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Netflix Castlevania: Nocturne Fail To Impress As Review Scores Tank

By Baiting Irrelevance Oct3,2023
Netflix Castlevania: NocturneNetflix Castlevania: Nocturne

Castlevania: Nocturne officially launched on Netflix to much anticipation. As the audience review scores start to flow in, it is clear that many are not happy with this latest iteration of the series. The original Castlevania series on Netflix is highly regarded by many. While it is not perfect, it did come extremely close. To this day, I still believe it is one of the best animated series I ever watched. That is saying a lot if you consider all the many beautiful animes out there and shows like Arcane and The Last Air Bender. Due to this hype, Castlevania: Nocturne is climbing an uphill battle.

When the series was first announced, most of the sentiment around the show was reasonably positive. While some did not like certain directional choices, most enjoyed the voice acting and animated style. Unfortunately, the end product is far from what many expected. From a personal perspective, I am excited for this show. While I did not finish the series yet, I do look forward to doing so in due time. Hearing all the negativity around the show makes me a bit sad. Deep down, I want this show to be a smash hit like the first. Sadly, we know that follow-ups rarely live up to the original.

Netflix Castlevania: Nocturne Fail To Impress As Review Scores Tank
Netflix Castlevania: Nocturne Fail To Impress As Review Scores Tank

In today’s climate, that is more true than ever. Whenever there is a popular show, it needs to be reimagined. Since I am unfamiliar with the source material, I won’t be able to comment on whether they are significantly deviating. I can only judge the story as it is being told. Maybe my lack of knowledge when it comes to the source material is the reason why I enjoyed the first series so much.

Castlevania: Nocturne vs. Rotton Tomatoes

While I might not have a deep understanding of the original source material, I can read. Thus, from this point forward, I will tell you from the perspective of the viewers why many feel this series falls short. I will withhold my judgment until I complete the first season. On Rotten Tomatoes, as always, the show is deeply divided. Critics called this a masterpiece and gave it a unanimous perfect score of 100. This is high praise and also unlikely. I find it hard to believe that you did not find anything wrong with the series.

While a perfect score does not always mean no flaws, it is still very high for any series. However, it is the viewer score where most of the focus lies. They felt vastly different from the critics and gave it a 54%. There are over 500 reviews; thus, this score is likely more accurate. We must ask ourselves where this massive disconnect between critic and viewer comes from. Is this just the audience upset over nothing, or are professional reviewers far too lenient with this series? Most people are likely aware of how critics’ scores on rotten tomatoes work.

Castlevania: Nocturne vs. Rotton Tomatoes
Castlevania: Nocturne vs. Rotton Tomatoes

Often, companies will pay reviewers to leave positive scores. In fact, this is exposed to be the case on this specific website. Even in cases where the studios do not source the reviewers, things can still get complicated. Many online reviewers have specific checkboxes for things they want in a story. These things are usually of a political or social nature. This is not always the case, but is still a comment trend. In the case of Castlevania: Nocturne, it is hard to say where the disconnect between the audience and critics lies.

Castlevania: Nocturne vs. Source Material

If you look at the viewer score, a common phrase is popping up everywhere. That is the source material or lack thereof. Many believe this series does not stay true to the original work. As with most series these days, we need to talk about the big elephant in the room called race swapping. By this point, if you have ever played the original games, you are likely aware that the Annette you know and the Annette in the Netflix series do not look the same. Netflix pulled their classic trademark and decided to swap the character around. Personally, I do not mind the change as long as the story is still good.

I also have a bit of bias as the voice actress is a fellow South African, so I am sure this role means a lot to her. However, I will put my personal feelings aside and objectively look at the matter. My rule for these types of changes is always simple. The character’s race should not become the show’s identity, and the story needs to be good. You can get away with a race swap if the character’s personality remains true to the original or if you improve them. The most significant criticism people have for Annette is how much she has changed.

Castlevania: Nocturne vs. Source Material
Castlevania: Nocturne vs. Source Material

For most, she is nothing like the original at all. The character is Annette only in name. As stated, though, if you did not play the games, this change likely will not matter to you. However, even without knowing the original, many still feel the dialogue does not work. Many of the characters have complete personality shifts that are inconsistent with the original. Once again, even without playing the games, many took issue with the aggressive dialogue.

The Castlevania: Nocturne Divide

Since the reviewer score for the series is almost evenly split down the middle, it is worth exploring where this divide comes from. Most of the positive reviews for this show come from their love for the original. Most positive posters write about how much this series reminds them of the original Netflix series. For the negative reviews, it is almost exclusively the writing style and how little the show has to do with the original IP. This proves that there are two camps. One camp likely does not know that the series is a video game adaptation dating back to the 1980s.

Those who do know, struggle to enjoy the show because of how much it differs from the games they love. Since these two camps exist, we must wonder which will be stronger. Netflix won’t care much about the group who played the video games, provided that the new audience is large enough. If there is a big enough group who knows nothing about this IP, it won’t matter if they follow the source material or not. However, that does not mean that Netflix can get away with bad writing. This goes back to my original criteria for deviating from the source material.

The Castlevania: Nocturne Divide
The Castlevania: Nocturne Divide

You still need to ensure that your retelling is good. If the version of the story is bad, you will alienate both camps. The first group won’t watch because you did not follow the writing of the original created. The second group will turn away simply because the show is boring. Rings of Power is a great example of this. I know little about Lord of the Rings but did not watch Rings of Power simply because I got bored.


Deviating from the source material had very little to do with my decision. I can imagine that for Castlevania watchers, it will be very similar. Ultimately, I still hold out hope for this series. While audience scores might be divided, hopefully, fans of the first series can still enjoy the second.

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33 thoughts on “Netflix Castlevania: Nocturne Fail To Impress As Review Scores Tank”
  1. […] Castlevania: Nocturne has been out for over a week now. Thus far, the audience score for this show has been relatively mixed. This is disappointing as I am a massive fan of the original Netflix series. I thought the first show was close to a masterpiece but was unaware that Castlevania was also a video game with long-standing lore dating back to the 1980s. With this knowledge, I understand why some people might be upset. If you grew up with the games and know the characters one way and then see them come to life completely differently, it is understandable why some might be upset. […]

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