Following the solid first season for Castlevania on Netflix, the second season finally gets to the meat of the story and the results are very much worth the wait.
The second seasons starts where the first left of, with Trevor, Alucard and Sypha figuring out their next moves as Dracula amasses his army.
It’s here we meet his vampire generals and his two human forge masters, Hector and Isaac. The latter pair bring the dead humans back to life as monsters in Dracula’s army and also command a great deal of trust from Dracula himself.
From this point on, it’s clear that this season makes up for the lack of exposition of the first and fleshes out the background, story and characters to a far greater extent.
The most notable of these is both Dracula and Alucard. As their relationship is integral to the story, a lot of effort has gone into making them relatable. With Dracula being a grieving husband and Alucard his heartbroken son.
The writing is generally better as a result for this season, as the first season laid the groundwork and the second actually builds it into something substantial.
Sadly, the animation is still quite patchy in places and while it can be wonderful during intense action sequences, the more narrative focused parts of the series are still quite basic. The latter point is also more noticeable now, as it is pretty obvious that the extended episode count means the budget has been stretched thinner.
In any case, what we have here is still a marked and impressive improvement over the first season. Impressive in the sense that all these elements now come together to build out a more involved story. With the extended cast really helping to make this season work.
From the portrayal of Viking vampire general Godbrand, voiced brilliantly by Peter Stormare, to the icy villainess Carmilla, portrayed creepily well by Jaime Murray. The casting for this season has been spot on.
Yet, with all this exposition and build up, this season doesn’t disappoint and finally kicks off in a way Castlevania fans have been hoping for. It’s also here that it becomes obvious why Grant Danasty from Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse was omitted for the line-up.
Trevor, Alucard and Sypha work as a team because they complement each other’s respective skillsets. Not to mention that the tension between Trevor, who hunts vampires, and Alucard, who is half-vampire, needs Sypha to balance them both out.
While Grant had his role in the original game that this series is inspired from, in the context of this story he has nothing to really offer the action or how the main characters work with one another. So when we finally get the pay off with Trevor, Alucard and Sypha, it’s only fitting that we finally have one of Castlevania’s most iconic tracks, that of Bloody Tears, accompany the action.
There are also enough narrative loose ends to warrant the already announced third season and after the finale of the second season, I am curious to see how that will work out.
Overall, the second season of Castlevania shows that this is arguably one of the best gaming adaptations to date. With stand out performances from Graham McTavish, James Callis and Richard Armitage as well as a great story coupled with fantastic action sequences, I only hope that the third season will build on this success further.