Welcome, to the second review of horror anime month. Night Walker: Mayonaka no Tantei is a twelve episode anime from the late 90s, based on an eroge from the early 90s. It was brought to us by our old friends at AIC, which could be a good or a bad thing. They did bring us such treats as Sasameki Koto & Bubblegum Crisis. But they also sharted OreImo & Isekai no Seikishi no Monogatari at us.
Night Walker follows a vampire detective named Shidou. His personal mission is to protect humans from supernatural monsters called “breeds.” Shidou works with Yayoi, a woman who’s part of a special anti-breed unit, Guni, a green faerie and Riho, a high-school girl who tags along because why wouldn’t they be okay with that? It’s not like they’re going into danger and she has no training. Okay, I’ll be fair, she stars out mostly hanging out in the office and there’s a reason they start letting her go along with them. The series follows the group as they investigate various incidents involving supernatural beings and follows Shidou as he tries to unravel the mystery of his past. He came down with plot convenience amnesia at some point and can’t remember his life before he was turned.
Let’s discuss the flaws of the series. The biggest problem is that the big climax comes far too early. It’s really a waste since everything that comes after is less intense and important. However, it is understandable in this case. Why? Because the series was originally intended to be a four episode OVA and the other two-thirds was added later to make it a series. Still, they should have found something bigger and more dramatic to work towards in those eight episodes. There’s also a problem with consistency. Basically, the fourth episode ends on a very specific note and the very next episode immediately contradicts it in two major ways with no explanation for what happened. It could have worked if there was more time between the events of the two episodes but all indications suggest that there’s not much of a skip. Did this project have an editor? It also bothers me that Shidou gets all of his blood from Yayoi. While it is a nice touch that he takes blood from a willing donor, it really doesn’t make sense for all of it to come from one person. The human body needs time to produce blood. Does he just not drink often or does a vampire feeding off of you make your blood production quadruple in this series? There’s also a major cop-out at the end. I won’t spoil it, but it’s really bad.
On a positive note, the idea of the series is pretty compelling. I like that people know what the breed are and there’s a task force set up instead of the stereotype of having the supernatural elements being completely unknown by the populace and, somehow, covered up. A lot of the individual episodes are pretty interesting too, in spite of them being largely pretty simplistic. The series also does a good job of giving the audience snippets and hints about Shidou’s past in a way that does add to the narrative.
Overall, the characters are pretty generic. They aren’t bad, but there’s also not much to them. Riho is definitely the weakest since she’s the most effected by the inconsistency problem and since her character is pretty much defined by being a tag along. Shidou is the strongest since he has the most going on in his back-story.
The art in this is pretty dated by today’s standards. However, in the context of its time, it’s pretty standard. There are some interesting looking monsters and the action sequences can be nicely done. The biggest issue is that the character designs shift after the first four episodes and I’m not blaming this one on those having been originally intended for an OVA. It’s not like the staff couldn’t have looked back on what they’d done and followed it. It’s not like the second designs are any better.
They got some pretty good actors. Yamazaki Takumi does really well in the leading role. We also get Shinohara Emi, hi Sailor Jupiter, Tanaka Hideyuki, Sakamoto Maaya and Ootani Ikue who doesn’t over-act in this, unlike the role we heard her in last week. Overall, the acting isn’t the best I’ve heard from any of the people involved but it’s pretty decent. The music isn’t bad. It’s not anything special but it’s passable.
There’s a bit. It’s clear that Shidou and Cain used to be involved, that their relationship was less than healthy and that Cain still has the hots for Shidou. Dude really needs to let his ex-boyfriends go.
Night Walker: Mayonaka no Tantei isn’t a bad series. It has some problems and some good things going for it. It’s fairly simple and, in many ways, standard, but it isn’t bad. If you’re interested in seeing a vampire detective hunt monsters and don’t really care about complexity, you’ll probably like it. As for me, I’m calling it mediocre. Final rating is a 5/10. Next week I’m looking at Mars of Destruction because someone suggested it as a horror thing I could look at.