Hellsing Ultimate – Overall Review

Hellsing Ult

Even though it isn’t a TV series, it is a series of episodes and does have an over-arching plot to talk about rather than unconnected stories, so I’ll give Hellsing Ultimate the “Overall Review” treatment. If you’ve been reading the five individual parts you’ll know that this type of show isn’t normally my cup of tea, but there is something about the character designs and insane plot that makes it enjoyable. So, for the last time, let’s take a closer look!

Synopsis:

Ten years ago, young Integra Hellsing ascends to the head of the Hellsing Organization after the death of her father Arthur. Her jealous uncle Richard Hellsing attempts to kill her, but in doing so awakens a dormant Alucard…

In present day England, Alucard is called to duty to eradicate a vampire priest and his ghouls. However, a policewoman named Seras Victoria is gravely injured in the process, and upon giving her a choice to live or die, Alucard turns her into his vampire servant…

Note: Full Spoilers From Here On Out!

Cast of Characters:

Hellsing Ult 1

Right back at the start. Somehow this seems like ages ago already…

Alucard (Johji Nakata / Crispin Freeman) – The most powerful vampire alive and originally Vlad himself, Alucard has found himself in service of the Hellsing family, which from his perspective at least means he gets to kill things from time to time…

Seras Victoria (Fumiko Orikasa / K.T. Gray) – Starting as a regular police officer, albeit one with a troubled past, Seras soon finds herself living in the Hellsing base… with vampire powers. As unnerving as that was, she manages to adjust to the situation quite quickly!

Sir Integra Fairbrook Wingates Hellsing (Yoshiko Sakakibara / Victoria Harwood) – The leader of the Hellsing organisation and Alucard’s master, Integra is a hard nosed and straight talking leader, willing to do whatever it takes to protect Britain from supernatural forces…

Walter C. Dollneaz (Motomu Kiyokawa / Ralph Lister) – Interga’s butler and bodyguard, Walter has been fighting evil since World War II, and although he has “retired”, he is still a capable fighter…

Alexander Anderson (Norio Wakamoto / Steven Brand) – A member of the Catholic church’s Iscariot division who was genetically modified into being a “Regenerator”, a super-strong and fast-healing fighter created to combat the supernatural forces Iscariot fights… as well as the Protestant Hellsing organisation’s trump card: Alucard…

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 hired by Hellsing. He comes from a long line of mercenaries, something he grew to be proud of…

Zorin Blitz (Yoko Soumi / Rachel Robinson) – Zorin is a member of Millennium, the Nazis group lead by The Major. She has several powers that rank her far above regular vampires

Plus many more!

The Good:

Hellsing Ult 4

One of Alucard’s many forms…

Let’s start with what I’ve already mentioned: the character designs and general art direction. They’re great! Alucard is the epitome of “cool” or “bad-ass” characters that you can’t help but smirk at, and other lead cast members like Seras and Alexander Anderson are similarly well designed. The art and animation is of high quality throughout the ten volumes, as you’d expect from OVAs. I particularly like the use of shadow, often characters are literal black silhouettes of themselves with just their teethy grin or glowing eyes showing. It’s great stuff. Moments of comedy are turned into a more cartoony animation style that helps break up some of the overly violent scenes…

Although Alucard got a bit of backstory as the series came to a close, the main focus in terms of what you could call a protagonist is Seras Victoria, and she is an enjoyable character to root for. She has a pretty tragic introduction and an even more tragic backstory, but it all leads to a fantastic “villain gets their comeuppance” sequence in Volume VII. Her relationship with classic laidback mercenary Bernadotte is nicely done as well, he’s also fun character to route for.

Integra is a steely and unshakable leader and serves that role well, and her butler / eventual betrayer Walter is a better character when his backstory is shrouded in mystery than he is a rather dull enemy at the end, but it’s still good. Lastly Alexander Anderson is fantastic, not just because of Norio Wakamoto going 100% overboard crazy with the character, but in general he is more often than not the enemy, but you never want to route against him. My one major complaint to do with him is the fight between himself and Alucard at the end wasn’t given more one-on-one time.

The villains are pretty bland or characterless, though there are some amusing highlights, particularly German song-singing Rip van Winkle and the sadly never explained Schrödinger. The Major has his moments too, but … well, I’ll get to that down below.

I also love how absolutely bonkers it is. The final battle is between a group of English vampire hunters, a zombie SS battalion and the Vatican, with the latter two having large armies complete with vehicles and the like, all descending and destroying London. I’d love to see the look on the face of some TV or Film studios if you gave that pitch!

The Bad:

Hellsing Ult 2

If there is someone you really don’t want shouting in your face, it’s a character voiced by Norio Wakamoto!

It’s actually quite surprising how little story there is. I know the real reason this series exists is so cool and well-designed characters can have big fights or double-page colour spreads of striking transformations (I assume, I’ve never read the original Manga…) but looking back overall you have the introduction arc based around Seras and her getting used to being a vampire, then we’re straight into seeing the Hellsing mansion get taken down before we move into the final story arc. Episodes V-X are pretty much all Millennium invading London, destroying London, then slowly getting defeated. It’s a good thing the series is so gorgeous looking and entertainingly showy, because there isn’t much under the hood!

As mentioned up above, a lot of the villains are either bland, have no actual character, or are The Major, who has plenty of character and backstory by the end, but is kind of ruined by several REALLY long scenes of him explaining how evil he is and how much likes death and destruction. Speaking of long scenes, there are also far to many scenes of zombie Nazis killing people. Volume V is the worst at this…

As I mentioned in the respective VII-VIII and IX-X reviews, the big fights and moments all seemed to happen in the former, leaving the latter being a little flat rather than a big ending.

Overall Thoughts:

Hellsing Ult 3

Comparing this to the first picture shows what kind of crazy journey Seras goes on throughout the series!

While lightweight in the story department, Hellsing Ultimate makes up for it in pure style, animation quality and character designs. It still has some downs to go with its ups, but overall if you want to shut your brain off and watch something quite mad but flashy, you can’t do much better than this!

4 Star Watch

One thought on “Hellsing Ultimate – Overall Review

  1. The Girl With The Shenron Tattoo September 6, 2017 / 7:55 pm

    Excellent review. You’re right about the villains, they could’ve been fleshed out more. But Alucard is fascinating & and vampire vs. nazi series is all I ever wanted to see.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s