Castlevania (Netflix Series) – 8/10

The world of dark Medieval fantasy is horrendously underrepresented in anime. So are good TV series based on video game properties. Netflix just made a giant leap forward for both with “Castlevania.”

It’s no “Berserk,” (my favorite anime series of all time), but the characters in “Castlevania” are at vastly different power levels, and while that’s kind of the point, the human drama remains annoyingly elusive. Still, they got a lot of the atmosphere right — über-goth set pieces, philosophical monsters, and brooding, powerful dudes abound.

Richard Armitage provides an excellent v.o. performance (and some much-needed sarcasm) as Belmont. He’s only outdone by Matt Frewer’s Bishop, a character so far removed from Max Headroom and Frank from “Dawn of the Dead” (2004) that the only thing I can compare it to is Hamill’s Joker from “Batman: the Animated Series.”

+1 point for excellent atmosphere (visual and audio). The voice direction is excellent, and other than “Vikings,” it’s the best score I’ve heard from composer Trevor Morris. Entertaining. (8/10)

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