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DVD Review

DVD cover

Hellsing: Ultimate
Volume V-VIII


Starring (voice): Fumiko Orikasa, Jouji Nakata and Yoshiko Sakakibara
Distributor: Manga
RRP: £29.99
Certificate: 18
Release Date: 20 May 2013

The world has gone to ruin, as the undead Nazis cover London with pain and death. Against the onslaught the human defence crumbles almost immediately. Only Integra Hellsing, Alucard and Seras stand between a new hell on earth and the over run of the human world...

Hellsing: Ultimate - Volume V-VIII (2006 – 2012. 200 min) is a ten episode original video animation (OVA), which follows the success of the original Hellsing anime series. Films five to seven were directed by Hiroyuki Tanaka, with episode eight directed by Yasuhiro Matsumura. The story is based on the original manga, written by Kouta Hirano. The OVAs are released on a three disc DVD set.

For those who didn’t catch up with the original series, Hellsing is based in Britain and follows a noble order of Protestant knights, created by Abraham Van Hellsing, with the intent to protect these shores from the vampire scourge. In the shows present the order is led by a female, Sir Integra Fairbrook Wingates Hellsing, who has created an alliance with Alucard, the first and undoubtedly most powerful vampire.

With the help of former police woman, turned vampire, Seras Victoria battle is joined with Millennium, an organisation intent on bringing back the third Reich with vampires.

Closer to the manga original the OVAs maintained the high level of graphic violence for which the show is known. Although graphic, the violence is very much stylised, blood does not drip or flow, it erupts, spurts and fountains, taking away much of the natural revulsion, although the story can still surprise and shock, including a shot of a Nazi vampire with a bloodied baby in its mouth.

Over the course of the eight OVAs both the action and the gore are piled higher and higher, featuring both individual battles and large scale action, OVA five opens with a zeppelin invasion of London, with armies of vampires falling out of the sky. By the time we reach the last chapter a counter crusade is in progress throwing even more bodies into the conflict.

Had the OVA’s been nothing but a blood fest, interest would have started to wane pretty quickly, so it is to the credit of the films makers that they spend equal time in creating character moments, which plays on the audiences sympathies and allegiances.

Although, it may look as if you’re not getting much for your money, each of the episodes is between forty-five and fifty minutes long. The picture is pin sharp and really shows off the dynamism of the animation. You get the option of either English or Japanese 5.1 audio track; doesn’t matter which one you pick so long as you play it loud.

The DVD set also includes a plethora of extras. On the first disc you have full length commentaries for episodes six and seven as well as Participating in a Legend: Dubbing Hellsing (part 1: 19 min, 54 sec; part 2: 23 min, 12 sec) with shots from the films and conversations with the dubbing actors. It’s not what I expected as the interviews were insightful when discussing the mythos, their feelings about the show and the fans reaction.

Disc two has full length commentaries for episodes seven and eight, as well as Fans Questions Answered (21 min, 46 sec) once again we are back with the dubbing actors answering, well..., fans questions.

More meatier is the Hellsing Roundtable Dub Cast and Crew Discussion (42 min, 06 sec), which includes some of the previous information, but concentrates more on making the show, as well as their approach to creating the characters and dub.

Anime Vegas 2010 Hellsing Panel (1 hr, 7 min, 8 sec) is a more light-hearted interaction with the audience, with a combination of old and new information. The Dawn: A Supplementary of Hellsing (8 min, 46 sec) is a little taster of the next series, which was a prequel.

The last disc in the set consists of nothing but extras, some great, some passable. On the passable side you get the textless closing songs for all OVA’s as well as the English trailer (1 min, 03 sec).

I’m not really sure what more you could ask for an anime release: Great story and visuals with bags of interesting extras.


Charles Packer

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