Forbes Writer Paul Tassi Accuses ‘Castlevania: Nocturne’ Criticism Of Being “Rooted In Racism Or Sexism”

Richter (Edward Bluemel) and Annette (Thus Mbedu) witness a solar eclipse in Castlevania: Nocturne Season 1 Episode 7 "Blood Is the Only Way" (2023), Netflix
Richter (Edward Bluemel) and Annette (Thus Mbedu) witness a solar eclipse in Castlevania: Nocturne Season 1 Episode 7 "Blood Is the Only Way" (2023), Netflix

Seemingly unable to fathom that fans may have legitimate complaints against Netflix’s treatment of the series’ source material, Forbes critic Paul Tassi has attempted to claim that the widespread backlash against Castlevania: Nocturne is borne solely from racism and sexism.


Annette in Castlevania: Nocturne Episode 5 “The Natural Order” (2023), Netflix

RELATED: ‘Castlevania: Nocturne’ Director Samuel Deats Disavows Netflix Marketing’s Insulting Of Richter Belmont: “It Was Disrespectful To The Story, Characters, Fans, And To Us As Creators”

A stand-alone spin-off from Netflix’s core Castlevania series, Castlevania: Nocturne touts itself as an adaptation of the 1994 Konami-produced video game Castlevania: Rondo of Blood (and to a lesser extent, the seminal Castlevania: Symphony of the Night).

However, in typical Western adapatation fashion, Nocturne deviates heavily from its source material. From race-swapping Annette, to giving Richter’s adventure a slight hint of racial strife, to having the blue-clad hero embarassingly finish off Olrox (himself also race-swapped) with an exchange of edgy dialogue that would make even Joss Whedon cringe, Nocturne takes more creative liberties with the Belmont legend than any of the previous seasons.

castlevania rotten tomatoes

Castlevania: Nocturne Rotten Tomatoes

And in another unsurprising aspect of Nocturne‘s existance, Netflix’s running riot over Konami’s original games has led to a polarization of opinions between critics and fans.

Per Rotten Tomatoes, the series currently holds a 100% ‘Fresh’ rating across 14 verified critic reviews – though it should be noted that this number was generated by the site’s own metric of ‘was the review positive’ rather than looking at individual review scores, as while the majority of professional critics liked Nocturne, they did not give it a perfect score.

Meanwhile, over 500 audience members have left the series with a 46% ‘Rotten’ rating, with many specifically criticizing how Nocturne both disregarded the game’s continuity in favor of a politically charged plot and sidelined fan-favorite vampire hunter Ricther Belmont in favor of Annette and her mission of abolishing slavery.

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Annette and Edouard in Castlevania: Nocturne Episode 3 “Freedom Was Sweeter” (2023), Netflix

RELATED: Netflix’s ‘Castlevania: Nocturne’ Supervising Background Designer Steve Stark Stands By Annette’s Race-Swapping: “Go Complain About Something That Matters”

Yet, while these disappointed fans have been very clear about just why they feel Nocturne misses the mark, the aforementioned Tassi has come to convince himself that those who strongly dislike the series are nothing more but tired bigots.

Authoring a piece headlined ‘Netflix’s ‘Castlevania: Nocturne’ Again Proves The Uselessness Of User Reviews’, Tassi took issue with audiences’ rejection of the series, asserting, “[having] watched nearly all of the series now, I cannot agree with the “bad writing, bad characters” complaints at all that you see in the user reviews, but instead, a lot of focus is put on what else, its prevalence of black characters and other characters of color, altering a few origin stories to make that work. There’s a throughline of oppression and the horrors of slavery in the plot, and outside of that, a focus on gay characters as well.”


Annette converses with her mentor Cecile in Castlevania: Nocturne Episode 6 “Guilty Men to Be Judged” (2023), Netflix

“I cannot tell you how exhausted I am of user reviews for projects like this,” Tassi later stated. “This keeps happening over and over where some established IP includes some characters of color or different orientations and the knives come out.”

“I’m just tired of this,” he then opined. “I think user reviews can be interesting when we see splits from critics that are not rooted in racism or sexism. But Rotten Tomatoes (and Metacritic) have got to get a handle on this.”

“I know there’s a side that says its critic reviews that are useless, but user reviews?” he ultimately concluded his grievance. “These systems have never been worse.”

belmont annette

Richter Belmont and Annette in Castlevania: Nocturne Episode 4 “Horrors Rising from the Earth” (2023), Netflix

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