Netflix Castlevania Series!!

Nandemoyasan

Standing guard
AKA
Johnny
Sumi and Taka...

... Have a lot of points against them, writerly-wise.

1. These are not characters that have any connection to the Castlevania Lore beyond Cho, who never actually speaks a line in the whole series, and is also a character invented for this series.

2. They are not actually very interesting characters up until they give Alucard a 'threesome' as a reward for all he's 'done for them,' as a pretext for murdering him. Alucard being ok with a MMF bisexual threesome is fine with me. It's a bit unexpected, but hey, gay is ok. I don't think any reasonable person would take issue with that at this point, not even a Taylor Swift fan, which is a sentence I never thought I would type. But the point is, this ending betrayal by them is not given a proper buildup, and the stakes (It is unfortunate that 'stakes' is a word writers use all the time, because with any Vampire-Related fiction, it gets to be awful pun fodder) don't seem very high for Alucard, because after the initial shock of what has happened has worn off, I realize that Alucard spends every moment up to when their daggers are about to come down trying NOT to have to use his Sword Familiar to murder them. He was never in any real danger, but he was trying to escape the magic chains they put on him in order to get the ability to reason with them. The danger to Alucard comes off as a manufactured plot twist, for this reason.

3. They are characters that are in the story simply to characterize Alucard. His arc with them during Season 3 is the equivalent of a slow news day. CNN has to put something up on the banner headline, but if nobody died, there isn't a war going on, and the President didn't say anything stupid, then they have to run SOMETHING. Alucard is pants-shittingly popular in the CV fandom. He feels like he was shoehorned into this season due to the weak writing of their arc, and it seems like the cure was worse than the ailment, in this case. It would have been better to include him only in the intro to the first episode and then never speak of him again, but his popularity demanded that he have a story, and it comes off as lazy writing. The only real takeaway is "This is why Alucard can't have friends," and that's kind of a weak theme to begin with. He's a half-human vampire. That in itself establishes his character as an outcast and loner, it didn't need an entire season of this throwaway plot with throwaway characters to highlight it, leading to point #4 (the nail in the coffin... ugh puns)...

4. Alucard's character remains unchanged by the event. Even if Sumi and Taka were only there to characterize Alucard, it's weak characterization at best. Spending an entire season's arc illustrating a point about a character that we already flipping know is meandering and pointless.
 

Prism

Pro Adventurer
AKA
pikpixelart
Though I don’t think it’s accurate/appropriate to say that
Alucard was raped by Sumi and Taka. His sexual encounter with them, in of itself, was consensual. The sex immediately ceased after they betrayed them. Now this isn’t to imply the betrayal Alucard went through wasn’t traumatizing/tragic to him, but I think it’s an important distinction to be accurate in describing said events properly.
It’s important that this subject is handled with tact, I agree, and I apologize. The scene came off as non-consensual for a few reasons, and I’ll explain why I interpreted it that way. It wasn’t my intention to use the term in an inflammatory way, just to be clear.

The scene starts off with Taka and Sumi approaching Alucard in his bed. There’s no seduction that takes place - they simply surround him and say “you’re being rewarded” and begin kissing and undressing him. There was no established consent at this point, especially because Alucard’s body language is that of confusion. He also never really reciprocates fully, only laying on his bed while mustering the ability to kiss back a couple of times. He seemed too shocked and confused to do anything else. Every act is performed to him while he just lays there, and Alucard’s reaction seems pained, to the point where he starts crying. This...does not feel consensual to me.
I don’t know if the intent was if he starts crying because gone so long without human contact, but the execution of the scene made it miss the mark on that.
I think the plot point of them betraying him during sex is fine, but the buildup to it could’ve been way better and the execution of the scene itself was not the best due to the above reasons. Vampires have a distinct history of LGBT representation, and in theory, this should’ve been no different. The ambiguous consent is a big problem that got in the way of that.

Edit: I was curious to see if the staff clarified the scene, and it appears they have:


Writer intent is important, so I’m glad my impression was a misinterpretation. I still can’t help but think consent should have been more clearly conveyed.
 
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Nandemoyasan

Standing guard
AKA
Johnny
I couldn't disagree with point 4 more thoroughly.

X:neo:
Perhaps I'm presuming a lot with that statement, but it doesn't seem like he is all that different at this point... Until further evidence is presented that it has changed him, I am not seeing it. But I could be easily shown to be wrong in the (hopefully forthcoming) Season 4.
 

Prism

Pro Adventurer
AKA
pikpixelart
Perhaps I'm presuming a lot with that statement, but it doesn't seem like he is all that different at this point... Until further evidence is presented that it has changed him, I am not seeing it. But I could be easily shown to be wrong in the (hopefully forthcoming) Season 4.
Alucard definitely reached new levels of cynicism. He used Dracula’s method of a “do not disturb” sign, displaying Taka and Sumi’s corpses on stakes, after all. Returning slightly to his father’s barbaric way of doing things is...definitely a change. Before, he had an element of refinement in how he treated the world. His eyes were drawn with an increased level of stress and distrust at the end, too.

I do agree with every other point you made, though.
 

Nandemoyasan

Standing guard
AKA
Johnny
Alucard definitely reached new levels of cynicism.
He used Dracula’s method of a “do not disturb” sign, displaying Taka and Sumi’s corpses on stakes,
after all. Returning slightly to his father’s barbaric way of doing things is...definitely a change. Before, he had an element of refinement in how he treated the world. His eyes were drawn with an increased level of stress and distrust at the end, too.

I do agree with every other point you made, though.
If you notice, Trevor and Sypha's eyes are drawn the same way during that moment. Basically, everyone's been through hell lately, is what I've taken from it. And I felt that what Alucard did as a result might have been as much to protect people from him as to scare them... Like I said, until I've seen more evidence of it, I am iffy on whether or not this has changed his character. He was distrustful of humans in Season 2 as well, reacting badly upon seeing a shelf full of vampire skulls in the Belmont Hold.

Perhaps, as I said, I'm presuming a lot with that statement, but I'll have to wait until Season 4 to know.
 
Castlevania isn't exactly the most dense series, lore-wise or even character-wise. Therefore it makes sense for any writer to both expand on known characters, concepts and to take liberties with these. The show doesn't rely on video game canon as a crutch. If it did, Alucard would have already gone to sleep for 300 years and Hector's fate would be more similar to his video game counterpart. Instead, the show experiments with what might happen if Alucard did not instantly go back to sleep after Dracula's defeat. This leaves us wondering how the show will ultimately go about reaching this plot point from video game canon.

Will Alucard *ever* go to sleep for decades and centuries? If he does go into hibernation, will he do so willingly or will he be forced to do so? What does this mean for his character?

Admittedly I still haven't played the Soma Cruz Castlevania games and so I do not know how Alucard is portrayed in those. But as far as I know, Alucard has never been depicted as the sort who would impale humans like he does at the end of season 3. Indeed, it's not something you would guess at from anything in the games or even in the show up until that final episode of season 3. It arrives as a shock and is indeed one of the reasons that this season was hard for me to recover from. I no longer know who Alucard is and I have no idea what the long-term plan is for Alucard's character. How will Trevor and Sypha react when they learn what Alucard did? Will they hunt him down? It is possible that Sumi and Taka exist as an answer to the question "Well why doesn't Alucard just stay awake through the centuries and teach people how to be hunters?". That would be one of my main takeaways from the role Sumi and Taka served in this season.

It might be the wrong way to enjoy the show, but as a fan of the games I have to wonder when the show will reconnect with specific elements of the games. When/Why/How will Alucard go into hibernation? When/Why/How will Dracula's castle become a structure that disappears and re-appears throughout the centuries? How will all this connect to Dracula becoming an entity who is resurrected at regular intervals?

To reiterate, Warren Ellis does not use the video games as a crutch and this has been much to the show's gain. But if certain key elements end up missing indefinitely from the show, I will inevitably feel a basic dissatisfaction. If Warren Ellis can't *see* season 4 at this stage, does that mean he is only interested in what plot should unveil because of the current world- and characters that have been built in the show? Will he forego key Castlevania elements (the aforementioned Alucard's hibernation, the fate of the castle and Dracula's repeated resurrection) because that isn't where his story ends up organically? Season 3 is the first season to make me worried that this might be the case. I hope that season 4 gets greenlit and that my concerns will be proven wrong.
 

X-SOLDIER

Harbinger O Great Justice
AKA
X
I think that when Ellis states that he doesn't see season 4 yet, it isn't that he doesn't have an idea of where the characters are going. I think it's more along the lines of how specific he is with those details. They all likely have some loose ideas of where things are going to go, but they tailor the specifics of exactly what they're going to do based largely around the episode count and budget that they're given each season, since they're gonna figure out the scenes and sections that they can use more budget on or less, and then will work things in based on that.

That way if they have some really cool ideas, but don't get the budget they don't feel like they're being cut short, or if they have really simple ideas, they don't get over-committed to them, and then just have to re-think or expand on things if they get more than they were hoping for. I think that when it comes to being a writer, he's more of a "pants" writer than a "plotter" which works well for that particular medium especially when you don't have a long-term contract and multi-season budget, and you need to make each piece you get very character-centric and make sure your audience can feel committed to what's happening.



X :neo:
 

Lulcielid

Light Bringer
AKA
Lulcy
A Small CASTLEVANIA Update

Warren Ellis said:
So, we had our Netflix call about the 28-day data on CASTLEVANIA Season 3 last week. And, because Netflix data is protected, I can’t actually tell you all the exact numbers. What I can say is that season 3’s popularity was an order of magnitude over that of season 2, and season 2 was popular enough to get us season 3. It turns out season 3 did, really, shockingly well. Shows tend to show a little attrition in the third season, and it was, quote, “unusual” to see the audience actually rise by a multiple factor.

Season three was in the Netflix Top 10 — not for animation, not for tv, but for all Netflix content — for a week or two in 40 countries. That was huge. Thanks to everyone in the world who posted screenshots of their local Top 10 banner, by the way — all of you joining in to share that made it pretty easy to calculate, and it was wondrous to see them all rolling in.

And I have to thank our partners at NX, and Brittany and Jeff at DKC, for helping us to get there.

So we’re on for season 4. We don’t expect too much of a covid-related delay, but if that one guy who keeps tagging me on IG to demand “season 4 NOW” could fuck off, I’d appreciate it.

Four seasons of an Anglophone adult drama animation about vampires, moral philosophy and toilet paper. Which is not a niche production, but something with an audience of (stops, sees Netflix sniper rifle dot)… many, many millions. Who saw that coming? If it turns out that this weird thing is what prised open the door on doing adult-oriented drama narrative in English language animation, I would be delighted. Because we just proved that the audience is there, in the same numbers that show up for live-action drama.

In conclusion: thanks very much, everybody.
 

Ryushikaze

Deus Admiral Parsimonious, PHD, DDS, MD, JD, OBE
AKA
Tim, Ryu
Admittedly I still haven't played the Soma Cruz Castlevania games and so I do not know how Alucard is portrayed in those.
Specifically only replying to this, so no spoilers, but Genya Arikado is shown as having worked very closely with the human world to protect it from supernatural threats, We also know that he's fathered several children over the years, including the Lecarde family implied to be created from a union between him and Maria Renard. So it might be that the elements of this and upcoming seasons make him decide that his father's castle is too big a threat to leave around, making him send it into a temporal warp and sealing himself away so that no one can get the castle, except that for some reason Dadcula comes back every hundred years or so, and he just takes awhile to wake back up to these shenanigans.
 
How Netflix's Castlevania anime crafted its bloodiest, scariest, most mind-blowing season yet

Highlights:
Castlevania’s characters feel more real with each new season. Part of that is because we’re spending progressively more time with them each go-round and seeing more of their development. But Ellis also credits it to his close collaboration with the actors. Coming from comics and novels, it took effort for Ellis to adjust to writing dialogue suited to be performed out loud rather than read on the page. He sits in on recording sessions with actors and adjusts lines if they don’t work. He also seizes on interesting inflections in the actors’ performances to learn more about their characters.

“We did play around a little early on with little ‘mutterances’ under the breath, verbal tics like Trevor’s exasperated sigh which just emerged, and a delivery which has evolved from the writing,” Armitage says. “It’s organic, it works because we let it happen, and when I open the scripts and it leaps out at you I get very excited. Everyone is also very flexible in the recording. It’s great to read alongside each other and find that special something between the lines: The human quality that can’t be defined.”
The inclusion of the show's take on Legion wasn't in the original script by Warren Ellis:
Ellis credits director Sam Deats with crafting such unforgettable action scenes.

“I set that thing up, but it was Sam who came up with the giant glowing orb of bodies,” Ellis says. “Sometimes I write an action sequence that is very specific, where I write down every action, and sometimes I’m just laying down the basic beats with a note, ‘Hey, Sam, it needs to be about three minutes. Go nuts.’ Then he and his team sit down and decide how they’re gonna go nuts, and you get a sequence like that. All credit to Sam.”
In the wake of Dracula’s death, Castlevania’s cast was scattered across the globe. By the time season 3 ends, they’ve all seen and experienced horrors that will prepare them for the inevitable conflagration when they all reunite.

“Everything in season 3 gets launched into the air. I have to bring it all down in season 4,” Ellis says. “Again, it might be one of those things where I just sit here and assume I won't get a season 5, so I will need to bring it to at least a partial conclusion, but the things I’ve got in the air can’t stay in the air for another season. I will have to assemble everything more carefully than I am otherwise used to, and I’ve got to bring it all in for a big landing.”
 
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