Castlevania is definitely a pioneer in lots of ways: a spectacular show of gore, violence, horror, and action with some brilliant female characters and excellent animation and voice acting, it has won the hearts of many fans of adult animated series, horror, vampire lore, and of course of the original video games upon which the show is based.
The vampire characters like Carmilla and Alucard/Adrian Țepeș are not shown as straight-up villains, but as more multifaceted and morally grey characters with complex motivations and layered backstories. If you love the Castlevania series, here’s some more honorable mentions that deserve a look while you wait for the next season to drop. We’ve added 5 more to our original list, for your viewing pleasure.
Updated on July 6th, 2020 by Derek Draven: As mentioned in our updated intro, we’ve expanded on our original list with another 5 supernaturally-charged TV shows that are sure to give audiences their darkness fix. Castlevania fans will find a lot to appreciate in each show, while waiting for the adventures of Trevor, Sypha and Alucard to continue.
15 Van Helsing
Van Helsing is an interesting take on the classic vampire formula, bringing the undead bloodsuckers into the post-apocalyptic age, while blending science into the equation. The show focuses on Vanessa Van Helsing, the latest in a long line of vampire killers who discovers that her blood can turn vampires back into normal humans.
Joining forces with the remainder of humanity, Vanessa battles the new vampiric empire to end its quest of dominion over the planet. The mixture of unique characters, settings and story threads is a fun take on the traditional vampire formula.
14 Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Who could forget the seminal classic that re-ignited the vampire craze, and paved the way for serialized television to make such huge headway? Based on the movie of the same name, Buffy The Vampire Slayer picks up the events and introduces a wealth of characters and stories that continue to remain fan favorites to this day.
The show didn’t just tackle vampires, either. Buffy would find herself squaring off against demons, evil robots, and even fellow slayers vying for supremacy. It also kicked off the Angel spinoff series, which would reap its own success.
Supernatural’s success is evident in its longevity. The show lasted a whopping 15 seasons before finally closing the lid on the coffin in May of 2020. It featured two brothers with monster-hunting skills who travel as nomads to combat various supernatural threats that tie into a larger serialized plot arc.
With 15 seasons worth of material, Castlevania fans can easily get their fix with a tremendous amount of stories and interweaving plot threads while waiting for the new season to arrive. It’s a safe bet that even the most ardent of binge-watchers won’t make it through the series before then!
12 What We Do In The Shadows
For those who like a bit of comedy in their vampire shows, What We Do In The Shadows has enough to go around. This FX mockumentary series focuses on three vampires living in Staten Island who are forced to deal with the realities of the modern world, and the craziness within.
The show has been recently been green-lit for a third season, which should prolong the laughs for the foreseeable future. It’s a great series to pick up for those who liked the humor and banter in Castlevania.
11 From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series
This Netflix series was a retelling of the classic Robert Rodriguez film that went far beyond the source material, fleshing out the overall story and characters to a much larger degree. Spanning three seasons, the show focused on the infamous Gecko brothers and their unfortunate run-in with a vampire coven in Mexico.
The series branched out in seasons 2 and 3 by focusing on Richie Gecko turning into a vampire, setting up an entirely new set of plot threads that culminated into one larger narrative. Though it appears the series might have been quietly canceled, that’s no reason to avoid checking it out.
10 True Blood (2008-2014)
This show needs no introduction: a fan favorite that took the world by storm, True Blood should be on your list anyway. In the series’ alternate universe vampires exist hidden from humans until two years before the show’s start when the manufacture of artificial blood (“Tru Blood”) by scientists eradicated vampires’ need for human blood to live and permitted them to “come out of the coffin” (expose their presence to humanity).
This divided vampires into two frontiers: those who want to assimilate into human culture (“mainstream”) by fighting for equality, and those who believe co-existence of species is unattainable. Humans were also split into vampire allies and vampire oppugnants. The LGBTQ+ metaphors are on point.
9 Penny Dreadful (2014-2016)
Think of this as American Horror Story, only more spirited, imaginative, and literary. In this show (named after “penny dreadfuls”, a kind of 19th-century British fiction books with garish and dramatic contents that, you guessed it, cost a penny) characters and monsters from the pages of Victorian sensationalist horror novels come together to reign chaos over Victorian London. Voyager Sir Malcolm Murray (Timothy Dalton), American gunman Ethan Chandler (Josh Hartnett), Dr. Victor Frankenstein (Harry Treadaway), and psychic Vanessa Ives (Eva Green) join together to battle against these paranormal menaces, while they also face the ghosts of their own pasts.
8 Berserk (1997)
This beloved and bloody anime from the 90s (originally called Kenpû Denki Berserk) was remade in 2016, but the original has more of the characteristic flare that fans loved. Guts, a skilled wondering mercenary that from the moment of his birth became acquainted with destruction and death, is forced to join a mercenary army called “Band of the Hawk” (鷹の団, Taka no Dan) after having lost in combat to its leader Griffith.
He becomes a formidable member of the band, until Griffith’s fateful betrayal when he sacrifices his men to archdemons jointly branded as the God Hand to gain supernatural power…
7 Blood+ (2005-2006)
The series is originally set in 2005 in Okinawa. Living with her adoptive family, the hero Saya Otonashi is seemingly a regular schoolgirl, with one exception: she has no recollection of her past and origin. However, her joyful life is changed after being attacked by a Chiropteran, a bloodsucking bat-like monster that survives by feeding on humans. Saya finds out that she is the sole person who can overpower them, as her blood makes their bodies become statues and break. Equipped with her unusual katana, Saya embarks on a journey with her allies to purge the earth of the Chiropterans and discover her origins.
6 Black Blood Brothers (2006)
Based on the light novels by Kōhei Azano, this anime narrates the tale of Mochizuki Jirou (the “Silver Blade”), the single hero who overpowered the Kowloon Children (powerful vampires). He revisits Japan with his younger brother, Mochizuki Kotaro, and the pair swiftly realise that the Kowloon Children who lasted the Holy War are trying to permeate the “Special Zone”—a prosperous city safeguarded by an unseen barricade that won’t grant entrance to Kowloon Children… lest they’re invited.
The Mochizuki Brothers are Old Blood: the remaining progenies of a formidable lineage of vampires. When Kotaro is captured by the Kowloon Children, Jirou cannot but re-enter the battlefield.
5 Trinity Blood (2005)
This twenty-four-episode anime is based on the light novels by Sunao Yoshida. Taking place nine centuries after an apocalyptic clash amid humans and vampires, the series narrates the enduring cold war between them that has culminated into a fight between two blocs: the Vatican and the New Human Empire. Nevertheless, amongst the carnage and mayhem, many long for an amicable co-existence between humans and vampires. Yet, the Rosenkreuz Orden, an assembly of fanatics who influence the two factions for their own advancement, stands in the way of peace. On the Vatican’s front is Abel Nightroad, a Crusnik: a vampire feeding on vampires.
4 Sirius the Jaeger (2018)
This original anime narrates the story of Yuliy, a vampire hunter of the Sirius werewolf race. In 1930, a group of Vampires escaping to Japan are tracked by vampire hunters called “Jaegers” pretending to belong to the “V Shipping Company”. Amid them is young Yuliy, a werewolf whose village was ruined by vampires. Years ago, a member of the Sirius royal family was selected to keep an enigmatic holy relic called “The Ark of Sirius”, a gift from God exerting tremendous power. Due to its abilities, the Sirius people were besieged, thus it was locked in an undisclosed location. Yuliy and the Jaegers engage in lethal war against the Vampires for control of the Ark.
3 Hellsing (2001-2002)
This anime was based on the homonymous manga and featured the same characters, but followed a slightly different storyline. It narrates the story of protagonist Alucard (no relation to the Castlevania character), an ancient and mighty vampire working for the Hellsing Organization.
While his exact origin is never clearly specified, it is denoted that he is both the notorious Count Dracula and Prince Vlad “The Impaler” of Wallachia. The Hellsing Organization, a British unit, commanded by Sir Integra Hellsing -daughter of the vampire hunter Prof. Van Hellsing- combats the paranormal with the support of Alucard and Seras Victoria, a vampire turned by him.
2 Devil May Cry: The Animated Series (2007)
This anime series was based on the video games of the same name by Capcom, its plot set somewhere between the first and the second game of the series. Dante, the son of a formidable dead demon and a human woman, is an expert gunslinger and swordsman who heads a peculiar agency; its purpose? Hunting demons and devils. In the face of constant monetary plights, he never panics given that jobs always turn up sooner or later. We also follow Dante’s operative Morrison, who calls on him regularly to give him jobs and guidance, and Patty Lowell, an orphan girl Dante rescues and with whom he fosters a father-daughter relationship.
1 Hellsing: Ultimate (2006-2012)
This Original Video Animation series was made after the previous Hellsing anime was finished, and was envisioned to be more faithful to the manga than the first show was. Hellsing: Ultimate begins ten years before the show’s present. Integra Hellsing’s uncle, Richard Hellsing, resentful of his niece inheriting the Hellsing organization, makes an attempt on her life. Integra escapes to the deepest parts of the Hellsing manor, where Richard tracks her, and an effort to murder her unintentionally stirs Alucard, who then ensues to slaughter Richard’s men. Integra grabs the opportunity and murders her uncle. Afterwards, Alucard goes into Integra’s service and she becomes the only surviving heir of the Hellsing bloodline.
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