Castlevania Season 1 Recap: Anime That Combines Jaw Dropping Action With Immense Heart
As one of the best new Anime of the decade, a Castlevania Season 1 recap is the best way to revisit the Netflix original. Castlevania is a series that was a collaborative effort and was very important for Netflix. The series is by famed comic book writer Warren Ellis and produced by indie film producer Adi Shankar. The animation is from one of the biggest up and coming animation studios, Powerhouse Animation.
How Castlevania Season 1 Changed The Game For Netflix
Castlevania was the perfect storm of creative talent that came together for Netflix. The show was one of the first original Anime that Netflix produced and has quickly become one of its best. Before Castlevania Netflix’s Anime lineup wasn’t that strong. But the critical reception of Castlevania changed all that. Since the series, Netflix has heavily invested in Powerhouse Animation, with its most recent Seis Manos being another success. Powerhouse Animation is also working on the Kevin Smith He-Man sequel for Netflix as well.
Image via Netflix
What Castlevania Season 1 Is All About
The Castlevania Season 1 recap needs some context towards the premise of the show itself. Castlevania was a widely successful Konami platform video game. The story centered around the characters of Simon Belmont, a vampire hunter who entered the castle of the infamous Dracula to defeat him. The game was for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1987 and featured basic 2D graphics. This simple premise and the basic storyline was wonderfully adapted and expanded upon in the original Netflix Anime series, Castlevania.
The Castlevania Season 1 Recap Begins With Heartbreak
The first episode of Season 1 of Castlevania feels very familiar. The series opens with a young human woman in the 1400’s in a fictional town of Wallachia, knocking on the doors of a massively mysterious castle. As the doors open, she enters into an equally massive hall. The lone inhabitant of the castle appears as she asks him to teach her of the world and its mysteries through science. The woman wants to learn enough to become a doctor and heal the world. The owner of the castle is none other than Dracula (Graham McTavish) himself, who is skeptical at the woman’s kind heart. But eventually, they strike a deal.
The tragic villain himself | Image via Netflix
He will teach her all he knows about science, alchemy and about the world from his literally immortal wealth of knowledge; while she will teach him about the current world, it’s people and the goodness that still exists. Eventually, the two marry.
One year later, the Church burns the same woman at the stake. They accused her of being a witch due to her healing and knowledge of science. Dracula returns from his travels, traveling like a human as the insistence of his wife. He wanted him to be among the people, learning of their plight and gain compassion for them. But when he discovers her death, all the humanity drains from him. Enraged, Dracula forsakes humanity and threatens the citizens of the town, giving them 1 year to get their affairs in order. He vows revenge in 1 year when he will unleash hell upon the world. And then he does.
Castlevania Season 1 Is All About Setting The Stage
The story of Castlevania is told very slowly. It’s not just a slow burn, but an easing into the world, its characters and the amazing story that unfolds. Writer Warren Ellis takes a huge risk by opening the story with a character that is essentially the villain of the series. Dracula’s heartbreak that becomes the conflict of the show, is incredibly tragic. He makes the audience sympathize with the villain, even before the heroes come into the story. It’s risky in the sense the audience begins to relate more to the villain, than anything else. But those layered and complicated ideas of good and evil, heroes and villains are one of the major themes for Castlevania.
During The Castlevania Season 1 Recap, I Discover That The Hero Isn’t All That Heroic
Dracula launches a siege of night monsters, and all manner of demonic terrors onto the world, in an attempt to eradicate all human life. Seeing how it was humans that took his love away from him. In this new world, sought by fear and terror, we’re introduced to a drunkard with a mysterious past. Through some other bar patrons, we learn of the Belmonts. A noble family who used to fight monsters and even Dracula himself for generations before. Until the Church decreed them as being collaborators of those same monsters, causing them to lose their nobility and reputation.
Monster hunter Trevor Belmont | Image via Netflix
While attempting to get another drink, the drunkard reveals himself to be Trevor Belmont (Richard Armitage) the last remaining monster hunter from the Belmont family. After a tussle, Belmont moves onto the next town for more drink, food and rest. It’s clear that he’s a good for nothing nomadic drifter at this point. Not the noble warrior that his lineage is of. And that he’s more concerned with himself than the fate of the world right now.
An Unlikely Partnership Forms Among The Main Characters
Stumbling into the next town, he meets the inhabitants preparing for an assault by Dracula’s monsters when night comes. He inadvertently ends up rescuing a Speaker, a nomadic group of sorcerers who recite the history of the world through memory. The Speaker’s tribe is searching for a Messiah of legend who will awaken and save the world. One of their own went in search and is now missing.
Despite his cold heart, Trevor doesn’t want to see a group of peaceful monks slaughtered. To persuade them to leave town, he offers to find the missing Speaker on the condition that they leave once’s he’s back. Venturing underneath the city, Trevor finds a Cyclops monster which he barely manages to defeats. It’s one of the first monster fight scenes of the show, and it’s glorious. This is the moment that acts as the true hook in terms of the action sequences that are to come. Afterwards, Trevor discovers that the missing Speaker is a girl, Sypha (Alejandro Reynoso).
The sorceress supreme | Image via Netflix
Castlevania’s Action Choreography Is Impressive, Even Among Live-Action Content
The girl manages to awaken Trevor’s dormant sense of compassion, and he decides to help the town. He was, after all a hero, once upon a time. Together with her sorcery, Trevor sets up the town in a way to defend itself against Dracula’s monsters. Aiding the townspeople, they fight them off. Temporarily. Sypha, seeing Trevor’s true self as a hero, further convinces him to join her in her attempts to find the legendary messiah. So they head back beneath the city again. They do discover a sleeping figure, but it’s no messiah.
The figure is a vampire himself, who Trevor assumes is Dracula. A fight ensues between Trevor and the mysterious vampire. It ends when Sypha interferes, seemingly pleasing the mysterious vampire. The man reveals himself to be Alucard (James Callis), Dracula’s half-human son. Alucard explains his desire to stop his father from destroying humanity, his mother’s people. There are already glimpses of the conflict within him, and his two opposing halves. He recruits Trevor and Syhpa to join him, using all three of their unique skills. And together, a sorceress, a disgraced monster hunter, and a half-human / half-vampire embark on a journey to stop Dracula and fight against Hell on Earth.
Alucard, Dracula’s half-human son | Image via Netflix
Castlevania Season 1 Is Incredible In Terms Of Story, Action And Character Development
The first season of Castlevania is only 4 episodes long and takes the time to set up the world and its characters. It slowly shows the tragic figure of Dracula and takes careful steps to ensure the character development of all involved. The true premise of the show isn’t fully revealed util that last scene of the final episode. And it’s a wonderful way to begin any adventure. It’s an action-packed adventure that has even more depth due to the intense nature of the characters and the world. The emotional core of the show makes the action that much more interesting. And the action itself is some of the best that I’ve seen in a while. Castlevania also manages to showcases that much heart, while also creating sequences that are visual breathtaking and instantly iconic. Season 1 of Castlevania currently holds a 80% on Rotten Tomatoes
Castlevania Season 1 is now streaming on Netflix.
What did you think about the 1st season of the original anime Castlevania? Let us know in the comments below.
Shah Shahid is an entertainment writer, movie critic (so he thinks), host of the Split Screen Podcast (on Apple Podcasts & everywhere else) and filmy father on a mission to educate his girls on decades of film history. Armed with uncontrollable sarcasm and cautious optimism, Shah loves discussing film, television and comic book content until his wife’s eyes glaze over. So save her by engaging him on his own blog at BlankPageBeatdown.com or on Twitter @theshahshahid.