Hellsing Vol. #4 (of 4) (Mania.com)

By:Paul Jacques
Review Date: Friday, January 16, 2004
Release Date: Monday, January 19, 2004



What They Say
The Hellsing Organization makes its last stand against the unknown traitor, and Incognito, one of the original undead, at the Tower of London - with the Queen and Integra's life at stake! Seras must finally make her choice about what she has become and the mysterious bond between Arucard and Integra is revealed!

The Review!
The final four episodes with big guns, lots of blood and yet more guns- you know, I’m still seeing a pattern here.

Audio:
I listened in both English and Japanese, and both are excellent (224Kbps), with the Japanese language having a tad more bass. Although I can still hear the odd drop out in the opening theme, but it’s a very minor irritation.

It has to be said that the music is one of the highlights of this series; the opening tune is "Cool the world without logos" Yasushi Ishii, the closing theme is “Shine” by Mr. Big.

Video:
The very modern video presentation is still clean and pleasing to the eye, with no visual problems detected. Only a 16:9 presentation could of made it better.

Packaging:
The front cover has Arucard sporting his two very large weapons. The rear has stills from the episodes with the usual informational text. Inside we have a 2 page insert with the scenes listings, but also contain is a nice drawing of Arucard and young Integra, although why he is holding a gun to her head is a mystery. The disk itself is printed with a shot of Arucard in his Level 2 guise.

Menu:
Following in the tracer steps of the previous disk we have (Arucard’s) bullets for option hotspots, whilst accompanied by the same spooky incidental music along the lines of "Ave Satani” (the chant music from Omen). The background picture is of a grinning Incognito. We still have a tiny distortion in the incidental music (right channel), but you’re hardly going to be hanging around the menu long enough to notice. That notwithstanding, the links all worked without issue.

Extras:
First up we have the cover art which is excellent, so be sure and stop by. Next is the clean ending (again). Finally we have the art Gallery, which contains 50 inked drawings, well worth a rummage through. After that we get 8 drawings of the hardware used in the series.

Oh, in the previews there is a really good trailer for “Final Fantasy: Unlimited”. Plus a trailer for “Najica”. Yup, if you want to know why the ecchi fans are queuing up to watch this series, this trailer will leave you in no doubt. There is also a so-so trailer for Zaion (Gonzo) should you wish a peak.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Episode 10 starts a short time after the previous volume, in so much as Integra is in hospital and fighting for her life after the attack from her fake vampire sister Laura. This gives us the opportunity to go into flashback on Integra’s youth. In that flashback we see her as a young women learning from her father what it means to be a Hellsing. Only it isn’t until the family succession – Integra is to head up the Hellsing organization after her father’s death – that Integra discovers that power can corrupt others, and she ends up in a bitter family feud with her Uncle. Also we get see the first meeting between her and Arucard during this period of her past. It is from this incident in her past that Integra’s indomitable spirit is tempered. And as the doctor operates on her, Arucard reminds her of this time in order that she might remember why she must live. It is this spirit that Arucard finds most admirable in Integra and we glean that the bond between them isn’t just one of Master and Slave.

In the next episode Seras is haunted by dreams of young man sucking the blood of a women (with much groaning), and thereby teasing Seras about what she most wants to do. Plenty of sexual innuendo here, but then that’s what vampires have always been about anyway, so nothing new.

Back in the Hellsing HQ Integra has a visit by HRH’s representatives, and she is given a Royal order to attend the Maundy Ceremony. During this time Seras is transferred to information gathering duties and so decides to Visit Miss Helena. Only when she arrives at Miss Helena’s house she runs into Incognito and he has ‘devoured’ Miss Helena for lunch!

Meanwhile Parker’s missing SAS team - now under the control of Incognito as his vampire freaks - has been busy blowing things up and biting virgins. But it seems that they have fallen into a trap set for them at the Tower of London, and Integra dispatches all her troops to finish them off. Only it turns out that this was Incognito’s plan all along, as a way of discrediting the Hellsing organization and making people think that it is the Hellsing group attacking the HRH at the Tower and not the SAS.

The final two episodes are one long battle at the Tower of London (yippee). We have the Hellsing troops battling the SAS freaks, Arucard battling Incognito, Integra fighting off being arrested and Seras fighting the young man from her dreams. As ever in these types of situations, the good guys spend most of the time loosing (boo, hiss), only to come good right at the end when the situation looks it’s worst. This occurs when Integra finally releases Arucard to his full Level 1 power so that he can battle the Demon Vampire Incognito. It’s all good stuff, so just sit back and enjoy. The only surprise is at the very, very, end, when Integra is left alone with Alucard, under guard in Traitor’s Tower, even though everyone knows that the traitor is someone else- odd? The ending is concluded in such a way that they could easily do a second half series.

summary:
This has been a great series from the start. The action has been exciting throughout, although the story was a little, well, incomplete (we never find out who was behind it all or why). The really interesting moments always seem to be when Arucard and Integra interact with each, it’s just a shame that they left this to the end- a lot more to explore there in the future.

The only downside (minor) is that Arucard never really got past the “Dirty Harry” posing situations, hence the additional enjoyment when he interacts with other characters that he isn’t fighting. And Seras never really got past playing second fiddle in the fight scenes, hence the slightly downgraded final mark.

All-in-all a great series to watch and own.

Features
Japanese Language 2.0,English Language 2.0,English Subtitles ,Magazine Art,Clean ending,Concept art collection,Weapons

Review Equipment
JVC 28" Pure Flat Wide Screen TV, Pioneer 454 Progressive Scan code free DVD player, Logitech Z-680 THX DD/DTS receiver & Speakers. Secondary equipment, 21” Sony Trinitron monitor, ATI 9700pro & PowerDVD v4, Creative Audigy 2 & headphones.



Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: B+
Age Rating: 15 & Up
Region: 2 - Europe
Released By: ADV Films UK
MSRP: £19.99
Running time: 80
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Hellsing