On March 27, 2020, Netflix renewed Castlevania for a fourth season. This announcement came only three weeks after its arrival on the streaming service — astonishingly quick for a TV show. While that might seem odd for a cartoon based on a video game, the show was among the streaming service’s top 10 for two weeks in March.
So, what’s all this hype around Castlevania? And is it worth catching up on the previous three seasons to be ready for the eventual fourth? Fortunately, we got a primer just for you. So, read on to find out everything you need to know about Netflix’s Castlevania.
While many associate Castlevania with the Netflix show nowadays, the series has a long and storied history in video games, lasting well over 30 years.
After the original came out in 1986, Konami went on to release 30+ games for everything from the NES to the current generation of PS4, Xbox One, and Switch. Each subsequent title delved further into the eternal struggle between a clan of vampire hunters with the surname Belmont, and Count Dracula. All the while, the series evolved from straightforward platformers, to creating its own subgenre, to high budget action games.
While the cast for Netflix’s Castlevania only seems to grow larger by the season, there are four main characters that the show gravitates around.
Voiced By: Graham McTavish
Although he is the main antagonist of Castlevania, Dracula’s origin as a villain is tragic.
Dracula gives up his life as the savage leader of the vampires upon meeting Lisa, a kindhearted doctor. Unfortunately, their life together is brought to an abrupt end when the Church of Wallachia execute Lisa for false charges.
Vowing vengeance against those who wronged her, Dracula plans to eradicate humanity from the face of the planet.
Voiced By: Richard Armitage
Trevor Belmont doesn’t leave the best first impression. He’s short-tempered, cynical, and incredibly unfriendly. However, those negative behaviors come from a lifetime of mistreatment due to his family name.
Despite his reluctance, there’s good in Trevor. As such, he can’t pass up the chance to help those in need.
Voiced By: Alejandra Reynoso
Sypha Belnades is a Speaker, a group of nomadic scholars that maintain their knowledge and history through oral traditions. She joins Trevor after he saves her from petrification.
Considering her upbeat and warm personality, Sypha is the opposite of Trevor. As a result, the two don’t get along at first. However, they find common ground, even leading to deeper feelings down the line.
Voiced By: James Callis
As the son of Dracula and Lisa Tepes, Alucard holds a very unique position in Castlevania. Although he shares a kinship with the vampires, Alucard ultimately decides to oppose his father’s war on humanity.
However, Dracula defeats his son. The wounds sustained from this fight causes Alucard to seal himself away in the catacombs of Gresit so he can recover.
If you’re looking to dive into Castlevania but don’t want to wade through 22 episode descriptions, here are synopsizes for the seasons currently available.
By wrongly executing Lisa Tepes, the Church of Wallachia unleashes a great evil upon the world. The king of the vampires, Dracula, is angry and the only thing that can satiate his rage is the eradication of humanity.
As Dracula’s horde ravage the country, disillusioned vampire hunter Trevor Belmont stumbles upon the town of Gresit. While in Gresit, Trevor ends up meeting a group of Speakers, who task him with finding the legendary hero supposedly sleeping in the city’s catacombs.
After repelling Dracula’s horde from Gresit, Trevor, Sypha, and Alucard journey to the Belmont family home. Their goal being to find a way to find Dracula’s castle and end this one-sided war.
Meanwhile, Carmilla, one of Dracula’s generals, plots to overthrow the dark lord. However, can she persuade Dracula’s closet allies, the Forgemasters Hector and Issac, to join her?
With Dracula’s war on humanity over, Trevor, Sypha, and Alucard go their separate ways. Alucard watches over his father’s castle, while Trevor and Sypha decide to hunt down the remnants of Dracula’s undead army. As romantic sparks fly between Trevor and Sypha, Alucard slowly loses himself in loneliness and depression.
While the heroes go their separate ways, the villains are on a collision course. Carmilla returns to her home of Styria with Hector in tow. After failing to usurp Dracula, she plans to use Hector to build an army of her own. Meanwhile, Isaac amasses an army of his own with the sole purpose of seeking vengeance against Carmilla and Hector.
Is It Worth a Watch?
Going by the metrics, Netflix’s Castlevania is highly praised by critics and viewers alike. In fact, the show has an exceptional score of 93 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. If you want to breakdown the score by season, it’s 80 percent for season one and 100 percent for seasons two and three.
Many praise the show’s nuanced storytelling, well-defined characters, beautiful animation, jaw-dropping action scenes, and dark humor. On the flip side, some criticize Castlevania’s inconsistent pacing. James Grebey from Observer sums up the pacing issues with this succinct sentence: “It’s just frustrating, three seasons in, that it still feels like we’re still always about to hit start on Level 1 next season.”
All-in-all, Castlevania’s positives far outweigh its pacing problem. Its mature approach to the source material is highly appealing to the existing fanbase. Considering it doesn’t require the viewer to know anything about the games, it’s accessible to anybody with the urge for some dark fantasy.