Anime Meta-Review


Night Walker


By Date




Title Info

  • seen: 1-12
  • type: TV
  • grade: worthy
  • Other elements of this title:
    • This title may offend the sensitive.
  • made: unknown
  • Review created: A while ago, i'll revise it eventually.
  • mod: none

Japan really is such a dangerous place to live. It seems that the biggest cities are just chock full of monsters and demons and they all consider humans the finest form of snack food. Although, in a pleasant suprise, this anime is much better than the preceeding may give you reason to believe. We follow the shido detective agency which is often called into `special' police investigations by a member of a police special team. This is largely because the shido detective agency is not your average agency, for a start shido himself is a vampire albeit in a cool, moody bishounen sort of way. His sire (the one who made him a vampire) stole his memory, though he has vague flashbacks of having gotten a little carried away. However he suceeded in regaining his `humanity' and now helps in the fight against the `breed', demons who seize human bodies. His offsiders include a naked, winged, demonic girl...although being only a couple of inches high does reduce the sex appeal, as does her cynical outlook. The final member of the team is Liho, the energetic, innocent but fairly strong willed schoolgirl with a rather obvious crush on Shido (and no family courtesy of a brood attack). Mind you, if she wants to stay normal and innocent the best thing she could do is book a ticket out of this anime. The number of breed attacks is increasing, and these monsters think nothing of possessing or consuming living beings. This leads to both many individual `monster' stories, as well as the potential for a wider story as it seems things are stirring in darkness.

In essence it is a suprisingly successful mix of some fairly familiar elements and archetypes. As expected, the whole vampire thing gets brought out again, plus the demonic possession angle and experienced anime watchers will definitely see some familiar elements from other anime series and characters. Thankfully this one is pretty well balanced in its mix and has some good writing and character work to make it all hold together. And, really, the fact that these elements have been used before is simply a recognition that when done well, as here, they can combine humor, horror, mystery and action in a very interesting package. This is greatly aided by the quite intriguing characters and some fairly nice dialogue and chemistry between the people involved. It also gains because while the episodic stories are strong it does seem willing to modify characters and perhaps build up to a bigger story. Mind you, this is not the chilling gothic horror some might expect. This is more on the `cool' and action based side of things. There's quite a lot of fighting (with Shido summoning weapons of blood ... excellent), death and gore. This provides an interesting comparison to the relative warmth of the characters. It also means it earns the nfts (not for the sensitive) flag. We often get to see demons being cruel or horrific, often with the violent death of anonymous characters, which really affects me. For example watching a school girl get one line before being `monstered' down in front of her friends, or meeting a character and a second later her mangled corpse being found is all pretty strong. This gore factor, along with some quite adult humor and occasional nudity seems to indicate that it was aimed at older audience (although the teens will probably be the most into it).

The production is solid TV quality. A little bit muddy in parts, and some minor characters lack detail, but on the whole good quality stuff. It exceeds the animation in some of the other aspects though. The character designs are excellent, the vampire and demon powers are imaginative and some of the action is very nicely staged. Actually some of the action is very nicely animated, entertaining and still manages to be `cool'. Some of it is also quite ambitious for TV animation, and while there are some shortcuts and some visible limitations, it generally works well. It also manages to maintain a unified sense of ambiance. While Shido is occassionally a bit goofy, and Liho a `normal' schoolgirl, it merges smoothly with the motif of darkness stalking the streets. The crosses between `normality' and gory, monster driven, terror works well. The writing takes a large part of the credit, but the world design is also important in allowing it to work. This is backed up by some good voice acting, with a willingness to be `unpleasant' when required (often for minor/possessed characters). Likewise the music is suprisingly good and fitting for a TV series. The `cool' opening track, sort of laidback and deep, matches similar music used to underscore some important scenes.

While this is not astoundlingly novel or progressive the essential formula, and the whole vampire mythology, is every bit as addictive as ever. Given the suprisingly unified and strong production, and the fact that some of the scenes will stick in the mind (whether you want them to or not) I have to say this is a pretty worthwhile series to check out. Of course it helps a lot if you like modern day horror, with a decent serving of action and gore (and I normally don't).

Either not a very popular title or fairly new. None of my regular sites have a review of this title, and the anime turnpike only has two links (one of which is a preliminary review).


Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:22 WST 2009