Castlevania: Nocturne Is A Worthy Successor To One Of The Best Anime Series Eve


Castlevania: Nocturne was one of the more anticipated anime for a while. Set in the same world as Netflix’s highly successful Castlevania anime series, Nocturne intended to expand the franchise. And I’m glad to report in this Castlevania: Nocturne review, that after a bumpy start, the series absolutely lives up to those expectations.

Please note that this Castlevania: Nocturne review will be spoiler-free.

What Is The Castlevania Anime?

Castlevania: Nocturne review Richter
Image via Netflix.

Castlevania was an original Netflix anime adaptation from Powerhouse Animation based on a highly popular video game series. The story was about a fictional world, ravaged by vampires and monsters, and the three unlikely saviours who rose up to protect humanity from them. Season 1 was a very insular story about the infamous Dracula himself bringing his terror on the world. Banding together, a famed vampire hunter, a sorceress and Dracula’s own son sought to defeat the vampire and his reign of terror.

In many ways, Castlevania was Netflix’s first foray into original anime, and it paid off in spades! The streamer now has an amazing catalogue of anime titles, original and ones acquired internationally. Castlevania was a huge success, spawning 4 seasons of incredible storytelling from writer Warren Ellis. And, while Castlevania: Nocturne changes writers, it still manages to tell an interesting story in this world, with some impressive twists and turns.

Castlevania: Nocturne Review Is Spoiler-Free

Image via Netflix.

While the story never explicitly points out when Castlevania: Nocturne is set, it’s definitely the same world as the original series. Vampires are still a threat, albeit, upgraded with the ability to use magic now as well. The story starts with a member of the Belmont family, Julia (Sophie Skelton), who is following the same path as the other famous Belmonts, as a vampire hunter. The episode sees her sending away her son, Richter, to protect him from her hazardous life. However, when tragedy strikes, Richter’s future is all but set in stone.

The story then cuts to years later, with Richter (Edward Bluemel) now a full-fledged monster hunter like his mom, living in France during the French Revolution. While the aristocracy is still a threat in this time, it’s been combined together with the supernatural threat of vampires, along with an even deadlier looming threat, yet to come.

An Alternate Supernatural History Through The French Revolution

Castlevania: Nocturne review Annette
Image via Netflix.

What’s really cool about Castlevania: Nocturne is how writer Clive Bradley uses the backdrop of the French Revolution to tell this story. It’s a little jarring at first going from Wallachia County to real-world places like Boston and France. But once the real-world historical aspects are weaved in with the supernatural elements, it makes for some great alternate-history stuff. The corruption of the Aristocracy is further emboldened through the support of the Vampire Elite, who is readying the world for their Messiah. One who plans to transform the world into a safe haven for all vampire-kind.

Using this framing device, Nocturne is able to tell great side stories about slavery and colonization that really make the world feel lived in. The stories of Annette (Thuso Mbedu) and Edouard (Sydney James Harcourt) are beautiful and have so much depth. Nocturne keeps alive the tradition of compelling side characters who have great backstories of their own. While the hook of the original Castlevania series was making the infamous Dracula the lead antagonist, Castlevania: Nocturne’s hook is setting the story in the real world, with the events interspersed with real history. It also allows the story to have more impact when drawing parallels to the Vampire threat with real-world events.

Castlevania: Nocturne Review Is Everything You Love About Castlevania

Castlevania: Nocturne review Magic.
Image via Netflix.

Ultimately Castlevania: Nocturne works as a great successor to the original. While it doesn’t initially have the instant epic classic status that season 1 of Castlevania enjoyed, it will definitely find an audience and have staying power. The action and animation from Powerhouse Animation never disappoint, as usual. The animation studio responsible for Skull Island and many other incredible anime style shows, does it again with a fantastic and visually stunning show that grabs you from the first frame and never lets you go.

Powerhouse is one of the best animation studios out there right now, and Nocturne is another example of why. The fight sequences of Castlevania and now Nocturne are some of the most visually intricate and well-choreographed scenes I’ve ever seen, not just in animation, but even in live-action. The fights are engaging, have real stakes and are so visually striking that you can’t look away. The fight scenes alone, even without any story context, are works of art in and of themselves.

Image via Netflix.

Castlevania: Nocturne is now streaming on Netflix.

What did you think of this new show set in the Castlevania universe? Let me know in the comments below or reach out to me on X (Twitter) at @theshahshahid to talk more about Castlevania.

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Entertainment Writer | Film & TV Critic | Bollywood Blogger | Host of Split Screen Podcast | Proud Geek Girl Dad