Hellsing Ultimate

There is no such thing as immortality…even for vampires. Hellsing Ultimate is an original video animation (ova) based on the Hellsing manga. Hellsing is an organization headed by Integra Hellsing that defends the people of Great Britain from the demons of imagination with hellspawn of their own: Alucard. Hellsing Ultimate opens with an increase in vampiric activity. The unusual increase pulls the Hellsing organization and Alucard into an ever deepening spiral of insanity and violence. Few things truly remain in their graves.

Despite all the bloodshed, this isn’t just a mindless gore fest. Characters are well developed and complex. Even Alucard’s insanity is laced with almost-human regret and loneliness. His loneliness is only thinly veiled around Seras Victoria, a police woman Alucard turns into a vampire. Seras is trapped between her desire to remain human and her vampire tendencies and madness. Just about every character is bent in this series. Understandable when you consider how they deal with nightmares on a daily basis.  Integra Hellsing is strong willed yet still shows her fragility and doubts about her decisions. She refuses to back down even when her conscious nags quietly at her. She is willing to do what must be done. The other characters are an interesting cast of vampire hunters such as Integra’s butler, Walter Dornez, and paladins. Even the Vatican is pulled into the mess when they send their ultimate weapon and equal to Alucard: Alexander Anderson.

Hellsing Ultimate is not for the weak of stomach. Riddled with brutality, the anime revives the dark roots of vampire stories. Alucard is far from a sparkling emo vampire. His bloodlust is never sated, nor does his insanity abate. Even his master, Integra Hellsing, is taken aback with how cruel her weapon is at times. The animation is done in a dark comic book style and laced with contrasted chibi-like comedic scenes. The thick ink and rich detail makes the characters feel solid and alive. The comedic scenes make the bloodletting even more hellish. Be ready for impalings, beheadings, and worse. Action is fast paced, violent, and smoothly animated. Computer animation is used for many of the scenes, but it meshes well with the traditional animation. The contrast between the types of animations make many of the scenes feel more surreal.

The music is haunting. It leans on operatic pieces and classical but throws in enough techo/rock pieces that it is not overbearing. The music doesn’t distract. It pulls in the long history of western vampire lore. The use of foley is well done. Footsteps creak the wooden floors and blood splatters and drips.

Some of the anime’s problem areas is with accents in the English dub. Some of the accents are off, but this is just a small peeve. The violence is over the top and unrealistic, but we are dealing with vampires. Alucard is also a little too powerful. Most of the fights have little real challenge for him. I find myself often rooting for the villain to knock Alucard down a few rungs.

If you are a fan of true vampires and not the modern watered-down sparkly versions, Hellsing Ultimate will not disappoint.

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