This bullpen anime review has a certain level of irony to it, in some ways. One has to do with the future, but I’ll never tell (I love leaving vague messages, don’t you?) The other level has to do with my love for anime at the time I watched this. I initially thought I could find nothing better than what I saw on Toonami with the end of DBZ, Gundam Wing and Outlaw Star. Also, I didn’t get to finish seeing anything from Tenchi, and I fell out of synch watching G Gundam that I gave up trying to keep up. All that was left was Adult Swim and the anime they had on it. As I saw some in snippets, I got to see all of Trigun, FLCL, and I got the initial taste of Shinichiro Watanabe which was enough for me to get both Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo on DVD with no regrets. However, after that, I couldn’t find anything more that stood out as good after those were released. Sure, there were plenty of series, but with limited resources and bandwidth, what could I rely on? Then, while flipping through channels, I kept seeing the name, “Hellsing” on the info bar when I passed certain cable channels. I thought this was the animated series of Van Helsing or something. I wanted nothing to do with that movie, no matter how much Hugh Jackman was in it. So, I finally stopped flipping, and saw what I was dealing with. I was elated. I finally found some new anime worth watching that didn’t seem either too unappealing or too unoriginal for me to get into. Naturally, I had to seek it out on DVD and see if it was affordable. It was 13 episodes, and I had some spare cash. Yea, this was going to be awesome.
Hellsing is based on the multi-volume manga series of the same name. However, this DVD set was a more abridged version of what happened in the manga, leaving a good portion of things out and re-telling certain stories for the betterment of filling a 13 episode arc. Years after the company distributing this on DVD closed, another DVD series called Hellsing: Ultimate was made, comprising of longer episodes that played closer to the manga. Sadly, since I don’t have that, I won’t be covering that. But, I do have this, and I will cover this. So, let’s dive in.
Hellsing is a story about a secret agency working within the country of England with one goal: search and destroy all vampires and other unholy creatures. This organization has existed for an extended amount of time, headed by the Hellsing family. Its current leader, Sir Integra Wingates Hellsing, runs the organization with an iron fist and a well-lit cigar. Her servant, Walter Donlies does everything in his power to assist her with her day-to-day affairs, along with protect her with his impressive skills with Garotte wire. As for the agency itself, it’s comprised of former SAS officers asked to join for their impressive skills on the battlefield. Hellsing also has a secret weapon, which marks the true strength of their order. His name is Alucard. His game is to act as personal protector of Sir Integra and the Hellsing family. As for how he contributes, well, I think it’s pretty obvious how he does and who he is. So, with all these cards in place, what could the series entail? How about a female SAS member named Seras Victoria coming to the realization that vampires exist? How about a rival organization with their own hunter who makes Hellsing’s work much harder? How about a vast conspiracy behind the increase of the undead that may run deeper than just the standard fare of vampires? All those in 13 episodes and you’ve got one solid series.
What I dig about Hellsing is that it’s a very cunning look at vampire hunting that is very rich and detailed. You’ll want another season or extension to the story after its ending. Another key element is the soundtrack. The music is very atmospheric. The choices range from various forms of alternative pieces from Japanese musicians. Oh, and if the opening and ending themes do not appeal to you in any way, your blood might be as cold as the vampires being hunted. I mean, come on! One of the themes is played by 1990s rock group, Mr. Big. That should be enough for you if you dug that scene. The animation is very crisp with the colors fitting the motif perfectly. I also appreciate the vocal exploits of the actors as they sound perfect for the roles given to them. It was here that I discovered the awesome talents of Crispin Freeman.
If you’re looking for a nice and compact anime series to fill out your collection, Hellsing definitely does the trick. If you become a bigger fan of such, look into the manga or even Hellsing: Ultimate for a more detailed look at the story proper. Oh, and make sure when you watch it that it’s on a wonderful night….for a bite to drink. Or you could just watch it whenever…..
Written By: Ezenwa Anyanwu