[Series Review] Castlevania (Episode 3 and 4, 2017)

We rushed through the last two episodes of this acceptable yet underwhelming first season of the Castlevania animated series. Still, the loose adaption of the videogames isn’t all that bad. It’s just there were some avoidable hindrances preventing the show from being truly great. The poorly-drawn foot pictured below summarizes the majority opinion, however, it’s not all pitfalls.

  • Agent Bon’s Series Rating: 2.5/5.0
  • Collector’s Rating: Not Bad
  • Zombiepaper’s Series Rating: ★★☆☆☆ [2/5]
  • There will be spoilers uncensored below.

What was this disorganized series even about?

Dracula is the main antagonist throughout the first episode, until he completely disappears, then we’re shown how badly the church treats everyone. Are they the real antagonists here? If this is actually about how badly religion has treated people, the argument is poorly told. If it’s not that, then what?

There were too many liberties taken against the source material.

The plot is clearly outlined in the introduction to Castlevania 3: Dracula turns European countries evil, and no one can stop him, so townspeople reluctantly call upon Trevor from the excommunicated super-human Belmont family for assistance. Some of that plot is used, otherwise, the rest is only loosely tied to Castlevania.

Here’s a specific example:

The fourth episode shows Belmont instructing an army of villagers on fighting the undead. Why does he have latent leadership skills? He’s a solo adventurer until Castlevania 3! This scene also borrows unapologetically from Seven Samurai, doesn’t match the overall tone, and is just a pandering rousing speech trope that falls short.

It’s just a generic vampire story with a stolen name.

Where’s the iconic music?! If they couldn’t reuse the soundtracks, the composer could have at least written strong melodic homages, instead of the flatlining music we received. The videogame characters might have had more personality, here just being two-dimensionally good, evil, or apathetic. The signature platforming is just characters falling between floors.

The animation is inconsistent.

The fight animation is fluid. Belmont’s fight with the Cyclops, along with being an iconic boss, is the best part of the series. Everything else is cheaply animated. Most of episode 3, other than the Cyclops fight, lacked any dynamic animation. Conversations can be cinematic, with consideration for subtlety, and budget.

Thoughts:

Zombiepaper
Episode 1: ★★☆☆☆ [2/5]
Episode 2: ★★★☆☆ [3/5]
Episode 3: ★★☆☆☆ [2/5]
Episode 4: ☆☆☆☆☆ [0/5]
Other than studying poorly-executed writing and practicing episodic reviews, I gained nothing from watching this. Sure, the Cyclops fight was cool. Otherwise, within 5 minutes I knew I wasn’t going to be enamoured, and it made no attempt in seduction. There’s almost no way I’ll watch season 2:

WHAT A HORRIBLE SHOW

Collector
I thought it was pretty okay, especially good for a video game adaptation. Animation good enough, writing had its ups and downs. Looking forward to more.

Agent Bon
Episode 1: 2.5/5.0
Episode 2: 3.5/5.0
Episode 3: 3.0/5.0
Episode 4: 2.5/5.0
Castlevania had many good ideas, many bad ideas, and poor execution. It also derailed the most valuable parts of its own story, which were initially based on real and Castlevania history. It has 2 good fight scenes. It tickles the anti-censorship crowd. Maybe it’s “so bad, it’s good” fodder?

Collaborative jam between Agent Bon (guest contributor) and Zombiepaper (primary writer). Zombiepaper wrote the majority of the document, while Agent Bon contributed.