I would like to note that I have not played any of the Castlevania games in over 20+ years (The last one I played was for NES) and do not remember a single storyline to any of them, so I will be reviewing this as a TV show only and not making comparisons to the video game series. Without further ado:
On July 7th, 2017 Netflix dropped season 1 of Castlevania consisting of a total of 4 episodes. The animated series is based on the video game series of the same name (Castlevania III to be exact, I believe). Since there are currently on four episodes at 25ish minutes a piece; it’s very low investment. This is a great way for Netflix to feel out the community, and for fans to put in little effort to see if it is going to be any good.
The show starts in the late 1400’s with a woman entering a very scary looking castle in the middle of nowhere. This woman, who we learn is Lisa Tepes, seems to gasp at everything. There is no dialogue for the first few minutes, but Emily seems to be surprised at every turn and lets her mouth sounds drive that expression home. It gets very annoying.
Once she finally stumbles upon the occupant of the castle, she appears to find her voice and is in no way concerned, scared, or surprised to come across Dracula and befriends him rather quickly. It’s a typical “Beauty and the Beast” type relationship without the Stockholm syndrome issues. A story that has been beaten to death a million times.
Lisa eventually gets toasted for being deemed a witch. When Mr. spikey teeth (Dracula) finds out, he threatens the woman who tells him to leave town that night. He then threatens the rest the town that in 1 year time the will rain hell down upon them. Apparently, the fanged one doesn’t have a whole army of baddies at the ready and needs to prepare. Why tell the old lady to leave that night, but give the rest of the town on year? She was only the messenger, why give her only a night to leave? Shouldn’t she get the same respect as the rest of the town?
Eventually, hell rains down as promised and we get some hellish monsters ripping apart townsfolk in some gory (yet better) scenes in the show. Up to this point, the animation seemed “meh” nothing too exciting or innovative. It seemed like this was a mid-1990s animated series of Gargoyles or something. The vocals in the early episodes/scenes didn’t seem to line up all that well and were very unappealing to eyes like old school Speed Racer (ok, not as bad).
After you get over all that, the show is pretty entertaining. As the story progresses, you learn about the Belmont family and their job of killing monsters like Dracula. The townsfolk seem to blame the Belmonts for most of the misfortunes of the regular joes. Trevor Belmont, eavesdropping in a bar, overhears some patrons talking about his family and ignores it focusing only on getting is ale mug refilled. They learn who he is and out the door, he goes.
Belmont ends up meeting a speaker, Sypha, who has magical powers and another vampire named Alucard. The four-part show ends with them forming an alliance to go after Dracula. Roll Credits, wait for season 2 (which has been green lit).
After the last episode, viewers are left with a feeling of emptiness. No character connections were made with the viewer, no climax, very unfulfilling. It definitely, left the viewer feeling Netflix was just testing the waters with this, rather then actually committing to it. That being said, the show has a lot of potential and think everyone should give it a shot when the next season (or the full season) is actually released. If Netflix doesn’t release it sooner than later, people will lose interest real fast.