Castlevania Season 1 Review

This four-episode adaptation offers fans and newcomers some insight into the legendary Castlevania franchise, but it has its share of problems.

Given the series’ popularity, I often wonder why we haven’t seen more media based on Castlevania. Over the years, there have been several games and from a variety of genres (such as fighting and action,) but I can’t believe it took this long for a series to come out. This four-episode adaptation comes from Netflix and it offers fans and newcomers some insight into the legendary Castlevania franchise, but it has its share of problems.

Right from the get go, I have to say I enjoyed my time with these episodes and I can’t wait for more of them to come out, but there are a couple of things to point out. Castlevania uses an anime style, but it was made in North America (this is an American-Canadian production) and it definitely feels and looks like an anime made outside of Japan. That, in and of itself, isn’t a problem, but I feel like I have to bring it up because anime fans and purists deserve to know. Since we’re talking about the animation, this aspect is woefully uneven: there are parts that look terrific and there are moments that look terrible.

There have been several Castlevania games in the main series and even as someone who sort of kept up with it, I have no idea about certain characters and events. A television series is a terrific way to retell certain events, bring back classic characters or reference moments that happened in the games. Whenever Castlevania come up I think of whip-wielding hunters, the Belmonts, Alucard and finding secret rooms that have chicken in them, but there’s more to the franchise than that.

Here’s a summary of the story for those interested: Dracula’s wife was killed at the stake after being falsely accused of practicing witchcraft and the creature retaliates at the town of Wallachia. This draws the attention of the last surviving Belmont who decides to defend the town and go against Dracula’s forces with the help of magician Sypha Belnades and Dracula’s son Alucard. As some of you can tell, Trevor Belmont is the same character from Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse and last surviving member of his clan.

This is an R-rated animated show, so some parts are incredibly bloody, violent and gruesome and I appreciate that it doesn’t shy away from anything. If you’re going to make a series about blood-sucking vampires and demons from hell, having an R-rating seems more than appropriate so fans who were afraid that this series was going to tone down the violence, rest assure that’s not the case here.

This animated adaptation is off to a good start, but there are many problems to fix in a potential second season. It remains to be seen where the story goes from here and I understand that this is a pilot season to measure the interest of people in a Castlevania show, but even if I don’t regret watching it, the series’ animation is uneven, some episodes are just boring and the story doesn’t really go anywhere in the mere four episodes.