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18 home / october 2002 / reviews Turn Page BackwardBack to HomeTurn Page Forward

Hellsing Vol.2: Blood Brothers
Bilingual DVD
75 minutes
Hirano Kouta
Gonzo Digimation
Violent and stylish, Hellsing is the perfect show to attract more mature newcomers to anime. Hellsing's dark humor and over the top action will keep you entertained at any hour of the day...or night.
Overall Rating:

Animefringe Reviews:
Hellsing Vol.2: Blood Brothers
By Patrick King

Despite the warnings of naysayers claiming that Hellsing "craps out" (a technical term) in the end, I've decided to continue purchasing this series thanks to its incomparable coolness... And the fact that the second volume of the set comes with a nifty patch for the Hellsing Organization. How neat is that?

So far, I remain content with my decision. For me, this show is simply a blast to watch, especially with friends. The activities of the mysterious Hellsing Organization and its various members present numerous opportunities to turn to your fellow viewing companion and say, "Damn!"

If you're new to the Hellsing series, then it's not too hard to get caught up. In modern Britain, the age-old problem of vampires has reached a new level of danger. In the past, vampires weren't especially hard to create (it only took a willing vampire and a human keen on exchanging his or her soul, after all), but now, some unknown agency has discovered a way to turn humans into undead fiends with a simple implant. Thanks to the suddenly booming population of bloodsuckers, the public is slowly becoming aware of their existence and the threat they are starting to present. For centuries, humankind's primary defense against these neck-biting monsters has been the Hellsing Organization, currently led by Sir Integral Hellsing. In addition to Integral's skills, there is also Arucard, an ancient and apparently super powerful vampire who doesn't seem to mind killing newly risen vampires. The tale is told mostly from the perspective of Victoria Seras, a young police officer (and newly created vampire, courtesy of Arucard) on the side of the Hellsing Organization. In this collection, Seras begins to come to terms with her newfound immortality just as a new danger surfaces, in the form of the Valentine Brothers.

Unlike the first three episodes, these next three relate closely to each other and tie into a previous one, as well. While it's nice to have a freeform series, things tend to get boring if everything is too episodic. The big picture for this show is finally starting to take shape, thankfully. The characters are enjoyable to watch and each exhibit unique quirks or interesting fighting styles. Without spoiling anything, I'd just like to say it's nice to see a butler kick some ass. I like the fact that Victoria maintains her cat-girl charm even as she embraces her newfound visceral cravings. And Arucard has to be one of the most impressive characters I've ever seen. Personally, I'd rank him right up there with Spike (from Cowboy Bebop) or perhaps more appropriately, D, from Vampire Hunter D. He's a great vampire - the perfect mix of grace and violence, propriety and chaos.

This show was produced in 2001 for late-night TV broadcasting, and the visuals reflect that fact quite clearly. The designers at Gonzo (and art director Shinji Katahira, in particular) consciously chose to include unobtrusive CG to add to the atmosphere of Hellsing. This is the way computer graphics should be used in anime. The character designs are poster-worthy and the background appears British enough for my tastes. The animation for these episodes isn't as smooth as the first three, but moments that necessitate fluid movement get it. I could watch an endless video loop of Arucard drawing his huge custom firearm and be content, and I'm not easily amused. (Not counting popping the bubbles on that plastic shipping stuff... That activity is far deeper than most people suspect...) Overall, I'm still very much in love with the visible aspects of Hellsing and can't honestly complain about anything.

The music for the show is a contender for one of the top five soundtracks I've heard for any TV show, ever. In the first six episodes, at least, there is plenty of original music that complements the show better than most anime I've seen. The instant I find the soundtrack, I will buy it. Typically I skip the opening credits on shows after the first two episodes, but I've watched Hellsing's opening each time just for the pleasure of hearing the music. In fact, now I'm on a search to pick up any other show featuring Ishii Yasushi's music in the hopes that he's done work this good somewhere else.

Not only does the disc come with the classy patch mentioned earlier in this review (depicting the Hellsing coat of arms), but it includes a few more noteworthy extras. There's a creditless ending theme, a preview of the Victoria Seras action figure, and a very long interview with a number of the Japanese staff (in Japanese with subtitles) behind the anime adaptation of Hellsing. With only three episodes on this disc, it's rather nice to see a good host of features to supplement what you're paying for.

More than just eye candy, Hellsing is a fun romp through a dark alternate Britain filled with entertaining characters, excellent music, and an engaging (if not so deep) storyline. The only slightly annoying fact regarding the show is that it might lead more North American fans to believe that all anime is like this. It's stylish, violent, and there's a little bit of sexual innuendo, and many people still don't realize there's far more to anime than breasts and blood. Luckily, this fact won't harm any of our readers, since if you're reading this, you're probably already in the know. In any case, so long as you have nothing against violence in anime, this is a great series to pick up. If you're quick, you can even snag the first disc with the art box, reviewed in last month's issue of Animefringe (Vol.3, #9).

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Original Material 1999 / 2002 Animefringe, All Rights Reserved.
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