Hellsing Vol. #1 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: A
  • 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

Hellsing Vol. #1

By Paul Jacques     July 12, 2003
Release Date: July 21, 2003


Hellsing Vol. #1
© ADV Films UK


What They Say
A secret war is brewing in the night - a war in which humanity is only a pawn. The Hellsing Organization deploys in the shadows to protect the mortals world. But now, artificially spawned vampires have appeared, forcing Hellsing to call in their ultimate weapon - the rogue vampire, Arucard! After he transforms the dying Seras Victoria into a vampire, they join forces to combat the undead army – as well as her own newfound hunger…..

The Review!
It’s merry old England, except things are not what they seem. There are vampires appearing in peoples homes and churches, and the body count is rising once the sun goes down. Only the Hellsing Organization guards the door to night.

Audio:
I listened in a mix of Japanese and English sound stream, and didn’t detect any glaring problems, just the occasional drop out in the opening theme, but you have to be listening very hard to catch it. The Japanese track had a slightly deeper bass which sounded a tad better to my ears.

Opening track is good, with a funky white R&B beat to it (anyone remember the 70’s ?) and is pretty much the theme style of the incidental music. The closing track is a standard rock ballad.

The only issue I have with the sound is the English accents- Aghhhhhh, the Dick Van Dyke school of British accents strikes again! The main character accents are OK, but the extras have terrible accents. I could point out that the teenage vampires from Birmingham have cockney accents instead of “Brummy” accents, but that would just be picky. So hats off to the dub production team, as they went to great lengths to put some authenticity into the characters, and for that I think they deserve a word or two of praise. BTW, in the UK the word Lieutenant is spelt and pronounced Leiftenant. If you are from this fair Isle (UK) I heartily recommend the Japanese track as your primary choice of audio… cor blimey Mary Poppins, yes I do!

Video:
The series was made in 2001, so the original was well made, and the transfer to DVD has been handled very well (high bitrate). Even looking closely at the screen I couldn’t find any pixilation. Thus the animation characters have good clean outlines to their forms.

Packaging:
The front cover is a nice blood red picture of Arucard showing the pearly whites. The rear has some still shots, but not all come from the episodes enclosed in this volume (ho-hum).

The insert card is the basic episode listings, with a painting of Arucard and Andersong fighting.

There is mention (back cover) of information on an action figure, but I could not find any other references to this.

The disc itself have the same cover art of the box front cover.

Menu:
The menu is very good, using Arucards gun to fire bullets which highlight the various options against his face. This is accompanied by some spooky incidental music along the lines of "Ave Satani” (like chant music from Omen). Nipping in and out of the sub menus was without frustration or confusion.

Extras:
There’s a good selection of extras for this opening volume to the series, with the usual textless opening, production sketches, ADV trailers. Of course the jewel in the Extras crown is the toe tapping music video, which gets better the more you watch it.


Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The first episode is about a Vampire Vicar who is hold up in a church. This is very much a canvas on which the main characters are painted in their basic forms. We get to meet Arucard (whoa, so close to the name Alucard aka Dracula) the vampire. We learn a few things about him early on-
1. he has big hand gun
2. he doesn’t like other vampires
3. he works for the Hellsing, but has his own hidden agenda
4. he has a really big hand gun (it’s so big it’s worth mentioning twice)

Next up is the head of the Hellsing Organisation, Integra Hellsing, who is presented as somewhat androgynous, but who must be female because she smokes cigarellas.

We are introduced to the female hero Seras, who is a cop that Arucard fatally injures and eventually makes into a vampire.

For the next episode we see Seras starts her new life (or is that death?) as a vampire, discovering the pros and cons of being one of the undead. My favorite line in this is her saying in delight “a four poster coffin, bloody hell!”. In this episode she tries very much to continue life as a human would, but with little success.

The action comes in form of two teenage vampires who are out killing for kicks. We see Seras make her first kill in an attempt to fit into the Squad. We also discover at the end that Arucard is her “Master”, and so Seras is not quite the free willed agent she thought she was.

The final episode on this disc is a little more interesting, as we are introduced to new plot elements such as the possibility that the bad vampires are man-made. Also we meet the Vatican’s representative (from Section 13), a psycho-zealot Priest called Andersong who hates all vampires, especially Arucard. This priest hands out blessing and fatal knife wounds in equal measure- one sick puppy. There is a large amount of antagonism between Hellsing and the Vatican (Protestant v Catholic) even though their aims are the same.

This episode carries a repeated scene towards the end which is too big not to miss (bad editor, no supper for you tonight).

As gore fests go this first volume isn’t too bad, we get plenty of posturing, big guns, big knives and interesting viewing angles. The overall presentation style is slow, with long sweeping pans, disjointed angle shots, people standing in shadows, plus a good dollop of good old fashioned “Dirt Harry” style confrontation in the shoot outs. It’s early days for the plot, but it shows promise.

In summary- it’s good, but not brilliant (yet).

PS where can I get a big gun like Arucards?

Features
Japanese Dolby Digital Stereo Language ,English Dolby Digital Stereo Language ,English Subtitles ,Production sketches,Clean opening animation ,Trailer Music Video

Review Equipment
JVC 28" Pure Flat Wide Screen TV, Pioneer 454 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Logitech Z-680 THX DD/DTS receiver & Speakers.


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