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Netflix's Castlevania: DO's and DON'Ts

Netflix is producing an animated Castlevania series. These are the things that should and shouldn't be included.

Castlevania is one of the longest running franchises in all of gaming, dating back to 1986. While its popularity has dipped in recent years due to a slew of mediocre titles, the series is set for a resurgence, following Netflix's announcement that an animated Castlevania series is in production.

We know almost nothing about this series at the moment, save for the identities of the people in charge of the series, the fact that it'll be coming out in 2017, and that it will be an adaptation of Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse.

We have no way of knowing exactly what kind of series this will be, but, as fans of the series, we know that there are some things that most definitely should be aspects of the series, and some things that don't belong in this world.

DO: Embrace the Lore

There's a lot more to the Castlevania series than just "Simon Belmont whips Dracula to death." There's a deep well of developed characters and intricate stories that this new show can tap into.

From the morally conflicted Alucard to the animal controlling Maria Renard. From Soma Cruz's battle to stop Dracula's resurrection in the future of 2035, to Eric Lecarde and John Morris's quest to stop Dracula's niece during WWI, the possibilities are endless.

Most likely, we're not going to get to see every aspect of this universe explored. As I said earlier, the first season of this series will be an adaptation of Castlevania III, meaning the protagonist will be Trevor Belmont. And yes, the series likely will focus on the Belmont family as a whole. However, that doesn't mean that everything else needs to be completely ignored.

DON'T: Insult the Material

The co-producer of Netflix's Castlevania is Adi Shaknar.

If that name sounds familiar to you, it's because he was the executive producer of excellent films such as Dredd and The Lone Survivor. However, he was also the director of the short film, Power/Rangers.

The short film was made as a parody of dark and gritty Hollywood reboots of popular properties. Even understanding Shaknar's mentality and reasoning for making the film, as a fan of Power Rangers, I found my watching of the movie to be a downright unpleasant experience.

Now, Castlevania is much darker source material than the majority of Power Rangers seasons. But seeing this quote from Shaknar...

“Breaking News: I’m producing a super violent Castlevania mini-series with my homies Fred Seibert and Kevin Klonde. It’s going to be dark, satirical, and after a decade of propaganda it will flip the vampire sub-genre on its head.”

...I'm more than a little worried. Like all fans of the series, there's a lot of things I want to see happen in the series.

What I don't want to see is Trevor Belmont doing a whole bunch of drugs and killing innocent people. I don't want to see Grant be filled with nothing with angst over his dead family, and I don't want to see Alucard, one of the series's most beloved characters, simplified to the point of being unrecognizable.

DO: Have High Production Values

The above still is from the fight against Dracula in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.

Do you see how crazy this is? Because, for those not in the know, the entire series is just as off-the-walls.

For this series to succeed, the animation needs to be crisp, and the art design needs to be both detailed and imaginative. One of the immediate appeals of any Castlevania are the creature designs and backgrounds. For this to be a good adaptation, it needs to be able to match the games in this regard.

While I'm talking about the production side of things, I'll also say that the producers should search out and hire the best voice actors they can. Yes, this is a series infamous for its bad voice acting, but that's one aspect that shouldn't transfer over to the show.

They shouldn't get celebrates. And they shouldn't just get Tara Strong and Crispin Freemen (although I LOVE them), because they're in everything. They should cast the VA's best suited for the roles.

 DON'T: Change the Core Plot

For this one, I'm mainly talking about the first season of the show.

Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse is the earliest game in the series's timeline, save for Lament of Innocence. If they make changes to the story here, they could potentially impact all future seasons.

And really, despite being an NES game, Dracula's Curse doesn't have a bad story at all.

In the year 1476, Trevor Belmont, hailing from the feared Belmont family, is called in by the Church to kill a risen Dracula. Along his quest, he meets a pirate transformed into a demon named Grant, a young sorceress named Sypha, and Dracula's half-human son, Alucard.

While the plot is simple, this set up allows for plenty of action and, more importantly, the potential for character arcs for the four protagonists. This can be a show focused on the action and the characters; there don't need to be random tangents. There don't need to be extra quests or anything; just plain old, simple character development.

And Lastly

DO: HAM! IT! UP!

While horror elements have always been a part of the Castlevania series, they've been consistently goofy.

And that's just fine! Because, you know what? This series is cheesy.

It's over the top in just about every way. Over the top stories of cosmic battles between good and evil, over the top sweeping scores, over the top boss designs; subtlety is not a word which should be anywhere near this production.

I'm not asking for Gurren Lagann or Asura's Wrath or anything, but the 'cheese factor', as I call it, needs to be strong with this series.

Are you excited for this series? What do you think is important in its production? What other games should get season long adaptations? Let us know in the comments!

Published Feb. 10th 2017

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