In the prologue of Dawn, Arikado notes that because Soma wasn't in danger for a long period of time, his Power of Dominance became dormant, causing all of the souls he absorbed to be released. This would explain why enemies killed in Aria (such as Balore) are alive and kicking in Dawn.
Death attacking Soma, despite the latter being Dracula, makes sense as Dracula had the Crimson Stone, something that Soma lacks.
Julius is a strange choice for an on-deck Soma/Mina shipper... Wait, he probably knows Dracula has a history of being driven to evil by losing loved ones. He probably wants Soma to have a happy ending so that evil never resurfaces, as well as because they're such good friends. (Indeed, in Dawn, the worst ending can be triggered by Soma witnessing the apparent death of Mina.)
In Aria, the Red Minotaur enemy is vulnerable to the Killer Mantle soul. In other words, you defeat an angry bull by waving a red cape at it.
Fridge Logic: In part of the True Ending of Aria, Castlevania has recognized Soma as Dracula, due to defeating Graham with Flame Demon, Giant Bat, and Succubus souls equipped, giving him Dracula's characteristic powers. If the Castle has recognized Soma as its ruler, why are the monsters still attacking him? It can't be said that he's not TRULY Dracula, as he's able to enter the one area of the Castle that ONLY Dracula can enter.
A likely explanation is that while he is recognized as Dracula in his ability, his character or "soul" is what prevents the castle from recognizing him as Dracula. So while he can use Dracula's abilities to get into the secret area, what prevents him from commanding the demons is because he still has his human soul.
That, or the castle recognizes Soma as Dracula but the monsters don't.
The monsters didn't obey Dracula just because of who he was, but because of the Power of Dominance. The monsters that do obey Soma are the souls you possess, and have limited way to use. A fully realised Soma could theoretically summon every soul he owns as a full-fledged and loyal monster.
Not the only one. The Claimh Solais sword (especially in Aria), Eversing armor, and souls such as Killer Mantle are ridiculously supercharged.
In Aria of Sorrow, a number of souls have this effect at various points of the game:
The Giant Ghost is the most notorious. Its effect is to deflect incoming projectiles. While this may seem trivial (as it does not stop you from taking contact and melee damage), everything that has a solid marker will be deflected. This includes Manticore's fireballs and Death's mini sickles. Yes, it trivializes many of the enemies that you will face.
The Alura Une/Arc Demon combo allows you to "recycle" your health (instead of losing it) at a 110% percent efficiency, rendering you nearly invincible.
The Red Minotaur can singlehandedly devastate most armies in a single swoop. Yes, it can. Also, facing backwards makes it hit twice. Its MP cost is restrictive, but once you get the Chaos Ring...
Lightning Doll is the universally acknowledged weapon of doom. It is acquired midgame, and has awesome damage for a moderate price tag. And its range? Phenomenal.
The Mimic soul has no combat purposes... But it has the ability to allow you to jump into spikes and gain 500 to 1000 money in one hit. And there happens to be a suitable spot right next to a save room in the clock tower. Do this for a while and you can purchase the Soul Eater ring with ease.
The Mandragora soul in Dawn allows you to throw a Mandragora. The explosion does tremendous damage and has a massive blast radius that deals slash-type damage, which a significant number of foes are vulnerable to, all for 30 MP. It can be acquired early on if you get lucky with the Mandragoras, and is useful from when you get it until the very end.
Abaddon's soul, in Dawn. Though you don't get it until very late of the game, absolutely trivializes any part of the boss rush with a large, slow enemy.
The Persephone soul in Dawn turns dealing with nearly all enemy projectiles into a trivial matter, including Death's sickles and Abaddon's locusts.
Valmanway in Dawn is the greatest weapon in the game, bar none. It may not have the highest attack power, and its the only weapon without a magical secondary attack, but its attack speed is ridiculous, and its one of the only two weapons you can attack with and move at the same time. Given that this was the original name of the weapon that was called Crissaegrim in the English translation of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, perhaps this shouldn't be surprising.
It Was His Sled: The twist ending from the first game was a big deal. The second one starts right off with explaining what it was.
Magnificent Bitch: Celia Fortner. She's Affably Evil, plans her actions carefully, saves Dario at the last second because she's unwilling to let him get himself killed like Dmitrii was, and she learns from past mistakes.
Memetic Badass: Julius Belmont has become the Castlevania equivalent of Chuck Norris, being the one who killed Dracula permanently.
Scrappy Mechanic: The seal system in Dawn, which was obviously just shoehorned in to use the DS' touch screen capabilities (along with the Balore soul, which is only used in six rooms, including the room you find it in.)
Arguably the weapon crafting as well, which is the only way to get halfway decent weapons (almost crucial in Hard mode due to the increased durability of enemies), and these require certain souls and weapons which randomly drop. Worse still, some require boss souls, which there are only one of, and therefore if you decide to craft the weapon, you'll be unable to get 100% souls for that playthrough. Thank god for New Game+...
Of course, said boss soul weapons are the best in the game, so it's a hard decision to make. It's technically possible to get a Chaos Ring and still forge a boss soul weapon in one playthrough, but the player has to fight all the bosses except the final one without a boss soul weapon (and of course collect and possess 100% of all possible souls) in order to do so.
Julius in Aria. He's fast, he's unpredictable, and he laughs at your Infinity +1 Sword due to his resistance to holy. You basically need an alternate weapon and Flash Step to beat him. Plus, after the fight, Soma states that Julius was stronger than that, and he admits to not giving it his all. So the narrative is saying that you fought him when he was holding back!
The first part of the Final Boss in Aria, if only because it can turn the Chaos Ring from a Game Breaker to a useless piece of costume jewelry.
Gergoth in Dawn due to the fact that he takes up over 75% of the arena (making you need to duck, and unable to use most magic without standing).
Death's second part in Dawn. The first part isn't too bad, but the in second part, he Turns Red, and gets a lot of new and difficult attacks that can do major damage (especially the skulls). In hard mode, he also has ridiculous longevity aside from the strongest of the game's weapons, which requires a lot of money/soul grinding.
Death in Aria is no slouch, either. His first form isn't so bad if you have the Witch soul, letting you bounce his mini-scythes back at him for massive damage, but the second form becomes extremely tricky to avoid, especially when he starts rolling his scythe all over the walls and floor.
Can be a Wake-Up Call Boss in Julius mode as well: if you don't know how to use Julius's backstep or haven't really used it, that second form is going to be much harder.
Though Balore was a pretty huge pushover in Dawn, he's extremely tough in Aria, giving you little room to dodge his fists in the first half, and then constantly spamming sweeping eye lasers in the second half.
They Changed It, Now It Sucks: Dawn was the first game to showcase the new anime character art style replacing the classic gothic work of Ayami Kojima. It wasn't received well by the West.