A series of wonderfully illustrated short stories featuring the characters of Darkstalkers. Plus, four chapters featuring the lesser known Capcom series, Red Earth.
•First chapter, Demitri barges into Morrigan’s bedroom and demands she fight him. Suddenly, Jedah appears with a new friend…
•Chapters 2-5, The kingdom of Savalia has been in disarray ever since King Leo was cursed and exiled. After years of tireless search, Leo’s subjects have found him and sacrificed themselves to restore his power. Now he fights for his lost kingdom alongside a few unique allies.
•Chapter 6, Demitri is approached by a woman whom he has never met before, but there is more to her then meets the eye. Has the great Demitri met his match?!
•Chapter 7, Morrigan recounts her first encounter with Donovan.
•Chapter 8, How Donovan came across the demon blade.
•Chapter 9, A strange woman appears at Jon Talbain’s door that seems to know more about him then he is comfortable with. (source: Manga Updates)
Whenever I check out manga/anime adaptations of games (or game adaptations of manga/anime), I try to go into them with low standards because, for the most part, they are poorly done, and nobody likes seeing their favourite series butchered in the adaptation process. "Maleficarum: Darkstalkers/Red Earth", although nothing incredible, does not dissapoint fans of the series.
The Darkstalkers chapters are mostly loose stories, with no relation between them (except chapter 1 and 6). Each chapter presents a short story about a certain character in the series, though Morrigan appears in most. The stories are a bit too short for their own good and
end up not really going anywhere, since there's little room for any development at all.
And although they are based on a fighting game series, you'll see much less action than you'd expect in these chapters.
Red Earth Chapters:
I know little to nothing about the Red Earth game, I did some little research on the game before reading just to get a short idea of what it is, but for the most part I went in clear minded into this little 4 Chapter story, and in the end, I ended up enjoying it more than the Darkstalkers Chapters. Unlike the Darkstalker Chapters, the Red Earth Chapters are quite action packed and actually follow a storyline. In short, the story is about a King turned into a beast, and his quest to revenge, but it suffers a similar fate from the Darkstalkers Chapters, they're too short for their own good and that hurts the development, everything ends up happening too fast, but in the end, it can be enjoyed even by newcomers to the series (like myself).
The artwork by Mami Itou in both series Chapters is stunning, the Darkstalkers charaters are beautifully drawn, in a similar style to the originals, but with a slightly more grittier look. The same goes for Red Earth, all characters are beautifully drawn and just great to look at.
The only issue I have with the artwork is that it can sometimes feel a bit cluttered, and you might find yourself re-checking panels to fully understand what's going on.
As I said before, the stories are fairly short and leave little to no room for any development, especially any character development. Although, at least in the Darkstalker Chapters case, the characters personalities are very well done and mirror quite well how they are portrayed in the games, they feel very in-character, especially Morrigan and Donovan.
Personally, I'm a big Darkstalkers fan, which was the reason I purchased this manga in the first place, and the Darkstalker fan in me really enjoyed what was given, but, although I'd like to give it a higher score, it just doesn't make it higher than a 7.
And regarding Red Earth, although not knowing anything about the games, I really enjoyed the story, and wouldn't mind checking the game out.
In the end I'll give it a 7, although it might be the Darkstalkers fanboy in me slightly stretching the score. But overall it's a very enjoyable, beautifully drawn manga, and fans of any of the series should check it out. Although I'd probably not reccomend it to non-fans of the series.