First Impressions: Castlevania

By: Mithrandiel

Coming out of the Castlevania panel I could only think one thing: dreams do come true.

Since Netflix quietly announced the Castlevania series a few months ago, the entire fandom has been abuzz with a cautious optimism. After all, we’ve been burned many times before by poor video game adaptations.

If you know what this is from…you understand the pain all too well.

That being said, when the teaser trailer landed a couple months ago, the optimism went WAY up, and the caution went WAY down. If you haven’t had a chance to see it yet, enjoy:

I was one of the many gamers and anime enthusiasts who was absolutely thrilled to see the direction it was going, and so when I heard that a sneak peek of Castlevania was going to be aired at Anime Expo I was eager to see more and confirm my initial thoughts.

I went into the Castlevania panel with high expectations. The animation and action looked smooth and the brief snippets of the voice acting were promising, so I was already excited to see this adaptation. The panel was headed by executive producers Adi Shankar, Larry Tanz and Netflix producer Kevin Kolde. By the end of the first clip about 15 minutes into the panel I realized that I was witnessing something spectacular.

For starters, the voice acting is fantastic. The full cast was only recently announced, including the extremely talented Graham McTavish as Dracula. During the sneak peek, Dracula’s performance elicited gasps, cheers and inspired an overall sense of fear and impending doom – a perfect characterization of the chief antagonist for the long-running series.

Graham McTavish masterfully brings Dracula to life.

Richard Armitage, who played Thorin Oakenshield in The Hobbit trilogy, faithfully brings the character of Trevor Belmont to life as well. At one point, after sinking a blade into the chest of a cyclops, Trevor says “Come on – you’re dead!” in frustration before hiding behind a nearby pillar. Something I’m sure many gamers have murmured while playing any action game.

Castlevania, directed by brothers Samuel and Adam Deats, boasts beautiful hand-drawn animation: a craft that Mr. Shankar defended with a zealous fervor at the panel today.  The result of this is a visually stunning and familiar world. Furthermore, this hand-drawn animation elevates the action-sequences to the next level. We posted a short video of Trevor’s encounter with a cyclops, which you can find here. This will give you an idea of what to expect when it comes to the action sequences.

The panel ended with a Q&A section that reflected the dedication and enthusiasm of the Castlevania fanbase. At one point Mr. Shankar asked the larger audience a simple question: “What is a man?” to which the audience responded with the now legendary dialogue from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

After answering a smattering of questions from fans, Kevin Kolde announced that the series has already been approved for a 2nd season, which will run 8 episodes long. The universe of Castlevania is a robust and long-running series whose dedicated fandom has helped to bring the series to life in a beautiful way. If what I saw today is any indication of the quality that we are to expect from the final product, due to be released in a few short days, I think you can expect to see a lot more video game series being brought to life by Netflix.

In closing – never forget that sometimes, dreams do come true. That was certainly the case for Adam and Samuel Deats, and animation director Spencer Wan. Being able to see a room full of fans cheer watching Trevor Belmont take out a cyclops represented a dream of their own, and we were glad to bring it to life for them.


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