Castlevania is a series based off of the Video Game franchise 'Castlevania', specifically 'Castlevania 3: Dracula's Curse' (along with some elements from 'Castlevania: Symphony of the Night'). The 3rd season premiered on Netflix on March 5th, 2020 and is 10 episodes long, each being roughly 26 minutes. As of the time writing this review, there are 4 seasons. This is a review for Season 3.
I am going to try my best to keep this review as short as I can due to my season 2 review covering the majority of the topics I can discuss. The returning characters are absolutely fantastic as usual, the animation is also superb as usual and the performances given by the returning characters are phenomenal. With that all out of the way, it's time to move onto the plot.
Season 3 has a total of 4 different stories; Hector in Styria, Belnades and Belmont investigating the town of Lindenfeld and the Hell worshipping cult that resides within, Isaac on a journey to build an army and find Hector and Alucard teaching the ways of vampire hunting to two slave escapees from Japan.
Admittedly this season felt quite bloated, due to the multiple arcs constantly cutting between each other. I did like how they all seemed to come together in episode 9 for a gripping and seriously enjoyable montage. The last 3 or 4 episodes were definitely where this season peaked.
Out of the arcs, I enjoyed Hector's and Belnades and Belmont's. Isaac's was alright but his character arc blows his story arc out of the water. We get some fantastic moments of dialogue, especially between him and the Captain about the merits of humanity. It's a really interesting idea to have this incredibly loyal character question his current predicament and whether or not humanity is worth destroying. Isaac is becoming one of my favourite characters in the entire show.
Alucard's arc was the only one I didn't enjoy. It felt really unnecessary, due to it just looping back to the beginning, and the characters that were introduced were bland. The stuff about Cho and vampire culture in Japan was nice though. I'm a sucker for world-building. The ending was good too, with Alucard tapping into his inner Dracula. Over the last 2 seasons, Alucard seems to be becoming his father in a way, with the ending of both seasons showing us the similarities between the two. I like this, as it tests his character and strength to see if the Anti-Dracula will succumb to his father's ways.
Hector's arc was fantastic. To me it felt the most important due to it setting up the big baddies of season 4. Not only does this arc set up the future of this series, but it expands Hector's tragic character and introduces us to Styria and the 3 other vampire women who lead it with Carmilla; Striga, Morana and Lenore. Each of them has their own strength that plays a part in running the kingdom, which I like. I really liked Striga and Lenore's characters, but I'm not sure about Morana yet. Lenore was easily my favourite though, due to her being incredibly competent and rather adorable. I really loved her conversations with Hector and the tragic ending of their story in this season which makes a really clever call back to Hector's past. I can imagine they'll play a massive roll in season 4.
Trevor and Sypha's arc was very enjoyable too. When they visit a neighbouring town looking for a place to rest, they meet The Judge, a mysterious but strict man who runs the town, who tasks them with investigating the town's priory and its monks after it was attacked by night creatures. Along the way they meet Saint Germain, a rather quirky man who turns out to be a lot deeper than he appears, who helps them with their investigation. I liked Germain and as I said before, Trevor and Sypha were brilliant as usual. I wasn't too keen on The Judge though, as he wasn't fleshed out enough for me to get attached to him. The final battle was phenomenal, which being me to my next point.
The animation definitely improved. It was gorgeous throughout the entire season but then again, what's new? I also really liked the use of CGI for supernatural elements like The Infinite Corridor and it's other worlds. That's another thing I should point out. This show no longer feels like a horror show, but rather a supernatural fantasy thriller drama mix. I'm digging the new direction though.
The music really helps support this idea as it's completely different to the last two seasons due to, what I believe, a much more electronic soundtrack. It becomes very noticeable whenever something supernatural is happening. It's fits. I like it, but I still want more Video Game remixes like in season 2. Maybe in season 4. Fingers crossed.
Overall, 'Castlevania: Season 3' is incredibly enjoyable with brilliant returning characters and some neat new faces. Due to its rather bloated and partially boring narrative, this season may not live up to the expectations of fans of the previous seasons. Nonetheless, it's still a fantastic and engaging season that sets up the final season nicely. Due to a lot going on, if there is even just one storyline that you don't, it may hinder your enjoyment of the entire season. Still worth a watch!
I give 'Castlevania: Season 3' an 8/10
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