RJ Bayley Reviews: Hellsing Ultimate Volume II

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Recently only The IT Crowd has achieved the same kind of meteoric rise from rubbish to decent that Hellsing Ultimate has. The first installment was very much like it’s vampire anti-hero; an interesting flatline.

Hellsing Ultimate volume 2 however ups it’s game. Gone is the disappointing ‘motion comic’ animation. Now the world of the Hellsing organisation moves and breathes. Moments of stillness are not longer just due poor animation. The world is more fluid and it’s a real delight. Its not Miyazaki by a long shot, but unlike volume 1 it really takes some pride in itself and recognises that Japanese animation is a fine pedigree, and maybe the Hellsing brand should start to try and live up to that.

Beyond the animation the film does exactly the right thing after a lacklustre original; Hellsing Ultimate volume 2 takes stock and reevaluates what were strengths and weaknesses the first time around. Those strengths are two very strong characters, Alucard and Integra Hellsing. Much like characters such as Judge Dredd and James Bond, recognising that their unrelenting, unphased and uncompromisingly unchanging character is what makes them so interesting, much more so than if they had character arcs.

Alucard and Integra take centre stage over Seras here. Hellsing Ultimate volume 2 wisely understands that sometimes the most interesting story isn’t always about characters changing to get in line with the world around it. As demonstrated here, the most interesting story can be that of the characters that refuse to change in the face of shifting ideologies.

This entire story is wisely centered on the Hellsing HQ, allowing us to see these unchanging ideas brought before the violent court of new thought. But can Hellsing Ultimate volume 3 continue this improvement?.

★★★

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