Property Review: Night Warriors – Darkstalkers’ Revenge (The Animated Series)

Night Warriors: Darkstalkers’ Revenge
Madhouse Studios, 1997-1998

Darkstalkers OVA scares up thrills

Forget for a moment that you know anything about the Vampire series from Capcom. Yes, forget about the games and the god-awful USA Network animated series. You’re learning, for the first time, about the monsters and darkness that is Capcom’s side fighting game franchise, and you love anime, as well. Your introduction is this OVA of four episodes. Congratulations, you’ve gotten the best there is to offer in the animated series category that is Vampire/Darkstalkers. It’s time to get you educated.
Darkstalkers’ Revenge takes everything you could possibly love about the fighting game series and makes it digestible in anime form. The titular Darkstalkers are all here from the first and second game: Morrigan and Demitri are leading the charge as the faces of the franchise. Other favorites such as Felicia, Jon Talbain and Lord Raptor are here, too. You even get Donovan and Hsein-Ko in major roles. And that’s part of the joy of the story: You’re getting the full Darkstalkers experience without having to play the games. Sure, it’s preferable that you do play the series enough to know who’s who and what their motivation is, but it’s not necessary and this OVA does a great job of informing.
This isn’t necessarily your typical shonen anime, though. Demitri is an anti-hero here as he is in the games and Morrigan is as well. They fight each other for supremacy, however, and it’s only after the overall big bad Pyron is introduced that they stop for a moment to assess whether to get involved. Along the way, all of the other Darkstalkers are introduced and given some type of screen time, either as main characters or as cameos. The story is good as it follows the games very well, making more sense of the plot of the games than those properties actually do. The only gripe is that the ending is rushed and makes zero sense in the grand scheme of things. The ending is the only time where things jump off the rails as far as faithfulness to the games is concerned. The animation is smooth and fluid, the voicework is fantastic in the sub and mostly good in the dub, and the overall package holds up for a critiqued release 25 years later.
As a lover of all things Vampire/Darkstalkers – it should be obvious in this issue by now – we can highly recommend this OVA as a gateway to the drug that is the fright fight fest. It’s got fast-paced action, recognizable characters and is an excellent adaptation to a good series. Sharpen your fangs, this is only the beginning if you’re ready to delve into the world of myths and monsters of the dark.

Like the games?: 9
Voice work: 10
Animation: 10

Total score: 29/30 or 9.6

We score the properties in three categories: Casting (or voice acting in cases of animated), plot and similarities to its source material. Each category receives points out of the maximum of 10 per category and 30 overall. The percentage is the final score.

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