Hellsing

Tagged: TV

Japanese animated tv series (2001-2002); original title Herushingu. Based on the Manga by Kouta Hirano. Gonzo. Directed by Umanosuke Iida. Written by Chiaki J. Konaka. Voice cast includes Jouji Nakata, Nachi Nozawa, Fumiko Orikasa, Yoshiko Sakakibara and Takumi Yamazaki. 13 23 minute episodes. Colour.

There have always been Vampires, but contemporary Britain is plagued by a new kind. Battling them are the Royal Order of Religious Knights aka The Hellsing Organization, led by Sir Integra Wingate Hellsing (Sakakibara), who despite the title is a woman. Their most successful agent is Alucard (Nakata), a traditional vampire, bound to Integra. When police officer Seras Victoria (Orikasa) is used as a human shield, Alucard, with her consent, shoots through Seras into the captor's heart, then converts her into a vampire.

Seras now joins the Hellsing Organisation and has to come to terms with her new life: drinking blood provided by the organisation and having extra strength and improved senses. She wields a gun longer than she is tall. Alucard, who carries engraved silver and black pistols, is a red-attired dandy who despises the modern, artificial "instant" vampire. These are created by microchip implants that use "electric transmitter mechanisms" to activate a dormant "freak gene" found in all humans. Though they turn their victims into obedient Zombies (here called ghouls), the resulting creatures lack most traditional vampire powers – such as Shapeshifting, as possessed by Alucard.

The Hellsing Organization is royalist and devoutly Protestant (see Religion), often conflicting with the Vatican's equivalent body, Section 13; one of the latter's agents, Father Alexander Anderson (Nozawa), is a Regenerator, "the fruit of God's miracle and the technology of man" (the manga says the latter is Genetic Engineering). Section 13, which seems to have territorial ambitions on Britain, complains that the new vampires are now appearing in its countries.

There are repeated vampire attacks on the Hellsing Organization: one involves altering Perception, so when Integra's "sister" visits her, she has difficulty remembering she does not have one. The Hellsing Organization becomes seriously depleted, with the activities of a traitor in the British Government weakening them further. An African vampire named Incognito (Yamazaki) arrives, invoking, then absorbing, the Egyptian God Set at the Tower of London in an attempt to destroy the City. Alucard bests Incognito, his last words being "What are you really?": the answer is Vlad the Impaler.

This Anime ends with many loose ends: most importantly, who is creating the new vampires and why? (The manga reveals the culprit is a Nazi organization.) This is unfortunate, since despite some variable animation Hellsing is otherwise an enjoyable and exciting show, with reasonably strong characterization and a respect for vampire lore.

The series was created before the original manga was completed, so the storyline diverges in the last third (Incognito being original to the anime). A ten-episode OVA series was released 2006-2010, titled Herushingu in Japan and Hellsing Ultimate in North America, which stayed closer to the source. Though a separate production, it used the same main voice cast. There were also three accompanying shorts based on the incomplete prequel manga, Hellsing: The Dawn. [SP]

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