Hellsing Ultimate is one of the top action anime ever made. It also ranks as the slowest release anime ever made, since it took 7 years just to create 10 OVAs and not because the manga story was incomplete. It was closer to making sure it would look as awesome as possible, yet even this way it has some really bad quality drops from time to time.
- Hellsing was originally an action/occult manga, drawn by Hirano Kouta. It became a cult very fast and received a partial adaptation in 2001. It deviated from the manga midway, which disappointed many, so in 2006 a more faithful version was created.
- The animation is a collaboration of many studios, although the major work was done by the king of anime series, Madhouse itself. It ranks as one of their better works in terms of presentation but pales before what they did with Red Line.
- Direction is done by different people along the years, and they all had interesting titles in their roster. The first 4 OVAs where done by the same guy who did Haibane Renmei, so you see a lot of attention given to how the characters feel and think. OVAs 5 to 7 are done by the one who did Claymore, so the feeling of the show changed to something that is far slower in pacing and is based on people standing still and terrified for long periods of time. The rest of the OVAs were directed by minor names, so they sort of feel duller than the earlier ones.
Coming from Madhouse and being of OVA format with almost a year worth of production each, it is expected to look fantastic. To the most part it excels in all sections, from detailed backgrounds, to smooth character motions, vivid facial expressions, great use of lightning / shading, over the top action and bloodshed, exceptional voice acting, and blood-boiling soundtrack. I would in theory give it a perfect score here but the bitter truth is it has lots of quality drops. Especially the various comedic scenes where everybody turns to a silly cartoon are just tasteless and out of place.
Ok, in all honesty you are going to watch this for the cool factor, the explosions, the trench coats, the round sunglasses, and the tits. If you expect something deeper than that, you won’t find it here. The anime is tagged as seinen only because it has too much violence and swearing to be shown on mainstream television but that does not make it mature in the slightest. Every single character in it is a poser idiot who loves to offer snotty one-liners and chop anything in his path to pieces; end of story.
At the same time that is its main appeal. Those ridiculous wide smiles, darkness hiding the faces and leaving sunglasses shinning, big guns, bigger explosions, and even bigger muscularity contests based on who owns whom with superpowers. It is also about the kitsch factor of watching a really stupid story being presented in a glorious way and always aware that is stupid so you can have fun at that too. So yeah, you get Vatican vampire hunters fighting Nazi vampires in London. It is as ridiculous as it sounds and it never attempts to be any deeper than that.
And no, I am not going to give it a good score for being honest at what it is; face value doesn’t fly with me. I prefer stories with rich context tactics in battles, and common sense; something this show lacks completely. Seriously, it is almost entirely pointless violence and poor attempts at fleshing out the characters.
The protagonist is Alucard. No relation to the one from Castlevania although the anagram of Dracula and his overall appearance is the same. He is basically a god-level vampire in the services of the Hellsing Organization (more references to the original book) and is sent around to kill other vampires. NAZI VAMPIRES that is. This dude is overpowered as hell since he can regenerate from practically any wound and own his opponents with totally hax skills before he sadistically kills them and eats them. He is cool but also boring for the same reason, since there is no real threat to the most part; he can just own everybody. Later on it becomes more interesting after it is proven even he has a few weaknesses but even then it just takes him more time to recover and nothing else.
Speaking of recovering, he is sort of trapped for a long period of time, so he is absent from the field. This is the chance the vampires awaited to make their move and that is where we see the focus being shifted to the secondary characters. Their roles became far more important for awhile; we see them coping on their own, an element which I liked a lot since it offers characterization and importance to more than one god-level character. Integra, Ceres, Anderson, and The Major really shine thanks to the absence of the super nova that is Alucard. They all act in pretty much the same way and they practically don’t develop throughout the series, but as I said their personalities are really vivid and cool to like them right away.
In all honesty though, I sort of lost interest in them in the last third. They had very little to show, their motivations were shallow, and they didn’t even make much sense all the time. They were fun for awhile but waiting several years just for the peanuts they had to show, plus the completely overblown dramatization they had without ever having much depth to back it up, just didn’t help to keep them cool all the way to the end.
It is definitely enjoyable and unforgettable but lacks depth, so it will not be appreciated by many A types. Other than that, good dumb fun.
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