Six years. Kind of crazy when you think about it. I can’t help but reminisce on the sheer amount of changes that have occurred both in the world and my life since Hellsing Ultimate began. Considering that three different animation studios have taken part in this project the consistency of the visuals and overall quality is mighty impressive.
I had seen the original TV series and remember loving it. It was likely the first anime I’d seen so full of blood and guts and violence and as a teenage boy I was of course instantly drawn to its dark charms. But the first episode of the OVA was like a revelation. It just moved so well and looked so superior I couldn’t get enough. I can very distinctly remember my viewing of the inaugural episode at a friend’s house. For whatever reason there were no subtitles available but it didn’t matter to me. It was a retread of the series I’d seen so the updated visuals were enough. I only kept current for the first three or so episodes but I grew tired of the downtime between each entry and simply got caught up in life and forgot all about it. Late last year though something jogged my memory so I looked it up again and realized the OVA was nearly complete. I re-watched what I’d seen and quickly plowed though the rest, just now completing the final episode. I won’t bore you with a full episode-by-episode recap but simply focus on some personal highlights.
Episode 4 holds a great moment that stands out as just pure awesome. Alucard has to somehow get out to sea and onto an aircraft carrier that has been commandeered by Millennium. Conventional planes just get shot out of the sky before they even get close so the Hellsing Organization comes up with one of the best ideas ever. They put Alucard in the driver’s seat of some kind of brand new top-of-the-line supersonic jet. He flies it up to an altitude of 85,000 feet (way up in the stratosphere) above the enemy carrier and then dives it straight down nearing speeds of mach 3. He spectacularly breaks through their defense and crashes right onto the deck of the boat and then proceeds to kill every single person on the now ruined vessel. That’s something I never would have expected and it’s so over-the-top and crazy you just have to love it.
The duel between Alucard and Anderson that spans across episodes 8 & 9 has to be my favorite sequence from the entire OVA and pretty much everything Hellsing I’ve ever seen. It’s the idea that the two are eternal enemies bound to die by each others hands that got me. And it’s not just the fact that they’ve been at it for at least 500 years, but that a mutual respect has formed between the two. They absolutely hate each-other but there’s more to it than that going on. I really like storytelling like that where an antagonist is so much more than just another enemy to the main character.
There are two moments that exemplify this to me. The first is when Anderson, out of desperation, pulls out his final trump card that is Helena’s Nail. Alucard realizes that Anderson intends to use it to also become a monster in hopes of overpowering the king of the vampires. This is when Alucard surprised me and strongly warns against such a tactic. Not because he’s scared he will fall to a powered-up Anderson, but because he knows all too well the pain of losing ones humanity and becoming a beast. He genuinely does not want Anderson to follow down the same harrowing path as he did.
Anderson does not heed his warning though and becomes a monster of god, but even with such great new power he still cannot overcome Alucard and is taken down. This is when the second moment occurs. Even though the two are sworn enemies the emotion on Alucard’s face during Anderson’s last moments proves that there was more to their relationship. He does not relish in his victory, but mourns the passing of his old enemy. I found this moment to be surprisingly affecting emotionally which I would not have thought possible from such an action oriented series. That is how you do a death scene. It goes on just long enough to make a connection and that’s it.
If I had to name a part where they dropped the ball it would have to be with Walters turn. Don’t misunderstand me though, the idea that he would turn traitor and join forces with the Major after his long years of serving Hellsing and Integra is a great one. The problem I have was that they jumped the gun on the reveal, showing Walter in his new vampirized form much too early. If only they had waited and had it come to light right when he confronts Alucard I think it would have been perfect and way more of a surprise.
Other than that though I really enjoyed this OVA. If you’re into vampires, action, blood, and drama then definitely take a look. Thankfully now it can be watched in its entirely at your leisure so there’s no reason to hold back.
Stream it – Hellsing Ultimate