Castlevania is an animated series, which can be considered very close to Japanese Anime.
Dracula has been one of the most beloved fantasy villains of the common folklore. We all know how he looks – pointy teeth, sharp black hair, and a sharp hatred for humans. Dracula usually hunts humans for their flesh and blood, but the Netflix series Castlevania shows a different Dracula altogether – one that seeks vengeance for the loss of his beloved.
Castlevania is an animated series, which can be considered very close to Japanese Anime. It is set in Wallachia, a fictional scenario during the older times when science had not advanced as much as it has today. The story has its roots in 1455, when Lisa, a girl from the village of Lupu, visits Vlad Dracula Tepes, in order to gain knowledge and become a doctor. Dracula teaches her magic and shares with her what he knows, and they fall in love and get married. However, the church and the archbishop consider Lisa to be a witch, and as was the practice in the medieval times, burn her at the stake.
This infuriates Dracula, and he gives the people one year to prepare themselves for their impending doom. They don’t take it seriously, and a year later, Dracula unleashes upon the citizens of Wallachia an army from the pits of hell. They kill thousands of innocent citizens, including all priests and archbishop of the church.
All is not lost, though. The family of Belmonts used to fight the evil powers for a long time before they were excommunicated from the church, and now the last Belmont survives in Wallachia, named Trevor Belmont. Though initially reluctant to fight the armies of Dracula, Trevor comes in contact with a group of people called the Speakers, and along with the help of the granddaughter of the eldest of them, tries to find a legendary warrior that sleeps beneath the town. He is said to wake up when the darkness is prevailing over the world, and the speakers think of him to be their only saviour. However, Trevor discovers a surprising truth, that this sleeping warrior is none other than the son of Dracula. Together, the three must find a way to bring Dracula’s reign of terror to an end.
Castlevania is based on Konami’s 1989 hit video game, Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse. Written originally as a film by Warren Ellis in 2007, the script and show hit major snags, before getting funded finally for a television web series on Netflix in 2015. Castlevania came alive with the rich voices of Richard Armitage (Trevor Belmont), James Callis (Adrain Tepes), Graham McTavish (Vlad Dracula Tepes) and Alejandra Reynoso (Sypha Belnades).
With the season spanning only four episodes, Castlevania introduces us well to the mystical land of magic. Even though they had only four episodes, the Warren Ellis has done a great job in building the nature of every important character. The season wraps up all plotlines that will have no importance later on, and we end the season with only 4 lead characters – 3 protagonists waging a war against an all-powerful antagonist. The animation is very well done, and proper care has been taken to capture the subtle details. Having such a small season gives us viewers the advantage that we get to see the essence of the story without messing around much. There are many unanswered questions, which will hopefully be cleared out in the upcoming seasons.
The character of Dracula has been played well, and it is one of those rare occurrences when you feel bad for the antagonist. This Dracula is not just a bloodthirsty vampire, he is emotionally hurt because he has just lost the love of his life. The depiction of religious people in the 1400’s is also eerily accurate, where people of science are branded as witches and the church wishes to have complete authority and domination over people, all in the name of God. While Castlevania is a fantasy television series, it does take us back to the times when there was no freedom from the grasp of the Church, and priests controlled the common people as well as the noble men with an iron fist.
The first season of Netflix’s Castlevania has only left us wanting for more and one can’t wait until the next season with 8 episodes and some major plot developments will be out in 2018.
With a good plot line, amazing dialogues and an awesome story, the next season of Castlevania will be something worth waiting for. At times when there is a scarcity of well written and directed shows, Castlevania hopefully offers a shining light for many other series to follow.
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