Castlevania is over and I still haven’t gotten over it. So, in a poor attempt to settle my grief, I’m going to organize the four seasons from the worst to the best and explain why. You know, your typical ranking article you’ve seen a billion times on the internet.
Remember, these are my personal opinions, blah blah blah, if you don’t get that by now there’s no saving you, let’s get started.
I think we can all agree on this one.
Season 3 has its strong moments. Trevor and Sypha’s plotline is pretty strong and sets up for season 4 very well. Isaac gets a cool arc culminating in the coolest fight scene of the season. This season does have some pretty dope moments.
But then there are the other two plotlines. Hector’s plot is decent, except for Hector himself, who is so infuriatingly stupid that it’s hard to truly care about him. Meanwhile, Alucard’s plotline this season is, without a doubt, the worst one in all of Castlevania. His two ‘friends’ are terrible characters, the twist at the end is pathetic, and the whole thing doesn’t go anywhere. You can legitimately cut this arc out of the show and lose nothing come season 4 except for a few lines of dialogue.
I don’t hate season 3. But of all four seasons, it’s the one I enjoy rewatching the least. It’s easily the lowest point of the show.
Season 4 is a fairly strong finale. Not flawless by any means. But those issues aren’t show-breaking or infuriating.
The main reason this season is so good is payoff. It takes every plotline (except for that shitty Alucard plot from last season, which it brushes under the rug pretty swiftly) and setup from the previous seasons and pays them off with fantastic effect. Each character’s arc is completed in a meaningful and satisfying way, all the villains go down in spectacularly enjoyable fashion, and we get plenty of simple “Fuck yeah!” moments to top it off.
There are a few strange scenes here and there that don’t really work and the ending, while good, isn’t anything special. Not to mention how this season tends to drop fight scenes on you over and over without any real plot significance to them, especially towards the end. It’s issues are numerous and obvious.
Still, it is an excellent way to wrap up the show. It may not be an amazing ending. But it was at least a good one. And I’ll take that over a terrible one any day of the week.
If not for two major issues, I honestly think season 1 would be perfect.
This season is such an incredible opening to a show. It perfectly establishes the plot, tone, and characters with its limited time frame. The dialogue is excellent, the animation is strong, all of it just clicks. It’s the perfect primer for the later seasons.
But there are those two problems. Problem one: its length. At only four episodes long, this season is over before you even know it.
And the second is just that. The ending. Its an incredibly anticlimactic conclusion to the plot the first season had been weaving. It’s the cliffhanger to end all cliffhangers. Thankfully, the rest of the show exists now, so it isn’t so painful. But it does still feel like a letdown.
Overall, season one was very strong. Almost the best season of the show.
Season 2 was everything I had hoped for and more.
This season introduces most of the characters and plotlines that would run for the rest of the show. Carmilla, Hector, Isaac, for better or worse, they all started here. The simple plot of ‘kill Dracula’ became a lot more intricate and complex this season.
And god damn, was that central plot amazing. This version of Dracula is one of my favorite fictional villains of all time! He’s more tragic than villainous, a heartbroken man mourning his wife and lashing out at the world in rage. And his battle against the main three is absolutely legendary!
Speaking of which: Trevor, Sypha, and Alucard have the best interactions this season! Watching their dynamic grow is a blast! It’s like watching the most incompetent D&D party of all time manage their way with dumb luck and stupid, creative ideas. But when it comes time for them to act badass, they bust out all the stops and kick all the ass!
It still isn’t perfect. The main three spend most of the season reading books in a basement. Hector is an infuriating character. Dracula’s war council are made up almost entirely of extras with no voice lines. It certainly isn’t perfect.
Which can be said about the whole show, really. Every season has its own issues, from the minor to the major. All of them glaring. But it manages to succeed despite them. Castlevania may not be a masterpiece. But it still kicks ass.
Fuck, I’m gonna miss this show.