Night Warriors: Darkstalkers' Revenge OVA - 1997 Director Interview
This short interview with Masashi Ikeda, director of the Night Warriors: Darkstalkers' Revenge OVA, offers a few brief remarks about working with Capcom and some general notes on how the project began; the main draw, however, is the concept art and Ikeda's comments on each character's design.
Masashi Ikeda - Director. Graduate of Tokyo Zoukei Daigaku. Was introduced to Animaruya by his professor, and worked there as a storyboarder. His first storyboard work was for Doraemon, and his directorial debut was Kikoukai Garian. He is known for Gundam W and the Midoriyama Koukou Koushien OVA.
—To start off, tell us how you got the job of director for Vampire Hunter: The Animated Series. 1
Ikeda: Shuko Murase, who had worked on Street Fighter II: The Movie, got assigned to Darkstalkers before me, as character designer. When the question of director came up, I think Murase said hey, I worked with Ikeda on Gundam W, and he's just putzing around right now, so let's use him. (laughs) Murase pushed for me personally it seems.
—Is it hard to translate a video game into anime form?
Ikeda: With a fighting game, as you know, every character is a hero, and they're all "main characters" in their own right. But in fighting there must be winners and losers, and that aspect was a bit tough. However, for this production, we focused less on the story and more on the intertwining relationships of the characters and their fights. Murase and I discussed this at the start of the project, but compared with Street Fighter, we guessed that Darkstalkers would probably be far easier.
In anime, when a character takes a hit, rather than try and portray that realistically with broken bones and so forth, animation is more suited to exaggerated, flashy fight scenes. In that sense, we figured Darkstalkers would be a better match for the inherent dynamism of animation.
—What was it like working with Capcom?
Ikeda: I learned a lot from them. I'd previously had the chance to talk with Capcom staff before, and in those conversations I got a strong sense of the passion they felt for their characters. About Ryu, they said "This is a new kind of character unlike any that's ever come before", and I was taken aback at how strongly they felt about him. That sense of attachment, of passion, reworking and refining the character, that's something the anime industry would do well to imitate, I think. Of course, I personally preach this to the people I work with.
—What did you think of Murase's characters?
Ikeda: When Murase finished the characters, they were oozing with personality and presence. My work now is to find the best way to bring them to life, and make the most of those designs.
Also, I think Murase is especially gifted at picking up on the little quirks and details of the original artist's designs. He doesn't just do cheap knock-offs: he studies and recreates details like the way a chin is drawn, or the victory pose. In Street Fighter II, as well, the original character art had such personality and character, that it was extremely easy work, and that's why Murase accepted it. I think for Darkstalkers again, our work is going to reflect Capcom's original vision.
—Please give a final word to Capcom fans.
Ikeda: We're currently working on the story for the 4th episode, and Pyron, especially, is proving hard to handle, but rest assured, we're all working hard to convey the same tension in the game on the TV screen. Be sure to check it out!
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Confusingly, this refers to the Night Warriors OVA in Japanese, while "Darkstalkers: The Animated Series" refers to the separate TV production.↩