Hellsing is my favorite manga of all time. It combines a fun story, memorable characters, quirky humor, stylish art, and unrelenting gore and brutality all into one little paper back graphic novel.
So naturally, you'd think that the manga would make an awesome anime. Well, Chiaki J. Konaka and Umanosuke Iida thought so too and took it upon themselves to make an anime based off the popular series. In many ways, they succeeded. But they also failed...
The anime was released in 2001, long before the manga series would be complete. So they were forced to come up with their own story, completely unrelated to the
manga (save for a few key plot points). This potentially is a pretty cool idea and allows room for originality, but the story in the anime is very hit and miss. There were times I was really enjoying the series and other times that I was flat out bored. I felt that the story just dragged and was often times pointless.
The story also lacks a key element that makes Hellsing so great, and that's the humor. This anime takes itself very seriously, but it loses heart doing so.
I've heard many times from fellow fans that the anime is just poor a fanfiction, and I can't say I disagree.
The animation is just plain ugly, even by TV anime standards. The characters are all poorly drawn, the colors are bland and ugly, and animation is smooth but suffers from choppiness. Visually, this is a lifeless anime. And that's all I can really say about it.
The soundtrack and voice acting is the anime's highlight. The soundtrack is nothing short of wonderful. The jazz tracks really set you in the mood for the series and I'd go as far as saying that the actual album is worth they buy. The voice acting was also very good. Crispin Freeman, K. T. Gray, Victoria Harwood, Steven Brand, Ralph Lister, and the rest of the cast did such an excellent job voicing their characters.
All the characters themselves were great, but the one character that truly stands out in the series is Seras. Her character is really fleshed out and you got to know her alot more then you did in the manga. Alucard was great, but he really becomes more of a prop in the background then anything else. The shows villain 'Incognito' was just... blah. He was kinda cool, but can't hold a candle to the manga's villain 'The Major'.
Overall, this is just simply an okay anime. Nothing rememberable or even exciting. It's not bad really, but it isn't great either. And to be perfectly blunt, this fails to live up to Kouta Hirano's vision. In recent years, they've rebooted the series with 'Hellsing Ultimate', an OVA series that is almost panel by panel like the manga's. I highly recommend you go see the OVA's, those did everything that the TV series couldn't.
If you consider yourself a Hellsing fan, then by all means go see this series. But if you're just entering the Hellsing universe, then I recommend you stay clear of this and go straight onto 'Hellsing Ultimate'.
If you are a "Hellsing fanboy", ignore this review as it will probably fill you with murderous rage. That being said... Hellsing is the kind of series not meant to be taken seriously, at all. If you like stories about vampires and find random violence cool and fun then this may be right up your alley. If you enjoy effortless entertainment with no real depth and no thought required, then stop here and just skip my review. However if you know what kind of anime you like, and are curious to see if Hellsing may or may not be for you, the following criticisms may
help with your decision.
Let me make this clear, it's not like shows about mindless violence are beneath me (I loved DBZ). The first episode of Hellsing was very interesting and drew me in, but from there on things went downhill. For one, everything about it moved at such a quick pace nothing really develops. This is especially evident with the way characters handle events (see "Characters" below). And this frantic momentum just keeps on going. The cut scenes are sudden, making for rough transitions, and even the plot progresses sporadically. It's also morally all over the place, which could be a statement about the ambiguity of right and wrong, but most likely the creator just didn't care about that kind of stuff. If you like shows like Cowboy Bebop which are very episodic and have very thin/loose central plots, then you may still enjoy Hellsing.
The Anderson guy was kind of cool and the fights with him weren't bad. The whole vampires commanding ghoul armies thing was a nice touch; kind of different. Still, there was little plot, and much of it was ridiculous and/or didn't make sense. The way they acted, the things they fell for, etc. The dialogue to action ratio was like 3:1. That much dialogue and so much dubiousness made even less sense.
But anyway... I'd say this is probably not for young teens as there's plenty of blood and some sexual situations...
The characters weren't the most original, but I didn't mind. The problem was that they weren't fleshed out very well and they were considerably static. They had no range. They were always in the same "mode" all the time. Alucard was always smug and "bad ass". Seras was always weak and impish, etc. Some people may actually LIKE this kind of certainty, but I prefer dynamic, unpredictable characters. Their interactions were also so unusual that I spent more time scratching my head than clapping my hands. Examples...
Alucard - I like bad asses. I can forgive a lot, but I expect a certain consistency. A certain logic or order to a characters behavior. But so much of the show is just kind of up in the air and random. For instance, Alucard's encounter with Seras. There was no pressure and no time limit and despite his considerable powers he still takes the least practical action. He didn't even consider any other options. The whole event felt so forced and rushed. Speaking of which, one moment he'll be asking, "Hey, wanna be my servant?" the next, "Hey, wanna be on your own?" Bwa?? O_o
Additionally, Alucard suffers from "overpowered main character" syndrome, which (when combined with the above characteristics) make it hard to either care or be concerned about the character.
Seras Victoria - I actually liked the whole vampire in training bit with her, but (like everything else) they never really developed this much. Also, she was all too eager to accept some random monster as her new master. Maybe the British have weaker constitutions than I was aware of, but I have to wonder, who does this? I'm ok with a character being weak or hesitant or not super special awesome, but to be so inexplicably submissive just seems unbelievable. No resistance? No doubt? No concern? I just can't imagine anyone in such a situation being so nonchalant.
Ironically, despite her instant instinct for servitude, she still ends up being very reluctant to actually DO anything. Maybe if there were some backdrop or history to her character this might have made sense. It's areas like this where the lack of character development really hurt the show.
Strangely enough, her breasts seemed to fluctuate in size and her hair would alternate between yellow and orange.
"Sir" Integra Hellsing - Not much to say, just wanted to comment on how usually in anime you'll see guys who look very, very feminine. The whole "Sir" and "Miss" thing was a little confusing, but it also didn't help that she might be the first in a new line of girls who look/sound very masculine.
The art's good, though a little weird at times (especially when the characters end up being stylistically "elongated") but this may come across as cool. I did like the look of the DVD menus though. I give the previews credit for being... different, although I personally found them annoying.
The one thing I did like about Hellsing was the music. The selections were unusual but interesting and somehow went well with the show. I wished it was used more often, then I could've enjoyed it as some extravagant AMV. The dubbing for Hellsing is noteworthy if for nothing else than the fact that they got mostly European voice actors for the European setting. Though despite this novelty I still preferred the sub. Freeman was the only one who didn't come across as amateurish to me.
On the technical side of things, Hellsing has major major issues. Gonzo is famous for prioritizing its projects from lavish budgets to zippo budget. Guess which one Hellsing got? Character designs are hideous outside of the main cast, backgrounds are so bland and unappealing that it’s almost impossible to tell where you are at any given moment, I could go on but just know that Hellsing is often painful to watch, color choice being its largest detriment. The palette in Hellsing produces a plastic, bile-colored result with skin tones on some characters that makes humans look less vivid than the undead.
The folksy rock-metal music
is unique, but I don’t care for how it’s used, or should I say, not used. Rather than support the action, the music always acts as an afterthought in Hellsing, playing far too quietly to be appreciated or punching up to blare and only achieving the effect of a drowning radio. It’s a great soundtrack that is poorly used.
The dub of Hellsing has an obligation to the English language that the Japanese does not: British accents, a double-edged sword with Integra and Walter on the sharp side, far too many awful extras on the dull side and K.T. Gray’s unstable Victoria licking the blade as she struggles to act a bland part in a voice that’s not her own and just pulls through. The Iscariot Organization offers a respite from all the limey lingo with Castilian Enrico Maxwell and the very best of all: paladin Alexander Anderson, a character who needed far more scenes if only so we could hear more of that great scottish brogue. For the most part it’s a very enjoyable listen with just a few forced cringes that come with a bunch of Americans trying to sound European. Then there’s Alucard. You can’t go wrong in either language because both Jouji Nakata and Crispin Freeman are wickedly fantastic. Anytime Alucard opens his mouth, you just have to shut up and LISTEN, it’s so spellbinding.
So, what do I really think of the wildly popular cult hit Hellsing? I could almost shout “what a waste!” and save myself some breath but seeing as this show is so well loved, I’ll have to explain my low opinion of this sleaze-fest in great detail. Very well. It’s one thing for a show to be episodic, to not have a plot. It’s quite another for a show to pretend it has a plot and string us along a lot of very confusing sideroads to end up admitting it has no idea where the hellsing it was ever going and doesn’t care to finish. Villains appear and disappear at random with little to no motivation or explanation of why they’re a threat and what they have to do with the “main plot” of who is creating the freak chip and why. Not that it matters. "Spoiler alert": They never find out who’s creating the freak chip, and even though we spend hours on it, the stupid things don’t ultimately mean anything. I rarely understood why any characters did anything, and I never cared.
The only reason I stuck with the show is because of the script. The dialogue in the show is wonderfully witty, and hearing all the brits banter scene by scene is incredibly rewarding until you realize every fun conversation has nothing to do with any overall direction.
But some shows get by on rich character development or unique concepts at the expense of a strong plot, the tried-and-true Bebop approach. This isn’t one of those, either. Victoria is one of the most boring and completely undeveloped protagonists in any anime. She follows her master’s orders and has long talks with people who could be interesting but often just get killed after they explain things. There’s no exploration of her struggle with her vampire nature or her apparent loneliness. She’s hopelessly boring, but hey, at least she’s hot, or so I’m told. Every other character is just as vapid, except a lot of them aren’t sexy or anything. The final boss is particularly bad, and has all the personality of a picket fence. The big exception to this is Integra herself, a complicated and valiantly strong woman, but she just isn’t enough by herself to give this show any substance.
So, maybe this show isn’t supposed to have a plot or develop characters, or you know, have any depth. Maybe it’s just a great horror title. No. Good horror frightens people, often relying on the audience’s imagination. Bad horror just grosses people out with too much information. Hellsing is gory, repulsive, sometimes twisted, but never frightening. Fullmetal Alchemist, a show accessible for young teens, has at least ten moments that are scarier than anything in Hellsing, many of them near-bloodless but may still keep you up for hours with the lights on. Hellsing is mature viewers only, gratuitous, and woefully unimaginative by comparison.
I’ve almost sucked this show’s juices dry, but it’s left with one appeal: the cool factor. Okay. It has that. It’s cool. It’s cool seeing a vampire in a longcoat pummel ghouls to ash and cackle about it. It’s cool seeing a bunch of catholics send a scripture-pitching Scotsman after him, too. But at the expense of all the garbage floating through this ailing anime’s system, simply being cool is no saving grace, in fact, it’s almost insulting. Hellsing is a pile of sensationalistic hyper-violence with excessive swearing and ridiculously ignorant sacrilege and the fact that people shout “It’s cool! Lighten up!” makes me balk at rewarding it for anything at all. Maybe the show is fun in a sick kind of way, but I see no merit in bad storytelling, bad technical execution, and yes, offensive content. Standards vary for every individual, but I’m the kind of person who will never watch Saw or Grindhouse and I am still sorry I bought into the hype to watch Hellsing, the cool kid at school who deserves no honest praise for being a real douche at heart.
All in all, Hellsing is a wild and wooly idea that sucks more than it bites. No amount of stylish costuming, good voice acting, and Scottish assassins can disguise an incomprehensible plotline, cardboard characters, and poor attempts at cheap thrills. Then, to make matters worse, you have painfully poor production values. It’s not a popular opinion, but I believe it has some credence. If you must indulge Hellsing, skip this and check out the OVA.
*THIS IS A PARTIAL TRANSCRIPT OF MY VIDEO REVIEW WHICH CAN BE FOUND HERE:
Heavy on style and very dark, the devilishly cool Hellsing is one of the hippest animes I've seen in the past half-decade. Oozing coolness, it's excellent musical score and characters hook you in, and the story keeps you interested enough to watch all the way through.
The characters look fantastic....some times. The animation ranges from flawless to sub-standard and is wildly incosistent, which is sad considering the character designs are amazing. The entire look of a character will change from frame to frame, which can be really jarring, but the big fight scenes all look great.
Music is always important to an anime (or at least
it is in my eyes), and Hellsing is second only to Cowboy Bebop when it comes to the fantastic score, everything from 70s rock to dark piano instrumentals is present on the soundtrack and none of it ever feels out of place. The opening theme is an amazing song, not to mention very complimentary to the sequence's visuals.
The story is a breath of fresh air from the normal generic vampire story tripe that pollutes Hollywood and cheap horror novels, and the strong connections to religious symbolism and Bram Stoker's Dracula were a real treat for me. Sadly, the main plot sorta goes out the window after episode seven in favor of a quick explanation of Integra and Alucard's pasts and the origin of the synthetic vampires. Fortunately, the manga and currently running Ultimate OVAs tie up most loose ends.
Overall, the memorable cast, great music and cool story bit me (hahahaha, vampire humor) and left me with the serious desire for human blood (or a better ending, either or). If you're a fan of Dracula, you'll love the series. If you're a fan of stylish anime, you'll love the series. If you like action, but also like compelling characters, you''ll love the series. Flawed animation and story aside, it's defintely a must-see.
Hellsing could have done so much more with the material it was working with. Not to say that the story was bad, far from it, but it failed to elaborate and strengthen its plotline enough to really be immersed into it. There was even a setup for a huge conflict between the vatican and the Hellsing corp., that was reduced to almost nothing. I suppose with only 13 episodes you can only expect so much. The story score for Hellsing is a 6.
Art - 8
The art in hellsing is just dark enough just red enough to give it a very vampiric feel. Considering
this is an anime about vampires I'd say thats a good thing. The characters have been drawn well enough to match their personalitlies as well. You could tell that the character would act the way they do almost on appearance. While this might come across as being cookie cutter to some, I think it is an important aspect. The artwork for Hellsing is an 8
Sound - 6
I did not like either the opening nor the ending themes for Hellsing. While the opening might fit the mood of the anime for some, the ending totally fails. It doesn't fit the anime either in lyrics or sound at all. Rest of the soundtrack was nothing to get excited over.
Character - 7
There are a few very cool characters in this anime. Alucard is pretty much the trump of the anime being by far the most interesting character. More interesting in fact then the main character who is nothing but dull. Actually almost all the side characters are more interesting then her... Maybe im being a bit too harsh but she never once in the anime does anything that is deserving of the role of main character.
Enjoyment - 7
Short but interesting, I was able to make it through the whole anime even without an adequate plotline. It had enough action and blood to keep my eyes fixed and even a certain amount of mystery to toy with my brain a little, but still far from the best level.
Overall - 7
I tried not to give this rating based on length, but it is pretty hard not to. Hellsing left too much uncovered, no room for a decent plot, characters that hardly developed, and frankly satisfied only the need to see a little blood and action. There's no better anime out there for people who want to spend a mere 5 hours finishing an anime, and just want to get right to the blood and sweat.
My friends... it has often been said that I like war. My friends, I like-wait, what do you mean the Major isn't in Hellsing? Oh wait, this is the 2001 version that doesn't follow the manga. You know, I'm not a huge fan of Hellsing 2001. It's not because I think that Hellsing 2001 is bad, but rather it's just so painfully mediocre (even for its time). Yes, Hellsing 2001 has a certain charm to it but it has NOT aged well at all and in comparison to Hellsing Ultimate, you'd have to be a madman to even want to consider giving this a shot.
start off with the basics: Hellsing 2001 came out when the Hellsing manga was still in relative infancy. As a result, there wasn't a lot of story that could be adapted so Gonzo just decided to wing it and come up with a completely new story. The only problem? This adaptation of Hellsing was produced by Gonzo, a studio whose works tend to leave a sour taste in my mouth half the time. For the record, I don't really mind if a series branches off from its source material and in some cases, I'd quite enjoy it (ref: FMA 2003, Kuroshitsuji). However, Gonzo doesn't really have the sort of "talent" that Bones or even A-1 Pictures has when it comes down to writing up an original story. For one thing, we don't have Montana Max aka The Major as our main villain anymore.
The main villain of Hellsing is Incognito, a guy that I really just don't know how to feel about since I had no idea who the fuck he was. All I ever really got out of Incognito is the fact that he's working for a master and that's about it. Say what you will about Alois Trancy from Kuroshitsuji II or the Kakuzawas from Elfen Lied, but at least we had a good idea of who they are and what they were after, regardless of how much sense it made. But Incognito? Not so much as what kind of food he likes or what kind of women he goes after. Come on... Don't even get me started on how this show is 13 episodes long. A show like Hellsing needed double the length to even begin making sense.
Aside from Incognito, the character selection we have to put up with for Hellsing is pretty similar to the cast we have for Hellsing Ultimate (at least when it comes down to the Hellsing organisation). However, they all lack the charm that they had in the manga/Ultimate (with the exception of Alucard of course). For instance, while the story of Ultimate always focused on Seras to some degree in the manga/Ultimate, she wasn't the only focal point. Here, she's pretty much the only one we see a lot of and as much as I'd like to say that she's a badass gunslinging vampire girl... she just isn't here. She's pretty much just the fish out of water getting used to her new life and nothing more. The story puts far too much focus on her and not enough on other characters like Alucard or even Integra or Incognito even. After a while, it just gets annoying.
Moving away from story and characters, let's talk about Hellsing's production. Gonzo seriously has no sense of prioritising and it's quite obvious that Hellsing didn't really have much of a budget to work with from the start. How so? Well for one thing... the animation is almost non-existent in this show. There's almost no movement going on in the background and the action scenes are so few and far between. There's a distinct lack of any substantial blood/gore like in Berserk, which is rather irritating given that the manga and Ultimate are gratuitous gore festivals. However, I'm quite fond of the colour palette used for everything since it makes the entire show have have a rather uncanny feel. That sort of atmosphere fits well with a show like Hellsing which is partially horror-based. There are also some moments where the animation quality really picks up for certain scenes and it becomes rather fun to watch if only for an instant.
If this anime had to have a saving grace aside from Alucard, it would have to be a tie between the OST and the English dub. Hellsing's soundtrack has no shortage of jazz tracks, guitar tracks, and the like which all strangely fit the moment that they're being played in. If there's one thing that this show has over Ultimate, it's also the fact that it has a proper opening (and a damn good one). The song "Logos Naki World" by Yasushi Ishii is a rather catchy jazz/piano theme which pretty much coincides with how big of a badass Alucard is and if he didn't have one already, I'd imagine this song was his character theme.
In regard to the dub, Hellsing's dub was produced by Geneon Universal Entertainment and I have to say, this dub really makes the show 100x more watchable than it is subbed. What I really love about this dub is the fact that actual people of British descent like Steven Brand and Victoria Harwood were hired to do the voice acting for some of the characters. As for Alucard, he's voiced by the almighty Crispin Freeman: a man who definitely had a lot of fun while voicing this particular character. Like when you hear the inflections in his voice, that creepy but oh-so-delicious laugh, etc., you'd be more than likely to get sucked into his performance unless you viscerally hate dubs for whatever reason.
Is Hellsing 2001 worth watching? I'd usually say no to this one, but if you're completely new to Hellsing, I'd say yes. Why? For the sole reason that if you watch the 2001 show before watching Ultimate, you can properly appreciate just how much Madhouse spoiled Hellsing Ultimate in ways that Gonzo never did with the 2001 show. Other than that, I wouldn't really recommend it.
Years ago, before I seriously got into anime and kept up with shows on a weekly basis, I had little knowledge of anime outside of Sailor Moon, Gundam Wing and whatever FOXKids decided to show. There was a program called WINAMP which served as the basis for my media needs and also had a neat little function for internet streaming. Among the various streams, was an anime channel that had, you guessed it, Hellsing playing on repeat and that's how I got into this little show. Produced by Studio Gonzo in 2001, Hellsing would be the darkest and edgiest show that I have watched
in the years leading up to my current watching habits.
Set in modern Britain, the Hellsing Organization, lead by Interga Hellsing who is a descendant of Van Hellsing, remains at the forefront of identifying and disposing supernatural enemies that threaten their nation. One night, a young policewomen, Seras Victora, is comes under a vampire's grasp during an operation inside a village that results in everyone else in her unit being turned into ghouls. Hellsing's top agent, another vampire, resolves the standoff with ease but ends up turning Seras into one of his familiars when she suffers a fatal wound. From then on, she is inducted into the Hellsing Organization where she comes to terms with her transition into a creature of the night while doing battle against monsters and demons.
Violence is something that Hellsing embraces fully with various firearms, melee weapons and physical attacks that has gore and body parts being thrown all over the screen. Lots of people die including innocent bystanders, human troops and horde of cannon fodder in the most terrible way possible. People and creature are impaled, have their bodies torn apart and eaten or even dragged into the harrowing abyss that is Alucard. Accompanying such brutality, is the mixture of gun and swordplay that is less about graceful fighting and more about who can inflict
The most glaring problem with Hellsing TV is that it was made before the manga had reached its conclusion and thus, it goes a different route from the source material at the midpoint of its run. Plot points like the freak chips behind instant vampires and the continuing conflict with the Catholic Church are dropped for dumber things like Integra's false sister and a villain that shows up at the very end. With the Hellsing train shifting tracks in the limited time of thirteen episodes that it has, the show derails before ending haphazardly in a unsatisfying finale where the viewers are left feeling confused and left hanging on what exactly was the point of Hellsing.
For actual characters, they prop up the entire show even though the plot fails to do them justice.
Alucard is as far you can get away from the romanticized version of vampires where they sparkle in the sunlight and have creepy stalker relationships with high school girls. He is overpowered. He is so overpowered that the viewers know he is going win no matter what, just like the Kritos and takuousa of Mahuka and Sword Art Online. The difference is that Alucard does it with style and flair that makes his powerful skills so awesome. Combined with his two signature hand cannons and combat style of luring his opponent into thinking they can beat him before taunting and beating their ass to a pulp, he is a flaming ungodly entity when compared to the cardboard cutouts of other male power fantasy shows. The only reason that anyone roots for Alucard is that everyone else is slightly worse off in their methods and reasoning and he is just so cool when he goes about wiping the floor with his foes. His red outfit, completed with a brim hat and trench coat, makes him one of the more visually unique anime characters that viewers will instantly recognize. In essence, the vampire of the Hellsing Organization is less of an anti-hero and more like a demonic monster, kept in check only by his master, Integra Hellsing.
The only two main character leads, which are female, do very well in keeping up with the overpowered vampire. At only twenty two years old, Integra Hellsing is one remarkable lady, being the head of an organization that specializes in taking down the undead and some very nasty creatures. She is rather cold and forceful in with dealing with Alucard and Seras, but that is expected of a person in her position. Seras, being a former police girl and newly inducted member of Hellsing, is the humanizing aspect of the show as Alucard and Interga operate on a completely different level from the common viewer. While she starts off as a very reluctant vampire, unsure of how to let go of her humanity, Seras' journey in embracing her supernatural is the focus of the television series. However, for much the show, she faintly clings on to her former life and instead of powering up like Alucard, it ends up dragging down the show, but not to the extent of the jumbled plot.
The best aspect and probably the most memorable part of the TV series was the soundtrack. With its jazzy style mixed with a bass guitar, piano and drums, it meshed perfectly with the British backdrops of dark seedy underworlds and very English architecture of castles and manors. If anything, the opening credits titled "The World Without Logos" serves as a perfect precursor for the what audience should expect from the audio department. It also helps that the opening has some pretty hardcore imagery that was grisly and awesome at the same time. One obvious point is to watch the dubs as the setting and characters are of a European background and the voice acting is done by some really talented actors
The visuals, for an anime airing in the early 2000s,is actually pretty good. The mixture of drab colors, like grey, black and brown, fits in with horror and bloody vibes that Hellsing goes for However, as the series worn on, Studio Gonzo's tendency to skimp out on the animation budget becomes noticeable and the overall product, already hurting from the sub-par story, suffers for it.
Despite all the flaws that turns a promising concept into a disappointment, I would still recommend watching this adaption, if only to enjoy the characters and music rather than focusing on the mishandled plot. It is a perfect way to be let down before moving on to its much superior successor done by a different studio and delivered in a much different format.
London is burning. The metaphorical mouth of hell has yawned open letting Vampires run amok on the streets to desecrate the sanctity of humans. They pillage and plunder about in the wake of blood, bathing in the high it gives them. Sometimes all one can do is let the Vampire's dagger-like fangs penetrate his or her rosy flesh, letting their souls and bodies become twisted images of man, ghouls, the mindless servants of the children of the night.
London is burning... is there no one to protect us from the darkness? Hellsing follows the story of Nosferatu Alucard and Seras Victoria, his newly minted vampire slave
and their servitude to the Hellsing Organization. The Organization has one purpose, to eliminate the freaks in the name of God and the Her Majesty, the Queen of England.
The story shows potential in the first few episodes but ultimately does actualize any much of it. The story becomes unfulfilling, leaving you dumbfounded in front of your television. As I looked into the black pit of my dimmed screen I imagined how much more could have been there.
None of the stories presented are completely explored. There is a whole conflict between the Hellsing Organization and the Vatican that is built up to a single underwhelming fight and completely forgotten for the rest of the shows run. It would have been nice to see more as the religious tension between Protestants and Roman Catholics was interesting, considering the actual history between the Church of England and Rome.
Hellsing painted shades of intrigue. At one point there seemed to be some political conflict dressed with conspiracy. There is tons of juicy stuff if explored, but the entire story is concluded in two screens of "Times New Roman".
The character's don't save the show either. Most of them seem to be cardboard. Alucard seems to be an attractive anti-hero at first, looking for a good fight. You never really get a glimpse past the violent visage, his overpowering ability consuming everything. Integral is portrayed as the stoic leader of Hellsing, her faith in god and country unshakable. The most well developed character is Seras Victoria. Her struggle to come to terms with the curse of her Vampirism is compelling. I would have appreciated both Alucard and Seras more if their whole slave-master relationship was examined. An opportunity unexploited.
Incognito was as cliched as antagonists come. He is power hungry, driven mad by blood lust and carried a huge gun. He has about 15 lines in the entire show, making his character tissue paper from a creative level. I would have liked to see more back story to him to give just a slice depth.
All these issues could have been solved if the series had some more breathing room. Thirteen episodes can't contain a series that is trying to do as much as Hellsing is trying to do. Stories could have been realized and the many actors could have more 'alone-time' with the audience to grow and develop. Possibly amazing actions scenes were shrunk into mere minutes, some conflicts resolved in seconds.
The art in Hellsing has it's moments. The art style is comic-like, models outlined in dark thick lines. It would have worked if the animation were not so uneven and the characters did not have such blocky body structures. Seras in particular was poorly drawn, having comparatively large head and breasts with square shoulders and rectangular legs.
The scenery is done well though. The mute palette fills the atmosphere perfectly. I love the wash of crimson that fills the landscape when Alucard enters the scene.
The sound is magnificent. The soundtrack is varied yet appropriate, scaling from upbeat to morose. The real star of the production is the voice work. Alucard's voice is deep, emanating from the depths of bosom and exuding power. Integral voice grows sharp with her dutiful conviction. The rest of the cast do an exceptional job. It sad that they didn't have a better script to work with.
Watchability and Enjoyment
Hellsing is definitely watchable, but for the wrong reasons. It's quite short, thirteen episodes, and nothing is quite revolting. I finished it about three sessions. Some of the action is merits watching and the music is worth listening to. My enjoyment was hindered by the fact the plot lines were largely incomplete. I felt unfulfilled, that there should have been seven or eight more episodes afterward.
Hellsing manages to deal with a few themes across the small series. Seras Victoria, upon being turned into a vampire, fights of the beast beating against her rib cage. Two halves of her battle one another, one side hanging onto her former humanity the other side embracing the monster that was borne in her. Integral has a similar struggle of identity that is hinted at. She lives to become a reflection of her father, whose portrait hangs in her room. She lives to fill his shadow, and die with an untarnished dignity and pride. Both of these ideas helped prevent Hellsing from being completely shallow.
Hellsing could have been excellent but was crippled by its own length. It's big ideas were shaved down to size and stuffed into thirteen episodes. Hellsing could have solved this easily, by being longer or by trying to do less. If your looking for an anime about vampire's with some substance, Hellsing should be a pass for you.
Ah Hellsing. The 13 episode anime that REALLY needs to be 24 episodes. Usually I find 24 episode plots to be kind of boring, they need to go somewhere and their storylines kind of sag. 12-14 episode long ones need to have good stories, and they usually accomplish this. Hellsing unfortunately, does not. Hellsing was the second anime I ever watched, right after Elfen Lied, and it was the first one that I actually bought. When I first watched it I was blown away at how awsome it is, was. But when I watched it again I was slightly
Story: What story? They establish the main plot I believe it's anywhere from episode 4-7, only hinting at it in the beginning. It doesn't start out too well, and the pacing is always terrible. Even though it's the main plot the anime never truly focuses on it, it's shown in 6-9 minute scenes in every episode. That and it's a weak plot that is terribly explained, even when it is explained.
Art: Beautiful, and yet terrible. There are some beautifully done scenes, they put alot of detail into certain parts. The guns and Alucard are done very well. But some of the animation scenes are quite sloppy, I found myself looking at some very poorly animated scenes at times. The art was rather ambiguous, sometimes there'd be a shot of the moon and the sky is blood-red (ep 1) and yet I couldn't really tell whether it was good or bad and it left me feeling quite stupid.
Sound: The music in this doesn't disappoint, the music perfectly suits the anime. If you close your eyes in the opening credits you'll think that you're watching Bebop...but you're not. The music is chosen nicely. I also loved most of the sound effects that they used. There were certain crunching sounds that I particularly loved.
Character: Ah Alucard. Never has there been an antihero so original...or has there? Everyone loves an antihero....one who doesn't really do anything until he's needed...and Alucard does a great job of this. Too bad Seras is so useless. She spends most of her time hesitating and wasting time, so shocked at everything she sees to actually be useful at all. I couldn't see any development at all with anything she did. Integra doesn't do a great job either. I was usually bewildered at her, spending alot of time wondering why everyone was addressing her as "sir." Walter is kind of cool, but again we're only hinted at what he is. I found most of the characters really stereotypical and really annoying.
Enjoyment: It's really mindless...it really, really is. I did enjoy it alot the first time I watched it, but when I watched it recently it just seemed, boring. There's so much potential with this anime and yet there's nothing that they did with it. There were a few scenes that I really enjoyed, and a lot more that I couldn't stand at all. Oh, and there's one scene that will make you think of Dragonball...but definitely not in a good way.
When I think of "Hellsing", the word "stylish" and "badass" come to mind. With its music, its characters and its animation, "Hellsing" is a series that oozes style and badassery from its every pore. Ok, the story may not be incredible (to be frank, the story telling is a bit of a mess), but hey, if you've come "Hellsing" expecting to served up a great story, then someone must have grossly misinformed you of the nature of the show. "Hellsing" is all about kicking ass, vampires, vampires kicking ass, and er, vampires getting their ass kicked. What it lacks in story, it makes up for
with its moments of dark atmosphere and whirlwind panache. The action is full blooded and stylish, and for the most part, entertaining for all the right reasons, though there are moments of shoddy/bizarre production, making it sometimes entertaining for the wrong reasons (werewolf wearing pants, anyone?).
As anyone who's watched this will tell you, the star of the show is Alucard, who carries the show on his back and who pretty much represents what the show is all about. He's a deviation from the classic portrayal of the aristocrat vampire with traditional dress code and exquisite manners, nor is he like a modernised wussy vampire heart throb found in many recent TV series/books aimed at teenagers. No, Alucard is has his own unique style, with his extravagant red outfit and swagger that reeks of coolness and attitude. He has such a gigantic, overbearing presence that he seems to gravitate everything around him whenever he appears.
It's a pity then, that the main character is actually Seras Victoria, whose meekiness and blandness makes her one of the most forgettable characters in the show. This is especially disappointing considering the fantastic characters that are found in support. There's Integra Hellsing, who is one of the few cases of a good, strong female character; there's Alexander Anderson too, who is Hellsing's counterpart from the church faction. Armed with his own set of tools, ability and kick ass demeanor, Anderson is a worthy adversary to Alucard, and it's always fascinating to see the sparks fly whenever the two meet.
Like Alucard, the music in "Hellsing" is something that's too good for me not to mention. For one thing, "Hellsing" is pretty bold with its music selection. It doesn't go for the mediocre jpop/jrock found in many other anime, nor does it play it safe with generically pleasant sounding classical instrumental tracks. Instead it goes for a more unconventional, jazzy kind of sound, and pulls it off spectacularly with an OST that not only fits the cool swagger of the series extremely well, but is also strong enough in its funky melodies for me to listen to the tracks by themselves (which is more than what I can say for 90%+ of the tracks on the "Cowboy Bebop" OST).
Overall, "Hellsing" is a series that knows its own strengths and plays to them well. It's an over the top action series that likes to casually throw around an abundance of blood and gore, posturing, trash talking and profanity, and rarely does it deviate from this blueprint. It was one of the first anime I'd watched as I was trying to get into anime, so I might be viewing it through rose tinted glasses, but I honestly found the whole thing to be a very enjoyable ride. And did I mention Alucard is totally badass?
I was very excited about Hellsing before I even watched it. I had seen a preview for the series on the Armitage dvd, which had me pscyhed up from all the blood and carnage that was advertised. Then...I saw the series. My initial response was "Wow this is really really good. Not the best, not the worst. But definately a solid series." This was my attitude regarding Hellsing all the way up until the last several episodes. It was at this point that my interest in the series took somewhat of a plunge. I love vampires. And I love vampire hunters. But this series introduced
awesome characters without really taking them anywhere. There was little character development. And most of the characters seemed really uninspired. Even though some of the action scenes were very well done- plenty of creative weapons and deaths- it still couldnt make up for the lulls in between fight scenes.
From a character standpoint, Hellsing shines. It doesnt get much more awesome than Alucard and Anderson beating the crap out of each other on a subway train. I also loved the tension placed between the catholic church and the protestant church. If anyone watching the series knows anything about church history, they'd probably find most of the friction between the Iscariot Organization and the Hellsing Organization rather humorous. The playful banter also helped alleviate some of the foreboding melacholy that the shows scenery develops. Hellsing is a solid series. Lets just hope Hellsing Ultimate pulls a few more surprises.
There are rare times when the anime is actually better than the original manga. This is NOT one of those times.
Even the vastly superior Hellsing Ultimate had a VERY stupid plot and is not exactly a literary masterpiece. It is Count Dracula fighting Nazi vampires and an insane Catholic military force. The reason it is a great show is that it does NOT take itself seriously. It is balls to the wall action and insanity that is supposed to be so stupid its awesome. The writer and mangaka of Hellsing, Kouta Hirano, has never read a classic book in his life. He is an
ex- electrical engineer that became a porn director. What he does well is entertain and give us ludicrous, adrenaline packed fun that no one else is offering. The first Hellsing tries to take itself WAY too seriously and fails for it. This is not masterpiece theater. This is Hellsing! We want to see Dracula kill half of Brazil fighting a Latino stereotype that throws explosive playing cards at people! That is the kind of insane shit that I want to watch!
Although Alucard and Seras are captured fairly well before the filler bullshit starts, the extra characters like Incognito are god awful. Incognito is the one thing that a Hellsing character should never be, he is BORING! Ultimate gives us amazingly ridiculous like Zee Major, Schroedinger, Zorin Blitz, The Dandy Man, Rip Van Winkle. All of those characters were fun as hell and I enjoyed every minute they were on screen! I could never say the same for Incognito!
Where the HELL is my Karl Maria Von Webber!? Where is Englandlied!? Fuck this weak sauce!
The budget for the original Hellsing is much lower and looks quite ugly in comparison to Ultimate. If Ultimate never existed then I would say the art is ok for 2002. I wouldn't say it is great, but rather ok.
I had to force myself to actually finish this one. In Ultimate I was on the edge of my seat and was deeply saddened when it finally ended. Ultimate was a pure 10/10 in terms of fun. This is very meh.
If Hellsing Ultimate didn't exist, then this would be a very average anime. It wouldn't be a great anime or a true classic, but it would be ok. That is why I am giving it a fairly high 5/10 rating. I am trying to look at it by itself and not in comparison to Ultimate. Otherwise I would probably give it a 3/10.
The anime Hellsing, while based off the manga (of the same name) by Hirano Kouta, is without a doubt to be viewed in its own right. The manga itself I have only recently started, and from first impressions, the two have very different atmospheres. I however will be talking about the original Hellsing anime from 2001, and not the manga (thus why you, the reader have found this here).
To start, this is quite an enjoyable anime, and while it has many down points, it is not something to pass up. It is directed by Iida Umanosuke and Ono Manabu, as It says in the information
section, making this statement redundant.
The story is little more than, if you ask me, a reason for action. A mild conspiracy, and a hoard of vampires falls right into the hands of a vampire hunting organization, and they require to jump hoops to succeed. At times the story seems lacking. While at others, when it seems to have the capability to captivate the audience, I become quickly disconnected again. One of the larger failures of the story, is my state of being unfazed at the ends of various characters lives. On that aspect, this story has not succeeded. However the anime is able to hold true to the story they decided on throughout and there seems to be very little lacking in continuity. If the show had been paced out over more than thirteen episodes, it would make for a more captivating ride simply put. 6/10
The art style is a dark and gloomy one. Holding well to the atmosphere of the vampire films of old. The strong reds and blacks, an obvious allusion to the dark undertones of the story itself. However, the actual quality of the visuals was not something to be sacrificed, and the various shots sometimes feel too saturated by all the reds. I am often left unimpressed by the art style they had attempted, and think that if the anime was from the 80s rather than 2001 it would be acceptable. Despite this, the correct atmosphere is delivered from this, and so it deserves at the very least a 6/10.
The sound track is more than likely the high point for the anime itself. It seems to have a stark contrast to the feel the anime wants to create, only emphasizing it as a result, like when a black line is drawn across a white sheet of paper to outline other colours such as yellow or pink. While when watching a vampire related show, as a Westerner you seem to be expecting loud organs, and quiet string instruments as the sole backing for the show, the choice of pop music and jazz seem to feet all that much better. However, the music is not the only aspect of the sound. The voices of both the Japanese original and the English dub are both well decided, the tones and dialogue fitting both the setting and the characters also very well. This in anime, especially regarding dubs, is a rarity, and rather refreshing. 8/10
The characters on the hand, while both suiting the genre, and the story; seem flat and 2-dimensional. They tend to see very little beyond that which is in front of them, are incapable of planing something out properly, and tend only to desire one thing. For Alucard, the show's bad-ass protagonist vampire, it is to have an enjoyable fight. And while at first this makes the characters interesting, because there is little progression, and close to no change, beyond in that of Seras Victoria, you as a viewer are left disappointed at the end of the anime, feeling cheated of the basest part of a story, the development of the characters. 7/10
While mostly I have pointed out the flaws of this anime, this is still not something to be batted aside and ignored. It is regardless a fun ride, and a good way to pass the time. But don't walk in expecting a masterpiece; Hellsing is what it is, and expecting more from it can only spoil the trip that is its enjoyment.
I own both Hellsing's first DVD, Impure Souls as well as the collectors edition which contains the first and the rest of the DVDs. I had no idea what I was going to watch when I purchased both and to be honest, I couldn't be more disappointed.
There is no plot! Yes! That's right! There is no direction as to where the anime is going! Incredible, isn't it? There are characters, which I will talk about later, all of them have a background story which intertwines somehow eventually, there is unquestionably a past which is slowly unveiled (and poorly done, may I add) but the sequences
of episodes are just random events that could be summed up by saying that a vampire goes raging.
This leads to the characters. Although there is an idea behind each character, most of them, apart from the main character, Alucard, are poorly executed. Most characters don't feel real. Alucard of course gets excused, would he not be the main vampire. However, many important questions remain unanswered throughout the whole anime! Who is the ultimate villain, Incognito? What does he want? Who is Alucard? Who was he before he was a vampire? Who is creating these fake vampires and with what purpose?
Unless you want to watch an anime about vampires just for the sheer fun of it, then I won't recommend you picking on this.
However, if you just want to consume anything that contains vampirism elements, regardless of the originality, then this might be the show for you.
In terms of animation and gore, Hellsing does rise well above the average specially in times where vampires are thought as sweet blood sucking creatures. It comes down to its core and explores the gore and blood of the world of vampires. The artwork is very good and the music though nothing special, does the job.
To sum up, Hellsing will entertain you if you like vampires but will add nothing new to your knowledge if your looking for something more.
Now, I actually started this yeeeaaaars ago, shortly after it first came out in, what... 2002, or something? I dropped it after about 5 episodes. I think this had a lot to do with the anime quality, which is typically nineties in animation style and somewhat inconsistent from episode to episode; most notably, the face of Sir Intergra Wingates Hellsing looked different for about a third of the series. That and the fact that I was roughly eleven or twelve at the time, and didn't have the attention span needed to bear with Seras Victoria as she progressed as a character. However, I just rewatched
the entire thing from start to finish and I have to say that my opinion has improved, if not by a great deal. I have to say quickly that I've never read more than a few pages of the original manga, and so this is entirely based on what I've seen in the anime.
I'd like to address the music first. The opening theme suits the tone of the overall anime very well - it's certainly not your typical J-rock/pop opening. This definitely works in Hellsing's favour; after all, if you take away Hellsing's atmospheric, dark feel, then you're left with something that is simply bland and not very well made. The music throughout the anime works well with whatever's happening on screen at the time, but is entirely unmemorable afterwards (I'm normally pretty good at remembering and identifying music from a series years after I've seen it, but today, only a day after finishing Hellsing, I had to hunt down the anime to listen again to remind myself). This is not necessarily a bad thing; it's just not a good thing. Finally, the ending theme. It's a surprisingly happy, hopeful theme that's sung in English. It shouldn't work, to be honest, because it has little to do with the anime as a whole and doesn't contribute to the atmosphere. Despite this, something about it provides a nice counterpoint and I found myself enjoying the ending song quite a lot after every episode.
The characters of Hellsing are varied and each is interesting in their own way. The arguably 'main' character is Seras Victoria, a police officer who ended up biting off more than she could chew when her squadron went to investigate a homicidal priest who turned out to be a Vampire. Along comes Alucard, the other arguably 'main' character, who ends up shooting her through the (amusingly improbable) chest and then giving the dying Seras the dubious gift of immortality. Cue kind-hearted, moral Victoria's angst and growth as an Undead. Despite what you might think, Victoria actually manages to be angsty without being too woeful, and when she finally gives in to the call of her bloodlust it's suitably believable, if inevitable. She's a relatively well-rounded character, if not too special, and I can't think of any particular instance where I found her to be annoying (a rare thing for me regarding female leads). The best female character, however, is most certainly the head of the Hellsing Organisation; Integra Wingates Hellsing. She is calm, proud and dignified without falling into the common cliche of being unnecessarily standoffish, and I have to tip my hat to the creator for that. The backstory for her that was explored in the anime gave her an extra depth and made her seem somehow more relatable than Victoria, depite Integra having lived a much less relatable life. This is probably aided by the absence of ridiculous breastage, to be honest. When she's suffering, you can really feel her suffering, whether it's overt or subtle. Finally, Alucard - he's been talked about to death (no pun intended) by the rest of the internet, I'm sure, so I'll just say that he's one of the best examples out there that anti-heroes do work.
Plot-wise, I think I have to say that the whole thing could have taken half a leaf from popular shounen manga and made the Big Bad Bosses... well, Big and Bad. There was a lot of build-up to the last major enemy of the series in particular, but the fight itself was unsatisfyingly brief and easy when you consider that it essentially became a demon god in an already-superpowered Vampire's body. I think that this may have a lot to do with the fact that throughout the whole series, you're never given any proper indication of vulnerability from Alucard. He's all uber!bad-ass all the time, so when it comes to the point where you're obviously meant to think that he might have been defeated, it all feels a little stagnant. It's a shame, because Alucard could have been a lot cooler if they'd made him just a little less Cool.
Overall, the series has a great atmosphere but a frustrating lack of tension, the characters work well in and of themselves but are too separate to give any feeling of real character-interaction-interest (the only exception is the very last scene of the series between Integra and Alucard), and I quite enjoyed it while it lasted. I can't rate anything except the characters higher than a 7 and rewatch value is basically zero, but I'd honestly recommend the series to anyone who feels like Twilight is destroying everything that good old-fashioned evil Vampires stand for.
Going into a well known vampire anime, my expectations were to see some nice action, decent characters, dark themes and a decent plot. What I ended up seeing was a series that began fulfilling these expectations before completely destroying them.
Hellsing's story is interesting for the first six episodes. The show manages to create a world that is believable and worth investing yourself in. Seras is the new girl learning to find her way, Alucard is the mysterious hero/antihero, Integra is the strongwilled leader and Walter is the butler with many secrets and they're all fighting unknown enemies that appear to be related in some way.
However that's as far as development goes. The second half of Hellsing doesn't deliver on the story that was promised and instead throws in a few other minor stories before the show suddenly finishes. There is great potential here, but it's all wasted.
The art and sound are done well enough, but are nothing special. The action scenes are what is supposed to carry the show since there is no consistent story, but without the development leading up to these action scenes it becomes difficult to be invested in them. Hence the scenes where the art and sound should be standing out instead seem mediocre. The OP is a catchy song though.
The design for all the characters are great. But with no development or depth, all we're left with is some shallow, one dimensional characters. Sometimes they would even contradict themselves. The enemies are a mix of vampires, werewolves and other mythical beings, but again none of them are fleshed out enough to care about them. The only one that could have been interesting was Alexander Anderson, but he's forgotten about long before the end of the series.
If you aren't worried about a plot or any development in the characters and just want to see some vampire action, this is a good series for you. However if you want anything more than that, then Hellsing won't deliver.
Hellsing is a decent anime, but if you go into it with high expectations, like I did, you might be disappointed.
The first episode starts off pretty promising, but it pretty much goes downhill from there. There are some pretty cool fight scenes throughout, but sometimes they seem to get a bit repetitive. Other than that, I personally, found this series to be dry and boring for the most part. I could empathize with some of the characters to an extant, but I never felt any real connection, and never really got into the story.
I liked the overall concept, but I think a lot more
could have been done with this series.
POSITIVES: This anime is very dark, revolves around vampires, zombies, and such. If you’re a fan of that sort of thing, you’ll probably enjoy this anime.
There are some good action scenes, especially at the end of the series.
Ok, imagine if (Vampire Hunter) D were a full-blooded vampire. Now imagine he decided to let go and embrace his dark side. Now, add a small dash of Vash for style (the red suit, yellow glasses, HUGE guns, and unholy accuracy), and you get Alucard, the sadistic anti-hero. His penchant for appearing out of nowhere, creepy laughter, occasional disembodied voice, and ungodly powers make him one of the most terrifying characters in anime. The music the use to introduce him in any particular scene only adds to this...it's almost like discordant ragtime, yet it suits him absolutely perfectly (kinda reminds me of the music used
for Legato in "Trigun"). The extent of his power is not-so-discretely hidden throughout the series and the only thing that seems to make him one of the "good guys" is his ties to the Hellsing Organization and its leading lady, Sir Integra Wingates Hellsing.
I love just how deep a sense you get of who each of the characters are here. There really isn't a lot of character development, but you do get to see how some of them came to be who they are, even if it's a bit cryptic in places.
As for the sound, it's probably the only anime I'll ever say sounds truly BETTER in English. This has a lot to do with the authentically-localized voices they use (since it's in England, it really adds to the atmosphere). That, and the fact that the subtitles I've seen were particularly bad...very poor translation.
I do wish they'd tie up a few more loose ends...they leave things kind of open and, although I'm somewhat used to that in Japanese storytelling, it's still nice to have a true conclusion, even if the door is left open to future ventures. That's not to say it ends badly, just a bit more..."open" than I prefer. Call me a spoiled American...
I've seen the series twice now and will likely be watching it again. I would like to see the Hellsing Ultimate OAVs at some point, but they apparently do a lot less with Seras Victoria in it and that, to me, is a travesty! Oh well...it's still supposed to be very good.
Highly recommended for fans of vampires in general and for those looking for a good anime bloodbath. Not for the squeamish or easily disturbed!
This anime receives an incredible amount of praise for what really isn't that good.
Now let me say, the Hellsing manga is one of the best I've ever read, up there with FMA, Death Note, and Deadman Wonderland.
But this anime is AWFUL.
Story-There are a lot of vampire anime out now (R+V, Blood+, etc.,) but the idea was somewhat new when the series premiered. However, the story in the anime is so drastically different than the manga it's disgusting. It's bland, uninteresting, and is all around unenjoyable. And don't get me STARTED on that ending. It's the worst I've ever seen in an anime.
Art-I like the character
designs in the manga, but the shoestring budget for the anime packs a punch for what could have been could animation. It looks choppy, rushed, and unprofessional. I'm not expecting Cowboy Bebop here, but I want something tolerable to look at.
Sound-The music and voices aren't too bad, I give them credit.
Character-The badass and fearless characters in the manga are completely destroyed in the anime. They're very unlikable, and I always wanted them to be killed.
Enjoyment-this was painful to sit through, based on all the previous flaws I mentioned. I was actually going to give the overall score a 5, but that ending was so lame I knocked it down three points just because of it.
Overall, if you really want a Hellsing story, read the manga, it's far superior.
Taking place in England, an organization named Hellsing which is commanded by Sir Integra Wingates Hellsing, is responsible for protecting the country from supernatural creatures. These creatures happen to be vampires and ghouls. The Hellsing Organization's best weapon is a vampire named Alucard. He battles using supernatural abilities, high powered guns with blessed ammo, and he appears to be immortal. This vampire shows the undead absolutely no mercy when dishing out justice for his master Integra.-summary
There have been numerous stories featuring vampires hunting vampires. I believe Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust told a very good and better story; but Hellsing is unique in its on way,
and I don't think anything else does it quite like it. Hellsing completely abandons the traditional vampire of folklore. Alucard seems truly demonic, and at times, far beyond a vampire due to his amazing abilities. He's the main reason to see this series, because he's definitely among the most unusual of anti-heroes.
Although not a great series in my view, it's very far from a bad one. The series is very stylish with a main character that defines cool. Despite what bit of flaws that are present in Hellsing, watching Alucard kill in battle kind of makes up for its shortcomings. That is considering if you're an action starved person only. Myself on the other hand, I'm more story and plot driven, so a majority of the time I demand a whole lot from whatever it is I'm watching.
I found the story a lot more interesting during the first few episodes. One of the main characters introduced, by the name of Seras Victoria is turned into a vampire by Alucard. She has a very hard time dealing with this drastic change in her life. She sometimes refuses to drink blood. When her cravings would appear, I found the segments to be very funny, at the same time sad. Her cravings actually reminds me of a person on a very strict diet whom happens to come across a bakery, and eventually falls victim to their desire, thus going on a pastry rampage.
Unfortunately, the series began to fall storywise for me. The half naked plot only began to stroll along, and resorted to introducing one blood bath after the next. The action scenes are good but they are not very brutal. You get a very good amount of body dismantlement and blood, but for a series about vampires and ghouls tearing people to shreds. I would've prefered seeing Ninja Scroll or Angel Cop type of graphic death.
One thing that did bother me about the fight scenes. At least one time I can recall, there was a lengthy battle which took place and simply ended. It didn't resolve anything or push the plot at all. For a 13 episode series that has a thin as needles plot. I found this to be somewhat aggravating.
Hellsing prepares a very big dinner and leaves quite a bit of left overs. There are numerous things taking place only to be lazily covered. Characters come and go with very little to no background given about them. I don't need my info to be spoon fed. I just need an explanation for events taking place, or I'm going to slice it up as poor direction.
This is a subject I have to hit on although it doesn't effect the rating. I noticed several fans of the series claim horror fans will love Hellsing. Well not this horror fan. I don't find the series atmospheric from an actual horror point of view. It does have a dark setting with characters that are equally dark; but the soundtrack which is excellent by the way, would have sounded better for something other than this. If a horror feel is what this anime was aiming for, which I don't believe was the goal at all. Then jazz ruined the atmosphere completely. Some genres really should stay as far away from each other as possible, and these two genres grouped together with vampires is a good example.
When thinking of a horror atmosphere, for me, it must produce a sinister feel. It needs a setting that can stimulate fear. Characters that are equally dark, and a soundtrack to create a sense of terror. Not a single one of these elements are any less important. Anime series that do have a more competent horror like atmosphere and fit that description are Requiem from the Darkness, Devil Lady, and Doomed Megalopolis. Hellsing should be looked at as an all out action series. From the way I look at horror. I just don't believe a horror fan should buy into that.
The animation is decent and detailed enough during the battles. There were actually very little reused cels, and I can't recall any during the battles. It also looks the best when Alucard uses his supernatural abilities to unlock his true potential. The character designs are pretty cool at times, with Alucard as well as his enemies Incognito, and Paladin looking the absolute best. I also liked the attention to detail. You can see the writing on Alucard's weapons and gloves. This is also another occasion I have to heavily lean in favor of the English voice actors. They do a great job, and I think everyone's personality is better acted.
Hellsing is a solid action series. I think it's best to approach this series with a turned off brain and completely forget the plot. The characters are cool enough to hold one's attention. There is quite a bit of foul language, and a couple of sexual situations.
I also recommend watching this version way before the remake Hellsing: Ultimate. The remake is far better visually and far more action packed, with very, very detailed graphic violence. I recommend this one first, because I know too many people whom saw the remake prior, and ended up absolutely hating this one.
Highs: Lots of action, very charismatic anti-hero, good music
Lows: Plot is on crutches, so many characters... so little background