It’s interesting to consider what the grand scope of Castlevania and what it set out to achieve. Four years ago, a little studio by the name of Power House launched the first few episodes we call season one of this one show no one expected to be good by the name of Castlevania. It had a good preview of some very interesting settings, an intriguing plot, good character moments, and fantastic animation as well. Next, season 2 showed up and it was incredible with lots of good writing and build up to a singular moment action moment in a good conclusion where all parties involved split apart with season 3 setting up everything in individual character moments to set up this one. You can read my review of season 3 here for a more focused narrative. Somehow with characters all over the place, season 4 has a satisfactory conclusion. It’s so strange to see all of those things resolved and to see Castlevania end. Then again, we are getting a sequel series soon.
The wildest thing is trying to describe what happens in this series because it’s still split into multiple parts even if multiples of them join together in the end here. So, I will eventually go over each of those plots and what I thought about them in a little bit. I do want to mention a couple central themes and/or ideas that connected all of those plots together. The first one is exhaustion. Almost everyone in this story is exhausted for one reason or another. Trevor and Sypha are exhausted with traveling from place to place, our vamprisses wanting to push themselves out too far in the beginning and find themselves exhausted for trying too hard, Hector is tired of being involved with vampires, and Isaac is tired of all the killing he is doing and wants it to end. In general, everyone wants it to end and that’s the most relatable thing to me. With a plague going on and everyone is exhausted, this is 2020 and 2021 with vampires.
Castlevania Season 4 also has the theme of vampires trying too hard and wanting to push their claim too hard. Some seemingly unknown vampires who are scum want to bring Dracula back because they want more power and prominence in their life. Carmilla, our vampiress who has been around since season 2, wants the world for herself and to cause an imbalance in the world over old white people controlling everything in order for it to be her instead. Her three colleagues don’t agree and that leads to them leaving everything behind. There is a general lust for power in them which revolves around humans needing to subjugated. It’s interesting how some vampires weren’t interested in that anymore as they spend time outside world where humans just want to fight for their survival. I love seeing vampires coming into reality to fight their instincts. It’s fascinating stuff and creates complicated moments.
That leads to where I will lead this post with, the vampiresses themselves. There is a lot of things going on here for that. The first one is Carmilla showing her ambition too much by pointing at a map and saying she wants it to Lenore. Lenore herself is completely uncertain by this fact and laments this to Hector as he builds his monster smithing tools. The vampiresses couple of Striga (the muscular one with daylight looking Berserk armor) and Morana (the wordsmith and softer spoken one) are out in a battle field trying to assert their dominance to only figure out they shouldn’t fight in the end when fighting farmers that didn’t want to do anything. The fracturing of their unity present in season 3 feels a bit wrong somehow? Even if it’s been six weeks since season 3 so this was one thing done to make the story end faster. While it made sense in the end for this season and it worked out, but clearly it was cut off for a reason. I would have loved to see that drama fall out further here.
Connected to this one is the story of Isaac, the former slave who became one of Dracula’s monster forgers alongside hector to where he started destroying towns with his monsters because the people hated him wherever he went and his push for destroying Hector too, to eventually wanting to destroy the Vampiress’ castle in order to save Hector. He had all of these discussions with his monsters after acquiring the city that he’s conquered and burying the dead out of respect. He’s always been the most human character and him seeing that he didn’t want to destroy humans after that fact made a lot of sense to me. Hector wandering into the vampire castle with his monsters to save Hector and then eliminate the vampires was fantastic and he has a great fight scene with Carmilla with his powers all in play as he destroyed her completely. Striga and Morana seeing that conflict in front of them and leaving because they knew how pointless it was. From what we’ve seen, their resolved completely fell apart as they romantically left. Isaac and Hector took the castle for their own and Lenore eventually killed herself. Great stuff.
That leads to the conflicts in Europe with the Blarmy of London trying to resurrect Dracula while using Saint Germain and his knowledge of the Infinite Corridor to create resurrect Dracula while also getting to see his wife once again. So yeah, Saint Germain is a villain now because he is forced to in order to get what he wants. Meaning that he is the ultimate force that Sypha, Trevor, and Alucard have to deal with. Out of all of them in this combination, Trevor Belmont and Sypha have the best arc. Ok, mainly Sypha as the two end up in a city led by a crazy person who thinks rich skulls will come back to life so she takes over and helps everyone. She refuses to live the life that Trevor has. You know, the negative and pessimistic life story where everything always goes wrong with him but the two work together anyway to fight against the vampires trying to resurrect Dracula and win in their end. So Trevor is still along for the ride and while doing that changes himself. He doesn’t Sypha or their unborn baby to live in that world. So, great stuff for here.
What really annoys me a bit is Alucard’s arc. In season three, he’s had an arc of whether or not he should trust humans with the twins eventually betraying them. Besides a quick comment, that doesn’t change him as all or add an edge to him as he invites villagers under vampire threat into his castle where the final conflict of the story occurs. Saint Germain is apart of that villager group in his aim to betray them all his room is where the portal to the Infinite Corridor happens. So basically, he doesn’t learn anything at all besides he’s becoming like Trevor Belmont and refuses that. Not even the meeting of Trevor, Sypha, and Alucard again does much to Alucard at all besides “Oh, you guys are here again. Let’s fight”. Does that mean that everything Alucard’s arc is a complete waste? Well, just mostly. Him meeting a very strong, positive force in the form of a woman does catalyst a lot of things in him. It’s just that he’s so static resulting in him being an action based vampire pretty boy and nothing else.
So what does that mean for the quality of the story telling? Well, it’s still pretty good in general. Alucard’s arc needed one more season for that meeting with the villagers to come more fluidly then just being there, but everything else is at least good. Isaac’s story is still amazing and he is the main protagonist of Castlevania in my eyes. The Vampiresses and Hector had a good story that you can see where it was going, but it was also just tacked on and not fluidly led into which resulted in it not being as great as it could be but it works. On the other hand once again, Trevor and Sypha’s story completely followed what happened in season 3 in ways that make a lot of sense and had a good conclusion. In fact, the entire series had such a positive conclusion and somehow mostly pulled it off. So, very well done.
Lets talk some incidentals. I think a lot of my thoughts regarding this season of Castlevania’s visuals is that they are like season 3 except there are more well animated action scenes. That means more cool monsters, more gore, lots of cool Trevor Belmont tricks, good Alucard abilities, and much more extensive use of Sypha’s magic in some of the most creative ways possible. Love it. The tone remains the same, the art is similar with fantastic design useage and such, and everything else. Literally have no complaints about them. The one thing that brought me out of the show is part of Saint Germain’s speech was horrible. Like, it was literally fuzzed out and everything most of the time and it will bring the viewer out of the show by knocking them out of the experience. Otherwise, I’ve stated all of my critiques. Castlevania season 4 is good. It’s a finale that I was engaged with most of the time.