Though this review is attributed to another Writer, due to some unresolved issues with our recent site upgrade, it was written by TVEnthusiast Writer and The Weekly Set podcast co-host William Rohrig.
Konami’s legendary Castlevania video game franchise has arrived on Netflix as an animated series, and I can happily report that it is one of the best video game adaptations to date. With a script by legendary comics scribe Warren Ellis (Hellblazer), and animation by studios Powerhouse (OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes) and Frederator (Adventure Time), Castlevania manages to flesh out the story of the series, while capturing the essence of the games
Based upon Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse for the Nintendo Entertainment System, the Castlevania animated series tells the tale of Trevor Belmont. Trevor must defeat Dracula, who has sworn vengeance upon the country of Wallachia, after his wife was wrongfully burned at stake as a witch by the Catholic Church.Along the way, Trevor meets Sypha, a magician and member of the mystical order of The Speakers, as well as Alucard, Dracula’s son, who very much disagrees with his father’s attack on humanity. By the end of the season, both Sypha and Alucard join Trevor on his quest to defeat Dracula.
The animation in Castlevania is solid, for the most part, with a visual style that’s colorful and expressive while still evoking the gothic feel of the Castlevania franchise. While the animation is smooth and fast paced during action sequences, imperfections arise in other areas. During speaking scenes, for example, the characters don’t emote or move much, which can cause a jarring disconnect.
The voice acting is top notch. The cast, as a whole, puts forth excellent performances. Richard Armitage (Hannibal), as the reluctant Trevor Belmont, and Matt Frewer (Orphan Black), as an evil Bishop of the Church, are especially memorable in their roles.
Castlevania‘s first season in short. With just four sub-thirty-minute episodes, this is more of a prologue to a larger series than a complete story arc. As such, Castlevania ends, just as it’s getting started. You can begin and finish the show in a single afternoon, but don’t let the short length dissuade you. Castlevania is packed with enough action, gore, and drama in its brief run to satisfy. By the end, you’re going to be wanting more.
Thankfully, more is on the way. Netflix has already announced a second season for 2018, with an expanded order of 8 episodes. It is a long wait, for sure, but if the second season lives up to the quality of the first, it will be a worth the wait.
Bottom line: For fans of the Castlevania franchise itself, or fans of horror and animation in general, Castlevania is a solid series that provides plenty of thrills without a huge time commitment. I recommend you check it out.
Castlevania is exclusively available to stream on Netflix. We also discussed this season on an episode of our podcast, The Weekly Set. What did you think of this review? Tell us in our comments, and stay tuned to TVEnthusiast for more coverage of all of your favorite shows.