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Odex Private Limited presents
Hellsing (R3) (2001)

"Let me teach you to fear the might of a true vampire."
- Alucard (George Nakata)

Review By: Jeff Ulmer   
Published: March 13, 2003

Stars: George Nakata, Yoshiko Sakibara, Fumiko Orikasa
Other Stars: Jin Horikawa, Unsho Ishizuka, Nachi Nozawa, Kazuhito Nakata, Tomoyuki Shimura
Director: Yasunori Urata

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (for violence, adult situations and mature themes)
Run Time: 04h:59m:10s
Release Date: September 10, 2002
Genre: anime


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ BB+B+ D

DVD Review

Odex delivers another complete series to region 3 with their four-disc set of Hellsing, the latest title from Gonzo. A departure from the flashy style the studio is primarily noted for, Hellsing is a dark and layered show that plays with much more complexity than your standard vampire series. Set in an alternate, present-day England, the series is based on the manga by Kouta Hirano, and Blue Submarine No. 6 character designer, Toshiharu Murata, brings the ghoulish characters to life in this intense collection of episodes.

The world is being over run by a new breed of vampire, which the secret Hellsing Organization, run by Integra Wingates Hellsing, is in place to stop, as they have been doing for centuries. Hellsing has a powerful weapon at their disposal—Alucard, a true, old world vampire whose is indentured to Hellsing, and who relishes the opportunity to rid the world of these pitiful imitations of his great race. When the last surviving member of a police squad sent to confront one of these new vampires gets in the line of fire between Alucard and his foe, she has to decide whether to allow herself to become a vampire to stop the fiend. Her choice made, Seras Victoria joins the Hellsing organization, learning what this new servitude entails as a nonhuman being.

Through the course of the series, the Hellsing Organization face a number of adversaries, from the imported Catholic Iscariot organization out to vanquish Alucard, to a nosey journalist, a pair of wannabe vampire brothers,

The principle characters are an interesting bunch. Alucard (correctly named as an anagram of Dracula) is a true vampire, whose powers exceed any of the so-called vampires he is contracted to fight. Appearing out of nowhere, and able to shape shift and restore himself, he is a formidable and dark power. Seras Victoria, the former police officer turned vampire, has a hard time adjusting to her new life, especially when faced with former comrades who have turned to ghouls and must be eradicated. She is decked with a massive Harconnen canon, which for humans would be practically immoveable, but she wields it easily with her vampire strength, and uses it to wipe out legions of possessed enemies. Integra is the latest in a long line of Hellsings, taking her traditional role of administrator of the vampire slayers extremely seriously and personally. This is her crusade, and nothing will compromise her mission. Walter, her servant also has a few tricks up his sleeve, having served the Hellsing Organization for a considerable period of time. Together they are charged with maintaining the increasing threat posed by manufactured vampire freaks, while also defending themselves from forces who would like to see an end to the Hellsing family.

While the series is self-contained and does come to a conclusion of sorts, it is also very open-ended. There are many setups here that do not get resolved, and look to be part of a larger story arc and there are plenty of hooks to launch a second, as yet unproduced, season. This won't sit well with some, but the show's real strength is in the mood it sets, and the strong characters are well played by their voice actors. The dark style is extremely effective, and battle sequences offer great intensity and flair. There is plenty of intense action, and munitions fans get a treat with Alucard's pair of foot long pistols, and Seras' massive rocket launcher. There is a welcome complexity to the political structures, with layers of association that make the inner workings of Hellsing and its rival organizations more interesting, while allowing for power struggles and intrigue to shift the balance at any moment.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: Image quality is very good overall, with solid, though muted colors and rich blacks. Compared to its region one counterpart, this release does exhibit more pronounced banding in places, such as the whites at the end of the opening credits, or during fades to black. There is some shimmering, but no cross coloration was observed.

Image Transfer Grade: B+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Japaneseno


Audio Transfer Review: Audio is available in Japanese stereo only. For the most part, this is a very good sounding track, however it does have less directionality and ambience than Pioneer's region one release, with the balance tending towards the front center channel. Also, some of the opening and closing credits have a noticibly collapsed soundfield, such as the first episode on disc four, where the audio throughout sounds overly compressed.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 13 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Chinese with remote access
Packaging: Amaray Double
Picture Disc
4 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: This four-disc set contains no additional features, however, one plus with this release is the original Japanese credits during the opening and closings. The set comes housed in a pair of clear, double Amaray cases, with artwork on both sides of the cover insert.

Extras Grade: D

 

Final Comments

Hellsing is a great vampire anime series, with plenty of action and a dark and stylish look. For those with multi-region capability, this Odex release presents a much lower cost alternative to the region one Pioneer version, but does mean sacrificing a bit of quality in both the image and sound, plus any extras.

 


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