Review – Hellsing Ultimate (2006)

Now the original Hellsing anime came out in 2001 from Studio Gonzo. The general consensus was that it was a disappointment and fans demanded better. Luckily, Studio Madhouse with help from Studio Satellite worked together to create a 10 episode OVA series each with about 50 minute episodes. This idea was to accomplish covering more material from the source, create a quality show, and not to hold back on the blood and gore this time around. It took 6 years in total for the entire OVA series to complete, so how did it all turn out?

Imagine a world where instead of MI-6 or the CIA, Britain has an organization formed to protect the populous from various undead threats from zombies to vampires and more. This organization is called Hellsing and it is run by the ever awesome woman Integra Hellsing. Integra’s army-type personnel includes everyone from trained soldiers to mercenaries to her “ultimate weapon.” This weapon of hers is a seemingly invincible vampire called Alucard along with his new vampire servant, the voluptuous sniper Seras Victoria. Together they battle the forces of evil, the Vatican who seemingly have their own plans, and returning Nazis bent on plunging the world into another war for the Fatherland.

Getting to the point of the show. Do not take this seriously, the series is self-aware of how bat-crazy it is, and the characters are all so over-the-top that Hellsing Ultimate molds into a fun ride. Watching in either Japanese or English dub, the viewer can look forward to hilarious and hellacious dialogues that are commonly experienced through crazy monologues that start just because. Expect each character to be either a Nazi, mass-murderer, or a mercenary at some point.

Hellsing Ultimate puts England in a setting with vampires. These particular vampires portrayed by the anime extremely serious. There are ranks and tiers to these beings as a symbol of strength and perhaps blood is used for terms of lust and power. There are a variety of enemies from mindless-zombie-like vampires called ghouls, to humans changed to mimic vampire strength, and then there are the upper echelon vampires with special abilities and traits.

As the OVA progresses, the battles grow more chaotic and grander in scale. It starts with something simple from a police raid on a church overrun by the ghouls setting up the story. The anime moves on to setting up a series of one-off enemies through various encounters to symbolize strength and devotion. One example are the battles Hellsing has with Vatican “Priest” and another would be full on wars between factions. Each incident builds to climatic moments growing to larger scales with higher stakes each time.

Characters are developed or portrayed in the show rather shallowly. There are really three main characters to focus on: Integra, Alucard, and Seris. Integra is level headed and strong, but is consistently put into questionable situations even as a commander and spouts exposition constantly while smoking a cigar. It almost seems like her entire purpose in the show is based on her ability to “control” Alucard and nothing more. Alucard is the strongest being on Earth, but for some reason must obey the Hellsing family. He carries himself as the best, but the show only alludes to his past. Then there is Seris. She is quickly turned into a vampire from Alucard because he felt like it. Then, she must quickly accept her fate and go into battle as quick as brushing your teeth in the morning. An ultra quick pace along with a tell-don’t show presentation is how Hellsing Ultimate is presented. Time is reserved for the action rather than character pasts, true development, and explanations.

This anime feels more like an 80’s slasher film with amazingly dark and bloody environments mixed in a cruel toned atmosphere perfect for a grueling vampire killing spree. The animation is superb and has such high quality, every moving action scene shows how high of a budget it had. Although, there are moments of strange comedic scenes that are there to “alleviate” the mood, but really just seems forced and out of place. Even the art style never stops in high quality to the creepy moonlit nights to panning shots of Alucard slowly devouring an enemy in the most gruesome manner imaginable. This is quite a feat since the show had a few different production companies working on separate episodes, two different script writers, and three different directors. Music in the show is below average at best, which is disappointing compared to the original Hellsing. All listed negatives are not really items to truly hurt what Hellsing Ultimate is.

Plot is not so much about the characters, but rather about the ultimate battle in London. Much of the anime focuses on setting up suspense for the action and goes into extreme detail of present situations. This time could have arguably been used for explanations to a vast amount of questions such as why is the butler serving Integra or how do the bulter and Alucard know each other so well? Basically, the viewer must enjoy the crazy action spectacle rather than any character production.

Any fan of gore, crazy, and the nonsensical would immediately love this anime. Nothing is held back from start to finish. The series is self-aware to what made the source material so popular, and only wish there was more to enjoy like character biographies.

TL;DR: Hellsing Ultimate is an extremely enjoyable action anime with more action to build upon to more action. Do not watch this intending to get characters and a solid plot, but watch it for the blood and ultimate battles. Though it does have its’ flaws, the Hellsing Ultimate thrill ride is worth the time.

Recommended Audiences: This is an anime for edge of the seat popcorn action fans ready for an adrenaline rush. It is for those who need the mindless action and stellar animation in their lives, and should be watched at least once.

Hellsing Ultimate is a roller coaster of awesome nonsense for 3.5/5

Studio: Madhouse
Director: Tomokazu Tokoro (1-4), Hiroyuki Tanaka (5-7), Yasuhiro Matsumura (8-10)
Premiered: Winter 2006
Episode Count: 10
Rating: R Violence and Gore
Genre(s): Action, Supernatural, Horror
Streaming: Funimation
Price: USD 3 separate sets from: Best Buy: Vol 1-4 $40, Vol 5-8 $18, Vol 9-10 $28; Funimation Vol 1-4 $60 , Vol 5-8 $65 , Vol 9-10 $45
JD
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JD

I currently reside in Toronto, ON, Canada. Growing up in Houston, TX, I started out as an anime fan with the old 90's Saturday morning cartoon shows (Dragon Ball, Ranma 1/2). When Toonami starting airing, it was a show like Gundam Wing that officially cemented me as a true anime enthusiast. Any questions or comments, don't hesitate to contact me via Twitter @BowlingJD or check out my Youtube channel: Moosen Spiel.
I am also a big gamer from the retro NES days to modern PS4 greatness. More fun facts about myself include: Job as an engineer with a degree in Geological Engineering, speak fluent German as a second language, ex-Pro current Amateur level Bowler.
JD
Check me out

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About the author

JD

I currently reside in Toronto, ON, Canada. Growing up in Houston, TX, I started out as an anime fan with the old 90's Saturday morning cartoon shows (Dragon Ball, Ranma 1/2). When Toonami starting airing, it was a show like Gundam Wing that officially cemented me as a true anime enthusiast. Any questions or comments, don't hesitate to contact me via Twitter @BowlingJD or check out my Youtube channel: Moosen Spiel. I am also a big gamer from the retro NES days to modern PS4 greatness. More fun facts about myself include: Job as an engineer with a degree in Geological Engineering, speak fluent German as a second language, ex-Pro current Amateur level Bowler.

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