Castlevania is an animated series originally based on the game Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse, released on Netflix worldwide. The first season consists of four episodes of 23-25 minutes each, which all premiered on July 7, 2017.
The series uses some aspects from the story in Dracula's Curse and unites it with elements from other games, such as Symphony of the Night and Curse of Darkness. It features Trevor Belmont as the main protagonist, on a quest to stop the evil Lord Dracula, who seeks to destroy humanity following the execution of his wife Lisa.
The creators have clarified that the settings present in the animated series are separate from the games, which implies that lore, characterizations and plots don't need to parallel or copy them and things can develop differently.
Cast and characters
Introduced in Season 1
|Introduced in Season 1|
|The last living member of the Belmont clan, a disgraced family of monster hunters.|
|The dhampir son of Dracula and Lisa Tepes, who seeks to protect humanity from his father.|
|A Speaker and the Elder's granddaughter who wields powerful magic.|
|A vampire who swears vengeance on humanity for the death of his wife Lisa, summoning an army of monsters to destroy all the people of Wallachia.|
|Dracula's beloved wife who is burned at the stake for witchcraft.|
|The leader of a group of Speakers aiding the people of Gresit whom Trevor befriends.|
|A clergyman who orders the burning of Lisa Tepes for witchcraft, later being named the bishop of Gresit.|
Introduced in Season 2
|Introduced in Season 2|
|A man from Dracula's Army with the power to resurrect beings.|
|Another Devil Forgemaster under Dracula's orders.|
|A cruel vampire from Dracula's Army and leader of the Council of Sisters.|
|A lustful, Viking vampire lord from Dracula's Army.|
Introduced in Season 3
|Introduced in Season 3|
|The town leader of Lindenfeld who wishes to keep peace and order in town.|
|The leader of the monks of Lindenfeld who actually seeks to resurrect Dracula.|
|A strange man investigating the priory of Lindenfeld.|
|The diplomat member of the Council of Sisters. She is in charge of subduing Hector.|
|The military member of the Council of Sisters.|
|The strategist member of the Council of Sisters.|
|A vampire hunter from Japan using a sword.|
|A vampire hunter from Japan using a bow.|
|A pirate captain who befriends and helps Isaac.|
|An old woman possessing magic powers who helps Isaac.|
|A headstrong young woman seeks out forbidden knowledge, and a corrupt bishop courts disaster by enraging a legend.|
|Trevor Belmont drifts into the panicking city of Gresit, where he learns of an ancient evil and makes a surprising vow.|
|Belmont explores the catacombs of Gresit and makes a disturbing discovery. As night falls on the city, the beasts return for blood.|
|In the season finale, Belmont strives to save Gresit from certain doom and comes face to face with a shocking truth.|
|Dracula's generals gather to prosecute the war against humanity. There is discord when Dracula's human allies, Hector and Isaac, are given command of the armies of the night.|
|Trevor, Sypha and Alucard take a dangerous path in their desperate attempt to defeat Dracula. The last vampire general, Carmilla, arrives at the castle.|
|Carmilla plays political games with dark intent. Trevor and his comrades sack his childhood home for secrets.|
|Hector and Isaac take their first steps on divergent paths. Trevor and Sypha grow closer. Vampires can die too.|
|The Belmont Hold is discovered. Dracula's War Council goes to war with itself.|
|Another city is about to fall to Dracula's castle, and Dracula himself may be about to fall, at the hand of someone he thought was on his side.|
|The battle lines are drawn. Comrade against comrade, father against son and two new lovers against the world.|
|The dead are buried, friends and enemies are scattered, and hard choices are made.|
|Alucard adjusts to his lonely new life, Belmont and Sypha pay a visit to an eerie and unusual town, and Carmilla returns home with a prize.|
|Isaac gets some unexpected help in his search for Hector. Meanwhile, Carmilla plots a land grab and Alucard meets some fans.|
|Belmont and Sypha's plan to leave Lindenfeld hits a snag. Isaac and the Captain debate the merits of humanity. Hector tries to get a read on Lenore.|
|Sumi and Taka share their history with Alucard. Also, Saint Germain gains entrance to the priory, and Isaac receives an icy welcome in Genoa.|
|Belmont and the Judge discover an ominous symbol, Saint Germain's treasure hunt is cut short, and Alucard's bond with Sumi and Taka continues to grow.|
|Lenore continues to spend time with Hector, slowly earning his trust. Saint Germain experiences a telling nightmare about the Infinite Corridor.|
|As Saint Germain makes unsettling discoveries, Isaac marches toward a showdown. Meanwhile, Belmont and Sypha question a monk — aggressively.|
|Something is alive in the priory's basement, and for Belmont and Sypha, time is of the essence. Lenore opens up to Hector about Carmilla’s plans.|
|Night falls on Lindenfeld and all manner of hell breaks loose. Also, Isaac meets the Magician, Hector makes a pledge, and Sumi and Taka make a move.|
|With the portal to hell open, Trevor and Sypha must battle an onslaught. Meanwhile, the Judge shares a disturbing legacy, and Hector learns his fate.|
Original movie project
- Main article: Dracula's Curse Animated Movie
In March 2007, writer Warren Ellis announced that he was working on a DVD movie adapted from Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse along with former Castlevania producer Koji Igarashi. Ellis explained that as he worked with Igarashi to fit the timeline of the series, including writing a new story, Igarashi had eight rewritten pre-production materials, before concluding with a draft that he turned in August 2008.
After that, however, nothing else was heard about the project until February 2017, when co-producer Adi Shankar and Netflix announced it would be released as a series. Kevin Kolde and Fred Seibert are also signed on, as are Seibert's animation company, Frederator Studios.
The show influences has been described by the producer Adi Shankar to be from Japanese anime such as Akira, Ghost in the Shell and Ninja Scroll, as well as western animation such as Young Justice. It has also been stated by Shankar to be "R-rated as f**k", "super-violent", and to have a Game of Thrones vibe.
The series was written by Warren Ellis, who was in charge of writing the script for the now defunct Dracula's Curse animated movie adaptation. Ellis worked at Marvel and developed Hellstorm: Prince of Lies, the acclaimed cyberpunk series Transmetropolitan, and more recently the award-winning FreakAngels series. The movie Red is based on his graphic novel, Red.
Promotion and release
A teaser trailer was released on May 24th, 2017. The series was released worldwide at midnight (PST time) on July 7th, 2017.
A few hours after the release of season 1, Netflix officially announced a second season consisting of 8 episodes to premiere in 2018. In January 19th, 2018, Warren Ellis stated that the second season was to arrive in Summer 2018.
On October 16, 2018, Netflix and the American Red Cross organized together an event called "Dracula's Blood Drive", a blood donation campaign, at the Los Angeles Film School. Donators would receive exclusive merchandising and would attend a screening of episode 1 of season 2, ten days before the official release. Voice actress Alejandra Reynoso and director Samuel Deats participated to the event.
Season 2 was released worldwide at midnight (PST time) on the expected date, with all eight episodes were available immediately. On June 20, 2019, it was confirmed the series was submitted to the Emmy Awards' consideration.
On June 7, 2018, it was confirmed that the series was renewed for a third season and that production would begin in the near future. Producer Adi Shankar confirmed on October 31 that Netflix had greenlit 10 new episodes.
A brief new teaser for season 3 was shown to New York Comic Con 2019 attendees on October 5, 2019. Warren Ellis, James Callis, Graham McTavish, Ade M'Cormack, Alejandra Reynoso, Sam Deats, and Adam Deats attended the event as well.
On February 4, 2020, Netflix officially announced it would release a month later on March 5 and presented the first poster for season 3. The official trailer was released on February 14. Season 3 was released on March 5, 2020 simultaneously worldwide (midnight PST time).
On March 27, 2020, it was confirmed Castlevania was renewed for a fourth season.
On May 24, 2020 Warren Ellis posted in his newsletter that he completed working on the script for Season 4 and it's now in the hands of Sam Deats and his team to work on it for many months. There will be new characters introduced in the new season, but he couldn't provide any specifics. Ellis also noted that he always knew where he was going with the story for Season 4.
On June 12, 2020 Tam Lu, the lead animator of Castlevania at Powerhouse Animation, posted that they are working hard on Season 4 and that the team is doing incredible work.
On August 3, 2020 Alejandra Reynoso commented, that the team at Powerhouse Animation is hard at work on season 4, and it's going to be amazing. She especially noted how dedicated the whole team is to create a great story and elaborate characters:
- The whole team behind the project are so great and so talented and really invested in making a great piece of, not just art, but it's a great story and they're great characters. There's not a single character in that, no matter how small they may be, that's just a two-dimensional character which is incredibly exciting.
The series was well-received by fans and critics, who praised its animation, visuals and story, while Season 1 was criticized as being too short. Season 1 received an approval rating of 80% for 25 reviews.
Season 2 received universal acclaim, with Rotten Tomatoes reporting an approval rating of 100% for 13 reviews and the website's critics consensus reading "Castlevania sinks its fangs into vampiric lore during a devilishly fun second season that benefits from an expanded sense of scale and episode tally that allows the series to fully spread its leathery wings."
Season 3 also received universal acclaim, with Rotten Tomatoes reporting an approval rating of 100% for 15 reviews and the website's critics consensus reading "Castlevania's stunningly animated third season continues to build on the game's lore by diving deeper into its characters with humor, heart, and a lot of bloody action."
Differences from the games
While the animated series' initial plot is based on that from Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse, as it progressed it started to significantly deviate from the games. Authors on multiple occasions pointed out that settings in the animated series are separate from those of the games, which can lead to differences in storylines, portrayal of characters and lore itself. They also said that the series went beyond being an adaptation and that their main focus was not really to adapt the games, but to create a story with focus on deeper characterization.
In practice, this resulted in the animated series using a different type of storytelling than that from the games. While in the games, stories can be described as inspired by Gothic horror, the animated series uses more modern storytelling, which can be described as realism-fantasy, where the realism aspect means deeper focus on individual characters and their imperfections. The story becomes less about classic good versus evil, with heroes and villains, and more about motivations of all characters, their struggles and torments, which also leads to the introduction of antiheroes.
The series also has a different take on vampires and their lore. While in the games, vampirism is seen as a curse that makes vampires evil by definition, which in essence means lack of free will, the series gives vampires free will and humanity, which they can gain or lose depending on the choices they make. That allows the authors the possibility to create redemption stories for them.
Other instances where the animated series has made important changes to specific plot points from the games include:
- Lisa was added to the plot and given a backstory based on her appearance in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, in order to give out a more detailed tragic backstory for Dracula and better explain his obsessive hatred on humanity.
- Alucard's character design was based on his recent games' appearance since Symphony of the Night, instead of using his classic design from Dracula's Curse.
- Sypha Belnades keeps her hair short in the animated series. In Dracula's Curse, she is shown to have long, blond hair in the ending where she pairs with Trevor.
- The Speakers were added to the plot, since Sypha was their only known member in Dracula's Curse.
- In the series, Alucard fights with his sword while he only had two attacks in Dracula's Curse (Ball of Destruction and transform into a bat).
- Hector and Isaac, originally from Castlevania: Curse of Darkness, were added as a prequel side story, as well as Carmilla, who first debuted in Castlevania II: Simon's Quest.
- Sypha still follows Trevor after Alucard volunteers to join them in their journey to fight against Dracula, instead of leaving the group.
- Saint Germain is portrayed as a contemporary aristocrat scholar, as opposed to an anachronistic time traveler.
- The series adds original characters such as the Bishop, Dracula's Army, Council of Sisters, Sala, the Judge, Taka and Sumi.
- As of Season 3, Grant Danasty, Death and the Clock Tower of Untimely Death do not appear in the series.
- As of Season 3, counterparts of Mathias Cronqvist, Elisabetha Cronqvist, Julia Laforeze and Rosaly don't seem to exist.
Season 1 was released on December 4, 2018 on Blu-Ray and DVD. The package contains storyboards, an art gallery and other special features.
On August 23, 2019, the Blu-Ray for season 2 was announced for a Fall release. It was released on November 5, 2019.
- Main article: Castlevania Music from the Netflix Original Series
The music from the series was composed by Trevor Morris. He also composed the main title theme.
The soundtrack to season 1 was released as digital download and physical CD.
- Main article: Castlevania (animated series)/Gallery
- The date when Season 2 of the series was released, October 26, 2018, coincided with the launching date of the PlayStation 4 compilation game Castlevania Requiem: Symphony of the Night/Rondo of Blood.
- Adi Shankar cites Ninja Scroll, Vampire Hunter D and Captain Harlock as inspirations for the show's animation style.
- It is the first Castlevania media to have been dubbed in languages other than English and Japanese.
- Some voice actors from the Japanese dub had previously worked in Castlevania games and other media:
- Ryōtarō Okiayu, voice actor of Trevor Belmont, previously voiced Alucard/Genya Arikado in Symphony of the Night, Aria of Sorrow, Dawn of Sorrow, Harmony of Despair and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
- Shin-ichiro Miki, who voiced Richter Belmont in Akumajō Dracula X: Tsuioku no Yasōkyoku, voices Alucard.
- Takahiro Sakurai, who voiced Jonathan Morris in Portrait of Ruin, voices Hector.
- The second teaser poster released for this series is inspired by the cover art from the original Castlevania video game, which in turn was based on Norseman, a painting by Frank Frazetta.
- Main article: Castlevania (animated series)/Easter eggs
- Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse – The game this series is based on.
- Castlevania Music from the Netflix Original Series – The soundtrack to Season 1.
- ↑ Gematsu – "Netflix Announces Castlevania Animated Series Launching 2017" (February 8, 2017)
- ↑ Adi Shankar's Twitter – @adishankarbrand (July 6, 2018)
- ↑ Digital Spy – "Exclusive: Castlevania season 3 is coming to Netflix" (June 7, 2018)
- ↑ Sam Deats' Twitter – @SamuelDeats (February 4, 2020)
- ↑ Warren Ellis Twitter – @warrenellis (March 27, 2020)
- ↑ Netflix Twitter – @Netflix_CV (March 27, 2020)
- ↑ Polygon – "Netflix's new Castlevania series is the most bingeable show at just under 100 minutes" (July 7, 2017)
- ↑ IGN – "Netflix announces animated Castlevania series". (February 8, 2017)
- ↑ Collider.com "Super Violent ‘Castlevania’ Animated Series Coming from Producer Adi Shankar". (August 25, 2015)
- ↑ Collider.com "This Week in Animation: ‘Castlevania’ Season 2 Returns to Netflix This Summer". (January 20, 2018)
- ↑ Richard Armitage on Twitter – "Back in the studio for Season 2" (July 25, 2017)
- ↑ LA Film School Official website – "Dracula’s Blood Drive Event (October 6, 2018)
- ↑ Powerhouse Animation's Twitter - "FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION..." (June 19, 2019)
- ↑ Adi Shankar on Twitter – "Castlevania season 3 just got greenlit!!" (October 31, 2018)
- ↑ Federator Studios – "Castlevania is at New York Comic Con today and tomorrow! (October 4, 2019)
- ↑ NX on Twitter – "Castlevania is back on March 5th." (February 4, 2020)
- ↑ NX on Twitter – "Think of this as our bloody valentine to you." (February 4, 2020)
- ↑ Rotten Tomatoes – Castlevania S01 reviews
- ↑ Rotten Tomatoes – Castlevania S02 reviews
- ↑ Rotten Tomatoes – Castlevania S03 reviews
- ↑ Nerdvana – "Castlevania screenwriter teases Season 2 Blu-ray " (August 25, 2019)