Castlevania (Season 1)
So, one day I was digging through sites looking for my morning news and that's when I saw the title that I had to click on. I somewhat remember Ominous music filling the air as I read the article and yet this is all I remember reading, Netflix is giving us a... Castlevania series! Yep, long article, but that's all I retained from it, but really that's all that mattered. Beleive it or not, the Castlevania craze all started back when the first video game Castlevania (1986) dropped for the NES. Over the years Castlevania has built a serious fan base that has seen the Castlevania (video game) series hit practically every gaming platform there is. Be it console, PC, arcade and even mobile, Castlevania has had a game on it. Once word got out about the animated series, everyone was watching the calendar and (im)patiently waiting for its release, least I was.
Another reason so many people were stoked about the news is that this project had been sitting in limbo since around 2007, due to development issues. It wasn't until 2015 that forward motion was finally able to happen. Thanks to Frederator Studios, Powerhouse Animation Studios and Netflix the series was able to get some help with funding and the project was able to finally get moving. Then in July (2017), the series hit Netflix and the fans jumped on to watch! That's when everyone found out that the first season was... four twenty-five minute episodes. Yep, the first season has four freaking episodes. I'm not gonna lie, I was/am a bit pissed about it. Now, two things have (somewhat) helped calm my nerves, a little. One, word has already dropped that the second season is planned to hit Netflix in 2018 and it has an eight episode order this time around. Second, even though it was only four episodes... they were four killer episodes!
Now, the story for the series is based on Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse (1989). After Dracula's wife, Lisa Tepes, is burned at the stake due to accusations of being a witch, Dracula declares all of the people of Wallachia will pay with their lives. Dracula's army of monsters and demons quickly over run the country. Even though the town doesn't want to ask for his help, Trevor Belmont grabs his whip and heads out to take on Dracula's army... with some help.
From the very opening, the visuals are eye catching and set a dark tone for the series. Now, I was surprised by the amount of gore that was in the show. Don't get me wrong, I dug it and it looked great, but I guess I was kind of expecting Netflix to keep it toned down for some reason. I'm glad they didn't because the gore made some already cool looking fight scenes even better. The story was really good and with everything going on during the show it held my attention the entire time. I'm a fan of binge watching, but this time it wasn't a choice, the series hooked me. As soon as the credits started rolling I hit the next episode to see what was going to happen next. I was impressed with how well the story played out. In four episodes they were able to set everything up, introduce all the characters, give some backstory and still have time for some fight scenes. Yeah, other animes have done it also, but some of them end up feeling rushed or things seem crammed into the story by the end it. Where as Castlevania found a good balance for all of it.
Aside from the great animation and story, the cast lineup was also really cool. You get to hear the voice work of Richard Armitage (The Hobbit) as Trevor Belmont, James Callis (Batterstar Galactia 2004) as Adrian Tepes/Alucard, Alejandra Reynoso (Winx Club) as Sypha Belnades, Tony Amendola (Once Upon A Time) as The Elder, Matt Frewer (Max Headroom) as The Bishop, Emily Swallow (Supernatural) as Lisa Tepes and Graham McTavish (Preacher) as Vlad Dracula Tepes. Out of everyone in the cast, Armitage was my favorite. From the tone he gave his character to the way he delivered his lines, Armitage was a perfect choice as Belmont.
Overall, Castlevania is definitely worth checking out! Upside (trying to think positive), it's only four episodes so really you're really burning out about the same amount of time as a full-length movie.