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Hellsing, Vol. 1: Impure Souls (2002) – DVD Review

Hellsing, Vol. 1 DVD


Written by Chiaki J. Konaka, based on the comic by Kouta Hirano
Directed by Yasunori Urata
Character design by Toshiharu Murata
Mechanical design by Yoshitaka Kono


  • Trailer music video
  • Creditless opening
  • Concept art gallery
  • Action figure info

Rating: 16+
Anamorphic: N/A; episodes appear in their original 1.33:1 format.
My advice: Buy it.

Unbeknownst to most of humanity, a war is being fought in the night. Evil creatures lurk in the shadows, feeding on the unsuspecting. Cops and military are blissfully unaware of the true nature of this quiet threat. But the human race is not completely at the mercy of vampires, ghouls, and demons.

The Hellsing Organization stands between the monsters and mankind. And when a sudden rash of vampires starts popping up, they call in their most dangerous secret weapon: a rogue vampire known as Arucard. With his mischievous grin and a massive .454 Cassull automatic, he hunts his own kind for reasons that even the highest ranking members of the Hellsing Organization can only guess.

After Arucard turns Seras Victoria, a young policewoman into a bloodsucker, the two of them become a true force to be reckoned with against the undead. As Seras struggles to control her new hungers and her considerable powers, the unexplained spate of monsters continues to advance, so the pair are pressed into constant service tracking down these beasts and destroying them before the situation can get out of hand.

Hellsing oozes noir sensibility and an undeniable style. Owing as much to H.P. Lovecraft as Bram Stoker, the series is a mish-mash of all sorts of bizarre occult lore, with a jazzy soundtrack and a host of BFGs to keep things interesting. No opportunity is passed up that could be used for a dramatic pose, or slick gun fu maneuver, or wicked fight sequence. The net result is an incredible occult horror show whose cool factor is rivaled only by the überhip Cowboy Bebop and similar titles.

The animation is excellent, and the governing aesthetic lends the show a consistent cool. Sound is well-done, with an infectious soundtrack and fantastic voice work, both in English and Japanese. The English translation maps pretty directly to the Japanese original, at least when one compares the subtitles versus the actual English dialogue.

These first three episodes basically serve to introduce the world of the show, and give viewers a taste of Arucard and Victoria’s capabilities. A few of the secondary characters are sure to figure heavily in later episodes, but very little development time is spent on them here. If this first volume is indicative of things to come, the show will earn its place in the cream of the series anime crop.

Features are solid, though not immense. A concept gallery, clean opening, and a brief look at the licensed toy line are all you get, but it’s more than a great many titles bother to include. Some commentary from the creators, perhaps discussing their various inspirations for the show, would have been much appreciated. Despite that, the disc is still definitely worth owning for fans of horror, John Woo, or action-heavy anime titles of any stripe.

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