Review of Castlevania (Season Two)

castlevaniaseason2

A year ago I signed up for a seven-day Netflix trial, in order to watch the Castlevania animated series. Fast forward to present day were the second season has just been released. Eager to check out the next installment of Trevor Belmont’s adventures, I went to the Netflix site with credit card in hand. Time to reactivate my account I thought. For some reason however Netflix informed me that there is no account on their database registered under my email address (even though by inbox contains receipts stating otherwise.) Long story short, instead of paying for a subscription I am now on a one month free trial. Looks like I get to watch some shows for nowt and then deactivate the service before they bill me.

OVERVIEW

The first season of Castlevania left most viewers wanting more, as it was only four episodes long. Netflix, emboldened by the success of series one, have thankfully doubled the episode count this time round. The series continues from where it left off. Vampire hunter Trevor Belmont has teamed up with Dracula son’s Alucard and a sorceresses named Sypha in order to prevent the bloodthirsty count from carrying out a genocide of the human race. I expected this season of Castlevania to be an action packed affair, were the heroic trio would journey to Dracula’s mobile fortress slaying any creatures that get in their way. The show subverted my expectations by instead dedicating its opener to the villains. In fact, writer Warren Ellis focuses so much attention on the antagonists that they end up getting more screen time than Trevor and chums.

Dracula’s army is led by various generals, including a viking named Godbrand who lives just to drink blood and to fornicate. He is easy to read, unlike the ambitious seductress Carmilla who is adept in the art of manipulation. Dracula’s minions are mostly made up of fellow vampires, but his ranks also contain two humans who are tasked with gathering the deceased and forging them into demonic soldiers. Just like in season one, Castlevania’s script takes the time to explore the motivations of these characters. No one is evil just for the sake of it. In the case of the aforementioned humans, they both turned their backs on the living due to tragic pasts. Isaac for example is a former slave who was abused by the clergy. Hector meanwhile was exiled and despised by his mother due to his necromancy research. Turns out that mommy doesn’t approve of kids that reanimate dead pets.

VERDICT

My rating for Castlevania (Season Two) is four stars. Netflix have once again proven that video games can be successfully adapted into other forms of entertainment. Fans of the console titles should however be made aware that the cartoon is slower paced than the Konami titles it is based off. Much of the series revolves around vampire politics, as Dracula’s lieutenants squabble over how best to enact their lord’s wishes. Meanwhile the heroes spend a good chunk of time at the library rather than kicking butt. I didn’t mind the dialogue heavy episodes, as the story is well written. Ellis knows how to keep things interesting via character development and by using the more duplicitous characters’ schemes to build up anticipation for the inevitable conflict that is to follow. When the action finally kicks off it is well worth the wait. Episode seven sees Belmont and co finally storm the castle. His battle with the vampire generals is excellent, as is the confrontation between Alucard and his father.

In terms of performances I think that most of the voice actors did an adequate job. My first impression of the bloke who played Godbrand wasn’t great. He grew on me though, as the series ticked along. Visually the show resembles a lower budget Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust. The creature designs were generic and lacked detail. More impressive was the artwork depicting picturesque scenery, such as the shots of Dracula’s castle. On the animation front there were times when I felt a few extra frames here and there would have made things look better. I have no complaints however about the flashy episode seven showdown. Overall I was very pleased with how Castlevania panned out. Season two wraps up the story in a satisfactory manner and also lays down the groundwork for future tales. Whenever season three sees the light of day I will be sure to renew my Netflix subscription to watch it. In the meantime I have a few more weeks of free Netflix access to enjoy. Are there any other Netflix exclusives I should check out? Leave your suggestions in the comments section below.

32 thoughts on “Review of Castlevania (Season Two)

  1. Four Stars sounds right to me. Mostly good things, but when it stops for a scene or two, it really slows the momentum.

    Not many other complaints though.

    • Four stars is high praise, when you consider that most video game adaptations are trash. I have seen several people online bash the show’s pacing, but I didn’t mind it. Then again I dig stories were the characters scheme and try to outwit their rivals. By episode five I did start to notice the lack of action. Thankfully episodes six and seven remedied that with plenty of fights.

  2. Well, that is great isn’t it? Cool to watch this without having to pay for it 😊 I quite enjoyed the first season of Castlevania but as with so many things I haven’t yet been able to watch season 2. Great to hear that it’s worth the watch though: 4 stars is a good score!πŸ™‚
    As for your question: Violet Evergarden is terrific. Knights of Sidonia isn’t too bad either if you ask me (although it’s second season did go a bit overboard). The Godzilla animated films are fairly decent too.
    If you want live action exclusives I suggest any of the Marvel series: especially the Punisher and Daredevil.Have fun this month: plenty to see. Oh and of course great post!πŸ˜‰

    • The Netflix thing is so weird. I clicked on “forgot password” and I got a message saying there is no account with my email address. I then sign up for a month free trial and get an email saying “welcome back.” I won’t complain about free stuff though, even if I was originally like Fry in telling them to “take my money.” If there is enough good stuff on Netflix I may end up keeping the subscription alive. We will see.

      Thank you for all the excellent recommendations. I forgot to watch the Marvel shows last time I had Netflix, so I’ll try to make time for them this time round. I’ll also take a note of those animations too. Violet Evergarden is exceptional. I watched it a few months ago, but didn’t review it as I was suffering from blog burnout. Maybe I will rewatch it and post a review now that I have recovered from the blog fatigue.

      • Maybe there is a kind of limit in some way to how long an account becomes inactive? Like if you haven’t re-activated it for a few months they just kind of welcome you back but treat you as if you are a new subscriber? Oh well: it’s still great that you don’t have to pay for this month. I have had Netflix for about two years now, if not longer and I have no regrets. There are new shows being added each month: and there is something there for everyone. 😊
        Violet Evergarden has been my favorite series this year (although Bunnygirl Senpai is getting to be a very close runner up😊). The Marvel shows are definitely worth giving a go: hope you will enjoy them😊
        Glad to hear that you have recovered from blog fatique by the wayπŸ˜€

      • I am enjoying the bunny girl series a lot too. Due to the title, I thought the show was going to be a fan service series. Was pleasantly surprised to see that it has substance. The series reminds me of Bakemonogatari, as it stars a guy who tries to help girls with supernatural problems.

      • Yeah: the title was definitely weird. In fact I would have skipped it entirely had not Karandi convinced me to give it a go. And I’m very glad that she did 😊
        I have not seen that show but I heard a lot of people comparing it to that one. Maybe I will get around to that one some day😊

    • There is no escaping Audible. Half the podcasts I listen to seem to be sponsored by them. Audiobooks are cool, but to be honest I prefer just to buy them when I please, rather than be tied down to a subscription plan.

    • I actually watched Violet Evergarden many moons ago via “other means.” The series is a contender for best anime I have seen in 2018. Perhaps I will rewatch it on Netflix and post a review some time in the future.

  3. I wish I could have gotten more than one free trial of Netflix, affairs with that app should be short and sweet. I haven’t watched season 2 yet but I’m looking forward to it, it’s honestly one of the Netflix original series that doesn’t feel like a chore to watch.

    • Companies sometimes reward disloyal customers, which is weird. They try to bribe lapsed viewers back with trials. In my case however it seems to have been a glitch, where they lost my records. I hear that a lot of the Netflix original movies are poor. Castlevania thankfully is good. Hope they keep up the quality in season three.

  4. I watched the first episode but have never been a big Castlevania fan. But I’m glad to hear that fans of the series are high on this Netflix adaptation!

    • I wouldn’t describe myself as a huge Castlevania fan. The games on DS were fun, but a lot of the other stuff wasn’t my cup of tea. I have however enjoyed this animated series. Even folks who are not acquainted with the games can enjoy this cartoon.

  5. Hello The Otaku Judge,

    Thank you for mentioning how short the first season was, I did not know that, I will probably watch it sooner than later now so that I can get caught up.

    My brother GC watched it and is either watching this season or has finished it already.

    Thank you for sharing your review, it is good to hear that Netflix is improving their animations.

    -John Jr

    • The first season feels like a movie chopped up into four parts to be honest. It’s that short. Netflix seems to be going all in on animation. Apart from this series they have also funded some anime too.

      • Hello The Otaku Judge,

        Cool, I might start watching it today even.

        That is good, especially getting more anime, I did see Devilman Crybaby.

        Thank you for replying,
        -John Jr

  6. Pingback: Tag Response – The Really Neat Blogger Award – Average Joe Reviews
  7. Pingback: Castlevania (Season 1) – John Jr's Blog
  8. Good stuff, getting another month free πŸ™‚ If you haven’t seen The OA or Stranger Things, I’d highly recommend them. πŸ˜€

    I’ve been meaning to watch this show since it came out πŸ™‚ Good to hear season 2 didn’t disappoint πŸ™‚ It sounds like a really cool anime πŸ™‚
    Great Review πŸ˜€

    • Thank you for the recommendations. Stranger Things was already on my watch list, as it is quite popular. Never heard of The OA though. Will have to read up on it.

      Now is a good time to watch Castlevania. The first season was very short. Waiting more than a year for the next instalment was painful. Now that the second series is out you can watch both seasons back to back and enjoy a complete story.

      • The OA is amazing πŸ™‚ It was the very first review I posted on my blog. It has a lot of twists and turns in it’s plot. If you like mind-screwy shows you’d enjoy The OA πŸ˜€

        Good point πŸ™‚ Being able to watch Castlevania the whole way through, will be even more enjoyable πŸ˜€

  9. Should really start watching this show soon. At least before the premiere of the third season. Nice to see that Western studios CAN make good video game based shows when they have the right crew to work with, though I still think the new Tomb Raider movie was a step in the right direction and I enjoyed Rockpage (Rampage). Basically we’ve gone from “good” game movies being “so bad it’s good” to “decent”, which is fine by me. I went off track but you get my point.

    • Slowly but surely we will get to the stage were video games match comic books, in terms of quality when it comes to TV/Movie adaptations. Now would be a good time to check out Castlevania as season one combined with two tells a complete story. There are some things left open for season three, but I don’t expect to see any new episodes for at least a year.

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