Konami’s Castlevania video game franchise has been around for 35 years. For these years, Konami has been working for every mode of the game platform and has issued 40 various titles for all manners. In 2017, Netflix adopted one of the most beloved games in the franchise, 1998’s Castlevania: Dracula’s Revenge into American-made anime series whose massive success set the path for other original adaptations.
Hence, we got Violet Evergarden, Lost song, Blood of Zeus, Dragons’ Blood, and Dragon’s Dogma, and many more extravaganzas. However, the success standards that Castlevania set are tough to fight. The following article tries to decode the reason behind Castlevania’s massive success.
Animator Powerhouse, showrunner Adi Shankar and writer Warren Ellis took liberty with the material, they gave us a plot that can be appreciated by both the longtime game fans and newcomers neutrally. “Ellis did not want to make a point-to-point adaptation but instead provide some material to flesh out the game’s world and elements behind it” – via Wikipedia.
It clung to the soul of the series without inflexibly adapting every single facet of its lore while enjoying the pulpiness of the visuals and actions which pulled the games together. With anime like Dragon’s Blood, they were criticized for fracturing the lore which neither satisfied game players nor the newcomers.
Fans were given the opportunity to experience much grounded versions of their favorite characters. Each season progresses with pouring into new characters and breathing more life into each one of them. The growth is evident along the course of every season.
Even the anti-heroes and antagonists appeared plausible. Writers decided to turn Dracula into a more tragic character thus, they changed his backstory and motivations. The character appears far more 3 dimensional in the anime adaptation compared to the game. The characters’ interaction both physically and ideologically gave viewers a rollercoaster of thrill.
The first season at heart introduced the viewers to the world of Castlevania, ties, and some of the strongest characters. The second season took the mantle of building upon the legacy established by season one, the rich characters and allies. Enforcing shocking decisions in season 2, the successor felt like a reset and carried on with new characters, threats, plots, and allies. Rather than a conclusion for the whole series, season four ended the legacy of season 3.
The anime adaptation chose to follow the game’s aesthetics and narrative hence, it awarded a world that appears dwelled in and imperatively dangerous. From remarkable environmental design to sinister dooms to pragmatically subjugated towns Castlevania felt lived in. Finding equilibrium between aesthetics and reality is gritty. Dragon’s Blood despite its good design felt generic due to its barren world-building.
The execution never feels forced, the motivation between actions and reactions finds the perfect balance. The 4 season span helped the series find its balance which other Netflix originals find hard to do. Castlevania took the spirit of a beloved VG franchise and chiseled a show that stood out among its peers with its tragedy, epic sequence, exhilarating storytelling, and cathartic backstories.
Castlevania, unlike other American anime, was able to perfectly match the fluidity and energy of the Japanese animation style. The animators, Powerhouse Animation Studio brought to the viewers some epic combat sequences, fluent character choreography, and masterful camera swirls. Castlevania pulled the viewers in with its smooth animation. It was able to showcase emotions, dynamics, relationships, and atmosphere within a group through movement.
Blood of Zeus has manifested that Netflix’s other originals can have staggering performance if given time and budget. It should be kept in mind that Castlevania has come a long way since 2017 when the first season dropped. Initially, it got mixed reviews however, with time it grew into its best possible versions. In a similar fashion, other American anime will gradually discover their cornerstone and will become great.