Hellsing Ultimate Anime Review
The Bird of Hermes
Is My Name
Eating My Wings
To Make Me Tame
Do you know the tale of the no life king? A ruler living in the darkest part of Europe during the middle ages? He was a man that killed over 10,000 of his citizens and impaled them at the border of his own kingdom to scare off the far stronger invader… Yes he was both genius and bloody. He was the impaler, Dracul. He entered the legend as the Lord of Vampires, the most legendary of his kind. According to the tale, he was killed by a vampire hunter. I’ll tell you what really happened, indeed, the no life king was tamed. He was made a weapon at the disposal of mankind. Humans are weak, they perish quickly and both their soul and body are fragile. Quite inefficient as hunters of those godforsaken creatures. Centuries after the defeat of Dracula, Hellsing organization releases its greatest warrior, Alucard, to fight vampires throughout the British nation. A domesticated vampire of the first class…
What follows is my unholy review of Hellsing Ultimate an ova series of 10 movies that was released in the span of almost a decade. It’s the complete adaptation of the horror manga by Kota Hirano with the same name. This review will also compare this to the original TV series from time to time in order to clear any doubts. It’s also important to tell people that a mini prequel series called Hellsing the Dawn also exists but it will not be taken into account for this review. The review will analyze the series according to graphic, characters, sound, story and personal enjoyment
Art and Animation of Hellsing Ultimate
The project was born as the ultimate adaptation of Hellsing after the end of its glorious run in 2008. As an ova series (and by Madhouse one of the best studios out there) the show boasts a near flawless animation that it’s been out of the league of many anime since the first movie came out. The art is dirty and messy, a perfect stylistic choice to better portray the general vibe of madness this series has. Indeed we’re talking about one of the most graphically violent and gory shows of the new millennium (no pun intended). This series overall packs an amazing comport of visual awesomeness and it’s one of the most ambitious works in this industry.
Characters of Hellsing Ultimate
I wonder what a series would be without a loveable cast of flavorful characters? Yes Hellsing ultimately (again no pun intended) does not fail to deliver one of the most interesting set of characters in anime history. Even though we cannot talk of absolute originality or insane psychological profiles (for example Alucard is based on Vincent Valentine from FFVII) we can’t deny how Kouta Hirano created a charismatic protagonist that is everything but the emblem of the hero. He is neither good nor bad, he just does whatever he wants and he is always the best at what he does (maybe even too faultless).
Character design is not too impressive with the exception of the awesome Alucard, the titular protagonist, but everything works perfectly in the context of the series. The secondary characters are well managed like Seras (who was more like the protagonist in the original Hellsing anime), Rip, Walter, Integra and my favorites Pip and the Major.
Soundtrack and Acting of Hellsing Ultimate
We’re not talking about a series that aims at using its musical score as a major (ok I’ll stop it with the puns) point of interest that’s for sure. You want awesomeness but this does not mean that Hellsing fails at the sound aspect quite the opposite lately. The original soundtrack works well as a background music and there are a few selected iconic tracks (like Gradius Vita) that make scenes overflowing with epicness and tension. Many genres from pop to solemn choral music are used. One thing that the original anime did well was the ost and its opening is one of the most iconic ones out there. Unfortunately for Hellsing Ultimate no tv series means no opening, but I advise you to watch all endings cause they are neat amvs of the back stories of many characters in the series. The voice acting earns this most of its score, many know how I am no fan of the dubbing but this time I can’t say anything. Alucard is a magnificent Crispin Freeman. Nonetheless the original Japanese subtitle is still superior because of Freeman’s Japanese equivalent Jouji Nakata.
Story and Pacing of Hellsing Ultimate
I cannot say this is a story driven series because it lets the characters, the setting and the events speak for themselves in a formula that never fails to disappoint. I do not mean that it has no story. It may be simple but surprisingly effective and thematic. In a hollywood fashion we see a mix of all that stuff, from movies or dark fantasy from nazi vampires to warewolves and the modern context, only makes it even more enjoyable and unique. The progression is linear and the storyline is enriched by the addition of every new character, each of them serves an important purpose in the greater scheme of the events.
The pacing is excellent, maybe even too fast due to the fact it’s adapting a not so short manga in less than one hour ovas. The action is focused on giving the viewer a mix between excitement and disgust as it should be. It massively improves what made the original series miserably fail, a complete and logical storyline that has no filler and far better coherent characters and situations. Even though I liked the occasional humour, it is sometimes inopportune and anti climatic.
Personal Enjoyment of Hellsing Ultimate
Who can’t deny this was one hell(sing) of a ride? oh I forgot to stop the puns… Jokes aside, we are talking about a very valid product and one of the most important horror seinen you can find. There are clear inspirations to works of the past, especially with Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures the legendary series whose certain elements resemble closely some of the plot points of Hellsing Ultimate. Even though the two have a similar black humour style, Hellsing is surely one step beyond in terms of controversial and morally questionable content so I warned you, it may offend your sensibility.
It’s nothing to be worried about, merely a tribute to an older series with similar genre. Take your time into analyzing the various themes in the series, the meaning of human, monster, religion, pride and soul. There is also a certain remarkable complexity regarding the ethics and worth of being what you are, even in your weakness and faults. Stay what you are or you might lose yourself in the process of changing, good and evil are not absolute.
Final Score 8.5/10
– Humble Reaper from Anime Amino, Italy (Sicily)