Castlevania: Catch up with Season 2
Ned Newberry | On 05, Mar 2020
Warning: This contains spoilers for Castlevania Season 1 and 2. Not caught up? Read our spoiler-free review of Season 1.
Anyone who has seen the first season of Castlevania will understand Netflix’s decision to renew for a second season and based on events in it, will thank Dracula that a third season has just landed.
The East-meets-West hybrid blends amazing visuals from cream-of-the-crop animators and superb writing from comic book juggernaut Warren Ellis. While it may be based on an iconic video game series from the eighties, Netflix’s Castlevania takes the lore way beyond the source material.
Where the first season was more of a self-contained story, setting up the world and introducing us to the characters, Season 2 delivers a sweeping, multi-layered epic, all neatly packaged in a classic three-act structure.
What remains consistent is the portrayal of Dracula as a tragic figure. In the second season we find him descending into madness after losing his wife, seeking counsel from his vampire generals and two human advisors. While the vampire generals are an intriguing cast of characters, it is the two humans Issac and Hector that give us the most to chew on.
Issac and Hector will be well known to fans of the Castlevania games but their introduction here is nothing short of exemplary. Just the notion of two humans turning on their own kind is enough to intrigue. However, Issac and Hector’s origin stories, dealings with vampires and the very different places these two characters end up puts these two up there as some of the best antagonists since the king blood sucker himself.
Season 1 featured some breathtakingly kinetic fight scenes but this season’s blow them out of the water. One will have fans of Symphony of the Night (the game featuring Allucard) picking their jaws up off the floor, while another features a stirring tune that will all too familiar to even the most cursory Castlevania fan.
What the fight scenes do best is show off the exquisite animation; everything from the locations to the costume design is a work of art. It’s also great to see new locations vary from what has come before without losing the gothic aesthetic that is so crucial to the series. For an animated product from Netflix, which has the likes of Dragon Prince, Voltron and Troll Hunters under its belt, great visuals should be expected, but the visual style of Castlevania is even more striking in this second round.
However, it is the writing that really sets Castlevania apart not just as one of the greatest screen video game adaptions but also as one of the greatest animated stories ever produced. Whether it’s Allucard’s dark soliloquy about his father’s descent into madness, Trevor’s sardonic wit or Dracula’s closing monologue, the dialogue oozes quality. We learn so much about every character from the conversations they have and a large chunk of the eight-episode arc is comprised of this compelling dialogue.
By the time the credits roll on the second season, the core cast of characters have all gone through fleshed-out, satisfying arcs and their motivations are fully explored. This sets up the last few episodes as the stage for an explosive finale – and, considering that Trevor has come into possession of the Morning Star, a legendary Belmont weapon, the final battles are riddled with explosions.
The end of Castlevania’s second season leaves all but one of the main characters perfectly poised for a new chapter. Watching this season should cement in anyone’s mind how exciting a third season arriving is. If Season 3 is anything like Season 2 it will be something very special indeed. The huge transition that Castlevania’s narrative made from being fairly linear in its first season to multi-faceted in the second suggests the third season will raise the stakes even higher.
It’s time to grab the whip, sharpen the stakes and sink your teeth into Castlevania Season 3.
Castlevania: Season 1 to 3 is available on Netflix UK, as part of an £8.99 monthly subscription.