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DVD Review

DVD cover

Complete Series Collection


Starring (voice): Fumiko Orikasa, Jouji Nakata and Yoshiko Sakakibara
Distributor: Manga Entertainment
RRP: £39.99
Certificate: 18
Release Date: 12 August 2013

Seras Victoria is part of a special unit whose mission is to save the greater part of humanity from the legions of the undead. When her team is sent to a small village to investigate strange goings on they are all slaughtered, including Victoria. Close to death she is discovered by the oldest and strongest of the vampires, Alucard, who, in an effort to save her, turns her into a vampire, with all the powers and hungers that this implies...

Hellsing: Impure Souls (2001) is a superior vampire anime, directed by Umanosuke Iida and written by Chiaki J. Konaka, a loose adaptation of Kouta Hirano’s original manga. The original show ran for thirteen episodes, which are here presented on a four disc DVD set.

Many elements made the show stand out from its competition: The high quality of its animation combined with an intelligently written script. As the story progresses we are initially introduced to Victoria and Alucard (Dracula spelt backwards), slowly the story opens up to include Integra, leader of Hellsing Intelligence and her aid, Walter. There is an arc to the thirteen episodes, but they have also been crafted so that they can work as stand-alone as well.

There is one thing very strange about the discs. Although they contain around three episodes per disc, there appear to be no option to play individual episodes. This wouldn’t be a problem if the episodes had all been run together but what you get is the episodes presented back to back, including the credits. It’s only when you discover the scene index do you realise that you can get at the separate episodes. It works, but its misleading and an inelegant way of presenting the show.

All the discs contain stereo versions of the audio track, one in English and two in Japanese, one with burnt in English subtitles. That said, both are very fine stereo tracks with a lot of effective range. The picture is near perfect - and could only be bettered with a Blu-ray transfer - sporting deep blacks and good colour saturation.

There’s a surprising lack of extras on the discs. Disc one has the creditless opening sequence (1 min, 19 sec), a Music Video Trailer (3 min, 46 sec) which has shots from the anime set to pulse pounding music. There is a Concept Gallery containing fifty pieces of concept art and Madman Propaganda which has five trailers for other shows.

Disc two has a Staff Interview (17 min, 04 sec), It’s in Japanese with English subtitles and has the makers of the show discussing various aspects. You get a Creditless Closing Sequence Ver 1 (1 min, 21 sec) and another concept gallery with fifty more pieces of artwork. It ends with five more trailers for other shows.

Disc three, kicks off with the Japanese cover art, sixteen in all, before moving on to the second version of the Creditless Ending. You also get fifty more pieces of art and five more trailers. The last disc has version three of the closing sequence, five pictures of Hellsing weapons, fifty more pieces of art, four more trailers and seven magazine AD art. It may seem like a lot, but then most of it is made up of art, trailers and creditless sequences, with only one actual piece about the show.

That aside this remains a high quality show, well worth looking out for.


Charles Packer

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