I started watching Castlevania in June 2019. Currently Season 3 has been confirmed. Castlevania’s greatest strength is the fact that none of these characters fall neatly into hero or villain categories. Writer Warren Ellis gives each major character an impressive amount of depth and nuance. Dracula himself remains the most compelling player in this complex plot. He’s a tragic figure, one lashing out at the world of men after his one chance at peace and happiness was stolen from him. Carmilla may be a political schemer, but she and her fellow vampire lords are understandably worried by their master’s questionable actions and seeming inability to execute his own war. Isaac and Hector are particularly fascinating, with the series focusing a great deal on their motivations for turning against their own kind and help Dracula commit wide-scale genocide. Even men like Trevor and Alucard hold nearly as much disdain for humanity as their enemies do, and for good reason.
That does speak to one minor problem with the series, which was equally evident in Season 1. There’s so much emphasis on fleshing out the main heroes and villains, but little when it comes to the humans Alucard and friends are fighting so hard to save. We rarely even see other human characters except when the series flashes back to the death of Lisa Tepes or various other acts of human-on-human atrocity. At some point the series does almost too good a job of illustrating Dracula’s position, leaving you to wonder why anyone bothers to fight in defense of the cowardly, hypocritical and superstitious humans in the first place.
Still, that’s a small concern when held against everything the series does well. And it speaks to the depth of the character work that Season 2 remains so consistently engrossing despite moving at such a slow pace. It isn’t until the final three episodes that the action really begins to pick up and the plot takes on a more traditional Castlevania slant. Before that, the focus is heavily geared towards character development.
In a time when most studios still can’t seem to figure out how to properly translate video games to film and TV, Castlevania emerges as the new gold standard. Season 2 builds on the foundation of the brief first season, expanding the world and introducing more compelling, nuanced characters caught up in Dracula’s war. It manages to be faithful to the source material while still making big changes where necessary and emphasizing character growth over mindless action.