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Castlevania Season Four: The Best It's Ever Been

Castlevania is a videogame franchise I've little grasp of. Outside of faint knowledge in regards to House Belmont and their eternal battle against a horrendously evil vampiric warlord and his unending loyal legions of evil warriors, there's not much I can attest towards regarding my understanding of what occurs in the primary canon of the series. However, this animated series has given me more than the fuel to learn about this franchise even further and become totally invested into the world it constructs. Castlevania Season Four finishes the show's building narrative with a precise-stroked whirlwind of expressly talented animation, brilliant dialogue, plot-lines coming to an intertwining close, and leaving just a small inkling of hope for sequel series set in the universe of which it has laid the groundwork for. With that basic summary (which does this Season absolutely no justice) finished, let's dive right into what makes this Season work so well.

Season Four builds right off the back of Season Three, with Trevor and Sypha emerging from their terrible encounters at the doomed village of Lindenfeld, Alucard having just experienced the cold pain of betrayal from two he thought were trusted allies, Hector being manipulated into servitude by the vampiric seductress and diplomatic mastermind Lenore, Carmilla preparing to conquer all of Europe and turn humanity into her private food stock, and Isaac readying himself to take vengeance upon those who condemned Dracula to an unholy fate. Such strong setups always have the potential to be sullied by what comes after. Game of Thrones had created a suspenseful, terrifying groundwork for the White Walkers of Everwinter only for Arya Stark to destroy the Night King and end his legions within the span of two seconds. Batman versus Superman was projected as the ultimate clash of God versus Man, Mystical Deified Powers versus Technological Might. Two wildly different ideals battling for control over the world and its destiny. It ended up being a rather short duel resolved by the silliest of dialogue options (SAVE MARTHA) and battle against a creature that was called Doomsday but more so resembled an aborted cave troll. What I'm saying is; great build-up doesn't always conclude with a stellar finish.

But Castlevania's Season Four certainly did. It capitalized on the strengths of each character and played to them, tailoring storylines and resolutions that could only work for them rather than making them act out of character entirely and placing themselves into figurative 'corners'. For example, Isaac does indeed avenge Dracula's death by slaughtering Carmilla, and Hector does indeed atone for his betrayal of the Vampiric Lord. However, Isaac and Hector are not the same men they were at the series' beginning. Isaac has learned from a variety of interesting humans he's encountered over the story's course that mankind is not just capable of great cruelty and evil, but also great good and companionship. Hector has endured nothing short of brutal abuse at his new masters, a far cry from the respect Dracula endowed upon him. To compound with this, he has grown from a manchild naive of the world's makings to a roughened veteran of war and maltreatment. Knowing that the world is vicious and cruel, Hector aligns to a more mature viewpoint, and atones on Dracula's behalf not out of sheer fanaticism and loyalty, but more out of guilt and a desire to see Carmilla's insane ambitions collapse in on themselves. Speaking of villains, this season introduces a final antagonist that concludes the story most perfectly. Rather than cheaply resurrecting an angry Dracula who returns to feast on humans once more or introducing a new threat, or even anchoring Isaac into that slot, Death itself acts as the series' end villain. In the Castlevania mainstream franchise, the Grim Reaper is portrayed as an entity servile to Dracula's ambitions and whims. In the animated series however, Death's character is reworked to become a much more selfish, vicious being that only seeks Dracula's resurrection as a means to his deadly end; that being the mass-harvesting of souls that will be reaped from the Vampiric Warlord's second crusade to elevate himself as the strongest creature on Earth. Castlevania is centered around vampires and their philosophical implications, their desire and nature to devour upon the flesh and blood of human 'livestock', and so it's only fitting the final villain of the animated series embodies that innate hunger and superiority complex above mankind. Death is the ultimate and first Vampire, but instead of feeding off our physical energies, he instead lusts after our souls; intent on reaping them until he becomes the most powerful being on Earth.

Regarding Carmilla, our star Empress of Evil, her sendoff is as respectful and impressive as one would expect for a character of her caliber. While she has been built up as a major player throughout the series, I always saw her character's ambitions, goals, and personality as Isaac's foil. Carmilla is a ruthless manipulator, with grand plans regarding continental conquest and expanding borders, and using armies and pawns to achieve her goals. Isaac was himself once a pawn, but has grown to become a warlord, but through his interactions with mankind throughout his journey, Isaac has evolved into a wise sage that wants to carve his own humanitarian path in life. Thus, Carmilla represents the kind of being Isaac was servile too prior during his tenure as Dracula's commander. Now, Isaac goes to destroy her and undo her evil schemes, proving that his character arc is complete, and he will now benefit the world rather than wipe it clean of all sentient human life.

Trevor and Sypha's relationship is also capped off this season, reaching a climax of them having a child and officializing their union whilst strengthening their friendship with Alucard. It's quite wholesome to see.

Overall, this Season of Castlevania caps off the series quite nicely, complimenting every major character with a fitting end to their arc, whilst setting the groundwork for perhaps future installations set within this vampire-hunting; Monster-slaying world. Bravo!

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