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Anime Review: 'Castlevania' Season 1 (2017)

Updated on November 15, 2022
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Natalie is a writer who works at her local library. She enjoys writing reviews, watching anime and TV shows, and playing video games.

Castlevania Season 1 Blu-ray cover.
Castlevania Season 1 Blu-ray cover. | Source

Quick Info

Directors: Sam Deats, Adam Deats, Spencer Wan

Distributor: Netflix for streaming, Viz Media for home video
Runtime: 96 minutes
Released: December 4th, 2018
Availability: on DVD and Blu-Ray, buy on Amazon or RightStufAnime

Story Summary

Vlad Tepes a vampire fell in love with a woman named Lisa. She is a woman who wants to help people using science, but she’s worried people will mistake it for witchcraft. He teaches her out of curiosity but later learns she was burned at the stake for being a witch. He exacts his revenge, devastating the country of Walachia, and now the last surviving member of the Belmont Family, Trevor Belmont must put an end to his reign of terror.

I Liked This Anime and I Do Not Have Experience With the Source Material

On a technical level, Castlevnaia (2017) is not an anime, it’s not animated in Japan, and the strict definition of anime is something that is created in Japan and animated in Japan.

But we have anime fans claiming that the Nickelodeon series Avatar: The Last Airbender (2005).

I will let Castlevania fans know that I haven’t played the original games so I don’t have any prior experience with this franchise. So I’m not the person who will be able to answer the question of how close is the anime to the game lore.

I did enjoy the story for what it was, it’s an interesting take on the classic Dracula story, but I do find it to be an entertaining one. It’s not the best writing I’ve ever seen, but it was enjoyable.

It’s definitely fun if you like action/adventure and fantasy stories. I am going to keep watching season 2, it’s just that I have a big anime backlog of both reviews to write and anime to watch, but I will be watching season 2.

" Castlevania" Official Trailer #1 (2017) Animated Netflix TV Series HD

The Animation Is Nice

Multiple animation studios worked on this project, even though it’s not an anime made in Japan, it is heavily influenced by anime in Japan and the creators consulted people in the Japanese industry, not just for animation, but about aspects of the lore in the older Castlevania games and not the newer ones that were recently made.

The animation does look very nice and it is heavily influenced by anime. It does have fight scenes and character designs that remind me of the character designs used in many fantasy anime, despite not being animated in Japan.

The fight scenes are fun to watch, but they’re very short.

Overall, the animation looks nice and if you like the anime style without some of the traits that are in anime that can annoy westerners, you should enjoy watching the visuals in this Netflix series.

Even though this is technically not an anime, I view it as anime because they use many aspects of anime and the creators did consult Konami for the lore since Castlevania is a Japanese game franchise.

Dracula meets Lisa.
Dracula meets Lisa. | Source

Audio and Subtitles:

English (original) (Reviewed)
Simplified Chinese
Traditional Chinese

The English Dub Is Very Good

Unlike most anime, the Netflix Castlevania series has a celebrity voice cast. Celebrity voice casts are rare when it comes to anime unless it’s a Studio Ghibli anime films or a very popular anime franchise, you will rarely hear a celebrity voicing an anime character, mainly because matching lip-flaps from Japan is very difficult, something that voice actor Kevin Conroy mentioned in his audio commentary of the Batman: Gotham Knight anime movie.

Since this is not an anime, it was recorded in pre-lay, which means all the actors recorded their lines before the animation was made.

Richard Armitage did a great job voicing Trevor Belmont. He made Trevor Belmont and fun, entertaining, and interesting character. He gave an excellent vocal performance. Everyone remembers him as Thorin Oakenshield from The Hobbit movie trilogy.

James Callis did a great job voicing Adrian "Alucard" Tepes. He’s an interesting character despite having only a brief appearance in the first season. James gave a great vocal performance and I liked his voice acting.

Graham McTavish as Vlad Dracula Tepes. He made for a great villain for our heroes to go up against. He voiced an interesting villain and that makes the story more unique too.

Alejandra Reynoso did a great job voicing Sypha Belnades. She voiced a great character and I do like her work in this anime.

The English dub is very good and I really enjoyed it. It might not be the best English dub but it was something I enjoyed and I don’t feel that anyone is miscast in their roles. It’s definitely a good dub. The blu-ray does not contain the Japanese dub. It only has English and Spanish dubs.

Castlevania Netflix Series OST - 01. Main Title

The Soundtrack Is Good

Trevor Morris composed the music for this anime and I do like the soundtrack. It’s not the best anime soundtrack I’ve ever heard but it is nice.

The anime doesn't have a normal anime-style opening with a song with lyrics, it’s just an instrumental opening. It’s still very nice music.

It’s not a soundtrack that I would be purchasing to listen to on its own, but it is a good soundtrack for this Netflix anime series.

Reader Polll

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The Series Feels Too Short

The series is very short for its first season. It only has four episodes and as a season, it is the shortest season of a Netflix exclusive series. It is a series that feels like they cut it short as if they were unsure if the audience would enjoy a series aimed at adults that are animated and not live-action.

Anime often has all sorts of genres and there is an entire genre aimed at adults called Seinen. American animation either has animated shows for toddlers, children or raunchy adult shows that are mostly comedies.

The Netflix Castlevania (2017) series is like attest run for the adults and whether or not they’re going to make more. It feels too short and if the second season hadn’t been renewed you would be left hanging.

It feels too short to really do anything with its plot, but fortunately, there are more seasons of Castlevnia (2017).

Trevor Belmont, vampire hunter.
Trevor Belmont, vampire hunter. | Source

It’s a Fun Anime-Style Series With Plenty of Potential

Even though the Castlevania Netflix series is technically not an anime, I still call it an anime because it has many aspects of anime. It is a fun and enjoyable series. It does lack many action set pieces but it still an enjoyable series.

It is a little too short for me to recommend it for a blind buy, but it’s definitely worth the time to stream it on Netflix and then decide if you want to purchase it for yourself.

Story Summary

What Does Work:
What Doesn't Work:
Good story, characters and world-building
It's too short and stops just as it's getting really interesting
Good voice acting
Good soundtrack

My Grade: B+

I highly recommend streaming the Castlevania (2017) series if you have a Netflix account. I had a lot of fun watching this anime series. I can’t confirm whether or not it’s a great interpretation of the original Castlevania lore or not, but I enjoyed this series.

It does feel too short to really get into the main plot. It also ended on a cliffhanger and you had to wait for season 2. Fortunately, Season 2 is eight episodes and much longer.

Because it’s so short, I can’t really recommend buying it, even though a physical copy is very inexpensive, it might not feel worth the money when it’s only 96 minutes long.

It is worth your time to watch it, especially if you like the original Castlevania series fan. I have seen some Castlevania fans on YouTube that really enjoyed the Netflix series, so that’s the only fan feedback I’ve heard regarding the Netflix series.

It’s one that I enjoyed watching the Netflix series, but I’m not going to buy it for my own collection, but if you’re a fan of the games you might try it first but whether or not you want to buy it, but that will be up to you.

I have purchased the Castlevania 25th Anniversary Collection for my PlayStation 4, it was on sale for $4.99 so I will be grateful to this Netflix exclusive for putting Castlevania on my radar so I can enjoy the games now too.

My Rating:

4 stars for Anime Review: Castlevania Season 4 (2017)

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