My Last Foray into Hellsing

The Hellsing TV series is one of the most enjoyable anime one can watch.  The characters, particularly Alucard, Fr. Anderson, and Lady Integra (I shall refer to her as Lady Integra.  Calling her Sir Integra is too confusing.), display a great degree of panache.  The fights keep the viewer on the edge of their seats as we eagerly await the humiliation of the wicked.  The manga was similarly enjoyable until I read volumes 7 and 8.

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Now, I must state here that Hellsing contains an incredible degree of gore and violence–second only to Berserk among what I have perused.  I could not read through the first volume of the latter nor of the former on my first attempt.  Then, after college and age had rendered my soul a little more callous, I read the first six volumes in a couple of days to discover that the website holding the scanlations deleted the manga chapters on the third day.  And so, it was not until recently that I decided to give Hellsing another try.

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Not only were volumes seven and eight the most gory experience I have yet to be treated to in my short life, but I cannot imagine the fifth circle of hell being far different.  *Spoilers ahead for those who care*  Basically, a horde of Neo-Nazi vampires attacks London as the Iscariot organization steps in to stop the fighting.  The latter are so far from being truly helpful that they shout things like: “The only good Protestant is a dead Protestant!”  That’s flushing ecumenicism down the tubes!  But, the bitter hatred between Catholics and Protestants in the manga, judging by the calls for Pope Benedict XVI’s imprisonment prior to his trip to England, may not differ too widely from the actual situation in Britain!

Don't ask me why Catholic knights should be dressed like the KKK.

Don’t ask me why Catholic knights should be dressed like the KKK.

But, volumes 7 and 8 did have many enjoyable points.  I wouldn’t have missed Seras Victoria dual wielding giant 20mm or 30mm machine guns and bringing down a Zeppelin with incendiary rounds for the world.  Then again, at the death of her latent love interest, she drank his blood to become a full fledged vampire and took down the horde of enemy vampires storming her position.  Lady Integra lit up a cigar in the midst of her innumerable foes and contemned them for abandoning their humanity as she defied them to attack her.  Fr. Anderson with a team from Iscariot came to her rescue.  With lofty chivalry, he accompanied her home and prevented his compatriots’ plan of arresting her.  Lastly, in homage to Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Alucard sails up the Thames in an aircraft carrier whose crew had been slain prior to this.

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I only wish that the violence and gore had been toned down.  My conscience forbids me from reading further, despite my love for seeing the exploits of our heroes.  Unless someone tells me that it gets less gory with the advent of Alucard.  Why not concentrate more on the coolness of the heroes?  After all, no one reads a manga to see the effect of metal on flesh!

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12 comments on “My Last Foray into Hellsing

  1. dmdutcher says:

    If it helps, the sad thing is that Gantz is even worse.

    Yeah, I find myself that the old days of cool gory anime just don’t appeal. After a bit, it just gets so ludicrous that it becomes almost a form of porn or fan service; you start skipping scenes because they don’t add anything. I guess that’s why slice of life and healing anime draw me in these days.

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    • I have to agree, though I am a great fan of 90’s anime, which can often be more violent than current anime. I love watching a good fight, and terrible wounds can heighten the tension of a good fight; but, certain series become too indulgent in showing gore. People seem to have a silly fascination with bloody violence, and I suppose, from my knowledge of The Song of Roland and Lucan’s Civil War, it is not limited to this era.

      I will confess that I play around with the idea of watching Gantz now and then, but its reputation for gore always deters me. A friend did tell me that it has a good message, where the protagonist grows from being a jerk as he strives to embody the virtues of his dead comrades.

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  2. Actually, the KKK dresses like a Spanish penitential society, because Spain is scary and Catholic is scary. I think they were trying to look like the Spanish Inquisition, actually. I blame bad Gothic novels with bad illustrations..

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    • I had heard of a Catholic society existing which dressed in a manner similar to the KKK, but I was surprised to see the author allude to this in Hellsing. Gothic novels, with the sole exception of Dracula and certain tales of Edgar Allan Poe, is a genre of literature I have left untouched. Perhaps fortuitously?

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      • Well, in principle there’s nothing wrong with Gothic novels. English-language Gothic novels did tend to have quite a few cases of Evil Mad Monks What Are Evil and Mad. But of course, that’s not the whole schmole.

        A lot of Gothic is basically a heroine (and/or hero) thrown into a Scooby Doo mystery plot, with a lot of Romantic towering mountains and crashing seas and dark scary woods, high emotional tension, fainting, and a lot of spooky things turning out eventually to have a logical reason to have happened. There’s great fun in Gothic, really. You just have to pick your novels wisely.

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      • I’ll keep that in mind. I did like Dracula very much.

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      • Anyway, the idea of people going out en masse on the battlefield with nothing but tiny little eyeslits is a bit suicidal.

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      • You can say that again. Though, I did always like the look of the sugarloaf helm. But, if I were the commander, I would much prefer something like the Norman helm with only a nose guard before my face.

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  3. Cesar Auguste says:

    The hoods that the Crusaders are using, are called capirotes, a type of penitential attire used by the Nazarenos in Holy Week. Nazarenos are prominent in Holy Week processions in Spain, and Hispanic countries, even Phillipines.

    I find Hellsing quite offensive. When watching the OVAs, specially some scenes with Anderson, after Alucard’s arrival to London’s battle, I decided to not watch the rest of the OVAs.

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    • Hellsing may accurately be described as offensive. It has loads of blood and gore and religious bigotry to the extreme. It sounds like you stopped at the same place that I did. Good choice!

      But, I note that you said you watched the OVAs, which follow the comics pretty closely. The TV show’s plot diverges from the comics so that they can fit a complete story in 12 episodes. It has a good dose of religious bigotry, but on the level one might easily find in the real world. Then again, the blood has been toned down also. It’s one of my favorite shows and deserves its place as an anime classic. Lady Integra’s struggle not to lose her humanity, Victoria Seras’ resistance to going too far into darkness, and Alucard’s crushing his foes make the TV series a masterpiece! You just might want to skip episode two, which features a pair of serial killer vampires.

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      • David A says:

        The depiction of Maxwell, the bad use of the Crusaders, *Spoiler Alert* Anderson being unable to kill Alucard even with the help of the Helena’s Nail… that last one was blasphemous, I think. Even ALucrad touched the heart of Anderson with the Helena’s Nail on it and he didn’t died instantly, as once could expect.

        I watched the TV series in 2006. From what I remember it had some unnecessary scenes, like some scenes with a Valentine brother and some prostitutes (?), and the one with the Integra’s fake sisrter..

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      • The TV series pales in comparison to the OVA or the manga; though, I will agree that the second episode was pretty bad. *Spoiler* And Fr. Anderson dies? What a shame! He was my favorite character. The first parish priest I remember was a Fr. Anderson, which was another thing which endeared Hellsing’s padre to me.

        (I took the liberty of adding a spoiler notation to your comment just in case someone stumbles onto my post without having read that far–like me. 🙂 )

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