It’s hard not to point out how much of an improvement the fourth season of Castlevania is compared to the preceding seasons. The first season introduced an oddly interesting yet sparsely accurate adaptation of the games, the second built on the foundation of the first season and the third, well, the third season of Castlevania was quite a mess. After Dracula’s death via patricide in season two, one would think the series was nearing its inevitable end. However, season three fought so well to bring back or at least try to reinforce what made the series so special but unfortunately messed it up along the way with its questionable plot decisions.
The Story So Far
While season 3 was a mix of one unfortunate and confusing event after the other and ended in a way that diminishes hope for both the viewers and the characters, season four offers a fresh start a year later. Belnades and Belmont continue their seemingly never-ending quest to battle monsters and helping the helpless as a result of the fallout from Dracula’s demise. However, this year-long ordeal has unsurprisingly taken a mental toll on them. Regardless, they eventually come across the city that started it all, which has been hit quite significantly by night creatures. Upon arriving, they’re then asked to help with a strange and secret underground community in the town.
Meanwhile, Carmilla and her sisters are still on the path to conquering the human race and taking over the world. Isaac is rallying his demonic army bent on destroying Carmilla’s plans, whereas Hector (still a slave to Lenore and her sisters) plots his own schemes. Oh, and Alucard is still brooding in his castle and drowning his feelings in wine after his painful betrayal the year prior, but this is interrupted when a village close to his castle being torn apart by night creatures asks for his aid. Also, Saint Germain’s back! Only this time, he’s a bit different since we last saw him being chucked into the infinite corridor.
A Strange Ride
While we’ve had two seasons after Dracula’s death, it’s clear the season finale is still very much centered on him. We learn that characters like Sypha and Trevor have to deal with the monsters, vampires, and other miscellaneous enemies that’s come out of the woodwork either as a result of his death or on the quest to revive him, due to loyalty or their own selfish need for chaos. Carmilla and her sisters are a prime example of the latter as, thanks to Dracula’s absence, she’s able to grow her armies significantly and take his empty throne as the new vampire overlord.
Luckily, the world has characters like Hector and Isaac; once loyalist to the very same man who, after having their own significant character development, are able to prevent this unnecessary evil based on their own newfound ideals and freedom. And speaking of character development, the season does an excellent job of redeeming Alucard, as now that he has something worth fighting for, he’s able to grow significantly. Ultimately while prior seasons build the characters and flesh out their stories and motivations, this season does a (mostly) good job of concluding these stories.
However, while this season is considerably better than the last, it’s still far from perfect. For one, while the story is competent and even enjoyable, it’s hard not to point out how clunky and unorganized it gets near the end, especially with the grand finale. Some character plotlines were all over the place, whereas other characters’ stories are just cut short, I’m assuming, due to how few episodes there were to work with and how many events (new, old, and completely unexpected) that needed wrapping up.
Castlevania Season 4 – A Flawed Ending
Besides this season’s mostly decent story, I have to say that the animation is objectively the best aspect of the finale. Powerhouse Animation and Mua Film did a spectacular job of giving the viewers a final grand spectacle, which was a worthy and epic end to this beloved series. The season was packed with mesmerizing, incredibly well-choreographed fight scenes and brutally satisfying action set pieces, (the best of which closes out the series), eye-catching crystal visuals, and new unique character designs.
The voice acting is no slouch either. Alejandra Reynoso does an excellent job of voicing the righteous Sypha as always. Bill Nighy’s charismatic take as Saint Germain was highly entertaining, and iconic newcomer Malcolm McDowell’s part as the fan-favorite Varney was quite enchanting, especially during his final bout. I also feel like James Callis’s voice performance as Alucard is vastly underappreciated as I’ve always loved how he sounds just as downtrodden and emo as Dracula’s son would. It’s a voice that’s almost enchanting even.
Castlevania Season 4 – Final Thoughts
When it comes down to it, season 4 of Castlevania is the best we’ve ever got. While the season loses focus near the end, with some plot lines completely fizzling out, it’s hard to refute that this season gave us the best performance we’ve ever had thanks to its phenomenal production quality and captivating voice acting if nothing else.
Castlevania Season 4 is available to stream now on Netflix.
Are you a fan of the Castlevania series? Did Season 4 meet your expectations? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.