*warning: Spoilers for Hellsing Ultimate discussed below
Some of my friends might be surprised to hear this, but one of my favorite anime series to watch is Hellsing Ultimate. Released from 2006 to 2014 in the United States, the series is a faithful adaptation of Kouta Hirano’s Hellsing manga that ran from 1997-2008. An earlier Hellsing series was produced while the manga was still being written, but it’s faithfulness to the series drops off after a few episodes (and many prefer to ignore it).
Hellsing is, simply put, Hirano’s take on the story of Dracula. Well, that’s not quite true. While the original Dracula story, as written by Bram Stoker, is hinted at throughout the story, Hellsing itself is more of a sequel. Basically, imagine that the events of Dracula really happened, only, instead of dying, the infamous vampire is turned into the loyal servant of an organization descended from Van Helsing (Helsing=Hellsing). Now flash forward to the present where vampires are very much real and you can start to imagine just how different the world would be.
A major theme of Hellsing Ultimate is how old threats never completely die. Just as Dracula, now known as Alucard, never actually died, so too did other threats remain hidden in the darkness only to emerge later. In the case of Hellsing, the ultimate threat comes from a legion of Nazis that survived after the Second World War by being turned into vampires, plotting vengeance for over 50 years. They are led by a character known only as the Major and he is without a doubt one of the most loathsome characters I’ve ever seen. He’s written in such a way to make your skin crawl every time he speaks.
Yes, you read that right. The ultimate enemy in Hellsing Ultimate are Nazi vampires. And yes, the fight scenes are as awesome as you think they are. But they are also bloody, very bloody. In fact, Hellsing Ultimate is one of the bloodiest shows I’ve ever watched. This series is definitely not for the faint of heart, because there is a lot of blood and guts throughout, but the intensity gets turned up by 100 in the second half of the series.
Aside from hidden threats, the other overarching plot thread follows Seras Victoria, a former police officer who ends up turned into a fledgling vampire by Alucard at the start of the series. I feel like Seras is meant to represent us, the viewer, and how we might react if we found ourselves suddenly among the ranks of the undead. A major part of Seras’ plot arc is, will she fully accept what she has become, and IF she does, what will that make her in the end? I like following the story of Seras, because it is full of ups and downs and by the end you are fully rooting for her to go on a rampage and destroy all in her path.
There are many amazing characters in this series, like Seras, and my favorites include Seras, Alucard (brought to chilling life by Crispin Freeman), Walter, and Sir Integra. And of those four, I really like Alucard and Walter the best. There’s a huge history between these two characters, and watching how the interplay between them changes over time is really fascinating to watch.
After watching Hellsing Ultimate, I don’t think you will ever be able to look at vampires the same way again. The way this series portrays vampires makes them feel so real. Watching this series, you could almost believe that vampires are real, that secret organizations like Hellsing or Iscariot might really exist, battling vampires so that regular people like us never find out about it.
If you like vampire stories, you need to watch Hellsing Ultimate at least once, because it is an incredible story. But one final warning: this series is EXTREMELY bloody and graphic, and features some disturbing material. If you’ve seen Hellsing Ultimate, let me know what you think about it in the comments below and have a great day!
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