Castlevania Review: Fun To Watch, Ignore The Script

Update: As of July 18th,  Castlevania became the first video game adaptation ever to get a Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Looks like this anime is a serious hit with the masses. 

Castlevania burst into the Netflix lineup this month, drawing so much attention that Netflix already renewed a second season on the day of its premiere.

Looking back to 1986, Castlevania’s first video game set the stage for one of the most famous video game franchises in history. Surprisingly, its anime-rendition floated around the industry for years, boasting players like Powerhouse Animation Studios (Mortal Kombat X, Darksiders 2) and Frederator Studios (Fairly OddParents, Adventure Time); production by Adi Shankar (Power/Rangers and The Punisher: Dirty Laundry); and written by comic author Warren Ellis (The Authority, Dead Space) with input and help from former series producer Koji Igarashi. PHEW.

Originally, Dracula’s Curse had a minimal story, so Ellis and Igarashi had plenty of freedom to flesh out the entire conflict. But in doing so, there’s actually not much “Castlevania” to be found in Netflix’s final product, outside of the cast of characters.

Luckily, we can say it’s a good medieval fantasy. The character designs are solid, evoking the feeling of the classic anime Vampire Hunter D and Ayami Kojima’s designs on Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. The voice cast is great, with Richard Armitage killing it as Trevor, Matt Frewer delivering a great performancer as The Bishop, and Graham McTavish slays his Dracula role.

The animation showcases artistry reminiscent of Mononoke. The major downfall, however; is Ellis’ script. Honestly, it feels dated, cheesy and unnatural at times.

It’ll be interesting to see how Castlevania transitions into its second season, as the team heads into Castlevania itself and the conflict becomes far more straightforward. We’re looking forward to seeing how Ellis handles it, that’s for sure – – – and you can bet we’ll be back with another Castlevania review.

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