Hellsing Ultimate – Volumes VII and VIII Review

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Wow, three anime-related posts in a row! Oh well, it happens when you don’t have any schedule, I guess! Anyway, THIS is why I have fond memories of watching the “Hellsing Ultimate V – VIII” blu-ray a few years ago… The two OVAs this time share a common thread: make the two lead characters look as “bad ass” as possible with crazy powers, and it achieves this goal! That being said there are several other good points on top of this to make Volumes VII and VIII a top watch… for a show about vampire SS Nazis vs. an anti-vampire organisation vs. the Vatican’s KKK-looking army… Let’s take a closer look then!

Synopsis:

While Seras is successfully overcoming Zorin’s soldiers, Bernadotte and his Wild Geese are being slaughtered. Seras comes to their rescue, but is it too late? Plus Alucard is nearing British waters, itching to get in on the fight…

Note: Full Spoilers From Here On Out!

Cast of Characters:

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That moment when you realise you may have taken things too far…

Alucard (Johji Nakata / Crispin Freeman) – Alucard has been stranded away from the one of the biggest battles in history, but he’s finally on the verge of the his big arrival…

Seras Victoria (Fumiko Orikasa / K.T. Gray) – Seras has been guarding the Hellsing mansion with Bernadotte and his Wild Geese, but now the extremely powerful Nazi Zorin has arrived, and things are looking grim…

Sir Integra Fairbrook Wingates Hellsing (Yoshiko Sakakibara / Victoria Harwood) – Integra is stranded in the hellish mess that has become London, surrounded by her enemies that only haven’t killed her because even worse enemies are trying to do it first…

Walter C. Dollneaz (Motomu Kiyokawa / Ralph Lister) – The last we saw Walter he was being kidnapped by Millennium (a.k.a. the zombie/vampire SS Nazis), that is until a much younger Walter appears beside The Major…

Alexander Anderson (Norio Wakamoto / Steven Brand) – The top fighter in the Catholic forces, Alexander Anderson is a little unhinged (to say the least) but at least recognises the sins on all fronts, even with his own forces…

The Major (Nobuo Tobita / Gildart Jackson) – Crazy leader of Millennium, the former Nazi SS battalion that became vampires. His true goal is chaos, even if it’s chaos that consumes his own life…

Pip Bernadotte (Hiroaki Hirata / Yuri Lowenthal) – The leader of the Wild Geese, a mercenary unit that is currently protecting the Hellsing mansion. He comes from a long line of mercenaries, something he grew to be proud of…

Zorin Blitz (Yoko Soumi / Rachel Robinson) – Member of Millennium who is currently using her mind manipulation powers to slaughter her way through the Hellsing mansion… what could go wrong?

Plus many more!

The Good:

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That right there is what you call an “epic shot”.

When I started this look at the OVAs I stated that I don’t normally like the super violence and sweary shows, but something about Hellsing (and particularly Ultimate) always drew me to it. These two OVAs reaffirmed what that is: the characters and their designs. Both Seras and Alucard get transformations that just scream “drawn to look cool”, and hell if it doesn’t put a smile on my face. I’d always rate something with a great twisty turny plot over something like this, but I can’t deny I really loved watching this a second time…

Volume VII is focused on Seras and Bernadotte’s struggle against powerful Millennium member Zorin, with both of them getting their back stories explored. Pip comes from a long line of mercenaries and was pretty much forced into the life, which even if he did eventually grow to like it, doesn’t make it any less tragic. Speaking of tragic, Seras’ past… Jesus! When she was a child she saw both her parents killed before her eyes, try to get revenge only to get shot in the gut, then she laid there bleeding as one of the assailants raped her mother’s corpse… I mean… Righty-o. Full credit to her for not committing suicide…

After having to relive that horror show and being torn apart (losing an arm and her eyes…) she then has to see, or, hear I guess, Pip’s death, someone she had grown to love. At this point you couldn’t want to see Zorin get hers any more, and thankfully you get to see it! Seras drinks Bernadotte’s blood, thus becoming a full vampire and gaining crazy powers that she then eventually uses to grind Zorin’s head into mush to the sound of a creepy song in the background. Effective! It gets pretty uncomfortable at times, but VII ends with a very satisfying note. I don’t know if I can describe it as “good writing”, but it’s effective viewing!

Volume VIII then shifts to Alucard being the focus as he finally arrives in the hellscape London. He is given the command to unleash his entire power (in which he had to recite “The Bird of Hermes is my name, eat my wings to keep me tame.”, the fragment of legit alchemy text that was always underneath the title of the series!) and boy, his “power” doesn’t disappoint. He unleashes a literal sea of dead people that he had devoured over the countless years of his life, which soon consumes most of the enemies of London. It’s quite the sight to behold, only beaten by Alucard is his original Count Dracula look, which is another one of those “drawn just to look cool” moments, it’s a shame it doesn’t last…

During this time Alexander Anderson, who finally saw his old student-turned-archbishop Maxwell for what he had become (which was quite insane…) allows the ghouls to kill him, only to then spare his body from humiliation. Anderson then cuts through the devoured dead and goes face to face with Alucard once again, although this time he is soundly beaten. His opponent is impressed and is thrilled with his skills, but Anderson uses an old religious relic known as “Helena’s Nail” to transform into a weird plant-root creature that actually takes Alucard down as the Volume comes to an end… It’s quite the weird visual feast!

The Bad:

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Due to the series’ short length, it’s surprising how much you grow to care for their characters …. well, one or two of them…

As you can probably tell by the fact that “The Good” was just a rundown of what happened, there isn’t much to go here at all. Again, if I was comparing this to a well-written pacey thriller or some-such, then yeah I’d have to point out over reliance of gore or a lack of … much of a story, but that’s not the point of the series! It is what it is, and it’s an excellent example of it!

Oh, actually, the CG used for Alucard’s ocean of dead looked a bit out of place, but I obviously understand what a colossal pain in the backside that would have been to traditionally animate!

Overall Thoughts:

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Yeah… I couldn’t NOT screen grab this bit….

This is where Hellsing reaches some whole new level of “crazy shit” that manages to look amazing and … “bad ass” (hate that phrase, but sometimes it fits best!) Seriously, if you want crazy transformations and bloody battles then Hellsing Ultimate Volumes VII and VIII are highly recommended! Now to see if the series ends on a higher note, or if this was the peak… (a reminder that I started this because Crunchyroll added IX and X to their UK service, which had previously been unavailable on any format in this country, meaning I’m still blissfully unaware of what comes next…)

5 Star Watch

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