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Hellsing Ultimate: Volumes 1-4 Collection (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)

October 23, 2012 by  



It’s what fans have been waiting for! “Hellsing Ultimate” features a storyline that follows the original manga series and presents the world of Hellsing with all bloody violence, vampires, ghouls and a crazed Nazi antagonist.  For those looking for a a mature, action-packed and violent anime series in HD, “Hellsing Ultimate” is the anime OVA series that you are looking for!

Images courtesy of © 2012 FUNimation. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Hellsing Ultimate: Volumes 1-4 Collection

DURATION: 4 Episodes (180 Minutes)

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen), Japanese and English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Subtitles: English

RATED: TV M

COMPANY: FUNimation

RELEASE DATE: October 30, 2012

Directed by Hiroyuki Tanaka, Tomokazu Tokoro, Yasuhiro Matsumura

Originally Created by Kouta Hirano

Series Composition by Yosuke Kuroda

Script by Hideyuki Kurata, Yousuke Kuroda

Music by Hayato Matsuo

Manga by Kouta Hirano

Character Design by Ryoji Nakamori, Shinsuke Terasawa

Art Director: Manabu Otsuzki, Yoji Yoshikawa

Mechanical Design by Hidetaka Tenjin, Noriyuki Jinguji

Anime Production by Satelight, Madhouse Studios, Graphinica, Kelmadick

Featuring the voices of:

Fumiko Orikasa/K.T. Gray as Seras Victoria

Jouji Nakata/Crispin Freeman as Alucard

Nobuo Tobita/Gildart Jackson as Major/SS-Sturmbannführer

Norio Wakamoto/Steven Brand as Alexander Anderson

Romi Park/Ralph Lister as Walter C. Dollneaz (young)

Yoshiko Sakakibara/Victoria Harwood as Sir Integral Fairbrook Wingates Hellsing

Chikao Ohtsuka/John E. Breen as Sir Arthur Hellsing

Daisuke Namikawa/Ralph Lister as Walter C. Dornez (Young adult)

Hiroaki Hirata/Yuri Lowenthal as Pip Bernadotte

Hiroshi Naka/Marcelo Tubert as Doc

Houchu Ohtsuka/Steve Wilcox as Tubalcain Alhambra

Katsunosuke Hori/Doug Stone as Sir Hugh Islands

Maaya Sakamoto/Kari Wahlgren as Rip van Winkle

Masashi Hirose/Stuart MacLean as Sir Shelby M. Penwood

Mitsuki Saiga as Heinkel Wolfe

Motomu Kiyokawa/Ralph C. Lister as Walter C. Dornez

Ryoko Shiraishi/Laura Bailey as Schrödinger

Sho Hayami/J.B. Blanc as Enrico Maxwell

Takehito Koyasu/Patrick Seitz as Luke Valentine

Wataru Takagi/Josh Phillips as Jan Valentine

Yoko Soumi /Rachel Robinson as Zorin Blitz

Yuko Kaida as Yumie Takagi

The rogue vampire Alucard is the Hellsing Organization’s deadliest instrument in its mission to protect the British Empire from satanic ghouls and Nazi freaks. He is not alone in his assault on the occult; the master has a servant. Policewoman Seras Victoria accepted Alucard’s gift of dark salvation after falling in the line of duty, and now the remnants of her human soul struggle against her growing vampire urges. Together, they haunt the shadows as a sinister force of good – and tonight the foggy streets of England shall flow with the blood of their evil prey.

Back in 1997, manga writer and illustrator Kouta Hirano created the series “Hellsing”.

From 1997 through 2008, the series would be published in “Young King Ours” and ten manga tankobon releases by Shonen Gahosha would be completed for release in Japan by 2009.

Back in 2002, an anime TV series adaptation produced by Gonzo and directed by Umanosuke Iida was created.  But because the manga was nowhere complete, screenwriter Chiaki Konaka would make an anime adaptation that was different from the manga series, despite using similar characters and design.

As anime series such as “Fullmetal Alchemist” have received new anime adaptations that are more closer to the original manga series, Geneon would do the same for “Hellsing” by releasing a new OVA series titled “Hellsing Ultimate” and in 2006, the first episode was released and by 2010, a total of four episodes was released.

Because the release of “Hellsing Ultimate” was released during a duration of seven years, there were a few staff changes throughout the creation of the ten OVA episodes (Note: OVA episode 10 is expected to be released in Dec. 2012).

Anime production was done by Satelight (for episodes 1-4), Madhouse Studios (episodes 5-7) and Graphinica and Kelmadick (for episodes 8-10).

Vol. 1-4 was directed by Tomokazu Tokoro (“Arjuna”, “Niea 7”, “Devil Lady”), episode 5-8 was directed by Hiroyuki Tanaka (“Gokusen”, “Montana Jones”, “Chobits”), episode 8 featuring direction by Yasuhiro Matsumura (“Magical Kanan”, “Z-Mind”, “Cosmopolitan Prayers”).  Series composition is by Yousuke Kuroda (“Mobile Suit Gundam 00”, “Madlax”, “Honey and Clover”), music is by Hayato Matsuo (World God Only Knows”, “Saint Tail”, “Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure”, “Guyver: The Bioboosted Armor”), character design by Ryoji Nakamoro (“Tantei Gakuen”, “Earthian”) and art direction by Manabu Otsuzuki (“Claymore”, “Blue Exorcist”, “Steins;Gate”) and Yoji Yoshikawa (“Black Blood Brothers”, “Aria”, “Air Gear”).

But with Geneon USA shutting down, FUnimation negotiated with Geneon US for the license to release the series in the U.S. and in October & November 2012, “Hellsing Ultimate” will be released in two parts on Blu-ray and DVD.  Each part containing four episodes of the series.

“Hellsing Ultimate” begins with a young girl named Integra Hellsing who was chosen to become the head of the Hellsing Organization after her father had died.  Unfortunately, her uncle is quite jealous that Integra was chosen to be the successor and not him, so now Richard Hellsing plans to kill her.

While trying to run and escape from Richard and his men, she remembers being told to run to a certain area of her home.  But when Richard catches up to her and is about to shoot her a close range, Alucard the vampire who has been dormant for so long has awaken.  He immediately kills all of Richard’s men and Integra shoots and kills Richard.

From that moment of time, Alucard gives his allegiance towards Integra and becomes her servant.

Fastforward to present-day England and we watch as Alucard is sent on a duty to destroy a vampire priest and his ghouls.  At the same location is Seras Victoria, a police officer who is hurt baldy and when Alucard finds her, he gives her a chance to live or die.  She chooses to live and he bites her, in order to save her and thus, transforming Seras to  his vampire servant.  We are introduced to Father Alexander Anderson who is bent on destroying the vampires.

As for Integra, Sir Integra meets with  the politicians to discuss the recent vampire attacks on humans.  But who is responsible for these attacks?  And what will happen when vampires and ghouls launch an attack on Sir Integra and the people at the conference?

And who is this new threat known as “Millennium”?

VIDEO:

“Hellsing Ultimate” is presented in 1080p High Definition.  It’s also important to remember that episode 1-2 were created back in 2005 and released in 2006, while episodes 3 and 4 were created probably in 2006/2007 and was released in 2007/2008.  With that being said, the source is from Geneon and it can be considered an older anime that didn’t utilize HD at the time.  So, what one will expect from this series overtime is the overall picture quality to get better as the series progresses.

With that being said, this is an OVA and not a TV series.  So, OVA’s tend to have a better budget and doesn’t have the usual softness that a TV series may have.  Also, more time is put in OVA’s in trying to generate special effects especially with a series this violent and chaotic.  The art backgrounds are well-detailed, animation is dark as expected and while the series has been released on DVD before, being on Blu-ray, this series looks much better than its DVD counterpart.

AUDIO:

“Hellsing Ultimate” is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1.  First, the Japanese voice acting for this animated OVA series is fantastic.  The emotional scenes are well-acted and there is a good use of the surround channels and also the use of LFE.  With that being said, as for the English dub, it’s great to have a cast who actually do have accents and sounds don’t sound forced or faked.  It did take me a while to get used to the voice acting of Seras but for the most part, the original Geneon dub is being used and dialogue sounds crisp and clear on both Japanese and English soundtracks.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Hellsing Ultimate: Volumes 1-4 Collection” comes with the following special features:

  • Episode 1 Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by voice actor Crispin Freeman (Alucard) and Taliesin Jaffe (Voice Director/Script Adaptor).
  • Episode 2 Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Taliesin Jaffe  (Voice Director/Script Adaptor) and Josh Phillips (Jan Valentine) and Patrick Seitz (Luke Valentine).
  • Episode 3 Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Taliesin Jaffe  (Voice Director/Script Adaptor) and J.B. Blanc (Enrico Maxwell) and Victoria Harwood (Sir Integra Fairbrook Wingates Hellsing)
  • Episode 4 Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Taliesin Jaffe  (Voice Director/Script Adaptor) and Kari Wahlgren (Rip Van Winkle) and Ralph Lister (Walter C. Dornez)
  • Broken English Promotional Video – (6:25) All music promotional video for “Hellsing Ultimate”.
  • Young King Ours Promotional Video – (5:21) All music promotional video for “Hellsing Ultimate”.
  • Japanese Episode I Trailer – (1:43)
  • Japanese Episode II Trailer – (1:14)
  • Japanese Episode IV – (2:30)
  • Episode IV (Long Version) – (4:10)
  • U.S. Trailer – (1:04)
  • Japanese TV Commercials – Featuring four Japanese television commercials for “Hellsing Ultimate”.
  • Karaoke of Major’s Speech – (6:39)
  • Interview Featuring Taliesin Jaffe (English Voice Director) and Crispin Freeman (Alucard) – (31:29)
  • Interview Featuring Taliesin Jaffe (English Voice Director), Patrick Seitz (Luke Valentine) and Josh Phillips (Jan Valentine) – (24:13)
  • Interview Featuring Taliesin Jaffe (English Voice Director), Victoria Hardwood (Integra) and JB Blanc (Maxwell) – (29:51)
  • Interview Featuring Taliesin Jaffe (English Voice Director) and Ralph Lister (Walter) – (14:57)
  • Interview Featuring Taliesin Jaffe (English Voice Director) and Kari Wahlgren (Rip Van Winkle)  – (16:56)
  • Anime Expo 2007 – English Cast Panel featuring Taliesin Jaffe, Crispin Freeman, Ralph Lister, Patrick Steitz, Josh Phillips and Jonathan Klein – (41:59)
  • Geneon Booth: Featuring Hellsing Mansion – (1:57) – The Geneon Booth at AnimeExpo 2007.
  • Textless Songs – Featuring four textless songs
  • Japanese Ending IV – The Japanese ending credits.
  • Trailers – FUNimation Trailers

EXTRAS:

“Hellsing Ultimate: Volumes 1-4 Collection” comes with the entire series on both Blu-ray and DVD.

The long wait is over!  “Hellsing Ultimate” episodes 1-8 will be released in the US as a two part Blu-ray and DVD release in October and December!

A series that has generated a lot of excitement when news came out that an OVA series of “Hellsing” will be released, but this time, a story that would be much more faithful to the original manga series.

With Geneon USA releasing the first three volumes of the OVA series, followed by FUNimation’s release of the fourth episode back in 2008, suffice to say, people have been waiting  for episodes 5-8 to be released.  And now, episodes 1-8 will be released in America and also positive news is that the voice talent of the original series will be utilized once again. (Note: The 10th episode will be released in Japan in December 2012)

And with “Hellsing Ultimate”, one can expect the bloody violence that they are used to from the original TV series but in a much more grander scale via 45-minute OVA episodes!

I tend to look at these four episodes to be character building episodes.  The first OVA focused on establishing Integra Hellsing, Alucard and Seras, but also its longstanding rivalry with Father Alexander Anderson, who doesn’t appreciate the vampires showing up in his territory in Northern Ireland.

With Alucard, we get glimpses to the time where he was beaten by Van Hellsing, with Integra, she is a person with tremendous responsibility but also a person who is willing to take risks to get the job done.  And then you have Seras, a new vampire who doesn’t want to drink blood and wants to live a normal human life, despite not being human anymore.  And there are quite a good number of characters that show up throughout the series that are equally fascinating!

By OVA episode two, we see the attack by a ghoul army and two vampire brothers who launched a sneak attack on the Hellsing compound and it is revealed that the surviving Nazi officials known as Millennium are responsible for the attacks.

And now Alucard, Seras and the Wild Geese army must find and destroy Millennium before they create more ghoul armies and destroy the world.  The first four episodes pretty much establishes  who is behind Millennium but also establishing the various antagonists that are definitely going to be in the way of Integra, Alucard, Seras and the Wild Geese Army.

While the Blu-ray/DVD volume contains only four episodes of “Hellsing Ultimate” (which lasts a little over 45 minutes long), there are a lot of special features from the previous DVD’s such as audio commentaries and video interviews with the English voice acting cast and also the Anime Expo 2007 “Hellsing Ultimate” Q&A featurette and so much more!

As for the picture quality, the OVA’s look much better than its DVD counterpart with improved picture quality but it’s also important for people to remember that the earlier episodes of the series was made during 2005-2007.  So, while an OVA, one should not expect the same clarity as today’s more modern animated series, compared to the previous DVD of”Hellsing Ultimate”, the Blu-ray looks much better in clarity and detail.  But definitely expect to see better picture quality as the series progresses.  As for audio quality, audio was crisp and clear and both English and Japanese voice acting were well-done!

And last, it’s important to remind people that this is a very violent and bloody anime series.   It’s full of action but it’s definitely not an animated series to watch with the children around.

“Hellsing Ultimate” is a blessing for “Hellsing” fans who have wanted to see watch this series because it is much more closer to its manga counterpart.  And with “Hellsing Ultimate”, fans have been waiting for quite awhile in hopes that the series would be released completely in the U.S. So, after being patient for several years, it’s great to see this OVA series finally being released in America.  And for those used to the original voice actors from the TV series, fortunately they are utilized again for the OVA’s.

And as for HD fans, fans who have desired for more mature, action-based series on Blu-ray, that’s what you get with a series like “Hellsing Ultimate”.  It’s bloody and a lot of people (as well as ghouls and vampires) getting sliced up!  So, if you are not into violent anime series, “Hellsing Ultimate”is not for you!

While it’s too early to see to see where this storyline is going, the first volume, I look at as more character establishing episodes but yet, there is still a lot of action featured in every episode, as with blood and decapitations, you name it.  And fortunately, another positive for fans is that there is no long wait for the long-awaited episodes 5-8 as they will be released in November 2012. The OVA series is still ongoing in Japan, so it will be awhile until we see episodes 9-10 being released in the U.S.

Overall, while the series may be too dark, violent and bloody for some people, “Hellsing Ultimate” definitely features a fascinating and unique vampire storyline.    Everything from political corruption, wars, vampires, ghouls and crazed Nazi’s…you just don’t see this in anime series!    And while you have kick-ass protagonists, you also have antagonists that are just as deadly!  From the Valentine Brothers to Rip Van Winkle, expect to see the action and violence to increase even more with episodes 5-8 coming out in early November 2012.

Also, with the release of this series via Blu-ray and DVD combo-pack, the better picture quality and better clarity and detail that is seen in HD is worth it!  So, for those wondering f they should upgrade to this Blu-ray release, if you are a fan, then the answer is yes!

But if you have never seen the series and you are looking for a mature, action-packed and violent anime series on Blu-ray, “Hellsing Ultimate: Volumes 1-4 Collection” is recommended!






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