Castlevania’s final season, even if it takes a little while to get going, delivers some of the best action the series ever got to take a crack of the Belmont family whip at. But while we might be drawn to the high stakes spectacle of the series’ finale for gory glitz and glamour, early on in the season we’re treated to a heart-stopping sequence ripped right out of Kentaro Miura’s playbook.
Following on from season 3's exploration of the Council of Styria—a quartet of female vampires who were former lieutenants of Dracula, now planning to form their own Empire by invading human territory—early on in the season we get to catch up with one of those vampiric leaders, Striga (voiced by Ivana Milicevic), leading her forces on an expansionist campaign. When the humans decide to be clever and attack the Styrian camps at dawn, burning the vampire forces as they sleep by exposing their tent encampment to daylight, Striga gets even cleverer, donning a sealed suit of “Day Armor” she then utilizes (alongside a broadsword almost as tall as she is) to carve a bloody path through her foes, turning the surprise ambush into a slaughter.
It’s an incredible, brutal scene, and now Powerhouse Animation, the studio behind the series, has shared a brief look at the work that went into crafting it.
Not quite from storyboard to final product, it’s still fascinating to watch each frame build up from its background components, to its models, to final color and lighting passes. Who knew blood needed that much shading?
But it’s also lovely to see the team acknowledge the Day Armor’s aesthetic homage to the work of legendary Berserk mangaka Miura—an homage that, when designed, was simply an acknowledgement of the series’ vast and profound influence on the fantasy genre as we know it. But now, with the recent news of Miura’s sudden passing earlier this month, one made a bittersweet, if appropriately bloody, tribute.
Castlevania’s final season is now streaming on Netflix.
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