Netflix’s Anime Adaptation Of The Classic Video Game Castlevania Leaves A Lot To Desire… Most Notably, More Episodes!
For anyone who grew up blistering their thumbs playing Nintendo, they know all about the Konami classic Castlevania. Now, Netflix and Adi Shankar bring the iconic video game to life as an animated series. The Anime is full of demon hunting, vampire slaying, and lots of stigmatic religious symbolism. There’s only one problem, the series is way too short.
The show’s story follows the video game series fairly closely. The year is 1475, and a church bishop just burnt Vlad Dracula Tepes’ wife at the stake for witchcraft. The vampire lord is devasted and unleashes his demonic army on the Wallachia countryside in revenge. Stepping up to protect the people is Trevor Belmont, last living member of the noble family of monster hunters. As Trevor investigates church corruption and missing persons, he discovers powerful allies in Sypha Belnades and Alucard to help in his battle against the dark lord Dracula and his endless army of demons and monsters.
Richard Armitage does a great job bringing our hero Trevor Bellmont to life in all his sarcastic glory. From our first encounter with the man during a drunken bar fight to his final battle of the season challenging Alucard, Armitage gives Trevor a delightfully entertaining persona. James Callis as Alucard and Alejandra Reynoso as Sypha are decent as well, however, their characters aren’t featured enough to fully judge their performances. Yet, the small sample of chemistry we receive for our trio of heroes makes the series’ future a bright one.
Aiding Armitage in his vocal expertise is the outstanding animation from Adi Shankar and his team. Trevor may have a clever tongue to crack wise, the real cracking comes from his skills with his truty whip. The action sequences hold nothing back and the often reluctant violence Trevor engages in is effective and detailed. You learn just as well as his foes, that the Belmont is a masterful fighter. Shankar is relentless and his animation pulls no punches. This isn’t a cartoon for kids, that’s for sure. While the voice acting and animated action are on point, there is still something missing to this series.
My biggest issue with the first season of Castlevania is that the series is way too short. Each episode of the four episodes focuses on introducing us to a key character. The first gives us Dracula, the second Trevor, the third Sypha, and the final episode Alucard. While each episode builds an amazing world we want to see more of and gives us plenty of action in the streets of Gresit, the show ends just as it starts to really get going. Lucky for fans of the show, anime, or just entertaining animation in general, Netflix has already approved a second season for Castlevania. With double the episodes! Hopefully, this makes the second season more satisfying.
As it stands now, this season of Castlevania serves as the first half of an origin story feature film. The four 20+ minute episodes are entertaining, but the season fails to have a satisfying narrative arc to make fans feel like they’ve watched a complete story. We do get some amazing animated action, phenomenal voice cast performances, and a wonderful fantasy world to build upon. However, in the end, it feels like we only got half of a movie to enjoy. Thankfully, that first half of the movie was good enough to keep us wanting to come back for more. With a bigger season order for the second season, I have a feeling we will finally get that satisfying story.
Now You Know Whassup, Chucks!
Images via Netflix