video game character for her "curves in all the right places" and "a very sexy and skimpy outfit."