Hellsing is the 2001 action-horror release from Studio Gonzo. Directed by Umanosuke Iida and written by Chiaki J. Konaka. The 13 episode run follows the Hellsing Organization in The United Kingdom; they’re like a pest-extermination service but for ghouls and other demonic entities. The Hellsing Organization is investigating the manufacturing and distribution of a microchip that converts its human carriers into artificial vampires.
The all-time-MPV employee of the month record holder at Hellsing is Alucard, a suave, yet sadistic vampire whose sworn to serve Integra Hellsing, head of the organization. Alucard’s design is iconic, with his vermilion trench coat, tangerine glasses, and wide-brim fedora, or as high-ranking connoisseurs of douche-fashion call it, “the fedodo.” During one of his missions, Alucard turns a police officer, Seras Victoria, into a vampire. She serves as Alucard’s sidekick, before becoming a competent slayer of her own, slowly giving in to her newly transferred powers.
The show has an undeniably compelling, and badass lead in Alucard (excellently voiced by Crispin Freeman), and many other colorful, entertaining characters. Memorable players, including Alexander Anderson, a rival vampire hunter dual-wielding blades and relishing in the competition of decapitating ghouls. Also, Walter C. Dornez, the Hellsing butler who defeats a horde of the undead using a network of razor-sharp wires, “Monofilament Wires” visually akin to a puppeteer’s strings.
Unfortunately, these fun characters are relegated to one or two shining moments at best. Alucard’s rivalry with Alexander Anderson never reaches a peak. Instead, Anderson, after a great introduction, is swiftly cast into the void of forgotten characters non-essential to defeating the big bad. Seras Victoria never fully unleashes her vampire powers in a meaningful way, so her inclusion into the echelons of immortality is questionable.
Hellsing sets up a bunch of potentially exciting moments that never pay-off. The most engaging moment in the show is The Valentine Brothers’ attack on the Hellsing compound. They roll-up with a school bus packed with ghouls and cause the utmost amount of chaos — Yan Valentine, the decidedly more unhinged brother, is given some humorous, albeit vulgar dialogue.
Other than the Valentine Bro’s attack, there isn’t much satisfaction to be had. The nuclear threat of artificial vampire microchips is left vague and without closure. We never find out whose behind the microchip attack or their masterplan; rather, the show just sprouts up a villain named Incognito three episodes before it’s ending.
This Incognito dude looks like he turned up to fight Alucard after getting absolutely blasted at Coachella (or Glastonbury Festival, I guess, since the show takes place in the UK). Point is, sloppy main villain is sloppy.
Hellsing has a few fun moments, and Crispin Freeman’s Alucard is a captivating performance that undoubtedly carries the show. A lot of the wasted potential of the show has apparently been given justice in the remake, “Hellsing Ultimate.” If the premise and characters intrigue you, I’d recommend hopping into the more recent iteration of the anime.