Alucard is a vampire serving the Hellsing organisation and pretty much eliminating other undead and things. This is a review of the 2002 anime series, not Hellsing Ultimate.
Seriously, this show sounds like it should be right up my ally. We’ve got vampires, horror, violence, secret organisations, it should be a blast. That said, I put off watching this for a fair while because I’d previously watched the first episode and was left feeling pretty meh about the entire series. However, this one came around on my list of watched and dropped anime to give a second go to and given it is available on AnimeLab I gave it a go and made it through to the end. But I probably shouldn’t have.
For an anime made in 2002, this already looks kind of dated. Alucard of course looks amazing as the creature of the night and his Japanese voice really suits him sounding both menacing and seductive. Outside of Alucard, the other character designs are all kind of flat when they aren’t outright ugly. They serve their purpose but they are hardly something to draw you in to the story. Similarly, the occasional setting will grab your attention but too often we’re in generic hallway A, or walking past generic building B. Visually it just isn’t a very appealing show and this is a show that splashes around copious amounts of my very favourite colour and it still didn’t manage to appeal.
If I get over the fact that this looks its age and focus on the story, the issues actually get worse. While there is an ongoing narrative around an unusual number of vampires showing up and some chip creating vampires that they are investigating, mostly it feels like freak of the week shows up, the expendable human characters get expended (why were there even humans still working for these organisations), and then the vampire/s go in and clean up the mess. There’s the occasional point of interest with conspiracies and media interaction, but mostly its just a by the numbers set up and deliver kind of story.
All of this is fine for a horror really. Low budget horror movies have kind of made me immune to poor visuals and generic storylines that aren’t that engaging, but there still needs to be some hook. Are the characters interacting well? Is there some sort of twist or surprise? Do we just deliver the same old horror with a lot of energy? Hellsing kind of doesn’t achieve any of these. Seras Victoria is about the only other character I vaguely cared about outside of Alucard, and she was still incredibly boring as she transitioned from human to vampire. Integra, as the leader of Hellsing, was probably my least favourite character and more than once I found myself wishing something would bite her, which given her limited screen time was impressive that she managed to irk me that much.
Basically, this was my own fault. The first episode of this didn’t grab me the first time I watched it. Even this time, I wasn’t really keen on it and yet I just kind of pushed through. I became increasingly distracted during the watch and started making excuses to delay the next episode. That’s probably why my review is light on details. I wasn’t paying enough attention after about episode 4 so maybe it has some amazing plot twist that just went straight over my head.
At some point, I do want to check out Hellsing Ultimate, but I’m not going back to this series again. I’ve made it to the end, it is watchable, but ultimately I just don’t see that this is really worth the time investment when there are more interesting stories out there.
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