Ph LEVEL Review: Castlevania

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The amount of fan-made hype and anticipation for this show was, while not off-the-charts, pretty high. After that rad Nintendo-inspired trailer that Netflix posted, and the fantastic voice cast, we were all expecting a lot of good things from this animation.

Add to that, Fred Seibert acting as Executive Producer, and you have a recipe for success. But, something must have been lost in translation, somewhere. Maybe some scripts got lost? They ran out of money? Who knows? Hit the jump to see my thoughts on Castlevania.

First, I’ll get the big thing out of the way. The entire first season is four episodes long. Four episodes. That is unheard of. That is blasphemous in a way that I cannot even comprehend. That’s not a season. That’s not an order. That’s a pitch. Maybe that’s what this was. This “first season” was a pitch to get an extended second season, and more episodes. If that’s so, they succeeded, as Netflix has already renewed the series for a second season, with double the episode count at eight. That’s a positive for the series in the future.

My other big issue with this is the pacing. The show was paced so strangely, and so slow. It starts off well enough, with Dracula meeting his wife, and then her being burned alive at the stake as a witch, inciting his wrath. Then we meet Alucard, Dracula’s son, for a brief (and I mean brief) moment, and he’s not heard from again in the last 10 minutes of the final episode. But the rest of that episode is this army tearing this city, limb from limb for 7 minutes in an attempt to establish how powerful they are, which could have been done in 2, maybe 3 minutes.

Next, we meet Trevor Belmont, our hero, who is also a drunk, which the second episode spends an unbelievable amount of time attempting to get you to understand. He loves to drink all the time, alright? Trevor is likable enough, and his arrogance is fun. He’s a great main character in a severely flawed series.

The supporting cast is essentially worthless. Fodder to move the story along, with the exception of the Speaker Magician, Sypha, who ends up being a pivotal piece to the puzzle in the second half of the series. The rest all generally meet the same fate, being cast aside and fed to a hungry demon army.

The only true saving grace for the series is its phenomenal voice cast. Richard Armitage is phenomenal as Trevor Belmont, propelling his character as the emotional core of the show. Even lower-tier characters like The Bishop (Matt Frewer), are made better by their wonderful performances. It’s a silver lining to a series that I was madly looking forward to. Perhaps if the show had more time to work with, they could have expanded on the story, and worked out several of its pacing issues, but as it stands, 4 episodes isn’t enough to get me on board with this adaptation of one of the greatest video game series of all time.

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