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Villain Overview

When something is dear to you, its effect upon you becomes immeasurable.
~ Death
Then, for the Master, I'll feast on your soul this night!
~ Death to Alucard.

Death is the secondary villain of the Castlevania video-game franchise, based on the Grim Reaper of folklore. The divine ruler of Limbo and dead souls who decides who dies and lives, he is Dracula's first and foremost follower and second-in-command and often attempts to resurrect him or serves as his last line of defense.

Overview

Death in the games.

Death appears in most games of the series, with the exceptions of Castlevania the Adventure, Castlevania: Belmont's Revenge, the phone game Castlevania: Order of Shadows (though there is an artwork of him), and the arcade game Haunted Castle. Death will be dwelling either in the Clock Tower or the Dungeons of the Castlevania, being most often the second-to-last boss. Death is in most cases a formidable foe, sometimes even harder than Dracula himself, and the King of the Night is rarely a boss to be sneezed at.

Death frequently confronts the heroes when they enter the Castlevania, or when they are about to enter it (as seen in Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and Castlevania the Arcade). Although there are some games in which he only has a minor role, he mostly serves as a major antagonist.

Characteristics

Death is a fallen angel who was condemned to hunt for souls for all eternity. Holding his silent grudge against God, he waited for the rise of the King of the Night. He shares characteristics with the Shinigamis (Death Gods) of Japanese Folklore, but he is the real Grim Reaper. In some games, there are minor Reapers that are implied to work under him.

As the harbinger of death, Death and Dracula are natural allies. Death would help anyone trying to revive his lord, and would wander through the land spreading death and sowing misery to make men's hearts hateful, so that their evil would bring Dracula back. He is stated to obey the wielder of the Crimson Stone, an alchemic jewel controlling souls in possession of Dracula, but their relationship is deeper that a mere bond to an artifact, and he is repeatedly described as Dracula's closest friend and confident. He himself states to work with those who follow the calling of Chaos, to which he is bound.

In most games, he appears to be destroyed after his defeat, but he is never gone for real and it is implied that only his physical incarnation is gone, while his essence is sent back beyond the Veil, until he recovers. In Castlevania 64, he is seen forcibly expelled from the Earthly Planes and states that he will await his victor in Hell.

Personality

Death is absolutely loyal and takes great pride in working for Dracula, holding his lord in very high regards. This is notable when he is confronted to people coveting his lord's throne, as he finds the mere idea of the Castlevania being ruled by anyone else than Dracula "positively absurd".

Death is cocky and confident, but he never holds back against his foes unless he sees a good reason for it. He is cold, cruel, imposing and menacing, never losing his composure and remaining stoic, even when angered. He rarely works with other followers of Dracula, and prefers acting on his own. He revels in demises of all sorts and enjoys very much to taunt and torment both his foes and the dead souls in his grasp.

He harbours contempt towards heroes, but no outright hatred. He addresses them with cold politeness or harsh indifference following his mood, only resorting to insults when he is defeated or outraged. He acknowledges their merits nonetheless, and never hesitates to taunt the heroes whose power is not at its fullest, calling them a disgrace to their name. Moreover, he can prove honourable and respectful, willingly cooperating as long as their goals converge, though he insists that they remain enemies.

Death is a highly intelligent tactician and manipulator, who often uses the heroes when he shares their goal (Ada and Lydie, in Legacy of Darkness and Harmony of Dissonance, Brauner's defeat in Portrait of Ruin). He lets them progress, even stealthily guiding them, before appearing to seize the prize under their noses. Moreover, he can devise elaborate schemes, acting through unsuspecting proxies and smoke-screens from behind the scenes under a seemingly innocuous aspect, but he rarely bothers, preferring to seize opportunities as they go.

He has (or had) apparently a great deal of respect for Alucard, as he somehow bemoans the fact that he sides with mankind and seems reluctant to fight him. However, all the respect he could have for anyone would not prevent him to attempt to get rid of him or her, should they rise against Dracula.

Powers and Abilities

As expected of a minor deity, Death is extremely powerful. He has full control over Limbo, where he gathers all the departed souls under his command, which he can summon and do with them as he pleases.

He can cause demises; though he seems unable to do so with the heroes, having to attack them upfront. He masters magic and Dark Rituals, he can shape-shift and alter his aspect, seal people in coffins, rip souls from their bodies, and create images of himself. As a demonic chaotic being, he is resistant to Dark but weak to Holy.

His signature technique consists in conjuring never-ending waves of sickles to harass the players, that can intercept projectiles and must be destroyed to reach him. He also wields his huge scythe with immense proficiency and use death-themed attacks: Launching dead souls like rays or whirling blasts; conjuring tormented souls; hurling energy balls, scythes of energy or giant, ghostly skulls; causing huge explosions; and so on and so forth.

When defeated, he sometimes transforms into a more powerful skeletal monster to continue the fight.

Other Media

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow

Main article: Zobek

Castlevania Animated Series

Main article: Death (Netflix's Castlevania)

Gallery

Trivia

  • Death usually has 4,444 life-points in games, as the number four is linked to death in Asian superstitions.
    • Often, interestingly, this is a Japanese-language-specific pun, as the pronunciation of the number "four" and the word for "death" are phonetically identical ("shi").
  • Death shape-shifting as a human priest is a reference to Ingmar Bergman's classic 1957 film The Seventh Seal, in which Death does the same. Zead even looks just like Death's representation.
  • His title "God of Death" translated in Japanese is Japan's Shinigami rather than the Western idea of a singular Reaper, which also may explain his status as a minion within the Castlevania game series.
    • It is noteworthy, however, that Death is called "DEATH" in a minority of games - even the Japanese versions - making it possible that Death is, in fact, the sole Grim Reaper envisioned within western folklores.
  • The demonic creature Galamoth has his own version of Death ten thousand years in the future, the Time Reaper. Interestingly, the Time Reaper looks like Death himself in Curse of Darkness, even having Death himself acknowledge this in his True Story Mode.
  • Despite his fealities to Count Dracula, Death fights Soma Cruz in both games that he has appeared in, even though, technically, Soma is the reincarnation of Dracula. In the light novel Akumajō Dracula: Kabuchi no Tsuisoukyoku, Death explains he shall serve anyone who is willing to heed the call of Chaos and take up Dracula's name. It is possible that Death wanted Soma dead to allow the power of Chaos itself to possess the young man, and therefore revive Dracula, or that he had no interest on Soma since he never wanted to heed the calling of Chaos while other candidates did.
  • In the 1991 game sequel Belmont's Revenge, when the player walks across the bridge that leads to Dracula, statues in the background resembling Death can be seen.
  • The fact Death is mostly fought in or near a clock tower may be because the inevitability of death in all living creatures is usually referred to as "a matter of time".
  • Death's appearance planned in the canceled videogame Castlevania: Resurrection looks like the infamous ghoulish skeleton riding a greyish-white horse in the sky, referencing his Biblical role as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, in artist Gustave Doré's painting "Death on the Pale Horse".
  • Aside from his own role as a boss in Dawn of Sorrow, Death also makes a brief cameo in the game over sequence throughout, where he was seen holding a white flame (implied to be Soma Cruz's soul).
  • Similarly, even though Death does not have a major role in Order of Shadows, he does make a cameo during the game over sequence, where he appears and descends upon Desmond Belmont's corpse.
  • Aside from his role as a boss in Castlevania: Bloodlines, the April 1994 issue of Beep! MegaDrive implies that Drolta Tzuentes may have actually been an alias for Death.
  • Death being portrayed with wings in the N64 games might refer to the Angel of Death of Abrahamic religions.
  • In Castlevania Judgment, you look closely at Death's head when he dislodges it doing his Hyper attack, you can see a decay human face behind a featureless (and eyeless) white mask. It was revealed that Death's head is really a mask, and the real head is the human countenance.
  • Death's speech after Cornell loses to him in Castlevania Judgment's story mode references Legacy of Darkness, where Cornell's Wolf form is used to revive Dracula.

External Links

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             CastlevaniaLogo.png Villains

Original Series
Major Villains
Carmilla | Chaos | Death | Dracula | Shaft
Secondary Villains
Actrise | Albus | Barlowe | Beelzebub | Brauner | Celia Fortner | Dario Bossi | Dmitrii Blinov | Elizabeth Bartley | The Forgotten One | Galamoth | Gilles de Rais | Graham Jones | Isaac | Joachim Armster | Legion | Medusa | Menace | Olrox | Ortega | Stella and Loretta | Succubus | Time Reaper | Walter Bernhard

Lords of Shadows
Dracula | Satan | Zobek | Carmilla | Satan's Acolytes (Raisa Volkova | Nergal Meslamstea | Guido Szandor) | The Forgotten One | Inner Dracula | Toy Maker

Netflix Series
Dracula's Army
Dracula
Dracula's Court: Carmilla | Godbrand | Isaac | Hector | Death
Minions: Blue Fangs | Slogra and Gaibon | Priory of Lindenfeld (Prior Sala | The Visitor) | Dragan
Council of Sisters
Lenore | Morana & Striga
Others
The Church (The Bishop | Archbishop) | The Judge | Sumi and Taka | Saint Germain

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Others
Ansem | Billy Kane | Chang Koehan | Choi Bounge | Dr. Coyle | Dragonborn | Master Xehanort | Ryuji Yamazaki | Saïx | Solon | Spiders | Springtron | Team Rocket Grunts | Vanitas | Xemnas | Yiga Foot Soldiers

            Worlds of Power.jpg Villains

Blaster Master
Plutonium Boss
Metal Gear
Vermon Cataffy
Ninja Gaiden
Jaquio | Demon of Destruction
Castlevania II: Simon's Quest
Dracula | Death | Thanatos
Bionic Commando
Generalissimo Killt | The Hand | Master-D
Mega Man II
Dr. Wily | Crash Man | Bubble Man | Metal Man | Flash Man | Wood Man | Quick Man | Heat Man | Air Man

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