Tag Archives: Hellsing

Hellsing Ultimate – Anime Review

Japanese Title: Hellsing Ultimate


Related: Hellsing (original version)

Similar: Trinity Blood

Vampire Hunter D Bloodlust


Watched in: Japanese & English

Genre: Supernatural Vampire Action Horror

Length: 10 episodes (50 minutes each)



  • Alucard, more twisted than before, is one anti-heroic vampire.
  • Fixed many problems in the original Hellsing.
  • The Nazi Major, who leads the Nazi vampires, is a riot with his dark humour.
  • Intense, stylised action and visuals.
  • Fantastic English voice track.


  • Seras still sounds weak, though she doesn’t say much.
  • CG stands out at times.
  • Some poorly timed humour with Seras.

I have often talked about series or games having potential for greatness, but ultimately falling flat. Hellsing Ultimate is one of those rare instances where artists get a second chance to realise that potential. With new directors and writers on the team, the Hellsing franchise went from decent to great.

The story starts in the same place as the original with Seras and her police unit sent to deal with a vampire priest. She fails, the Hellsing Organisation tasks their secret weapon, vampire Alucard, to handle the situation, and he turns Seras into a vampire. The first two episodes retell the original Hellsing, which should indicate how slow the original was; thirteen episodes retold in half the airtime, only losing one minor subplot (covering up a vampire attack in public).

Characters, usually Integra, do talk to camera too much for exposition about vampires and the organisation while, at the very same time, showing us this exposition anyway – poor writing, but it isn’t a major issue. They drop Seras’s hesitation in killing ghouls, making her a more useful player from the beginning. After these two episodes, it’s new territory. And that’s when Ultimate takes it to another level. Human mercenaries, Vatican armies, and Nazi vampires enter the fray, and all hell breaks loose – quite literally, in Alucard’s case.

The biggest tension killers in Hellsing were the slow editing and Alucard’s invulnerability. I am pleased to say, that both are largely fixed. The cinematography is more engaging with a greater variety of angles and compositions, which makes for a more visually appealing experience. No longer does it feel like characters are stopping to remember the next part of the script. The new director eradicated that beat-too-long editing style from the original.

To give Alucard a tougher challenge, all enemies have had an upgrade, most notably Paladin Anderson, who is crazier and has new powers to fight the undead. He also plays a significant role in the narrative, giving him more time to develop into a memorable character. The Protestant versus Catholic conflict reaches new heights of savagery; throw in Nazis, and the fight becomes rather bloody – Hellsing Ultimate is very gory. The inclusion of new human allies and bigger roles for Integra and Seras against a wide array of enemies creates more tension, as while Alucard is powerful, he cannot be everywhere at once. Alucard is an absolute badass with his broad, twisted grin and a teeming mass of eyes, blood, darkness, and millipedes in his powers. His ultimate ability is one of the coolest I have seen; I am amazed that Warhammer didn’t use it first with their Vampire Counts.

Hellsing Ultimate is tenser, more brutal, and more British (“You’re too loud Police Girl. I don’t care if you are a vampire; you’re still English. Have some manners.” – Integra). And I love it.

Art – Very High

Faster, intense action shot through superior cinematography than the original. Even more stylised than before, if you can believe it – glasses reflected in the darkness, while it makes no sense, is damn cool. Alucard’s powers are phenomenal in design, animation, and creativity. Visual quality drops significantly for Seras’s comedic moments; they don’t look bad, just noticeable in contrast. Out of place CG, on occasion.

Sound – High

Many of the voice actors return, several of which have improved in skill with age. The English track is better than Japanese because of the accents and nuance in the personalities – the fat Nazi leader is priceless. Only Seras still wanes in English. When terrified, she sounds mildly surprised; her effort sounds have, well, no effort – least enthusiastic reactions imaginable (think Troll 2 “They’re eating her…and then they’re going to eat me…oh my gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad”). Love the orchestral and choir pieces. They are tense, set up dread, drama, and darkness in the narrative. There are even a few Nazi songs.

Story – High

England versus the Vatican versus Nazi vampires makes for an excellent conflict. Giving Alucard stronger foes to fight creates tension that the original lacked.

Overall Quality – High

Recommendation: Hellsing Ultimate took a series with potential and turned it into one of the greats. Alucard is now worthy of mention in the best of vampires from any medium. Even if you didn’t like the original, Hellsing Ultimate is one to watch. Have you seen a Nazi vampire eat a baby?

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Awards: (hover mouse over each award to see descriptions; click award for more recipients)


Fluid AnimationGreat MusicHoly S***Phenomenal VillainPositive Recommended English Voice TrackRiveting ActionStellar Voice ActingStrong Lead CharactersStunning Art Quality

Negative: None

Hellsing – Anime Review

Japanese Title: Hellsing


Related: Hellsing Ultimate (remake & continuation)

Similar: Trinity Blood

Devil May Cry


Watched in: Japanese & English

Genre: Supernatural Vampire Action Horror

Length: 13 episodes



  • Alucard is a badass vampire with his carefree attitude, and expertly voiced.
  • Disturbing imagery from the dark powers.


  • No tension.
  • The editing lacks intensity, especially with the dull cinematography.
  • Several better voice choices in English, but Seras, who sounds awful, may put you off the entire track.
  • Lax use of otherwise good music.
  • Rushed ending.
  • Noticeable budget techniques in the art.

During the rise of anime in the West, Hellsing was a much talked about series. However, like most anime from the era, it was overpraised due to a lack of similar anime for comparison. Fans tend to latch onto one great element and forget to mention any faults; let’s be real, Alucard’s ‘Come at me, Bro’ attitude sold Hellsing.

The Hellsing Organisation is England’s vampire hunting group. Their secret weapon? A vampire of their own, Alucard the king of vampires, immortal, ruthless, and carefree. Sir Integra leads Hellsing with a strict work ethic and zero tolerance for failure. One night while dealing with a vampire priest and his horde of ghouls, Alucard saves policewoman Seras, the last of her ghoul-infected unit, by turning her into a vampire. With Hellsing’s guidance, she joins the ranks of the living dead as a sniper to combat a new breed of emerging vampires.

Alucard is nigh indestructible. In the first episode, a hail of gunfire tears him to shreds and he regenerates to gruesome effect, which is cool, but is an early indicator of a core problem. Seeing Alucard regenerate from immense damage a couple of times, you realise there is no danger. Add in lethargic editing, and all tension is sapped from the narrative. Each camera shot feels a beat too long, almost as if they came up short on runtime and needed to pad the length, so they added a half-second each time. It’s hard to explain how a mostly action series can feel so slow without seeing it for yourself. Imagine someone who is learning piano and has to search for the next key.

Seras’s plotline doesn’t bring much to the proceedings, unfortunately. Much of her time passes in adjusting to life as a vampire – drinking blood, sleeping in a coffin (Hellsing is traditional in its vampire lore) – and training as a sniper with enhanced senses and strength. She has difficulty in pulling the trigger against human-like ghouls (people bitten but not turned to vampires). Again, there’s little tension and her conflict doesn’t amount to much in the end. She doesn’t feel necessary to the plot with Alucard around.

Hellsing has a Protestant (England) versus Catholic (Vatican) theme, as the Vatican sees the alliance between Hellsing and Alucard as an abomination. They send Paladin Alexander Anderson, the trump card of Iscariot, the Catholic Church’s secret branch to slay the undead. He’s obsessed with killing Alucard, though they fight the same enemy. Despite his biotech enhancements for regeneration, he poses no threat to Alucard, so once more, no tension. Their fight is decent at least.

Hellsing is an anime crammed with potential. It’s an idea on the right track that could do with more planning and thought put into it. What happens when a new director steps up to take the reins? See Hellsing Ultimate.

Art – Medium

Hellsing still looks good for an old series and some scenes are beautifully dark, but money saving techniques like immovable lips despite talking and enemies firing without recoil is jarring. The entire budget seems to have gone into Alucard’s powers, for battle damage and regeneration look suitably disturbing.

Sound – Medium

I like the use of British accents for the English track. Alucard (Crispin Freeman’s iconic role) and Integra have more personality through their English versions, but Seras…so poor. When she’s supposed to be terrified, she sounds like a whiner. The actor comes off as someone who is too afraid of being embarrassed in front of others. Her voice is feeble. Several onetime characters sound terrible. The soundtrack is rarely used.

Story – Medium

Hellsing is a story with potential, carried by Alucard in this state. Dull pacing and slow editing make the narrative feel much longer than it is.

Overall Quality – Medium

Recommendation: Skip this and head straight for Hellsing Ultimate. As an early foray into mature vampire lore, Hellsing is a commendable attempt. With Hellsing Ultimate realising the full potential, Hellsing is now no more than a piece of anime history.

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Awards: (hover mouse over each award to see descriptions; click award for more recipients)

Positive: None


DissapointingIncompletePoor Pacing