An epic saga about bloodsuckers taking over France... bed bugs are calling it the feel-good hit of the year.
While this spin-off of Netflix's previous Castlevania series doesn't have the most interesting take on vampires, Nocturne's stellar action scenes and its use of the French revolution as a historical backdrop are enough to give it a personality worth keeping an eye on beyond the first two episodes watched for this review. There isn't all that much plot in these early installments, and neither are there memorable vocal performances that really capture these characters. But when the show has to be grisly and exciting (which is often), it hits the stake on the head. And even in its more static moments, the vampire characters cast a large shadow over everything, appearing exactly as seductive and monstrous as they're meant to be—just like the aristocracy they're meant to represent.
Nocturne's animation leaps forward several notches during fight scenes, which are fluid and violent and make creative use of both hand-to-hand and magical combat. And given the outcome of the opening action scene, the fights carry a frantic urgency; there's a sense that our main characters might actually lose some of these battles. This makes every crack of the whip and every conjured creature feel like it has real weight, especially against these vampires and monsters that seem to get progressively harder to kill in numbers. Without ever calling attention to its origin as a video game, it provides that same feeling of progression and mounting difficulty.