Label: MVM Entertainment
Running Time: 300 minutes
Release Date: 22nd July 2013
Release Type: DVD
Nightwalker is a 12 episode series originally from 1998. It revolves around Shido Tatsuhiko, a vampire who works as a detective solving cases that relate to attacks by a form of vampire called ‘Nightbreeds’. Nightbreeds have the power to posses people and use their bodies as hosts and feed off their souls or use them as vessels in order to hunt and eat humans and animals. In order to track down and eliminate the threat of the ‘breeds’ Shido has teamed up with Yayoi, a government agent and is also assisted by Riho, a teenage girl whose parents were killed by a nightbreed and Guni, a small imp. All the while Shido is being pursued by Cain, a vampire who turned Shido into a vampire.
Nightwalker is a rather odd series, it paints itself as being a supernatural-horror-mystery anime involving vampires, yet doesn’t manage to pull off anything well enough. First off let’s start with the horror. Nothing in this series is particularly scary or frightening. There are a few moments that can almost be considered scary but it’s more of the theme and idea of these rather than their execution. For the most part almost every single episode takes the same format. An incident occurs, which causes someone to be possessed. The possessed person starts their rampage, which draws the attention of the police/government agencies. Which then gets Yayoi to get Shido involved in solving the case, after which some coincidence brings Shido and the possessed person together. A fight ensues with the nightbreed getting killed. For the most part Nightbreeds are often exorcised from the body of their host before being killed, other times the person being possessed cannot be saved and ends up dying along with the Nightbreed.
This leads the way to a few inconsistencies with regards to the Nightbreeds. Different people get affected by them in different ways. Some are completely possessed, others know they are possessed and use their power while trying to fight them off and others have been living a while with them without being fully taken over. Again this also leads to a few inconsistencies with their abilities. It seems like some aren’t affected all that much by sunlight while others avoid direct contact with it as it visibly hurts them.
Also with regards to this, Shido’s abilities aren’t properly explained either. He can make a sword out of his own blood and fire bullets using his blood, which seems to be the only thing that hurts and destroys the Nightbreeds. At times he can exorcise a Nightbreed from a body by sucking it out like he would when drinking blood and then pouring his own blood on the pile of what looks to be blood that is the Nightbreed. Also it seems like Yayoi’s blood is the only blood he can drink, the reason for this isn’t fully explained within the show but there is an implied reason that can be conjectured from Yayoi’s backstory episode.
With regards to Shido and sunlight. He appears fine when walking around during the day but is wearing a heavy coat, scarf and sunglasses. There is a line of dialogue that suggested sunlight blurs a vampire’s vision and being out during the day severely weakens them. As mentioned previously, most episodes conclude with a fight scene involving Shido and the Nightbreeds, these fights aren’t very entertaining. Shido uses the exact same set of moves and the Nightbreeds will use the same type of attacks and tricks and they all end with in similar ways. What should be the highlight of each episode becomes a predictable dull affair.
Unfortunately the same can be said for the rest of the series. The series on the whole is rather boring, no character is rather interesting or can be related to very well, which makes moments that are supposed to be tense or dramatic feel rather flat as there is little to make the viewer feel empathy. This combined with each of the cases that Shido takes on being predictable to the point that the viewer is basically told how it will all end within the first few minutes, makes the whole thing seem like a tedious and dull series of events to get through.
It’s not so bad that’s it’s terrible. It just feels so generic and mediocre, which may be the problem of the series. It has been 15 years since this first aired and it hasn’t aged well. Everything that could have been interesting has been done since and done better. If you want an anime with vampires you’d probably watch Hellsing Ultimate, if you want a detective series you’d be better off watching Sherlock instead.
Nightwalker is really a relic from it’s time, what it provided back when it first appeared may have been interesting and fresh but time has not been too kind and it has decayed into a forgettable generic supernatural mystery show that while not terrible, does nothing memorable or remarkable.