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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Region: 3 - Southeast Asia
  • Released By: Odex Private Limited
  • MSRP: S$69.00
  • Running time: 325
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Hellsing

Hellsing

By Andrew Tei     October 14, 2003
Release Date: October 20, 2002


Hellsing
© Odex Private Limited


What They Say
Hellsing is an organisation with a mission of "burying the dead". After research spanning a hundred years, Hellsing created the most powerful vampire on earth - Alucard. With the help of Arucard, Hellsing seeks to establish a new order where humans rule the earth. Death to all the Undead!

The Review!
Odex really beats Pioneer Entertainment this time by having their complete release of Hellsing out a whole three months before. None of the extras or limited edition goodies comes with this though. If a show is all about the show though for you, this might be what you want.

Audio:

The primary (and only) language option on this DVD is Japanese. It?s a simple stereo mix with most of the sound centered towards the front sound stage. The music for the show is great, and really helps immerse you into the show. I didn?t hear any distortions in the sound track. Chinese and English subtitles are available.

Video:

The encoding here is top notch. There wasn?t a single instance of macro blocking through out the entire release. No aliasing, or cross coloration either. Dark scenes and scenes with a lot of motion are just flawless. This DVD raises the bar for encoding efforts.

The subtitles are white, and big, so they are easy to read despite not being very pretty to look at. I wish a little more proof reading could have been done with the subtitles, and the timing of them could have been better.

Packaging:

Two clear Amaray cases are packaged wrapped together in plastic, with a flip page inside to hold one more DVD in each. The cases are labeled Volume I and Volume II. Volume I?s front cover has the same image of Alucard as the region 1 version, but he?s centered instead. On the back there?s a listing of the Japanese development team and due to the clear cases, we can see an image of Alucard and Celes on the back of the cover. Volume II features Alexander Paladin. Again, there?s an image on the back. The DVDs have beautiful silk screens also.

Menu:

The menu on all four DVDs is exactly the same with same video playing in the background over the image of a cross with the introduction music playing. There are only three options: Play All, Subtitles, and Chapter. Subtitles feature English and Chinese. In the Chapter Menu, you can only choose to start at the beginning of an episode despite chapter stops being present. If you don?t select anything for thirty seconds, the episode starts to play.

Extras:

None.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)

Vampires. They?re not really something I?m very familiar with, as Buffy and Angel do not really count in this regard. I?ve never been the largest fan of horror, but I really enjoyed Hellsing.

The Hellsing Organization is a sub-branch of the Knights of the Round Table, an organization dedicated to protecting Britain from whatever forces rise up against it, natural or supernatural. Sir Integra Wingates Hellsing heads this organization, but don?t let the ?Sir? fool you. Integra is a woman with a strong sense of pride and loyalty and she has the conviction to carry out her tasks. Assisting her with her daily affairs is Walter, who appears to be just a butler, but was once a member of the Protestant Knights, a military force that is part of the Hellsing Organization.

When the Protestant Knights can?t handle a situation, the big gun is pulled out. Alucard (yup, the R3 uses Alucard in the subs) is a vampire who serves Integra, and basically seems to a part of Hellsing since it gives him an opportunity to go on the kill occasionally. He doesn?t seem at all to mind this relationship, as the missions he goes on entertains him greatly. Another great part about Alucard is he just lets enemies blow him away, since his vampiric powers seem to resurrect him every time.

Our story begins as some unknown organization is converting a large number of people into vampires for some larger purpose. The Hellsing Organization is trying to quell this rising, and discover the forces behind it. What?s really different here is that people are being turned into vampires through the use of a biological chip mixed with sorcery that is being inserted into people who wish to live forever. Only a select few of those made into vampires seem to be a part of the large overall scheme.

One vampire who was turned starts to terrorize a town and the British police send in squad D-11. In D-11, we have officer Celes Victoria, a young girl who becomes the only survivor of the squad after the rest are turned into ghouls by the vampire. She tracks the vampire down to a church, but she?s clearly overmatched. Alucard arrives to save the day, but the vampire takes Celes as a hostage. With his options limited, Alucard gives Celes a choice: to die, or become a vampire. Celes becomes a creature of the night, and a soldier in the Hellsing Organization.

Over the next couple of episodes, we are slowly introduced to various portions of the Hellsing Organization while Celes learns the ropes. She can?t seem to drink blood, and tries to retain as much of her humanity as possible. The fourth episode introduces Alexander, a hunter from the Vatican sent to destroy Alucard. Not all the groups fighting the forces of evil like the methods other groups use.

Episodes 5 and 6 is a two parter featuring the Valentine Brothers, a pair of vampires that won?t just sit down idly while the Hellsing Organization tries to take them out. After orchestrating a trap for the Protestant Knights, the brothers take the next step and attack the Hellsing headquarters itself. The older brother and Alucard get into a fight which gives us another opportunity to discover Alucard?s many powers. Episode 7 is filler with another battle between Alucard and Alexander.

During the second half of the series, the battles get more intense as the enemy attacks the Hellsing Organization through non physical methods. Integra herself becomes a target, and that leads to an episode flashing back to when she becomes the head of Hellsing and when Alucard becomes her servant.

I don?t want to really go into how the series gets resolved, because I can?t really. Even when the series ends, there are quite a bit of unanswered questions. This might not sit so well with a lot of people, but I don?t think everything always needs to be answered. Gonzo was probably looking to do a second season though.

The fights in the series between Alucard and whomever he?s facing are great. Alucard?s comments that he makes during the fighting always brought a chuckle to my face. The characters in the series have a lot of personality, which is always a large plus in my book.

Hellsing provides some great entertainment, despite a few short comings in the way the story is told, especially near the end. It feels very rushed in the end as they try to resolve the story. It?s the journey that matters though, right?

Features
Japanese Language,Chinese Subtitles,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Panasonic Qube to a Toshiba 36? Cinema Series via s-video, Pioneer VSX-810S receiver via optical, Cerwin Vega front speakers, Pinnacle center and rears

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