Tag Archives: Crispin Freeman

My Thoughts on: Hellsing Ultimate

*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.

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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.

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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!

See also:

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My Thoughts on: Slayers (season 1) (1995)

*Note: It should go without saying that there are plot spoilers to be found below

Last summer some of my friends introduced me to a wonderful anime called Slayers which I’d never heard of before (my access to anime was severely limited growing up so for a long time the only shows I knew anything about were Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball Z). I quickly fell in love with the series and it’s been one of my favorites ever since.

In season one of Slayers we are introduced to a quirky cast of characters:

  • Lina Inverse (Lisa Ortiz): A very young and extremely powerful sorceress. Lina loves to travel the world and gather treasure. She also loves food.
  • Gourry Gabriev (Eric Stuart): Lina’s self-proclaimed guardian. Gourry is almost a pure iteration of the “dumb blonde” trope but he does have his moments (which I won’t tell you because that would spoil some wicked awesome moments).
  • Zelgadis (Crispin Freeman for most of the series): an equally powerful sorcerer who is continually seeking a way to restore his body to human form (for plot reasons he currently exists as a chimera with a body of stone).
  • Amelia (Veronica Taylor): This young princess and a would-be mage is the living embodiment of a crit fail in D&D (case in point: Amelia loves to make dramatic entrances but typically fails to stick the landing).
  • Sylphiel (Stacia Crawford): a priestess who refers to Gourry as “Gourry Dear” a lot.

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The plot of season 1 finds our heroes fighting against Rezo the Red Priest. It eventually comes out that Rezo is trying to summon Ruby Eye Shabranigdu (a powerful demon) in the belief that doing so will finally cure his blindness. However, when this plan backfires, our heroes must fight Shabranigdu and save the world! Actually, they end up saving the world several times over by the end of season 1, with some plot twists that I genuinely didn’t see coming.

One of my favorite things about Slayers are the ornate incantations used to create spells. For example, here is how Lina casts Dragon Slave, one of her most powerful spells:

Darkness beyond twilight
Crimson beyond blood that flows
Buried in the stream of time is where your power grows
I pledge myself to conquer all the foes who stand
before the mighty gift bestowed in my unworthy hand
Let the fools who stand before me be destroyed
by the power you and I possess…
DRAGON SLAVE!

To make a long story short, Slayers is a really fun anime and you should definitely check out the first season if you get the chance (the subtitled version is currently streaming on Hulu but I highly recommend the dubbed version as well).

Let me know what you think about season 1 of Slayers in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

My Thoughts on: Slayers NEXT (Season 2) (1996)

My Thoughts on: Slayers TRY (season 3) (1997)

My Thoughts on: Slayers Return (1996)

My Thoughts on: Slayers Great (1997)

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