Hellsing Anime Review
Hellsing is my favourite anime, and for a very good reason -- it's just darn good. Though it has a few annoying parts and the animation is a bit iffy at times, overall it's a terrific anime with a very scary, intense, weird feel to it.
From the opening theme song it's obvious that this is no light anime. While there are humourous moments, these are rare, the series preferring to centre around deep psychology, dark philosophy, and of course, action. From the first drop of blood to the eventual cliffhanger ending, Hellsing is enthralling and tear-jerking, a near-perfect drama with extremely well-developed and mysterious characters, a classic yet original plot, and excellent music.
The series begins with a "sexy" scene involving two characters that have very little to do with the series -- but don't be fooled. The rather odd opening scene (ending with a shot in the head by everyone's favourite anti-bishi but still hot vampire, Alucard) is only the tip of the iceberg of this amazing anime.
Hellsing centers around several very deep, intriguing, and complex characters -- Sir Integra(l) Wingates Hellsing, female knight of the Round Table, Alucard, a cryptic, intelligent, mysterious vampire, Seras, a timid, confused mouse of a girl who finds herself sucked into the dangerous world of the undead, and to a lesser extent, Walter -- Integra's ever-loyal butler. I can't think of a single scene in the entire anime where any character, not just any of these four characters, did anything that didn't fit their personality, and this is a rarity among anime.
However, in the character department, there were also some flaws. Integra annoyed me at times by being overly heroized when in fact, the Iscariot probably would have done a better job than Hellsing at fighting vampires. Also, her refusal to co-operate with these people merely because they were Catholic was an example of her pride and independence -- not that this is always a bad thing -- became less and less worship-worthy and more and more annoying and juvenile. One thing I'd like to note is that I wish Walter had become more well-developed.
In the area of animation, Hellsing, while good, does not come out on top. It has a similar style to Love Hina, another top pick of mine, but doesn't pull off this smooth style as well, making some characters at times look too stretched-out, and disproportionate, or even too detailed. However, for the most part, the animation was quite good, lending a feel of realism to another wise completely surreal anime.
As said above, Hellsing's plot is completely surreal, but not to the point of being completely unrealistic and silly. The series opens with an introduction to the world of Hellsing, develops the characters in the next two or three episodes, then builds up to an astounding climax involving several institutions working against Hellsing, betrayal, back-stabbing, action, death, rebirth, and some very sad scenes. There were several scenes that I don't think were quite necessary (and if you're under the age of fifteen or so, you should skip order nine entirely) but overall, it was deep, philosophical, realistic on an unrealistic level, and exciting.
Well-paced and always nerve-wracking and suspenseful, Hellsing is a really well-presented anime. Unlike many other animes, it doesn't try to incorporate humour in places it really doesn't belong, and the characters are always themselves and never act completely different just to help the plot along. It isn't slow, and it isn't too fast, and while one part near the end wasn't very well-thought out, it was mostly very well-explained and the cliffhanger ending is a perfect touch and makes room for everything the fans (and especially the Alucard fangirls) were hoping for -- a second series.
One thing I must touch upon is the music in the series. It truly fits every scene, and if you heard the music separately and watched the series without music, you wouldn't believe it would fit, but it somehow manages to come together, even with the rather nonsensical theme song. (The title, "The World Without Logos" gives it away as being sheer nonsense and having nothing to do with the series.) The end theme is a very good song and sound vaguely Keith Urban, somehow, and the music throughout the series piques your interest and adds to the drama and sadness of the individual scene. While mostly guitar music, it remains well-fitted and well-written, pleasing to the ear and good even if you don't like Hellsing itself.
Overall, an amazing and well-done anime, and my favourite of all-time.