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.