Our review of Castlevania: Nocturne, spin-off of the famous series inspired by the video game saga, available on Netflix from 28 September.
More than two years after the conclusion of the previous series, the world of Castlevania rises up again Netflix with the intention of climbing the platform’s popularity rankings again. Castlevania: Nocturne it is in fact available from 28 September 2023 with 8 episodes which, very freely, adapt the videogame chapters of the famous saga: Rondo of Blood of 1993 and its sequel Symphony of the Night from 1997.
We’ll tell you right away: don’t expect to faithfully retrace the events played out in the past because Clive Bradley, author of the series, continues the complex work of adaptation and updating undertaken by Warren Ellis, the pen who had signed the previous one, and which has allowed not only to satisfy the majority of nostalgics but also to bring the young generations closer to a true milestone in video games, a title that has made history and which, undoubtedly, contains within itself an enormous narrative potential that is partially still unexpressed. In this Castlevania: Nocturne review we’ll talk to you, without spoilersOf new threats and a new protagonist immersed in a world populated by vampires and demonic creatures who this time will seek dominance by exploiting the unrest resulting from the French Revolution.
A new threat in the plot
We are in fact in France in 1792. The revolution has begun to overturn the socio-political system of the country and so the vampires, taking advantage of the moment of uncertainty, establish themselves in places of power, appropriating those places that were previously the prerogative of the greedy human nobility. So let’s get to know Richter Belmont, last descendant of the dynasty of vampire hunters, who after losing his mother as a child came to Europe to live with a distant relative, Tera, and her daughter Maria Renard. When the threat of a dark messiah begins to loom over the nation, Richter, who still hasn’t been able to face his past, will have to gather the strength to prevent darkness from invading the world.
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The Belmonts are the glue of history
Vampires, creatures of the night and in the middle a corrupt and adrift humanity, Castlevania: Nocturne is the spin-off we expected. Despite being set three centuries after the previous one, the series picks up the threads of history using the work of Warren Ellis as a solid foundation on which to continue building something that is much more than a family saga. The events of the Belmont family are used, in fact, as a glue to put together a broader story that continues to give considerable space also to supporting characters who expand with their experience a context that gradually becomes broader, more credible and interesting. If it is true that this aspect was not particularly appreciated by purists who loved the saga, it is also true that it turned out to be an intelligent move to guarantee the title a potential, long-lived life on the streaming platform.
The psychology of the characters
The context of Castlevania: Nocturne remains highly suggestive, but the success of the series is mainly due to thepsychological study of the characters: Clive Bradley and his screenwriters outline an immature and tormented Richter Belmont, far from the warrior hero he could be. Imperfect and human, he suffers the grip of fear in an almost violent way, succumbing several times to his emotionality and to a memory that has profoundly marked and traumatized him. Even his supporting actors face the same treatment in the writing: they are real characters, full of fragility, sometimes immature through which one perceives the firm intention of a slow and painful growth.
The reconfirmation of the narrative structure
And we talk about slow growth for a reason: these 8 available episodes are in fact very introductory and serve exclusively to place all the pieces in play. However, don’t expect a first season with a pilot nature like the previous series: Nocturne in this he proceeds with the certainty of a path that has evidently already been traced, where it is possible immediately to become aware of the fact that the actual story takes off shortly after the end, leaving with the awareness of having to wait, presumably months, to immerse oneself in the heart of history. At the time of writing, in fact, there is still no confirmation regarding the second season, but it seems very likely that a length more or less similar to the previous production has been estimated with a plot that alternates moments of great action with parts in which the narrative takes a breath and reorganizes itself.
The direction to give continuity
What gives continuity to the series, however, is not only the intentions of the new author but above all the direction of Sam Deats who had characterized Castlevania so much in 2017 and who also in Nocturne offers a good one communion between history and images. The animations are confirmed to be of a good standard, the character designs are captivating, with perhaps a little more attention towards the look set in the nineties which is here revisited but not betrayed. Despite a few less successful moments, we would like to affirm that this spin-off contains good possibilities for the future as long as we choose to maintain the path envisaged at the start, an original path embellished with those elements of the video game which however they always make fans of the saga happy.
To summarize our review of Castlevania: Nocturne we can say that the spin-off of the famous series inspired by video games did not suffer too much from the change of author. The new events told are the natural continuation of the already established story, a continuity that is not only narrative but also stylistic and visual thanks to the hand of director Sam Deats. Despite some less successful moments, this new production still maintains a high level, paving the way for what could, numbers permitting, become a still mostly unexplored universe.
Because we like it
- The psychology of the characters that makes them authentic and interesting.
- Managing story continuity.
- The animations and images are always of a good standard.
- A few rare moments not up to the general standard of the series.