Castlevania Season 4 Review

Rating:

Castlevania Reaches the Final Level

Main Cast: Richard Armitage, Alejandra Reynoso, James Callis, Richard McDowell
Created By: Warren Ellis

Sypha: Are you ready?
Trevor: Hell no, but when has that ever stopped us?

Death Magic” (Season 4, Episode 8)

Castlevania’s first season was a decent start, but lacked breathing room. Season two showed what could be done when the characters had time to fight and interact. Castlevania’s third season stumbled when it juggled too many plot lines.

Will the grand finale of Castlevania season four end with a whimper or a roar? Let’s find out.

The Good

Maxed-Out Party

Sypha:It’s a spell. It will have the name of the person he was trying to bring back from the dead.
Trevor:Oh, don’t tell me…
Sypha:The name translates as Vlad Dracula Tepes.
Trevor: “Why the f*** would anyone do that? Hm? Would you do that? [prisoners shake their heads] Oh, exactly. God, this is getting on my nerves. [to a dead vampire] I wish I could f***ing kill you twice!

Murder Wakes it Up” (Season 4, Episode 1)

The heroes of Castlevania have journeyed far, but they still have a few tricks up their sleeves.

Trevor Belmont and Sypha Belnades have spent weeks traveling the country, constantly fighting demons. They uncover a conspiracy to resurrect Dracula and trace it back to Targoviste, the city where he started his war against humanity. The duo meet a noble named Zamfir (Toks Olagundoye), who offers to help them investigate if they side with Targoviste’s royal court.

Meanwhile, Alucard has become a drunken recluse after the fiasco with Taka and Sumi. A dying messenger begs him to save his hometown, Danesti. A reluctant Alucard saves the town and meets their no-nonsense leader, Greta (Marsha Thompson). Greta convinces Alucard to open Dracula’s castle to the surviving villagers, but they must first fight through an army of demons to reach safety.

The heroes pull out all the stops for their final battles. Trevor gets several magical weapons, including an enchanted dagger and a cross-shaped chakram. Sypha unlocks lightning magic and learns to wield all her elements at once. Alucard breaks out a nearly indestructible shield and pushes his vampiric powers to their limit. This would be overkill for most foes, but is just enough to survive against the threats they are facing.

Boss Rush

Varney:Would you be the famous Saint Germain?
Germain:I have that pleasure. And you would be?
Varney:Varney of London, sir. Friends of friends tell me we have a project in common.
Germain:And what might that be, Varney of Lundenwic, thousand year old vampire beggar and tramp?
Varney: [overjoyed] “You’ve heard of me!

“Back in the World” (Season 4, Episode 5)

With the heroes going all out, it’s understandable that Castlevania season four needs to unleash the toughest villains they can.

Count Saint Germain returns following his disappearance at the end of season three. While fruitlessly searching the Infinite Corridor for his lover, he encountered an alchemist who called him out for abandoning their craft. She convinces Saint Germain to abandon his morals and search for an artifact called the Rebis, which will allow him to control the Corridor. To help his quest, he allies with vampires seeking Dracula’s resurrection.

Viewers also meet a cult trying to bring Dracula back to life. The first of its leaders is Ratko (Titus Welliver), a sadistic vampire general who hates his theatrical allies and wants to devour humanity. Ratko reluctantly puts up with the others because they all want to bring back Dracula.

Dragan is the taciturn general of the cult. He is a powerful vampire who has united several clans from around the world to serve him. Unfortunately, they do little more than serve as extra muscle. A handful of scenes and a few lines make Dragan a flat and forgettable foe.

A Clockwork Orange’s Malcolm McDowell rounds out the villains as Varney, an ancient vampire who has served Dracula since the beginning of his reign. Varney is vainglorious and easily annoyed by people who don’t recognize him. His entertaining personality serves as comic relief among the villains. Don’t let his flamboyant nature fool you, Varney’s got one hell of a skeleton in his closet.

Final Battles

Trevor:It’s time to give this place back to people who know how to build things. You and me, we’re just killers of history. It’s time for us to go.”
Varney:And who’s going to make me go? You? With your bit of string in your hand?
Trevor:Probably not. [brandishes his whip] But let’s just give this one last go, shall we?

“The Endings” (Season 4, Episode 9)

Castlevania season four excels at fight scenes.

Trevor and Sypha’s battles against the cult bring in several monsters and cameos from the games, each executing their signature abilities and moves. Alucard gets to show off against several demons while leading the villagers to his castle. Along the way, both work with human allies that demonstrate how even civilians can slow demons.

The trio reunite when the cult lays siege to Dracula’s castle. The human army uses defensive tactics to keep minor monsters back while the heroes take down the big threats. Surprisingly, the action is easy to follow, even with Alucard’s tricks, Trevor’s arsenal, Sypha’s spells, and oceans of blood filling the screen.

The animation in these fights is some of the best I’ve ever seen. Multiple rotating shots with no cuts, rich and fluid animation, and dark visuals are fitting for a final battle between good and evil.

The Bad

The Lost Lenore

[Isaac approaches Lenore with a blade]
Hector:Leave her alone.
Isaac:Is this not one of Carmilla’s ruling council?
Hector:If you’re here to kill me, kill me. But leave her alone. She is not the threat here.

“You Don’t Deserve My Blood” (Season 4, Episode 6)

Lenore was a major player in season 3, constantly manipulating her sisters and Hector. The show went to great lengths to establish that she was as much of a threat as any of the other vampires, despite being outwardly friendly.  Castlevania season four’s sub-plot focuses on Isaac’s quest for revenge against Hector and Carmilla. While all have their stories wrapped up tightly, Lenore’s is only skimmed over.

Season four portrays Lenore as clueless, constantly blindsided, and ultimately a damsel in distress who needs Hector to protect her. Everyone around her treats her as a non-threat or a child. It’s strange considering how much was done to hype her up in previous seasons.

Between the trio, the cult, new characters, Hector, Isaac, and Carmilla, it seems that there was simply too much going on to make use of Lenore. With a cast and story this busy, she apparently drew the short stick and was a sacrificial lamb.

The Verdict

Castlevania is a rarity: a video game adaptation that doesn’t suck. Season 4 brings together all the characters and storylines as well as several new elements for an excellent finale. Not every character went out on a high note, but the show saved the best for last. Castlevania‘s final season is worth your time.

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