So I have just finished watching Castlevania and I think it is appropriate that I review it since I have absolutely enjoyed this series by Netflix. Before we delve into the review let me preface this by saying that I have not played the games before. Whilst I am somewhat familiar with the mythos of Castlevania and have seen friends play it before I have never been actually able to play myself, as such I came into the show without too many prejudices and expecting nothing except having a good time. In this regards all I can say is that Castlevania is a great success. I will attempt my best to keep this review spoiler free but let me warn you that inadvertently I might drop a small spoiler.
Before we talk about some aspects of the story let me start by commenting on the style of the animation. The style which is in some regards quite realistic yet at the same time slow was, at least for me, perfect for the story and the theme of the series. In many ways the way the characters, the world looked and how the protagonists moved reminded me a lot of the anime Attack on Titan. The other aspect that I wish to comment in regards to the animation and look of the show is the choice of the colour palette throughout the series. It is able to use dark tones and a lot of red, especially in the finale, which I think perfectly captured the tone of the show, the eeriness of the world and the despair faced by the characters in the face of such overwhelming evil.
Now that I have commented on the animation I can tell you that I absolutely loved the story and the characters in the TV show. The first 8 minutes, basically a prologue for the rest of the first season, are incredible and hooked me into the story. It was witty, fun, charming, heart breaking and devastating all within the space of 8 minutes. As I was watching, I could not believe it and was astonished that they were able to set up the story so brilliantly. The look of the antagonist, Dracula, is to put it simply perfect and from that moment you wish to see more of it. The beginning is able to set up the story and hook you into it.
The characters are beautifully voiced especially Trevor Belmonte whose voice is provided wonderfully by Richard Armitage and does a magnificent job giving a unique voice to the character. I loved the characterization of Trevor Belmonte as this out of luck, downtrodden monster hunter who is full of wit and charm. I found it very easy to enjoy the character and his interactions with the rest of the Castlevania world. All of the characters in the show, secondary or protagonist, feel real and fleshed making a much more compelling world.
The decision to not feature Dracula as much in this four episodes was the correct one as by virtue of not appearing beyond the first episode but feeling his presence makes him a more intriguing and powerful antagonist and provides the viewer with much anticipation to see next season.
On a side note, the finale of the show was great. It delivered great, fast paced action and advanced the story line whilst at the same time leaving wanting more and creating expectation for an already confirmed second season. The first four episodes are clearly a prologue to the overarching story which will start next season and as such it did a great job in placing all the set pieces where they need to be.
As I close this review all I can say is that I have loved watching Castlevania. It does have its flaws as do all shows, for example some of the pacing of the episodes is wrong and some character relationships develop too fast without a correct explanation, but without a doubt its brilliant moments, great characterization and story far outshine the flaws. Castlevania has to be considered one of the best, if not best, adaptations of a video game and I will eagerly await the second season.