Castlevania – Season 4 Review

Castlevania’s animated adventures come to a close with its fourth season, and while certain plot points and characters are rushed to an unsatisfactory end, the main characters and plot are given a spectacular send off. Want to know more? Read on!

Synopsis:

While Carmilla and her allies continue to plot out to capture and cull the human race Trevor and Sypha begin to uncover a plot to revive Dracula himself…

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

The Good:

Reunited and it feels so … bloody.

Thankfully the core story reuniting Trevor (Richard Armitage) and Sypha (Alejandra Reynoso) with Alucard (James Callis) was really well done and fun to follow. The first two spend the opening episodes uncovering a bunch of vampire and “night creature” dens and following a link they all share with Dracula, particularly an attempt to resurrect him. It leads them to Targoviste, the town where Vlad’s wife was burned at the stake and started the whole thing off, eventually encountering two of Dracula’s old guard in Varny (Malcolm McDowell) and Ratko (Titus Welliver) and meeting the head of the guards of the “underground court” Zamfir (Toks Olagundoye) who suspiciously doesn’t want to show the heroes the underground court itself…

Meanwhile Alucard receives a plea for help from a nearby village and despite his new anti-trust outlook he decides to help out, meeting the head of the village Greta of Danesti (Marsha Thomason), which I assume is supposed to be their version of Grant Danasty at last, though she doesn’t really have the same background or plot as the CVIII character, so… *shrugs* Whatever, she’s nimble and uses a knife in several shots, so I’ll take it. Alucard also meets Saint Germain (Bill Nighy) from the previous season, whose trip in the infinite corridor only led him to meet a mysterious figure who told him to resurrect Dracula if he wanted to see his love again, or more specifically, Dracula and his wife into the same body as some ultimate alchemy experiment, or something… In order to do this he happily follows Alucard and Greta to Castlevania itself, where the duo believes they’ll have a better shot at defending themselves. As a large army of Night Creatures (including several classic game enemies making their animated debut) unleashes hell at the castle walls Germain heads to the room where Dracula was slain and begins a spell to pull the Vampire Lord and his wife into the realm of the living.

Gergoth makes his animated debut, though he’s out-shone a bit by another classic game boss’s appearance later…

This is where the two plots intertwine as Trevor and Sypha fight Ratko and a bunch of night creatures in the Underground Court (turned out the royal family were long dead, for the record…) and then see Varny use a teleporting mirror to pop into the room with Saint Germain. They follow but arrive in a different part of the castle: right behind Alucard as he was fighting a bunch of creatures. Reunited the trio take out a whole load of powerful enemies in a long series of well animated fight scenes (seriously, Powerhouse Animation should pat themselves on the back for this season) before confronting Saint Germain, only to discover that Varny is actually Death itself, trying to manipulate the return of Dracula in a maddened form to create as much death as possible. This put a smile on my face as Death was the last main recurring character from the Castlevania series not to have appeared in the animated show, and his design is great. Germain betrays Death and is killed for it just as Trevor manages to break the spell and then faces off with Death in an epic showdown (slightly ruined by some really cringey lines from Grim Reaper, but hey-ho…) that seemingly ends in a double knockout… or erm, double death, I guess… Although can Death die? … Anyway:

A short while later and Alucard and Greta decide to start a new town based around Castlevania and the Belmont stronghold and invite a grieving, and apparently pregnant, Sypha to join them. She agrees, and then Trevor appears, near death on a horse. Apparently in his dying moments Saint Germain sent Trevor to the Infinite Corridor and saved his life. Everyone agrees to stay in this new town and live happily ever after… then we get a scene that shows Dracula and his wife weren’t sent back to Hell and so even they get to now live a normal and happy life together. So… that’s a lot of happiness for a series that was often on the dark side of the scale! It’s a good end though… For these characters, anyway…

The Bad:

Great fight, shame about how quickly it came about…

Sadly the bad has to be how the whole Carmilla (Jaime Murray) / Isaac (Adetokumboh M’Cormack) / Hector (Theo James) story was finished. In the previous season Carmilla was set up as the big bad villain who was scheming to take control of all the people in her kingdom and the surrounding countries, something her three cohorts Lenore (Jessica Brown Findlay), Morana (Yasmine Al Massri) and Striga (Ivana Milicevic) were worried about as it may be over-reaching, while Isaac was going to be an avenging force reigning down on them and Hector had been humiliated and enslaved to do their bidding and so would clearly get his own back. Sadly this was all tied up in just a couple of episodes in the middle, with Isaac suddenly reflecting on life and becoming good, Hector frees himself from the Vampires’ control but doesn’t do anything, and Carmilla is defeated by Isaac in one episode, leading to two of her council to just turn around and bugger off. Now the Isaac / Carmilla fight was well animated, don’t get me wrong, but was that really the pay-off for a whole season of build up? Hector didn’t even get his revenge, he watched as Lenore, who enslaved him, commit suicide by sunlight but didn’t seem happy or really sad. Very odd, it’s like Carmilla was going to be a big bad for the whole cast and then the next season they’d do the Dracula resurrection plot but then they suddenly had to do both in one 10-episode season so this was cut short…

There was some really embarrassingly “cool bad-ass dialogue” in this season, especially a long scene with new vampire Ratko, who did a really cringey speech where he pretty much just said “I’m a fucking vampire, I kill people and drink blood” but repeated 10 or 20 times with “fucking” added into every second sentence, and as already mentioned Death had some awkwardly written insults during his final showdown with Trevor. It’s just little moments where it feels like the show is trying too hard to be cool and edgy and instead comes across as a 13-year-old’s idea of cool and edgy…

Overall Thoughts:

Death finally makes his animated debut! Great design, thankfully every Death in each game looked different so they could really go to town here and go in whatever direction they wanted.

Castlevania’s final season gives us a great end for our trio of protagonists and the long-awaited debut of a classic enemy. Sadly some storylines end rather quickly and with little fanfare, but overall I was happy with the finale.

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