Western Animation / Darkstalkers


Supernatural things. Magic and sorcery. They're back. From out of the gloom stalk your worst nightmares. Ghouls. Zombies. Werewolves. Vampires. You can't be sure what lurks out there in the darkness of night.
We're the Darkstalkers!
Pyron, intergalactic collector of planets wants the Earth, and he's going to get it even if he has to wake the undead. He summons Demitri, lord of the vampires, to launch a reign of terror to release a plague of monsters and bring humans to their knees. But, other Night Warriors are on the prowl. Monstrous, awesome contenders with bizarre fighting powers. Immortal creatures locked in battle to decide the fate of the world.
We're the Darkstalkers!
It's enough to make your blood run cold.

Darkstalkers is a short lived cartoon series made by Graz Entertainment (the company behind The Tick, G.I. Joe Extreme, Skeleton Warriors, and the Street Fighter cartoon) for the USA Network and UPN, and is based on the Capcom fighting game series of the same name.

The plot is that the fire elemental Pyron wants the Earth to collect. When he came 1,000 years earlier, the Earth had lots of monsters who viewed him as a god. Now, Pyron is disappointed by the billions of common, scrubby little beings with no powers, magic, or mutations. His ball asks him why he does not just kill all of man. Pyron says he wants the old races awakened, starting with Demitri Maximoff, the vampire lord. Once that proves to be a success, the two suck up Morrigan Aensland, Anakaris, Bishamon, and Lord Raptor. However, Jon Talbain, Rikuo, Sasquatch, Victor, and Felicia manage to avoid the beam. In addition, Felicia partners up with Harry Grimoire, a descendant of Merlin. Ultimately, the escapees team up to stop Pyron.

The show is similar to the American Street Fighter cartoon, not just in terms of being kids-friendly cartoons based off of Capcom fighting games, but also in regards to quality: inconsistent animation, bizarre-looking character designs, unfaithfulness to the source material, and having the main antagonist voiced by Richard Newman.

Still, it at least didn't suffer from an identity crisis like the Street Fighter cartoon did (which couldn't decide whether to base itself on the games or the movie), and it's also fondly remembered by some as a similarly So Bad, It's Good show worth watching for the laughs, not being without its few good points (two in particular are the use of "Trouble Man" as the ending theme, and Scott McNeil's standout performance as Lord Raptor, the latter of which lead to McNeil reprising the role in the English dub of the Night Warriors Darkstalkers Revenge OVA).

This series contains examples of:

  • Adaptational Attractiveness:
    • Inverted with most of the evil Darkstalkers, especially Morrigan.
    • Demitri is a straighter, downplayed example, as he was made less scary. In the games and the Night Warriors: Darkstalkers' Revenge OVA, his entire mouth is full of sharp teeth. Here, only his canines are unusually sharp and elongated, which is the norm for a vampire.
    • Hsien-Ko has mechanical hands instead of the oversized claws at the end of her sleeves.note  As if that wasn't enough, the decision of to give Hsien-Ko a normal skin tone instead of her usual undead blue skin tone makes her blush stickers stand out much more than normal.
    • Felicia completely averts this. She stays the same, except for larger fur patches.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Anita's hair is changed from brown to blond.
  • Adaptational Modesty: Morrigan and Felicia were covered up in order to show less skin than their video game counterparts. Felicia is even drawn with a red brooch of sorts to join her breast fur patches together.
  • Adaptation Name Change: Many. For example, Sasquatch is called Bigfoot.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Morrigan, Demitri and Anakaris. To some extent, Donovan as well.
  • Adaptational Wimp: Pyron, who in this series seems to be a completely incompetent villain, especially compared with his video game counterpart. In "Aliens Keep Out", he even has to be saved from Huitzil. In general, every character is much weaker than their canon counterpart.
  • Alien Invasion: Pyron does this.
  • Animated Adaptation: The first of two based on the Darkstalkers video games, the other being the later Night Warriors OVA.
  • Beam-O-War: This is what all the characters do in a fight.
  • Black and White Morality: Unlike the games.
  • Canon Foreigner: Harry, Hairball, Klaus, and Terramon.
  • Captain Ersatz: Subverted. Despite looking like a blatant Harry Potter ripoff at first glance, Harry Grimoire actually predates J.K. Rowling's work.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Sixth Ranger Hsien-Ko doesn't show up in the finale. This is ironic considering she's one of the most iconic characters now.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Anakaris. Apparently the writers took the "brain removal" part of mummification and ran with it, resulting in him being a Talkative Loon who speaks primarily in Word Salad.
  • Crystal Skull: Demitri acquires one with the ability to imprison people in a pocket dimension.
  • Cultural Translation: Hsien-Ko is referred to as a ghost rather than a jiangshi, presumably because the latter is more obscure in the West.
  • Death by Adaptation: Huitzil is blown to pieces. This is later subverted, as it starts to rebuild itself after everyone is gone.
  • Disneyfication: All the violence and horror elements from the games were changed or toned down in order to made the series more kid-friendly.
  • Dracula: He is Demitri's uncle, as shown in "Darkest Before the Dawn." He is getting old and being harried by Van Helsing, and tells Demitri to go after the crystal skull.
  • Ending Theme: The one thing this series got right: the end credits theme is still "Trouble Man".
  • Enemy Civil War: Demitri and Morrigan's constant attempts at one-upping each other, which end up being one of the major impeding factors in the progress of Pyron's plans.
  • Eyecatch: The Darkstalkers firing beams.
  • Famous Ancestor: Morrigan is descended from Morgan Le Fay, and Harry from Merlin.
  • Gonk: Morrigan. To solve this problem, she actually eats her victims.
  • Grimmification: Morrigan is far closer to the mythological succubus here, with her ugly appearance, inherent demonic malevolence,+ and the consumption of her victims.
  • Lighter and Softer: The violence and horror elements from the games were toned down. It was also more comedy oriented.
  • Mighty Whitey: Felicia. Harry even more so.
  • Neutral No Longer: Hsien-Ko becomes good by the end of her debut.
  • Off Model
  • Phrase Catcher: Rikuo is curiously attractive for a fish man.
  • Piss-Take Rap: Lord Raptor's demo tape.
  • Planet of Hats: Implied. Pyron mentions "the Great Collector" as the leader of his civilization, suggesting that stockpiling valuable objects and territory is fundamental to their culture.
  • Punch Clock Villain: Bishamon, to the point that he eventually makes a full Heel–Face Turn.
  • Secret Keeper: Harry.
  • Secret Mutant Hero Team
  • The Sixth Ranger: Hsien-Ko promises only to hunt evil Darkstalkers after she is defeated.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Lord Raptor fancies himself a Renaissance Man, when in fact he's terrible at just about every artistic pursuit he tries.
  • The Starscream: Morrigan spends much of the series trying to usurp Demitri's position as Pyron's general. To a lesser extent, both she and Demitri sometimes attempt to usurp Pyron himself.
  • Stronger Sibling: Pyron's brother, Terramon. He and Pyron share a clear sibling rivalry.
  • To Serve Man: It is said that Morrigan actually eats her victims.
  • Undeathly Pallor: Lord Raptor and Bishamon have different shades of blue skin, as in the games, while Demitri and Anakaris are gray. Bizarrely averted with Hsien-Ko, who doesn't look undead in any way.
  • The Vamp: Morrigan is a straight example. She only seduces men to eat them.
  • Van Helsing Hate Crimes: Donovan's defining characteristic.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Cute?: This hits the series hard. The evil Darkstalkers were given uglier designs than their video game counterparts. As if that was not enough, said video game counterparts are, for the most part, more benevolent.