The Royal Order of the Protestant Knights codenamed: Hellsing, harbors an Ancient Ace-in- the-Hole in their fight against the forces of Evil. The British unit encounters and clashes with otherworldly ghouls and monsters, its arch-frenemy the Vatican Church, and depending on if you are reading the manga series, watching the anime redux for the first time, or re-watching the series, an even more sinister third-party enters the fray.
Here’s a quick breakdown of Kouta Hirano’s original manga, its featured anime and it’s artistic redux, and even the fan favorites that have been produced in honor of the project.
The Warring Factions
For thousands of years the Anglican Church and the Vatican have had an odd love-hate relationship which keeps the rivalry between the two fresh. While the Catholic followers defend the world of men under the pretense of divine punishment, the protagonists favor the Protestants and her royal Majesty’s will.
The question remains, exactly who are these elite protectors of the crown.
The Hellsing Organization
The protective collective known as the Hellsing Organization has endured for millennia, enshrouded in darkness and secrecy, the team handles threats not only foreign or domestic but also mystic and mythological in origin. Led by its 4 core members who are seen as persevering pillars of strength, and commanded by Sir Integra Fairbrook Wingates Hellsing; who stepped into her position when her father Arthur, the previous commander of the organization, was poisoned by her jealous uncle Richard. Sir Integra’s right hand is Walter C. Dornez, the Helsing family’s butler and ex-vampire hunter aka “The Angel of Death,” known for his expertise in handling monomolecular wire which slices through virtually anything he deems.
The Ace in Hole is the extraordinarily violent vampire Alucard, who wields the powers of darkness along with Twin handguns that hold .454 caliber bullets. Alucard has a knack making the best out of the situations in which he finds himself. In the first episode of the TV series, Alucard kills, revives, and introduces a law-enforcement officer to the Hellsing organization as its newest member of the team, vampire Seras Victoria aka “Police Girl”. Seras uses her prowess as a vivacious cop and shows so much potential she eventually takes the mantle of Vampiric protector of the royal order, by series end.
The Hellsing organization and the Anglican Church are only met in force by their contrasting counterparts of justice aka the Vatican church. This religious group has its own black-ops section known as Section XIII aka “The Iscariots”.
The acknowledged members of Section XIII start with shiesty commander Enrico Maxwell, equally level-headed and ambitious as his rival Integra, spares no love for the Anglican church nor any “would-be threat” to the Catholic agenda. Enrico’s second in command, the genetically modified Paladin Father Alexander Anderson serves as the equalizing force to Hellsing’s Alucard with an equally terrifying savage nature on the battlefield.
The final characters of note are a pair of exceptional assassins directly under the charge of Father Alxenderson; Japanese, katana-wielding nun, Yumei Takagi, and her androgynous pistol-wielding childhood bestie, Heinkel Wolfe.The iscariots pull their weight in the eternal battle against unspeakable evils just like their rivals in the Hellsing organization but, beyond the back-and-forth between the English and the Italians, there is always a greater evil in the war for peace.
The remnants of the infamous Nazi “Third Reich” lost the second world war, relocated to South America with the help of the Vatican, and became the “Thousand Year Reich”. Led by an ambitious yet psychotic Ultra-Nazi known as “The Major”, Millenium has plans for world domination and immortality.
The captain, silent but deadly second in command, takes the form of a silver wolf instead of a blood curling, vampiric spirit. The captain leads the elite unit known as “Werewolf special force”, this particular squad is home to Rip Van Winkle, Zorin Blitz, and Schrodinger.
Rip Van Winkle is a female vampire who refers to herself as a leader in her favorite opera while Alucard is supposed to be Zamiel, the devil himself.
Next in line is Zorin Blitz; A has immense powers of illusion and trickery so much so she can immobilize an entire team of tactically trained soldiers. According to the contributions and collaboration tvtropes.org, unofficially, the name given to this character is an Ode to German culture.“Blitz” comes from the German word “Blitzkrieg” aka “lightning War”, a method of fighting in World War while Zorin is a German James Bond villain named Max Zorin.
Although the team as a whole is a force to be reckoned with, these characters do not individually compare to the most powerful of them all, Schrodinger. Simultaneously Everywhere and nowhere, based off of the idea of the “Schrodinger’s Cat”. His powers allow him a cavalier this vampire to have a very cavalier attitude and technically the most powerful, yet childish, character within the Hellsing series.
Lastly, Millenium has two characters that came straight from the Hellsing Manga, the Valentine Brothers. Sent as the first line of defense during the raid on the Hellsing organization, Jan and Luke Valentine are two polar opposites and fall under the “lower-level” employee rank of the villain totem. Jan dawns an all-white outfit and terrorizes his opponents with super-speed and strength while his brother has virtually no known vampiric powers beyond his affinity for vulgarity and blood.
Intimate vs Ultimate
Falling into good company with Fullmetal Alchemist, Inuyasha, and Soul Eater, the first Hellsing anime was released in 2006 while its original content source, the literal manga written by Kouta Hirano in ‘97, was not finished until 2008. Simultaneously in 2006 the 10 episode OVA series “Hellsing: Ultimate” began and took a total of 6 years to complete. Both the Original and the redux have received raving reviews in the eyes of the connoisseur however, obsessive fans around the world love to plave their production preference on a pedestal.
The Unfinished Anime
This forced the original Hellsing anime producers to create an alternate storyline involving “anime-only” characters and concepts. This particular rendition takes the political expose approach in which certain characters attempt to publicly expose the existence of vampires or disband the Hellsing Organization through espionage, slander, or straight-up kidnapping.
The classic “who’s badder” trope is prevalent in the show as the main antagonist “Incognito” is a vampire who hails from Africa equipped with a masochistic personality and the darkest of black magic. Incognito was accompanied by humans whose biological make-up is forcefully changed into Vampiric slaves through the acceptance of the “FREAK” chips.
Ultimate: The Way Hell is supposed to Feel.
Super vampires, betrayal, and a world-wide scandal on existence is one way to tell a story. Or, blood as far as the eye can see, arrogantly overconfident villains, and stylishly drawn action scenes is another take.
The Hellsing: Ultimate Redux takes the Hellsing series to the max with its use of lewd adult language, themes of complete anarchy, and of course the intriguing story of how one production studio feels about the revenge of the Nazi Regime.
With “Millenium” as the protagonist, the ultimate OVA created a stage for a prequel OVA series called “Hellsing: the Dawn”; based on the young Walter Dornez and Acura’s as they storm a Nazi base of operations in ‘44. Whether it’s Ocean’s of blood or a seemingly endless horde of vampiric slaves, Hellsing has a captivating story for everyone. But it all can’t be serious in anime right; leave it up to the fans and power of the internet to make light of death and destruction.
“Hellsing: Abridged” is the fan-based parody that serves as a recount of the series Hellsing Ultimate, compiled by Youtube Channel “Team FourStar” back in the fall of 2010. This Abridged series is pure foolishness through the guise of extremely dark and mature comedy filled with adult language and racial overtones that create an “over-the-top” yet accurate rendition of the already gruesome series.
In my personal opinion all of the Abridged series from Final Fantasy to Dragon Ball Z and Hellsing: Ultimate have all been not only been spot on in their explanations but also exceedingly entertaining in their presentations.
As a consumer with a sense of humor who loves to see a little animated violence from time to time, I would definitely recommend watching the “Hellsing Abridged series” in order to understand the feelings of the characters, the dark atmosphere of the show, and have the art presented in a hilarious way. Of course, at some point you should watch the other series and read the Manga in order to connect the ideas of anime director Umanosuke Iida and original writer/ illustrator Kouta Hirano but maybe this is a great place to start.