Hellsing is an absolute mainstay staple of an anime series, but it is also one of the most out-there horror genre efforts ever. Truly a unique spin on Dracula, we follow the antihero Alucard who works for the shadow organisation Hellsing, dispatching demons, ghouls and other vampires, mainly to protect the Queen and country (yes it is set in England). Alucard is consigned to work for them and their leader Integra through an historic and twisted family blood oath. Things escalate into the bizarre and dangerous when Alucard is tasked with investigating a case involving artificial vampires, here a rookie officer Seras Victoria is fatally wounded and Alucard makes a decision to turn her; she quickly joins the Hellsing organisation as Alucard’s partner, but not without extreme complication as she adjusts to her vampiric life. Alucard and the organisation soon face increasingly bizarre opposition culminating in an epic holy war with the Vatican.
Hellsing sits among the classic anime series of all time, up there with Neon Genesis Evangelion, Cowboy Bebop and Trigun. It is a joy that the OAV (only available on video) series emerged with brand new HD animation, sound, music and new voice acting. Comparable to the original television series this OVA is a collection of one hour long episodes that better surmise the original manga. As such Hellsing Ultimate breezes through the crucial and exciting moments of the series, but stays true to the original less gritty and jocular version of the manga. For example, Victoria is not an emotional mess, but instead a cute fan girl type, susceptible to her new vampiric form. In fact every character is taken less seriously and it works; Hellsing Ultimate is far more entertaining than the original series that sometimes came across as dour and nihilistic.
Victoria enjoys her new life
The new art style from Studio Geneon (the original series came from Studio Gonzo) is sharper and a lot darker than the original series, this works as an excellent contrast to the less serious characters as the action and themes are still very violent and horrific. The music took a while to get used to, it is just so different from the Goth rock of its predecessor, but ultimately it has its strengths too.
The storyline is probably the weakest component of Hellsing Ultimate; it is barebones in the sense that it is just two opposing forces, but the characters and humour instil more than enough to keep you watching.
As a fan of the original series it is such a treat for these milestone shows to receive a modern update, and I can only hope the same happens to Trigun; with the reboot of Evangelion already taking place and Madman announcing the HD collection of Cowboy Bebop later this year, it looks to be a flagship year for anime.
Kwenton Bellette - follow Kwenton on Twitter here: @Kwenton
Hellsing Ultimate I-IV & V-VIII collections are out now on DVD and Bluray from Madman Entertainment