As our culture changes so do our stories. We create new ones and update the old ones to fit our times. Rapunzel’s hair never used to glow and heal, but Disney changed that. In the original myths, Thor was a redhead, but Marvel changed that. And vampires used to be terrifying monsters, not tortured, lovable creatures with a curse. While change is a wonderful thing, there’s something to be said for the original. So for those of you who prefer your vampires to be horrific, sociopathic monsters rather than romantic leads, Hellsing Ultimate is here to fulfill all your bloodthirsty needs.
The plot is simple. The vampire, Alucard, his freshly turned protégé, Seras Victoria, an army of mercenaries and their leader, Sir Integra Wingates Hellsing, form the Hellsing organization, which protects England against the supernatural at the behest of the Queen. They also occasionally clash with the Vatican, which finds said organization heretical both for using vampires to fight vampires and because they’re members of the Church of England. The first few episodes of the series set up our main cast and the premise of the show. Then the plot kicks in. You see, someone is trying to destroy London. But not just anyone. It’s an army of vampires. And not just any army of vampires. They’re Nazi vampires who have been waiting since World War II for the chance to do this. What follows is a series of increasingly gory battles as the Hellsing Organization proves its badassery. Alucard proves he is the strongest vampire. Seras realizes that since she was spawned by the strongest vampire, she should make it her business to be second strongest. And the humans put up a good fight, even if they mostly get slaughtered. That said, between an insane arch-bishop leading the ninth crusade against “the heretics of London” and the army of Nazi Vampires, London actually does get destroyed. But that’s not the point. The point is to see a series of fantastically overpowered characters get into exponentially larger and bloodier fights against each other. At their culmination, Alucard sees the two armies arrayed against him while he is standing amidst the center of the inferno that was once London and releases all 3,424,867 souls he’s ever eaten to utterly annihilate them.
The animation in this series is truly top notch. Since each episode was an OVA (Original Video Animation) rather than part of a weekly series, the creative team had more funding per episode. They also had more time to work on each one and it shows. The visuals here are excellent. I’ve rarely seen better-animated fight scenes. The dubbing is also excellent. The voice actors really capture the spirit of their characters. Crispin Freeman sounds exactly like an insane battle hungry vampire. Steven Brand does a fantastic Irish Accent as Father Alexander Anderson. It’s honestly one of the better dubbing jobs I’ve heard.
This series is absolutely only for 18 and up. The amount of gore and violence is off the charts. I mean, you have London burning, vampires doing truly awful things to normal people, and battle scenes on a truly epic scale. It’s extraordinarily graphic and not in any way suited for children.
This is one of the better adult-targeted anime. While the plot is far from complex, the characters are well formed, three dimensional, and enjoyable. The protagonists are easy to root for and the villains are easy to despise (you really have to try hard to be worse than Nazi vampires). The fight scenes are among the best the genre has to offer. For any adults who are wondering if they’ve aged out of the medium or horror fans looking for something new to try, Hellsing Ultimate is the first anime they should check out.
directed by Hiroyuki Tanaka, Tomokazu Tokoro, Yasuhiro Matsumura
360 minutes, Number of Discs: 10, Box set
Company Age Rating: TV MA (18+)
Related to: Hellsing manga by Kouta Hirano