American anime on the rise: Castlevania

If you are obsessed with anime the way I am, you’ll find the development of anime-style series in the Western countries quite interesting, even though at times not completely satisfactory. However, Castlevania is one of the best examples I can find here, for more than one reason -the first being that the design and the characters are based on an actual Japanese videogame, Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse, published by Konami in 1989.

Netflix has developed it in a TV series based on Ayami Kojima’s artwork for another Castlevania game (Symphony of the Night) and, while you can tell the series it’s not a typical Japanese product, in many ways, it looks like one.

What I liked: the design, for a start. While not as good as a pure Japanese anime, a few details (the castle’s vaulted basement, for example) come out gorgeous and accurate. The two male protagonists are quite intriguing, both Trevor Belmont, the vampire killer (the good guy on paper, but too rough and cynical to be totally likeable and, therefore, more interesting) and Alucard, his antagonist, the half-breed son of Dracula and a human. (Impossible not to find Alucard attractive; not only he’s stunningly beautiful, but he has also sworn to protect mankind from his father. Alucard is clearly the one character where the Japanese manga aesthetics of the bishonen masculine ideal of beauty comes out the most).
I found, on another hand, the female lead character Sypha a bit disappointing, and so it is her banter with Trevor, from which you can already tell where these two guys are heading to (I hope to be wrong). Another thing not totally convincing to me is the army of dark creatures Dracula sent to destroy Wallacchia, which seem too effective, and not enough, at the same time.

However, season one nicely ends in a (convincing) cliffhanger, motivating the audience (me in the first place) to keep watching. It shouldn’t be too long. Castlevania premiered on July 7, 2017, on Netflix in a miniseries of four episode and it has been renewed for a second season in a longer form (8 episode) the very same day. Quite an achievement.

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