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Reviews WesternAnimation / Castlevania 2017

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11/14/2017 02:10:22 •••

Just Keep Talking, Talking, Talking

I've not played a Castlevania game, but I've watched enough of them over my brother's shoulder to get the general gist. Borrowing heavily from Vampire Hunter D, Castlevania tells the story about how a medieval nation gets into Dracula's bad books by burning his wife at the stake. I don't know if fans will appreciate this anime-esque adaptation of the games, but I certainly didn't.

Right away, there seems to be some problems with the animation. Characters on screen only do one thing at a time - a character will stand stationery and flap their mouth to talk at a bunch of other stationery characters. Then he'll stop talking so that he can make a gesture with his arm. Whilst he does this, everyone remains motionless. Only when his gesture is done can he then continue talking to the still motionless room. It feels like watching an amateur try out stop motion animation for the first time, lacking the know how to coordinate multiple actions at once. As a result, every scene trudges along, with people saying and doing things very slowly. It's not helped by the writing either, as people will repeat redundant dialogue over and over again in some ridiculously exaggerated regional accent. Even in the show's best and most dynamic action scene, the hero Trevor Belmont starts lecturing to a vampire that he's a vampire that he must kill, whilst he is trying to kill the vampire (who is very obviously a vampire, whom he is very obviously trying to kill).

The characters are also badly conceived. Trevor Belmont is presented as generic prettyboy edgy anime badass No. 403, first introduced in a scene where he reluctantly enters and wins a bar fight with some nameless thugs. How scintillating. Other characters are the broadest, most one dimensional creations, such as the evil priest, the other evil priest, or the elderly evil priest. Even by the standards of the most childish and derivative anime going, they are offensively boring.

A better production would have made this an hour long episode to a much longer story, but instead we get four overly stretched episodes to a boring, unimaginative and uncool series that ends just as things barely get started. Just go watch a Vampire Hunter D movie instead - this thing is embarrassing to watch.

07/13/2017 00:00:00

I'm not going to get on your case for not liking this series. If it's not your thing, it's not your thing. It is what it is. At the same time though, the series is only one season in so far. And the way I read this, it sounds an awful lot like you're judging the entire series based on its first season alone, not willing to give the upcoming second season a chance. I know that the most important impression is the first one, but the trope Growing The Beard exists for reason, you know. And that's ignoring your wording which, to me at least, implies that you think that the show's first season will be its only season. It won't. And then there's that final statement. This could just be my opinion again, but it sounds like you're telling us not to give this show a chance just because YOU don't like it. Again, I'm not saying this because this is a negative review; if this were a positive review, I would've had the same issues; judging too soon and vague wording.

In other words, I feel like you're jumping to conclusions here and should've waited until the show finished its run before judging it.

Also, Trevor didn't win the bar fight. He was drunk and got his ass kicked.

07/13/2017 00:00:00

As a fan of the games, I couldn\'t possibly disagree more.

07/13/2017 00:00:00

I agree with the main point about it being way too slow, and to a lesser extent about the writing. I take issue with the anime comparisons, though; the art style has some similarities, but the writing, characters, and monster designs are all much more typical in western works

07/13/2017 00:00:00

...Two things.

One, how could you go over all of this show's many, many technical problems without bringing up the truly atrocius sound mixing? Every line that's not being SHOUTED INTO THE MICROPHONE BECAUSE ACTING is usually far, far too quiet, drowned out by the background music or ambient noise.

Two, technically, Castlevania came first. Not that that particular family tree didn't get pretty incestuous as it went on mind.

Aside from that, yeah, I mostly agree. Especially as a fan of the games. I recognize both that you weren't really reviewing it as an adaptation and that the source material was an 8-bit video game with, while more story than most of its kin, not a lot of story, but even considering that, it's not a great adaptation. Warren Ellis's fingerprints are all over it, so that the main character is a hyper-sarcastic nihilistic misanthrope typical of his work, and Dracula is barely in it after the first episode so that he can stroke his raging hate-boner against organized religion.

07/14/2017 00:00:00

My only experience with Ellis\'s work is the first arc of The Authority. I notice that both works seemed to suffer from a bit of a lack of tension and weak characterization on the antagonists (Kaizen and Evil Bishop).

07/21/2017 00:00:00

That\'s not \"animation problems\"... you just described the entire anime aesthetic.

07/29/2017 00:00:00

@Spectral Time Even though Trevor had a priest make holy water to fight the demons in fourth episode... And the fact that Blue Fangs makes it clear that the Evil Bishop is not really working in God's name... And the fact that the Belmonts have always fought against holy themed enemies in the games. Usually in the form of angels and other devine beings being a part of Dracula's army. You sure you're not the one with the hate boner here?

And you DO know that Trevor snapped out of his misanthropic funk in the third episode, right? It's called Character Development.

As for the sound mixing... What are you talking about? I watched all four episodes and I understood the characters just fine. And the characters weren't even yelling that loud. DBZ has it far worse.

Overall, you have a very They Changed It Now It Sucks attitude about this. Despite the fact that if they remained faithful to absolutely everything in the games, there would be no point in watching the adaptation. So what if Warren Ellis is putting his own spin on it? What, is reinterpreting a sin now?

08/11/2017 00:00:00

\"Even though Trevor had a priest make holy water to fight the demons in fourth episode...\"

That\'s one character, who appears in one scene, and who has no dialogue or plot impact. Kind of outweighed by the whole \"badly-written evil priests as central antagonist\" thing.

10/16/2017 00:00:00

@Pannic Spectral Time claimed that Warren has some hate-boner towards religion and is pushing that agenda in the adaptation. My point is that, if he is, I doubt he would've portrayed priests in ANY form of positive light. Not even once.

The preist only appeared once, yes, but he's still portrayed positively. To me, this is evidence that Warren knows that not all priests are overzealous monsters. If that indeed is the case, then he's isn't as hateful as they're making him out to be.

10/16/2017 00:00:00

Seems to be setting the bar a little low.

11/14/2017 00:00:00

@Sugarp 1 Based on what I read somewhere else, Warren is strongly atheist. I can\'t help but wonder if he didn\'t originally intend to portray all the Church as evil initially, only for the producer to tell him to calm the fuck down since this was, you know, a story where holy items actually work, and then he added that nice priest for a scene to appease them. But I admit it\'s pure theory.

Regardless, I personally enjoyed the show despite the cartoonishly evil church. It was fun, had good actions, and Dracula was well-developpped.

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