Castlevania: Castlevania (Full Season)
July 8, 2017 5:03 AM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

According to IMDB: "A vampire hunter fights to save a besieged city from an army of otherworldly creatures controlled by Dracula." Sam Deats directs, and Warren Ellis scripts, this animated bit of video game ridiculousness.
posted by Ipsifendus (18 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Castlevania riffs on many elements from the Konami video game series. I didn't spot anyone eating wall meat, but I was delighted to see Trevor wielding his whip in creative ways, an axe thrown in a spinning arc, familiar costumes based on character artwork, a rapid fire stream of thrown daggers, and monsters that explode in a blast of goo when whipped ("It's consecrated," Trevor explains when asked about why his whip makes monster explode, and that's all we need to know about that). My only disappointment is that I did not notice any of the games' iconic music.

More at my blog. I wrote a whole piece about episodic flow and how Dracula and Trevor Belmont are unknowingly fighting the same antagonist.
posted by Servo5678 at 5:46 AM on July 8, 2017 [4 favorites]

As someone who did not play the games, so I know nothing of the lore. I really enjoyed it, except it was too short.

Actually, by TV anime standards it was excellent. The dialog was sharp and witty, pacing was great, and the women were non-stereotypical.
posted by KaizenSoze at 6:09 AM on July 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

I've only watched the first episode, which I enjoyed without really having any knowledge of Castlevania beyond the original NES games. The Ellis script reminded me a lot of his run on Planetary, in terms of how he always made sure to situate the genre tropes in specific times and places (with some artistic embellishment) and to flip those tropes in fresh ways.

I have to assume that this isn't all we're getting, though. Is this another Voltron situation, where they're splitting what should be a single season into two parts, and releasing them a few months apart?
posted by Strange Interlude at 9:27 AM on July 8, 2017

They've already announced that there will be a second season. This first "season", as I understand it, is actually a rescued feature length film that was in danger of not being completed until Netflix stepped in.
posted by Ipsifendus at 3:02 PM on July 8, 2017 [5 favorites]

This sort of thing is one major reason why I appreciate Fanfare: I was totally going to give Castlevania a pass, saw you guys speaking about it so highly and ended up watching it today. That was unexpectedly cool, and I'm looking forward to S2. Really good animation, fun story.
posted by mordax at 7:27 PM on July 8, 2017 [4 favorites]

So where's Grant, now that 3/4 of the team is assembled?
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:34 PM on July 8, 2017

I read speculation elsewhere that we've already seen Grant DaNasty in the crowd scenes, but just don't know it yet (he's supposedly one of the villagers maimed by a beast, but survives). That flies counter to his game origin as a ghoul in the clock tower that is rescued and restored after Trevor defeats him, and while the show doesn't have to follow the exact origins for the characters, so far it's batting 100% on the major lore elements it has used.

*points to button on shirt that says "I like Castlevania. Ask me how!"*
posted by Servo5678 at 6:24 AM on July 9, 2017 [4 favorites]

I haven't watched any new anime that impressed me in a loooooong time.

This was superb.
posted by Faintdreams at 7:53 AM on July 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'm sorry is Castlevania guy actually named Trevor?

Either way I enjoyed the hell out of the game where the castle flips at the end (Symphony of Terror? Something Night Something?) and Warren Ellis sometimes does good stuff so this sounds worth a watch!
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:44 PM on July 9, 2017

Trevor Belmont is the main hero of Castlevania 3, and the game you played was Symphony of the Night. Alucard from the last episode is the hero of SotN.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:54 PM on July 9, 2017 [3 favorites]

Everyone I've heard who's watched it (not me, yet!) seems to like it. I was REALLY dreading this but maybe they pulled it off.

Those jokes I've already used on Twitter:
  • There's an episode 3/4 through everyone gets stuck on.
  • If you watch the last episode wearing special glasses, it unlocks a special mode where the show's upside-down!
  • It's a shame the sequel will require fans to travel to Japan and put 5K yen into a pachinko machine.
  • But seriously, the show is a fitting tribute to the memory of Christopher Bee and Boris Karloffice. (I got this one from Pope Guilty some months ago, I think.)
  • Do they find a way to fit Boku Dracula-Kun into this? Such a rich lore for the show to draw from. (Fact: there is a shooting game in which he goes to outer space.)
  • Why did the guy have to kneel by the lake for half a minute, again? I feel like they could have explained that better.
  • I'm sure they'll be speedrunning it next year.
New ones!
  • I didn't really understand it until I picked up the strategy guide.
  • I like the show's fidelity to its origins, in that it's only available on one streaming system out of many.
  • Give the length of the game series, I'd have to say that the Belmonts aren't so much vampire slayers as vampire delayers.
Finally, the funnest thing about the game the show is based off of that I know of is Trevor's name in the Japanese version. (Hover over to learn the awful truth.)
posted by JHarris at 6:46 PM on July 9, 2017 [9 favorites]

Watched this on a lurk, not knowing it was based on video game and I was impressed AF with the story. It was the perfect length too, telling its own story while leaving wanting so much more, hats off to Warren Ellis!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:41 PM on July 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'll try anything Ellis but episode one was largely a big shrug for me. Odds are good I'll power through (see: Ellis) but I'm wondering if never having played these games (or even watched someone else play them) is going to mean it never gels for me.
posted by phearlez at 12:31 PM on July 12, 2017

This is probably my favorite game series of all time (my favorite one is Super Castlevania IV for the SNES). I thought it was good both on its own merits as a show as well as being a good adaptation. I'd like to see more of Dracula, but it's not technically his story.

I laughed at the Load-Bearing Boss in episode 4. That was very true to Castlevania and one of the few occasions when I can excuse such a silly cliche.

Give the length of the game series, I'd have to say that the Belmonts aren't so much vampire slayers as vampire delayers.

"Once every 100 years, when the faith in God is forgotten, Dracula will come back to life". AKA "Once every 2-5 years, when Konami wants to earn some more money, Dracula (or his stand-in) will come back to life."
posted by i feel possessed at 9:53 PM on July 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

This was much more gruesome than I was expecting, but I enjoyed it and am looking forward to more. Muuuuch better than a VG tie-in has any right to be.
posted by curious nu at 8:48 AM on July 13, 2017

That was surprisingly good, and I totally would have given it a pass if you all weren't talking it up here on Fanfare. Also surprised at how sweary and non-kid friendly it was since I was a kid myself when I played these games, but it makes sense that the 8 to 16 bit generation is the target demo, and we got ooollld.
posted by rodlymight at 8:37 PM on July 14, 2017

I never played the game, but I'm familiar enough with it to recognize various features, which came off a bit odd to be honest, but overall it was just so much better than it needed to be. I was impressed.

But wow, that talking demon! 'Your God is not here. This is an empty box." Then it theologically dresses down the f'ing Bishop! That was a sublimely bad ass monster. Worth the price of admission right there.
posted by bjrubble at 11:10 PM on July 14, 2017 [5 favorites]

I've been describing it to friends as a very Warren Ellisy series and that scene with the demon and the Bishop is what cemented that.
posted by RobotHero at 9:29 AM on July 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

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