Hellsing is a gutsy, stylish re-interpretation of the vampire myth, taking place in modern day England it centres on a clandestine organization of Vampire hunters called Hellsing. Head of the organization is Sir Integra Wingates Hellsing, a stubborn but level-headed young woman who holds the secret to Hellsing’s most potent weapon, Alucard; an all powerful Vampire dutifully bound to protect and serve his human masters.
Despite it’s unoriginal premise, ‘Hellsing’ is an oft brilliant and entertaining series, at times it can degenerate into cliché but some novel ideas (the notion of instant or man made vampires) help lift it above similar genre fare. The action sequences are deftly executed, showcasing a flair for violence that piles on the gore, guns and style with vicious aplomb. The superbly handled script crackles with some great one liners (giving our laconic hero ample opportunity to shine) and grants the seemingly shallow story a surprising amount of depth.
The action often segues into wide expanses of plot that gradually pencil in the tangled histories of Hellsing’s eclectic cast of characters. There’s Walter; the seemingly mild mannered Butler who goes by the alias ‘Angel of Death’, the icily cool Incognito and my personal favourite – Alexander Anderson, a bayonet wielding Catholic priest who’d have your local congregation cowering behind their pews! Then there’s Alucard himself, garbed in a crimson hat and trench coat whilst sporting a pair of handguns that would make Vash from Trigun blush. He’s the epitome of gothic cool and would certainly give Vampire Hunter D a run for his money. If I were forced to make a complaint, it would be that the dark vein of black humour, which saturated Hellsing’s manga incarnation, has all but been expunged from the anime; a few laughs here and there wouldn’t have gone amiss.
Animated by the talented folks at Gonzo and using newer digimation techniques, Hellsing is a solid looking anime. The characters are realised in amazing detail with crystal lines and that unmistakable digital sheen. Special mention must also go to the striking use of colour; blood red skies and heavy blacks help create an evocative gothic atmosphere reminiscent of old Hammer Horror movies.
Proceedings are really enlivened by a great soundtrack; gothic flavoured classical pieces sit alongside throbbing heavy metal, and if it wasn’t for the poodle rock ballad that accompanies the ending credits – it’d be nigh on perfect!
A balls to the wall anime series, loaded with enough fantastic characters, slick animation and macabre action to satiate even the hungriest of bloodsuckers! So put down that copy of ‘Vampire Wars’ and give Hellsing a look instead, you won’t regret it.