Matt Frewervampires
Castlevania season 2
Episode 1 also reviewed here: Anime 1st episodes 2018: C
Medium: webcast, series
Year: 2018
Director: Sam Deats, Spencer Wan, Adam Deats
Writer: Warren Ellis
Actor: Richard Armitage, James Callis, Graham McTavish, Alejandra Reynoso, Tony Amendola, Matt Frewer, Emily Swallow
Keywords: anime, vampires, rubbish
Country: USA
Language: English
Format: Episodes 5-12
Website category: Anime 2018
Review date: 5 June 2020
castle vania
Season 1 was great bloody fun. Season 2 bored the arse off me.
Ep.1 = starts with a flashback to Dracula's dead wife, which is the season's best scene.
After that, we discover that Dracula is waging a war to exterminate all humans. Meanwhile, our heroes (Sypha, Trevor and Alucard) do... um, not a lot.
This continues for FIVE SODDING EPISODES.
Ep.6 = heroes meet monsters! Something happens! It's still boring, but at least there's violence. At last the heroes are no longer just hiding and being snarky at each other. Instead, they're... um, having fights with personality-free monsters. Gee, how thrilling.
The only scene here with dramatic content is the one between Carmilla and her pet. Unfortunately, she's still Carmilla, but at least the scene is technically alive rather than a screaming void.
Ep.7 = actually okay. I like Isaac's loyalty, while the heroes finally facing Dracula is a pretty awesome fight. Ultimately, it's even emotional.
Ep.8 = this is okay too. Ep.7 was the finale, really, so this is tidying-up. We get farewells, casual conversations and grief. Carmilla's scenes are uninteresting, but even so this episode didn't make me want to fast-forward.
I should emphasise that Season 2 seems to have been fairly popular. My opinions are only mine. (Season 3 is seen as weaker, with people saying that "not a lot happened." Since that's my criticism of Season 2, I'm not holding my breath for Season 3.)
That said, though, I saw little reason to care about anything here.
THE VAMPIRES = Dracula is a compelling character, even when he's sitting in a chair being depressed. (Which is almost all the time.) The other vampires, though, are pointless. Whenever they came on screen, my attention slid. They're one-dimensionally evil, with no interesting motivations and no human characterisation (since they're not human). Godbrand is a tedious idiot. Carmilla is a smug snake. She has a low opinion of the other vampires (and she's not wrong), but I didn't care about her scheming because I'd been given no reason to. Should we support Vampire A against Vampire B?
It's also worth noting that she's stupider than Godbrand, in her way. Her actions helped the heroes. She created a holy river, sowed dissent in Dracula's court and indirectly took out one of his generals. She's lucky that her plan failed, because I can't see her lasting thirty seconds if she'd actually managed to reach Dracula.
DRACULA'S HUMAN ASSISTANTS = there are two of these: Isaac and Hector. This is a godsend, because it gives us two actual characters in Dracula's Castle. You still won't care about them much, though, given the "helping wipe out humanity" thing.
THE HEROES = spend five episodes being childish and ineffectual. That's a long time. They do, though, meet the "Isaac and Hector" standard of having human characterisation and being able to carry scenes. I could watch them, which I struggled to do with the vampires.
THE WAR = So Dracula's trying to wipe out mankind? Fair enough. These are the people who burned his wife at the stake for the crime of learning from books. Every so often, we see a massacre and we're never given any reason to care about the victims. They're cannon fodder.
Warren Ellis has written a pile of nothing here, but with two passable episodes at the end. There's Ellissish dialogue, though, i.e. swearing. If you're listening in Japanese, though, you'll see that our swearing doesn't translate into that language. The English subtitles often won't match the Japanese dialogue at all. The subtitles are more colourful, but I didn't think we lost anything by the lack of obscenity except once at the end of ep.6. ("What the fuck was that?")
I'd still recommend Season 1, but most of this season is dead. It thinks Dracula's vampires can carry scenes (so wrong) and that we'll wake up if there's violence. Nope.