Name: Night Warriors: Dark Stalkers' Revenge - Vol. 1 (67.50% in 8 votes) Type: ANIME Platform: VHS/VCD Company: Mad House Release date: 1999 Reviewed by: KurenaiJiku
When I picked up this video, I certainly thought this would be one of those video game to Anime generic franchises attempting to milk the game concept for money poopers. Surprisingly, I was in for a treat. Dark Stalkers known by many is a Capcom 2D fighting game which was released inbetween Children of the Atom and X-Men VS Street Fighter. It was an incredibly fun game with wacky characters, tons of pyrotechnics and a slightly more unique adventure tone rather than a generic fighter slapped with a cast of characters. The Anime is a magnification of it's world and story, and although some places are a bit wobbly it holds better than some other video game to Anime conversions.
The story is mainly about two worlds clashing together for power and survival. One world being the demon world, and the other being the human world. Apparently the human world has been ravished by monsters, demons, or known in the Anime as Dark Stalkers or Dark Ones. Humanity has lost the sight of the sun and lives in an eternal night. That doesn't mean everything on Earth is hell; but rather when you get up in the morning you have to watch your back when you brush your teeth, and never know when it's late or early. These Dark Stalkers have taken over villages, cities, and even some of them have integrated themselves into human society. Aside from this macro perspective, there is of course the characters from the game like Dimitri and Morrigan. Each character's history, personality and purpose is reflected quite nicely. However, some of the lesser characters like the zombie punk rocker was never really formly introduced; I don't even remember his name. This shows a lack of responsibility by Mad House and Capcom; expecting everybody watching the animation knows of the characters completely. These large pot holes in the consistency of the animation almost ruins it, but thanks to the focus on the more popular characters brings back to horizon level.
Dimitri is an ancient vampire who desires vengence for a dismal defeat in the demon world. He has trained himself by drawing powers from Earth and humans to become more powerful so that he can redeem his pride and honor. Morrigan on the other hand is a slightly different perspective from my initial impression the first time I saw her. As a demonic succubus, I expected her to be a bit more sensuous and a lot more evil. She is a shadow in pale comparison to my expectations, and I don't think brings enough merit or drama to the Anime. The Anime tells her story as a run away demon who craves the excitment of battle and a strong man. Although at bottom basis, this is what Morrigan is; I don't think the Anime did enough to justify her personality.
Later in the 40 minute Anime, things started to get quite interesting. The latter half quickly changed pace from a flashy pryotechnics battles of Dimitri, Morrigan and a bunch of weird looking mecha, to a more traditional fantasy story and setting. The travelling vampire hunter Donovan happens to meet up with a small little girl who has amazing psychic powers. This is the exact same girl who follows Donovan around in the game. In the Anime, her history is clearly unknown and will be probably revealed in the next couple of chapters. However, Mad House amazingly managed to establish a subtle conflict between these characters and has made me intrigued to continue onto the next volume.
Mad House has made some special here and hopefully the quality of animation will continue with the forthcoming volumes. It's more traditional animation mixed with Capcom's uncannyily popular visual style. Many of the shots are very dramatic and are almost flawless between transitions. When there's a fight going on, be sure to be confused slightly by the numerous dramatic pauses and eccentric poses the artists put the characters in. What I felt wrong with the animation though, is that they tried to sell out on the characters by showing scenes which attempted to mimic the game. Some of the moves appeared too much like the actual game and would have been better if they made it more cinematic rather than sacrificing certain shots for profagandist scenes relating back to the game.
In finality, Mad House did a pretty good job of the conversion. Hopefully they won't screw it up as Toshinden was in the second episode, or Street Fighter 2V's continuity, or the utterly pathetic Psychic Force Anime. I suggest waiting on purchasing this Anime you find out what the other episodes are like, otherwise you'll be wasting money on perhaps another screwed up series.