Two posts in one month? What sort of madness is this? Well, I’ve been drinking a lot, so makes sense that I should attempt to ramble here where I have free reign to do so. But never mind that, what’s important here is that in addition to my aforementioned Another, if you’re going to watch another horror anime this month, you should give serious consideration to Hellsing Ultimate.
Now, let’s be clear on one important fact. I’m talking about the OAV series, as opposed to the TV series which came out 3 years prior to the much better OAV series. The main problem with the TV series was that it came out when the manga was proving to be popular, however, Kouta Hirano was a very slow writer. In fact, the manga was only a 10 volume series, yet it ran from 1997 until 2008. For the math challenged among us, that’s 11 years to release 10 volumes of manga. To give you all a very relevant comparison, another series that I’ve wrote about, One Piece, also started in 1997. To date, One Piece has produced 67 volumes. Even if we say that Eiichiro Oda is a freak of nature, most normal mangaka would produce three times what Kouta Hirano did in the same amount of time. The point being that the original TV series came out early on in the run of the manga, so the ending has absolutely nothing like the manga. Now, the OAV series was able to take its time and wait on the source material. Hence, why I’m insisting that if you watch any Hellsing show, you should make it the OAV series. It’s much more faithful to the manga, and while that doesn’t mean the TV series is bad, when compared against the original it just doesn’t hold up.
So, the long and short of Hellsing is that vampires are real. Very real. So what is your average person to do against such a threat? Don’t expect your average army to save you. Oh no, what you need is what the British government has. You need the Hellsing Organization. What makes the Hellsing Organization able to handle these freaks of nature better than your average army? Well, they have themselves a trump card known as Alucard. Anyone that has ever played a Castlevania game should know that name, but if you don’t, well then beware because I”m about to drop a very obvious spoiler on you. See, Alucard is actually Dracula backwards. GASP! So, now do we understand why the Hellsing Organization is badass? But Alucard is not the sort who cares to do all the work himself. Not that he can’t, just he’s not above recruiting those in whom he sees potential. And doesn’t every master want a pupil? That’s largely why he “recruits” Seras Victoria as his student by turning her into a vampire as well. In the TV series, Seras is shown almost as the main protagonist, while in the OAV series she shares the spotlight with Alucard and their boss, Integra Hellsing.
But it’s no fun if the protagonist is unbeatable and has no rival. Well, enter Father Anderson. Not only is he opposed to Alucard, but his group is entirely opposed to the whole Hellsing Organization. See, the Hellsing Organization basically represent the Anglican Church, while Father Anderson represents the Catholic Church. But this isn’t some regular human that miraculously is able to hang with a vampire. Oh no, Father Anderson has a few tricks up his sleeve. I could go on, but I’d say this video best sums up what kind of man he is.
But all that is just a taste of what’s to come. A huge part of the divergence between the TV series and the OAV is that the overall villain is not really described in the TV series. In the OAV, we find out that who the Hellsing Organization is ultimately fighting is not the Catholic Church as was hinted at this that video, but rather remnants from the Nazi party. Yes, if the Nazis had access to this kind of army, World War II might have turned out vastly different. Make no mistake though, this in no way tries to make the Nazi party out to be cool. Every person involved with the Nazis are batshit insane. It’s hard to say that there’s a “good guy” here, but certainly the Nazis are not them. But isn’t that the worst kind of villain? The ones who are fully aware that what they’re doing is pure evil and they just plain don’t care? That’s exactly how the Nazis here are portrayed. They’re not supposed to be misguided idealists, or innocents brainwashed against their will. No, they know what they’re doing, what they represent, yet they don’t care. They love it and embrace it, and they are shown to be completely nuts. And frankly, that’s the only way this could work, because Alucard and the Hellsing Organization themselves are not, nor are they trying to be, paragons of virtue. I mean, they rely on the power of vampires, and while Seras occasionally has some qualms about what she does, Alucard never cares if so called innocents are killed in the pursuit of his enemies. The entire lack of caring for human life makes it very difficult to label any one group as good or evil.
So, I’ll readily admit that as far as “Oh hell, I just wet myself” type of horror goes, this doesn’t really fit the bill. But really, do most people consider Dracula to be a horror movie? Most would. This is in the same vein as that. It’s horror in that “Look at all these people being slaughtered, isn’t that horrible?” sort of way, and not in the freak you out sort. The fact remains that this is a very well written anime. Also, a fun fact is that this shares a link with another manga/anime, High School of the Dead. It may not be readily apparent, but look at the character names in HSotD and then look at the name of the author of Hellsing. See if there are any similarities.
All in all, Hellsing is a very entertaining show, and it could at times be considered gore porn more than a horror anime. But, there’s little doubt that either way it’s definitely an anime worth watching.