RJ Bayley Reviews: Hellsing Ultimate volume 1

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Initially there seems to be much going for of Hellsing Ultimate volume 1. The premise is solid – the Hellsing organisation have been protecting the British Isles from monsters for generations, recently with the aid of a supremely powerful vampire, Alucard.

Alucard himself is a superficially striking character, with his vintage crimson coat, hat and incredibly powerful looking handgun. Internally he’s also very refreshing in this episode. Alucard seems to be a completely amoral character, someone who’s not at all guilt-ridden about what he or those like him did and do to their former species. You won’t find this guy sparkling away in a forest moping about his incompatibility with a girl.

The fact the opening takes place in Cheddar is also understatedly striking; it’s such an esoteric little place for a Manga to start it’s opening act in. As such it sets up high expectations that what follows will take in some equally esoteric British places through a very distorted lense of Japanese animation.

Unfortunately it’s only minutes in when one realises these great and intriguing hopes are to be dashed against the rocks of very poor storytelling.
The first element of this is the animation itself. While Hellsing Ultimate is very well drawn, it is very crudely animated. Nearly all the scenes are only partially in motion, with often only one or no elements of what’s on screen moving, giving the disappointing effect of a motion comic.
Secondly, the dialogue is atrocious. Sections of clunky exposition are at times bizarrely delivered twice in quick succession, like the Manga believes it’s viewers to be utter morons.Thirdly the story is threadbare, with mere concepts substituting a plot.
There’s some interesting ideas behind Hellsing Ultimate Volume 1, but they’re poorly executed.

★★

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