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Nightwalker The Complete Series DVD Review

Nightwalker DVDDirector: Kiyotoshi Sasano, Yutaka Kagawa,

Starring: Takumi Yamazaki, Vincent Hatcher, Emi Shinohara, Jane Alan, Maaya Sakamoto, Dorothy Melendrez, Akira Ishida, Lex Lang,

Running Time: 300 minutes

Certificate: 15

NIGHTWALKER arrives on DVD from 1998, not that you’d be able to tell from the visuals. It feels very much like a product from a decade earlier. Everything about it screams 1980s noir. From the cool opening music, to the feel of a detective story with a bit of a foggy and dark edge, there seems to be a real interest in paying homage to a bygone era. This tribute is a huge hindrance as the visuals may come across as nostalgic and retro, but the animation and stories are often painfully simple.

The show follows a vampire who runs a private detective agency. So far so good, but it soon devolves into your average monster of the week series that ignores any of the investigative elements. Scooby Doo and the gang collected more evidence and clues than this. NIGHTWALKER is just about counting down the minutes until the perpetrator reveals themselves as being possessed by a demon.   Simple plots are fair enough, but trying to dress it up as a mystery also prevents character development. A similar show in terms of visual and story was the incredible VAMPIRE PRINCESS MIYU, but that show cleverly mixed moral ambiguity and emotion. NIGHTWALKER finds it difficult to insert its main characters into the mysteries, leaving the audience wanting to know more about the friends and families affected.

Unfortunately the negatives don’t end there. As well as individual episodes being muddled, the mythology of the show also has trouble coming to the surface. There are certainly mentions of greater powers and complex pasts, but again they crash into the individual storylines and derail the viewers engagement. One episode where all of this is most notable is a Hitchcockian styled thriller in which a family plan the murder of one of their elderly relatives, only for the body to soon go missing. As soon as our protagonist Shido (Yamazaki/Hatcher) comes into play the dynamics shift away from the family and leave us as cold as the undead.

With inconsistent changes in design, stories that have the supernatural vampiric moments wedged in, and animation that looks dated and repetitive, NIGHTWALKER is a show that probably never had a chance. There are some great ideas bubbling beneath layers of trite exposition and rushed conclusions, but it’s doubtful you’ll want to sift through such muck to get to the gold.

2 StarsNIGHTWALKER The Complete Seriesis released on DVD on 22nd July via MVM Entertainment.

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Luke likes many things, films and penguins being among them. He's loved films since the age of 9, when STARGATE and BATMAN FOREVER changed the landscape of modern cinema as we know it. His love of film extends to all aspects of his life, with trips abroad being planned around film locations and only buying products featured in Will Smith movies. His favourite films include SEVEN SAMURAI, PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC, IN BRUGES, LONE STAR, GODZILLA, and a thousand others.

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