Premiere date for Season 1 also announced.
Back in February, Netflix announced it would be developing an animated adaptation of the Castlevania video game franchise. This came as a pretty big surprise, since even though Castlevania is one of the true classics of the side-scrolling action/adventure genre, it’s been years since the series was particularly relevant.
The last two Castlevania games, subtitled Lords of Shadow, received lukewarm responses from critics and fans alike. Even rights owner Konami seems to have little interest in the series anymore, with its most recent Castlevania undertaking being a Castelvania pachinko game, which seems to have become the ignoble fate that awaits once-proud Konami properties that have fallen from grace.
When the initial word came of Netflix’s Castlevania animated series, to be helmed by Adi Shankar, I figured it’d be released around the same time as James Cameron’s Battle Angel Alita, Tim Burton’s Mai the Psychic Girl, and other projects based on pieces of Japanese pop culture from the late ‘80s/early ‘90s that a foreign filmmaker is enamored with but seemingly never materialize. So imagine my surprise that Netflix has not only released a Castlevania teaser, but that it even gives a firm release date for its first season.
The teaser starts by massaging long-time fans’ nostalgia, with a an old-school narrow-view aspect ratio being used to show an NES with a cartridge lying atop it, the label for which reads Castlevania. Oddly enough, the cartridge has a translucent colored, the telltale mark of bootlegs, knock-offs, or homebrew games.
After blowing into the cartridge, the unseen gamer inserts it into the NES, which brings up a pixely Netflix menu with 8-bit-style representations of House of Cards and other original programs from the streaming giant. He then selects Castlevania, and the preview begins in earnest.
While the animation is being credited to the New York and California-based Frederator Studios, the character designs have definite anime influences. There’s a gothic touch to the artwork, the cast doesn’t look particularly waifish or frail, which makes sense considering how much combat the teaser promises.
The male lead doesn’t appear to be based on any existing character from the games, but does seem to be descended from its heroic Belmont family line, as he’s seen wielding its customary whip and also tossing about throwing knives, a recurring sub-weapon since the very first Castlevania in 1986.
While some of the prop manipulation is a little unnatural, the action sequences look dynamic and exciting. There’s also plenty of blood and gore on display.
▼ Another thing the trailer has plenty of: the colors brown and orange.
On the audio front, the teaser is accompanied by booming brass and rums. There’s nothing wrong with it, but it kind of sounds like the sort of thing that you could slip into the preview for any Hollywood blockbuster or dramatic action TV show, and if you were hoping for the use of iconic, endlessly rearrangeable Castlevania music such as “Bloody Tears” or “Vampire Killer,” you’re out of luck.
The teaser ends by revealing that Castlevania will premiere on Netflix on July 7. The first season is rumored to be a mere four episodes long, with a second season already in the planning stages for a 2018 release.
Follow Casey on Twitter, where he’s wondering if he’s the only one who watched this and thought ‘Dude, you wouldn’t have to blow into the cartridge if you’d keep it in the box, or at least its sleeve.