Hellsing Anime Review
US Release By
13 25-minute episodes
2001-10-10 - 2002-01-16
For decades, the Hellsing organization had been fighting against the undead. Now, however, there are more and more occurrences of vampires and other undead showing up. What is the cause of this sudden outbreak?
Every time I walked into a video store to look at its anime section, I always came across Hellsing. It always struck my interest, seeing that I am a huge fan of anything involving vampires and/or the undead, but there was always something else that I would end up buying instead. One day, however, there was nothing I really wanted to buy, so I decided to check out Hellsing.
After watching the first DVD, I was very disappointed by the fact that I hadn't bought it earlier. By next payday, I had the whole series. All I can say is Hellsing is absolutely amazing.
This is a dark anime, so if you are a fan of lighter stuff, Hellsing may not be for you. If you are anybody else, Hellsing is great. Presentation-wise, it is outstanding. Each of the 13 episodes tells another story of a problem the Hellsing organization faces. With the help of the leader of Hellsing's (Integral) servant, the vampire Arucard (Alucard), they destroy the undead throughout each episode.
Eventually, a conspiracy begins to show itself as they begin figuring out what's causing the sudden outbreak of the undead. All this and more flows fluently and smoothly throughout each episode. At only 13 episodes, most of the relationships between characters are well developed and executed.
If I could find any problem with Hellsing's presentation, it is the fact that it is only 13 episodes long. While most major characters are well developed, there were many other characters that just needed more screen time. For example, Arucard's nemesis throughout a good portion of the series, Alexander Anderson, is suddenly forgotten about after their last fight to make room for the final enemy.
While little things like this are not that big of a deal, they can leave some viewers begging for more, and in the end, leaving them feeling quite empty. Fortunately, however, the rest of the series is great.
Presentation: 9/10 (A great vampire anime with none of the clichés. Unfortunately it is just a tad too short. Otherwise, it's great!)
This is where Hellsing shines its brightest. Basically, as I explained before, there are many more cases of the undead showing up in London, England (where this anime takes place). For decades, the Hellsing organization had been secretly destroying the undead. Along with Arucard, the last of the pure blooded vampires, getting rid of the undead while not being known to the public had always been an easy task. Now that the numbers of the undead have risen dramatically, can the Hellsing organization remain a secret any longer?
Meanwhile, another vampire member is added to the group: Ceres Victoria. After the first battle, the near-to-death police officer chooses to become an undead by being bitten by Arucard. Now a half-vampire, she struggles to maintain her humanity while learning the benefits and downfalls of her new form.
Also, besides the undead, Alexander Anderson, a priest of the Pope's Special Task Force Iscariot Division, is after the Hellsing Organization. Also a hunter of vampires, Anderson swears to kill Arucard, no matter what it takes. This leads to a couple of extremely cool and impressive battle scenes between the two.
Soon, the Hellsing organization realizes that there is actually some sort of chip being developed that when implanted into a person, turns them into a vampire (or freak, as they call it). Overall, the plot is great, and will keep most viewers interested until the climatic ending.
Story: 9/10 (Deep, dark, and mysterious. Full of great characters, and the best story ever seen in an anime of this genre, Hellsing is an instant classic. Too bad it's only 13 episodes. )
The music in Hellsing is a mix between jazz, noir/gothic music, a little rock, and abstract. It's a great package, and fits well with the overall theme of the anime. All the songs are great, but not really the type of stuff that most could listen to alone. Still, it's all good stuff.
As for the (Japanese) voice acting, all is top-notch. Arucard sounds perfect, as well as all of the other characters. As for the English voice acting, that's another story. Arucard sounds too much like some normal, everyday guy. Meanwhile, they tried to give some cultural diversity to certain characters. This just made them sound ridiculous and not at all realistic. Stay away from the dub at all costs.
Sound (sub): 8/10 (The music is unique, and the voice acting is outstanding. Overall, a great package.)
Sound (dub): 6/10 (The music is the same as in the sub, but the voice acting is just plain ridiculous.)
Next to the plot, this is another area where Hellsing stands above the others. The artwork itself is unique. In many ways, it is very similar than Cowboy Bebop, but it also looks totally different at the same time. The characters themselves look great. They are all packed with detail, and look very realistic.
As for everything else, it is also great. There are many computerized effects, but nothing that stands out or looks out of place. One thing that makes the artwork so unique is the coloring used. There are no bright colors in this anime. Most of the coloring consists of reds, black, grays, and many other dull colors.
Instead of making the anime look not up to par to others, it actually looks great, new, and unique. If there's any way to explain most of the art, it is "abstract". Once again, this is not at all a bad thing.
Visuals: 10 (Realistic, loaded with detail, and unique.)
Overall, Hellsing is the best anime of its kind out there. With some of the coolest characters ever (Arucard is the best), great music, great art, and an outstanding plot, it is one of the best animes on the market. If you like shows with vampires and/or the undead, buy this. If you like great action scenes and lots of blood and violence, buy this. If you are anybody else, still give Hellsing a chance. You might be surprised in the end.
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Notes and Trivia
US DVD Review
The DVD's are great, and all presented well. While they have the basic extra features, the menus are outstanding, and above most other animes out there. This is definitely the best work I've ever seen Pioneer do.
Extra features include:
- Theatrical trailer(s)
- Trailer music video
- Creditless opening
- Concept art collection
- Action figure info
Rated 16-up by Pioneer.
Violence: 3 - Lots of violence, blood, and gore, as well as lots and lots of human death.
Nudity: 1 - One scene in episode 9 has some skimpy clothing.
Sex/Mature Themes: 3 - Lots of sexual acts, especially in the early episodes, but the worst stuff not shown.
Language: 5 - Lots and lots of cursing, as well as some explicit talks of rape.