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Castlevania Season 3: A Mixed, Bloody Bag

After a super painful wait, Castlevania’s third season is here! And holy fuck it is BONKERS!! This is easily the most insane season of the show yet! There is a ton of shit to unpack here!

But the question remains: should this season even exist? Season two, while it had its flaws, felt like an ending point. It left some threads open, sure. But they’ve already killed their best villain! Surely, it’s all downhill from here!

I was wrong. Well… mostly.

Plot: Plans! Mysteries! Betrayals! VAMPIRES!!

Alright, buckle the fuck up. Because there are four plotlines going on in this season. So… this might take a while.

Plotline A stars Trevor and Sypha on the latest of their adventures. After another escapade in monster-slaying, they arrive in an odd, small town. Here, they meet Saint Germain, a mysterious man with equally mysterious intentions. But he’s the least of their problems; a Dracula-worshipping cult has taken up residence in the town. Can Trevor and Sypha figure out their plans and stop them in time?

B stars Alucard as he slowly loses his mind. After killing his father and being left alone, Alucard has started to lose his grip on sanity. Luckily, a pair of Japanese vampire hunters appear, impatiently begging for training. Eager to avoid being alone anymore, the son of Dracula takes the pair under his wing. But their impatience may be their undoing.

C stars our favorite Forgemaster, Isaac. After being sent away by Dracula, he’s managed to amass a small army of demons. His first objective: to find and murder Hector, along with all the other vampires. As he travels north, he meets several interesting new faces that sway his perspective. What path will Isaac fall upon?

The final plot stars Carmilla, her three sisters, and Hector. After a painful journey, Carmilla finally returns home and throws Hector in a prison. Once she’s cleaned up, she proposes her next plan to her three sisters: to use Hector’s powers to create an army, then pen up the humans as livestock. In order to see this plan through, one of Carmilla’s sisters rises to the occasion to convince Hector to help them.

Before you ask: no. None of these plots are connected to each other at all. Each one is entirely independent of the others. It’s likely that all of this is setting up for the fourth season, or maybe even the fifth. But as it stands, each one stands alone.

Unfortunately, they’re not all as good as each other.

The two worst ones are easily Alucard and Hector. Alucard’s plotline suffers from some terrible pacing, moving tediously slowly before breaking into a mad dash right in the final two episodes! The two new characters are horribly uninteresting, forgettable, and terribly written! The plot ‘twist’ is terribly obvious, poorly set up, and equally terribly executed! It ends on a strong note, yes! But the story itself could have used a few more drafts.

Hector is even worse off! He is such a frustrating character that I desperately wish he was just cut out of the show! He keeps falling for the same shit over and over again! I don’t want to go blaming the victim, because he definitely is the victim in these scenarios. But when a character is this fucking stupid, it’s hard to have any sympathy! He’s so brain-dead that it’s actually hilarious!

Isaac’s story is pretty solid. All of the new characters introduced in his are interesting and likable, and they give him some solid character development. Plus, he stars in some of the creepiest scenes in the entire show! His chat with The One That Talks and his battle with the old wizard and Legion (holy shit they put Legion in the show!) are some of the most chilling scenes I’ve ever witnessed!

Trevor and Sypha’s story is easily the best one in the show. Sure, the plot twist at the end is super predictable and uninteresting. But the rest of it is fun and engaging, featuring the best characters and dialogue. Saint Germain is a fantastic character that I desperately want to see more of in future seasons! Even the villains are solid, being clearly creepy and clever. It’s an engaging, enjoyable story. Plus, it’s given us one of the most topical memes of the year so far!

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I’m also quite fond of Carmilla’s sisters. Each one has an extremely good design, a great personality, and fantastic chemistry with the others! Every scene they share together is an absolute delight! They’re just likable enough that you don’t despise them but just hatable enough that you want to see our heroes take them down.

Story-wise, this season is very much a mixed bag. Some of the stories are great, others are pretty bad. Some of the dialogue is wonderful, while some of the lines make my skin crawl. Sometimes, the pacing is perfect! Other times, it goes way too quickly or way too slowly. Consistency is not a word in this season’s vocabulary.

Unless we’re talking about the action scenes.

Presentation: So Choppy, Yet So Smooth

This season had a solid sixty-six percent success rate in terms of presentation. In most scenes, particularly the dialogue, the animation is stiff and highly limited. When the action heats up, the animators go all out and make the show super pretty! No matter what scene it is, the music is stellar! It’s mostly successful, but it does have a few problems.

First: the dialogue scenes. These aren’t super visually engaging. In fact, if not for the decent cinematography and dialogue, they’d be downright painful! The animation is stiff and unnatural, often being restricted to simple arm or head movements. It’s passable, but far from interesting.

The action scenes, on the other hand, are absolutely incredible! They’re all buttery smooth, featuring some of the coolest choreography and effects work in the whole show! The best is easily Sypha’s magic. Every spell looks absolutely amazing, from simple icicles to rampaging blasts of fire or wind! Each swing of Trevor’s whip is amazing, featuring some of the best squash-and-stretch and effects work in the whole show! It’s super cool!

And then there’s the music! Castlevania has always had a badass soundtrack, whether it be in the games or in the show. This season is no different. There aren’t as many memorable tracks, like the Bloody Tears track in season two. But they’re all still damn good! They compliment each scene they’re in masterfully!

This isn’t the best looking show out there. But it still looks pretty nice! It’s clear that the animators are having a ton of fun with this, as it shows in the work! I can’t wait to see what they bring in the future!

Plus, compared to a lot of other Netflix original animation, this show looks fantastic.

Conclusion

This season is a bit rough around the edges. There are a ton of problems, especially in the writing. Personally, I’d have to say that this is the weakest season of the show so far.

But that’s just a testament to how good this show is! Even at its weakest, it’s still super enjoyable to watch! It definitely has its kinks, but the quality is still very much there! Hopefully, in the seasons to come, the show will be able to iron out some of these issues and become truly amazing!

If you enjoyed the first two seasons, I’d recommend you check out season three. Sure, it’s not as good as season two, or even one. But you’ll still have a damn good time watching it! It’s one of the best shows on Netflix and it is absolutely worth your time!

If not just to watch a demon eat some dude’s face in gruesome detail.

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