Darkstalkers, also known as DarkStalkers: The Animated Series, is an American children's animated television series produced by Graz Entertainment and aired in syndication from September to December 1995. The cartoon is loosely based on Capcom's fighting game Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors. It ran for one season of thirteen episodes.
As the television series was aimed towards a young audience, the violence and the sexual content present in the games were heavily toned down. In addition, rather than following the complex backstory of the games, the show went for a standard good-vs.-evil plot. Various changes were made to the game characters themselves, most notably Morrigan Aensland, who became a villain descended from Morgan le Fay, and served alongside Demitri Maximoff (who was her rival in the games), under Pyron's command. The main protagonist is an ordinary human boy named Harry Grimoire, a descendant of Merlin created exclusively for the show, with whom Felicia forms a partnership.
- Kyle Labine - Harry Grimoire.
- Lisa Ann Beley - Felicia and Hsien-Ko.
- Saffron Henderson - Morrigan Aensland and Morgan le Fay.
- Michael Donovan - Demitri Maximoff.
- Garry Chalk - Donovan Baine.
- Ian James Corlett - Victor von Gerdenheim, Huitzil and Pyron's ship computer.
- Scott McNeil - Lord Raptor, Rikuo and Anakaris.
- Colin Murdock - Bishamon
- Richard Newman - Pyron, Merlin and Terramon.
- Lee Tockar - Jon Talbain.
- Dale Wilson - Bigfoot (Sasquatch)
- Kathleen Barr - Harry's mother.
- Laura Harris - Hairball.
- Gerard Plunkett - Klaus Schmendrick.
- Venus Terzo - Quan Yin and Orin
- Zoltan Buday - Anakaris ("Out of the Dark", "The Game") (uncredited)
- "Out of the Dark"
- "Donovan's Bane"
- "Pyramid Power"
- "The Game"
- "And the Walls Come Tumblin' Down"
- "Ghost Hunter"
- "Little Bigfoot's Last Stand"
- "My Harry's in the Highlands"
- "Aliens Keep Out"
- "Samurai's Honor"
- "There's no Business Like Dragon Business"
- "Darkest Before the Dawn"
- "Everyone's a Critic"
The series was co-produced by Capcom USA and Graz Entertainment. According to a June 1995 news article in GamePro, the show would "star Bobby Bridges [later renamed Harry Grimoire], a kid who befriends the game's supernatural cast of characters and sets out to prevent an alien invasion." Jun Aida, Capcom's director of licensing, said: "With an enormous built-in audience of young arcade players across the nation and a colorful range of fun, but spooky characters who lend themselves so well to animated television, we're confident that Darkstalkers will be a big hit with kids everywhere. This show will make it hip to be scared. ... It's this decade's answer to the popular Ghostbusters sensation of the 80s."
The series was received negatively, both as an adaptation and as an animated series, mainly amongst fans who compared the show to the production values of the original games, which are significantly different from this series, which is aimed at a younger audience than that of the original games. Topless Robot included Harry Grimoire, who "turned Capcom's gorgeously animated fighting game into a cheap, unfunny comedy," on their 2010 list of the 10 worst cartoon kid sidekicks. Rachel Jagielski of VentureBeat commented, "The plot is bad. But even more offensive than that is the shoddy animation." Ryan Winterhalter of GamesRadar, in 2014, blamed the "network" (of which, it did not air on any; it was syndicated) in his negative review, opining that the show "takes the characters that fighting gamers know and love and throws them out the window. In their place, [UPN] inserted the most idiotic band of video game character doppelgangers that you could imagine." The same year, Henry Gilbert of GamesRadar commented, "If you're one of those unfortunate enough to have watched the horrendous Darkstalkers cartoon that aired in the US, you have my sympathies." Vincent Chiucchi of 411Mania rated it first in his 2008 list of the top five "most shameful" video game cartoons, lambasting it as "the worst video game cartoon in history" while adding, "Everything about this cartoon is horrible. The plot is stupid, the animation is complete garbage, and the dialog is atrocious." Whatever the case, it was not renewed for a second season.
- Night Warriors: Darkstalkers' Revenge, the 1997 anime miniseries.
- ↑ GamePro 71 (June 1995), p. 148.
- ↑ Capcom press release—1995; reprinted on Google Groups. Retrieved July 15, 2015.
- ↑ Topless Robot: The 10 Worst Cartoon Kid Sidekicks. 2010-11-08
- ↑ VentureBeat: Discovering the Darkstalkers Cartoon. 2011-04-04
- ↑ GamesRadar: Five truly horrendous TV shows based on videogames. 2010-07-08
- ↑ GamesRadar: 15 esoteric game-to-anime adaptations worth discovering. 2014-08-01
- ↑ 411Mania: Hall of Shame: Top 5 Most Shameful Video Game Cartoons. 2008-11-12.