Holy Shit The New Castlevania Show Is So Awful

I’m not going to mince words here.  Castlevania, the new animated series from Netflix, is total and complete shit.  It’s bad.  It’s very fucking bad.  If the show was any longer than four episodes, I never would have finished it.  Now, before you say that the reviews are great, let me just set the record straight: everyone else is wrong.  They are very fucking wrong.  Despite how cool that title card is and how much my mind is telling me the show should be amazing, it’s seriously not.  I’m baffled that anyone in their right mind would associate the word “good” with this trash.  But here we are.  Let’s begin.

The most jarringly terrible part of this show is the animation.  It’s clearly inspired by anime but does a pretty horrible job at showing any respect for the art form.  Anytime characters make movements, it’s as though someone forgot to finish animating the scene.  And by the “scene,” I mean the whole show.  Every painful piece of this looks like it was done in Flash by one person at 2 AM over the weekend before it was due to air.  The lip flaps don’t match, the faces are stilted, Trevor Belmont’s beard looks like someone just drew an M that never ends, and every fight scene appears as though they just animated three frames: the beginning, middle, and end.  Nothing feels fluid, everything feels like a garbage.  It’s unfathomable that a powerhouse like Netflix can’t muster up the cash to make this look even half as good as something like Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, an America/Japanese anime venture also dealing with famous vampire/half-vampire characters, that came out seventeen goddamn years ago.

Frederator, the animation studio primarily behind this series, is by no means terrible.  They’re just terrible for this particular project.  Their previous work includes things like The Fairly OddParents, Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!, Adventure Time, and Bravest Warriors.  None of these are bad shows, but all of them have a very specific art style and are made for a largely similar audience: younger people.  It doesn’t appear they were ready for a transition of this magnitude, both in style and substance, and it shows at almost every turn.

What in the fuck is this shot? Why does this exist?

The writing, which was done by Warren Ellis, has moments that shine through, but not very often.  It mostly feels like it’s been penned by a thirteen-year-old who has just recently started labeling himself as a “writer” and is very interested in vampires and swearing.  In a bar scene that is exposition-heavy as hell, the name Belmont is said sixteen times, along with discussions of bestiality that don’t pertain to anything.  “Would you please leave my testicles alone”  is another line that is said, out loud, by Trevor after being kicked in said testicles twice.  On top of all this, the most inappropriately “comedic” score cuts over the fight, but the scene is so incomprehensible that I cannot tell if it’s supposed to be played for laughs or to show that Trevor can hold his own in a drunken bar fight.  The tone is complete chaos, much like this entire show, which is shit.

The story itself is also confusing and uninteresting.  Dracula is portrayed as the main antagonist, but he’s only in one episode and his reasons for being super pissed honestly make sense.  The town burned his wife at the stake.  He gives the people a year to prepare for destruction and spares a woman that was friends with his wife.  So when he kills everyone 365 days later because no one listened, I don’t really feel bad for them.  The violence is entirely unearned at that point, so seeing a dead baby or a disemboweled kid is just an exercise in being thirteen and saying, “FUCK yeah DEATH and GORE!”  It’s not cool and it doesn’t service the story.  Our protagonist, I guess, is Trevor Belmont, who is wholly unlikable.  He wanders into town looking for kicks, which is the only reason he’s even involved in the plot at hand.  The true antagonist is the church, but spoilers, (fuckin’ whatever this show is so awful I’m doing you a favor) both the Archbishop and Bishop are killed off with LOTS OF BLOOD because it’s EDGY AS HELL so I guess we’re back to Dracula as the antagonist?

“And THEN, Trevor sees a demon just walkin’ by, BUT, get this, it has a FUCKIN’ BABY in it’s mouth! Sick, right?”

The second “fight scene” is a disaster, with lines like “Really?” spoken by someone in the 1400s, choppy animation for things that should look cool but don’t, and more tonally inconsistent music choices.  A priest’s eye is dislodged and it’s just so fucking stupid.  For a show that is only four episodes long, and “episode” is a word I use loosely here, there is a lot of talking.  None of it is really any good, and most of it is accompanied by boring, poor animation.  Directly following the priest fight, Trevor has a nearly eight minute exposition dump conversation with an Elder of the Speakers, a group of people who have a really interesting background that is ruined by just explaining it all in one excruciatingly long scene coupled with Trevor kind of walking around being unappealing in every way.

There is a pretty great fight with a Cyclops that happens during the third episode, despite the fact that the animation isn’t complete.  However, the goodwill is tossed away as the next fifteen minutes are just extended conversation scenes where nothing of importance happens, one of which involves the Bishop pronouncing the town of Gresit as Grey Shit multiple times and whispering some of the lines so quietly they’re almost inaudible.  I’d like to compliment the voice acting, but I can’t really even do that.  None of them are full-time voice actors, which is a very American thing to do.  Richard Armitage is serviceable as Trevor, but that’s the best you can say for anyone in this show.  Half the time it sounds like he’s doing a table read and they just recorded that session and used it in the episode.  None of the actors are bad, but I sure as hell wouldn’t call them good either.  They’re trying their best with the shit they were given, and their best just happens to be as middle-of-the-road as you can get.

The one great fight scene happens at the very end between Trevor and Alucard, son of Dracula.  Although the reasoning behind how it happens is shaky and the dialogue, true to form, has some cringe moments, the fight itself is great.  That’s it though.  That’s all there really is.  In four episodes, this is the only good part and it clocks in under 180 seconds.  The fact that the name Belmont is again uttered an astounding thirteen times in the two minutes leading up to the fight doesn’t do it any fucking favors.

Wow! Something cool! K…kinda? Kinda!

Other big, dumb, terrible moments of the show include:

– An actual conversation between the Bishop and a demon thing goes as follows:

Bishop: I have done His bidding!  My life’s work is in His name!
Demon Thing: Your life’s work…makes Him puke.

Makes him puke.  Warren Ellis wrote that line down, showed it to people, and no one stopped him.  It was later spoken by an actor into a microphone, recorded, and used in a real show called Castlevania, but not for comedic effect.  It was played straight.  It’s meant, somehow, to be serious.

– Trevor turns an entire mob of people on a priest simply by saying a few sentences about what a bad guy he is.  A mob of people who, mere moments earlier, wanted to kill Trevor and the Speakers.  Their minds are changed with terribly written dialogue/logic and no proof whatsoever that the priest has done anything to wrong them.  They don’t actually speak or voice an opinion.  They don’t ask any questions.  They just run and stab him.  A lot.

Here is a scene that makes sense and is well animated.

– “There’s an army of us!  AN ARMY!  FROM HELL!”  These are words spoken by a demon before he is chopped in half by a whip, kind of, because the animation is horrendously ill-equipped to tell this story .  It is not played for laughs and it’s a problem.

– Every priest in the city has a goddamn blade and brandishes it.  The number of frames used to show this action are shockingly low.

– Trevor’s backstory, he’s a Belmont and the church excommunicated his family for hunting vampires and monsters, is awkwardly shoehorned into conversation more than once, and one time was honestly too much.  Each time takes several valuable minutes.

The show is a jumbled mess.  It cannot be stressed enough that it looks like the entire thing was done in a weekend.  If this was a animation project done by a fan of the original games, I’d be pretty impressed.  But it’s done by a company, and one with a mostly well-received pedigree.  It’s unacceptable and I’m still trying to process how something this bad was given the green light AND undeserved praise from the community.  Why would you like this?  Why would you want more of this?  There is a second season already confirmed, this time with eight episodes.  I’m not excited at all, but I have a feeling I’ll want to watch it to see if anything has changed.  Ugh.

BUT WHERE’S GRANT? AM I RIGHT? Grant was smart. Grant stayed away.

It must be stated that the intro credits sequence is pretty rad, which is surprising since it has animation.  The backgrounds in most scenes were also really beautiful, unsurprisingly because there was no animation.  The two fights were fun, but choppy as hell.  That’s about it really, so you know, don’t watch any of this.  It’s still appalling.  During my writing I wound up just watching Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust again, so at least I smiled at some point.  If you’re looking for a high-quality vampire anime, just watch that instead.

Don’t watch Castlevania.  I feel the need to reiterate this because the internet seems to be extremely fucking lost at the moment about the value of this show.  Do not watch Castlevania.  It’s very, very, very bad.  The only reason to watch it is to bring your critique to the front of this very lopsided battle.  Don’t just brush it aside because “whatever man, Castlevania got an adaptation, it’s still cool!”  First of all, no it’s not.  Secondly, supporting this only leads to further mediocrity.  Demand more from your favorite stories and characters in the video game world.  Don’t settle just because it happened.  You don’t deserve to settle.

110 thoughts on “Holy Shit The New Castlevania Show Is So Awful”

  1. jen says:

    Oh, thank god it’s not just me. This post is exactly everything I walked away from this show feeling and thinking. It’s so bad, no matter how I look at it, and now I have to side-eye every friend who has gushed about it and told me I need to watch it. They all owe me ~100 minutes of my life back.

    1. Drew says:

      I’m glad someone else saw this show for what it was. I’m so confused by the reviews. Did they watch the same show?

  2. Rena says:

    I think I only liked it because I was forcing myself to give Salem another chance. Then I switched over to this. Salem is so bad it can make anything else look great.

    1. Drew says:

      Oh man, Salem looks…not good. If it’s making Castlevania seem okay, it’s got to be some terrible TV.

  3. Jerry says:


    I could leave a really elaborate comment about why you’re wrong, but I’ll be succinct instead. I will say your criticism of the absurd level of gore has some merit; you are wrong about everything else. But hey man it’s all good, you like what you like. Take it easy.

    1. Drew says:

      Honestly, I’d like to hear what you did like! A lot of people seem to enjoy it and I just cannot understand why.

      1. J says:

        I think the notion of God having a visceral, bodily reaction to the works of one of his supposed servants is a pretty powerful image.

        1. Drew says:

          I mean, true enough, but the way that line is delivered seems pretty poor to me. “Puke” is also just…not a well chosen word. It just feels like, again, a 13 year old wrote this script. He’s trying to say something, and there might be good ideas there, but it’s as if he wrote it all in one draft and then said “good enough” and passed it off.

          1. Jack says:

            I rather liked the word choice myself, I mean think about it. He is a demon from hell, he has no reason to be eloquent and any other word choice doesn’t have the same impact. Saying that it “Sickens him” would be the generic thing to say, I’ve heard similar lines in other stories and shows and it always just seems to bounce off without notice, “vomit” is just silly, you could say “he’s disgusted by your work” but that also seems too light. But telling a priest to his face as bluntly as possible that what he does makes God “puke” is jarring and reinforces the earlier idea that God has very human reactions and is genuinely revolted by the Bishop and his “work”.

          2. Anonymous says:

            It’s also a reference to Revelation. “Because you are lukewarm I will vomit you from my mouth.”

          3. Drew says:

            Vomit I could maybe understand. Puke just doesn’t do it for me. Feels out of time with the series.

        2. crank says:

          what are you talking about? god has human emotions and responses? This is the most bullshit I’ve ever heard. No wonder you like this series.

    2. Hogari says:

      Wow, never witnessed a level of stupid this astounding. Your brain must work about as janky as that shit animation.

  4. Jack says:

    I’m confused about your comments about the Archbishop and Bishop’s demise, the show is gory yes, what do you expect from Hell itself? But those, if anything, were the least gory deaths in the whole season, The Archbishop took a spike through the chest sure, but it was quick and there was little blood, it’s not like they removed it afterwards. As for the Bishop, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out how he died in the scene, but they didn’t actually show anything besides a what was a rather small amount of blood (as far as biting of heads go) by his feet for around five seconds on screen.

    1. Drew says:

      I’m sure I was just attempting to be funny with the EDGY AS HELL bit. I think I was more concerned with the uninteresting plot than anything else with that, but yeah, those deaths by comparison were pretty tame from the rest of the show.

      1. Justin Ukabiala says:

        What makes a plot interesting? I very curious. A simple plot is not bad at all in fact I think trying to make a grand put is where you dig your grave.

        1. Drew says:

          Oh I’m not saying this show needed a grand plot, I just think it needed a better one. Simple is never bad, but this one I just found super uninteresting.

      2. Doobe doobe dooo says:

        The blue fangs demon is a very well written and powerful scene. From the demon speaking as if he knows god’s personality more then the bishop to the end when the window shows Jesus and one of the saints stareing down at him dying showing that god did indeed not approve of the Bishops antics.

    2. Hayabusa82 says:

      Personally the gore doesn’t bother me, I hated the plot. I’m not an expert on Castlvania lore but I don’t recall the Belmont family being excommunicated. This seemed like another lame attempt to force feed left extremist views on christians to me. I hate how they took an already established story and characters and quite honestly trashed it. Look at the Alucard design from Symphony of the Night, the level of detail was amazing. Now look again at this show, I wanted to see those wonderfully designed works of art to be brought to life. I understand that it might be too much to ask for high detail in every frame but still. These crappy designs don’t even vaguely resemble the respective characters. I haven’t watched season 2, and probably won’t watch it or season 3 as I was very disappointed in that 1st season. I guess Vampire Hunter D will always be the closest thing we ever get to a good Castlvania adaptation in cinema.

  5. Blawz says:

    Total dog shit I’m glad me and my friends aren’t the only ones who think so. The show is 99% dialogue except almost none of it matters.

    If sexy is one end of the spectrum this is on the other, let’s call it “sterile” I mean it’s fine to have a dark show that avoids anything sexy at all costs, but if the dialogue puts everyone to sleep and the action is meaningless (endless nameless demon jobbers ftw) then HAVE SOME EYE CANDY. But Castlevania has literally none of the above.

    The second season is 90% as bad. The vampire generals are so puny and pathetic they literally don’t even have voices, and you’re never afraid for the main characters for even a nanosecond. Their protagonist armor is so thick they can nap through the entire thing no worries. And don’t get me started on the angsty hipster circa 2018 dialogue. Wtf were they thinking?

    Animation is shit.
    Boring af start to finish.
    No likeable characters.
    No hatable characters.
    No sexy characters.
    Dumbest dopiest fight scenes I’ve seen in an anime to date, with the only good fights happening between complete nameless demon footsoldiers and Belmont.

    Utter. Fail.

    1. asd says:

      Seriously? One of your main critiques of the show is that there aren’t enough tits on it?

  6. AngerousDangerous says:

    I 6000% agree. Is there a word for when people are trying to use elevated speech, but the words are actually really mundane? Some of the worst offenders are: simply, as well, and wretched.
    Also, the puke line is absolutely ridiculous. I wish they took the dialogue seriously and used language contemporary to the time period. How about retch??

    1. Drew says:

      I sure can’t wait to watch season 2 so I can write more about how bad I’m sure it is! But maybe it’ll surprise me.

  7. Snug says:

    I feel the same. If you’re going to exposition dump then at least give me some eye candy. This show is definitely aimed at a younger audience. “And your dad was fucking Dracula”…I felt embarrassed watching that particular line which made it even worse as the characters all fake laughed with each other. I’m 35 but work with a bunch of early 20-somethings. If any of them took the time to watch the original Evangelion or Serial Experiments Lain I think their heads would explode. This tripe is just bad all around with the exception of some fight scenes. Then again we haven’t even had a good Castlevania game since what? Symphony of the Night? Curse of Darkness was decent and I’m surprised Hector got a part in the show but maybe the franchise has just gone to shit just like this show already is

    1. Devin says:

      Dawn of sorrow was amazing

      1. Drew says:

        It truly was.

  8. Anne Ominous says:

    So beautifully animated and so very stupid. Thanks for the summary. There’s even more that is stupidly wrong, but why go on?

    1. Drew says:

      Still debating if it’s worth sitting through eight more episodes…

  9. Mochan says:

    Good to hear that somebody gets it.

    This show was bad. Just plain awful actually. I’m glad not everyone in this world is crazy.

    1. Drew says:

      It warms my heart to find others who see the flaws in the show. I seriously thought I was alone for a while.

  10. Anonymous says:

    It was not so much the story that kind of made me think of it as a children’s show; It was the shoddy shots of animation that just pay tribute to poor children’s animation. The background art was beautiful though. The only time it felt like the creators took this project seriously were during the fighting scenes.

    1. Drew says:

      I can see that for sure. Background stuff did look great, but it never had to move so that helped TONS. The fight scenes mostly worked, especially against the Cyclops, but it sure as hell wasn’t perfect if you ask me.

  11. Al says:

    This guy actually got a degree in creative writing and film studies? Fucking rip.

    1. Drew says:

      I tried really hard though!

  12. Phoebe says:

    God, this is so accurate. I’m around the age of 13 and even I thought the show sucked. Being a teenager I could imagine some kid my age writing and animating a show of this quality! (If not that, then of better quality.) I couldn’t even make it through all of episode 4 of the first season. I was gonna go back and watch it but this article made me re-realize how stupid and edge-lordy the show was. Thank you for saving me from being disappointed yet again.

    1. Drew says:

      It’s time we’ll never get back, but at least you didn’t even finish it! You missed nothing but disappointment.

    2. aMan UnderSeize says:

      LOL a 13 year old chiming in on a show (supposedly for adults) like they are an expert, as cute as it is cringe.

  13. Solo Se says:

    Oh, thank god it’s not just me. This post is exactly everything I walked away from this show feeling and thinking. It’s so bad, no matter how I look at it, and now I have to side-eye every friend who has gushed about it and told me I need to watch it. They all owe me ~100 minutes of my life back.

    1. Drew says:

      100 minutes you could have spent doing literally anything else…

  14. Justin Ukabiala says:

    What makes a plot interesting? I very curious. A simple plot is not bad at all in fact I think trying to make a grand put is where you dig your grave.

  15. Gladeflower says:

    Same reaction here, everyone else is loving it death around me whilst me and my partner(a writer and long time storyteller) cant stand it. The best visuals mixed with the worst writing.

    1. Drew says:

      Have you all watched season 2 yet? I still can’t bring myself to do it.

      1. DeathStar says:

        If you didn’t like the first one you should avoid it. I kinda like it, but i like many things. If they did better voice actors and lines it would be better.

        1. Drew says:

          That was sort of my thoughts. Seems like I’d be wasting my time other than to just write more negative reviews, which obviously no one else wants.

  16. Eddie says:

    What would you recommend that has the gothic/ gore elements? I like the atmosphere that Castlevania lends.

    1. Drew says:

      Watch Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust if that’s what you’re looking for. I think the whole thing is on YouTube!

  17. CRANK says:

    I would point out that this show has left out so much great material that easily could have been incorporated into a great show.
    The games are chock full of characters, monsters, and other lore.
    I mean a whole playable character doesn’t even show up in the show, Grant.
    Dracula’s right hand man, Death, should have been instrumental in the creation of the undead army and summoning of the infernal legions.
    But, leaving these key figures out of an already great game and story makes the writers pull shit out of thin air.
    They should have stuck closer to the source material as it was already golden.

    1. Drew says:

      Anything closer to the games might have helped this show out, because BOY did it need it.

  18. Mako Crab says:

    Your review is dead-on. Castlevania 1 on the NES was the first game I ever owned. And as a lifelong fan of the series, it baffles me how the anime so completely misses the mark. I’ve only just begun season 2, but the same problems continue to plague it.

    What’s especially galling is how Ellis said that he didn’t have the time to work Grant the pirate, one of the 4 main characters of CV3, into the story, but he found the time to work in all these other characters from various other CV games in addition to adding his own original character in the form of Godbrand. He’s said that a pirate in Transylvania doesn’t make sense.

    I feel like a lot of this show’s problems come down to that mindset. Ellis seems like that guy that may honestly love the games, but views them as silly or kiddy and is on a mission to make it cool and dark and edgy, forgetting that those silly elements are also part of the popularity. I still have 6 episodes to go, but Trevor needs to whip at least one candle. Find a reason.

    1. Drew says:

      Thank you! I’m surprised you’ve carried on watching the second season, I still can’t bring myself to watch anymore. Your thoughts on Ellis make sense. A pirate not making “sense” in a vampire world is a little odd, considering the insanity that is already happening and the really dumb choices characters already make, but COOL DUDE. The dark edgy stuff can be there, but you sort of have to embrace the camp a little. That’s what makes them great!

      But again, it seems we’re in the minority here. People just really like this show for some reason.

      1. Mako Crab says:

        I found one paid professional review that also disliked it. The guys at GQ know what’s up- except for the part about how there hasn’t been any good videogame to movie adaptations. There have been. Not many, but a few.


  19. Mako Crab says:

    Finished watching season 2 last night.

    And immediately played through all of Castlevania 3 to wash the taste out.

    First the good:
    – Character designs are solid. Even someone like Sypha, whose cloak is as basic as can be in the game art, looks good here. I had hoped we’d see Trevor don the iconic armor of the 1st four games but I’m not upset that he didn’t.

    – The action. When they fought, it was great. Loved the fight in season 1 against the cyclops. Loved all the season 2 fights at the end of the season. Love how Trevor fights with the whip. Just some great fights on display, even if the animation was choppy at times. The only downside was the stark lack of action throughout most of the show.

    – Vampire Killer. It was great hearing one of the most iconic tunes during the finale.

    – Our three main heroes played off of each other well. Trevor & Sypha in particular.

    Now the not so good:
    – The excessive cussing. It took me out of the show more often than not, and if it was supposed to make it feel more adult, it didn’t. It screamed of trying too hard, like they felt the need to overdo it because it’s a cartoon.

    – “Rated R as f%#k.”
    Classic Castlevania games have never been terribly gory. There’s always some, sure, but the show goes out of its way to throw loads of gore in for shock value. Like demons eating babies.

    – Grant Da’ Nasty
    Not enough time to squeeze four characters into the ensemble cast? I didn’t buy it when Warren Ellis said that before & I don’t buy it after seeing the mass amounts of filler in season 2 & the inclusion of no less than four other characters (Isaac, Hector, Godbrand, Carmilla), each with backstories, arcs, resolutions & epilogues. Without him, this feels less like a true adaptation and more like Ellis couldn’t be bothered to work him into the story.

    – The focus on the antagonists.
    So much time was spent on Dracula’s court of fools, that it sometimes felt like Trevor and co. were guest stars in their own show. Which is a shame, because I liked having them onscreen and kept waiting to see what they were up to.

    – The season 2 plot trips & faceplants right off the starting line.
    To recap, Dracula spends a full year amassing his army of demons, attacks Gresit, and then has no idea what to do next. A whole year to plan & he didn’t think of where to strike & when. So instead of powering forward with the momentum that season one ended on, we get something like 5 or 6 episodes of idiots bickering about where to go next.

    – Game of Thrones lite.
    The plotting, backstabbing & testing of loyalties begins immediately in season 2, and maybe this worked in GOT, but it’s boring here. Especially when none of it seems to carry any weight. Isaac kills Godbrand, but it’s no big deal. Everyone writes him off & carries on without questioning who killed him.

    – Characterization
    The idea of Dracula as this suicidal, world weary immortal is interesting. But he lost all drive in the same day that he declared war & spends all of season 2 moping in his favorite chair by the fire.

    This is just a personal gripe, but I never in my life pictured Trevor as a washed up drunk. Is this typical of Ellis’ work to have drunken protagonists?
    Anyway, his path towards redemption is short but serviceable. I like that he & Alucard grew to respect each other, that he cleaned himself up, and that he stayed with Sypha at the end. But since so little time was spent on our heroes, their happy ending doesn’t feel entirely earned.
    We saw that he & Sypha were growing closer, but they were barely at the holding hands stage, when she confesses that she wants to be with him “forever.”

    It’s disappointing, because this show had moments where it shined & showed what a Castlevania show could be like. But the bulk of it was weighed down by bewildering creative decisions. In all total, there were 2 or 3 episodes that felt worthwhile to me. The rest was wasted potential.

    1. Drew says:

      Ugh, that’s a shame. I feel the need to watch it and see how much of it I agree with you about, but BOY that sure doesn’t sound fun. What a waste of a good IP honestly.

      1. Mako Crab says:

        If anything, it’s short. I’d say give it a watch just so you can form your own decision. It still blows my mind that so many people are in love with this show. It’s not just a bad adaptation of Castlevania. It’s a bad show in its own right.

        And I know I’m still going to watch season 3, when it comes out. *facepalms*

        1. Drew says:

          Hahaha the death march continues forward! I guess I need to get in line…

  20. Rhema says:

    I’m late in this thread, I know. Watched season 1 but can’t get past the 3rd episode of season 2. I’ve been a fan of the games since NES. I really wanted to like this, but it’s lame and contrived.

    I read an interview with Ellis where he admitted he’d not played any of the games. Not surprised. Ellis has tried to turn Dracula in to a victim and bc of that a sort of protagonist. The real bad guys are the church officials and all the bigoted townspeople. Yawn. SJW claptrap from Ellis who probably has some personal issues with the catholic church.

    Dracula is evil incarnate! He is a force of hell. Being a whiny, emo beta is not a good look for Dracula. And where is the actual castle? The entire franchise is named after the living, shape-shifting castle. No, audiences today are more interested in the totally mature political intrigue…not! Well maybe that’s true given the positive reviews and an upcoming season 3.

    The cursing and over-the-top gore were clearly thrown in as a gimmick to help sell a clichéd re-write where Dracula is an antihero of sorts straight out of Twilight and the real evil is bigotry and closed mindedness. Lame.

    1. Drew says:

      You’re doing better than me. I still can’t even bring myself to START season 2. Ellis not having played the games makes sense. I understand the want to make something where bigotry is the enemy – it makes sense and could fit the theme. Just maybe not so hamfisted? Perhaps Castlevania isn’t the show for that. Guess it’s beyond repair at this point anyway.

  21. ramunechan says:

    Hey man. I feel you. It’s so hard to shit on this series because ALL of my mother fucking friends love it, and I guess I wouldn’t hate it as much if the producers didn’t aim to mess with other Japanese classics. But yeah, the animation isn’t the best there is out there, and people are saying how they should continue using this studio to adapt very action heavy, super detailed, anime. Not to mention how they handled the character redesigns, awkward dialogue and just the general attitude of the production team. I feel like I’m in some kind of sick joke or something. Every time I bring up how awkward everything is, or how I don’t think the animation is that great (compared to, idk, Madhouse or Satoshi Kon’s stuff or Studio 4 Degrees Celsius) or how I feel the production team is more inclined to tell the story from a western progressivism point of view instead of interpreting it in the context of the country it came from, people get all crazy and defend this series and it’s producers to the death, even though in my honest opinion, they aren’t doing anything great for anime, artistically (finances aside). I just want to know I’m not crazy, and that someone is going to take my side for once that I don’t think this animation series is that great and that the production team should handle anymore IP’s from Japan. All my friends worship this series. All the people in the fandom I’m in worship this series. Viz media worships this series. I’ve fucking had it.

    1. Drew says:

      Looks like we’ll be wallowing in sadness for quite a while. This article alone has made me find more people than I realized also thought the series was lacking in a lot of areas, so that was nice. But yeah, the overwhelming majority of people do like it. I’m confused by it, but I can’t really stop it now. I just wish I could give my time to the show, but I know I’d walk away mad and disappointed.

      1. Couchcult says:

        netflix’s castlevania is so hard to watch.
        Also, thank you for mentioning vampire hunter d bloodlust. I would’ve preferred they rip off their formula than whatever it was they were trying to do.
        I’m just glad to not be alone in my disappointment.
        This article made me feel better.

        1. Drew says:

          Glad to help. Happy to keep seeing people comment on this article years after the fact! Bloodlust is a great film, would have loved if it was more akin to that.

    2. hayabusa82 says:

      Yeah, I heard they’re trying to get Berserk. Man Berserk 2016 seems like a masterpiece compared to what this studio would do. I even heard one of the clowns say he wanted to focus on Donavin, to my knowledge that pervert only appeared in three or four pages before Guts murdered him. Why the hell would you focus on a child predator. I read that part in the manga and really don’t want to see it acted out. It was one of the major driving forces of Gut’s rage but its not necessary to depict it in film. This studio really is just a pack of weirdos, I hope someone or something stops them.

  22. Andrew says:

    Ah. So this is what it looks like when the Autists get together. Imagine caring so much about something of such little consequence. Pathetic.

    1. Drew says:

      Just thought it was a badly made show! I’m clearly in the minority, as I made clear in the article, but I’m just confused as to why. If you like it, that’s great! I just wish I could.

  23. Doobe doobe dooo says:

    The blue fangs demon is a very well written and powerful scene. From the demon speaking as if he knows god’s personality more then the bishop to the end when the window shows Jesus and one of the saints stareing down at him dying showing that god did indeed not approve of the Bishops antics.

    1. Drew says:

      I don’t know man, watching it again…still doesn’t do anything for me. The writing just isn’t strong, and “puke” is such a bizarre word choice that just makes me laugh every time. I get what the scene is going for, and it’s in there somewhere, but it’s covered up with the edgy voice acting/writing and killing a character no one cares about. He’s not even around long enough to really be an antagonist so his death is so meaningless.

      Again, I’m obviously in the minority, but it’s just not a well made show to me. I still can’t understand how there are three seasons of this.

      1. asd says:

        Isn’t that being just a little bit nitpicky?
        Also, how does noone care about the bishop? He’s well established as a cold-blood murderer, power hungry individual. What do you want from the show writers, have him shoot a puppy so you can really tell he’s a psychopath?

        1. Drew says:

          Maybe, but that’s simply one issue I found among a plethora of others. So even if the bishop isn’t an issue, the rest of the show still is. For me anyway.

        2. hayabusa82 says:

          How about actually adapt the source material, dude it doesn’t really invoke the spirit of the games. Castlvania has so many great monster designs. Where are they? Why did they throw out the art style from the games? I’m sorry, this seemed more like a cheap imitation to me. Why can’t Wit Studio, Production IG, or Ufo Table just get this license away from these idiots.

  24. Aaron says:

    I respect your opinion and your acknowledgment of other’s differing opinions.
    I personally enjoyed the show. It wasn’t the greatest thing I have ever watched, but I wouldn’t describe it as harshly as you did although some of your points I definitely agreed with.
    Maybe it is the nostalgia many people have of this game being tarnished, I don’t know.

    1. Drew says:

      Hey man, I’m glad you like it! I WISH I did! 100% this article is full of me being a blowhard about it, some of which is harsher than it should be, but I think I was just going for anger. Which, to be fair, I was pretty mad after finishing it haha.

      Tons of people love it, I just really, really wanted to be part of that group. That probably makes it hurt more.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Well, here I am, back again. I’ve begun watching season 3. So far it’s not awful. It’s not great either. It’s firmly middle of the road. Trevor & Sypha continue to endear themselves & provide the main reason to watch. Nothing much else to say right now. Hopefully this season isn’t as hard to sit through as the last one.

    1. Drew says:

      Please keep me posted. I keep telling myself to watch season 2 and 3, if nothing else to write a review.

      1. Mako Crab says:

        Forgot to sign in- I was like, “who’s that anonymous guy, he has the same thoughts as me!”

        1. Drew says:

          I was thinking the same thing!

  26. Peter says:

    I agree with you on all the points you’ve mentioned. This series is full of problems like animation errors ( like in the scene when Alucard starts cutting up vampires/soldiersnyou’ll notice that he stops moving in the last frames and becomes a static side step moving image) and serious plot issues. I’ve only watched the first two seasons and haven’t watched the third one yet out of pure fear of cringe.
    In the first season, all that “conflict” between the “Church” and an immortal scientist philosopher vampire with a giant teleporting castle, just doesn’t seem “logical” at all (I know it’s a fantasy series but come on!). They begin with a peasant girl named “Lisa” searching for “science” to help people and she decides to ask Dracula (who decimated entire villages) for help because he knows “science”. Then the “Church” decides to burn Lisa on the account for witchcraft (which is technically correct since Dracula is a supernatural being and he’s the one helping her develop “science” through his “magic”… And don’t forget he killed thousands of people before any of this happened). I also didn’t understand why Dracula condemned the whole human race for the act of a couple of guys since he did worse. You would expect an immortal scientist philosopher vampire to not have tantrums.
    In the second season the plot becomes even worse when they introduced Hector, Isaac and Carmilla. Hector’s a pyrophiliac murderer who loves reviving dead animals (and being Carmilla’s puppy) while Isaac is a former slave with BDSM issues. Dracula’s generals are basically a bunch of culturally colorful idiots and Alucard is an overpowered vampire. I still don’t understand how the “Sleeping soldier” legend came to be if the fight between Alucard and Dracula wasn’t known to anyone else (and why it was so on point to talk about a scholar and a hunter releasing the soldier). If everyone knew about this legend, then even Dracula knew someone would release his son.
    I won’t even talk about Syphia being too overpowered even though she comes from a wandering nomad tribe of scholars who only register things through speech (oral history cannot be preserved because it constantly changes). I also won’t question how the Speakers don’t help at all during Dracula’s attacks on the population if they know magic on the level that Syphia knows. Heck, with that kind of power, the Speakers could have stopped Dracula and helped humankind a long time ago.
    Anyways, I’m not going to expect much out of Season 3 but I’m curious to see how they’ll manage the plot with so many issues. I know they’ll try to develop more female characters and other stuff just to appeal, and it’ll just make it seem even more like a Game of Thrones anime.

    1. Drew says:

      VERY excited to watch more after this explanation! Sounds like it clearly got so much better.

      1. Becks says:

        This show got worst do not bother. The characters got more annoying, especially Sypha and Trevor.

    2. Becks says:

      I think I lost my vision for a few days after season two and three lol. Sypha is one of the worst characters in the show from the start. The introduction of Carmella is still stupid and she makes a poor villain. Season three tries to be profound, and philosophical but it is riddled with poor writing, poor characterization, and stagnation of the plot and plot holes. You just don’t care about any of the characters. When a plot is so poorly executed, a story that has good characters that are well fleshed out can help to redeem story but not this show, suffers from both ( bad characters and plot)!

  27. Becks says:

    I could not agree more! This show is trash and shockingly it gets worst…I know I didn’t think it was possible either. I am not sure how everyone thinks this is good? I’ll admit I didn’t get to play most of the games but I always read up on the lore and would watch the gameplay so I had an appreciation for the franchise. I heard the creator didn’t even bother to know anything about the source material….ugh. The only good thing about this was the opening credits! This show is trash.
    Season 1 got a 3/5 for me. I thought it was okay, but as you stated the dialogue and the animation were bad. The characters, except for Dracula were annoying. Voice acting was meh. However, I love dark supernatural stories so I gave it a pass and thought the level of gore was appropriate for this show…so it was ok because it was so short!

    Season 2…oh boy! This is a 0/5. This makes season 1 look like a 10 lol. They committed big writing sins! The largest was change character motive/ tactics off screen. Dracula goes from wanting to make a country suffer to wanting to make the world pay?…why…um idk, they never show it but the 1st episode starts that way and the whole world must pay for some reason….Then, Dracula is transformed from a blood thirsty vengeful being to a tired immortal which also occurs off screen. Poor management all around and a bunch of new characters we don’t care about! Carmella is supposed to be scarier them Dracula? Is just a joke. The main characters are not any better. Alucard is ok, Trevor is insufferable and always tired and now is a pushover. The worst, and I mean worst thing about this show since season 1 is Sypha! Ungrateful, bossy, know-it-all that is just horrible. She and Trevor are supposed to have chemistry but you can find more chemistry between water and oil. Her voice is terribly annoying and the actress has no range of emotion. Furthermore, she treats Trevor like crap! She bullies him into doing shit and he just does it…look at the ending. I get that they are trying to create a “strong” female character, but as a girl, I can tell you that strong women don’t have to be bitches that bully and talk down to men. I love the powerful and bossy female archetype, but they made her just dislikable and I think that’s why I cannot stand her the most. They try to make you like these characters because they are “good” and that’s it. There is nothing redeeming about any of these characters. We just don’t care.

    Season 3 is like a -10/5. Utter trash, the creator is just spewing philosophy garbage….I cannot remember what even happened and the characters of course you still don’t care about. The poor writing, animation, acting and lack of good characterization continues. I lost a bet so I was forced to watch this crap. But after it aired people finally started agreeing with me that it was shit!

    1. Drew says:

      Well damn, it looks like you wrote the review for season 2 and 3 for me! Sure doesn’t sound too appealing…

      Disappointing, but not really surprised. I wish I saw more reviews that said the same, but I STILL see people saying how much they enjoy the other two seasons.

      1. Becks says:

        Lol, I am just happy that I am not alone. I really wanted to like this show ( it maybe hard to believe based on my review) but it was so bad but I tried. I tried giving it the benefit of the doubt after season 1 was a bit of a let down. I told myself it was okay and that it would get better but no it got worst. Netflix, as a whole seems to rush most of their shows which can hurt the series as a whole but I’m very glad this crap was so short.

    2. Mako Crab says:

      Dang. Trevor & Sypha are the main reason I was able to get through season 3. I thought they played off of each other pretty well & always enjoyed seeing them onscreen. But to each their own. I can see where she might come off as bossy & holier than thou too.

      1. Becks says:

        I guess we will have to disagree on this point but that’s okay. I just didn’t think there relationship was believable at all. The overall characterization in this show is poorly done anyways. I would of liked to see a well written power duo because it is so rare in media where both characters can hold their own, however, I didn’t not find it in this show. You are lucky you found something you liked to get you through it because I couldn’t find it, especially after Dracula’s death.

  28. Mako Crab says:

    Finished season 3. Overall it felt like an improvement over season 2, but that’s not saying much.

    There were 4 separate stories going on: Trevor & Sypha, Alucard, Hector & Isaac. None of these stories intertwine & only Isaac’s has the potential to connect to Hector, since he wants revenge on him. But even so, none of our main cast bump into each other.

    Alucard’s story is a complete waste & could be cut from the show entirely without losing anything. The most cringe worthy moments came from his sub-plot too. Nothing about it was good.

    I found Isaac’s story at least interesting. It took him all season to … NOT make it to where he was going, but I guess the stage is set for things to happen in season 4. Still, he was surprisingly one of the better aspects of season 3. In season 2 I was bored by him, so that’s a step up.

    Hector was …. ehh… O.K. I guess. But Carmilla & her vampire sisters became tiresome by the end. They wasted so much time having pointless discussions about tactics which amounted to nothing as no armies were moved & no battles were waged this season by them. Their conversations were often repetitive and served little purpose other than to pad out the time.

    Trevor, Sypha & St. Germain were the ones really carrying this season for me. Trevor & Sypha are cute as a couple, and I like it any time they come onscreen.

    But there’s a surprise twist with the town’s judge that runs the place. I won’t spoil it, but it comes literally out of nowhere, and I have no idea what the purpose of it is other than to be edgy, angsty or I don’t know what. It killed their moment of victory & ended the season on a downer.

    This show is such a mixed bag. Some of its good. Some of it I like. But damn if there aren’t a truckload of problems with it. I’ve come to enjoy the good bits & enjoy seeing how bad the bad bits get. My wife & I riff on the series pretty much the whole way through. In that way it’s entertaining. But the show is little more than average at best.

    1. Drew says:

      That’s a super level-headed review! I should take notes haha. I’m glad to know there are parts that wind up working, especially the Trevor and Sypha stuff. Hilarious that characters STILL wind up sitting in rooms talking about stuff which is boring and clearly padding. A shame all the stories never cross paths, that would have been a cool addition to have.

      Almost makes me wanna sit through season 2 to get to this, but I’ve said that 1000 times on this thread alone and I obviously still haven’t done it. Maybe one day.

      1. Mako Crab says:

        I don’t that I’d say it’s worth it. I’m honestly considering just dropping the show. It’s nothing but a series of disappointments & failures punctuated by extremely rare, stray cool things

        1. Drew says:

          I can see that. There’s so much TV to consume that it’s hard to sit through anything that isn’t and 8 or above for me at this point.

  29. Mason says:

    100% agree. This show was recommended to me by a ton of people and it is absolutely terrible. All of the action was cool, but the gore was excessive for the sake of being edgy and the dialogue and characters were absolutely terrible.

    I made it to s2e4 and I cant watch any more. The only reason I watched that much is because I was in disbelief that this was the same show everyone said was amazing. Multiple times while watching I went online to make sure I was watching the right show lol.

    Makes no sense how this show is so highly rated.

    1. Drew says:

      Made it farther than me! I still can’t bring myself to start the second season. I also went online so many times to see if there were ANY negative reviews and I found so, so few of them.

  30. Anonymous says:

    100% agree with this.

    I was ready to quit after the 1st season, but everyone insisted it was an amazing anime so I stuck it out through Season 2. Multiple times throughout watching I would double check online to make sure I wasn’t accidentally watching the wrong anime or something. I have no Idea why this thing has been universally praised. For the fight and actions scenes, I can understand giving it some credit. But the story, dialogue, and characters are GOD awful.

    There are a lot of times where I can be like “eh its just not my style”. But this is a time where the writing and dialogue just seems objectively bad.

  31. Anoymous says:

    This show did not, I repeat, did not do the video games justice. They got the characters wrong personality wise, the story didn’t 100% line up all that well, and the whole gothic feel from the games didn’t really get put into effect within this show. It’s like they got gothic and edgy mixed up. I feel almost ashamed when I mention Castlevania and people immediately think I am talking about the show. The third season was it for me. They genuinely messed Alucard’s character up big time.

    1. Drew says:

      That’s a shame, but the more comments keep popping up on here finally agreeing with me, the more I feel I made the right call not watching anymore of it. I’m glad people enjoy it, but I’m disappointed that they’ll just take whatever is given to them. The series deserves so much better.

  32. NN says:

    So glad I found this review. Watched a few very underwhelming episodes and felt like I saw something totally different than everyone else.

    In fact, so many people were praising it, I actually decided to give the show another chance. The “puke” line was the moment I stopped watching for good. Just embarrassing. Hey, if the kids like it, that’s fine with me, but the show is terrible.

    Kudos for going against the grain. You really didn’t hold back, either, haha.

    1. Drew says:

      I probably went a bit TOO far haha. Just at the time I was SO disappointed with the whole thing and EVERYONE else was singing it’s praises. Yeah, the puke line made me laugh out loud, I just don’t understand the goodwill the show gets. It’s getting a fourth season! How!

      1. Stanley Gede says:

        Drew I disagree with you completely but I have an honest question, do you watch anime? If so how many would you guess you’ve watched?

      2. Stanley Gede says:

        The gore is literally what I’d expect for a show about Dracula! like come on guys, seriously. it’s midieval times and with all sorts of hellish creatures about, your going to see some blood the dialogue is very animesque and that’s why I can appreciate it. This isn’t right at all I can literally debate your every issue and you didn’t give the show a chance!

        1. Drew says:

          I’ve watched quite a bit of anime! It has its fair share of issues, but I overall really like most of what I’ve seen. Death Note, for example, is on the best television shows I’ve ever seen. The hellish creatures and blood and gore are not the problems for me, it’s the way they’re implemented that just don’t work. The cursing is entirely out of place, the violence isn’t well animated and mostly feels like shock for shock’s sake, and any of the anime-esque style it might have is mostly a cheap intimation of the real thing. It’s just not great!

          Like I’ve said before, I’m obviously in the minority cause it has three seasons and a fourth on the way, but I just don’t understand how and will forever be perplexed by its success. I watched the full first season, which should be enough to entice me to come back for more. It just didn’t! I gave it as much of a chance as anything deserves. I’m glad you like it! I just won’t ever understand why because there IS a good story in the source material that just isn’t being utilized well here in my opinion. I think people are settling for what they’re given, and that makes me a little disappointed. There’s parts that work, but the bad outweighs it completely.

  33. Stanley Gede says:

    Last thing I’m going to say is if you don’t like anime and I’m not talking about Dbz, I mean like if your not a fan of anime you probably won’t like this either cause everything ppl are complaining about on the article I’ve seen in tons of anime.

  34. deacio says:

    I agree the show has degraded to the extent that IM now scared when I hear them talk about a berserk adaptation when originally I was very excited.

  35. Mako Crab says:
    1. Drew says:

      Yeesh. That’s fucking awful.

      1. Mako Crab says:

        And Ellis is off the show. Season 4 will be his last. And assuming there’s a season 5, it’ll be written by someone else.


        1. Drew says:

          I can’t imagine this will make a difference on the quality of the show, but him getting the boot is the right call considering what is being alleged.

  36. Anonymous says:

    Hilarious. People are mad that there is a lot of cursing and blood in a show about vampires. Angry that Dracula, the patron saint of emo kids everywhere, was acting emo. People saying that the lady is overpowered because she can protect herself, but the town drunk can kill anything without getting a scratch because of his last name and nobody blinks. It’s an entertaining show if you like to see demons, magic, and some gore. If you’re looking for Shakespeare or DBZ, look elsewhere.

    1. Drew says:

      I’m not mad because of cursing and blood! Those things are totally fine when used appropriately. Like I said, it all just feels like it’s using it to be edgy and dark for no reason other than to be edgy and dark. It also just doesn’t fit the time period, it’s incredibly forced. I think it could have been a wonderfully entertaining show, with more to say than grim dark grim blood and gore, but it just wasn’t that in the end.

      Patron Saint of Emo Kids got me good though, truly a fitting title.

  37. Ben says:

    This show is cheesy. I don’t know who the targeted audience would even be. You have the violence, gore, and explicit language suggesting an adult audience. But the application of the violence, gore, and explicit language is middle school-ish. The relationships between the characters are middle school-ish. It’s like a show made to appeal to an immature adult. I found the many anachronisms in the dialogue difficult to swallow. It felt like they were trying way too hard to be relatable. It came off cheesy and insincere. This is my biggest problem with the show – its insincerity. I could forgive the shitty animation, but not if it’s of Alucard giving Belmont the finger in farewell.

    1. Drew says:

      I could not agree more. Well said.

  38. X says:

    I feel the same, fuck this show

    1. Drew says:

      I’m surprised how many people keep finding this three year old article and agreeing and it makes me pretty happy.

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