While Netflix has spun out great original content over the years such as “The Queen’s Gambit,” “Peaky Blinders” and “Orange is the New Black,” “Castlevania” is a unique show to the platform. When the first season arrived in 2017, it was tossed aside by audiences that favored live action rather than animated works. Moreover, “Castlevania” is an anime series making it a bit of an odd addition on a streaming service that mostly puts out adult animation comedy shows such as “Bojack Horseman” and “Big Mouth.”
That being said, this show is a hidden gem in many remarks. The story of “Castlevania” is loosely based off of the video game franchise with the same name from the eighties and it follows Trevor Belmont (Richard Armitage), Sypha Belnades (Alejandra Reynoso), and the half vampire Alucard (James Callis) as they attempt to stop Dracula’s (Graham McTavish) plot to rid the world of all of humanity in an act of revenge for the undeserved death of his human wife. The animation is lively and darkly beautiful, the story is full of revenge, love and magic and the antagonists’ motives are eerily understandable (and sometimes even relatable). What makes this show so amazing is its emphasis on quality over quantity. The first season was only four episodes each about 25 minutes long, but the worldbuilding easily draws in audiences. The fact that different regions of this made up world combine with real world cultures, makes the story and the people feel tangible.
The controversy of science in this show is also extremely interesting and accurate to how people felt about “the dark arts” back in the middle ages, only strengthening “Castlevania’s” ability to assimilate into what is plausible in the real world. Often science in this show is seen as a practice fueled by the devil, especially when that scientific knowledge is in the hands of a strong woman such as Dracula’s wife, Lisa Tepes (Emily Swallow). The struggles with nomadic people, the cruelty of the church, and the ignorance of the commoners all create this incredibly detailed version of a fictionalized reality set in the past. This being said, the fact that this show is so concerned with quality, lessens the amount of content that is actually produced, which is a tragedy.
With the fourth and final season coming out on May 13, it will be difficult to see such a rare series finally end. Like many short running shows before it, “Castlevania” is a true treasure, but the fact that it is finishing while quality is the main focus is a testament to how much the writers, producers, and animators care about making something that is enjoyable the whole way through. In recent years, Netflix’s other attempts at animes such as “Dragon’s Dogma” and “The Blood of Zeus” have been massive flops, only making the final season of Castlevania that much more tragic, but not all hope is lost. Even though “Castlevania” will be over, there is rumor that a spin off series following characters in the same universe is in the works. While this is mere speculation, what really matters is the last and possibly best season of “Castlevania” is coming soon, so now is the time to catch up on the past twenty-two episodes.
“Castlevania” is available on Netflix.
By Kyra Matus