Hellsing Vol. #2 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: A
  • Extras Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Hellsing

Hellsing Vol. #2

By Chris Beveridge     September 07, 2002
Release Date: September 10, 2002


Hellsing Vol. #2
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.


What They Say
Arucard and the Hellsing Organization face a twofold challenge! A traitor within begins leaking classified information about the Organization - and a TV journalist is out to expose Hellsing's secret mission! Then, the ruthless Valentine Brothers lead their undead army on a deadly raid against the Hellsing headquarters, interrupting the secret Round Table meeting!

The Review!
After a strong first volume, I was very excited to see an even stronger set of episodes following those up and providing some good stylized violence and plot.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. The track is a pretty basic stereo mix with some minor directionality across the forward soundstage. It’s a good sounding track but it’s not all that immersive and tends to not to be really used to much advantage within the show itself.

Video:
The transfer for this installment of episodes is pretty much just as good looking as the first volume was. The transfer stays in top form with the fact that there’s zero cross coloration and even aliasing appears to be non-existent. The show has a lot of black backgrounds and shifting dark colors yet manage to look perfect. This is one slick looking disc.

Packaging:
Providing another good image of Arucard, the front cover has him licking his gloved finger with a pretty good crazed look in his eyes, set against a glowing red background and some bats. It’s a very eye-catching piece and follows the mood of the previous volume well. The back cover provides a number of animation shots and some meshed collage images while giving a decent summary of what to expect. The discs episode numbers and titles are clearly listed since there’s no volume numbering anywhere and the discs features and production information is clear as well. The insert has a couple more screenshots and lists each episodes chapters while it opens up to a really nice image of Arucard and Seras together.

Menu:
The menu layout continues the eerie feel with another set of Nightjar menus. While the first volume had the lovely blood bag, this time around we get a look at the ammunition case that Seras gets for her new weapon set against a smokey outdoors with lots of thunder and lightning. There’s a very simple piece of music playing along with it well, adding to the overall creepy factor. Moving about the menus is nice and fast and the layout is pretty much just what we like.

Extras:
There’s some excellent extras included in this release. The first is what is likely the first of at least two non credit endings, since this one is labeled as 1. There’s thirty five pages worth of colored conceptual artwork, mostly various character designs of ones that show up in these episodes and there’s a few pages worth of images from the upcoming Toycom action figure of Seras. And you can tell easily what attribute they focused on with that figure. The big extra here is a seventeen minute staff interview piece from Japan that was done prior to its airing and was setup by Pioneer LDC’s producer for the show (amusingly done in something resembling a crypt, with the producer walking in carrying lit candles). This goes back and forth between various creative staff members talking about their experiences on the show and how they feel about the manga. Of particular interest to me was noting that the representative from Gonzo mentioned that this was their first involvement in a product where they were leading the international aspect of the shows licensing and distribution.

Included in the packaging for the first pressing is a really neat extra, one that I really hope we see more of from everyone, and that’s an honest to goodness patch. Done in the design of the Hellsing crest that the soldiers display on their shoulders, this is a good quality piece that is just plain neat. I used to collect these kinds of patches during my model railroading days and would love to be able to take a denim jacket and build a collection of anime patches. Excellent extra!

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
While the opening episodes of this series did a solid job of introducing the characters and setting and bringing Seras into the world of the Hellsing organization, this volume brings us into their operational mode a bit more and starts looking at the larger picture.

The opening episode does a rather good job of showing the lengths and power of the organization as it deals with a low scummy vampire whose found a way to get a lot of kicks, and that’s in doing snuff films on the internet of him taking down his prey. This in itself is something noteworthy for a vampire, but more so because one of the news agencies decides to broadcast the feed that they eventually get. The feed they get isn’t of the snuff piece though, but of the Hellsing squad going into the building and hunting down the vampire. It’s an extremely clumsy and embarrassing way for people to learn about an organization that doesn’t exist, but Integra shows just how far reaching her influence is.

The following two episodes on the disc form a very well done multiparter. We start to see more of the vampires in the world and what they’re up to, this time focusing on the Valentine Brothers. These two vampires are the night and day kind, with the older one being a very sophisticated while the younger one falls into the category of a vampire punk. The two use their strengths to keep a solid circle of power around them, and use tricks to bring those who would take them down into their lair so they can be easily killed. This goes well until an MI-5 agent tries to infiltrate the group and the Brothers decide to take the battle to the Hellsing compound.

This provides two episodes worth of all out violence between the two groups, as the Brothers bring in a horde of ghouls to slay all they see while the they look for Integra and those with her. Somehow, the Brothers knew that the Knights of the Round Table were meeting in the compound (to deal with the recent screwups in the Hellsing group, particularly the TV broadcast). This plays out against the character pieces of Arucard and Seras. More Seras though, since she’s starting to gain more confidence in herself and her abilities now that she’s started to drink the provided blood. The change in her character is definitely for the better and makes her much more engaging to the viewer.

Of special notice here is that Walter has provided both her and Arucard with new weapons, and the moments where they simply fondle them is just both hilarious and very cool all at once.

These episodes went by far too fast, but they were highly enjoyable and provided much entertainment. I enjoyed the series from the start, but with its short episode count, it’s kicking into gear faster than most twelve-episode series do. Very good stuff, especially if you liked the first volume.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Textless Ending,Conceptual Artwork,Seras Action Figure Gallery,Staff Interviews

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

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