Is ‘Castlevania: Nocturne’ Woke? Here’s What We Think

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One of the things that we love about ‘Castlevania: Nocturne’ is that it has stepped up in terms of making one of the best video game adaptations even better than before. But while ‘Nocturne’ raised the bar once more, some fans believe that it may not have been exactly true to the source material and has become a victim of Netflix’s usual woke agenda. So, is ‘Castlevania: Nocturne’ actually woke?

  • Article Breakdown
  • It talks about new ideas during a different time period that follows a different set of beliefs, making it woke as far as that time period is concerned.
  • Some characters’ races were changed, but they weren’t exactly an issue.

It’s woke in its time period

Set around three centuries after the end of the first ‘Castlevania’ animated series, ‘Castlevania: Nocturne’ follows a new generation of vampire-slaying heroes led by the heir of the Belmont family’s duty of killing vampires. This time, Richter Belmont is the vampire hunter looking to kill an entirely new threat ready to plunge the world into darkness. The storyline also takes place during an entirely different time period.

The first episode of the series was quick to show that the storyline takes place near the end of the 18th century in France. Of course, those who know their history would be familiar with this time period in the history of France as the French Revolution. In fact, the French Revolution is one of the overarching themes of the storyline as Maria Renard, one of the main characters of the series, is looking to rally the townsfolk into joining the revolution.

maria revolution

Of course, a good part of the aristocracy in the ‘Nocturne’ version of France is composed of vampires who are looking to enslave the peasant class for their own self-interests. And this is the kind of aristocracy that the French Revolution was fighting during the events of this series.

Then, in the Caribbean, it was revealed that the people of Saint-Domingue rose up against the nobility and the slave owners of this island and were successful at freeing the people from the noblemen who were using Black people as slaves. Annette, one of the slaves who freed herself from the slavers of Saint-Domingue, went to France to join up with Richter in the hopes of defeating the Vampire Messiah, who was looking to enslave the whole world.

So, in short, a good part of the storyline talks about things such as slavery and other similar topics. In fact, Vaublanc, the vampire who owned Annette back in Saint-Domingue, said that the strong enslaving the weak was the natural order of things. He was obviously referring to the vampires and the noblemen enslaving regular people, particularly the peasants.

The French Revolution, of course, sought the elevation of the peasant class in response to the oppression of the French aristocracy. They introduced new ideas, such as freedom and equality among all people regardless of their class.

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As far as the time period of ‘Nocturne’ is concerned, the ideas that French Revolution the main characters were introducing were actually woke. That’s because the majority didn’t want to accept these new and novel ideas back in that timeline. Of course, such ideas are now commonplace in the time period that we live in, but such ideas were woke back then, especially to the rich people who were born with the rights and privileges that the peasants were fighting for.

Maria, of course, was the symbol of “woke” ideas during that time because she was one of the most outspoken characters when it came to recruiting people into the revolution and toppling the aristocracy. It also just so happens that a good part of the noble population in France were vampires or were humans who became subservient to vampires so that they could benefit from their power.

vampire nobles

So, while some fans think the series is woke, it isn’t. The ideas and the rights that the characters were fighting for were woke as far as their time period was concerned. But those ideas aren’t woke today because they have become part and parcel of our normal everyday lives.

As such, standing up for something that you believe is just and right doesn’t necessarily mean that you are woke, and this applies to the ‘Nocturne’ characters who were obviously just fighting for equal rights and privileges.

Race changes weren’t an issue

Some fans believe that the series became woke when some of the characters had their race changed. For example, Olrox was turned into an Aztec vampire. Meanwhile, Annette was portrayed as a Black character whose roots can be traced to Haiti.

Of course, while Olrox, Annette, and some of the other characters we saw in ‘Nocturne’ were portrayed as white characters in the video games, let’s not forget that this series is not a 1:1 adaptation of the video games. In fact, the series has simply reimagined the video games and their characters, just like how the first ‘Castlevania’ animated series wasn’t exactly a 1:1 reproduction of the events that took place in the games.

annette

This means that the race changes that were introduced in ‘Nocturne’ aren’t supposed to be issues that fans should be worried about. The good part is that the race changes in ‘Nocturne’ actually made sense regarding the characters’ backgrounds.

Olrox, whose background in the video games wasn’t explored too much, was given a good backstory in ‘Nocturne’ as he was portrayed as an Aztec vampire who fell in love with a Native American vampire whom Julia Belmont killed. 

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Annette, meanwhile, shares the name with Annette in the video games but is an entirely different character in terms of her backstory and abilities. In ‘Nocturne,’ Annette is a slave born from Haitian parents but was a descendant of powerful Haitian gods. So, while she does share the name with the Annette in the games, the Annette in ‘Nocturne’ is an entirely different character.

So, in short, the race changes introduced in ‘Nocturne’ made the story more compelling because these characters were given great backstories that added color to the overall plot. And that’s why there is no hint of wokeness in the fact that some of the main characters in ‘Nocturne’ were turned into people of color.

Have something to add? Let us know in the comments below!

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