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Nightwalker: The Midnight Detective (Mayonaka no Tantei Nightwalker) is a 12-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.

Taking place in a Japanese city where he 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.

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

Or at least that's the plot of the original four episode OVA the series was meant to be. The following eight "bonus episodes" were commissioned separately by AIC and have notably lower animation quality compared to the original four and can kinda be seen as a second season. They alternate between exploring Shido's past as a young vampire, vignettes centered around people in the city or an ongoing storyline of Riho coming to terms with being a vampire.

The series is also notable for being the first anime TV series based on an adult gamenote . Though set in an Alternate Continuity of its source material. As well as one of the very few dubs Bang Zoom! Entertainment did for Central Park Media.

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.
  • 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 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 in a Nice Suit: Yayoi favors business-like attire (short skirts not withstanding) and she's a secret agent.
  • 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.
  • 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 Alternate 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 is a rather mild case. She gets angry when other women seem close to Shido, but she just pouts about it for the most part.
  • Closed Circle: In episode 6, Shido ends up trapped the bottom of a dry well with a breed and a little girl. Weakened from the fight, Shido finds he lacks the strength to escape. After three days of trying, he decides to shatter the walls of the well, thus flooding it, and floats to the top with the girl.
    • The fun part is that Shido is so wrapped up in his own problems that he doesn't notice that the little girl is no worse for wear after 3 days without water or food until she reveals herself as a vampire.
  • Creepy Child: The anime employs this trope often.
    • In the episode where Shido is trapped in a well with a Nightbreed and a child, Shido spends the episode trying to protect the "innocent little girl" but it turns out the girl is a vampire herself, and is centuries older than him.
    • The little boy who comes back from the dead as a Nightbreed and mutilates neighborhood pets to feed. The child's mother refuses to let Shido kill the Breed, convinced it the creature is still her son... which leads to an even creepier resolution: since he can't convince the mother, Shido just leaves them alone.
  • Curse That Cures: Riho ends up mortally wounded by Cain. In order to save her life, Shido turns her into a vampire. See Emergency Transformation below.
  • Deal with the Devil: Episode 2, where an aspiring actress makes a pact with a Nightbreed in exchange for talent.
  • Death by Origin Story: Each of the protagonists have one. In Yayoi's case, her twin sister gave her own face to Yayoi to replace Yayoi's disfgured one. Riho's parents were killed by nightbreeds as well.
    • Shido was close to a little girl and a woman before he became a vampire, though the nature of his relationship with them is unclear. Maybe they were his wife and daughter, maybe his mother and sister... But 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.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Cain, resident dissolute hedonist. Obsession with Shido aside, the world is full of ways to get your evil jollies.
  • Door-Closes Ending: In the final scene of the show, Guni hangs a "closed" sign outside Shido's detective office and shuts the door.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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".
  • Inheritance Murder: The plot of episode 8 begins with a wealthy family patriarch being murdered by younger relatives. They might have gotten away with it, if something hadn't possesed the corpse...
  • 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 as his 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.
  • 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.)
  • Official Couple: By the end of Episode 12, Shido and Riho are fully in love with one another, Riho having no regrets over being a vampire with Shido, and Shido's greatest fear being the idea he'd be forced to kill her if she turns evil, something Cain tries to torture Shido with, but instead just pushes Shido and Riho closer together. The two even take to sharing a coffin while sleeping in the nude.
  • Parental Abandonment: Poor Riho is an orphan courtesy of Nightbreeds, which is why Shido initially looks out for her.
  • 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.
  • 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. Episode 5 focuses on a recently turned vampire (Riho) dealing with this trope. One notable scene is when she freaks out two of her classmates with her apathetic, almost envious reaction upon learning of another classmate's death.