Hellsing

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Hellsing_manga.jpg
Hellsing manga, volume 1 (English version)

Hellsing is an anime and manga series by Kohta Hirano and Studio GONZO. While the anime series is already over, the manga series is still produced in Japan, a new OAV (Coined Hellsing Ultimate) is planned for this series that will cover the original story of the manga.

Contents

Overview

Based on the 1998 manga by Kohta Hirano, the Hellsing anime series (composed of 13 episodes) is unique in that it takes much of itself from late 19th century and early 20th century Western fiction. It includes themes primarily from H. P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu works and Bram Stoker's Dracula, creatively rolled together with some fast-paced anime action sequences. Studio GONZO drew the series intensely stylized: characters are well-detailed with beautiful, smooth animation, and there is an extensive soundtrack, scored by Yasushi Ishii, which handily mixes punk rock and jazz with experimental elements.

The main characters are part of the Hellsing organization, which seems to have been inspired by (and ended up as a bastardized version of) the Lovecraftian Miskatonic University's Wilmarth Foundation, an organization formed for fighting demons and the undead. Cthulhu Mythos fans will appreciate the parallels.

Additionally, the series was different from many other anime/manga, in that it focused more on close-quarter combat using exotic guns, similar to the style of heroic bloodshed, with lots of jumping and diving.

The names of the characters

The name Hellsing comes from the character of a similar name in Bram Stoker's Dracula, Abraham Van Helsing. The leader of Hellsing organization, Lady Integra(l) Wingates Hellsing, is the great-granddaughter of the grizzled professor. The lead male character is named Alucard (a deadly vampire with two huge guns), and fans spend hours debating whether or not Alucard is truly Dracula. Alucard mentions in episode nine that his name is an anagram, which is true: it's simply Dracula spelled backwards. But if the character is Dracula, why does the vampire theoretically now work for his opponent's descendent?

Among fans there is some disagreement how the main character's name should be written. In the original Japanese material, his name is アーカード, pronounced /aakaado/. Since Japanese frequently uses a long /a/ sound in place of foreign sounds (like dokutaa for "doctor"), /aakaado/ could legitimately be transliterated as ARucard, ARKard or ALucard. This is due to the simple fact that Hellsing took a while before it was imported from Japan. As usual, fans took care of translating from Japanese and served it free on the Internet before the release rights were bought by anyone outside of Japan. Due to the fact that different groups were handling these translations, some different transliteration appeared in the fansub. One of the basic problems was that the Japanese language doesn't distinguish R and L, so the protagonist (and some other characters) ended up with varied names. 'Alucard' was used in the translation of Hellsing manga version, while the anime version used 'Arucard'. While both are official, the correct name would be 'Alucard', if the anagram is to make sense.

More name quirks may be examples of Engrish or common misconstructions. For example, 'Seras Victoria' is a British character, yet her name sounds as if it were put in Japanese (surname first) order. It is also possible that the name is an Engrish corruption of "Celes Victoria," which would be the correct British spelling and pronunciation.

Also, Integra(l)'s title is often given as Sir rather than Lady. This may be Engrish, but other interpretations exist. It may simply be a gender-neutral form of address; she is very strong-willed and might prefer people ignore her gender and instead focus on her merits as a leader. Otherwise, it could be a formal acknowledgement of her status as a Knight of the Round Table, or it could be that Hellsing has its own unique standards of address in which calling her "Sir" is the correct way of doing things.

The Hellsing anime series was released in North America by Geneon/Pioneer Entertainment, while the manga series was released under the Dark Horse Comics seal.

Major Characters

Minor Characters

Manga

Tubalcaine Alhambra

Also known as 'The Dandy', he sent a SWAT unit in an attempt to kill off Alucard and Seras when they arrived in Brazil. According to the Dark Horse Manga he was a First Lieutenant in Millenium but that isn't stated directly only in character descriptions which more or less make their point. He justified his actions by labeling them as terrorists but really tempted the officials with the promise of vampirism. When he finally confronted the pair, his attacks consisted of using enchanted razor sharp playing cards that could slice up nearly anything and gave Alucard a hard time regenerating (which were slightly similar to the tactics used by Gambit in X-Men save his are explosive). However, he can also use these cards to transport himself and make decoys, along with other things. In the end he had his arm torn off and was eaten effectively making him Alucard's slave. His memories were then engraved onto Alucard's brain completing the No Life King's mission in South America. Dandy later shows up when Integra releases Alucard's zero restriction.

Lieutenant Zorin Blitz

A tall, massively muscled female vampire who works for the Millennium organization. She is the commander of one of Millennium's zeppelin forces, and is apparently the instigator of the Valentine Brothers' attack on the mansion. She is a formidable fighter, wielding a giant scythe (That appears to be enchanted allowing given how well it worked on Seras.) with enough force to cut a man in half. She is covered with blasphemous tattoos on one side of her body which flow from her body onto the walls and ground around her conjuring illusions. She can also read minds/souls allowing her to determine what illusions work best on her victims. She attacks the Hellsing mansion during Das Millennium's invasion of London and kills Pip Bernadotte, accidentally awakening Seras Victorias latent vampiric powers. Seras subsequently kills Zorin in a spectacularly violent manner scraping her face across a wall like butter across toast.

The Doctor

The mad genius whose research led to the creation of a Nazi Vampire army out of the 1000 volunteers in the 'Letzte Batallion'. He acts like a second-in-command to the Major and is dedicated to the master plan, although he is not much of a fighter. Rumored to be Schrödinger´s 'creator', which would go well with his 'mad scientist' reputation (although any true family link between them, beyond a superficial 'guardian/child'-setup, is pure speculation). Appears in the manga and as a silhouette to the right of the Major in the promo-video.

Captain Hans Günsche

A silent, stoic adjutant to the Major. He developed a long-running rivalry with Walter after being defeated by him during World War II, and longs for a rematch. The chance came during the invasion of England in 1999, when he blocked the road for Integral's car. Walter urged his master to flee, while he attacked Günsche with his wires. The Captain caught them in his hands, and it looked like it would lead into a great duel. The Major, however, had other plans and Günsche brought Walter to Millennium so he could be brainwashed and made into an immortal servant. Later on, Günsche leaped from the Major's zeppelin to confront both Alucard and Anderson. He was surprised to see Alucard´s 'counter-attack', and apparently backed off for the time being. Current status is unknown. Appears in the manga and as a silhouette to the left of the Major in the promo-video.

Major Montana Max

A former SS officer. While he only appears in the promotional piece made before the series itself began production, he is the leader of Millennium in the manga, and is constantly scheming from the shadows. His trademark appearance is the glint of glasses and the white gloves appearing in the darkness. He has an insane obsession for war and bloodshed. In fact, his purpose for inducing vampirism was to recreate a reich that would last a thousand years, as well as create a world without a purpose, except for endless war. Also known for not caring about who dies, his enemies or his subordinates, as long as he can enjoy the horrors of war.

First Lieutenant Rip Van Winkle

A werewolf in the employ of Millennium who stole a VTOL carrier called the Eagle from the British. She uses a long-barreled musket that fires magic bullets that "punish without distinction", tracking targets of their own accord, and seemingly armour piercing (they destroy helicopters, fighter jets and missiles with ease). She also enjoys singing operas, especially Der Freischütz, and she often compares herself to the character Caspar from said opera. The Major even notes that she is very much like Caspar and that Alucard is Zamiel her antagonist who would inevitably kill her which he does, instilling a lot of fear in Rip as he approaches. Alucard stakes her through the chest just left of her heart with her own gun and drinks her blood in the climax to Volume 5 of the manga before using his shadows to devour her body, killing her and making her his familiar. Ironically, Montana Max would not permit the doctor fry her through the chips, and in fact, in a rare "generousity", request other members of Millennium to Nazi Salute her, bidding her "auf wiedersehen". Her mission was to effectively trap Alucard on the Eagle because he cannot cross water without the aid of a ship and his coffin by acting as a decoy he couldn't resist while the rest of Millenium could make their landing operation. She later shows up after Integra releases Alucard's zero restriction.

Warrant Officer Schrödinger

Though there has been some debate regarding his species, Schrödinger has been identified as a werecat ("Werewolf" would be specialized combat group he is part of). Based on his uniform, he could be a former Hitler Youth. Usually sits underneath the Major's throne like a pet, but also acts as an envoy for the Millennium. He has regeneration abilities that match Alucard's. He was blown apart by Alucard, yet he still managed to return to Millennium's headquarters. He claims he is everywhere and yet nowhere at the same time, which would explain his regeneration and teleportation abilities. (This ability, his name, and his being a werecat are obviously a reference to the famous "Schrödinger's cat" scenario in quantum physics.) Once remarked that the Major used and replaced soldiers as if they were merely toys, it seems he is more intelligent and aware than his apparent age would lead one to think. Possibly he may even older than Walter. Although he hasn't fought yet, he might be one of Millennium's big secrets. Due to his interaction with the other male leads his gained some yaoi fandom.

Heinkel Wulf

First appears in Crossfire. A pistol wielding nun that's dressed like a priest. Later in Hellsing vol.4 to 5 seems to be Maxwell's bodyguard and later becomes a member of an armed priest brigade of the Iscariot that watches Integral with Father Anderson, who is their leader at the time.

Yumiko Takagi(Yumie)

First appears in Crossfire. Katana wielding Japanese nun with split personality. Her first personality is Yumiko, who is a peaceful nun. Her second personality is Yumie, who is a berserker. She is usually seen at the side of Heinkel. Note: the Japanese characters for "Yumiko" and "Yumie" are identical except for the last syllable. The "eh" at the end of Yumie is a character that can also be pronounced as "ko". An interesting little name-pun that sadly does not translate into English.

Series

Bubbancy

A blond vampiress who infiltrated Hellsing HQ and tried to turn Integra into a ghoul. Apparently possessing great hypnotic powers, she gained access by mentally convincing everyone (Except Alucard and Seras) she was Integra's sister, "Laura". In what is widely considered the most risque scene in the series, she paralyzes and sapphically rapes Integra before being dispatched by Alucard. Her name is the phonetic pronunciation of boaban sith, a vampiric Scottish creature. Integra asks her if she is Carmilla who's family was killed by the Hellsing Organization but it is never revealed if she is or not.

Incognito

This masochistic vampire arrived from the 'dark continent', which fanon often casts as Africa (though the series never explicitly tells us this: some have formulated that it may be another dimension). Extremely powerful, he combined dark magic with an enchanted Armscore 40 mm Grenade Launcher that fired dark curses that look like spiricals at his opponents (as well as having a minigun as a backup). It is also possible that he was able to summon the dark Egyptian god, Seth, into his body. His appearance in the anime is seen by many fans to be a tacked on ending to the series, inferior to the manga continuity.

Both

Walter Kumm Dorne/Walter C. Dornez

Walter has been with the Hellsing family since the age of 14. Now he serves mainly as Integral's butler, and makes the special weapons Alucard and Seras use. However, he is still one of the most capable Hellsing operatives, wielding razor-sharp wires from a special pair of gloves. Walter's efficiency and power is so great that Alucard nicknamed him the 'Angel of Death,' and even at the age of 69 Walter can still rip his way through hordes of the undead. In the manga, he also helps Integra make numerous difficult choices that Alucard occasionally poses, such as whether or not to kill innocents in order to achieve mission objectives. In the latest developments, Walter was captured by Millennium during their invasion of England. He has gone through a process similar to the Millennium troops and now appears thirty years younger, serving as Millennium´s new, brainwashed, secret weapon. There is some disagreement over the romanization of his surname, with the most common variant being 'Dollneaz'.

Father Alexander Anderson

Father Anderson is the Iscariot organization's trump card -- the Catholic, human equivalent of Alucard. He possesses impressive regenerative powers (first shown when Alucard fires a bullet into his skull) and a fanaticism matched only the other members of Iscariot. He fights using blessed bayonets that seem to exist in limitless quantities, and has instincts that tell him to kill any vampire on sight. During his first appearance in the series, he "kills" Alucard (underestimating the vampire's own regenerative abilities) and nearly does the same to Seras and Integra. Not really evil, but has a very narrow view of good and bad.

Luke and Jan Valentine

These two FREAKs (In the anime, FREAKs were humans turned into vampires with the aid of a chip) have much influence in the underworld. With their army of ghouls, they stormed the Hellsing HQ. Luke uses a sawed-off M1 Garand, while Jan uses a suppressed P90 lookalike.

Organizations

The Hellsing organisation

The Hellsing organisation is the central focus of Hellsing's plot. In Hellsing's universe the organisation is an integral part of the true power-structure of Great Britain, which is in fact still ruled by a hidden aristocracy and the monarchy. The organisation is tasked with defending the countries shores from any and all supernatural threats. Controversy is often raised, especially in the manga, over the highly unconventional methods Hellsing chooses to do this.

It is heavily implied that the organisation is controlled by decendents of Abraham Van Helsing from the classic novel Dracula.

The Convention of Twelve

In addition to the Queen, Hellsing also answers first to the Convention of Twelve of which Integra is their latest and youngest member but by no means their weakest. In fact she is easily their strongest though more so in the anime than in the manga. The Twelve are a secret society of Knights who manipulate England from the shadows much like the Illuminati, and likely fund all of Hellsing's efforts. However it would seem that these Twelve are a combination of the Twelve Apostles and the Knights of the Round Table who boast some 22 members not 12.

Iscariot Organization (Vatican Section XIII)

The Iscariot organisation is a top-secret wing of the Vatican charged with the active pursual of demons (such as vampires) and heretics. Given that the Hellsing organisation not only employs vampires but is run on the principles of staunch Protestantism, Iscariot are their natural rivals despite their similiar aims.

Millennium

This mysterious organization hiding in Brazil is behind the FREAK chip. (Note: FREAK chips were only seen in the anime. The only chips in the manga were implanted to study each artificial vampire and its surroundings, as well as destroying the vampire remotely from Millennium headquarters. The means of making artificial vampires in the manga remain a mystery.) They seem like a supernatural version of The Boys from Brazil. Most of the members are monsters of some sort, or have found a way to prolong their lives. The organization was founded before WWII, as a means of researching and using supernatural phenomena for military purposes. In 1944, their grand project of creating a vampire army was foiled by a young Walter Dorne and his accomplice, Alucard (who had been experimented on for the past 50 years and looked about 16 years of age). They destroyed most of the test subjects and the vampire used as their source. After this event, Millennium began to plan their escape. By the end of 1944, most of the members had left for South America, taking with them an entire batallion of volunteers. These were known as 'Letzte Batallion', translated in English as the 'Last Batallion', the secret weapon for the future conflict.

References

Hellsing makes numerous references to a diverse body of other works: apart from Dracula (Which Hellsing can almost be taken to be a sequel of. Though it's more likely Hellsing follows Francis Coppoli's Dracula movie rather than the Bram Stoker novel.) and the Cthulhu mythos, more subtle influences include elements such as Hellsing's motto "We are on Mission from God" which is taken from a famous line in the film Blues Brothers, the characters of Willis and Harkonnen, embodiments of the spirit of Alucard and Seras' weapons in the manga version (who are the actor Bruce Willis in his incarnation as John Mclain and who also played "The Jackal" in the movie with the same name, and Baron Harkonnen from Dune) and numerous folkloric references. The Wild Geese is also a movie and by look of it Final Fantasy may factor in as well, particular FF7. Uniform designs, weapons and other features make noticeable nods to the Gundam series, and the design of Alucard (especially his initial manga design) bears some distinct resemblances to the design of Vash the Stampede from the anime Trigun, particularly the colour-scheme of red coat and sunglasses, tinted black in the manga, and orange in the anime, occasionally appearing red as well.

See also

External links

fr:Hellsing ja:ヘルシング pl:Hellsing fi:Hellsing

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