Hellsing, a secret organization of the British government, have long been battling supernatural threats to keep the people safe from creatures of the night. The current leader, Integra Wingates Hellsing controls her own personal army to eliminate the undead beings, but even her highly trained soldiers pale in comparison to her most trusted vampire exterminator, a man by the name of Alucard, who is actually a powerful vampire himself. Along with Integra's mysterious butler and Alucard's new vampire minion, Seras Victoria, The Hellsing Organization must face not only regular ghouls and vampires, but a rivaling secret organization from the Vatican, and Millennium, an enigmatic group of madmen spawned by a certain war over 50 years ago...
A bloody battle between monsters is about to begin, The dead are dancing, and all hell is singing...
Hellsing was published in English by Dark Horse from December 1, 2003 to May 19, 2010; in Spanish by Norma Editorial from November 1, 2003 to February 22, 2010; in Polish by J.P.Fantastica from April 2004 to April 2010; and in Brazilian Portuguese by Jbc from July 2008 to February 2010—and again in a special edition from June 2015 to March 2016.
Hellsing was part of my introduction to anime and as such it is one of my favourite fandoms. But it has only kept its place there because of its unique way of capturing the reader with action that I can only describe as being kick arse.
There is a great plot to this manga, well thought out and very grand. Being an action manga there are quite a few pages which are full of just pictures, no words, but yet the plot still unfolds well and is not lost.
everything that is going on in the manga you wouldn’t think there is much time for character development. Indeed most characters are already well defined and do not change much during the course of the story, staying true to their personality/nature throughout. Seras Victoria however shows many changes as she adapts to her vampiric life, changes which are understandable, believable and handled well.
I would have to say that great characters and a well thought out plot are the strengths of this story. Combine it with the art work and superb action and you have one of the best mangas around.
A bad side to the mangas? There can be too much gore for some readers, and some may find it too be too heavy in action. But personally my only disappointment is the length of time between volumes, but that’s nothing to do with the actual quality of the manga.
All in all read it. If you’ve seen the series be prepared for a heavier, one could say better, plot. If you haven’t seen the series watch it as well as reading the manga, they are quite different. And no matter what keep your eyes out for the OAV because it promises to be good.
Nanashi Moriko - Most definitely a fan girl for Hellsing
WARNING: This review contains an opinion that may differ from your own. I ask that you please read it with an open mind. If you're a fan of this manga/anime, hey I'm completely okay with that. I respect your opinion. Just how you should respect mine.
I know I'll get some hate for this, but whatever, this must be said. When you create a manga, there are three things that you can judge it on. First is the characterization, then the story and lastly the art. Hellsing fails when it comes to story and characterization. Before I go any further, I'll tell you right now there will be some very minor spoilers but there's nothing that will ruin the series for you and I'll warn you ahead of time.
The story takes place in the United Kingdom where the British government employs a special group named the Hellsing organization. They defend the country from things that go bump in the night. It' run by Sir Integra; (SPOILER UP AHEAD) it was originally started by her great grandfather, the notorious vampire hunter, Abraham Van Helsing. They incorporate a powerful vampire named Alucard. So yeah, you can kind of see where this is going, the Hellsing manga is like one of those "what if" stories. In this case, it's with Bram Stroker's “Dracula” Novel where instead of killing the count, Abraham Van Helsing keeps him alive and uses him to fight off demonic entities, vampires and ghouls(SPOILERS ARE OVER). I won't go any further, because I don't want to ruin what's left of the story (which isn't that much anyways).
Hellsing's narrative is really lacking, there isn't much depth and it doesn't engage you. Not to mention, it's way too simple (especially for a seinen manga), and isn't that multi-layered or complex aside from a plot twist that occurs towards the end of the series. I wouldn't have had a problem with it if the manga was shorter, but at 92 chapters, I was expecting more story. Obviously, Kouta Hirano knew this, so he needed a way to entertain the reader; which was to throw in a whole bunch of action and graphic bloody violence to the point where it became borderline exploitation. I remember reading Hellsing up to the halfway point and kept asking myself when will the story take off? It never did. Even though the story isn't that well written, I'll admit it's very well paced and there's always a smooth transition from one scene to the next.
Now on to the character's, okay let me start off by saying that Alucard has to be one of my all time favorite characters in all of manga and anime. He is the definition of badass and is a great example of the anti-hero. It's always fun to see him destroy his enemies mentally and physically. Not only that, but his whole persona and appearance is memorable. With his red duster and hat, to his large pistols and circular framed glasses. Of all the characters in the manga he had the most depth and was the most fleshed out. But still, he could have gotten a little more development. You couldn't imagine how frustrated I got when finally, we were given some back ground info on him but it turns out that it was only about 5 or 6 pages worth of material. Then it went back to nonstop action and violence. :( Furthermore, as for the others, they got little to no characterization whatsoever. For example, Seras Victoria, she barely got any development. Aside from trying to adapt as a newly turned vampire, there wasn't much else to her. About midway through, I began thinking that Kouta Hirano just put her in there because she had big tits. Don’t get me wrong, Seras is put to good use in the series but she just lacks depth. Like Alucard, we only get a small amount of info on her past later on in the manga. The same thing applies to the other characters as well. Sure, some of them had personalities that might make one stand out from another, but they were all one sided and flat. As I read further on, it became apparent that Hirano was too caught up with making them look cool and badass when they're fighting. And so, he completely forgot to develop them.
Finally the art, the best part about the Hellsing manga; the manga author may not be able to write, but he sure can draw. The character designs are distinctive and fit perfectly for this horror themed manga. Implementing thick lines into the designs was an interesting idea. Backgrounds were very detailed and crisp as well. Although, Hellsing’s art doesn't start out that great in the first 8-10 chapters (especially the design for Alucard). But by volume 3, it changes for the better.
All in all, Hellsing is a mediocre Seinen manga in my opinion. If you're looking for great storytelling and Characterization, look someplace else (Berserk, Vinland Saga and Monster). But if you want action and graphic violence then you’ll probably enjoy this. My suggestion to you is go watch Hellsing Ultimate instead, it’s a very faithful OVA adaptation of this manga. It’s a little more enjoyable than its counterpart because there is an OST, animation and of course, Crispin Freeman’s AMAZING dub performance. This all distracts you from the fact that the story and characterization isn't so great. So I think you’ll definitely have a more enjoyable experience with that.
Hellsing throws you into a dark world where monsters and humans coexist and do battle. Think of Bram Stroker's "Dracula" meeting the James Bond series, with a modest touch of fantasy. If your a person who enjoys being succinctly entertained with fast paced action and dialogue, then this is the manga for you. From an American's outlook, I could see where the Japanese lines blended with western comic ideals. Many characters are presented from different, competing groups, trying to hold dominion over the others for various iconographic reasons(God, Country, Money, Power, Abilities). It just seemed much more up front than some mangas I've read
where things usually are more subtle at first. Not Hellsing though, from the moment you start reading you are thrown into the midst of essentially, a fast bloody short story with rising action, climax and the falling action. Not to say that the manga didn't try to delve deeper into the obsession over war, pursuit of perfection, and the preciousness of life. These are only a few of the themes that were blended with the fast paced plot for a thought provoking, but albeit entertaining story.
The story isn't very grand in terms of details, but it allows the reader to focus on a few integral characters at a time, which becomes more exciting as they all join together right before the climax.With the exception of the abrupt ending, most of the plot revolves around the main character and his anti hero actions towards evil. I enjoyed seeing all of the situations pitted against Alucard, and how his seemingly never ending powers dealt with them. I was bugged at first that it was just fight after fight, but towards the middle a greater battle is taken up and the fights more or less become the story. It made for good and mildly original entertainment.
The art in Hellsing matched the story perfectly. To say it was just "cool" or "dark" is an understatement. Every character has their own feel to them through their drawings. Integra is always collected and in charge with her cigarette smoke. Walter is respectful but yet mysterious with his eye piece shining, and Allucard oozes dark, fearful power. Its too long to go into, but every character almost seems evil do to the nature of the story and how it fits so well with the art. No one is perfect and the art reflects that idea well.
Due to its fast paced, skirmish then break skirmish then break story structure, I originally thought that character development was lacking in Hellsing. But Hirano uses the battle structure as a way of showing you what type of character the person is. There are many many speeches in these battles that explain their ideals, motives, etc. It isn't really done as subtley as some similiarly natured manga, but still gets the job done. Most of the characters pass away fast, and so only a few get gradually built up. These brief characters are actually quite interesting and original, which makes it easier to appreciate them as much as the built up characters before they die abruptly. The majority of the characters in the series have interesting abilities and larger than life motives for pursuiting battle. If I had to say what the series major weakness was, its most likely the fact that the brief characters aren't given more page time and lack development, which can't be made up just because most of them are interesting and original.
I recommend that you read this series as it is meant to be read, periodically. Read one volume, and then wait a couple days or even a week to read the next. There are many cliffhangers and plot developments that serve to enhance the enjoyment level greatly. I did this and was excited and involved until the end. The action is the bread and butter of this series, and the characters were all very cool, with only a few being "very developed". If you are wanting a break from your deeply thought provoking, hipster manga, than pick up a copy of Hellsing and your adrenaline will thank you.
"Let us drive away those who have forgotten us, let us pull awake those who have fallen in their sleep. Let us pull them up by their hair and pry their eyes open and make them remember. Let us remind them of the taste of fear. Let us remind them of the sound of our military shoes pounding. Let us remind them that there are things between the earth and the sky which they would not even dream to be possible.
Well before I start I'd like to get one thing straight. I never liked vampires and I thought everyone who watched twilight and those other vampire show/ movies were simply out to lunch. Thats why when I was introduced to Hellsing I was a little bit concerned that I wouldn't find it enjoyable.
But boy was I wrong, this manga was top notch. The art style was very pleasing, and I enjoyed the really gory scenes which I thought were drawn out really well (although some were confusing at times).
The story Is about a vampire named Alucard who is a slave (not against his will)
to Integra Hellsing, the leader of the Hellsing organization. If you couldn't guess by the name, the Hellsing organization hunts vampires, and works for the church of England to protect England from supernatural forces. But an old enemy is on the rise looking for revenge, and they are, nazis of course. Now this may sound like "oh boy the evil guys are nazis and the author is an idiot that doesnt know what hes talking about" well you are most certainly wrong. These aren't idiot nazis, these are the real deal. They actually have a background story dating back to the world war 2 rat lines. Each one is depicted wearing German world war two uniforms, and using German world war 2 weapons. There is nothing stupid about these nazis, and do not skip this manga for that reason, you will regret it. Now there is another orginization called the Iscariots (which is Judas' last name) who protect the vatican from supernatural forces. Now if you know anything about the church protestants and catholics didn't get along very well during the renaissance. Well lets just say the Iscariots still don't get along with Hellsing, but neither of them get along with nazi's. So what you have is Nazi's out for revenge on Hellsing, and Iscariots out for revenge on both of them. This makes for a very interesting story, and very interesting fight scenes, which I won't discuss as to not ruin the story.
Overall it was an enjoyable manga, it had a very dark story line with some deep character development. But the best part was how it used historical events and events from Dracula, while still managing to be entirely unique and original. You do not have to be a vampire fan to like this manga, because it is the well written story and character development that makes this manga.
I conclude that if you like action, European history, Vampires, and a dark story, you should definitely read this. If you dont like blood and gore, or prefer less or no action perhaps you prefer comedies or slice of life, then you should probably stay clear.
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