Castlevania - Season 3
Castlevania is an American adult animated dark fantasy action horror television series created and written by Warren Ellis for Netflix, and is produced by Frederator Studios' Kevin Kolde and Fred Seibert. Based on the Japanese video game series of the same name by Konami, the first two seasons adapt the 1989 entry Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse and follow Trevor Belmont, Alucard and Sypha Belnades as they defend the nation of Wallachia from Dracula and his minions. Additionally, characters and elements from the 2005 entry Castlevania: Curse of Darkness are featured beginning in the second season, and Alucard's backstory is drawn from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. The art style is heavily influenced by Japanese animation and Ayami Kojima's artwork.
Castlevania - Season 3
The series premiered on Netflix on July 7, 2017, and was renewed for an expanded second season of eight episodes on the same day; the second season premiered on October 26, 2018. A ten-episode third season was greenlit by Netflix and released on March 5, 2020. The series ended with the release of its fourth season on May 13, 2021. The series received critical acclaim, with its visuals, animation, voice acting, action sequences, characterization, themes and writing receiving much praise, although the pacing, particularly of the third and fourth seasons, garnered a polarized response.
The first season represents the first part of the trilogy that Ellis has laid out in 2007. Ellis said that the second season, completing the trilogy, is where he had been able to deviate somewhat from the game, and has been better anticipate the show's release on Netflix in terms of scenes and episode lengths. Shankar believes that there is an opportunity for more stories to be told borrowing from other games in the series, noting that overall he sees the series as "a story about a family and multiple generations of this family" with many tales to draw from. The production team for the second season included staff members who worked on Madhouse productions such as Death Parade.
The show's third season was greenlit by Netflix a few days after the broadcast of the second season. Shankar announced in November 2018 that he will also be leading an animated series based on Capcom's Devil May Cry, which he acquired the rights for himself, and will make the show, alongside the Castlevania series, part of a shared "Bootleg Multiverse". On March 27, 2020, Netflix announced they had renewed the series for a fourth season, stating on April 16, 2021, that it would be the series's final season. On July 31, 2020, it was reported that amid a wave of sexual misconduct allegations being levelled against the show's creator and showrunner Warren Ellis, he would no longer have any involvement in developing subsequent Castlevania series after the fourth season's release.
Castlevania's first season of four 30-minute episodes was released on July 7, 2017. The second season is eight episodes long and was released on October 26, 2018. The third season was released on March 5, 2020. The show's fourth and final season was released on May 13, 2021.
By the time the second season became available in 2018, Castlevania had reportedly garnered nearly 30 million viewers worldwide according to Netflix analytics, becoming one of the most successful original animated shows on Netflix.
The review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes reported that 82% of critics have given the first season a positive review based on 28 reviews, with an average rating of 7.61/10. The site's critics consensus reads, "Castlevania offers spectacular visuals and a compelling adaptation in its all-too-short first season." It is the first video game adaptation in the site's history to receive a "Fresh" rating. Metacritic, which assigns a rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, reported that there were "generally favorable reviews" for the first season, with an weighted average score of 71 based on 6 reviews. Dave Trumbore of Collider gave the series four stars out of five, praising the chemistry between the cast and comparing the violence with anime such as Ninja Scroll. Several reviews lauded the voice cast, particularly Graham McTavish as Dracula and Richard Armitage as Trevor Belmont. IGN also wrote glowingly of Warren Ellis's script, but felt some of his humor was a little jarring. The Verge gave a mixed review, noting that the gore did little to create a sense of danger and felt "intentionally flashy". It concluded that "Castlevania is ripe with potential, but also burdened with clichés." Dan Seitz at Uproxx left a negative review, writing that it tried too hard to find profundity in the story of the Castlevania series. He also cited issues with the pacing.
Rotten Tomatoes reported that 100% of critics gave the second season a positive review with an average rating of 9.3/10, based on 15 reviews. The critics consensus reads, "Castlevania sinks its fangs into vampiric lore during a devilishly fun second season that benefits from an expanded sense of scale and episode tally that allows the series to fully spread its leathery wings." IGN gave the second season a score of 9.2/10, praising Ellis's approach to Castlevania as "witty and self-aware enough to poke fun at itself when necessary". In Collider's review for the second series, Dave Trumbore mentioned there "isn't a weak link in the cast here". Complaints were made towards the pacing and the screen time spent on Dracula's court in season two. Writing for GameSpot, Michael Rougeau was disappointed that Trevor's group spent the majority of their time in a library, and also said Dracula "does literally nothing in all the episodes we've seen so far. There's one medium length flashback in which he massacres a council of merchants who offended him, but it's not like that moves the story along". Rougeau concluded that the action was creatively executed, but he felt that the new cast was given more development and that the previous characters were left to "tread water". Film School Rejects echoed similar sentiments, who said the second season was more of a complement to the first one. McTavish and the rest of the voice cast were once again met with high praise.
The third season was also well received, with 95% of critics on Rotten Tomatoes giving a positive review with an average rating of 7.99/10, based on 19 reviews. The critics consensus reads, "Castlevania's stunningly animated third season continues to build on the game's lore by diving deeper into its characters with humor, heart, and a lot of bloody action." Collider's Dave Trumbore gave the third season a glowing review, praising the action and declaring the show "one of the best video game adaptations ever made". This was echoed by IGN, who touted the show as "the best video game adaptation around". Ellis' approach to the source material and the voice cast remained points of particular praise.
The fourth season was positively received as well, with an approval rating of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes with an average score of 8.90/10, based on 12 reviews. IGN commended the series' ability to deliver a satisfying ending without feeling rushed. The animation as well as the voice cast were once again praised. Paul Tassi, writing for Forbes, criticized the pacing in the beginning of the season, but concluded that season four was "excellent" and "a full return to form for the series" after a mixed third season.
I could probably talk for hours about the merits of Castlevania Season 3 and the highs and lows of the season's four story arcs, and I almost did so during a recent interview with writer Ellis and producer Kevin Kolde, so keep an eye out for that chat on the premiere date. But since Season 3 delivers such an incredible array of things to enjoy--be it bloody violence against men and monsters alike, new characters and lore pulled from the Castlevania canon alongside original creations, or deep philosophical conversations between characters--I'll be giving a high-level view of what works, and what didn't, this season.
As you might expect, the town of Lindenfeld is where most of the action plays out for Trevor and Sypha this season. But it's also a place to meet new characters, like Saint Germain (a fantastic addition who should be familiar to game players), the monks of the Priory and their leader Sala, and the town's governor known simply as Judge. if you've watched the previous seasons, you know that Castlevania doesn't mince words when it comes to religious organizations, their leaders, or the clashing philosophies among all factions of The Church (with a capital C), within and without it. This is where Castlevania shines outside of its intense action sequences and fight scenes: It's a rare adult animated series that actually takes a breath, sits down, and lets its characters have long, difficult, and deeply philosophical conversations about the world they live in and their place within it.
This aspect is most deftly handled in Isaac's story. His arc finds the Forgemaster carving a bloody swath through Europe as he attempts to find his way back to the traitorous Hector, his mind bent on revenge. Along the way, Isaac walks a road of conflicts: He travels with an army of the undead, of monstrous souls lifted from hell by the sacrifice of the living, and yet balks when the human guards of towns and outposts attempt to hurry him through their community, or attack him outright. But Isaac also has perhaps the best individual interactions in this season. He meets a wise merchant who grants him not just an invaluable item but also the priceless gift of kindness; a bold and competent captain who offers not only safe passage but a philosophical harbor of sorts, a refuge from Isaac's tendency to focus only on the evil in men rather than the good; and a sole survivor of a magician's rampage who also seems to hold some powerful magic of her own. Isaac's quest may not be over in Season 3, but his journey is perhaps the most enjoyable. 041b061a72