After creating three seasons of Castlevania, Powerhouse Animation is back on Netflix with a new series, Blood of Zeus. The story explores a young man’s journey as he learns who he truly is and his relationship to the grand cosmos of Greek mythology. As epic and filled with mythology as it is, Blood of Zeus falls misses the mark when relying heavily on flashbacks, over the top writing, and delivery.
The story itself is one very relatable to Greek stories of old. With a mythos built on generations, parenthood, children, betrayal, assassinations, and infidelity, there is a good amount of material and ideas, but ones that are fairly standard and predictable for modern television. Many times it felt like a soap opera with Gods because of the reveals, betrayals, etc. I found a few characters compelling, including the protagonist. But most of his close comrades and other supporting characters seemed more than disposable. And the main villain(s) are powerful and have some good motivations, but I wish that the villainy and reveals would have been a little later or in a more interesting way than loads of flashbacks.
The actual animation excels a lot in certain moments, but then it is extremely pulled back and almost feels lazy at other times. Between Covid-19, possible budget cuts and this being a new franchise, I’m not surprised that the art direction suffered a little bit when compared to the Castlevania series. However, if you want cool battles with lots of gore, this is a good place to see that.
The major issues with this show aren’t terrible, but there are a number of them and they show up more than expected. Some of the editing, delivery of lines, and writing seem quite amateur or even juvenile. Often there were long or numerous amounts of flashbacks to create levels of emotional depth, but they felt very “spoon-fed” and like cheating. A number of the lines may not have been the actor’s faults, but many were extremely silly when trying to be extremely serious, sad, or angry. The last thing to hold his series back is its lack of humor. The Castlevania series was extremely serious, dark, and powerful, yet it was well-balanced with well-placed humor and levity. Blood of Zeus has very little genuine humor and the characters aren’t inherently all that likable, so it makes it harder for us to care about them or laugh at what they do.
That is a lot of negatives, however, the show is good and can definitely be entertaining. It’s short and filled with lots of story, action, and world building. If a second season does come about, I would expect that more time and energy would be put into the animation and the writing to create a more challenging story and unique visuals. But until then this is fine and worth your time if you don’t have much else to watch at the moment and are really into anime, fantasy, or ancient tales.