Monday, May 21, 2007
Manga - A+
Original anime series - B
New anime series - A+
Summary: Hellsing is a manga series by Kouta Hirano. Hellsing chronicles the efforts of the mysterious and secret Royal Order of Protestant Knights, Hellsing, as it combats vampires, ghouls, and other supernatural foes who threaten the kingdom of England. The main character, Alucard (Dracula cleverly spelled backwards), is used to kill other supernatural creatures, and makes Seras Victoria (a cop he shoots to kill another vampire) into a vampire early on in the series and we get to watch her deal with her new life as a blood drinker with some hilarious (and sometimes creepy results).
I love vampires, so it's not much of a surprise that I like Hellsing, a series based around vampires and supernatural organizations. So, why does the series get three separate ratings? It boils down to the fact that the first anime series is a lot different than the manga and the second series.
I was first introduced to Hellsing with the original anime series, which was based (loosely!) on the manga. At the time, roughly 2002 or 2003, I thought it was amazing. Unfortunately, the end of that series is extremely weak on plot, and feels rushed. It's like the people involved had a brain-storming session over a pile of coke, had a bunch of cool ideas, but couldn't figure out how to bring them together into a cool ending. Not to mention the fact that the concept for the final villain, Incognito, is kind of racist (from the "Dark Continent", ends up wearing little more than jewelry), and is pretty fucking lame when compared to some of the other villains introduced earlier in the series.
Later, I found out that only the first 6 episodes or so were based on the Manga, and the rest of the series was made up for the anime. That explains why it felt so rushed, because it was! So, I decided it was time to check out the manga, to see if the plot held up longer in it.
The manga blew away the anime, and now I have some trouble watching the old series. In the manga, you get more detail and more character development, and more characters. For example, Alexander Anderson is introduced in the the old anime series, but we don't meet the other members of Iscariot. Nor is there any hint of the Nazi organization, Millennium. I could go on, but the point is that the manga kicks the anime's ass. If you've seen the anime, do yourself a favor and check out the manga. If you haven't checked out either, then get your vampire loving ass out to your local comic book shop (or wherever you buy manga) and pick it up. If you don't love vampires, then I hate you. Ok, maybe not hate, but seriously what's up with that shit?
The new anime series on the other hand is completely faithful to the manga, and definitely worth watching. The production value is a lot higher, the creator is behind the series, and overall it's simply kick-ass. My suggestion is to read the manga (volumes 1-7 are out now, and volume 8 is scheduled to come out in early July), then watch the new OVA series, Hellsing Ultimate, and then watch the old anime. It's all good, but the manga and the Ultimate series are a lot better. It's like watching the season of Angel where he gets fat and then going back and watching season 2 or 3 of Buffy. No one likes a fat vampire.