Posted by AidanAK47 on 27 July 2017 with categories: Anime Reviews

Upon hearing that Castlevania would be getting an animated TV series my first reaction was that of unpleasant surprise. Part of the reason was because of the video games infamous history with adapting their stories to other mediums but my main reason was that being familiar with the Castlevania games, I knew the story was by far the weakest aspect. I have played a number of Castlevania titles though my main experience is with the so called “Igavania” titles which helped birth the Metroidvania genre. Let me say that story was not the reason I came to love the franchise, as a matter of fact the story rather went beyond “Dracula has revived, go kill him again.” However against all odds this series has managed to pull a rather enjoyable story out of the bare bones that was present in the game it was based on, Castlevania 3. I believe the main reason behind this story turning out to be a good video game adaption has to do with the writer being a famous comic writer by the name of Warren Ellis. Not being much of a comic fan I have only read a couple of his works like Planetary, Transmetropolitan and Crecy but based on those I can tell he has skill.

The story of this series isn’t anything to gush over but does serve well in using the little story in the games and fleshing it out to a better degree. It reminds me a lot of old anime ova’s from the 80s with its high level of violence and gore while sticking to a simplistic but enjoyable story. Make no mistake this animation isn’t for children with swearing and corpses abound. I admit that with the large amount of anime I watch it is rather refreshing to experience something that doesn’t have the usual Japanese tropes. Our main character Trevor Belmont is the one to get the most screentime in this short hour and a half season and he certainly makes for a fun main character. Starting your introduction with a drunken brawl is certainly a plus in my book and he is a good mix of playful and skilled without delving into overpowered territory. Other characters didn’t quite get as much screen time to really get a grasp on their characters but they were believable enough to get invested in.

The main cast only really assembled in the final minutes of the last episode. The villains on the other hand were on the weak side with the demons being sidelined by the church who really get treated as ignorant and greedy as all hell. Not saying it’s an inaccurate depiction but they do come off as rather one dimensional when any priest is automatically a murdering scummy psychopath. I hope that with this there role in the story is more or less finished with the end of the season as the first episode does nicely make Dracula’s motives much more compelling. He sadly didn’t get much of a role in this season but clearly the story wanted to focus on a minor villain first before taking on the main one. Our main villain for this season happens to be a bishop and I can pretty much sum him up as the same character as Frollo from Disney’s the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Religious, insane and so mistakenly sickeningly self righteous that he makes you want bash his head in with a sledgehammer.

This “Season” is only four episodes long and feels more like a hour and a half pilot episode. If I had to guess I would say that these four episodes were to gauge interest in the series due to the negative view of video game adaptions and considering just how quickly a second season of eight episodes was greenlit it looks like the response was quite positive indeed. In the continuation of the series I hope they keep up this level of quality but I also hope that they have much more monster variety as the enemies were primarily variants of demon creatures. Part of what makes Castlevania great is the huge cast of enemies from monster movie and myth. You didn’t just fight demons in Castlevania but ghosts, goblins, fishmen, werewolves and a whole host of monsters including Death himself. It would be a massive shame for the series to not capitalise on that and instead keep the monsters as dull demon creatures.

Animation for the most part is excellent with some occasional stumbles but excelling when it needs to. Music overall was fine but I do wish for a rendition of the iconic Bloody Tears or Vampire Killer songs. For fans of the games there is details sure to make you smile such as platforming on clock gears which I am sure any Castlevania fan is familiar with. However this doesn’t require knowledge of the games to be enjoyed either as the story very much stands on it’s own. Overall I would consider this to be one of the strongest Video Game adaptions to date though that may not be high praise considering it’s competition. If you happen to be burned out on anime or just looking for a nice change of pace then I do recommend checking this show out as it’s short and sweet.

6 Responses

  1. Avatar Lenlo says:

    In particular I loved the Stone Eyed Cyclops fight. It was humorous and fluidly animated.

  2. Avatar Vonter says:

    Your review makes it sound like time was both good and bad aspect of this season. Since the pacing was good (despite episode 2 being a bit slow), yet there’s a lot of unexploited potential that may or may not be used by doubling the length of the next season.

    After seeing several reviews and opinions. I think this definitely was a good first effort to show how to adapt a videogame series, also the potential of adapting those who had little to no story. Animation isn’t perfect but it could improve, given the added confidence. I think the main sticking point is the music, since this series is very known for having good and memorable soundtracks which also have been adapted to play with real instruments. Lords of Shadow didn’t use more than a couple because of it’s tone, but I hope at the very least reference to some classic notes are added to what they end up doing.

  3. Avatar donhumberto says:

    Really loved it. It was refreshing to see something that reminded me of the old 80’s and 90’s ovas instead of the endless flood of moe/otaku trash that is coming from Japan right now. Definitely looking forward to the second part and let’s hope more projects like this come in the future

  4. Avatar zrok says:

    not an anime lol

  5. I must say I really enjoy this anime.It is really too short.
    What I most like is that Dracula is trying to be good but failed. The real evil behind it all is actually the church.

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