Hellsing Vol. #4 - 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: 16 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Hellsing

Hellsing Vol. #4

By Chris Beveridge     January 25, 2003
Release Date: January 21, 2003


Hellsing Vol. #4
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.


What They Say
Hellsing features animation by Gonzo (Blue Submarine No.6, Gate Keepers, Vandread) and a top-notch production cast: Screenplay by Chiaki J. Konaka (Lain, Armitage Polymatrix, The Big O); Supervising Director: Umanosuke Iida (Gundam 08th MS Team); Produced by Yasuyuki Ueda (Lain, Nanako, NieA_7).

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 installment of Hellsing goes for the goods as it lets loose with the violence, blood and killing as well as some really interesting mysticism bits.

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 previous volumes. 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.

Packaging:
The final cover here is a solid one with Arucard standing arms outstretched with the guns weighing his hands down. Not easily seen online though is in the darkness of his cloak you can see the twisted face of Incognito there, adding just that extra touch of evil to things. The back cover provides some nice animation shots and a good listing of the discs features and extras. Episode numbers and titles are clearly listed as well as a very brief summary of what to expect from these episodes. The insert provides a new arrangement of the back cover artwork with the chapter stops while it folds out to provide a great shot of Arucard and Integra.

Menu:
One of the best menus for Hellsing, this final one provides a shot of four of the freak generating vials on the shoddy floor as they glow, with wisps of smoke flowing past them, all to the very subtle instrumental piece of music. The whole thing is nicely chilling. Submenus are nice and fast for loading as there aren’t any transitional animations to slow things down. Access times are nice and fast and the layout is pretty standard and works well.

Extras:
This final volume has a couple of nice extras saved for it. The third and final ending sequence gets a textless version, though I’ll be damned if I can figure out the differences between them myself. There’s a good selection of conceptual artwork and even a separate gallery dedicated to the weapons of the show. One of the neat extras here, and the last of them, is the magazine ad artwork that was used to sell the show, with some very gorgeous pieces of artwork.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
While I’ve heard plenty of people say that all the good episodes are in the earlier volumes of the series, this final run of four episodes play out great. While it’s not exactly the ending one would hope for, it actually ends at a smart point that allows room for a sequel or just for ones imagination to run rampant at.

After the disastrous results of the previous episode, the show opens with the quiet scene of having Integra being operated on as Arucard and Victoria watch. While their quiet chatter provides some interesting nuggets, the real gold comes in the form of Integra remembering parts of her past. This simple set up allows us to get the goods on how she became the head of the household, what kind of man her father was and what she went through to gain control of Arucard. I don’t see how this information could have been provided earlier without it feeling very forced, but it works well here as we get into the quiet before the storm.

Integra’s past isn’t the kind of thing you’d wish upon anyone, but it’s definitely one way to explain her current mindset and why she operates the way she does. It also goes along way establishing the almost ghoulish relationship she has with Arucard. If anything, I wish something had been said about her mother, as I’d love to see how that fits into everything, even if she died giving birth to her. That extra bit of past history could have been very illuminating.

But with that aside, things move fast towards the long battle that will bring things to a conclusion. Seras goes off in search of answers from the little girl, only to find that Incognito has already been there and made off with her and is cooking up his next part of the plan. Seras tries to take him on, but he’s so all-powerful that it’s almost like a joke to him. But his plans can’t wait as he’s got bigger fish to fry.

Intergra’s intent on receiving the Order from Her Majesty and makes plans for it to happen inside the Hellsing compound. This is used as a ruse to draw the enemy away and send them to someplace much easier to deal with. While this works, as the media thinks Her Majesty is going to London Tower, it also ends up backfiring as the freaks that are coming to play are all still wearing their SAS/Hellsing logos from when they were taken over previously. The media takes advantage of that for sure.

Incognito plays this for all its worth, and as both Arucard and Seras head to the London Tower to deal with this, the place is crumbling from battle and soaked with blood. A lengthy and very bloody two episode battle ensues, providing the kind of small yet epic battle one expects from a fight of this sort, as the true natures of both Incognito and Arucard start to come to the surface. This plays out beautifully and is exactly what I wanted for the final battle here.

Hellsing has definitely been a fun series for me. I love that they didn’t set it in Japan, as they easily could have. The visuals were well done, the designs of the characters fit in with the view of England. The music played a great part, especially during these last episodes where so many variants and vocal pieces were placed. And I think this is a series that had a great conclusion and set things up just right. While I’d certainly hope for more but figure against it, it just makes me crave the manga all the more. But until then, this is a series that’s definitely going to get re-watched in one or two sittings.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Textless Ending Version 3,Line Art Gallery,Magazine Ads

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

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