When Lisa Tepes, beloved wife of Vlad Tepes AKA Dracula is acused of witchcraft and burned at the stake by an overzealous bishop, Dracula declares war on the people of Wallachia and unleashes an army of murderous demonic creatures from hell. Luckily, Trevor Belmont, last survivor of the Belmont clan, a disgraced family known for hunting all kinds of monsters, is still in town and agrees to take the fight to the lord of vampires. Written by
Really solid production from Netflix that knows its target audience and doesn't pull any punches. Make no mistake; this is animated fare strictly for adults. And that's perfectly fine.
The 2016 production of Berserk has sadly skimped on production values, leaving fans of the longtime manga series with a sour taste in their mouths. Castlevania, however, scratches much of that same itch. It's gratuitously violent, dark as pitch, and set in a medieval fantasy world. The writers go straight for the jugular and pull no punches, obviously inspired by Berserk and other series like it. It's refreshing considering that the original owners of the Castlevania IP, Konami, have taken an obvious downturn in the quality production of their various legendary properties recently in favor of instead developing pachinko and gambling machines and firing longtime creative leads such as Hideo Kojima. Fans of the series need not worry, plenty of the classic Castlevania feel is here, treated with proper reverence by the shows writers and directors.
The animation is very good, and the art in particular is superb. Animated features and series have been steadily improving since the dawn of the HD era, and Castlevania continue to represent them well. The English voice cast shines as well, with Armitage's performance standing out among the others. He does a fantastic job as Trevor Belmont.
My only complaint here is the brevity of the series. Four ~23 minute episodes is not that much content, and it makes me wonder whether Netflix wouldn't have been better served to put this "season" out as a feature-length prologue film instead in order to advertise a lengthier season 2. But all-in-all, it's worth the time, especially to those interested in the Castlevania series, but even to those unfamiliar with it and in search of a gritty, well-animated, well- acted piece of dark medieval fantasy.
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