Castlevania (TV series)

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Castlevania
Castlevania netflix titlecard.png
Genre
Created byWarren Ellis
Based onCastlevania
by Konami
Developed byAdi Shankar
Written byWarren Ellis
Directed by
  • Sam Deats
  • Adam Deats
  • Spencer Wan
Voices of
ComposerTrevor Morris
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons4
No. of episodes32 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producers
ProducersJason Williams
Maki Terashima-Furuta (seasons 2–4)
Animators
Running time22–31 minutes
Production companies
DistributorNetflix Streaming Services
Release
Original networkNetflix
Picture formatHDTV 1080p
Audio formatStereo
Original releaseJuly 7, 2017 (2017-07-07) –
May 13, 2021 (2021-05-13)

Castlevania is an American anime-influenced adult animated streaming television series on Netflix produced by Frederator Studios. Based on the Japanese video game series of the same name by Konami, the first two seasons adapt the 1989 entry Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse and follow Trevor Belmont, Alucard and Sypha Belnades as they defend the nation of Wallachia from Dracula and his minions. Additionally, characters and elements from the 2005 entry Castlevania: Curse of Darkness are featured beginning in the second season, and Alucard's backstory is drawn from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. The art style is heavily influenced by Japanese animation and Ayami Kojima's artwork.

The series was originally planned as a film, developed by producer Kevin Kolde and his company Project 51. Kolde had a contract for a script with writer Warren Ellis in 2007. The project entered development hell until about 2015, when Adi Shankar boarded the project and it was picked up by streaming service Netflix. Powerhouse Animation Studios joined the team and production commenced. The production team includes staff members who worked in the Japanese anime industry.

The series premiered on Netflix on July 7, 2017, and was renewed for an expanded second season of eight episodes on the same day; the second season premiered on October 26, 2018. A ten-episode third season was greenlit by Netflix and released on March 5, 2020. The series ended with the release of its fourth season on May 13, 2021. A new series set in the Castlevania universe is in the works at Netflix which will focus on Richter Belmont, a descendant of Trevor and Sypha, and Maria Renard during the French Revolution.[1]

Premise[edit]

When his wife is burned at the stake after being falsely accused of witchcraft, the vampire Count Vlad Dracula Țepeș declares all the people of Wallachia will pay with their lives. He summons an army of demons which overruns the country, causing the people to live lives of fear and distrust. To combat this, the outcast monster hunter Trevor Belmont takes up arms against Dracula's forces, aided by the magician Sypha Belnades and Dracula's dhampir son Alucard.

Voice cast[edit]

  • Richard Armitage as Trevor Belmont, the last living member of the Belmont clan, an excommunicated family of monster hunters.[2]
  • James Callis as Adrian "Alucard" Țepeș, the dhampir son of Dracula and Lisa Țepeș, who seeks to protect humanity from his father.[2]
  • Alejandra Reynoso as Sypha Belnades, a Speaker Magician and the Elder's granddaughter who wields powerful elemental magic.[2]
  • Graham McTavish as Vlad Dracula Țepeș, a vampire who swears vengeance on humanity for the murder of his wife Lisa, summoning an army of monsters to destroy all the people of Wallachia.[2] (seasons 1–2, guest season 4)
  • Tony Amendola as The Elder, Sypha's grandfather and the leader of a group of Speakers aiding the people of Gresit whom Trevor befriends.[2] (season 1)
  • Matt Frewer as The Bishop, a psychotic clergyman who orders the burning of Lisa Țepeș for witchcraft, later being named the bishop of Gresit.[2] (seasons 1, guest season 2)
  • Emily Swallow as Lisa Țepeș, Dracula's beloved wife who is burned at the stake in Târgoviște after being falsely accused of witchcraft.[2] (season 1, guest seasons 2, 4)
  • Theo James as Hector, a devil forgemaster called upon to serve Dracula in his war against humanity. He has a hatred of humanity, but his naïveté makes him easy to deceive or manipulate.[3] (seasons 2–4)
  • Adetokumboh M'Cormack as Isaac, a rivalrous devil forgemaster and fierce loyalist of Dracula who helps to lead his army.[3] (seasons 2–4)
  • Jaime Murray as Carmilla, a scheming vampire mistress and member of Dracula's war council who seeks to usurp him.[3] (seasons 2–4)
  • Peter Stormare as Godbrand, a Viking vampire warlord called upon to serve Dracula in the battle against Wallachia.[3] (season 2, guest season 4)
  • Jessica Brown Findlay as Lenore, the diplomat member of the Council of Sisters. She is in charge of subduing Hector. (seasons 3–4)
  • Yasmine Al Massri as Morana, the strategist member of the Council of Sisters. (seasons 3–4)
  • Ivana Miličević as Striga, the military member of the Council of Sisters. (seasons 3–4)
  • Bill Nighy as Saint Germain, a strange man researching a realm known as the Infinite Corridor. (seasons 3–4)
  • Navid Negahban as Sala, the leader of the monks of Lindenfeld who actually seeks to resurrect Dracula. (season 3)
  • Jason Isaacs as The Judge, the town leader of Lindenfeld who wishes to keep peace and order in town by murdering those who are, in his mind, disruptive in any way. (season 3)
  • Toru Uchikado as Taka, a vampire hunter from Japan using a bow. (season 3)
  • Rila Fukushima as Sumi, a vampire hunter from Japan using a sword. (season 3)
  • Barbara Steele as Miranda, an old woman possessing magic powers who helps Isaac. (season 3)
  • Lance Reddick as The Captain, a pirate captain who befriends and helps Isaac. (season 3)
  • Gildart Jackson as FlysEyes, a demon created by Issac. (seasons 3-4)
  • Christine Adams as The Alchemist, a powerful mage who resides in the Infinite Corridor and controls it. (season 4)
  • Malcolm McDowell as Varney, a vampire from London and former agent from Dracula's Army who seeks to resurrect his master. Later revealed to be an ancient spirit who used Dracula to massacre the human race for their souls, a form of sustenance for the monster. (season 4)
  • Marsha Thomason as Greta of Danesti, the head woman of Danesti, fighting against night creatures. (season 4)
  • Titus Welliver as Ratko, a brutal Slavic vampire warrior seeking to resurrect Dracula. (season 4)
  • Toks Olagundoye as Zamfir, the head guard of Targoviste's Underground Court, fighting against night creatures. (season 4)
  • Matthew Waterson as Dragan, a vampire warrior who seeks to resurrect Dracula. (season 4)

Episodes[edit]

SeasonEpisodesOriginally released
14July 7, 2017 (2017-07-07)
28October 26, 2018 (2018-10-26)
310March 5, 2020 (2020-03-05)
410May 13, 2021 (2021-05-13)

Season 1 (2017)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
11"Witchbottle"Sam DeatsWarren EllisJuly 7, 2017 (2017-07-07)
In Wallachia in 1455, a young woman named Lisa who wishes to be a doctor seeks out Vlad Dracula Tepes, a vampire with advanced scientific knowledge. Intrigued by her courage and ambition, Dracula agrees to teach her, while she in turn offers to help him reconnect with humanity. The two eventually fall in love and marry. Twenty years later (1475), in the town of Târgoviște, Lisa is burned at the stake after a bishop discovers scientific equipment in her home and accuses her of witchcraft. Dracula is devastated and furious upon learning of his wife's death and declares the people have one year to make their peace, after which every human in Wallachia will die by his hand. His son Adrian tells him to go after the man responsible instead of all of humanity, but Dracula refuses to listen and attacks him. One year later, the archbishop hosts a celebration in defiance of Dracula. As promised, Dracula kills the archbishop, destroys the church and orders his demon army to kill every person left in Wallachia. As the army spreads across the land, the people place the blame on the kingdom's noble families, including the Belmonts.
22"Necropolis"Sam DeatsWarren EllisJuly 7, 2017 (2017-07-07)
Following an altercation at a pub, Trevor Belmont seeks food and respite in the city of Gresit, which has been besieged by Dracula's forces every night. As he passes through town, he learns that the townspeople blame a group of magic users known as the Speakers for Dracula's assault. He saves their Elder from a pair of corrupt priests, who brings him back to his home to meet his fellow Speakers. Trevor insists they leave the city for their own safety, but the Elder refuses, as his grandchild has gone missing after venturing into the catacombs below the city in search of the "sleeping soldier", a legendary hero who they believe can defeat Dracula. Begrudgingly, Trevor agrees to retrieve the missing grandchild.
33"Labyrinth"Sam DeatsWarren EllisJuly 7, 2017 (2017-07-07)
Exploring the catacombs, Trevor realizes that they have been unusually constructed and contain devices matching old family descriptions of devices within Dracula's castle. Finding a stone statue in the visage of a Speaker, Trevor is attacked by a giant cyclops. He defeats the creature, releasing its curse, and rescues the Elder's grandchild, Sypha Belnades. After returning Sypha to her grandfather, Trevor is summoned to the church by the local bishop, the same bishop who ordered Lisa's execution. He orders Trevor to leave Gresit before sundown, as they plan to lead a mob to kill the Speakers, offering to spare Trevor and restore his family name in exchange. With the Speakers refusing to retreat, Trevor has them hidden in the cyclops' chamber and takes on the priests leading the mob before escaping into the city.
44"Monument"Sam DeatsWarren EllisJuly 7, 2017 (2017-07-07)
Night falls as Dracula's army descends upon Gresit, killing the bishop (but not before his army calling the bishop out for his arrogance and lies, pointing out that his vile actions cause God to hate and abandon him). As Trevor continues his escape, Sypha appears to aid him, revealing herself as a powerful magic user. Trevor exposes the clergy's actions as the true reason for Dracula's invasion and assists the people in mounting a defense against the demons. During the battle, the floor crumbles beneath Trevor and Sypha and they fall deep into the submerged catacombs of the city. Making their way in deeper, they find the "sleeping soldier", revealed to be Adrian, who has spent a year healing from his last fight with Dracula. Adrian, now going by Alucard, engages Trevor in battle, but after seeing his and Sypha's resolve, Alucard relents and reveals that he was testing their abilities because the myth of the "sleeping soldier" was actually from the future and foretold Alucard's meeting with Belmont and Sypha. The three prepare to challenge Dracula and end the conflict for good.

Season 2 (2018)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
51"War Council"Sam DeatsWarren EllisOctober 26, 2018 (2018-10-26)
A flashback depicts Lisa's home in Lupu being raided by the Bishop and his men while Dracula is away, resulting in her arrest to be tried before an inquisition. In the present, Dracula assembles his war council, made up of vampire overlords from across the world, and places human necromancers Hector and Isaac in charge of the war on humanity. The Norse vampire Godbrand objects, believing they should rely on vampires instead of humans for leadership, but Dracula believes Hector and Isaac's hatred of their own kind makes them more trustworthy. As Gresit rebuilds after the battle, Sypha and Trevor see off the other Speakers while Alucard comes to terms with the decision to kill his father. At the castle, Godbrand laments to Hector that their war is fought with no strategy but wanton destruction. Hector implies that Dracula wants all humans dead no matter the methods used, to Godbrand's disappointment. Dracula teleports the castle to a different location.
62"Old Homes"Spencer WanWarren EllisOctober 26, 2018 (2018-10-26)
Trevor and Sypha reunite with Alucard and ask how to locate Dracula's castle when it can move from place to place. Trevor recommends revisiting his old family estate, as the hold beneath the ruins contains plenty of information and tools for monster-hunting. At Dracula's castle, the vampire mistress Carmilla arrives and causes further discord among the council by criticizing Dracula's approach and inquiring why he did not turn Lisa into a vampire. While traveling to the Belmont estate, Trevor's party is attacked by Dracula's forces; the group slays all the attackers, save one injured demon who escapes. At the castle, Isaac reminisces on his past, having killed his previous abusive master in a moment that shaped his ideals. Godbrand brings Isaac the injured demon, now dead, to extract information from it with his necromancy. At another assembly, the generals argue whether to continue their attack on Argeș or move the siege towards Brăila at Carmilla's suggestion. Isaac informs everyone of his findings, believing Alucard is working with a Belmont. Carmilla urges Dracula to keep watch on the Belmont estate, believing it may contain something that could destroy them.
73"Shadow Battles"Adam DeatsWarren EllisOctober 26, 2018 (2018-10-26)
Carmilla tries to convince Hector to create creatures to send to the Belmont house while encouraging Dracula to select Brăila as their next target. Hector reminisces on how Dracula found him in the east of Rhodes and recruited him to raise an army, though Hector asked for a cull of humans rather than a cruel genocide. Trevor, Sypha and Alucard reach the ruins of the Belmont estate and open a sealed door leading to a massive underground library. Sypha begins researching and Trevor locates several monster-hunting weapons, including the Morning Star whip, while Alucard is left uneasy by the various vampire remains preserved there. At Dracula's castle, Godbrand expresses his dissatisfaction with the plan to exterminate the human race, believing they will be left hungry without human blood to consume, and Dracula rebukes him. Carmilla tells Godbrand that Dracula must take the castle to Brăila, revealing how she killed the vampire who sired her after he became old and mad, deeming Dracula has become the same.
84"Broken Mast"Sam DeatsWarren EllisOctober 26, 2018 (2018-10-26)
Godbrand comes to agree with Carmilla that Dracula is not fit to lead and something must be done to change his plans. At the Belmont library, Trevor discovers a magical mirror which allows them to see things far away, and he bonds with Sypha. Carmilla continues to try to recruit Hector, intending to unseat Dracula if the castle is moved to Brăila. In a flashback, Isaac recalls how Dracula saved his life and recruited him to create his army. Godbrand and the other vampire generals grow tired of living without human blood and set out on demonic horses to a nearby village, slaughtering the people. Dracula speaks to Isaac about the war hall turning against him and confesses he lied to Hector about his intent to spare a few humans. Godbrand privately approaches Isaac and suggests that they should pursue the war without Dracula. Isaac kills Godbrand for his treasonous intentions.
95"Last Spell"Sam DeatsWarren EllisOctober 26, 2018 (2018-10-26)
Isaac releases Godbrand's ashes from the castle rooftop while Carmilla commands her troops to assemble at Brăila. Hector convinces Isaac to agree to the attack on Brăila. Hector shares this with Carmilla and informs her that his night creatures have nearly reached the Belmont estate. Isaac discusses Hector's request with Dracula, but asserts that there is no betrayal to be concerned about. Dracula reminisces about a time when he savored killing humans, but admits he is tired and cares only for results instead of the details. Carmilla and Hector approach Dracula and he approves the attack on Brăila. Afterwards, Carmilla turns on Hector, explaining he is now implicated in her impending betrayal of Dracula and cannot turn back on her plan now. At the Belmont library, Sypha discovers an unfinished locking spell that could be used to trap the castle in one place. The library starts to shake as Hector's night creatures arrive and attempt to break in.
106"The River"Spencer WanWarren EllisOctober 26, 2018 (2018-10-26)
Trevor fights off the demons as Alucard uses the distance mirror to locate Dracula's castle so Sypha can attempt to complete the locking spell. Dracula moves the castle to Brăila, and most of the vampire generals lead troops across the bridge to attack the town. At Carmilla's behest, Hector reanimates the Bishop and makes him bless the river. Carmilla's troops reveal themselves and bring down the bridge, dropping many of Dracula's soldiers to be destroyed by the now-holy water. Dracula's remaining forces retreat to the castle whilst Carmilla's soldiers cross the river on makeshift bridges. The two armies begin to battle in the castle's main hall, while Carmilla and Hector move elsewhere. Sypha finishes the spell just as Trevor defeats the last of the demons, her struggle against the castle's mechanisms causing the castle to teleport within Brăila, landing in the river with most of the vampires of both factions killed by the holy water flooding into the castle. Sypha succeeds, disabling the castle's mechanisms while relocating it above the Belmont library.
117"For Love"Sam DeatsWarren EllisOctober 26, 2018 (2018-10-26)
Emerging from the library, Trevor, Sypha and Alucard storm the castle and defeat the remaining vampires in the main hall. Dracula retreats to his study with Isaac, whom he sends through his magic mirror back to the desert to save the human from sacrificing himself to defend Dracula from death. Alucard reaches the study and attacks Dracula, backed by Trevor and Sypha. The group manages to inflict some damage, but Dracula overpowers them and engages in hand-to-hand combat with Alucard, moving through the castle as they battle. Eventually the two end up in Alucard's childhood room, where Dracula breaks down upon realizing the reality of trying to kill his own son. Dracula allows Alucard to stake him through the heart, while Trevor arrives to decapitate him and Sypha burns the remains, leaving only his wedding ring intact. Alucard is upset about having killed his father, but Trevor and Sypha reassure him it was the right thing to do. They all exit the castle as morning dawns.
128"End Times"Adam DeatsWarren EllisOctober 26, 2018 (2018-10-26)
Alucard intends to make Dracula's now-deserted castle his grave, but Trevor gifts him the Belmont library along with encouragement to protect both their ancestral homes while using their collective knowledge to help people. Meanwhile, Isaac murders a group of raiders and turns them into the first of his personal army. In Brăila, Carmilla decides to return to Styria, enslaving Hector for his skills to quickly rebuild her forces and take advantage of the power vacuum left by Dracula's demise. Sypha convinces Trevor to stay with her and join her on new adventures battling monsters, and they bid farewell to Alucard and set off to find the Speakers. Left alone in the castle, Alucard reflects on the loss of his family and is overcome by grief.

Season 3 (2020)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
131"Bless Your Dead Little Hearts"Sam DeatsWarren EllisMarch 5, 2020 (2020-03-05)
A month after Dracula’s death, Alucard tries to adjust to his loneliness, but he misses Trevor and Sypha and fears he is going insane. Meanwhile, Trevor and Sypha arrive in the small town of Lindenfeld, where a local priory sympathizes with Dracula’s cause and wish to punish those responsible for his death. Carmilla returns to her castle in Styria with Hector to reunite with her Council of Sisters (consisting of herself, Lenore, Striga and Morana). Hector is then imprisoned in her castle.
142"The Reparation of My Heart"Sam DeatsWarren EllisMarch 5, 2020 (2020-03-05)
In Tunis, Isaac is set on exacting revenge on Hector. He acquires a distance mirror, a magical device which reveals Hector's whereabouts. Isaac and his creatures then depart for Genoa on a boat belonging to a man known as the Captain. In Styria, Carmilla shares her plans to dominate an area of Eastern Europe, effectively enclosing it into a personal pen with humans as livestock. However, when Striga points out how Hector will refuse to forge new demons, Lenore volunteers to convince him otherwise. In Lindenfeld, Trevor meets the mysterious Saint Germain, who recognizes him as a Belmont. Germain persuades the priory leader, Sala, to grant him access into their library. At the Belmont Hold, Alucard is visited by a pair of vampire hunters from Japan, Taka and Sumi.
153"Investigators"Sam DeatsWarren EllisMarch 5, 2020 (2020-03-05)
Befriending the Judge of Lindenfeld, Trevor and Sypha learn how one of Dracula's creatures, nicknamed the Visitor, crashed into the priory and began communicating with the monks. Since then, Sala began refusing town folk into the priory’s hall and allowed disturbed strangers in. On the open seas, the Captain and Isaac are debating the merits of humanity. When Isaac says he wishes to continue Dracula's ambitions, his faith is shaken when the Captain challenges him to use his skills to teach humanity how to be kinder. At Carmilla’s castle, Lenore brings food to an unclothed and battered Hector. Wary of her intentions, he attempts to escape, only to be beaten down by Lenore.
164"I Have a Scheme"Sam DeatsWarren EllisMarch 5, 2020 (2020-03-05)
At Dracula’s castle, Alucard learns from Taka and Sumi they were once enslaved by one of Dracula's council members, Chō. Although Chō died in the battle against Dracula, Taka and Sumi know another vampire will one day succeed her, and ask Alucard to teach them. Meanwhile, in Styria, relations between Hector and Lenore begin to thaw after she provides him with clothes. At the Lindenfeld priory, Saint Germain is suspicious of the monks, questioning their loyalty to God. He is fascinated by the symbol on Sala’s armband (the alchemical sign for sulfur used by philosophers to denote Hell).
175"A Seat of Civilisation and Refinement"Sam DeatsWarren EllisMarch 5, 2020 (2020-03-05)
Trevor and the Judge notice alchemical signs have been carved throughout the town by the monks. Outside the priory, Saint Germain meets Sypha, who knows he is a magician. Joined with Trevor, Saint Germain tells them that he is in search of a portal to “the Infinite Corridor”, where he once lost someone dear to him, and claims that one lies beneath the priory.
186"The Good Dream"Sam Deats & Adam DeatsWarren EllisMarch 5, 2020 (2020-03-05)
Lenore takes Hector for a walk around Carmilla's castle, though keeping him on a leash, and he gradually starts to fall for her charms. In Lindenfeld, Germain has a nightmare of falling through the Infinite Corridor, an endless pit of dimensions where he witnesses worlds with giant monsters and spaceships. Before waking up, a woman throws him a crystal which he catches in his hand.
197"Worse Things Than Betrayal"Sam DeatsWarren EllisMarch 5, 2020 (2020-03-05)
Alucard trains Sumi and Taka and takes them to the Belmont Hold, teaching them to start by learning something simple. Returning to the prior in Lindenfeld, Saint Germain discovers a book which shows how to bring back the dead from Hell. He heads towards the basement, where he finds the still-living Visitor impaled to the walls. During a two week march from Styria, Issac meets a blind woman, Miranda, who reveals a nearby city houses a Magician who populates it with his own slaves. She tells him the Magician owns a transmission mirror, which can transport Isaac and his army to Styria.
208"What the Night Brings"Sam DeatsWarren EllisMarch 5, 2020 (2020-03-05)
Saint Germain meets with Trevor, Sypha and the Judge. They devise a plan to fight the mad monks and also help Saint Germain open the Infinite Corridor. In the Belmont hold, Alucard bonds with Taka and Sumi during their training, but they are both suspicious that Alucard is hiding something from them.
219"The Harvest"Sam Deats & Adam DeatsWarren EllisMarch 5, 2020 (2020-03-05)
At sundown, the houses of Lindenfeld that bear the ominous carvings suddenly combust into flames. A battle between the monks and the Judge's men begins, as countless monsters emerge from the Priory. Trevor, Sypha and Saint Germain enter the Priory, while the Visitor opens a portal to Hell where Dracula is seen holding his wife, Lisa. In Styria, Lenore seduces Hector, then tricks him by slipping a magic ring onto his finger, which enslaves him. Isaac enters the city and his night creatures successfully defeat the Magician and his Legion, an amalgamation of countless human bodies. As Alucard lies awake at night in Dracula's castle, Taka and Sumi enter the room and proceed to have sex with him, but they then suddenly restrain Alucard by using a trap.
2210"Abandon All Hope"Sam DeatsWarren EllisMarch 5, 2020 (2020-03-05)
Taka and Sumi accuse Alucard of withholding his knowledge of magic from them and not teaching them how to operate the castle. Before they can stake him, he uses his sword to slit their throats. In the priory's basement, Trevor and Sypha battle the monsters while Saint Germain tries closing the portal. Sala stabs the Judge, who suddenly tells Sala about a secret path where he can make his escape. As Trevor destroys the Visitor, Saint Germain closes the corridor with him inside, thanking Trevor and Sypha for their help. The couple later find Sala dead in a pit of spikes, containing countless human bones. They discover the Judge had been killing children and taking their shoes as trophies to his house. They burn it down and depart from Lindenfeld. At Carmilla’s castle, the sisters have perfected their plan, and Lenore presents them with rings she had forged to make Hector's night creatures loyal to them. The ring will cause Hector great pain if he attempts to flee or remove it. The episode ends with Alucard at the castle's entrance, where he has left the impaled bodies of Sumi and Taka as a warning to future visitors.

Season 4 (2021)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
231"Murder Wakes It Up"Sam DeatsWarren EllisMay 13, 2021 (2021-05-13)
Six weeks after the Battle of Lindenfeld, Trevor and Sypha are exhausted from continually traveling the land, slaying night creatures and cultists who seek to resurrect Dracula; during these battles, they learn about a grim reaper named "Death", who eats the souls of the dead. The two arrive at Târgoviște, where Dracula's campaign against humanity began after the village killed his wife. and are watched by a pair of vampires named Varney and Ratko from the tower. While searching the ruins, Trevor finds a magical dagger. Meanwhile, Alucard encounters a horse with a dead messenger, discovering a map to the village of Danesti, whose people have requested his aid in slaying the vampires and night creatures. After burying the corpse of the messenger, Alucard looks in a mirror and realizes that he is "turning into Belmont" in feeling a need to meddle in other's affairs.
242"Having the World"Sam DeatsWarren EllisMay 13, 2021 (2021-05-13)
As Hector enjoys himself at Carmilla's castle, he sees cracks in the walls and places a magic stone inside; later that night, while Hector is still trying to forge a special hammer, Lenore urges him not to test Carmilla's patience as even she cannot protect him if Carmilla loses her temper. Later, Lenore learns that Carmilla won't be satisfied by anything less than dominion over the entire world, including Dracula's castle. Shortly afterward, Hector finishes work on the hammer. Elsewhere, while attempting to rest, Trevor and Sypha are ambushed by night creatures on Varney and Ratko's orders but are saved by Zamfir, the head guard of Târgoviște's Underground Court. Zamfir wishes to recruit the pair to the local resistance, provided that she and the Underground Court earn their trust. As Zamfir pursues Varney and Ratko, Trevor finds a glowing stone on the corpse of a resistance soldier and pockets it in hopes it will prove useful.
253"Walk Away"Sam DeatsWarren EllisMay 13, 2021 (2021-05-13)
The night creatures bury corpses and rebuild a city under the direction of Isaac, who explains the city's past to one of them in an attempt to teach them the value of choice. Later, Varney contacts Issac through a magic mirror, but ends up antagonizing Issac and is cut off. At their campsite, Morana and Striga are ambushed with the rest of their vampire kin by humans, who strike their tents at dawn to take advantage of the sunlight in killing them. Morana takes shelter inside a coffin while Striga and the rest of her army wear "day armor" to protect themselves from the sun, killing off all their attackers. Carmilla later contacts her sisters and urges them to come home. Back in Târgoviște, Trevor and Sypha witness how the remaining people are malnourished and opt to investigate the city, hoping to earn Zamfir's trust by aiding others in her place. Trevor also discovers that the magic dagger can be energized by the glowing stone.
264"You Must Sacrifice"Sam DeatsWarren EllisMay 13, 2021 (2021-05-13)
While Trevor and Sypha discuss how to approach the situation in Târgoviște, Alucard arrives at Danesti and defends it from the attacking night creatures. Accepting the village leader Greta's request to act as its protector, Alucard also meets Saint Germain, who recalls the search for his lost love; ending up in a corridor between dimensions, he met an Alchemist who gave him a key to the corridors so he can find his beloved, provided that he is willing to sacrifice everything he ever had. Saint Germain then recalls how he was contacted six weeks prior by Varney while searching for help in his endeavor, the latter wishing for his aid in resurrecting Dracula. To this end, Germain secretly enlists the aid of Dragan, a powerful vampire warrior. Back in the present, Saint Germain suggests the people of Danesti move into Dracula's castle for protection, to which Alucard reluctantly consents.
275"Back in the World"Sam DeatsWarren EllisMay 13, 2021 (2021-05-13)
Alucard, Saint Germain and Greta escort the villagers out of Danesti, but are ambushed by night creatures in the forest. Meanwhile, in Carmilla's Castle, Hector resurrects the dead into night creatures and Lenore informs him of Carmilla's scheme to dominate the world, confessing that Carmilla used her the same way Dracula used Hector. Alucard, Greta and Saint Germain manage to fend off the night creatures, successfully leading the villagers into Dracula's castle. Back in Târgoviște, Trevor and Sypha continue their investigation, where Sypha is outraged to find Zamfir taking food from the already-starved townsfolk to keep her own people nourished. Despite their differences, Sypha saves Zamfir from a night creature as they cannot afford to lose able fighters. However, the creature manages to covertly plant a magical tracking device onto the back of Zamfir's neck before Sypha kills it. Back in the emptied city, Isaac and the night creatures move to attack Carmilla's castle, planning to kill all the remaining vampires there while Issac himself confronts Hector.
286"You Don't Deserve My Blood"Sam DeatsWarren EllisMay 13, 2021 (2021-05-13)
The Battle of Styria has begun and Isaac and his army of night creatures have infiltrated Carmilla's castle to kill the vampire kin and Carmilla's own night creatures. Lenore was going to drag Hector out of the castle, only to be trapped by Hector's magical barrier where no vampires can get in or out. Isaac met Hector again, and just when Isaac was about to kill Lenore, Hector urges him to kill him instead. However, Isaac spared their lives, especially when Hector cut off his own finger to remove the binding ring. Isaac then activated the barrier from the stones placed by Hector earlier to trap Carmilla in her throne room full of his night creatures who are overwhelming her. Isaac and Carmilla began fighting to the death, and with his night creatures, he got the upper hand and fatally wounded her. But rather than falling to her enemies, she committed suicide by stabbing herself to explode in her throne room. Morana and Striga arrived too late when they felt that Carmilla is dead, so they and the rest of the vampire kin walked away. Soon after, Hector and Isaac discuss how they were both used as tools for leverage. Hector then decides to stay with Lenore while Isaac moves on to his own life. During all this, it is revealed that Hector has been secretly working with Saint Germain and Varney to bring Dracula back from the dead.
297"The Great Work"Sam DeatsWarren EllisMay 13, 2021 (2021-05-13)
The tracking stone planted on Zamfir earlier allows Ratko and Varney to discover the location of the Underground Court. When Ratko mocks Varney as being a mere criminal and not a "perfect" vampire like himself, Varney cryptically suggests that he's not who Ratko thinks he is. Trevor and Sypha finally come face to face with the Underground Court itself, only to discover that the Court consists of nothing more than the decaying corpses of the Royal Family. Zamfir, having deluded herself into believing that the royals are merely sleeping, has been preparing for their "awakening" at the expense of her people's well-being. While Sypha and Zamfir argue, Trevor realizes the magic artifacts he's been collecting all go together. The Court is then invaded by a horde of night creatures led by Varney and Ratko. Meanwhile, back at Dracula's castle, as Alucard and Greta look after the refugees, Saint Germain secretly contacts Dragan's army of vampires and night creatures waiting in the forest. On Germain's command, the army marches upon the castle, bringing with them a humanoid body stitched together from pieces of multiple corpses.
308"Death Magic"Sam DeatsWarren EllisMay 13, 2021 (2021-05-13)
Trevor, Sypha, and Zamfir try to defend the survivors of Târgoviște from the invaders. Zamfir sacrifices herself to save a mother and child from Ratko, who is subsequently killed by Trevor using a special cross-shaped blade he took from the Underground Court. At the same time, Alucard, Greta, and refugees fight desperately against Dragan's forces, but are eventually forced back into Dracula's castle. Alucard and Greta confront Germain inside Alucard's childhood room where Dracula died. Germain, who is using the souls of the people killed in the ongoing battle to open the Infinite Corridor, reveals that he intends to raise both Dracula and Lisa so he can fuse their souls into a Rebis, an artificial body that is both man and woman. The Rebis's power will enable Germain to safely search the Corridor for his missing lover, while also giving him unlimited access to the Corridor's infinite dimensions. Alucard tries to stop him, but Germain has created a magic barrier around himself. Back at Târgoviște, Varney finds a magic mirror capable of teleporting him to Dracula's castle. He uses the mirror to join Saint Germain, who is preparing to open the Infinite Corridor. Seeing Varney flee into the mirror, Trevor and Sypha chase after him.
319"The Endings"Sam DeatsWarren EllisMay 13, 2021 (2021-05-13)
Trevor and Sypha cross into the mirror and are transported to Dracula's castle, where they reunite with Alucard. The trio fight their way through the horde of invaders, while at the same time, Dragan and his generals bring the Rebis to Germain, and Varney gives Germain the forging sequences Hector developed to fuse Dracula and Lisa's souls into the Rebis. As Germain makes his final preparations, Varney suddenly transforms into the Alchemist who gave Germain the key to the Infinite Corridor. He then transforms again, revealing his true identity as Death, an ancient elemental spirit that feeds off of those who die. Death explains that he has been guiding Germain this entire time in order to resurrect Dracula in a state of insanity and unleash him upon the world again. He forces Germain to complete the ritual and open the Infinite Corridor. After killing Dragan and the other vampire generals, Trevor, Sypha and Alucard arrive at Alucard's childhood room just as Germain summons the souls of Dracula and Lisa and fuses them into the Rebis. Using the Morning Star Whip, Trevor destroys the magical barrier and gets inside. Germain distracts Death while Trevor attacks the Rebis with holy water and the cross-shaped blade. The Rebis explodes, releasing the souls of Dracula and Lisa, while also causing severe damage to the castle and mortally wounding Germain. Death consumes the power of the Infinite Corridor key and grows in size. After telling Sypha he loves her, Trevor faces off against Death alone. Despite being badly injured in the fight, Trevor combines the magical artifacts recovered from the Court with the magic dagger and fatally stabs Death in the head. Death explodes and Trevor is seemingly consumed by the blast as well.
3210"It's Been a Strange Ride"Sam Deats & Amanda Sitareh B.Warren EllisMay 13, 2021 (2021-05-13)
Two weeks have passed since Trevor seemingly sacrificed himself to defeat Death. Lenore, disillusioned with being a vampire and unwilling to live as Isaac's prisoner, makes her peace with Hector, before walking out into the sunlight and allowing herself to be disintegrated. At Dracula's castle, the refugees have begun establishing a permanent settlement under Alucard and Greta's leadership. Sypha reveals to Alucard that she's pregnant with Trevor's child. Trevor suddenly appears, badly injured but still alive, having been transported to safety through the Infinite Corridor by Saint Germain just before the latter died. Trevor also reveals that the weapon he used to destroy Death was originally created by a mad wizard-blacksmith as part of a "very one-sided" murder-suicide pact with God. Reunited, the heroes look forward to a brighter future. Meanwhile in London, a resurrected Dracula and Lisa, disguised as commoners, settle into an inn. While neither of them understand how they're alive again, they decide to remain in hiding and allow their son to live his own life.

Production[edit]

Warren Ellis wrote the series as a direct-to-video film before adapting it for a television format.

In March 2007, Frederator Studios acquired the rights to produce an animated film adaption of Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse, intended as a direct-to-video production. Frederator brought writer Warren Ellis aboard as the screenwriter for the series. In an interview with Paste, Warren Ellis said that when he was contacted about Castlevania he had no previous knowledge of the series and discovered it was a "Japanese transposition of the Hammer Horror films I grew up with and loved".[4] Ellis explained how he worked with Castlevania producer Koji Igarashi to fit the film into the timeline of the series, including writing a new backstory, and how he was frustrated that Igarashi wanted eight full re-writes of pre-production material before giving approval.[5] Ellis noted that Frederator's Kevin Kolde, who was slated to produce the work, did not want the film to be aimed at children, allowing Ellis to use gruesome imagery and scenes as necessary to tell the story he wanted to write, something that Ellis had found restrictive in working with normal television animation.[6]

In adapting the game for the film, Ellis did not want to make a point-for-point adaption, but instead provide some material to flesh out the game's world and elements behind it. At this stage, the film was anticipated to be only 80 minutes long, which Ellis knew would not be enough to tell the full story he wanted, so was able to break apart his script into a trilogy of works, each part having a self-contained three-act structure; the first part would be to introduce the characters of Dracula, Trevor, Sypha, and Alucard and with a meaningful narrative resolution. In this manner, Ellis noted that if the other two parts were never greenlit, the first work "doesn't demand the presence of the other two parts for it to work as its own thing".[6] Due to the limited time, Ellis opted to drop Grant Danasty, a pirate character in the game; Ellis noted that besides "the stupid name", he felt the pirate was misplaced in the setting and that the limited run time would not allow him to develop the character fully.[6]

Sometime around 2008, work on the production stalled, and entered development hell.[7] Ellis had completed his script in June 2008, and the show's production blog had said in August 2008 that they were shopping around the idea as a theatrical release, but no further updates followed before the blog was quietly deleted.[6]

Around 2012, Adi Shankar was approached to direct a live-action version of Ellis' script. Shankar, who at the time had just finished work as executive producer of Dredd, said that the party was looking to make a film in the style of the Underworld films with a similar budget, representative of a small studio with large independent backing. Shankar turned the opportunity down, saying it felt "250 percent wrong", as he had deep respect for the original game and felt the live-action version would not treat it well.[8] Following this, Shankar stepped back from Hollywood to pursue more self-published works, stating that "the major studios were blatantly disrespecting fandom" as a reason he turned down the offer.[8]

The show was revitalized when Powerhouse Animation Studios's Sam Deats was able to negotiate a deal with Netflix for the production, using the existing scripts that had been written nearly a decade prior. Powerhouse reached out to Frederator to help with the show's production.[7] According to Ellis, Netflix was very positive about his original scripts that he wrote in 2007, and so he had to only make a few changes to fit the Netflix format while staying true to the version of the script Konami had accepted.[4] Shankar was approached with the opportunity to produce the work, which he took as neither Powerhouse or Frederator sought to restrict his creative vision from Ellis' scripts.[8][9][10][11] Fred Seibert and Kevin Kolde of Frederator Studios also co-produce.[9] The series was animated by Frederator Studios and Powerhouse Animation Studios and directed by Sam Deats.[12][13][14] Trevor Morris composed the show's music.[4]

The show's art style was heavily influenced by the work Ayami Kojima did for Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.[7] They also took ideas from director Satoshi Kon's works for character expressions and series such as Cowboy Bebop and Berserk for inserting humor among the more serious elements.[7] The show is produced using 2D hand-drawn animation, taking cues from Ninja Scroll and Vampire Hunter D,[15] with staff members that previously worked on Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust.[16] The manga series Berserk and Blade of the Immortal were also cited as inspiration, with one of the show's animation directors having previously worked on the Berserk films.[17] The production works closely with Konami, the holders of the Castlevania franchise, who helped to identify small continuity issues but were otherwise very receptive towards the work.[7]

The first season of four 30-minute episodes was released on July 7, 2017.[18] This season represents the first part of the trilogy that Ellis has laid out in 2007.[4] The second season is eight episodes long and was released on October 26, 2018.[19][20][21] Ellis said that the second season, completing the trilogy, is where he had been able to deviate somewhat from the game, and has been better anticipate the show's release on Netflix in terms of scenes and episode lengths.[4] Shankar believes that there is an opportunity for more stories to be told borrowing from other games in the series, noting that overall he sees the series as "a story about a family and multiple generations of this family" with many tales to draw from.[8] The production team for the second season included staff members who worked on Madhouse productions such as Death Parade.[17]

Developing the character of Dracula, Adi Shankar made it clear that one of the series' main goals has been to paint Dracula not as a villain, but a tragic, doomed figure. According to him: "The best villains, in general, are the heroes of their own story and the trick to making Castlevania resonate was this idea that Dracula isn't a bad guy, he isn't a villain, he's just a person consumed with darkness. That first episode in Season 1 we start to see why he wants to eradicate humans. He's not just this mustache-curling, one-dimensional villain. What Dracula is doing is not really a war against humanity. It's more a suicide note."[22]

The show's third season was greenlit by Netflix a few days after the broadcast of the second season.[23] Shankar announced in November 2018 that he will also be leading an animated series based on Capcom's Devil May Cry, which he acquired the rights for himself, and will make the show, alongside the Castlevania series, part of a shared "Bootleg Multiverse".[24] The third season was released on March 5, 2020.[25] On March 27, 2020, Netflix announced they had renewed the series for a fourth season,[26] stating on April 16, 2021 that it would be the series's final season, releasing on May 13, 2021.[27] On July 31, 2020, it was reported that amid a wave of sexual misconduct allegations being levelled against the show's creator and showrunner Warren Ellis, he would no longer have any involvement in developing subsequent Castlevania series after the fourth season's release.[28]

Netflix announced in May 2021 that a new series with a new cast of characters set in the Castlevania universe was being planned, but that it would not be a direct spin-off of the original Castlevania series.[29] Instead, it will focus on Richter Belmont, Trevor's descendant, and Maria Renard, set during the French Revolution.[30][31]

Reception[edit]

Audience viewership[edit]

According to Parrot Analytics, Castlevania was the most popular digital original series in the United States during July 6–19, 2017, with the show generating 23,175,616 "demand expressions" on average.[32] According to Parrot Analytics, "demand expressions" indicate the "total audience demand being expressed for a title, within a country,"[33] measured by video streams and downloads as well as social media.[34]

It remained the 7th most in-demand digital original show in the United States through October 11, 2017.[34] By the end of 2017, Castlevania was the year's 15th most in-demand digital original series in the United States, averaging 18,137,196 demand expressions throughout the year. It was also one of the year's top 20 most in-demand digital original series in the United Kingdom (20th), Japan (4th), Brazil (10th), Mexico (11th), France (13th), Canada (14th), Germany (19th) and Australia (20th).[35]

By the time the second season became available in 2018, Castlevania had reportedly garnered nearly 30 million viewers worldwide according to Netflix analytics, becoming one of the most successful original animated shows on Netflix.[36]

Critical response[edit]

Critical response of Castlevania
SeasonRotten TomatoesMetacritic
182% (28 reviews)[37]71 (6 reviews)[38]
2100% (16 reviews)[39]N/A
395% (19 reviews)[40]N/A
4100% (11 reviews)[41]N/A

The review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes reported that 82% of critics have given the first season a positive review based on 28 reviews, with an average rating of 7.61/10. The site's critics consensus reads, "Castlevania offers spectacular visuals and a compelling adaptation in its all-too-short first season."[37] It is the first video game adaptation in the site's history to receive a "Fresh" rating.[42] Metacritic, which assigns a rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, reported that there were "generally favorable reviews" for the first season, with an weighted average score of 71 based on 6 reviews.[38] Dave Trumbore of Collider gave the series four stars out of five, praising the chemistry between the cast and comparing the violence with anime such as Ninja Scroll.[43] Several reviews lauded the voice cast, particularly Graham McTavish as Dracula and Richard Armitage as Trevor Belmont.[44] IGN also wrote glowingly of Warren Ellis's script, but felt some of his humor was a little jarring.[44] The Verge gave a mixed review, noting that the gore did little to create a sense of danger and felt "intentionally flashy". It concluded that "Castlevania is ripe with potential, but also burdened with clichés."[45] Dan Seitz at Uproxx left a negative review, writing that it tried too hard to find profundity in the story of the Castlevania series. He also cited issues with the pacing.[46]

Rotten Tomatoes reported that 100% of critics gave the second season a positive review with an average rating of 9.3/10, based on 15 reviews. The critics consensus reads, "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."[39] IGN gave the second season a score of 9.2/10, praising Ellis's approach to Castlevania as "witty and self-aware enough to poke fun at itself when necessary".[47] In Collider's review for the second series, Dave Trumbore mentioned there "isn't a weak link in the cast here".[48] Complaints were made towards the pacing and the screen time spent on Dracula's court in season two. Writing for GameSpot, Michael Rougeau was disappointed that Trevor's group spent the majority of their time in a library, and also said Dracula "does literally nothing in all the episodes we've seen so far. There's one medium length flashback in which he massacres a council of merchants who offended him, but it's not like that moves the story along". Rougeau concluded that the action was creatively executed, but he felt that the new cast was given more development and that the previous characters were left to "tread water".[49] Film School Rejects echoed similar sentiments, who said the second season was more of a complement to the first one. McTavish and the rest of the voice cast were once again met with high praise.[50]

The third season was also well received, with 95% of critics on Rotten Tomatoes giving a positive review with an average rating of 7.99/10, based on 19 reviews. The critics consensus reads, "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."[40] Collider's Dave Trumbore gave the third season a glowing review, praising the action and declaring the show "one of the best video game adaptations ever made".[51] This was echoed by IGN, who touted the show as "the best video game adaptation around". Ellis' approach to the source material and the voice cast remained points of particular praise.[52]

The fourth season was positively received as well, with an approval rating of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes with an average score of 8.94/10, based on 11 reviews.[41] IGN commended the series' ability to deliver a satisfying ending without feeling rushed. The animation as well as the voice cast were once again praised.[53] Paul Tassi, writing for Forbes, criticized the pacing in the beginning of the season, but concluded that season four was "excellent" and "a full return to form for the series" after a mixed third season.[54]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]