Castlevania returns for a second season, and finishes off the modified version of Castlevania III with flourish. It’s a slow starter, and there is a lot of “the internal politics of Dracula’s court” going on, but it picks up in a big way. So let’s have a look at these eight episodes, shall we?
As Trevor, Sypha and Alucard head towards the old Belmont estate in hopes to find a way to keep Dracula and his castle in one place, Dracula has assembled his full war council, ready to take out the whole of humanity…
*spoilers appear from here on out!*
Cast of Characters:
The Anti-Dracula Posse, as they’re never known as… nor should they ever be.
Trevor Belmont (Richard Armitage) – Trevor is the last Belmont, who for the longest time assumed he’d never fulfill his destiny and instead just rot away… until he found out about Dracula, and met Sypha and Alucard. Now he has a purpose, and an excuse to go home…
Dracula / Vlad Tepes (Grahma McTavish) – Dracula had turned a corner and began to see humanity in a different light thanks to meeting a human woman, who he bore a son with… then humanity had to go and kill her. Now Dracula is a shell of a man, someone who just wants to die… and take the rest of humanity with him.
Alucard / Adrian Tepes (James Callis) – Alucard is the son of Dracula and his human wife, making him as much Vampire Lord as human, which means while he mourns with his father, he can’t let him wipe out humanity either…
Sypha Belnades (Alejandra Reynoso) – Sypha is a member of the mystic order of Speakers, and has decided to tag along with Trevor and Alucard to help bring down Dracula.
Carmilla (Jaime Murray) – One of the top Vampire Lords under Dracula, Carmilla has begun to see Dracula as weak, and someone whose plans threaten her very existance…
Hector (Theo James) – Hector is a Forgemaster, someone who can bring the dead back to life as servants. Despite being human he willingly helps Dracula with his plan as he has been ill-treated by his own kind in the past. That being said, he’s under the impression that humans will be culled and controlled, rather than out-right killed…
Isaac (Adetokumboh M’Cormack) – Isaac is also a Forgemaster, though unlike Hector he is entirely dedicated to Dracula’s plan to wiping out the human race after he was treated like scum growing up…
Godbrand (Peter Stormare) – Godbrand is a Viking vampire who… well, acts like a crazy Viking. Loves to pillage, rape, and is generally loud and obnoxious.
Dracula having a “just like old times” moment.
Of the main things this series does differently to the game series it’s based on, it’s the depiction of Dracula that stands out. He’s not a one-dimensional baddie, he’s a tragic figure who lost his will to live when his love was killed, only seeing it right to take revenge on the humans who did it before he goes himself. Throughout the first six episodes of this series, we see him mill about the castle and generally sound bored as his trusted Forgemasters and Vampire Lords bicker and argue amongst themselves. Episode 7 is where things get good…
Before that though, we have Trevor, Sypha and Alucard travelling to the Belmont ruins to look through its vast collection of books and artefacts. Credit to all three voice actors and the writers here, as the three have a genuinely funny rapport between them, especially the constant insults thrown between Trevor and Alucard. Trevor eventually finds the Morning Star Whip and Sypha manages to bring Dracula’s Castle to their location, much to the renewed ire of Dracula.
So, Episode 7 then… wow! It starts off with Trevor, Alucard and Sypha entering the castle and taking out all the Vampire Lords (minus Carmilla) while an orchestral remix of “Bloody Tears” plays in the background, finally using a piece of the legendary game series’ soundtrack. Then they face off with Dracula, which is a great three-on-one fight (with the advantage very much going to the one…) then it turns into full on, over-the-top fighting between Dracula and his son, one that only ends when the fight spills into Alucard’s old room. Dracula suddenly realises that he’s trying to kill his own son, the “little boy” he and his wife loved, and loses all will to fight. Alucard takes the opportunity to kill him, with a little assist from Trevor as he enters the room at the last minute. Dracula is defeated, though as Alucard says, really he was defeated as soon as his mother was killed…
Some properly great fight scenes topped off a really good episode. The preceding episode was good too, with Carmilla’s forces attacking Dracula’s men, and Trevor fighting a bunch of creatures with his new Morning Star Whip.
As for the rest? Well, it was fine. Hector and Isaac from Castlevania: Curse of Darkness are here, which makes sense as that game was set a few years after CVIII. Just like the backstory presented in that game they’re both Forgemasters who work for Dracula, though Isaac remains the super-loyal servant he does in the games (though he’s had a complete look and personality lift!), Hector’s story has changed a little bit. Instead of leaving Dracula for a normal life, he is instead manipulated into betraying him by Carmilla, who then later enslaves him for her own needs. Carmilla is a good sub-antagonist, far more the straight forward evil vampire than the Dracula of this world. Her plan to betray and defeat him is stopped when Sypha moves the castle, and in fact the act of doing so accidentally wipes out a good majority of her army. Carmilla with Hector, and Isaac out by himself, are all left as dangling plot threads for a presumed Season 3.
“Yeah, I guess I have no reason to doubt you, scary Vampire lady.”
Godbrand was, frankly, awful. Extremely plain and generic, full of sweary and sex-referenced dialogue that gave me a mental image of some teenager in a writers room nodding their head and thinking it’s really cool. It stood out so much against so many more three dimensional characters, not to mention the voice is just… not right. I understand Godbrand’s actor has legitimate Swedish heritage, but it sounds like someone whose first language isn’t English trying to shout words he’s not 100% on how to say with different tones, causing everything to just sound like the same, shouty tone no matter if he’s being serious, light-hearted, jokey or angry. I was a happy man when he was killed mid-way through the season.
Although it paid off well in the end, I will say that the first few episodes are on the slow side. With the exception of one brief fight on a roadside, our main trio don’t actually do anything but walk around and read books until Episode 6. It does do a good job of establishing our new antagonists in Carmilla, Hector and Isaac, so I’m not saying it was a waste of time, but there is a slower pace.
“Hey, I get this reference!”
Castlevania Season 2 does a great job of building up to a big finale in Episode 7, which by itself is a great example of Western animation starting to actually live up to its far more experienced Eastern counterparts when it comes to high-impact, crazy fight sequences. Episode 8 gives us lots to play with for a Season 3, so here’s hoping this continues further down the timeline!