BitSnark

A place of scribblings located in the darkest corner of the internet. Yup.

Hellsing Ultimate – First Impressions

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Time for a lil’ backstory. Hellsing always was (and probably will be) one of my favourite anime shows. Why? Primarily because i’m a sucker for cool vampire shows with lots of guns, stylishly depicted action sequences and crazy knife weilding clerics with evil Scottish accents. In all honesty though when the original TV series debuted a few years ago I couldn’t peel myself away from it, and while some lamented the departure from the plotlines of the manga, I found myself blissfully ignorant as I ploughed through the series.

Now it’s 2006 and i’m watching the new Hellsing Ultimate OVA, not a remake per se’ of the TV series of a few years ago, but instead a faithful recreation of the manga storyline. So far i’ve only watched the first episode of four, and so far it pretty much reimagines the same events that took place in the first three episodes of the TV series, so I cannot comment as yet regarding how different the manga storyline to the TV series.

While the structure of the story and the events that unfold are pretty much the same as the manga and the TV series (before it went its own way with the whole Incognito storyline that the manga lovers hate so much) there are a whole bunch of things that are just depicted differently. For instance, the fight between the zealot Vatican priest Alexander Anderson and Alucard is not an even fight at all, with Anderson basically decimating Alucard almost completely to the point that Integra Hellsing herself has to physically interject on his behalf.

On a character level, most of the characters appear to be the same, except for Walter who seems a whole lot more sinister this time round and Seras Victoria, who is very different from her TV series counterpart. Initally when you see her, she appears to act very similiar to how she did in the TV show, vulnuerable and scared. When Alucard turns her however, it all goes very different. It begins with this weird, almost chibi-esque dream sequence that she has about her being chased by these undead fiends, which has an animation style you would expect to find in something like Azumanga Daioh, and seems out of place somewhat. Crazy stuff.

Soon she wakes up, checks herself by pulling up her top (alucard blew a massive hole in her breast) sees that she’s ok and realises that Alucard was sat on the bed oogling her the whole time with his trademark grin and then she freaks out, almost Naruto style. Her whole character as a vampire completely threw me here, as on one hand she appears to be playing the role of the comic relief and on the other she’s a cold hardened killer, that although has moments of vulnerability, has little hesitance and certainly doesn’t have the aversion to blood that her TV series incarnation had.

In terms of animation, the duties have been passed over to Satelight, the guys who helped produce the animation for Heat Guy J, and the visually stunning Macross Zero. The charcter designs have been tweaked somewhat to bring them more in line with the characters illustrated in the manga, and as such, everything now has an almost sketchlike quality to it, which lends a whole different look in contrast to the TV series. Obviously being a OVA, the budget has been upped signifcantly and it shows. The battle scenes are more visceral and dynamic than they ever were, and the CG use is excellent but done sparingly which is good, as it would certainly detract from the integrity and quality of the new character designs had they over-indulged.

I am loving this series so far. I really am. My only nit-pick, and one that I am sure will be cleared up for the stateside release, is the dub. What made the original Hellsing TV series so damn watchable were the funky British accents that were used. In particular, the cool menacing Scottish accent of Alexander Anderson. In the Japanese version though, you miss out on all this, but ah well, i’m hoping that the cast of the original series make their return.

So there you have it, everything seems immensely promising so far if you’re a hellsing fan (manga or otherwise), or just a fan of high-octane gothic action.

Roll on the official release.

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Written by bitsnark

April 22, 2006 at 12:34 pm

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