Castlevania: Hymn of Blood pays the ferryman
IGN Start brings us an original fan-produced homage to the classic video game franchise.
Castlevania: Hymn of Blood is an interpretation of a possible backstory for Simon Belmont, the protagonist of the Castlevania video games. It should come as a relief to old-school gamers that the serialized story seems to focus more on references and lore from the three NES games, rather than anything from the more recent (and terrible) games.
The original Castlevania is a pretty basic story, a dude with a whip heads into Dracula's castle and must slay the evil lord. Nothing further is explained in game, and the sequels do little to expand the basic story. Thus the creators here allowed themselves to explore a canon as it is seen only in those games. anything from any external source of lore, like the manuals or later games, is ignored.
It is not an official work of the franchise, and is not even authorized by Konami, who currently hold the rights to Castlevania and its characters.
The story within begins with Simon's birth. The son of Dracula and the monster's emotionally estranged wife, the baby is rushed away to hide him from Dracula's influence. His youth is spent with no knowledge of his origin, until a fateful day when he must be told the truth. The series seeks to understand Simon's motivation for going to Dracula's palace in the first place, and to explore the emotions of a man fated to destroy his father who has become a powerful monster.
It all takes place in a world of small magics. As in the game, mystical things that we see as superstition are, in this world real and tangibly powerful. Simon, and his Uncle Reinhart set out for Dracula's castle, exploring the countryside along the way.
The serial has surprisingly good production values and talent resources for a fan-series, but it does have IGN behind it, so I'm sure that some of the funding comes from there. If you don't know Castlevania well, you might miss some of the less obvious references, but it's still a well-done serial, and serves an example of what a web-series can be.
Here's the first episode. The following episodes (It's up to four at present) can be found in the suggested videos at the end:
New episodes of Castlevania: Hymn of Blood go up on Tuesdays on IGN Start's youtube channel.