Studio: Pioneer Entertainment
Hellsing is a stylish, classy, and action-packed vampire thriller. Don't be tempted to pass up the series because of it's short length, or over worked subject. Even though the subject has been covered many times both in anime and live action movies, Hellsing presents an new and refreshing look at the subject.
Similar in many ways to Vampire Hunter D, Hellsing follows the story of Alucard (called Arucard in the subtitles for some reason), a vampire who working for the Hellsing Organization, a special group loyal to the Queen of England who's duty it is to protect the country from "FREAKS" such as vampires and zombies. Alucard's reasons for working for Hellsing are not clear until episode 10, and much of his background remain mysterious. Unlike other vampires who fight vampires, Alucard is not interested in saving humans or redeeming himself. He clearly sees himself and other true vampires as above humans and feels nothing about killing humans, as long as Hellsing's leader Lady Integra (Integral in some translations) lets him.
The other main character of the series is Ceras Victoria (or Victoria Ceras? It's Ceras Victoria in the Japanese version, which they keep in then English translation rather than reversing like usual). Victoria is the sole "survivor" of a police assault on a village that had been turned into zombies by a vampire. In the final confrontation, Alucard is forced to mortally wound her to kill the vampire, but offers her a chance to become like him. She accepts, and becomes Hellsing's second vampire agent, despite the reservations of Integra and the rest of its human members. Victoria is one of the more interesting characters in the series. She has a great deal of trouble coming to grips with her new nature, not believing her own super strength and enhanced senses. She tries to resist her vampiric nature and refuses to drink the blood that is given to her. Victoria and Alucard almost opposites of each other, he causally drinks blood from IV bags like it was a capri-sun, delights in killing, and has distain for humanity. He constant tries to get her to accept her new self and join him as a full vampire.
The plot involves a great conspiracy, where artificial vampires are being created by mysterious microchips implanted in them. Alucard feels great disdain for these human created vampires and delights in killing them. Naturally, much more about the plot is revealed toward the end of the series, and two major enemies for Alucard are introduced, Incognito and Alexander Andersson. Incognito is a sadomasochistic vampire working for the shadowy figures behind the vampire-chips. He is at his best in the last few episodes, and his fight with Alucard is the climax of the series. Alexander Andersson is a Paladin for the Vatican's Iscariot Division, a group of holy warriors who fill much the same function as Hellsing, but for the Roman Catholic nations of the world. Andersson hates Hellsing, for its Protestantism, and Alucard for what he is. It might seem that a mere human like Andersson is no match for Alucard at first, but he has a few tricks op his sleeves.
The art and animation of Hellsing is wonderful, the equal of other recent animated series. It's good for Hellsing that this is the case, or it might suffer in comparison to Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust. The characters are all well designed, and they hold up both in action and in quieter scenes. The series devotes a great deal of attention to guns, almost as much as Trigun. The two pistols Alucard uses in the series are very similar to Vash's, as is Alucard's red trench coat. The music and sound is also excellent, with great opening and closing themes. The voice acting, however, might be one of the weak spots of the series. Most of the characters have British accents, which took me a couple episodes to get used to. If that sort of thing bothers you, you might want to try the subtitled version. Luckily, the Japanese voice acting is great, with rich, deep voices for Alucard, Walter, and other characters that need it. The only flaw might be that Integra's voice is more masculine in the Japanese version, making it difficult to tell if she is a man or woman at first. There are also some differences between the translation on the dubbed and subtitled versions, but they don't detract from the series itself.
Hellsing is definitely worth checking out, especially if you like horror, suspense, or thriller anime. The series is also much less bloody than it could have been, as most of the zombies turn to dust when killed, rather than leaving gory undead-bits all over. The series should still be considered mature, however, as it is quite violent.
Hellsing - (Vol. 1) (DVD)