Note – We received a promotional copy of Hellsing Ultimate from Funimation in exchange for our honest review.
When monsters threaten humanity, the only solution is to have…even more powerful monsters? Luckily for the Hellsing Organization, they shelter the deadliest monster in the world – a demonic force known as Alucard. With the help of his recently-turned vampire accomplice Seras Victoria, the duo stands with the Hellsing Organization against the harrowing forces of evil.
Here’s a quick take – Hellsing Ultimate is to Hellsing what Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood was to Fullmetal Alchemist.
In the case of Fullmetal Alchemist, the initial iteration was messy, went off the rails, and was not faithful to the manga adaptation beyond the first few chapters. The result being that while the original series was still considered an iconic part of anime history, it fell painfully short of the tale that was originally put together. Once fully realized, as with the case of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, a new level of artistry and appreciation was unlocked.
So, too, is the case with Hellsing Ultimate. From a narrative perspective, this re-telling does a fantastic job of putting a lot more meat on the bones of Alucard and Seras’ friendship. It explores Alucard and Alexander’s rivalry in a more nuanced and impactful manner. It provides a wider lens on Integra Hellsing’s history, which helps to inform her style of leadership (Side note – she remains one of my favorite characters of all time). In short – it’s not in a hurry, and that’s a good thing.
The series also wasn’t in a particular rush when it came to the production schedule. The 10 episodes were released over the course of 6 years, and with studios like Satelight, Madhouse and Graphinica at the helm, the animation was absolutely bonkers. Alucard’s high-octane conflicts with rival vampires, superpowered Church denizens and Nazis (yes, Nazis) are all beautifully brought to life with vivid detail, rich color, and superb movement.
Overall, Hellsing Ultimate is the definitive version of the Hellsing story, and one that no anime fan should be without.
Box Set Review
As for the set itself, it’s a pretty standard release. Unlike some of the other limited edition releases we’ve seen in recent months, there’s no real effort to include artbooks or goodies to appeal to the diligent collector. A welcome surprise, however, is the extended commentaries on the set. Not only are there episode commentaries, but interviews of the cast and crew, a fun Karaoke sequence, and coverage of the 2007 panel from Anime Expo that Geneon hosted on the release when it was initially airing. In total there’s over 8 hours of extras! This certainly helps make up for the lack of physical goodies.
Overall, at $44, owning this bloody, brilliant series is a steal. Hellsing remains one of the most recognizable anime universes out there, and if you haven’t picked up the manga before, Hellsing Ultimate is a fantastic way to introduce yourself to the world of Alucard, Seras, and the rest of the morally ambiguous company that battle back the true evils of the world.