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Nightwalker: The Midnight Detective (Mayonaka no Tantei Nightwalker) is a Twelve-Episode Anime Vampire Detective series. It follows a repentant vampire named Tatsuhiko Shido in his struggle to covertly protect the citizens of his adopted city from other, less friendly creatures of the night. Also worth mentioning is the peculiar composition of the show - it's divided into two portions that don't feel quite alike, and look markedly different. Also it's based on a computer game that barely anyone has heard of. Even in Japan.

Despite the other inconsistencies, the same writers work on the show throughout and the setting remains consistent. It takes place in a Japanese city where our Friendly Neighborhood Vampire Shido works as a private investigator, specializing in supernatural cases - particularly cases which involve a race of demons dubbed Nightbreeds. Joining him are Yayoi Matsunaga, an agent for a anti-Nightbreed organization dubbed the NOS; Riho Yamazaki, a teenage orphan (courtesy of Nightbreeds) who works as Shido's Girl Friday; and Guni, a little green imp with bat wings who often hides in Shido's hair.

Antagonizing them is Cain, the vampire who made Shido what he is today, who still harbors feelings for him.

So what happened with this show? It was initially planned as an OVA, but ended up becoming a TV series by means of tacking on lower-budget episodes to fill it out. Effectively, Nightwalker has two separate (and distinct) animation staffs, but attempts to pass itself off as one [1]. To go even further, the game it's based on is an H-game - in fact, Nightwalker is the first anime tv series based on an adult game[2]. (The game is Japan only, of course. and obscure even by those standards.) In comparison to the game, the anime series is a pleasantly Forever Knight-ed up Alternative Continuity of its source material.

This series contains examples of :

  • Aborted Arc: The Golden Dawn — some complex scheme involving human/nightbreed hybrids - is set up as a big deal event in the early episodes, but it gets dropped before the baby is even born.
  • Action Girl: Gun-toting secret agent Yayoi.
  • Agent Peacock: Cain can overpower Shido without even mussing his pretty hair.
  • All Just a Dream: Episode 12, in which Riho's deceased parents return as nightbreeds, forcing Shido to kill them (again) in front of her. The psychological trauma causes Riho to give in to her vampire nature, and she murders Yayoi and Guni. just as Shido strikes the final blow to riho, he wakes to discover it was all a hallucination caused by Cain.
  • The Anime of the Game: Yes, the eroge visual novel came first by about 5 years. No, Cain does NOT appear in the game. The game got an Updated Rerelease around the time the anime aired.
  • Art Shift: From episode 5 onward the show has new character designs. This leads to . . .
    • Adaptation Dye Job: Yayoi has dark reddish hair until episode 5, when her hair becomes Shiny Midnight Black. Shido's eyes change from gold to blue and his hair gets a lot longer; Riho goes from brunette to redhead; Cain . . . "dye job" falls short of expressing how different Cain looks. Adaptational Attractiveness might be better.
    • The shift from lighter to darker and more intense colors may be the intentional result of a shift of tone in the anime, a visual way of expressing that the setting is becoming "darker", literally and metaphorically.
  • Awesome McCoolname: "Tatsuhiko Shido" (purple-wysteria dragon-son) is merely the character's current alias, and too over the top for Guni to hold back from snarking about it.
  • Badass Longcoat: Shido sports one in the second set of character designs. In the first set of designs, he occasionally wears a Conspicuous Trenchcoat to protect himself from the sun.
  • Bishonen: Shido. Cain, from episode 5 on. The "angel" in episode 10.
  • Blond Guys Are Evil: And they don't come more evil than Cain.
  • Bloody Murder: Vampires in "Nightwalker" can transform their blood into weapons. Shido uses a number of forms, but seems to prefer a sword. (While Riho has yet to do so, the events of episode 12 suggest that she is capable of it.)
  • Body Horror: What happens when a Nightbreed possesses a human.
  • Call Back: Shido buys a silver cross pendant for Riho in episode 3, jokingly acting like it has power over him. It doesn't. In episode 4, Cain rips the cross off Riho's neck and gives her a mortal injury. After all, it's really just a trinket.
  • Canon Foreigner: Technically there are many, since the show is an Alternative Continuity of the game it's based on. Cain is the biggie, though - Shido doesn't even have a sire in the game.
  • Charm Person: Cain frequently attempts to mesmerize Shido, and the only thing that keeps it from working is Heroic Willpower.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Riho. Rather mild case. She gets angry when any other woman seems close to Shido but she just pouts about it for the most part.
  • Creepy Child: This anime's full of them.
  • Dead Little Sister: Several; at least one of them literally so. In Yayoi's case, her Dead Twin Sister gave her own face to Yayoi to replace Yayoi's disfgured one. Riho's parents count too, but not literally.
    • Shido may have a literal Dead Little Sister, but his relationship to the girl in question is unclear. Before he became a vampire, there was a woman and a little girl who were very important in his life. They were either his wife and daughter or his mother and sister. After the woman died, the little girl didn't want to live on as a vampire, and killed herself by exposing herself to the sunlight.
  • Deal with the Devil: Episode 2, where an aspiring actress makes a pact with a Nightbreed in exchange for talent.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Cain, resident dissolute hedonist. Obsession with Shido aside, the world is full of ways to get your evil jollies.
  • Drugs Are Bad: They make it easier for Nightbreeds to possess you.
  • Emergency Transformation: In Episode 4, Riho is mortally wounded by Cain. Shido offers to save her via a literal Kiss of the Vampire, and she accepts.
  • Every Girl Is Cuter With Hair Decs: Riho wears blue and pink scarves in her hair.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampires: Shido, and after episode 4, Riho.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: We don't see what happened to Yayoi's body after Riho splits her apart in episode twelve. Averted with Guni in the same episode.
  • Head Pet: Guni tends to hide in Shido's hair, where she can bust some surprise sparks at enemy nightbreeds.
  • Hot Chick in a Badass Suit: Yayoi in spades.
  • I Hate You, Vampire Dad: Shido has nothing but contempt towards Cain, thus Cain's Ho Yay towards Shido is rather one-sided to say the least.
    • Riho develops this towards Shido in the hallucination in episode 12.
  • Identity Amnesia: Cain erased Shido's memories of his human identity. Shido' managed to recover a few snippets on his own, but still can't remember his own name.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Episodes are called "Nights".
  • Ironic Echo: "Because I'm a vampire." Shido says it after killing Riho's parents-turned-Nightbreed, as he believes he has to use his powers to protect humans. It turns out, it was also said by Cain a shis justification for consuming humans wantonly.
  • Karma Houdini: The Nightbreed that is seen killing a high-school girl in episode 4 gets away scot-free.
  • Master of Illusion: Both Cain and Shido use illusions to mislead opponents, but Cain is much, much better at it. In fact, illusions and glamours are Cain's preferred methods for making trouble.
  • May-December Romance: What happens at the end of episode 12 between Shido and Riho.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Shido has one of these in a flashback, and again in episode 12.
  • Name of Cain
  • Names to Know In Anime: Takumi Yamazaki (Shido), Maaya Sakamoto (Riho), Emi Shinohara (Yayoi), Ikue Ohtani (Guni) and Hideyuki Tanaka (Cain).
  • No Name Given: Shido's name is just an alias. While this is great for the mystique factor, there's also the justification that he suffers from Identity Amnesia.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Guni. (Matter of fact, she's also a Snarky Non-Human Sidekick.)
  • Off-Model: Thanks to the designs changing between episodes 4 and 5.
  • Parental Abandonment: Riho. Poor Riho.
  • Plot Induced Stupidity: Episode 6, Shido is stuck in the bottom of a well with a Nightbreed and a little girl. He tries "climbing" out, despite having shown some incredible leaping prowess in the previous four episodes. After three days of trying, he then decides to shatter the walls of the well, thus flooding it, and float to the top with the girl.
    • Actually, it's explained that Shido was weak (and . . . thirsty) at the time due to the fight that got the three of them stuck down there in the first place.
  • Pro-Human Transhuman
  • Plucky Office Girl: Riho is referred to as a tea-pouring errand clerk in episode 1, and that does, in fact, appear to be her main function. She endeavors to be more useful, but . . .
  • Private Eye Monologue: Particularly pronounced in the english dub.
  • Real Place Background: "Nightwalker" is littered with landmarks of Yokohama, Tokyo's more industrial neighbor. For example, episode 1 focuses on the Yokohama Bay Bridge. Several scenes feature the Marine Tower,chinatown and the Foreigner Cemtery.
  • Shaggy Dog Story: Episode 6 sees Shido stuck at the bottom of a well with a Nightbreed and a little girl. The girl is sick and the Breed wants to eat her, and Shido is trying to control his vampiric thirst. Eventually they get out of the well, and the Breed is killed . . . but it turns out that the girl was actually a vampire and makes her escape before anyone can stop her.
  • Spear Counterpart: Shido is the Spear Counterpart to the title character of Vampire Princess Miyu.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Cain wants to have a good relationship with Shido, that's all! Of course, his idea of a good relationship revolves around them terrorizing the night together . . . and his methods involve destroying things that Shido holds dear until he gets the picture.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Said by Guni when Riho leaves Shido in episode 12. She was right.
  • Transhuman Treachery: This trope figures into Shido's backstory. When Shido first becomes a vampire, he is immediately overcome by his new Horror Hunger and proceeds to slaughter the citizens of his hometown. He gets better after a while, but only in the most Angst-inducing of circumstances: he finds himself kneeling in the town square surrounded by corpses and holding the exsanguinated body of his daughter/little sister/daughter-to-be. He reacts like one would expect.
  • Whip It Good: One of the several forms Shido uses for his blood weapons. Also, this is the only arament that Cain is shown to use. And that's very apropos.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Slightly subverted. Shido thinks of his eternal life as a curse, being forced to see all his loved ones die, but Vampire-turned Riho promises she' ll always be by his side now so he won't have to feel lonely, leading to a rather sweet Crowning Moment of Heartwarming in the series.
    • Episode 5 focuses on a recently turned vampire Riho dealing with this trope. One notable scene is when she freaks out 2 of her classmates with her apathetic, almost envious reaction upon learning of another classmate's death.
  • X Meets Y: Interview with the Vampire meets Forever Knight.
    • The DVD features a quote that describes it as such, throwing Angel in for good measure.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Lavender in Shido's case.
  1. Both halves were done by AIC
  2. earlier adaptations of this sort are all OVAs