It seems most fans were fairly captivated by Castlevania with its first season on Netflix. Animation was on par with most modern animes, albeit a bit Americanized here and there, and the voice cast, composed of great talents like Richard Armitage (The Hobbit) and Graham Mactavish (Preacher), lent credence and style to the overall project. The only real gripe many had with its freshman season was its brevity, with a paltry 4 episodes that seemed more like a movie broken up into episodic form than a series. This move left fans feening for more. In season 2, we find that Netflix and Producer/Showrunner Adi Shankar has upped the ante with a greater number of episodes (8 in all), and attempts to cover a full story arc, written by Warren Ellis. The plot seems to be taken straight from what appear to be elements meshed from Castlevania 3 and a bit of Symphony of the Night, two of the more beloved games in the franchise. As a long time fan of the franchise, I found myself pleased Mr. Ellis chose to draw from these specific titles, since the imagery and characters within them seem to best embody the essence of what Castlevania is.
However, Season 2 is not without its faults. At times we seem to have an abundance of unnecessary exhibition in some of the episodes towards the middle of the season, often feeling a bit more like classic “filler episodes” found in many shounen titles (such as Dragon Ball Z and Naruto) as opposed to the greater world building and characterization noted in the previous episodes. Fortunately, this didn’t cause the series to stall out as mush as it could have, and the plot quickly picked back up. It’s not uninteresting per say, it just seems as if they could have tightened up some editing in favor of more of the classic action elements. Some of writer Ellis’s attempts at puns and humor sprinkled in the dialogue, particularly with our protagonists, also seem to either feel out of place or hit flats notes. That being said, where the plot shines is around the lore and history of Dracula Tepes and the dichotomy of the Vampire world. This season also seems to hit its strides best when this is juxtaposed with the centuries long Belmont conflict. It’s also interesting to note the many and varied conflicts within the Vampiric ranks, equally riveting and enthralling to viewers and fans, new and old alike. A certain fan favorite weapon also finds its way into the series, adding to the essential nostalgia the showrunners didn’t overlook.
I also have to mention the score, which seems to have been given solid attention and a nice sweeping, brooding theme that helps keep the pace throughout. I would be remiss if I did not remark on a particular cover from one the games’ most legendary tracks, which when superimposed in the final battle, literally brought goosebumps to my form. Castlevania Season 2 is an honest attempt to recapture the nostalgia and thrill of vampire hunting that long time fans have been engaging in since 1986. Great production values and a solid score seem to indicate a level of deserving care that was given to this property. While sometimes flawed in its execution, it's a fun romp with a great VA cast, that hurtles us into the mind and gory world of Dracula and a centuries long grudge carried on by the last Belmont.