On March 5th, we were gifted with another season of Netflix’s animated adaptation of Konami’s Castlevania video games series. Part of me still cannot believe that this series exists. Spoilers for Castlevania seasons 1 and 2 ahead.
Season 3 of Castlevania begins with each of the main characters following separate paths after the death of Dracula at the end of season 2. Trevor Belmont and Sypha Belnades are travelling, slaying night creatures and protecting towns wherever they go. The two of them happen upon a town whose priory seems to have become home to worshipers of Dracula who wish to rescue him from Hell. Together, with The Judge, the town’s lord, and the mysterious Saint Germaine, the two attempt to put a stop to the priory’s devilish actions.
After killing his father, Adrian “Alucard” Tepes has taken over the duty of protecting Castlevania and the Belmont household beneath it. Lonely without the company of Trevor and Sypha, Alucard jumps at the chance to teach two vampire hunters, Taka and Sumi, how to kill monsters. However, they carry some heavy baggage with them.
Isaac, a former forge master for Dracula, is travelling the east after being saved by Dracula. Killing those that oppose him and forging night creatures, Isaac desires to continue Dracula’s pursuit to kill all of humanity. During his travels, though, he encounters some humans who disprove his beliefs.
Hector, another former forge master of Dracula, is being held captive by the vampiress, Carmilla, after her defeat at the end of season 2. Carmilla and her sister vampiresses wish to convert Hector to their cause so that he can forge night creatures for their army. She tasks one of her fellow members of the Council of Sisters, Lenore, with convincing Hector to be their forge master. Considering the torture he had been subjected to at the hands of Carmilla on their way to her castle, this will be no easy task.
Sam Deats, Adam Deats and the rest of the crew at Frederator and Powerhouse Animation truly brought their A-game this season. The animation was absolutely flawless, especially during the last two episodes when Sypha and Trevor finally break into the priory. Isaac’s silent assault on an enslaved village, however, is probably the highlight as the season. The violence is taken to another level this season. However, there are some relatively long sex scenes, so if that is not your cup of tea, I would be a bit careful while navigating episode 9.
Warren Ellis returned to write for season 3, and truly brought out the best of each character. However, unlike previous seasons, he had to write developing romantic relationships. The romantic feelings between Sypha and Trevor seemed to be a natural culmination of their relationship from the previous seasons. Lenore and Hector’s relationship, on the other hand, could not have been more different. Poor Hector cannot catch a break. Oh, and do not even get me started on Alucard. The poor half-vampire needs a hug so badly. The greatest accomplishment, though, was making me root for Isaac. It was nice seeing his philosophy change over the course of the season, especially considering he is the only character to truly accomplish his goal.
The voice acting was once again top notch. Richard Armitage (Trevor), Alejandra Reynoso (Sypha), James Callis (Alucard), Adetokumboh M’Cormack (Isaac) and Theo James (Hector) continue to bring their best to their characters. Jamie Murrey was truly the perfect pick to voice Carmilla as well. The new additions to the cast, particularly Bill Nighy as Saint Germaine, Toru Uchikada as Taka, Rila Fukushimi as Sumi, and Jessica Brown Findlay as Lenore, were excellent and brought so much with their performances that I can no longer imagine the show without them. Even the secondary performances, such as Lance Reddick as the captain transporting Isaac and his army, and Yasmine Al Massri and Ivana Milicevic as the other two members of the Council of Sisters.
Castlevania continues to be the best video game adaptation so far. While it is not a perfect adaptation of its source material, the story it is telling is engaging and the characters are some of the best in western animation currently. I cannot wait for a fourth season.