Some of you that have been following my blog for a while, know that in the distant past I used to be a very fanatical gamer. I played computergames pretty much non stop, and I did so with a lot of enthusiasm. All of that changed after a particularly nasty session of online Call of Duty. I will spare you the details, but let us just say that it involved a lot of cursing and broken controllers. Not one of my finest moments. After that night, I just stopped gaming altogether and went back to older hobbies including boardgames. The world of computergames is still a part of me however, and even though I haven’t played in ages, I still enjoy reading news and watching videos about new games that will hit the shelves. There are certain gameseries that are legendary and very well known by most people. A few examples are Doom, Resident Evil, Super Mario Brothers and Castlevania. Interestingly enough, for this last named series a four part animated show was released a few months back on Netflix.
The story of this animated series starts off in the year 1455 in Wallachia. A young woman doctor called Lisa is searching for the infamous Vlad Dracula Tepes, in order to enlist his help in acquiring scientific knowledge. Eventually the two meet up, and Dracula is pleasantly surprised by her great courage. He agrees to help her, and in turn Lisa tries to make him reconnect with his human self. Eventually they fall in love and are married. Twenty years later though, disaster strikes and Lisa is burned at the stake for witchcraft by an insane bishop of the holy church. Dracula is ofcourse furious and heartbroken, and he warns the people of Wallachia that they have exactly one year to make their peace. After that he will wipe out every single human being by his own hands. Dracula begins raising an army of terrible creatures to carry out his revenge. The only hope for the human race seems to lie in the hands of Trevor Belmont. He is the last remaining member of the disgraced noble Belmont family, who were experts in fighting monsters. However Trevor will first have to find back his faith in himself and decide if humanity is even worth saving…..
I have always found the story of Dracula incredibly fascinating. Throughout the years there have been numerous adaptations of this classic tale in the form of movies and even tv series. The Castlevania gameseries has been around for quite a while and is very popular. I can’t say that I am very familiar with, having played only two or three installments of it, but I do know that it’s a gameseries with a pretty rich history. This animated show was a pleasant surprise. It drew me in right from the openingscene and did not let up for one second. The animation style is very good, but it’s also very graphic. This is certainly a series intended for a mature audience, as there are some incredibly gory scenes in it, especially in the first episode. The show is full of action and these scenes are brought to life by the animation in a great way, which certainly adds to the overall appeal of this series.
Another thing that is worth mentioning is the voice acting which is really topnotch. Richard Armitage brings to life the character of Trevor Belmont, and he seems to have a lot of fun in doing so. Trevor is a sometimes pretty sarcastic character, and some of the comedy relief in the show, that was a welcome reprieve from the pretty dark story, was provided by him. But the rest of the voice acting cast also did a fine job and included the likes of James Callis and Tony Amendola. These last two names should be familiar to most science fiction fans. Callis is of course best known for his role as doctor Gaius Baltar from the new Battlestar Galactica series, and Tony appeared in Stargate Sg-1 as master Bra’tac. It’s always important in animated series to have voices that act as if you are watching a live action tv show, and the cast for Castlevania certainly managed to accomplish that.
The downside to Castlevania is that it’s only four episodes. This almost feels like you are watching a pilot and that it serves as the set up for the story that is yet to come. Luckily I can out your minds at ease and tell you that the series will indeed continue with 8 more episodes. Which in my opinion is very good news. I really enjoyed this first taste of what might develop into a pretty good animated show, if it continues along this path. If you like horror and vampire stories, or if you are a fan of the video game series, I highly recommend that you check this series out. It doesn’t take up a lot of time, as it is only four episodes of around 22 minutes each, but it’s time that is very well spent. I’m really looking forward to what the second season will bring, and I think it can only become even better than this first appetizer.
I give Castlevania a 8 out of 10 score.