21 CommentsHellsing Ultimate / By Scamp /

Blogging Hellsing Ultimate episode 1

I knew rather little about Hellsing before I started it. It was popular, but often not amongst critics, and had an alternate version OVA called Hellsing Ultimate. I went into the original Hellsing series with a vague expectation of violence, vampires and mild but messy entertainment. To my surprise, I absolutely loved the thing. The plot was a mess and might as well not have existed, but the show oozed style with it’s strange brand of sadistic energy. It was then that I started to pay more attention to what the reviews were saying. This original 2001 anime version of Hellsing has a bit of a bad rep amongst anime fans for the oh so familiar reason of ‘butchering the manga’. I was assured multiple times that Hellsing Ultimate, the OVA series started in 2006 and still ongoing, followed the original manga and was 10 times better because of it. Considering how much I loved the original Hellsing, the prospect of a series similar yet greater in every way…this is that story.

For those of you who haven’t watched anything from Hellsing and wondering where to start: You can start off with Hellsing Ultimate without having seen the original. They cover the same ground early on, only to deviate later on, much like the two Full Metal Alchemist series.

Such is my anticipation for enjoying this series, I went wild and actually bought the dvds!

Yeah I know. Someone who watches anime illegally later going out and buying the dvds of series they like? Shocking, isn’t it. One of the main reasons I bought the series was Hellsing had the single greatest english dub jobs I’ve ever heard. English accented policewomen, crazed Scottish warrior priests, profanity abound, Crispin Freeman as Alucard. The whole thing was glorious. Only the first four dvds were on sale on Amazon though. There was something funny about the licensing of this series and it got stuck in limbo for a while, but I believe it’s been picked up again. Besides, there’s such a long wait between releases that it shouldn’t take long for the dubs to catch back up again (although I’d have to wait for them to come across the Atlantic first so -_-).

One thing that did catch me off guard a bit was how it started pretty much the exact same way the original did. When people said ‘butchering’ I was expecting a bit more actual butchering to be done. The series still starts off with Police Girl and the rogue vampire priest. It also wasted no time in dishing out exposition with Integra explaining the entire purpose of the Hellsing organisation. Course this was the first time I got to hear her gloriously angry English accent once again. She’s such a fantastic character. She’s like Revy from Black Lagoon if Revy was actually intelligent.

What got me about the whole becoming vampire scene last time, and they kept the feeling this time around, was how strangely sexually charged it was. Of course, vampires have always been creatures with sexy auras about them in any form of literature (I guess it helps add to the energy when Police Girl spends most of the scene in a breathless, semi-moaning state). Unlike everyone’s favourite sparkly vampire, there’s a more masochistic, ‘violate me’ energy to this whole scene. I do feel it was much more subtly done in the original though (sorry people who haven’t seen the original, but this OVA covers the exact same material the first 4-5 episodes of that series did. I can’t help making comparisons).

(Speaking of Twilight, I’ve never actually read the books or seen the movies so I usually stay away from all the hate that franchise gets. However I do remember being absolutley flabergasted when I heard these vampires genuinely do sparkle. Like, it’s a plot point and everything)

I love the stlye of how everything is presented in Hellsing. Never go for a standard approach for a character profile. That’s just dull. Have an outline of a black shadow, with some glinting knives, a manic grin and round, Harry Potter glasses (whoever wrote the manga must really like round glasses) is far more interesting. Alucard has to be one of the strangest dressed anime characters you’ll ever see, that massive red hat being the strangest headgear around. I do love how, after getting ripped to shreds by a bizzilion bullets, he regenerates the clothes and hat along with the rest of his body (although notice that they never break his glasses. How would this show do silhouettes without those round glasses!).

Going from one Hellsing to the other, my biggest fear was that it would lose the style and sheer entertainment factor the original had. My fears were completely unfounded as it appeared. I had a giant grin plastered across my face for the entirety of this episode, which is largely how I spent my time watching the original too. It did lose little other things though. Much like Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood, it fast-forwarded through the early material in the assumption that the viewer has seen this stuff already and wants to get to the new stuff. In doing so, it loses pretty much any subtlety the original had. Most annoyingly, it really hurt Victoria’s character. The struggle with her humanity and her growing respect for Alucard was a rather small plot point in the original but it was a very well done part of it. In Ultimate, she goes straight from ‘oh look, I’m a vampire’ to ‘yes master, no master, three bags full master’. It destroyed her character and made her out to be pretty pathetic. She was never the most exciting character in the show, but at least she was interesting and well developed. Bleh~

However, much like Brotherhood, I’m guessing this will all slow down in the later volumes when the new material is reached. It keeps the energy and style of the original, but at the moment I’m still waiting for it to prove itself as being at least as good as the original. I’m waiting for something like episode 19 of Brotherhood. An ‘I sealed it with fire’ moment that finally wins me over and convinces me that this series has a reason to exist. It’s still hugely entertaining, but I guess it won’t be until the next episode at least before I really begin to see why people go insane over this version of Hellsing.

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21 Comments

  1. Posted August 7, 2010 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    During a summer job as a custodian, I was cleaning out a dorm (the residents had moved out weeks prior) and found they left Hellsing Ultimate 2 special edition DVD (shiny and hard metal casing ^(*o*)^). Being the good samaritan I am, I of course kept it for myself and yes the dub is crazy good. Still my favorite episode.

    • mexicanjoel1
      Posted August 8, 2010 at 3:50 am | Permalink

      i would have been a good Samaritan and also have kept it lol :P

    • Scamp
      Posted August 8, 2010 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      I envy your comandeering skillz

  2. luffyluffy
    Posted August 7, 2010 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    OhgodCrispinFreeman.

    Me and a friend are going to cosplay Schrodinger and Rip Van Winkle, and I shall be a delicious Nazi catboy. I suggest, watching ahead on the sub, even though Pip is soooo deliciously voiced by Yuri Lowenthal.. The series just gets more and more over the top.

    • luffyluffy
      Posted August 7, 2010 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

      Derp, this is why I have so many posts. I would just like to say: 1) Nice Mudkip. 2) I buy dvd’s too. Any money that goes back into the industry is a good thing. My most recent purchases are my DtB boxset( Which was $70 :I) and my limited edition Code Geass boxset(for $9 dollars). It has.. the first 9 episodes on DVD, the first volume of the manga, the OST, a drama CD, preformed by the English cast, a concept sketch booklet, and three booklets that were translated. For $9 dollars. I felt so godly.

      • Samshel
        Posted August 7, 2010 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

        I hate to live in a “3rd world” country :( It’s so expensive to buy stuff like anime, since you have to pay more for the shipping, which is always so high.

    • Scamp
      Posted August 8, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      I’m watching the Scrapped Princess dub. It’s not actually that good, but it has Crispin Freeman and that’s enough for me.

      That Geass deal seems too good to be true. You sure it’s not a bootleg? Although I’d find it hard to believe it would have all those extras and be a bootleg. You don’t have character artbooks with a bootleg.

      • luffyluffy
        Posted August 8, 2010 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

        It’s not a bootleg XD I got it at bestbuy, and the collectors box it came in is chipboard.. I think. But it’s all really sturdy.

  3. Posted August 7, 2010 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    I have two “gripes” with Ultimate:

    1) The music sucks in comparison to the TV series’ music. Taken on it’s own it isn’t bad, if a little generic, but god damn is it a big step down from the TV series’ weird gothic/blues amalgam stuff.

    2) They kept the mood-ruining humor that was in the manga. I liked how the TV series kept all of that in the next episode previews rather than shoehorning it into the storyline like the manga did. It just doesn’t work, save for one bit later on that only works if you’re familiar with Dune. At least the humor doesn’t pop up as often as, say, Full Metal Alchemist.

    It’s those two things that keep Ultimate from rendering the TV series “obsolete” as far as I’m concerned.

    I didn’t mind seeing Seras’ storyline pick up though. I thought the TV series lingered on her new vampire angst just a little too long, so I welcomed seeing her accept it a good deal quicker in Ultimate. Guess i’ve seen far too much vampire stuff to find that sort of storyline interesting anymore.

    • Scamp
      Posted August 8, 2010 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

      The guy who did the music for Hellsing is god-tier. He did the music for Darker than Black 2, which was a huge step up from the first season. Even more impressive when you consider the first season’s music was done by Yoko frikken Kanno

      I was worried the humour would put off in this season but I actually laughed when it did appear in Ultimate. So eh, I haven’t been put off by that yet.

      I get that the Seras story is kinda generic and typical of vampire stories and it’s not like it was the greatest thing in the world, but without it, Seras becomes an extremely shallow character. Her fascination with Alucard was developed in the last series. Now it’s just instant and it felt extremely stupid and jarring.

  4. vucubcaquix
    Posted August 7, 2010 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    I’ve yet to watch Hellsing in any incarnation (I WILL fix that) but I came across an AMV (don’t worry, it doesn’t suck) that always makes me want to drop everything and watch it immediately:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rX9Qe3vmKIo

    It’s the Fall of London, Possible spoiler warning?

    Should I watch the original series first? How was the dub for that?

    • Scamp
      Posted August 8, 2010 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      I’l keep that bookmarked for when I’m later in to the series.

      I’d say the first season is better to start with. Much like the two FMAs, Ultimate assumes you’ve seen the first season and rushes through the early part of the series. And yes, the dub is glorious. It’s probably better than this version as well because it drops F-bombs all over the place

  5. Samshel
    Posted August 7, 2010 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

    I can’t remember very well about the original Hellsing, since I watched it like 6 years ago, but what I do remember is that even when being such an entertaining series, I didn’t feel that the last episodes where that exciting. On the other hand Hellsing Ultimate feels far more epic in the way its developing all the war and the fights, so for me this one is much better.

    About your concern of Seras she looks cool when she goes berserk mode ^^

    Wondering when the 8th OVA comes out :S

    • Scamp
      Posted August 8, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

      The last few episodes were when I realised how little the plot made sense. All it really did prove is exactly how fearsome Alucard really was. Which still did add a lot to the story, because of how much I liked the relationship between Integra and Alucard, but it still leaves the plot a total mess. If they can improve greatly on the plot in Ultimate while keeping the style and relationships between the characters from the old series, then we have a true winner.

      Urgh, waiting for Hellsing OVA’s along with the rest of fandom will be frustrating

  6. Vinnie
    Posted August 7, 2010 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    Awesome! I prefer this to the Hellsing TV series (simply because I find it atrocious that so much was changed from the manga). Kota Hirano (the creator, who does have a thing for round glasses) tried to help out with the original anime as much as he could, but ended up having to work on different story-lines, unable to do much about it.

    I’m just glad the Ultimate series follows much better.

    And I believe Episode III has a fucking HILARIOUS bit in it. I couldn’t believe how much I laughed when the Vatican guy (Iscariot?) called Integra a ‘sow’ or something, and Alucard just phased through the wall, cool as beans, and then just aimed his gun at the guy. Iscariot-Dude’s response? A snap of the fingers and a bellow of: “ANDERSON!!!”

    Then Anderson comes walking down the hallway, that AMAZING Scottish accent in two, and both of them just green creepily at each other.

    And then Seras ruins it by ushering several hundred Japanese tourists by. “KOTCHI DESU YO!!!”

    I may be easily-amused, but that bit was really funny.

    These episodes are so much better than the TV series. More gore, more humour, and much more storyline. :D

    • Vinnie
      Posted August 7, 2010 at 9:56 pm | Permalink
    • Scamp
      Posted August 8, 2010 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

      Herp, I’m not a fan of people not liking something because it’s different from the manga. I’m still pissed at all the Brotherhood fans who have suddenly decided the old version was actually crap all along. Seriously, the change in attitude fandom has had to the old FMA pisses me off. Suddenly everyone is saying that the old series lost it’s way after the halfway mark? Bullshit

      (sorry for the rant, but I’ve been wanting to get that off my chest)

      • Vinnie
        Posted August 8, 2010 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

        Whoa. I didn’t mean to make you rant. I just was a bit annoyed at the decision to change the last bit of the anime. It’s not like I don’t understand that the anime doesn’t have its merits and the manga doesn’t have its flaws. ^^ I just loved Hellsing Ultimate way more than the original TV series.

  7. Poro
    Posted August 11, 2010 at 3:10 am | Permalink

    OMFG stop it!!!! vinnie, sampshell, scamp ARGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    i tried replying and commenting but by the time i finished mai comments i realized i am replying to wrong person. Ik ik scamp and the other 2 have slightly different avatars. But it depresses me when i have to rewrite the whole comment again since i am doing this on mai itouch :/

  8. Poro
    Posted August 11, 2010 at 3:11 am | Permalink

    so i herd u liek mudkipz….. (4chan) bware b4 googling

  9. Posted August 11, 2010 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    what the?! the ovas are already released?!
    geez, my country is lame like a snail

    mudkip like it too eh?

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