**WARNING – Since the first series was only four twenty-minute episodes long, this is going to be a very spoilery post. You have been warned.**
Ranking: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐out of five frickin’ stars this series was ON POINT.
So before I kick this review off, I have a confession to make. I’ve only played the first Castlevania game, which shames me as both an avid RPG fan and a lover of horror-themed media. The earlier games are notoriously hard, and I got so frustrated with the first game that I never beat it or continued on with the other 2D games in the series. The later installments (especially Symphony of the Night) are definitely still on my list, but they’re just harder to obtain legally without a PlayStation Network account currently at my disposal. I have, however, seen Let’s Plays of Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse, which the TV series was based off of, so there you go, angry mob. I have approximate knowledge of many things.
Anyway, I really enjoyed this series, and my biggest complaint was how short it was. The story kicked off with the Church burning Dracula’s human wife at the stake for false claims of witchcraft, and Dracula decides to exact revenge on the people of Wallachia exactly one year after her death. So the creatures end up coming, and we pan over to Trevor Belmont wandering the countryside in all his drunken handsomeness. He ends up traveling to a town containing some Speakers (magicians and healers) and a really corrupt bishop who I’m going to call Frollo because I can’t remember his name and I don’t care. Trevor ends up saving the Elder Speaker’s granddaughter Sypha, who also happens to be a gifted magician and one of the original companions from the third game. They go on to help protect the villagers, and end up falling into a giant hole where they find Alucard, Dracula’s son and other companion in the third game, who joins up with Trevor and Sypha to defeat Dracula’s army of darkness. And that’s where it ends folks. Like I said, great, but really short.
Anyway, moving on to pros. The animation was gorgeous, and reminded me of the type used for the Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure adaption. I don’t know if it was 3D animated, but certain parts did seem to be 3D while others were more traditional. The fighting scenes were well-choreographed, and the character design was strikingly similar to the late 90’s and early 2000’s games on the PlayStation and PlayStation 2. I actually smiled when Alucard was first fully shown just because looked so ridiculously bishi with his flowing locks and flawless abs. The story was also well done. I felt that it was a looser interpretation of the original based on my ‘approximate’ knowledge of the third game, but it still held true to the overall tone and feel of the games.
Now to the cons, or rather single con. As someone who avidly listens to videogame soundtracks, WHERE WAS BLOODY TEARS OR VAMPIRE KILLER? That’s right, neither of the iconic themes were anywhere in the first season, which heavily disappointed me. The musical score in general was okay, but the lack of callbacks to popular themes disappointed me greatly. I expect this to be fixed in the next season ASAP so get on it Netflix.
So there you have it. I definitely recommend it to any anime or videogame fans out there, or anyone person curious about the Castlevania franchise. Then again, even if you’re not into that whole thing, there are, in fact, vampires present. Vampires scientifically make everything more interesting, or at least to myself they do. You won’t get any top-notch anime vampires such as Dio Brando or Hellsing’s Alucard, but I’ll save my top vampires in anime for another post.