Last week I finished watching the Netflix Original Anime Castlevania, based on the 80's video game series (that has now spanned many years) originally developed by Konami. I did not go into binge watching the short first season with high expectations, as it is only four episodes in length. I do appreciate just about anything to do with vampires, and Dracula is a really big selling point for this series, so I decided to give it a shot.
Luckily, I was pleasantly surprised by the show. The first four episodes are an incredible introduction to the world of Castlevania. The animation is visually stimulating, and the combat scenes are as beautiful as they are deadly. The plot itself is endearing, and it leaves the viewer wanting to see more of this expertly crafted world. The episodes are cut into four parts, however; if you watch them consecutively it is more like watching a long movie than a series.
We enter the series by being introduced to Lisa. She is a young vibrant woman who wants to learn more about science and medicine in order to help serve the good (I use this word very lightly here) people of 15th century Wallachia. It just so happens that Dracula has a whole castle filled with scientific and medical advancements, and upon seeking out Dracula and his castle of wonders it turns out that Dracula falls in love with and marries Lisa. This is a bit shocking because Dracula is supposed to be our villain, but bear with me.
Enter the local Bishop. The Bishop believes that Lisa is actually a witch due to her newfound knowledge. He orders that she be burned at the stake and all the good (see why I use this word lightly) people of Wachallia come to watch her untimely demise. Now at this point I'm thinking Dracula is going to sweep in and save Lisa, but I was completely wrong. Lisa spends her last few moments being burned alive and pleading to the night sky for Dracula to forgive the people because they do not understand what it is they are actually doing. Basically they are ignorant peasants. Dracula returns from traveling and discovers Lisa has been burned at the stake. He then rains hellfire down on the towns folk and warns them that in one year anyone still in Wachallia will be punished, as it will take him one year to raise his hellish army to avenge the death of Lisa.
Some of the technicalities of this vow are not too greatly explained by the show, but basically I was left wondering why one year? Why not raise the blazoned monsters of Hell right now? Now we time jump, to about a year later. Dracula’s demon bat army is starting to torment and murder the town people, along with stealing babies in the middle of the night. We are then introduced to the hero Trevor Bellmont whose family was excommunicated by the church for practicing dark magic, however; the church was just as wrong about the Bellmont’s as they were about Lisa. The Bellmont family has actually been fighting demons and monsters for generations, and they were really the only thing keeping evil at bay in this part of the world. Initially Trevor is posed as an ale-loving, bar fighting, selfish guy. By the end of season one we see he truly is morally good, and takes up the cause of saving Wallachia along with the companions he meets along the way. Trevor with the help of Sypha, a Speaker with some wicked sorceress powers, and Alucard, a vampire prophesized to be the one who can stop Dracula, set out on a mission to save Wallachia.
The four episode first season was far too short. When we finally have a clear picture of both sides, and how the story will move forward as a viewer I was left wanting more and to see the plot continue. The series, written by Warren Ellis, has been dynamically penned with a script that lets us see each character’s personality as well as allows us to examine morality and the blurred lines of good and evil in this strange new world we’ve been thrust into. All in all, Castlevania is a thrilling (although short) watch, and I recommend giving it a try. I know I’ll be waiting on pins and needles for the forecasted eight episode run of season two.
SOURCES USED IN THIS POST:
Click here for the official Netflix page on Castlevania
***DISCLAIMER: I do not represent Konami or Netflix, nor did I receive any type of compensation for writing this commentary. All images associated with Castlevania are a trademark of Konami and Netflix. I am just a woman who enjoys good television.