Last year, Netflix and Konami teamed up for one of the most unlikely partnerships which formed into one of the most surprising video-game-to-TV translations yet: Castlevania. If you haven’t seen Season 1, check it out; it’s only four episodes, but definitely worth the watch.
Now enter season 2 in which the greater focus is on Dracula’s plan to destroy humanity, or seemingly lack thereof. Last season, Dracula (Graham MacTavish) was extremely hellbent (pardon the expression) on destroying humanity after what they did with his wife, Dr. Lisa Tepes. The first episode actually opens up on what happened with her and her fateful encounter with the corrupt and power-hungry Bishop of Gresit.
This season, Dracula seems more conflicted, and very slow on carrying out his plans. Such that there is a growing dissent among the vampires, particularly the “Nordic Viking” vampire Godbrand (Peter Stormare, who sounds more like a stereotypical drunk Australian) and the manipulative and treacherous Carmilla (Jamie Murray).
The biggest red flag from the vampires are the two lone human Devil Forgemasters Hector (Theo James) and Isaac (Adetokumboh M’Cormack). Dracula’s reasons for selecting the two are a bit perplexing, but their shared misanthropy seems good enough, yet they each have their own compelling reasons as why they despise humanity so much.
Meanwhile, after the bloody battle with Dracula’s horde in Gresit, Trevor (Richard Armitage), Sypha (Alejandra Reynoso), and Alucard (James Callis) set their journey to Trevor’s castle to search for any items and magic to destroy Dracula once and for all.
Last season, each of their three personalities stood out: Trevor with his drunk, devil-may-care attitude who has a strong inclination for witty banter; Sypha, a semi-reclusive, highly intelligent magician who wants to explore the world; and Alucard, a conflicted and mysterious half-human, half-vampire who has awoken from his slumber to destroy his father, Dracula.
This season they turn their personalities toward and against each other. Trevor still has his wit, but with Sypha, they bicker like an old married couple (with some moments of tenderness). He also argues with Alucard like college frat boys (yet they laugh it off after some hilarious profane banter). Sypha can intellectually relate to Alucard, but she feels that he’s too cold and distant for her, while she feels a certain warmth with Trevor.
But the battle scenes with Dracula’s horde is where they stand out. With Trevor’s whip, Sypha’s magic (impressively done, by the way), and Alucard’s supernatural powers, they are able to work as a team, strengthening their relationship further. During a battle scene in the seventh episode, there is a familiar score that will make long-time Castlevania fans cheer with delight.
Season 2 is not as action-packed as the first one (perhaps the given reason why there are eight episodes this season as opposed to four on the last one?), but violence is just as graphic, once again stressing that this series is for adults only. There is much more politics this time around (just like the Star Wars prequels that were a bit notorious for), and deeper relationships with the protagonists as mentioned, as well as betrayal within Dracula’s circle that will leave the viewers intrigued.
With most of the video-game-to-TV/movie translations being sub-par, Castlevania Netflix has further established on what could be the gold standard of these translations done right.