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Western Animation / Darkstalkers

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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 Entertainmentnote  for First-Run Syndication, 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 4,000 years earlier, the Earth had lots of monsters who viewed him as a god. Now, Pyron is disappointed by the billions of common, grubby 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 decides to team up in order to stop Pyron.

This series contains examples of:

  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Anita'snote  hair is changed from brown to blond.
  • Adaptation Name Change: Many. For example, Sasquatch is called Bigfoot.note 
  • Adaptational Attractiveness:
    • 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.
  • Adaptational Modesty: Morrigan and Felicia were covered up in order to show less skin than their video game counterparts.
  • Adaptational Ugliness: Most of the evil Darkstalkers, especially Morrigan. The beautiful and seductive succubus is drawn to look less curvacious and with gaunt cheekbones. Later episodes, she's drawn to look relatively prettier.
  • Adaptational Villainy: This would be the first of many depictions of Morrigan as a villain rather than a relatively Nice Girl demon as she is in games. Her appearance in the cartoon is evil, power-hungry and spiteful.
  • 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: he recruits members of Earth's "old races" (a.k.a., the Darkstalkers), so they can rule over humanity, and Pyron over the "old races".
  • Alternate Continuity: The series is in a different continuity than the game series that it is based on.
  • Animated Adaptation: The first of two based on the Darkstalkers games, the other being the later Night Warriors OVA.
  • Atlantis: In episode "Pyramid Power", an on-screen flashback shows a still alive Anakaris declaring war on Atlantean ambassadors that resemble Rikuo.
  • Barrage of Bats: In episode "The Game", Demitri uses a swarm of bats to distract Felicia, separating her from the group and facilitating her capture.
  • Beam-O-War: This is what all the characters do in a fight.
  • Black-and-White Morality: Unlike the games.
  • Blood Magic: Morrigan plans to sacrifice Felicia to power Morgan Le Fay's blood ring, in "Donavon's Bane". After Felicia is released, Morrigan uses her own blood to power her ring.
  • 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.
  • Composite Character: Pyron takes Ozumu's role as the one who empowers/ressurects Lord Raptor. He's even referred to as "Ozu, King of the Zombies."
  • 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.note 
  • Death by Adaptation:
    • It's heavily implied that Mei-Ling, Hsien-Ko's sister, was killed by Demitri as a child. This is in contrast to the games, where Mei-Ling is very much alive as an adult, and transforms into the talisman on Hsien-Ko's forehead.
    • Huitzil is blown to pieces. This is later subverted, as it starts to rebuild itself after everyone is gone.
  • Disneyfication: The original Darkstalkers was an incredibly hard T-rated game full of violence, Fanservice and horror elements, which the series 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 end credits theme is still "Trouble Man".note 
  • 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.
  • Enemy Mine: The finale deals with Pyron bringing all the Darkstalkers, good and bad, together to pretend to be his slaves so Terramon won't destroy the planet.
  • Eyecatch: The Darkstalkers firing beams.
  • Famous Ancestor: Morrigan is descended from Morgan Le Fay, and Harry from Merlin, both figures from the Arthurian legends.
  • Gonk: Morrigan. To solve this problem, she actually eats her victims, playing straight to her succubus traits.
  • Grimmification: Morrigan is far closer to the mythological succubus here, with her ugly appearance, inherent demonic malevolence, and the consumption of her victims.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Pyron. Whether it's being helpless against Huitzul or having his collection of objects from across the universe destroyed during a battle between his minions and the rebel Darkstalkers.
  • Kiss of Death: In "Donovan's Bane", Morrigan attempts to drain the life energy of a drifter through a kiss. The kiss is interrupted and the drifter escapes with his life. This is the only time in the series where she tries this.
  • Last of His Kind: In episode 1, after Felicia meets the young Grimoire, she says she believes herself to be the last of her species.
  • Lighter and Softer: The violence and horror elements from the games were toned down. It's also more comedy oriented.
  • Mighty Whitey: Felicia. Harry even more so.
  • Neutral No Longer: Hsien-Ko becomes good by the end of her debut.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: While Demitri is depicted as more comical in this series, he is also the only character in the series to get with onscreen murder, as he drains Amanda's parents dry. He also killed Hsien-ko's parents and sister in her backstory.
  • Original Generation: Harry Grimoire is an original character created for the series that has not appeared in the original video game series.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Jon Talbain isn't the only werewolf that appears in the series. In Hsien-ko's focus episode, she stalks a second werewolf, identified as an executive from South Africa that attacks people.
  • 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.
  • Pyramid Power: It is even the name of Anakaris's focus episode. In the first episode, Demitri, on Pyron's orders, uses the ship's Tractor Beam to dig Anakaris's pyramid out of the ground. Then, in episode 3, Anakaris shows in a flashback that, when he was alive, millenia ago, his pyramid held a magical stone able to shoot beams of light.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Felicia meets teenager Harry Grimoire (himself a descendent of a sorcerer and of Merlin), and later they team up with the remaining Darkstalkers that refused to ally with Pyron: an Atlantean fishman, a Frankenstein's Monster expy, a yeti, and a werewolf.
  • Secret-Keeper: Harry.
  • 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.
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: In "Donavon's Bane", Morrigan rants to a little bat perched on her shoulder about a way to defeat hunter Donovan, and the animal replies to her in squeaking sounds which Morrigan appears to understand.
  • Speaks in Shout-Outs: Lord Raptor does this at times:
  • 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.
  • Teenage Mutant Samurai Wombats: The good Darkstalkers form a partnership.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Pyron forces Morrigan and Dimitri to work with him as his soldiers, though they are often at each other's throats or one upping each other.
  • To Serve Man:
    • It is said that Morrigan actually eats her victims, or at the least their souls.
    • Pyron's brother Terramon is interested in learning if humans have any culinary value and intends to find out, starting with Harry until Felicia and the other renegade Darkstalkers intervene.
  • Tractor Beam: In essence, this is the function of the red beam of light that shoots off from Pyron's spaceship, better demonstrated in the first episode: Pyron draws Demitri out of his castle, then orders the vampire to find members of the "old races" and bring them aboard his ship via its tractor beam.
  • 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. Granted, his last appearence in the series hinted he might be warming up to at least Felicia.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Felicia, a member of a race of cat-people, alternates between a humanoid shape and a normal looking white-furred cat.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Cute?: This hits the series hard. The more villainized Darkstalkers were given uglier designs than their video game counterparts.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Demitri apparently murdered Hsien-Ko's sister and drank her blood, and the only reason he didn't get Hsien-Ko too is because she managed to run away. He also has no problem with using Amanda as a living shield twice and throwing her out a window.