Castlevania – Season One wrap up and looking ahead to Season Two

The story of Castlevania coming to Netflix is an interesting one for those who like the backstory as to how their favorite bits of media came to be. Castlevania had really no right to make it onto the screen after the ten years it spent in development hell, and it certainly had no right to be as great as it was. After years of fighting and trying to fit all the right pieces together, the Castlevania show from Netflix went from an animated movie set for minor distribution, an animated movie set for larger distribution and theater time, a script on a shelf in Warren Ellis? house, some half baked live action idea, and finally coming to rest as part one of a larger story adapted in the form of an episodic TV show on Netflix. Throughout all of this, the property and the distribution rights changed hands this way and that, but the one constant remained the use of the script by Warren Ellis (Of notable comic book fame).

Once the series found its home at Netflix, Sam Deats and Ryoichi Uchikoshi were attached to direct and Adi Shankar was attached as an executive producer. (He helped executively produced movies like The Grey, Dredd and Lone Survivor, among others). He is also well known for his love of pop culture and fandoms, not shying away from expressing his opinions on current iterations of things in that realm. This powerhouse team, with the full creative support of Netflix and their original content division set forth to prove that not all Video Game adaptations for movies and TV have to be a flop, or only appeal to a certain audience.

The Castlevania series is not a direct adaptation from any one game, rather a general retelling and exploration of many of the character origin stories and settings the games delivered. This helped make the series so accessible to general audiences, while also making it intriguing for long time fans of the series. The art style is what I like to call an Americanized Anime style. It is clearly inspired by traditional anime, but it does not have the intangible animation nuances that immediately turn the closed minded off from an anime without ever watching it. This, coupled with the outstanding voice acting that is synced with the animation (which I will get into more in a minute) again drove a more general audience to the show. The final piece of the puzzle of success that Castlevania built was the mass distribution and availability on the Netflix platform

Voice acting has been a complaint for many who watch Anime and choose the English dub over the Japanese original. Some shows nail it, Dragon Ball Z, My Hero Academia and Cowboy Bebop being the few that spring to mind right now. But for every well dubbed Anime, there are 4 more that are nearly unbearable. Even though Castlevania was not dubbed from an original language other than English, they could have simply hired sub par voice actors to handle the material. Instead, they hired voice talent like Richard Armitage (The Hobbit Trilogy, Strike Back, North and South), Graham McTavish (The Hobbit Trilogy, Rambo, and Video Game voice acting for Dante?s Inferno, Call of Duty and Uncharted) along with many other incredibly talented actors. These choices gave a level of life to these characters that surpassed my expectations and really sealed the success of the show in my opinion. I will use my wife as a real world example. She belongs to the group that I mentioned above, the group that will avoid a show like the plague if they deem it to be ?Anime?. She devoured Castlevania on Netflix with me and is anxiously awaiting Season Two. She has also never played the games, but was so drawn in by the characters and the worldbuilding that the show managed to accomplish in its admittedly short freshman season that she was left wanting more. That speaks to the quality of Castlevania as not just a Video Game show, but as a show on its own.

All of that success makes Season Two a no brainer. With the release date set to October 26th, 2018 fans do not have much longer to wait. Season Two will undoubtedly see our protagonists further fleshed out, as well as a more in depth look at Dracula himself. If the trailer they released is any indication, this season will be bloodier and darker than the already bloody and dark Season One, and that is OK in my book. You can listen to Benny and I talk more in depth about Castlevania on the latest episode of Pressed for Time: A Gaming-Age podcast. Give it a listen and let us know what you thought of Castlevania on Netflix and what you want to see from Season Two.