The four episode series based on the best selling video game of the same name shocked fans of anime and the video game in a good way. With the voice talents of Richard Armitage as a reluctant hero with a history defeating monsters takes on the task of eventually taking down the infamous vampire king Dracula. Armitage brings his powerful voice to the animated world for the first time after being well known as Thorin Oakenshield in the much maligned Hobbit trilogy. Here, he gets to take on a character who doesn’t seem to care about anyone except for himself. Of course, that all changes once he realizes the madness that is taking place in a 1400’s set town whose devotion to their supposed Catholic leaders leads them to their own demises.
As a person who didn’t play video games like this growing up, I didn’t have a real understanding of the premise beyond the few times I’d watched friends play the series of games or just from my own research. What I did know about this game was that it was worth adapting because it’s incredibly cinematic in nature already as a video game and the perfect medium for it is surprisingly anime style animation. The sharp black lines of the characters as well as the over the top blood and guts presented early on in the games shows itself in the show – which happens to be only four episodes – thrusting us right into this dark and frightening world.
For only giving us four episodes, they managed to tell plenty of story without anything ever feeling rushed or forced within the short 22 minute runtimes. There is cool mythology, stunning animation, and thunderous voice acting that just reels me in like a fish without even questioning why. It has the classic traits of an anime with the blood, the reluctant hero, and the Gregorian chants as anything happens in a scene so you can see why they decided to adapt it this way.
There was rumor that Zelda would be a project worth looking into for an anime adaptation and if this is the first of many great games coming to life beyond live-action storytelling then they are more than welcome to find their home in the animated world where there is no stress about overinflated budgets or limited technology to recreate the characters, scenary, or anything else they need to bring the story its color and character while respecting the source material.
The city of Targoviste is where Trevor Belmont will reside until he needs to kill Dracula and it almost makes you wonder if we should just agree with him and let the town die. The four episodes manage to depict the idea of corrupt religion and false prophets with a lot of balls, but does exclude the ideas of having faith in someone or something. Sure, not a lot of people who still believe in the Clergy will find this so cool, but I’ve also been wrong before… Regardless, this was a pleasant surprise to find on Netflix and it takes less than hour to finish the whole first season so you mine as well check it out when you have time to spare.