Netflix may have finally found a way to break the “video game curse” with the animated Castlevania series based on the popular video game.
Netflix released the second season of Castlevania on October 26th of this year, here’s the official synopsis for the series:
“Inspired by the classic video game series, Castlevania is a dark medieval fantasy following the last surviving member of the disgraced Belmont clan, trying to save Eastern Europe from extinction at the hand of Vlad Dracula Tepe himself. The animated series is from Frederator Studios, a Wow! Unlimited Media company, written by best-selling author and comic book icon Warren Ellis and executive produced by Warren Ellis, Kevin Kolde, Fred Seibert and Adi Shankar.”
The fact that season 2 was released the same weekend as Red Dead Redemption 2 was unfair to any potential sleep I may have gotten. Season 1 was like getting a free sample outside the candy store that closes in five minutes. It was just enough to satisfy the craving you didn’t know you had and left you yearning for more; alas, it was too late though, and there was just not enough. There were glimpses of great characters with interesting motivations and backstories to explore. Ending season 1 with the introduction of Alucard only made me want the second season to arrive more so in hopes that we get to learn more about him.
Season 2, much to my chagrin, was in the same vein as season 1. The show likes to give you just enough information to pique your curiosity and deliver just enough details for you to follow what is going on and nothing else. It is unfortunate that we didn’t get to delve more into Trevor, Sypha, and Alucard–three unlikely allies–who go through more of a journey and learn to rely on each other. Trevor and Alucard are so abrasive in general, especially to each other, and I would have enjoyed watching all that play out. I feel it would have been more impactful to have seen them go from dysfunctional DnD tropes to a quasi-functional family unit that is bound together by more than just a desire to kill Dracula.
Don’t get me wrong, their individual motivations are great and really well done, but I just would have liked to see a deeper appreciation for each other. Alucard is half vampire and half human: what does that mean to him? What does that mean to Trevor? The Bellmonts hunt and kill monsters, and their manor is home to a library of monster killing paraphernalia. There are lovely moments of Alucard being horrified by items in there…to be a broken record, things are just glossed over and never expanded upon.
The new characters are also fascinating and bring with them a ton of potential as the show continues. A standout for me is Isaac, the human forge master general who loathes humanity so much that he would erase it from the planet. It’s nice to see how driven he is to this end and how loyal he is to Dracula. Even Dracula notices this and they have a nice moment.
Speaking of Dracula, season 2 just continued my love and appreciation for him as a character. He is captivating every time he is on the screen, just a man ripped apart with grief. Episode 7 is by far the best in the series, so much so that I will refrain from discussing it anymore. Just watch it.
I know it sounds like I’ve done nothing but gripe and tear apart the show, but I cannot explain to you my appreciation for it. Everything they do, they do well. The animation is excellent, the fight scenes are fairly realistic…as much as an animation about fighting hordes of demons can be. That is to say, things are grounded in the reality of that world;, nothing seems out of place or out of nowhere. Alucard doesn’t go Super saiyan god super saiyan 4 XXVII & Knuckles, that is to say he doesn’t get overpowered because the script says so, in order to defeat Dracula or anything like that. I just want to spend more time in this world and get to know it, but the show just moves so quickly that in an evening it is gone…’til next season, I suppose.
The first two seasons of Castlevania are currently available of Netflix.
Written by Eric Brockett
(Eric is a millennial and thus thinks his opinion on the internet matters. Sometimes he has opinions on films too. He thinks people care. He knows they don’t.)