Morrigan in Darkstalkers Resurrection
(art by Stanley "Artgerm" Lau)
|First game||Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors (1994)|
|Created by||Akira Yasuda|
|Designed by||CRMK (Darkstalkers, Darkstalkers 3, Marvel vs. Capcom, Marvel vs. Capcom 2)
Ikeno (Night Warriors)
Shinkiro (Capcom vs. SNK)
Kinu Nishimura (Capcom vs. SNK 2)
Shukō Murase (anime)
|Voiced by (English)||Saffron Henderson (cartoon)
Kathleen Barr (anime)
Erin Fitzgerald (Cross Edge)
Siobhan Flynn (Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Ultimate MvC3)
|Voiced by (Japanese)||Yayoi Jinguji (most games)
Rie Tanaka (Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Ultimate MvC3, Project X Zone, Onimusha Soul)
Rei Sakuma (cartoon, anime, drama CD, Gunbird 2)
Kikuko Inoue and Yumi Tōma (drama CDs)
Morrigan Aensland (Japanese: モリガン・アーンスランド Hepburn: Morigan Ānsurando?) is a video game character from the Darkstalkers series of fighting games developed by Capcom. She was introduced in the 1994 game Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors, and has since appeared in every game in the series, as well as in multiple video games outside the Darkstalkers franchise.
Widely perceived as the most popular Darkstalkers character and one of Capcom's flagship characters, Morrigan is a succubus who is very vain and lives for little more than the excitement of battle. Though her rival Demitri is officially the series' main character, it has often been suggested and implied that Morrigan holds this distinction instead, due to her importance in the overall story as well as her many appearances outside of her game series.
History and conception
Morrigan appears as a beautiful young woman with long sea-green hair, wearing a sleeveless black bustier-like top trimmed with white feathers and a small heart cut out of the midriff; purple nylons with bat patterns; black boots; and conspicuous batlike wings protruding from her back and the sides of her head. She can reshape these wings into spikes and blades when attacking her enemies, as well as using them to shield herself from enemy attacks; her wings can also separate from her, forming into an army of bats.
Morrigan was created by Akira Yasuda (Akiman). Early in the development of Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors, the development team decided to have two female characters: a catwoman and a female vampire, characters who would become Felicia and Morrigan, respectively. Initially, Felicia was intended to be the "sexy" female character of the title, while the vampire would be the "cute" female character. However, Morrigan's design took on a tone that emphasized sexiness, causing Felicia's character concept to be altered accordingly. Her costume mirrors "her personality: somewhere between a batlike demon and a charming lover."
Morrigan has had exactly the same 2D sprite set as far as Capcom vs. SNK 2 (2001) as she did in the original Darkstalkers game (1994). Her sprites look especially poor and out of place in the Capcom vs. SNK where they got visibly pixelated and gained a black outline in the borders. She received an updated character model only in Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, which was also the first game in which she was featured as a 3D rendered model. In Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 Femme Fatale Pack, which has been also available for free with pre-order from GameStop, Morrigan received a downloadable content (DLC) "casual outfit" costume based on her human form from the Darkstalkers games and the anime series.
Though Morrigan originates from Scotland in the Darkstalkers canon, neither her first nor last name is of Scottish origin. She is named after The Morrígan, a goddess from Irish mythology whose name translates to "great queen," while "Aensland"[note 1] is a nonexistent surname in any Gaelic language that is likely a derivative or alternate spelling by Capcom of the Scottish surname "Ainsley."
In video games
In Darkstalkers, Morrigan is a succubus born in 1678 in Scotland and is the adopted daughter of Belial of the Aensland House. When she was born, Morrigan was extremely powerful, so much so that Belial sealed away part of her power, one-third in himself to be returned upon his death, and one-third in a pocket dimension, which eventually became a being of its own, a succubus named Lilith. Unaware of Belial's action, Morrigan grew up and found her life as a princess in the Aensland castle dull, so she frequently visited the human world to look for entertainment. On one occasion, Morrigan was drawn to a strange power (which would turn out to be the fire demon Pyron) and ventured into the human world once again. Upon her return, she was informed of Belial's death and that she was the next successor to the Aensland throne. Although she is now rightfully the ruler of the Makai, she shirks her responsibilities and seeks to continue her life as before. Morrigan eventually meets Lilith, and the two beings merge into one, fully restoring Morrigan's power.
Morrigan was the original Darkstalker to break out of her original fighting game series and be transplanted in to the Marvel vs. Capcom series. In Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes (1998, remade as Marvel vs. Capcom Origins in 2012), not only was Morrigan present, but an alternate "Lilith-style" Morrigan was a secret character. In her intro-sprite, Lilith appears and merges with her in a nod to when the two merged in Morrigan's ending in Vampire Savior. In Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes (2000), she is joined by fellow Darkstalkers Anakaris, B.B. Hood, and Felicia. Morrigan acts as the sole representative of the Darkstalkers series in the Capcom vs. SNK games, making appearances in both Capcom vs. SNK: Millennium Fight 2000 and Capcom vs. SNK 2: Mark of the Millennium 2001. Morrigan represented the series along with Felicia and B.B. Hood in SNK vs. Capcom: The Match of the Millennium (1999) and was Darkstalkers representative for fighting crossovers with Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Cross Generation of Heroes (2008), Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars (2010), Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (2011), accompanied in these titles by Felicia and Hsien-Ko.
Morrigan has also represented Darkstalkers in non-fighting roles, appearing in the crossover tactical RPG Namco × Capcom (2005) and the multi-company crossover tactical role-playing games Cross Edge (2008) and Project X Zone (2012), in all cases appearing with other Darkstalkers personalities, as well as in the puzzle game Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo (1996, with a super deformed design), the card game SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters Clash (1999), in the Sega Dreamcast port of the 2D shooting game Gunbird 2 (2000, as a secret character), in the North American version of We Love Golf! (2008), and in the Japanese version of Monster Hunter Frontier (2011). With all of her appearances in Capcom crossover projects, Morrigan is the single most common Darkstalkers cast member to appear outside of the origin series. She is also featured in her own mobile game, titled Osanpo Morrigan (お散歩モリガン, "Morrigan Taking a Walk"), makes a cameo appearance in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game, and is playable in the browser-based social game Onimusha Soul, where she is redesigned to fit its feudal Japan theme.
Morrigan's "Soul Fist" is very similar to a "Hadouken" fireball from Street Fighter. She is noted to be easy to use and her "Valkyrie Turn" is an especially damaging special move, but is also difficult to connect. According to Official Sega Saturn Magazine, "many DarkStalkers fans complain that Morrigan is the cheapest character in the game. Dragon Punch ripoffs and fast fireballs put her in the Ryu clone corner, but her flight powers, speed and strength make Morrigan the equal of [the game's boss] Jedah. More powerful than her sister and faster than Demitri, this she-vampire is awesome."
The anime OVA series Night Warriors: Darkstalkers' Revenge featured Morrigan more like her game appearances, portraying her as a semi-innocent demon world inhabitant, a member of the royal family who was more interested in going to Earth than in her duties. The picture of idle rich, she would often leave at will out of mere boredom, much to the frustration of her guardians, elder men of the Aensland family. Her father, Belial, is not mentioned. Morrigan's role as a hero was a focus, with her activities as a succubus downplayed. Morrigan is shown fighting Jon Talbain in the episode intros for the first three episodes. She battles Demitri Maximoff when he attempts to return to Makai but their battle is interrupted when they are sensed by Huitzil. In the last episode, Morrigan goes to Earth after Demitri was bested by Pyron and she encounters him unconscious in the ruins of his castle. Demitri suddenly awakens and attempts to vampirise Morrigan, but she does not resist, much to his surprise. Morrigan tells Demitri that he may become the leader of Makai after all, since a change of leadership is needed to help its current disarray from falling into destruction. They both later observe Donovan's victory over Pyron.
In the UDON Comics version of Darkstalkers, Morrigan is a brash 300-year-old succubus who wants nothing more than to visit the human world and have a good time, often at the expense of the men she seduces, and completely ignores her duty as future ruler of the Makai Realm; this annoys her father, Belial, and gets her two servants, Lucien and Mudo into heaps of trouble. Eventually she hears of Demitri's restoration, and goes to her father to warn him, only to find that he is in no position to fight. For the first time, she takes on the responsibility that she has often put aside, and returns to the human world to fight Demitri, and prove herself worthy of the Makai Realm and the power that Belial sealed away many years ago. In the special issue Morrigan vs Demitri it is implied that had Belial not sealed away her power, Morrigan might have evolved into a being similar to Pyron and destroyed the Earth.
In the American non-canon cartoon series Darkstalkers, Morrigan was redesigned as character and changed into a villain. Morrigan's character in the cartoon was jealous, rude, power-hungry and despising humans, and stated to be a direct descendant of the evil sorceress Morgan le Fay (with the series' protagonist, an original character named Harry Grimoire, being a descendant of Merlin). Her appearance was also altered, making her look older and wear a less revealing costume.
Morrigan also appears in the Darkstalkers drama CDs Vampire Night: Owarai Yoru no Saiten, Darkness Mission: Tokusen Batā Shōyu Aji, and EX Vampire: Night Warriors. Scores of various figures and stauettes of Morrigan were produced by different manufacturers, including by Bandai, Epoch, HBC-Brote, Heihachi Zazen, Kotobukiya, Kurushima, Max Factory, Mersa, Moby Dick, Modeler's Hig, Oonishi Kouji, OOXOO, Organic, Pop Culture Shock Collectibles, SOTA Toys, Yamato, Yoiko, and Yujin, among many others. In the fan service anime Ultimate Girls, the character Tsubomi makes an appearance dressed as Morrigan in the second episode of the series.
Morrigan is widely seen as the most iconic character of Darkstalkers. Upon her introduction, Mean Machines Sega described her "one of the most bewitching girl characters ever to appear in gaming." Featuring Morrigan and Felicia in their girls of gaming special in 2003, play wrote that the two are famous for how they "unified the haunting with the erotic, along with previously unseen level of animation and creature design." The 2009 book 500 Essential Anime Movies: The Ultimate Guide by Helen McCarthy cited Morrigan as an example of the popularity of the Darkstalkers character designs, with fans frequently cosplaying as the character at various conventions since the original game's release. In 2010, UGO's Chris Plante called her "Darkstalkers' most recognizable character [and] also wildly popular with cosplayers." That same year, TF1 included Morrigan among the sexiest video game characters to cosplay, also noting her as one of the most charismatic. In GameFront's 2011 article showcasing some of Morrigan's (and Lilith's) cosplayers, Phil Owen called it "probably the sexiest gallery I’ve ever posted."
According to GameSpot, "Morrigan has been a mainstay in the Capcom crossover fighting games and is definitely a fan favorite." In 1998, Morrigan was named the 17th best character of 1997 by the Japanese magazine Gamest. Play featured her in the "Girls of Anime" special, later regretting her absence in Capcom Fighting Evolution in their "Girls of Gaming" special. GamesTM commented that Capcom's choice of Anakaris instead of Morrigan or Talbain to represent Darkstalkers the 2005 game Capcom Fighting Jam was "a strange selection, to say the least." In 2010, Game Informer chose Morrigan as one of the 20 Capcom characters they would like to see in a rumored crossover fighting game Namco Vs Capcom, her Namco side equivalent being Ivy Valentine. In 2012, Complex ranked the "super sexual but also super deadly" Morrigan as the 13th "most dominant" fighting game character, also including "Capcom vs. DC Universe" as third fighting game crossover idea they would like to see the most, for a battle between Morrigan and Wonder Woman. That same year, Lucas Sullivan of GamesRadar ranked her as the fourth best character in the fighting game genre's history, while WatchMojo.com ranked her as the sixth most iconic fighting game character. In 2013, Complex placed Morrigan ninth on their list of video game characters that deserve a spin-off, while Mike Andronico of Gamenguide named her as the "fiercest female in today's fighting games" who "has stood the test of time as one of fighting games' most iconic faces." According to Tom Goulter of GamesRadar, "Few characters have consumed as much fan-ink as Darkstalkers' seductive succubus and the Street Fighter series' high-kicking bunhead. Both have sustained popularity for decades (Morrigan's 20th anniversary comes next year), and they outlasted countless imitators to become standouts of the Capcom cast."
In 2008, Morrigan was included on a list of top "chicks behaving badly" by IGN's Scott Cullura for her "penchant for magic and kick-ass fighting moves," her outfit described as "one that would make even Jenna Jameson blush." She was also featured in a list of ten "babes who shouldn't meet your mom" by GameDaily in 2008, as well as in a list of ten "game girls you wouldn't dare to date" by Virgin Media in 2010. In 2011, Rich Knight of Complex pitted Morrigan against Agent Rayne in the "battle of the beauties" feature, comparing them to "the sexy goth girls you were too afraid to ask out in high school" and choosing Morrigan, but Richard Coombs of Blistered Thumbs ranked her as number one video game woman "you wouldn’t want to be with" as "that would probably be the scariest romance you could ever be in."
Morrigan was often noted as one of the most sexy characters of fighting games and gaming in general. In 2003, GameSpy's Bryan Johnson ranked this "embodiment of sexual temptation" as the third top "babe in games", calling her and Capcom's answer to SNK's Mai Shiranui. GameDaily placed Morrigan number nine on their 2008 list of "hottest game babes", while UGO ranked Morrigan as the fourth in their 2011 list of the "foxiest fighting females to ever be pixelated." GameFront staff featured her twice on their list of "greatest boobs in video game history", at 37th (for the Darkstalkers version, called the "reason 12 year olds packed arcades into the late 90s") and 11th (for the Marvel Vs. Capcom version, being "50% of all Comic Con costumes"); Morrigan's breasts were also ranked as the eight best in gaming history by Rich Shivener of Joystick Division that same year. In 2012, Morrigan was ranked as the third "hottest" character video game history by Larry Hester of Complex, and as the 17th "hottest" female video game character by Kristie Bertucci of Gadget Review, while ZoominGames named her costume as the second most sexy outfit in games. In 2013, Scott Marley of Daily Record declared Morrigan the eight most attractive female video game character, while Steve Jenkins of CheatCodes.com ranked her as the seventh "hottest video game girl" of all time.
Furthermore, UGO included Morrigan on their 2008 list of 11 "hottest babes to ever hit the video game world," saying, "One thing that video game babes have over the real–life variety is that it's much easier for a girl who's made of pixels to rock an absolutely ludicrous outfit and still look hot. ... she doesn't look a year of her 300, and her appearances across the Capcom fighting franchises prove that the company has an excellent eye for the female form." as well as in the 2011 list of 50 "hottest girls in games", stating that "with a body like that, we can ignore those wings coming out of her head." In 2009, Gelo Gonzales of FHM listed the "undeniably seductive" Morrigan among the nine sexiest "bad girls of videogame land", while Manolith included her on the lists of top ten "sexiest video game women" and 25 "hottest female video game protagonists". Johnny Firecloud of CraveOnline featured this "iconic succubus" on his 2010 list of ten "hottest video game girls of all time", commenting that she "is more than just an anatomic wonder - she's also one of the single most sexually stylistic ladies in gaming land." Japanator.com's Bob Muir included her on the list of "Japanese gaming's top ten hottest girls", stating: "In fact, Morrigan is so popular that many people know of her sultry looks who have never touched a Darkstalkers game." In 2012, she was listed as one of ten sexiest video game characters by Fernando DaQuino of Tecmundo, MSN Malaysia included this "shameless succubus" among the 20 "hottest women in video game history", and K. Thor Jensen of UGO included her among the 99 "hottest" fictional women of the year, calling her inclusion the best thing about Marvel Vs. Capcom 3. John Corpuz of Tom's Guide included her on his 2013 list of the 20 "hottest video game babes," adding that "when it comes to 90s fighting games, Darkstalkers’ Morrigan is the definitive poster girl."
- Her last name in the series has alternatively been written in English as "Aenslaed," particularly in the subtitles of the 1997 anime miniseries, where it was occasionally pronounced as such.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Morrigan Aensland.|
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