Does Hellsing Ultimate Want to Suck Your Blood or Just Suck in General? Tee-hee😜
When it comes to anime I’ve seen my fair share of OP heroes, but Hellsing Ultimate takes the cake. The series is an OVA update on Hellsing which aired in 2001 and ran for 13 episodes. Here’s where things get interesting, while it might only be 10 episodes long it took 6 years for this series to trickle out. The big question is if the wait was worth it and the short answer is, not really.
Hellsing Ultimate is a series that tackles the myth of Dracula in modern London. The main protagonist of this series is Alucard (True Vampire). While in most cases vampires tend to be the villains, the good guys, in this case, have this incredibly OP character on their side. Normally it would get pretty dull watching someone who can tear through every villain like they were tissue paper, but this series gives us some cannon fodder villains we can really boo. Of course, there are plenty of vampires and “evil” priests, but Hellsing Ultimate really kicks it up a notch by tossing in some Nazi’s in there. Because of that, watching Alucard might not be the most exciting, but who doesn’t enjoy watching Nazi’s getting thrown to a lion?
This anime had three different animation studios working on it. Starlight, Madhouse, and Graphinica & Kelmadick each worked on several issues, so it’s pretty incredible that the animation is so consistent through the series. I sat and watch every episode back to back, but I couldn’t tell when one of these studios took over from another. However, it wasn’t just multiple studios that worked on Hellsing Ultimate. There are a few stylistic choices I wasn’t a huge fan of, such as that gangly approach so many series take to their heroes. Many of the characters had absurdly long and narrow limbs and bodies, but given the fact that this is a “horror” series the absurd anatomy added much more than it detracted. However, it’s the use of line weight that I appreciated most. There’s a lot of depth that’s added because of the varying thickness used in the animation.
Besides multiple studios working on this series, it also had three directors, Tomokazu Tokoro, Hiroyuki Tanaka, and Yasuhiro Matsumur, as well as two writers, Hideyuki Kurata, and Yōsuke Kuroda, so it’s a wonder that this series wasn’t a total mess. That being said, Hellsing Ultimate is far from a masterpiece, even when it comes to horror anime. There are some pacing issues that can be seen during a few changing of the guards, but on a whole things could have gone much worse for Hellsing Ultimate. Of course, this isn’t exactly a high art series. It monologues a bit too much at times and so many of the characters are nothing more than simple eye candy thrown in for a good fight scene or two. There are even some structural issues with the story creating a mildly disjointed feel from one mini-arch to another. In other words, Hellsing Ultimate overcomes a number of huge obstacles, but only barely manages to limp away as the victor.
The one thing I will say is that this series sets a creepy tone for the most part. There’s a lot of history with a character like this and even though there are some clear-cut good guys and bad guys in it, you still have to wonder what the price is for having an irredeemable villain fighting the good fight. Over the course of Hellsing Ultimate, the line in the sand starts to blur. While I’m not one to sympathize with Nazis… Ever, I will say that the fact that the villain’s sole purpose seems to be destroying Alucard at any cost gives me pause. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that these characters are doing a good thing for the sake of humanity. They’re still Nazi’s at the end of the day, but I appreciate the little bit of gray that’s tossed in there.
One of the biggest disappoints of the series though is the climax, the ending is about as anti-climatic as possible. As I said earlier, Alucard is way overpowered and that means there’s no risk involved for him when the series throws everything it can at him. I won’t spoil the ending for you, but this series does not handle it’s incredibly powerful hero in the best way. Needless to say, I was underwhelmed by Hellsing Ultimate overall. It just feels riddled with cliches and doesn’t offer an interesting twist on any of them. Then again, the story behind this anime makes it feel like it was set up for being average from the beginning. Despite having too many chefs in the kitchen though, Hellsing Ultimate is edible. I just don’t think I’ll ever order it again.