So this dude’s friend is a doctor but, like, does the cosmetic shit on the side, right? So then that same crazy fuck with the horn comes back but now he wants a Plexiglas plate for his skull. And the doctor fucking does it! He makes a window. You can see the fuckers brain and shit. The guy’s got a big monster horn and his headmeat on display. The guy’s a freak. Like, what the fuck!
Ah, so that’s where the profanity laden dub had gotten to. I just had to wait for the more volatile of the Valentine brothers to come waltzing in and his fascinating stories about Plexiglas skulls.
Now this is more like it! While episode 2 still hasn’t quite reached the new material yet (although I’m pretty certain there were no Nazis in the original Hellsing series), Ultimate has finally begun to show far more class. Episode 1 was rushed and, while still enjoyable, paled in comparison to the way the original handled itself. This episode, while still covering material from the first series, managed to do it marginally better than the first managed to. Part of this is down to simply having better animation, but the main reason this episode worked so well was it was all self-contained. This was just one episode about the raid of the Hellsing headquarters. Set the scene, introduce the villains, begin the battles and gradually work up the tension and the seriousness of the situation from bombastically silly to downright frightening. This is entertainment, perhaps not at its finest nor most artistic, but as well executed as you could have gotten.
The episode kicked off with the much maligned Hellsing Ultimate humour. Well, maybe ‘much’ is going too far, but I’ve seen it cited several times as something people don’t really like about Ultimate. Honestly I have no problem with it. Hellsing has a naturally silly side to it anyway and the humour keeps out of the times when it’s supposed to be serious. I personally think it works well in the set up of the series. Starting the episode light-hearted helps the way it gradually spirals downwards into more and more serious and scrawpy territory as it goes on. Also, I laughed. Which is what comedic scenes are meant to do. So eh, I’m not complaining.
What followed was and endless barrage of blood, violence, bloody carnage, gore, zombies/ghouls, blood dripping from walls and ceilings, inventive ways to cut people up, guns and even more blood. It was all a bit silly but that’s exactly what it was aiming for. I suppose you have to have a slightly sadistic glee in watching endless violence. After a while the blood did start to lose its effect though. I stopped going ‘woah, did yah see that! His head was sliced right in two!’ and started noticing other things. Like how the blood had this strange shininess and texture to it. It looked like a texture you might see a Gankutsuou character wearing. I suppose blood is a bit of a boring thing to look at after a while. It’s just a deep red, adding in some textures spices it up a bit.
Fuck off bitch. I’m supposed to be on top
Asides from artistic textures on blood, one other, much better executed use of slightly different animation techniques is the CGI. The only thing Madhouse ever make CGI are the weaponry. As useful a tool CGI is, integrating it into standard animation normally just looks clumsy. Ultimate makes it work though. Episode 1 had the slow-mo firing of Alucard’s handgun. This time there was the slow-mo reloading of Victoria’s massive anti-tank gun. The ejection of the shell and the view down the scope into her eye was fantastic. Definitely much preferred watching that part to the endless amounts of blood.
La la la, total slaughter, total slaughter. I won’t leave a single man alive. La dee da dee dide, genocide. La dee da dee dud, an ocean of blood. Let’s begin the killing time
Vash the Stampede – Trigun
But as mindlessly fun as it is to watch a large breasted vampiress dressed in police uniform duke it out alongside an assassin butler against a horde of zombies and a foul-mouthed American vampire tourist, the real highlight of this episode, and of the entire previous series, is the fight between Alucard and the older of the Valentine brothers. For much of the rest of the series, Alucard is just a well-dressed sadistic freak, and for the beginning of this fight nothing changes from that. I did love his fighting technique though. As his opponent runs around, dodging every bullet that comes his way, Alucard stays on his throne, body slumped back, head arched in a direction that suggests a broken neck, firing his gun in an almost lazy manner and the whole time with his same manic grin spread across his face.
But it’s this scene that steals the entire episode. As the battle upstairs takes a turn for the worse, the slightly silly atmosphere surrounding the whole attack begins to evaporate, we see Alucard in his alternate form. The whole sequence is one of the most frightening I’ve ever seen and the way it was built up was fantastic. But what struck me about this whole scene, beyond the gore and nightmare fuel and beautifully textured blood, was the disappointment and loneliness of Alucard. The delight he had at finally receiving an opponent worth getting worked up about, only to be crushed when he realises what a weak vampire he was. As he morphed his hand into a dog and added the episode’s kill-count by one extra, you almost felt sorry for the guy.
Looks like we’re onto the new material in the next episode, hopefully with Integra taking centre stage a bit more because I really don’t feel like she’s had the time she deserves yet. I’ve seen Ultimate match the original with this episode. Now I’m waiting to see it top the original.