Castlevania, as a series, is a hallmark of the gaming world. With over 30 titles, the Konami franchise has stood the test of time. The last entry, 2014’s Castlevania: Lord of Shadows 2, was the last we’d play. In 2017, Netflix released an adaptation of Castlevania following Trevor Belmont and his crew. Over four seasons, we grew to love the characters and the world Powerhouse Animation Studios built. Following its finale, viewers were left wondering if any future projects would come out. Even more so, if they would be as good as their origins. Castlevania: Nocturne, the newest series, does feel worthy of the name, it just needs time.
NOTE: This review will be as spoiler-free as possible. However, I do still suggest watching the show if you are curious or want to go in blind. If you want to know more about the show, I wrote a preview of it that you can check out. Here is the link.
Taking place during the French Revolution, Castlevania: Nocturne follows Richter Belmont and crew as they battle demons both physical and mental. While plenty of vampires and night creatures are slain, a majority of the story focuses on the characters. Because of that, they feel more fleshed out and complex. You learn their life stories and personalities and can see why they do the things they do. However, it did cost a lot of the runtime, leaving the pacing of the main narrative a bit rushed.
The writing and script felt in tune with the show. Nothing was out of place or awkward and it didn’t come off too forced. It juggled a ton of stories and did a great job with them. It took some big risks with characters and plot points, which I applaud the team immensely for. I particularly enjoyed Olrox’s parts, as his character was one of the more interesting of the bunch. His mysteriousness and ambiguity made for some excellent scenes. I do think it was lacking a little bit of comedy, which was very present in the original. Just some slight banter here and there would’ve done some good, especially when the mood tends to damper.
Unfortunately, while it isn’t too bad of a thing, Castlevania: Nocturne feels like a prologue. It reminds me a lot of the original’s four-episode first season, where it set up the major characters and the world. Since this is eight and not four, it becomes noticeable in the last two episodes that this isn’t going to be the end. The series is renewed and in active development, but it still would’ve been nice to have the season stand out more.
It’s fair to say that Castlevania: Nocturne didn’t miss with the cast. Everybody felt pitch-perfect in their roles. Edward Bluemel’s Richter is a huge favorite of mine. His charisma and wit strike a chord with those familiar with Trevor’s banter from the original series. Yet, he brings a youthlike flair and we get to see him become the Belmont he’s destined to be. Other standouts include Tera, Drolta, Olrox, and Annette. Each of them give great performances for their roles and shine equally as bright.
Powerhouse Animation Studios feels right in their element with Castlevania: Nocturne. The animation delivers some amazing moments and works with the story, not against it. It’s bloody and gory but also beautiful. The setting, 1792 France, looks great, though we don’t actually see much of the city. The designs for each of the characters pay homage to the games and also feel brand new.
One thing I wasn’t expecting to enjoy as much as I did was the music. There were several moments where songs were integral to the scene and I actually enjoyed it. Without spoiling anything, there is one scene that will make game fans very happy with the music choice. Additionally, Sydney James Harcourt’s operatic songs as Edouard were as beautiful as they were chilling.
Netflix and Powerhouse Animation Studios’ Castlevania: Nocturne is a solid continuation of the original series. You can feel the love that they put into it. It mixes old with new and creates something truly special. It still feels like Castlevania, though a little exposition-heavy. Despite the season feeling like a prologue, the worldbuilding and characters are amazing and full of life. It’s great to see the series still going strong and, if it keeps up, might be worthy of the Belmont name.
So what did you think? Did you watch Castlevania: Nocturne? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments! If you enjoyed this review, leave a like and share it with your friends. Until next time!