Critic’s Log - Earthdate: October 13, 2013. Review #59: Hellsing
The Horror genre. It often has disturbing and disgusting imagery, It can be used effectively if it scares the viewer, but there are times when horror contains a level of schlock along with it. Case and Point… Hellsing!
Alucard, an anti-hero vampire turns the police girl, Seras Victoria, these two vampires are employed by the vampire-extermination group of England, the Hellsing Organization. Slowly but surely, through their active duty, they find a new breed of vampires beginning to arise.
To be technical, this is a Studio Gonzo production. and Bloody hell, it is a damn mess. The show does look decent at first, but that’s just the icing of this blood cake. The character designs are okay but the backgrounds and design look awful. Studio Gonzo is known for its criticisms and boy, this show is one of those poorly made Gonzo productions. Hellsing’s animation is pretty inconsistent at times as well and it really looks bad, Unlike its successor.
The music by Yasushi Ishii is actually listenable with the show, but it’s not extremely memorable to say the least. The jazzy tunes really are a nice touch on the show. It’s a nice soundtrack to listen to without the show. The opening theme is pretty catchy, and the closing theme is an interesting choice. The closing theme “Shine” is by Mr. Big, An American rock band. I never heard of this song or this band until I saw Hellsing. I don’t think this band was big, and this song may have not gotten high recognition, so… why was this song picked as the closing theme? I will say that it may be hard to see this closing theme as a fitting choice. The lyrics may have been why the song was picked, but the tone may feel out of place. This may be a questionable call on Studio Gonzo, but the song’s okay I guess.
The Japanese cast is pretty damn good in this show. Jouji Nakata is terrific as Alucard. Fumiko Orikasa is pretty good as Seras Victoria, Yoshiko Sakakibara is great as Integra. Motomu Kiyokawa is also pretty good as Walter, and the late Nachi Nozawa is alright as Anderson. Kazuya Nakai as Jan Valentine, and Takehito Koyasu as Luke Valentine. In regard to the English dub. I will say just one thing before I go over the English Dub cast. If you are an Anime purist. Consider watching this anime dubbed if possible. There was one advantage that the English Dub took that the Japanese cast were unable to do. and that is giving the characters a British accent. It isn’t perfect but bloody hell! The dub deserves the praise and the credit for it. Crispin Freeman nails Alucard and this is undoubtedly the most badass role he ever got. Like Nakata-san, He gives Alucard that cool badass voice, and even manages to give him a scary side that most of us viewers can’t deny the badassery that Alucard has. K.T. Gray was an interesting choice and she doesn’t do much anime roles to begin with. She is also terrific as Seras Victoria. Victoria Harwood is bloody fantastic as Sir Integra Wingates Hellsing and she even has a badass moment herself. Ralph Lister is fantastic as Walter and is one hell of a butler, and Steven Brand is pretty good even if he gave Anderson a scottish tone which was actually an interesting choice in the dub. Worthy voices in the dub are Josh Philips as Jan Valentine, Patrick Seitz as Luke Valentine. The dub is fantastic and worth listening to. The only flaw with the dub is that there is some fake british accent roles that is easily noticeable. but the ADR direction proves that Taliesen Jaffe knows how to make the voices match.
One of the big problems with Hellsing are the characters. The development is shot to hell halfway through. Alucard hardly ever develops even though his past was a bit interesting. Seras Victoria is a bit interesting but her development is small in this show, Integra on the other hand has some development going on (until near the end). The Super Valentine Brothers get a pass. Luke is cool until he gets his ass handed to him and Jan was a fun foul-mouthed mother******. They did serve a purpose in the plot in the manga and this show’s successor. But in this version, they are sort of just there. But they were memorable. The one character that is so damn shallow is Incognito. He is very cliched and is a very lame villain.The fact that he has a master (who was never revealed in the show), and he has only one henchman by the name of Paul Wilson (who is also a bit shallow as well) does make him a bit lame. Incognito is just a poorly-written character who is only exclusive to this anime.
The big bloody mess with Hellsing is the plot. It’s decent until you get halfway. Once you are in the second half. The show goes downhill fast. There are plot holes in this show and there are also unresolved plot elements that really hurt the show. I know I have used the word “Bloody” a bit in this review but… The plot is a bloody mess. Even more messier than the other factors I went through. If you think the animation was bad… The plot was worse. Like I said, it is decent until halfway. It does build up to something, but once the halfway part kicks in. There are more things going on and once it’s almost over, it forgets what the show was going over in the first place. There was this “Freak Chip” subplot that was never resolved. Yeah! That’s how bad it got. Don’t expect a decent ending either as it also adds to the disappointment. But here’s something that I will admit… I sort of think it has some appeal. This anime is a mess, but if you are used to Horror B movies, you might not have much of a problem with this anime since it looks like a low-budget Anime. This anime is also an adaptation of Kouta Hirano’s manga of the same name, so this anime may be seen as a commercial for his manga. If you’re into Horror that has some schlock in it, go right ahead and bite into this one. If you don’t like it. that is understandable. It wouldn’t hurt to view this as a guilty pleasure.
Hellsing was available by Geneon until they went under. It was out of print until Funimation came along and rescued it. Hellsing is available by Geneon. The manga by Kouta Hirano is available by Dark Horse Comics. the first four volumes of Hellsing Ultimate were available by Geneon and then they went under until it was rescued by Funimation. the rest of Hellsing Ultimate is available by Funimation.
With all that said, Hellsing is a bloody mess with it’s poorly written plot and hardly developed characters, but even though the animation is inconsistent and not all that great. It wasn’t as messy as the characters and plot. The music is surprisingly the only good feature that doesn’t really suck. This is a kind of anime that you would get if you know what a B movie is mixed with horror.
I give Hellsing a 4.6 out of 10, it is NOT REALLY GOOD!
Feel free to leave a comment, now if you’ll excuse me. I got some work to do.