Monday, December 25, 2006

Woohoo! I've got "Hellsing Ultimate"

Another good thing I want to talk ... or rather write ... about is the new "Hellsing" OVA. I've been a fan of the TV-series (and the manga as well), but the original series breached off from the story told in the manga after volume 2 and finished "Hellsing" off in a different way (actually the manga is still running and currently 8 volumes are out in Germany). The new OVA-series will - as far as this can be seen already - follow the story of the manga.

The basics of "Hellsing" are thus: "Hellsing" is the name of a secret organisation which hunts down the undead in Great Britain and the Commonwealth. It's also the name of the family leading the organisation. The current leader - and last living member of the family, as far as I know - is Lady Integra Fairbrook Wingates Hellsing, about 26 and since her 16th year of life in the leading position. Lady Integra does not just command a small army (armed better, if I may mention it, than many regular armies in the world), she also commands one, later on two, undead. The vampire Alucard, also know as the "No-Life King", has been under her command since her 16th year, when she was almost killed by her uncle after her father's death, because the man wanted to take over the organisation and she had been chosen to become the next leader. At the beginning of the story, both in the manga and in the old TV-series (and, of course, in the new OVA-series as well), Alucard is forced to deadly wound a young policewoman while on a mission and offers her to become a vampire herself - an offer which she takes. Seras Victoria is still rather caught between her old life as a human and her new life as a vampire, not drinking blood and not sleeping in a coffin while she can help it. Nevertheless more than one episode of the manga show she's quite powerful already ... whenever she looses control enough to let the vampiric side take over.

The second volume of the OVA-series deals with a story already show during the TV-series: "Death Zone". The story of the TV-series mostly differs from the manga after this episode (or rather episodes, as this was one of the two-parters). It's a turning point in the manga, because with this episode the real enemy of Hellsing, the organisation "Millennium" is named for the first time.

As someone who has seen the 'original' animated version of the story before, I can tell that this new version is much better. The story has become a little longer ... the TV-episodes were about 20 minutes long each, the OVA-episode has 45 minutes ... and is retold a lot better and more true to the manga.

As far as the voices are concerned, it seems to me as if they've gotten the same voice talents (in Germany) they've used for the TV-version as well. All the voice fit quite well with the personalities of the characters and - unlike in some other animes for adults I've seen - the actors obviously took their job seriously and did it as if they were working for a normal series with real actors.

The graphics are different as well, especially as far as Integra (longer and less straight hair) and Seras (still blue eyes after the change and larger breasts) are concerned. On the whole the looks of the characters are closer to the manga and less the 'average' anime-look (the manga doesn't have the average look as well). The pacing is faster, especially in the fight scenes. Both the fight of Jan Valentine (one of the enemies) against Walter and Seras and the fight of Luke Valentine (the other enemy and Jan's brother) against Alucard are faster and shown from less regular perspectives.

I already like the OVA a lot, even though I have only seen one episode this far. It's better than the TV-series, not just things as animation frequencies (which are always lower for TV-series in Japan than they are for OVA- or movie-productions) or the size of the screen ('movie' 16:9 instead of 'TV' 4:3). The way the story is told is much better, the characters look better and the whole presentation (including music) is better as well.

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