I know what most of you are thinking right now and it’s either, “You chose to watch and review this anime? Why? Reading the manga or watching Hellsing Ultimate would be so much better than watching the first adaptation made by Gonzo!!” Well, first off, in preparation of watching the 2001 series, I actually did read some of the manga and second, I rather wait for all the Hellsing Ultimate OVAs to be released in the states in full and yes, dubbed as well but right now I want to focus on this one, which surprisingly the script and series composition was by Chiaki J. Konaka, whose known for doing material for Serial Experiments Lain, The Big O, Texhnolyze, and even Digimon Tamers, (basically some good material…….well, somewhat—not much of a Texhnolyze fan), so what can go wrong from here?
Hellsing follows the antiheroic vampire, Alucard, and a police girl-turned-vampire, Seras Victoria, two vampires employed by the vampire-extermination group of England, the Hellsing Organization. Slowly but surely, through their active duty, they find a new breed of vampires beginning to arise. This newly developed breed is created through new technology made by an unknown organisation with the purpose of overthrowing the most powerful vampire known to mankind—Lord Alucard. Victoria has the problem of still wanting to hold on to her non-existent humanity, refusing to drink blood, which is provided, making her weaker than usual. Together they fight and try to uncover the source of this new technology.
Well, like I said, I have read some of the manga (as the point of this review, up to vol. 4) and while I didn’t have the highest expectations to this, knowing the reputation it gotten and this may be redundant to say but while the story in the anime was fine, the manga was better detailed or more interesting than what we got in the anime, although the manga was still going on by the time the anime ended, considering it was only 13 episodes, so not much to work there but with that being there, I did like exploring the organization known as Hellsing and the underground world of vampires and monsters but that was for the first few episodes and then after that, it went into a spiral and I got lost. Hell, there was one major villain in the last few episodes that was anime-exclusive and that part was the least surprising of the whole series.
Characters for the show are a bit so-so. For example, Alucard: I really dig this awesome character for that bad ass mofo motif he got and that charismatic deep-voiced charm he brings onto the screen. He can handle wasting a whole mess of vampires just like that…..only thing is…….he’s a OPMC (Over Powered Main Character) as in when you think he’s done for (i.e. shot up and bloodied to death), he doesn’t really die and while that may be good for this character, he does get boring for a while considering most of the time you going to know he’s not going to die so don’t worry about him too much, but Alucard isn’t always the main focus as much, it’s Seras Victoria, the vampire trainee of Alucard and the character development of her here is mostly “meh” and underdeveloped, compared to the manga and all. Sir Integra Hellsing (yes, she is a woman and you know what…….she actually looks attractive to me. There. I said it.) Is actually the fascinating aspect of the series, from how she got into the Hellsing business to how her upbringing and it is very fucked up and it’s also the best part if you saw the anime and/or read the manga. To me, she’s basically that power needed in the organization.
The animation…….oh god, this is some ugly looking animation and worse of all, Studio Gonzo is helming it and I’m not one of those guys that really, really, really hates on them considering I like some of their works (and their most obvious work which a review of this is soon), the problem is they would use too much in the first few episodes and what they got left of that, they cheapen it. Their budget of it as I heard wasn’t exactly enough considering they had other shows under their belt, such as Final Fantasy Unlimited and Last Exile. Most of the time, it felt like the backgrounds and gore effects were unfinished and they felt like, “Hmmmm….it doesn’t feel complete. FUCK IT!!! Ship it to editing, stat!”
Now for the more positive things about the show, like the music and how fan-fucking-tastic it is and how it really adds the flavor of cool that the show really needed with its mix of jazz and rock music. The opening theme “Logos Naki World” (World without rationality) by Yasushi Ishii just draws you in the show with how much flair and style it got, even though the show’s style and flair doesn’t last too long on you. However, I’m not so much on the ending theme, “Shine” by Mr. Big. It’s a okay song but it’s not something that’s going to last on me….that credit goes to the song played in episode 10 called “Soul Rescuer”.
Now on to the English dub and this is a pretty solid dub coming from New Generation Pictures, whom are Geneon’s usual staff for most of their licensed anime, considering they used English (meaning United Kingdom) voice actors for most of the roles and for the part, Victoria Harwood, K.T. Gray, Ralph Lister, Steven Brand, and JB Blanc all did a good job but of course, I know who are you expecting me to say about the performance of one man……and yes, I’m glad to say that Crispin Freeman made Alucard and man, did he ever deliver that performance excellent. Hell, despite some of the bad shit in the show, him as Alucard is probably the best thing about it.
FINAL VERDICT: This isn’t a perfect show but while it didn’t follow the manga faithfully, I wouldn’t completely go against it and hating it. It had some parts of the manga in there but most of that seems scattered and they worked with what they got. It wasn’t that good but they got to it. I would say watch it, at least once to see what they did right or wrong in your eyes but if you want the complete experience of Hellsing, just either read the manga and/or watch the OVAs.
So does Hellsing TV the top hunter or does it get shot and disintegrate in your eyes.
AN ACQUIRED TASTE.
Hellsing (The TV) is available to own on DVD from FUNimation Entertainment (also formerly from GENEON ENTERTAINMENT).
For streaming, it is available on Hulu, FUNimation Elite Subscription Service and more recently, viewster.com
And until then, this is MAK2.0 aka Blue Hybrid, bringing all the elements in one format.
Oh yeah, and HAPPY HALLOWEEN! (This counts as a Halloween Edition by the way.)
HELLSING – animation by GONZO / courtesy of FUNimation ENTERTAINMENT
The Mind of a Hybrid One – my Tumblr site
AND COMING NEXT MONTH……..