Episode 1 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 2 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 3 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 4 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 5 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 6 – | Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 7 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 8 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 9 – | Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 10 – | Review Score – 4.5/5
When it comes to good videogame adaptations on the big and small screen, there’s less than a handful. At the top however is this little anime gem. The first season did feel uneven in truth; a four episode experiment in desperate need of more episodes and an opportunity to flesh out the world.
Netflix’s gamble for a second season paid off, paving way for an enthralling animated adventure, full of pulsating action, solid characterization and faithful worldbuilding.
The ending to season 3 left many unanswered questions and this 10 episode fourth installment is certainly a turbulent affair. Despite a satisfying conclusion, the ride to get there is a little uneven, throwing in a last minute switch and bait villain. For spoiler purposes I won’t divulge what happens but suffice to say Carmilla is not the big bad.
That’s a shame because for much of the first half of this season, she is the focal point. As she stews in her castle, drawing up maps and preparing to conquer, her vampiric sisters start to exhibit concerns over her rule. It’s a fascinating dynamic and one that’s perhaps not quite explored in as much detail as it should.
Meanwhile, Sypha and Belmont find themselves off galivanting around the world, defeating vampires and catching the interest of night Mayor of London Varney.
Adding to that storyline is a plot involving Alucard, which sees him leaning further into his human side and helping out some villagers in desperate need of help. There’s also the ongoing Isaac issue too, with all these stories eventually converging together for the second half.
It’s here where Carmilla and the other vamp sisters are pretty much sidelined for the rest of the run-time, leading to lots of world-ending fights featuring disposable villains with very little depth. I do appreciate that an action-anime like this won’t have super deep characters but compared to the protagonists, the shortfalls are more noticeable.
What’s more refined this year though is the pacing, which builds up nicely toward the final fight at the end. There’s some great homages to the videogame titles in this fourth season and even some cheeky pop culture references too.
Fans of the banter between characters last season can rest assured that’s still here in abundance too. Whether it be Hector and Sypha’s innuendo-filled chats or Sypha and Belmont squabbling while fighting, the humour works well to lighten up some of the heavier material.
The intricately woven timelines do work harmoniously together again but they don’t always have the same poetic artistry last year’s season had. The chapter involving Isaac’s conquest juxtaposed against Hector and Lenore making love is still one of the highlights of the four seasons.
This year’s effort still has its high points though, but it ultimately feels on-par with season 3 rather than surpassing what’s come before.
Plot gripes aside, Castlevania Season 4 solidifies this show as one of the best videogame adaptations and a damn fine anime in its own right. The fighting is brutal, the twists plentiful and the moody atmosphere lends itself beautifully to a fitting conclusion for this show.
Castlevania does its source material justice, bowing out with an almighty, hell-raising roar.