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Hellsing Ultimate Volumes I-IV and V-VIII Review [Anime]

By
Posted on November 24, 2012 AT 01:08pm


When you talk to most non-fans about anime, they assume it is all rather childish or cutesy. Hellsing was definitely not one of those and the Hellsing Ultimate series is even darker than it’s predecessor. Divided into eight OVA episodes that are approximately 50 minutes each, Hellsing Ultimate makes up for what the original series lacked.

Hellsing is a secret organization sanctioned by the British government to protect the realm from ghouls, and more specifically, vampires. Hellsing’s secret weapon in this fight is a powerful vampire of their own named Alucard and his minion, Seras Victoria the police girl turned vampire. However, threats come from not only the monster themselves but also in the form of human monsters, organizations bent on destroying the Hellsing Organization, Alucard, and the British Empire. The entire OVA series revolves around the same on-going plot, there is someone making ghouls and no one is able to find the source. A Nazi organization is hellbent on creating an army of 1000 vampires to take over the Hellsing Organization and to conquer London. Each episode is one piece of a larger story puzzle, gives the viewer some backstory on each character, and sets the relationship tone between Seras, Integra, Alucard, Walter and the Vatican.

I guess I will start with the voice work. I did watch the English dub because in this case, I felt the need for the accents to help round out the characters, to give them personality and location. This is supposed to be Britain and regional dialects/accents tend to be lost with subtitles. I felt it was important to have the distinction of accents between that characters. The original Japanese with subtitles is available if you prefer it. Crispin Freeman did a spectacular job making Alucard simultaneously frightening, psychotic, masterful, and alluring. His crazy laugh could easily give you goosebumps. While all the voices were excellently executed, Mr. Freeman just stood out.  Sir Integra was voiced by Victoria Harwood; she did an amazing job of making the character as cool and confident as you’d expect her to be. Ralph Lister made Walter so appealing that he became one of my favorite characters in the series. Seras has more personality in this OVA series than she did in the original and provided some much needed comic relief, all well timed by K. T. Gray.

The art style is that same realistic, dark style that fans will be familiar with from the original Hellsing series and one that I tend to gravitate towards. It just appeals to me more on some level. Unfortunately, the series is punctuated with chibi-esque dream sequences from Seras or whenever Seras is providing some sort of comic relief. In other words, the surrounding scene will be in the original style with chibi Seras marching around. I found it to be distracting and unneeded. You can still have funny moments and make them laughable without having to resort to chibi. I will applaud the Dune reference in regards to Seras’ gun and the fact her dream had a fat, chibi Baron Vladimir Harkonnen floating around. I love that movie and seeing that the gun name really was a reference to the original Dune story made me smile.

If you are a fan of the Hellsing manga series, then this is the video series that is going to appeal to you the most. It follows the source material in the manga more closely than the original 13 Episode anime and there are even guides available online to show you which manga editions each OVA covers. You can integrate your reading and watching, getting a completely fleshed out story. There is that added satisfaction of seeing a story you have loved on paper come alive on the television.

Are you squeamish? Do you not like violence? Do not bother watching this then. Hellsing Ultimate makes up for everything its predecessor lacked in blood and gore. Most scenes end in fountains of blood or blood raining down on everyone. Body parts will fly, chunks of flesh drop, and amputations are normal. Alucard is free to show fans how much of a monster he truly is in these OVAs. He will toy with his prey before he finally dispatches them with copious amounts of blood and violence. You get the idea he wants to strip them of their dignity while is he sizing them up. He was more subdued in the original Hellsing episodes than he is in Hellsing Ultimate. You get a better sense of his true power now and how sadistic he really can be. Personally, I found the switch from Alucard being a Hellsing “pet’” to this powerful, psychotic beast better. I would much rather see Alucard as a monster that is almost allowing himself to be kept by the Hellsing Organization as opposed to the feeling he was weak and defeated. Besides the graphic violence, there is also graphic language so be warned. If you do not like cursing or references to “hard-ons” or overt sexual situations, go ahead and take a pass on this.

Both Hellsing Ultimate Volumes I-IV and V-VIII contain a ton of extras, some interesting and some not so much.

I-IV Extras:

  • Episode Commentary
  • Interviews with English Voice Director and Cast
  • Anime Expo 2007 English Cast Panel
  • Geneon Booth: Featuring Hellsing Mansion
  • Promotional Videos
  • Japanese TV Commercials
  • Karaoke of Major’s Speech, Trailers

V-VIII Extras:

  • Episode Commentary
  • Dubbing Hellsing – The 10th year Anniversary Interviews
  • Hellsing Cast Round Table Discussion
  • Anime Vegas 2010 Hellsing Panel
  • Fans’ Questions Answered
  • The Dawn: A Supplementary of Hellsing
  • Textless Closing Songs
  • U.S. Trailer
  • Previews

There is not any deep character development, no morale to the story, no “good triumphs over evil” and “everybody learns a valuable lesson” here. It is juts a vampire killing, violent, bloody good time. Alucard (Dracula spelled backwards in case you missed that fact) is pure evil and is probably one of the most detestable, yet likable, leading men you will ever hate to love. This series deserves a place in any anime collection and is well worth the price tag.

  • THE GOOD: Better than the original series, great story and rollicking good time.
  • THE BAD: Some extras are just pointless and unneeded, chibi scenes detracted from story.
  • THE UGLY: German accents were terrible and comical at best.

Score: 9.5/10

 

 

Carly "PoisonPinkFluff" Frith is a little sugar, a little salt, and a whole lot of personality. Gamer, general geek and beer aficionado. Just call her a tomboy in high heels. She is on Twitter: @DN_PinkFluff.




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