Anyone who has heard of Castlevania automatically calls to mind images of darkness, elegance and tears. Netflix’s adaption of the Castlevania franchise into a Western-made anime is genius. The reality of vampires are not glossed over but exposed in a disgusting light. The show does not cover anything up about night creatures who desire human blood. No glimmer or gloss can mask the stench of rotting death that seeps off the screen during both seasons of the show.
Humans are in a state of extinction because of Dracula’s vengeance. His human wife Lisa, was burned at the stake by people of the church claiming she was involved in the dark arts. In reality, she was using scientific methods from Dracula’s own library and knowledge to help humans. Lisa urged her vampiric husband to travel the world to learn more about people. When he finally returned, Dracula finds out his wife’s tragic end. Snapping into insanity, the vampire lord decides no human deserves to stay alive. After launching a genocide on all humans of earth, only a small band of people decide to band together to take Dracula down.
Trevor Belmont’s family was a prominent well- celebrated vampire hunter family. Trevor is the last of his family and posses the knowledge and power to take down vampires. However, he alone can not wage war on the entire vampire family. Sypha is from an ancient clan that wields magic and passes down stories. Her fire alone is strong enough to attack the fanged blood-hunters. And the third member of the trio is Dracula’s own son – Alacord. His grace and lordly manor counteracts Trevor’s rough personality yet his own fangs and vampire power is what’s needed to take his father down.
Language is a huge part of the Castlevania anime. Each character has their own manor of speech, accent and personality that gives viewers a sense of the characters being real people. Their language emphases who they are and reflects upon their family’s history. Trevor’s gruff attitude shows off his horrible life. His family was brutally murdered by the very vampires they hunted and his estate full of artifacts and family history was destroyed. Everything seems to push Trevor into stopping other humans from the same fate as his family.
Sypha’s word choices shows she has some humor but her role in the adaption is one of the mother of the trio. She constantly is trying to keep Trevor and Alacord from killing each other. By being a traveling mage who posses the stories of her people, Sypha is wise despite her rather sheltered upbringing. Alacord’s speech is elegant with irony which perfectly fits his personality from the games.
The music of Castlevania is always iconic. It sets the mood for each game of the series. The soundtrack for the anime that follows Shadows of the Night lives up to expectations. The intensity of music’s emotion matches the situations of the characters. The despite screams of the vampires’ victims ring in the viewers’ ears as the music flows into the hearts. Watching the series seems to reach into the viewer’s soul. You begin to feel helpless as you can only watch innocent villagers get massacred for simply being human.
On the other side of things, the anime’s writers carefully reveals Dracula’s pain from losing his wife beautifully to viewers. You can see the pain drawn into the vampire lord’s eyes. They make sure that viewers see how Dracula feels. His wife taught him that humans are not food but equals. He began to turn his views around until the betrayal. The line of who is right and who is wrong blurs when it is clear the religious leaders are responsible for horror starting. Until you remember that the vampire lord is literally killing everyone without hesitation. The sympathy does not last, however you are not left without some understanding of how Dracula feels.
Surprisingly, Netflix’s adaption of the franchise is a fantastic show to experience for fans of the video game series. And it can be enjoyed by anyone who is interested in vampire and darker animations. However, it should be noted that since this is an M rated show there is a lot of gore shown without warning or hesitation. If you are in the mood for a show about vampires, humans and lots of personality, then Castlevania is the one for you.
If you think this is great news, you may want to hear more about ComiKet: a massive Comic Con like Anime event coming to Japan that will surely have reveals for Castlevania and many other popular anime and manga series.