Castlevania Season 2 Review – Morning Star
Over a year ago season 1 of Castlevania came out. We had to wait some months in comparison for season two, and it was a bit annoying. As a kid who grew up playing Super Castlevania IV and Symphony of the Night it was what I wanted in a video game adaptation. So I really wanted to see this second season as soon as possible.
Was the wait worth it? The short answer is: Absolutely. If I could just finish this review here and say “Go watch it now” I would, but people would think I’m taking the piss. I’m going to elaborate a bit more on how this animated adaptation of Castlevania is still the best adaptation of a video game ever and how season two is even better than season one.
“Have you been drinking again?!” “Some chance…”
Season two picks up shortly after season one finishes. Trevor, Sypha and Alucard join forces to stop Dracula, who continues to wage war on humanity with the help of his generals. This season has twice as many episodes in comparison to season one so there’s a lot of build-up.
I was expecting this season of Castlevania to be structured like the games, with our heroes travelling through different places, fighting different monsters and finally getting to Dracula’s castle. But it’s not what happens, and it’s a good thing. Our heroes admit they’re under-equipped (except maybe Alucard, because he’s a half-vampire). So they regroup and research how to stop the castle from moving around.
This approach helps the characters, especially because even though they’ve teamed up they’re not exactly a team yet. They all have doubts about the mission, and they all doubt
Garbage McFurcape Trevor, which is fair considering he’s a drunk. So they research and in the process create bonds; at least in the case of Sypha and Trevor. Trevor and Alucard just bicker. But then again, Alucard is conflicted over having to kill his father and thinks Trevor might relapse in his drunken ways, so he wants to bring his inner Belmont out. But it’s still cool seeing them go from openly hating each other to having a grudging respect.
“The humans will die. You will be taken care of.”
Season two also focuses a lot more on Dracula and his generals. Although only a few of the generals are relevant this season, some of them just happen to be there and barely speak. There’s a lot of focus on Hector and Isaac, Dracula’s forgemasters. I wasn’t expecting them to be in the show as their only appearance was on the PS2 game Curse of Darkness (set some years after Castlevania III), so it was nice to see them. They’re interesting because they’re the only people among Dracula’s ranks who are human. They’re just helping him “thin the herd” out of misanthropy. And even though they’re loyal to him, they still have some doubts about what they’re doing. Particularly Hector.
Carmilla and Godbrand were interesting additions. Carmilla is a recurring enemy in the series and her addition brings interesting stuff in the mix, as she has her own agenda, which doesn’t exactly align with Dracula’s. And when it comes to Godbrand, I just loved that character. For starters, he’s voiced by Peter Stormare and the show paints an interesting image of him. He’s defined as someone who hasn’t met anything he hasn’t killed, fucked or made a boat out of. The show doesn’t elaborate on that last part. Yet.
But Dracula himself steals the show. Graham McTavish has done amazing things with the character. Other actors would play him as a caricature. But McTavish gives him a lot of dimension. His grief feels real, and at times the humanity that Lisa wanted to bring out appears. There’s a moment in episode seven where his portrayal was so heartbreaking it almost made me cry. That’s how good he was. The voice acting in this show has always been top notch, but McTavish stole the show in episode seven.
“I terrify them. Sypha disorients them. Alucard goes over the top and we support him.”
Season two of Castlevania improves greatly on the first season, which says a lot because season one was already excellent. Adi Shankar, Warren Ellis, Sam Deats and everyone else involved in the show just went above and beyond. And it shows. There’s a real understanding of what makes Castlevania work. And lots of easter eggs for those who are familiar with the mythology. I liked how they incorporated the Morning Star whip to the show, by making it a separate entity to the Vampire Killer. It’s not as if Trevor could pick a power-up that would turn his regular whip into a metal whip.
Funnily enough, this season doesn’t feature Grant, who was in the actual game. Warren Ellis has gone on record saying he thought the character was stupid, and he kinda has a point. I mean, a pirate in a land-locked country makes no sense at all. And there’s a perfect balance between Trevor, Sypha and Alucard already.
My main gripe with season one was the music. It didn’t feel like Castlevania. But there was a moment that changed that for me this season. Trevor Morris put his own spin on a memorable piece of music from the games (BLOODY TEARS!) on a particularly epic moment and it was amazing. Apart from that, the music was much better this season. There are some minor things I disliked, like Alucard controlling his sword psychically, though it might be a reference to the Sword familiar from Symphony of the Night. At the end of the day they’re minor grips and I loved the show. Plus the season finale destroyed my emotions.
By the time this review was originally written, there wasn’t any official word about a third season. Richard Armitage said there would be a few months ago but Netflix, Adi Shankar and Warren Ellis only confirmed that recently.
The main question is, will season three continue with these characters? Or will we have a different Belmont? Personally speaking, I’d be fine with Richard Armitage voicing all of the Belmonts. I’d love to see the show tackle Simon and Richter. Especially Richter, because my main wish is to have a season adapting Symphony of the Night and Richter is essential in that one. And SOTN means more James Callis as Alucard!
Overall, season two was fantastic and if you’re a Castlevania fan (or even just an anime fan), you absolutely must watch it.
Did you watch season two? What did you think? Let us know in the comments!
Angry Spaniard, adoptive Irishman. Writer, reader, tea drinker and video game player/designer.
There is a real love behind the source material in Castlevania and it shows. Castlevania is a show that can be appreciated both by fans of the games and people who know nothing about them.