14 February 2006

Nightwalker: Hot Vampire-y Fun

I found this series on "On Demand" (when they actually had anime there), and unfortunately had to suffer through most of the episodes with the English dubs. Sorry I tend to be kind of a purist because 90% of the time the dubs RUIN the series. Anyway...

"Nightwalker" is a 12 episode (half-season) series made in 2000 (info courtesy of Absolute Anime), which focuses on a vampire named Shido Tatsuhiko (that's DETECTIVE Shido to you!) who fights "nightbreeds", evil demons that possess humans. He has a gang of helpers including a little fairy-like thing named Guni, and his own personal buffet, Yayoi. I'm not sure of the origin of Guni, but he rescued Yayoi (in one of the episodes you get to see this), and she became Shido's "blood donor". Later, a little innocent girl named Riho joins the gang as his secretary, and the plot afterward is focused around Riho and Shido.

While Shido is a detective (think "Angel" from Buffy the Vampire Slayer), he's got some pretty big problems of his own. He despises his sire, Cain, who believes that humans are only food for the obviously superior race of vampires. Shido broke away from his sire to help humans. Cain still loves him and wants him back (in a weird son yet master-apprentice Sith sort of way), but Shido keeps refusing. Even though Shido manages to stand his ground, Cain is still always on the back burner of his mind.

The plot echos this Cain-Shido relationship with that which forms between Shido and Riho. I won't give away what happens, but it's an interesting plot twist. Most of the episodes are cases that Shido is asked to resolve by one person or another, or tracking down nightbreeds and eliminating them. Ironically these two interests always seem to collide..

Lady 1:"Sir, have you seen my missing Grandpa!? *gives picture to Shido*"
Yayoi, half a day later: "There's been this weird nightbreed with gray hair killing people... *hands picture to Shido*"

You get the picture, I think. Pun intended.

Shido is a hot, hot vampire. I must admit I got a little flustered myself with the Japanese voice actor at some points. The animation itself was just okay. Lots of typical repeat sequences, but nothing that bothered me too much. Even though this series was only 12 episodes it felt a lot longer because it was kind of slow, though maybe I only felt this way because I watched it in two pieces and had to rewatch half of it. It was a good anime, and I love, love, love the opening song "Gessekai" by Buck Tick, but other than that the music was mediocre. The plot strayed a little bit, but pulled it together for the end of the series. The characters were very fun and memorable, and I love the fact that you get backstory on Yayoi.

Definitely kept the vampire genre in the game. Good but not great reviews for Nightwalker. I would still watch it if I had to make the choice all over again. As a last thought, the final scene of the anime is worth watching the series for.

Plotline: Good
Characters: Very Good
Music: Poor
Animation: Fair


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