Everyone’s favourite game adaptation is back for a third season, and this time it has 10 episodes to tell a mostly original story! Does it continue the momentum, or does it fall off the rails now Dracula isn’t around? Let’s find out!
Dracula is dead. After his defeat the three heroes who took him down have split up, with Trevor and Sypha enjoying a long cart ride while Alucard slowly grows more and more lonely in his massive castle. Meanwhile, a trio of female vampires eagerly await the return of their fourth member, Carmilla, who doesn’t return alone…
*spoilers appear from here on out!*
Trevor and Sypha realise that messing about with killer demons is easy compared to dealing with certain humans…
I think, much like the first two seasons, the best thing about Castlevania is the voice cast and the smooth animation. Richard Armitage’s Trevor Belmont is still perfectly sarcastic, Alejandra Reynoso’s Sypha is playful (and also sarcastic, but in a less stoic way) and James Callis’ Alucard is perfectly pompous and… also quite sarcastic, now that I think about it. It works anyway! While one or two moments looked a little like flash animation on beautiful painted backgrounds, for the most part, and where it counted, the animation was great.
Season 3’s plot is where they start to go in their own direction away from the games, at least for the most part. Trevor and Sypha are having fun travelling around in a wagon, defeating various monsters and demon along the way. They’re having a whale of a time, until they arrive in the sleepy town of Lindenfeld. There they meet the head of the village known only as The Judge (Jason Isaacs), the creepy monk Sala (Navid Negahban) and the somewhat eccentric Saint Germain (Bill Nighy), the latter of which soon takes an interest in Trevor, as well as the local monastery, and much like his game counterpart, is interesting in time and dimension travelling. This is where things take a turn for the tragic, and really what the main plot of the season is. So Sala and his followers now believe Dracula was right and that everyone must go to hell, literally, and they have a rather large demon locked in their basement, trying to open a portal to the dimension. I have to say I really loved Negahban’s performance, something very odd about his speech pattern, but it really worked.. The Judge recruits Trevor and Sypha to handle the situation, which they accept happily…
This all ties in with Germain, who as it turns out, is also trying to open a portal via similar means, but in this case it’s to another world where his lost love has become trapped, the two messing about with the “Infinite Corridor” which as well as other worlds also connects to hell, as it turns out. The big climax sees Trevor, Sypha and Germain fight hordes of demons while the Judge and his guards fight the monks, then also fight hell demons when the portal is correctly created. Some classic Castlevania monsters appear and are defeated by Sypha with Trevor takes on the large demon responsible. Germain makes it through the portal to his lost love, we get a brief look as Dracula in hell, and there we go! It was a fun climax, and at least gave a season that mostly feels like set up an end point. That being said we also find out that The Judge had been luring children into the forest, killing them with spike traps and collecting their shoes, so it’s not all a happy ending. This leads to Sypha burning the Judge’s house down and Trevor to saying something along the lines of “We’ve had fun Sypha adventures, but now we’re dealing with my life…”. Grim, but good stuff.
Isaac’s forged creature holds back Legion in one of the best parts of the series.
The other major half of this season focusing on rival ex-Dracula Forgemasters Hector (Theo James) and Isaac (Adetokumboh M’Cormack). The former is enslaved by Carmilla (Jaime Murray) and taken to her castle, the latter sets out on a quest across the world to track Hector down and make him pay for betraying his former lord, about the only thing this season has at least a little in common with the game series (though as mentioned in Season 2, Isaac couldn’t be more different!). I loved Isaac’s journey here, it’s full of him getting to kind of like some humans, and that almost immediately is followed by him experiencing something really bad at the hands of the them. It was a played and scripted really well, and his final confrontation with a dark, mind-manipulating wizard who creates classic Castlevania boss Legion for him to face was a good moment. It’s all leading to Isaac marching to Carmilla’s castle to control Hector, but that won’t be until Season 4.
As for poor old Hector, he is thrown in a cell and then constantly humiliated, then befriended by Carmilla cohort Lenore (Jessica Brown Findlay), all the way up to the point of sleeping with her. Sadly for him, during the sex he is enslaved to her and her fellow vampiresses via a magic ring. Lenore assures him he’ll have a nice room and be treated well, so long as he uses his Forgemaster powers for them. He really can’t catch a break, and he’s a lot more pathetic than he game counterpart. I mean, we all know it will lead to a triumphant moment where he finally gets his own back, but at the moment, you really feel sorry for the guy.
As for Carmilla and her war council, they’re fine. A lesbian couple, one strategist, one warrior, are … fine, Carmilla is still just evil scheming woman (which at least is made fun of) and Lenore is… well, read the paragraph above! They have plans to take advantage of the chaos of Dracula’s death and create an empire for themselves, so that plan, Hector’s inevitable revolt and Isaac arriving are presumably what’s in store for Season 4. Looking forward to it!
The league of mostly boring female vampires.
The thing that sticks out the most to me is Alucard’s story in this Season. He’s alone and feeling isolated, starts going a bit mad, then two Japanese kids arrive and try to attack, before they’re beaten and eventually taken under the half-Vampire’s wing. They’re desperate to be able to defend themselves after being under the thumb of the random Japanese vampire who appeared in Season 2. It all goes well, with the exception of them wanting to see how the castle moves from place to place, then… *sigh*, for some reason, they have a three-way sex session, but it was all the trick so they could kill Alucard because “they don’t trust anyone” and end up getting killed for it. The sex part was completely unnecessary, and the fact it happened at the same time as Hector and Lenore having sex, something that made sense and had a lot of impact, made it look even more stupid as it had the same result. Sex = betrayal, apparently.
The one saving grace was a grumpy Alucard walking past the two kids’ impaled bodies and making a reference to that being how “Daddy did it”. In the end Alucard is alone again, just like at the start of the season, so the whole subplot seems to exist solely because the writer wanted Alucard to still be in the show, but didn’t know how to tie him into it. Ah well…
Saint Germain travels down the Infinite Corridor, possibly seeing images of Dante from Devil May Cry, at least down the line, anyway…
Castlevania Season 3 was a great time, well written, well acted and well animated. Can’t ask much more than that out an animated show! Sure the Alucard subplot was entirely pointless and nearly ruined a big moment from one of the other stories, but that doesn’t dent what was otherwise a great 10 episode season. More please!