Season two of Netflix’s ‘Castlevania’ lives up to the hype

John Enright, Reporter

The second season of Castlevania was released in late October of this year with much anticipation from fans of the first season. For those not already familiar with Castlevania, it is an anime style Netflix Original series written by Warren Ellis based on the video game franchise of the same name produced by Konami. It follows the storyline of the third Castlevania game in which Dracula sets out for vengeance on humanity after his wife is burnt at the stake after being wrongly accused of witchcraft. Now, Trevor Belmont, last of a lineage of vampire hunters, must team up with a sorceress and Dracula’s own son to save humanity from the creatures of the night. The first season was a mere four episodes long, but received high praise for the quality of its production and story-telling. In a market where many video game adaptations to television and film often fall flat, this is one of the few that has met approval in the eyes of audiences and critics alike. It had a fluid progression and spared no quarter with its mature themes. So does this new season meet up with expectations?

The production of the new season truly met with the standards set by the first. The animation is quality, but not nearly the tier of some of the more popular Japanese anime series that inspired this one’s style. The colors and themes throughout the show serve as powerful reinforcements to the mood and movements of the show, but there seems to be very little done in the way of experimentation when it comes to angles and perspectives except for the action scenes. The action in this series is very beautifully put together. Every battle is a display of the characters’ skills, their wits and their interactions with the environment around them. Each conflict is well thought out and it doesn’t feel like simple filler preceding plot points. The sound design is also spectacular. The voice-acting continues to be masterfully performed by talented voice-actors; my favorite performance being Graham McTavish’s portrayal of an old and grieving Dracula. The voice-acting is what this series relies heavily upon as the focal point of the show this season is the characters and the narrative.

The story in season two takes place shortly after the events in season one. However, the progression of season two is much different. It takes place over ten episodes; much more screen time in comparison to season one’s four episode run. That being said, for the first few episodes, we have the establishment of some great characters, but we have nothing for them to do. The action picks up just under halfway through the season when we start to see the new characters in Dracula’s ranks take action. Until then, it is all about just one poorly written character trying to get a reaction from the well-written characters to shed some light on their nature. Once they’ve given the audience their fill of exposition, the plot starts moving forward and the sequence of events that makes things feel fluid again. It all comes together in a satisfying, action packed and emotional ending that gives a solid conclusion to some characters and a tantalizing cliff-hanger for others.

With the announcement from Netflix that a third season of Castlevania has been ordered, I hope that it continues to retain the show’s qualities, doesn’t delve too far into lore without pacing action accordingly and respects the conclusions that have been made while embracing the new subplots that the most recent season has presented. But, for now, season two has my appreciation.

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