ヘルシング OAV/Hellsing Ultimate, episode 1

[Screenshot]This is a remake of the same manga as the original Hellsing, so some comparison is inevitable. In this, the first episode, the OAV actually comes up a bit short of the TV series: the TV series only really started to decline in the later episodes. So, plotwise this one’s virtually identical to the first few episodes of the TV series (Seras’s conversion and the first meeting with Anderson). The voice actors are, wisely, almost identical for this production as the original, in both Japanese and English, and do a creditable job in both (although Anderson’s English-language actor effects a much more pronounced Scots accent in the OAV). So the big differences are mostly production issues: graphics and music.

One of these we can dispense with easily. The music on this OAV is serviceable and solemn, but it’s got nothing on Yasushi Ishii’s thrashy but dramatic quasipunk stylings as featured in the original seires. As for animation, I must confess to being conflicted. When it’s good, it’s very good if a bit too fond of arterial spray. When it’s bad, it’s actually pretty lazy, and stylized in a way somewhat tonally inconsistent with the darkness otherwise well-established in the story (then again, super-deformed worked for Fullmetal Alchemist, and that’s plenty dark, so I dunno. It doesn’t work here, at least for me).

I’ll want to stick with this one, despite its stylistic weaknesses, because I’m guessing it’ll have a better plot once it gets rolling than the TV series did. Already there’s one point that’s impressed me: it’s explicitly laid out the Iscariot-Hellsing frictions as a Catholic/Protestant schism, which, first of all, seemed a blind point in the original anime, and second, promises a greater exploration of this schism. I was disappointed at how quickly the original series devolved into Hellsing vs. the freaks, instead of focusing more on the far more interesting conflict between Hellsing and other vampire-hunter organizations with different ideologies, and have great hope that this series will better explore this virgin territory.

Speaking of virgins (sorry, rough segue there), the term “Draculina” (in the original Japanese, so it’s not the translator’s fault, except inasmuch as it would have been wise for the translator to excise it), I find irrationally annoying.

See also: IMDB, Wikipedia, Anime News Network, AniDB.

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About Jake
I'm a mathematics professor at the University of Louisville, and a geek.

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