Today, Let's have a look at Hellsing, the story of an English Anti-Vampire Organization that is also the world's biggest user of...vampires. Sort of like if Immigration were staffed by illegals, isn't it? Anyway, there are two main storylines when it comes to Hellsing Anime, the original series and Ultimate. They each have their merits, and tell the same story (to a point). They diverge for the last half, with the original series having a somewhat non-conclusive ending, and the OVA Hellsing Ultimate being more...final.
- Alucard. The mysterious (until you figure it out. Took me 5 episodes, but I'm dumb) Vampire who works for the Hellsing organization. In the series, he seems less evil, but also less devoted to his master. In the OVA, he seems downright monstrous, but conversely more loyal to Integra Hellsing, his master. Also, while everyone else seems to be drawn in a macabre fashion in Ultimate, Alucard becomes fairly handsome in some sequences. Whatever, you pays your money and you takes your chances.
- Vampires...the way they were meant to be...scary. Yeah, I didn't really watch Twilight, but I heard enough about it to know that Hellsing is a salve for the soul of people who enjoy Vampire flicks the old fashioned way.
- Integra & The Vampire. Sir Integra Hellsing, head of Hellsing and Knight of the Round Table, holds Alucard's leash. She's an interesting character in both series, and her childhood flashbacks are a high point in either. Her relationship with Alucard is fun to explore as well, particularly in Ultimate where there are some linguistic oddities around how he addresses her at the very end. Can't go further than that without dropping some serious spoilers, so get to it yourself!
- It isn't the Nazis! As I watched the Hellsing tv series, I thought to myself more than once 'You know, it's kind of nice that there's no Nazis or Ninjas or aliens or anything behind the scenes controlling the vampire plague. This is sort of the thing those guys are usually into.' Which brings us to...
- It's the Nazis. Then I saw Hellsing Ultimate, which supposedly follows the story of the Manga better, and where the stories diverge is that yes, the Nazis are behind the vampire plague. See, this really is the sort of thing those guys are usually into. As Indy would say: 'Nazis, I hate these guys.'
- Art style. The original Hellsing series had a pretty distinctive art style. It reminded me more than anything of 70s cartoons. It was charming in its own way, but a bit jarring if you just finished watching a more modern art style series such as...I don't know...Black Lagoon. Then you watch Hellsing Ultimate, where they updated the style of the original, and eveyone is even skinnier, pointier, and more ghastly, and suddenly everyone but Seras looks like Edgar Allen Poe.
- The Rise And Fall Of Seras Victoria. Speaking of Seras, in the original series she was a sort of tragic figure, a former police officer who becomes a vampire 'by choice' at the hand of Alucard, but can't quite come to grips with her new nature. In Ultimate, she is largely relegated to comic relief in annoying Omake segments. Yes, Ultimate is darker and heavier, but not so bad that I need pink backgrounds and chibi to deal with it. Come on now!
Hellsing was a lot of fun. I did like the classic series more than the Ultimate, but that's just a matter of taste. There are definitely some amazing moments in Ultimate, especially as pertains to Alucard and Integra, or Alucard and Seras. Also, by the end, you catch yourself talking along with Alucard as he goes through control levels; "Releasing Control Art Restriction Systems 3...2...1. Approval of situation A recognized; commencing the Cromwell Invocation. Ability restrictions lifted for limited use until the enemy has been rendered silent." Good times.