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Castlevania is an American adult animated dark fantasy action streaming television series on Netflix produced by Frederator Studios. Based on the Japanese video game series of the same name by Konami, the first two seasons adapt the 1989 entry Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse and follow Trevor Belmont, Alucard, and Sypha Belnades as they defend the nation of Wallachia from Dracula and his minions. Characters and elements from the 2005 entry Castlevania: Curse of Darkness are also featured beginning in the second season. The backstory of Alucard's mother Lisa is also adapted from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, totaling 3 games used as source material.
The series premiered on Netflix on July 7, 2017, and was renewed for an expanded second season of eight episodes on the same day; the second season premiered on October 26, 2018. A ten-episode third season was greenlit by Netflix and released on March 5, 2020. The series concluded with the release of its fourth season on May 13, 2021. In June 2021, Netflix greenlit a spin off series titled Castlevania: Nocturne and will star Richter Belmont, a descendant of Trevor and Sypha.
After his wife Lisa is falsely accused of witchcraft and burned at the stake by an appallingly and unapogoletically evil Bishop, Dracula vows revenge on humanity and summons an army of demons that overrun Wallachia, causing the inhabitants to live in fear and distrust. Now, it's up to outcast monster hunter Trevor Belmont, magician Sypha Belnades and Dracula's dhampir son Alucard to fight Dracula's forces and save the world.
Why It Rocks
- Extraordinarily exceptional, extremely well-done, and absolutely breathtaking animation with magnificently godlike visuals, painstakingly detailed overall fluidity, and insanely high levels of attention to detail, all courtesy of Frederator Studios and Powerhouse Animation Studios. It's easily one of the best-looking animated series so far, and it only gets better as the series progresses.
- Luxurious and stunningly beautiful anime-like art style that strongly resembles that of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, and it's so top-notch and convincing enough that it can be easily confused for an actual anime, such as Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba.
- Amazing storyline that's engaging and succeeds in blending action, drama, tragedy and levity really well.
- Spectacular writing by Warren Ellis.
- Lots of likable characters with understandable motives including Trevor, Sypha, Alucard, Dracula, Carmilla, Striga, Morana, Lenore, Hector, and Isaac.
- On that topic, our main characters Trevor, Sypha, and Alucard have excellent chemistry with each other.
- Unlike most video game adaptations which fail due to poor grasp of the source material, this series manages to follow the source material extremely faithfully, from the setting to the hellish imagery the series is known for to several subtle nods to the video games.
- Nice atmosphere.
- Excellent soundtrack composed by Trevor Morris.
- Awesomely epic action sequences that manage to be brutal, intense and exhilarating. Notable examples include Trevor vs. Death, Alucard vs. Dracula, the battle of Gresit, just to name a few.
- It tackles on mature themes really well, including religious extremism, zealotry, revenge, betrayal, hardships, among others.
- The iconic Castlevania song "Bloody Tears" returns as a glorious rearrangement, and it's hauntingly beautiful.
- Beautiful scenery.
- Astonishing ensemble cast that manages to be heavily diverse in a good way, unlike a lot of recent movies and shows that try doing so for the sake of pandering to the masses, which is perfect.
- The voice acting is excellent, with each cast member delivering fantastic performances.
- Due to being on Netflix, the show isn't afraid of showing blood, gore and extreme violence, which helps to complement its dark fantasy setting in a good way while also showing that not all cartoons are for kids.
- The character designs and models are gorgeous, expressive, and expertly crafted.
- Some well-executed shocking moments, such as the Târgoviște massacre, Dracula's death, and Lisa's execution.
- It uniquely incorporates a few elements of some other works like Cowboy Bebop, Berserk and JoJo's Bizarre Adventure into the story.
- The fourth season manages to be a great finale for the series, as following seasons of battle and suffering, almost all of our main characters (both heroes and villains alike) get their happy ending, including but not limited to:
- Trevor survives his fight with Death thanks to Saint Germain using the Infinite Corridor to teleport him away, and he and Sypha thus get to be together, and are expecting a child.
- Alucard has found a place with the refuges of Danesti Village, and is now helping Greta with the construction of a new town around the castle.
- Hector frees himself from Lenore and Carmilla's grip, and makes his peace with Isaac, who finally wants to live for himself.
- Striga and Morana turn on Carmilla's evil plans, and as a result head out west and leave Styria, making them the only Sisters who are still alive in the end following Lenore's death in the finale.
- Dracula and Lisa return from the dead as a result of Death's defeat, and the two vow to take full advantage of their second chance at life, reminiscent to the ending of Soul.
- It teaches a good lesson that even if reality is harsh, you can find happiness in your life by fighting for it.
- It helped revitalize the Castlevania franchise following mishaps like Castlevania Judgement, with its massive success prompting Netflix to greenlight a new show set in the series' universe, as well as a sequel series starring Richter Belmont.
- Season 1 is way too short, being only 4 episodes long.
- The Church here is wrongfully depicted as being Catholic instead of Eastern Orthodox.
- Some characters can be unlikable or poorly written, most notably Taka and Sumi, as they betray Alucard and rape him and try to kill him just a few episodes after their introduction. Fortunately, they get their comeuppance when he kills them both.
- Some historical anachronisms here and there.
Castlevania (2017) has been met with a highly positive reception from critics, audiences and Castlevania fans alike. On Rotten Tomatoes, the series has an overall critical approval rating of 94% as well as an audience rating of 90%, while it holds a 8.3/10 rating on IMDb.
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