Gamers had a lot of reasons to worry when Netflix announced they’d be making a Castlevania animated series. What adaptation have we ever been given that hasn’t disappointed? However, in early July I watched as Vlad Dracula Tepes unleashed his hellish armies upon the human citizens of Wallachia and I could not have been happier.
Writer: Warren Ellis
July 7, 2017
The series is essentially an 80 minute movie divided into four episodes, and those episodes are given a lot of room to breathe. The plot is revealed over the course of the entire first episode and the audience doesn’t even really meet the protagonist, Trevor Belmont, until the second episode (though he’s witness to the goat-fucking joke in the first).
What makes this short first season so enjoyable, though so little happens, and makes for such a great adaptation is that it’s not really the video game at all. It takes the important themes and runs wild with them. The dialogue is reminiscent of the notably awkward game speech, but elevated thanks to Warren Ellis’s writing and spot-on voice acting. The art is different, but equally as striking and aesthetically-focused. And there is blood. So much blood and guts and gore and eyes hanging from brick buildings. It’s fantastic.
The last Castlevania game left a lot to be desired, so it’s a joy to be presented with Ellis’s snarky, boyish, and underwhelmed Trevor. He comes from a long line of protectors, so even when he wants to leave the ignorant populous to their certain and gruesome deaths, he sticks around to whip the town back to safety. Literally – his whip is pretty sensual.
So while it’s clear that Trevor is our story’s hero, his fight is multi-faceted. The enemy of the series certainly is Dracula, grieving and genocidal in his fantastical traveling castle, but it’s also institutional Christianity that has turned anything mystical or threatening into a fatal sin. The church is corrupt, they’re burning doctors as witches, coercing the faithful, and controlling mobs. Trevor’s family has been excommunicated from the church for fighting the same evil creatures that now pray on the country’s citizens. He must fight his way through priests and hell beasts to save the town, and along the way he teams up with Sypha, a religious Speaker, and Alucard, the altruistic son of Dracula himself.
We don’t get to spend a lot of time with these two other characters, but already the dynamic between the trio is a joy to watch.
Luckily a second season has already been approved for twice the length. So, let’s cross our fingers for eight episodes of will-they-won’t-they gay romance between Alucard and Trevor and a hot witch love interest for Sypha. A gamer can dream, can’t she? I’ll settle for two more hours of this though: