Mania Grade: A-
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- Audio Rating: A-
- Video Rating: A-
- Packaging Rating: A-
- Menus Rating: A-
- Extras Rating: N/A
- Age Rating: 16 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
- MSRP: 24.98
- Running time: 45
- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Hellsing
Hellsing Ultimate Vol. #3
By Chris Beveridge
September 16, 2008
Release Date: September 16, 2008
Hellsing Ultimate Vol. #3
What They Say
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
With the massacre of her troops at the hands of the Valentine Brothers, Sir Integrea recruits the aid of the legendary mercenary group "Wild Geese". In a rare moment of cooperation, and self-serving righteousness, The Vatican calls a meeting with Sir Integra and reveals classified information about the origin and motives behind the shadowy Millenium Organization. This shocking truth and troubling link to World War II spurs her to send Arucard, Seras and the Captain of the Wild Geese to South America on a search and destroy mission. However the tables are quickly turned and Arucard and Seras are framed as international terrorists! The resultant bloodbath and public display of overwhelming power and carnage lights the fuse on a powder keg containing the Hellsing Organization and The Vatican's dirty little secret, The Millenium Organization. The Review!
Taking the fight to where they believe Millennium is, Arucard and Sera exact the orders given to them and beautiful carnage ensues.Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The track is a solid 5.1 Dolby Digital mix encoded at 448kbps that's quite immersive at times with the sounds of bats, bullets and bullet riddled bodies sounding better than ever. Some of the scenes have such a strong amount of oomph to them in this mix that listening to it on a stereo only setup you realize just how much is lost. The English language track essentially mirrors this in its 5.1 mix but there is also the inclusion of a fuller sounding DTS 5.1 mix which is found only on the Limited Edition release. This seems to be a touch more expansive in some scenes as well as a touch deeper in richness. All the language tracks are clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions.Video:
Originally released in 2006, the OVA is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. Fresh out of the animators cubicles, this is a fantastic looking show that takes the visuals from the manga and really brings it to life, though not without a few changes along the way. The source materials are obvious in gorgeous shape and the print is free of problems. Whereas the first volume had us seeing some noticeable gradient issues, they look much better blended here and generally unnoticeable. The few that do come across strong enough are so few and far between that it's hardly worth mentioning. Taking that out of it, the rest of the transfer is simply gorgeous and if you can watch this on a large screen with the lights off it'll be even more impressive.Regular Edition Packaging:
Seras takes the third volume cover for the regular edition packaging with a great pose that has a good action feel to it. With her in a kneeling position that does not provide a panty flash, Seras has the hard look to her where she's got her massive weapon in hand and is in the midst of causing trouble. The colors and style used to it works really well in giving it a rough and raw feeling. The back cover is more traditional and similar to previous installments in how it provides a classic and almost elegant design. The summary covers the basics and the discs features and production information rounds out the bottom half. The technical grid is a thin strip that gets the job done but is fairly small and soft with it being white on the red. The included insert provides a breakdown of chapters while opening up to a two panel spread version of the front cover.Limited Edition Packaging:
Not yet available. Menu:
The US release manages to kick the Japanese release all over the place when it comes to the menus as Nightjar has produced a great looking in-theme piece. Using the series logo as its centerpiece, waves of blood flow behind it while there are dried caked bits of blood strewn over that. The navigation strip along the bottom uses the same kind of font as the series logo which helps to tie it all together. Like a lot of Nightjar menus, they push they layer the audio of the menu in 5.1 as well which gets you right into the mood for the show. Submenus are quick to load and the transitions are very smooth. The disc also correctly read our players' language presets and played accordingly.Extras:
With the regular edition, there are no extras.Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Moving into its third chapter, Hellsing continues on with much the same kind of mayhem and humor that has made the first two episodes such enjoyable experiences. What gets to me about this incarnation of the series is just how much more humor there is in it and how well it balances everything else out. Having seen much of this in manga form before, the translation to animated form may throw some viewers but it helps break up what would be a far more oppressive show otherwise.
The second installment brought a lot of mayhem in the Hellsing headquarters itself as the brothers made their move. With the vast majority of those who provided security there now dead, that puts Integra in the position of having to beef up the staff again. This is done in an amusing way as she essentially hires out for a group of mercenaries. Lead by Pip, the Wild Geese is a group that's in a way glad to be out of the sand traps they've been dealing in lately and working on something that seems to be a bit cushier. After all, how difficult a job could it be in jolly old England? When Integra starts in about vampires, it's only natural they laugh about it. Seras is the perfect foil for this as she provides a few examples of the reality of things in a light mannered yet quite serious way.
At the same time as this is going on, Integra is surprised to learn that the Vatican is attempting to have a dialogue with her. There is a great deal of natural tension between the two sides and when she meets up with her counterpart in that organization at a museum, it's like a powder keg that's been set off but is still contained and ready to just go wide. It's almost somewhat disarming at first as Enrico of the Vatican is acting in such a flippant and almost foppish way that you have to wonder what his real game is. When it starts to come out that they can help point Integra towards the Millennium group, it doesn't matter to her what his real goals are as she is simply intent on eliminating this vile thread.
As we start to get a better idea of what the Millennium group is all about, it's not a surprise that it's all about the Nazi's and has heavy ties to events that went on during World War II. Arucard has plenty of ties to what went on back then and a real sense of wanting to finish the job he though was already complete. Having the Major apparently down in South America adds a bit more international flavor to the series. What makes it work even better is that it lets Arucard hit the road. Seeing him on board the plane or the way he carries himself when checking into the hotel is worth the price of admission alone. The shift to that locale also helps in that the body count doesn't seem like it's getting too high in England and drawing unwanted attention. Arucard gets to cut loose in a wonderful way here, especially as he tackles one of the Major's more powerful weapons.
Hellsing has always been about over the top violence and a sort of revelry in it. That's still very true with this chapter as Arucard really cuts loose. What I find a bit more fascinating and fun to watch is the way that it doesn't mind playing in more "taboo" areas. The meeting between Integra and Enrico features plenty of religious insulting slinging which is simply not normal in an anime series. Even those that deal with more religious aspects tend to have the actual religion in the background or just as a set prop. In here, it's an active participant that affects how the characters deal with each other. Also somewhat taboo, though a bit less so in anime, is the use of Nazi's. The Major and his group are playing up the usual standards pretty strongly here and they simply don't shy away from the way they make it larger than life. They're not glorifying it per se, but they're showing the evil in its strongest sense and giving it plenty of appeal in its own way.In Summary:
Hellsing serves up another volume of pure unbridled fun both in terms of violence and humor. The story is moving somewhat slowly but the atmosphere it creates and the intensity of the action sequences keeps it all rolling right along. With no real restrictions on what it's able to tell, Hellsing doesn't hold back. The violence is just as over the top as before, the voice performances are as strong as ever and the episode leaves me begging for me. From start to finish, Hellsing enraptures the viewer and doesn't let go until it's had its way with you. Though the releases are infrequent due to still being animated in Japan, each one is a wonderful treasure that reminds me of one of the reasons I love anime. Highly recommended.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.