New season of ‘Castlevania’ outshines possible critiques

The adult animated series “Castlevania” has returned with its sequel series “Castlevania: Nocturne.” Powerhouse Animation returned to its roots with this eight episode spinoff series released on Sept. 28. In the two years after the release of the final season of the main series, the studio has released a few different animated adaptations. Spoiler alert for those who are not caught up with the franchise yet!

Trailers for the show revealed that it occurs 300 years after the events of the main series, taking place during the French Revolution. Fans know vampires love hierarchies and creating chaos during major transitions of power. 

The day before the full release, Netflix dropped the first 7 minutes of the show, during which we were introduced to Richter Belmont, one of the many characters from the fan-favorite Belmont family. The spinoff series opens the way to new locations in western France. 

The opening scene is a flashback to a gloomy port in Boston, 1783. We meet Richter’s mother, Julia Belmont, who is shipping him away to France for unknown reasons. But that mystery doesn’t last long as we are introduced to one of the new major antagonists of the series, the snake-eyed vampire Olrox. Then we get our first glimpse of the improved action-packed animation the studio is known for. 

First and foremost, the character designs are top notch. Julia’s and Richter’s outfits are a perfect representation of descendants of Trevor and Spyha. Spyha’s blue speaker robe, mixed with the usual vampire hunter attire and crest of the Belmont family, makes for an aesthetically-pleasing outfit. 

Since the main series took place in Europe, the cast was mainly European, but there are exceptions. We later find out Olrox is Aztecan and one of the many new characters of color in the series. His design and his abilities are quite the sight to behold, the coolest of which is how he can turn into an intangible shadow and a giant flying snake. 

He uses his abilities to kill Julia Belmont in front of her son, then gloats to the traumatized ten-year-old about it being revenge. Afterwards, he walks off basking in his victory while also making the dumbest decision to leave Richter alive. 

For the next 7 years he blames himself for his mother’s death, which was shown through his inability to use his magic and symptoms similar to post-traumatic stress disorder. Unfortunately, Richter doesn’t kill his childhood monster before the end of the season, but he does overcome his trauma. 

He overcomes his guilt in an awesome display of magical power to save his grandfather, Juste, and vows to use it to protect the people he cares about. It was one of my favorite scenes in the show. The Divine Bloodlines soundtrack, along with Richter destroying six vampires, reminded me of why I love the series so much. The fight scenes are works of art and exhilarating to watch. 

Although the season has largely been received positively, it is not without critics. I’d like to address some of their complaints. I’ve seen lots of comments like “characters curse too much.” They’re in France during the Revolution — people weren’t talking prim and proper. They must also be forgetting the ages of our protagonists.

Another complaint I’d seen was about excessive flashbacks. I didn’t feel there were too many; each of the main cast got one and the flashbacks showed what led each character to their encounter with the antagonist of the series, tying the story together.

I understand if it felt rushed. Just days after releasing “Nocturne” they announced its second season. The studio probably had a lot of content for the series, but couldn’t fit it all. That is just the reality of producing a TV series. I believe it did well to set up for the next season. I’m watching the series for some story, awesome animated fight scenes, monsters and magic. Not sure what the critics are watching it for. 


5/5 Stars


Feature photo courtesy of @Castlevania, X