Watching 'Castlevania' Season 2
My thoughts on season 2 of the popular video game adaptation.
Season two of Castlevania was dropped on Netflix in 2018. The cast and the crew was largely the same with the addition of Adam Deats and Spencer Wan as two of the three directors spreading out the work of directing the episodes. Furthermore, the addition of Theo James, from the Underworld franchise and Divergent franchise, Adetokumboh M’Cormack, who was in Heroes and 24, and the fantastic Jaime Murray, from Dexter and Spartacus Gods of the Arena, being added to the cast as members of Dracula’s core generals is an enticing prospect, playing Hector, Isaac, and Carmilla respectively.
The narrative picks up almost immediately after the events of the previous season’s end. After Alucard has been woken up from his year long sleep, spending his time recovering from the wounds dealt to him by Dracula, he joins Trevor and Sypha in the hunt for Dracula. Without many options they head to the library of the Belmonts in the hopes of finding a way to defeat Dracula. In the meantime Dracula has assembled his top generals preparing for all out war with the humans, setting both Hector and Isaac as the ones that are coordinating the attack, Hector and Isaac being the only two humans in Dracula’s court of generals. We are also introduced to Carmilla this season, who is, in addition to being a character from one of my favourite stories, is one of my favourite characters in the show as well. She adds a hint of chaos into the vampire faction that makes for interesting dynamics between the generals and Dracula himself. There is an almost political edge to the way the narrative is handled on the vampire's side of the story while maintaining the adventure feel when it comes to the protagonist's side of the story.
This time around as a result of there being an increased amount of vampires inhabiting the screen at the same time, the 3D animation that is used to animate them stood out to me that much more this time around compared to the previous season. However it by no means took me out of the show. The 2D animation seemed to have had a significant bump up as well when it comes to the fight scenes. While the characters felt stilted and stiff at times during the conversational scenes, the quality of animation spiked as the intensity and the energy of the fight sequences were filled with extremely fluid animation. The quality was so high that I have a hard time telling the difference between the 2D areas and the 3D areas. The climactic fight was in particular fantastic to watch, especially the end.
Moving right along from the visuals I would like to speak briefly about the sound design of the show. My thoughts on the soundtrack has not changed at all from my thoughts on it from the first season. However, the sound design in this season is stellar, particularly at the climax of the final fight when the animation and the sound design carried the entire scene to make it incredibly emotional, and make each hit land with a weight that you could at times feel.
The characters that are continuing on from the previous season are all far more interesting this time around, and the new characters that have been introduced this season are just as compelling and interesting. The dynamic between Trevor, Sypha, and Alucard is fantastic as you can feel the authenticity of the friendship between them, and their interactions are all fantastic, giving the show a majority of the humor. On the vampire's side of things, Carmilla is definitely the highlight; however, the friendship between Dracula and Isaac was definitely stand out in its own right too.
While this segment of the narrative has concluded, the show did end on a note that allows it to be expanded upon in the future. As such it is a good thing that Netflix has announced that there would be a third season to the show. At the time of this writing, though, no release date nor details on the number of episodes have been released. Ultimately it is a good thing that there is a third season as there was a lot of set up for a much larger war brewing on the horizon, and if the quality of storytelling and technical aspects of the animation remains, the prospect of these plants being paid off is an enticing thought.
This is a show I highly recommend. The second season consists of eight episodes, and is available on Netflix. My warnings are the same here as they were for the first season. There is a lot of mutilation and gore in the show so for anyone that may not find it comfortable watching these aspects on screen, approach with caution.