Castlevania The Animated Series (Netflix 2017- )

Started by A-Yty, 17 November 2018, 17:41

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So, what do you think?

- The voice acting is very decent. Dracula is especailly good. Trevor kind of gets on my nerves sometimes. It sounds like he's pushing some Jack Sparrow thing. I would have preferred Alucard closer to Robert Belgrade, but we can always fanonize that with Al being just 20+ here instead of centuries old.

- So much scatological humor. Why was Warren Ellis so absolutely obsessed with writing about goat sex that after about 12 years, he just had to realize his grand vision?

- The script is kind of uneven. There doesn't seem to be enough time for decent characterization and balance that with action. The episodes would have probably  worked a lot better 45 minutes long. And there's a lot of filler. I mean, I loved the Belmont Hold Library and its references to the games, but after spending an episode or two there with some childish banter between Trevor and Alucard, it seems like such a burst to just have the final fight so soon. After a short, 4 episodes long season, there's a lot more episodes in the second one, but in the end, everything just wraps up way too fast and convenient.

- And speaking of action; the gore just gets really gratuitous really fast. All them smashed heads and poked eyes and lots of the vampire raids could have been left to the imagination and use that time for something worthwhile.

- This was, of course to be expected: it doesn't follow the game canon. Very noticably, there is no Death, no Grant, Isaac is completely redesigned and Hector is strange. In a way, they were flip-flopped; in the games, Hector left Dracula's ranks because his conscience couldn't allow him to be part of human genocide. Here he's a cowardly manchild who is easily duped. Isaac was just kind of crazy and power hungry and his flamboyant appearance and manners reflected that. In the series, Isaac looks and acts like Shaft and will probably end up being the Shaft of the animated series. That's what I'm guessing, anyway.

All in all, it's worth a watch. For someone having been chasing the rumors about the supposed CVIII animated movie for about 13 years, it might not live up to the expectations, but for a first full-fledged Castlevania animation, it's a good start.


I almost started a new thread. Then I noticed I did this. Some elaborated thoughts from the perspective of two seasons watched.

Season 1 had some cringe moments, especially with the emerging, anachronistic soap boxing that would later get worse. Instead of drama based on the source (like Belmont banishment and Trevor trying to reconcile the bitterness resulting from that with his clan's mission of protecting humanity from DA NIGHT), it's summarized as: "church man bad". Trevor of canon may have hated Transylvanians for ostracizing his family and for a good reason, but he was still a man of faith. Cartoon Trevor isn't. He's a semi-drunk who makes a Jesus joke, indulges in scatology and is unnecessarily violent. That's not even interesting, because the "lovable rogue" cliché is played out. How about some heroic heroes for a change?

Season 1 was short, but after the initial plans and rumors for of an animated movie it was finally at least something. Season 2's high point and the best thing the series has shown was The Belmont Library and the confrontation with Dracula. Season 3 I haven't checked out, but from what I know, it crashes and burns. I doubt I'll be seeing it soon.

All in all, it was mistake to not let the Japanese handle this. And that's not just a gripe about style over substance; despite the lackluster monster design, this cartoon looks decent. What I mean is the Japanese would have respected the source material and done it justice. Shankar and gang have not done so and will not do so. They ride the license till it wears out and they move on to the next one. It's a crust without filling.

People keep covering for all the pitfalls of this because "it introduces Castlevania to new fans" and "at least there's some new Castlevania material". And so on. I don't find those reasonable points. I don't feel the need to be grateful for pieces of rotten wall meat an arrogant producer renting the IP throws at me. Anything with a history as long and revered as Castlevania is better off in dignified death or an extended slumber than galvanizing its corpse just for the sake of reminding it's still there.

So, I'm not systematically against a Castlevania animated series. Or a movie. Or any new material that is not game. Not even with Warren Ellis's historical fondness to fight for a goat sex joke in the script. I'm against this particular series. The best way to introduce it to new fans would be a new game, not sequences of "very special episodes" catering to needs that have slim to nothing to do with liking this game series.


I find the entirely hypothetical "Japan would have done it justice" argument hilarious, seeing as we just got a Japanese made videogame anime adaptation with involvement from the original creators less than three months ago and surprise; it looks like utter crap and by most accounts also is just that. But I guess the monster designs are more faithful.

It's fine to not like what Shankar and co. are doing with the show, but chances are they are also just about the only ones who actually care enough to do anything with it and demonstrably have been trying to make it happen for a very long time. The franchise has been around for a while now and if Japan ever actually gave enough of a shit about it, they probably would have tried adapting it ages ago themselves.
A memory false as summer snow


Granted, I don't know much about the history of Japanese video games adapted into animations by the Japanese. I base my opinion just on Castlevania and its story material outside the games and how they treat their source material. The Belmont Legacy is not that good compared to the SotN and CoD mangas. Ricordanza of the Gods Abyss and the SotN radio drama I can't say much about, because I haven't listened them. But from the reviews I've read about them, they're not that bad. And they're consistent with the personality and history of the characters they use.