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Castlevania Series Overview

Castlevania

A Whipping Recap of the Classic Gothic Horror Series.

In 1986, Konami released the first installment of Castlevania and created one of the most successful franchises in history. The franchise has several installments on every console released so far and re-releases. A remake to the series was also made known as Lords of Shadow. There have been other forms of media from comics to shorts.

The most recent and noteworthy adaptation is an animated series that started on Netflix in 2017. Castlevania the animated series follows the journey of monster hunter Trevor Belmont, speaker magician Sypha, and dhampir Alucard as they battle the creatures of the night from vampires to demons. The series ran for four seasons and is one of the best adult animated series run on the platform. What makes the series phenomenal despite all odds is a combination of factors. 

The first is that the art style and character design is similar to the style that started in Symphony of the Night. Animation for action sequences and even character conversations is well done and showcases the abilities of the characters. The second factor that made the series great is the writing for the characters and the setting. Castlevania takes the basic plot of heroes fighting villains from the games and gives them dimensional depth. The series reintroduced classic characters so that even those unfamiliar with the game franchise could enjoy what the adaptation shows.

The story of Castlevania is loosely based on the premise of the third main game Castlevania: Dracula’s Curse while maintaining the animesque art style introduced in Symphony of the Night. Because the initial games have a loose narrative and are more play centric, writer Warren Ellis and producer Adi Shankar had a lot of liberties on how to progress the story and develop the characters. The characters are updated versions of the game characters and other original characters are intermixed to flesh out the world. Even minor characters from the game have more defined characterizations.

Castlevania

Being based on Castlevania: Dracula’s curse, season one shows Dracula’s descent into darkness when his wife Lisa was executed by an inquisition. Dracula’s rampage drove his son against him and by season two he started planning ways to stop his father while Trevor rediscovered himself as a proud member of the Belmonts with Sypha’s help after spending years in exile. By the end of season two and continuing into season three and four, the series deviates from the story of Curse of Dracula and expands on the relationships and changes of the characters.

While the main trio dealt with some misadventures in season three, the characters that had the most development and focus were Isaac and Hector. Both of these men are human forgemasters capable of creating an army of monsters for Dracula’s war but the aftermath of season two divided them. Isaac was forced to travel the desert and rethink his former attitude to humanity while Hector was subjected to the whims of Carmilla and her sisterhood in Styria.

Season four brings many of the established arcs in the story to a close, from Carmilla’s attempt to conquer the world to Trevor and Sypha fighting off vampires seeking to resurrect Dracula. Alucard who became severely jaded after months alone in the castle accepted refugees while Isaac and Hector go on to resolve their personal storylines. Along with bringing the story full circle, many character developments come to a decent conclusion that makes the finale satisfying.

The story felt very developed and complete, with very few weak points throughout the four seasons. The first season is the shortest of the series with four episodes and feels like a prologue that introduces the setting, plot, and characters. After season one the rest of the series averages at eight to ten episodes. The few common critiques include the short first season, certain ideas or plot points are abandoned or rushed through, and certain things escalate too quickly.

Netflix recently announced a sequel/spin-off that adapts the story of Castlevania: Rondo of Blood. The story will follow the descendant of Trevor Belmont named Richter during the French Revolution and will feature many elements from that game. The success of the series and its ensured quality promises other unique adaptations that can be done on the streaming platform.

Castlevania

Castlevania (2021) Official Netflix Trailer

Source: Dead Talk Live

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An enthusiast of Fantasy and Sci-Fi. I loved reading about the stories and worlds of video games and movies and writing on a multitude of subjects, from lists to reviews.