We’ve been hearing rumblings of a Castlevania animated series in the works for a few months now, but didn’t have much to go on other than whispers emanating from torch-lit corridors. Now, however, after seeing producer Adi Shankar make mention of a Castlevania project over social media, our own Steve Weintraub reached out to him to see just what was up his armored sleeve. It seems that Shankar himself will be bringing the Belmont family (back) to life as a “hard-hitting anime” style animated series.
Shankar, the man behind such works as Dredd, The Punisher: Dirty Laundry, Venom: Truth in Journalism, Judge Dredd: Superfiend, and a brutally reimagined Power Rangers short, is not one to shy away from bringing his artistic vision to bear on whatever project he touches. He’s first and foremost a fan of whatever property he adapts, and even if he brings something to life in an unconventional way, you can see the blood, sweat, and tears that went into it … sometimes literally. With that in mind, here’s what Shankar said about Castlevania over social media:
Super violent Castlevania? Sign me up! Now for the deeper cuts. Here’s what Shankar had to say in response to Steve’s questions:
Question: How did the project come about?
Adi Shankar: In a meeting with Kevin Kolde … he’s a really awesome dude. Frederator and Kevin acquired the rights a few years ago.
First of all, the fact that the independent animation studio Frederator is involved with the production such give this project a huge amount of credibility. This is the same team that’s behind smash hits such as Adventure Time and The Fairly OddParents. Secondly, it’s great to hear that they’ve acquired the adaptation rights to the Konami game since that will presumably allow them to put their own spin on the series without too much interference from outside.
What are you basing the story on?
Shankar: Castlevania III.
Now we’ve got some specifics to work with! Released in 1989/90 (depending on whether you were in Japan or North America), “Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse” centered on Trevor Belmont, who wielded the Belmont family’s legendary Vampire Killer whip. Even though bringing a Belmont front and center to his own series would be epic enough, this particular game featured three other characters who would assist the protagonist, and will likely fill out the cast of the animated series. There was the young sorceress Sypha Belnades, the agile pirate Grant Danasty, and the dhampir Alucard, Dracula’s son, who possessed the ability to shoot fireballs and transform into a bat. Plenty of fun stuff to work with here!
What kind of violence/gore can you show?
Shankar: There will be a lot. The goal is to bring hard hitting anime to the America and be America’s first animated series for adults.
What animated stuff would you say influences the look and feel of your series?
Shankar: Akira, Ghost in [the] Shell, Ninja Scroll, Young Justice aka the best series ever and it shouldn’t have been canceled wtf.
This just keeps getting better, doesn’t it? While it’s not exactly a surprise that a Shankar series would be ultra-violent and rated mature, it’s good to know that this won’t be just a watered-down video game rip-off with a PSA tacked onto the end of it. The aforementioned anime films might be some of the most recognizable ones on American shores, not just for their violence and adult content, but for their role as a gateway into the wider world of anime. For a Castlevania series to follow in that vein is very promising, indeed.
Are you planting easter eggs that only the gamers will know?
Shankar: Yes. Always yes.
Are you already thinking about music? Will it have a score or songs or both?
Shankar: The first thing I thought about was music and how we needed to avoid the traditional sword-and-sandal orchestra cliche and use the heavy metal electro guitar vibe found in the early games.
You’ve got to have Easter eggs; that’s a given. “Castlevania” has too rich of a video game history, one that’s still active in game-playing crowds today, so to ignore that would be perilous. The music is almost as iconic as the game itself, earning a nostalgic spot in fans’ hearts and even making its way into a large-scale symphonic form via Video Games Live. If you’re not familiar with the theme of “Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse”, I’ll leave a sample of it for you to listen to below. While you’re enjoying that, be sure to take to the comments to let us know what you think about a Castlevania animated series coming to life courtesy of Shankar and Frederator!