In present day England, a war is being fought. The average citizen does not notice, but vampires are running rampant among the populace, and it's up to the Hellsing organization to contain the bloodsucker threat, using even their own weapons against them. Alucard, a vampire himself, is the best agent the organization has to offer, answering only to Integra Hellsing herself. No one knows much about this mysterious figure fighting against the occult, but things starts to change after he “recruits” a new agent to the establishment...
StoryAs the years pass I find myself continually amazed with every Gonzo production I stumble upon. Either they will pump out pseudo-quality series like Last Exile or downright trash like Vandread, but rarely do they get it at least somewhat right as with Hellsing. Right in this case, though, happens to have nothing to do with a substantive plot, great animation, a solid soundtrack, or good characters; no, it happens to be the fact that they created one hell of a vampire in Alucard. Though Hellsing managed to flawlessly steal 286 minutes of my life away, it somehow did not seem to be a total waste of time; oh, it was a waste of time, just not a total waste of time.If one thing good came out of watching Hellsing, however, it's that I finally found the proper context in which to use the word discombobulated; I think I knew more about the story prior to watching. While there was a very vague inkling of a plot, it was by no means coherent, as I hadn't a clue as to most of what was going on. I guess since the series is set in England (I got that part, at least!) the writers decided to incorporate random historical references such as the Knights of the Round Table, and this made the story almost comical. Throw in an evil Vatican who is at war with England in secret, some random vampires, and a zombie infiltrated British army for good measure, and I think I make my point.Of course, right off the bat, it becomes rather clear that none of this matters; everything that happens is little more than an excuse to show off how awesome a vampire Alucard is. Truth be told, as much as I loathed Hellsing in general, this ended up actually keeping my interest for all thirteen episodes. The series carries a very mindless, pointless feel that somehow incorporates Alucard's character quite well, and despite the fact that most of the action scenes border on boring, I found it slightly entertaining. AnimationGonzo's reputation for putting out high quality animation is certainly not to be doubted, as the animation qualifies as some of the best in the 2000 series bracket. Though there are a number of times the scenery gets hatchet jobbed, character detail remains consistent throughout, so I don't see a point in being too overly critical. Alucard looks his part, and being that he's the sole reason you'd watch crap like this, that's all that matters.SoundThe dialogue in Hellsing far exceeds the norms for atrocious. Not only does the script utterly butcher English honorifics, but it uses them interchangeably with their Japanese counterparts, which makes the voice acting sound horrendously tacky. Music wise the series fared slightly better, but I noticed a number of times where the music seemed enormously out of place. While I fought the urge to turn off my sound, however, Alucard's seiyuu did a fantastic job with his character, and that proved redeeming enough to keep the volume up at slightly audible levels.As a note, for once in a blue moon I decided to listen to the dubs for a short while - yuck; Alucard's character was not captured at all.CharactersAlucard. Being one of the most badass vampires you will set your eyes upon, as I said before he's really the only reason you would have in watching Hellsing. Every other character served absolutely no intelligent purpose, save for Seras, who mildly captured my interest since she also showed signs of awesomeness when she got pissed. Alucard. That said, don't expect any sort of back story, progression, or development from anyone in the series, Alucard included; not that this matters, since he really has no need to change from episode one to episode thirteen. Alucard. All the characters are basically tools in a shallow action flick, so there's little more to be said. Oh, and did I mention Alucard? Alucard.OverallIf you're tired of hearing the name Alucard by now, this review has served its purpose well. I didn't like Hellsing much at all, especially considering I had moderate expectations going in from the rather high praise given to it by a number of people. Still, if you want an incredibly bland action flick or have a desire to watch the best vampire in anime history kick some ass, I'd say it's worth a shot. Certainly not my cup of tea, but I'm sure others would enjoy it on some level.
First things first, you've come here for Alucard, haven't you? Yes, he is that awesome. No, this anime doesn't do him justice. Story: So, the anime pretty much boils down to Alucard kicking massive amounts of ass while making some smart-alec remarks. Oh, and there's the side story of Seras adjusting to vampire-hood. Well, her story is actually the main one, but Alucard's level of badass absorbs the plot. Just to make things clear. While I'd love to praise the story for its ingenious portrayal of vampires, it plays off old legends and tropes more than anything else. Animation: The animation is fitting for the anime. It's dark and gritty, and only gives detail to things when needed. Usually with a shine. They love the glare of glasses in this anime. Sound: Not entirely sure if the score was jazz, alternative rock, or a bizarre mixture of both. Often, it was louder than the dialogue (which I watched dubbed, so that was pretty annoying). Characters: Aside from the Hellsing organization and a couple of their adversaries, not many of the characters get so much as a proper introduction before dying. Alucard stole the show by simply existing. I think Integra may be gender-confused, but that may have just been the way she dresses and carries herself. Ceras, is the whiny female protagonist you want to slap every few minutes. Overall: Despite my criticism, I liked this anime. It has a decent cast, and Alucard is hilarious.
What I Liked: Sir Hellsing. Walter. The series's focus on Seras developing from a small-time policewoman to a mature and capable vampire. The stylish albeit dated soundtrack. Well-animated, and quite high-quality for its time. The silly post-episode previews. The English VA cast went above and beyond, with Crispin Freeman perfect in his role as Alucard. What I Didn't: The title-card ending felt like a cop-out. Most of the second half felt like it had lesser substance than the first. The opening theme, despite sounding appropriately chaotic. Animation quality sometimes doesn't extend to the backgrounds. Weird amounts of sexual violence. The FREAK chips storyline is never resolved. Some scenes have some really shoddy dialogue that doesn't easily flow (i.e. most of episode 8). Use of repeated footage. Incognito. Final Verdict: Certainly a product of its time, the original Hellsing series has all the trappings of an early-00's anime - stylish (if not occasionally wonky) animation, a mix of memorable characters, a plot that shows evidence of a botched patch-up and a super-dated jazzy soundtrack. Come for the vampires, stay for the excellent (if not also occasionally wonky) English dub.
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