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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Hellsing Ultimate, Vol. 3
Hellsing Ultimate, Vol. 3
FUNimation // Unrated // September 23, 2008
List Price: $24.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Todd Douglass Jr. | posted December 30, 2008 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
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The Show:

When Geneon died they took a couple of really good shows with them. I'm sure if you've been following our reviews here at DVDTalk you've probably noticed how recently FUNimation has been redistributing them. The leading anime publisher in America has resurrected several titles such as Black Lagoon and Ergo Proxy from certain doom. One of the biggest shows of this recent resuscitation is easily Hellsing Ultimate.

Hellsing is a show with a powerful following of fans and it's regarding as the pinnacle of vampire anime. Ultimate is the reinvention of said classic and was produced not too long ago. This version of the series went back to its roots and told the story in a fashion that was more similar to the manga, yet more striking with regards to animation. The end result was a fast-paced, action-packed OVA that didn't quite make it onto the market here before Geneon went down the drain. Luckily FUNimation recently released all four episodes that are available (a fifth has just been released in Japan) and we're finally able to pick up where we left off a year and a half ago with the second installment.

In case you've forgotten, or you simply haven't seen the show, the second volume for Hellsing Ultimate featured the raid on Hellsing's compound. In the original series this was one of the greatest moments in my opinion and in Ultimate it's even more so. Basically an army of ghouls comes to town and breaks through Hellsing's defenses, making their way right to its very core. Naturally this puts Arucard into action along with Seras, Integra, and her butler, Walter.

Just when I thought the action couldn't get any more frantic, the third volume of Hellsing Ultimate raises the bar even further. For this installment the show puts the Hellsing crew on a trip abroad. Integra has received an invitation to speak with a Vatican operative and sends Arucard and Seras down to South America. It's all in an attempt to uncover more about the Millennium Organization, but the story elements here play second fiddle to the action. Then again there are some Nazis thrown in for good measure here, and who doesn't want to see a vampire tear Nazis apart?

What's really cool here is that Arucard is given free reign to unleash his unique brand of hell upon opposing forces. We've already seem some of the powers he uses here, but in all honesty watching the joy he gets out of causing so much bloodshed is addicting. This is definitely a show that revels in its unabashed violence, though I will say that the humor that Ultimate brings to the table keeps the series from being too over-the-top.

While we've more or less been down this road before, I'm definitely interested to see how this OVA handles the next arc of the show. The way this volume presented its leg of Arucard and Seras' journey left me wanting more and made me realize what I had missed when Geneon stopped releasing these discs last year. While it has been a while since we've returned to the show the fact that each installment only contains one 50 minute episode is rather disappointing. With the license secured FUNimation could have easily repacked the series much the same way it did with others and presented the complete experience as a boxed set. However, no matter how you approach the series it's worth noting that Hellsing Ultimate is just about as good as you're going to get. The series is amazing and it's a show that will leave you breathless. If vampires and action are your cup of tea then consider this right up your alley.

The DVD:

Video:

Hellsing Ultimate is presented on DVD with a 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen aspect ratio. Though the discs are being released by FUNimation the fact that there is no mention of them on the package leads me to believe this disc has been sitting in a warehouse since the days of Geneon. With that in mind it's important to not that Geneon did a great job with the transfer of this series. Despite the dark nature of the series I didn't notice any grain which is quite a feat plus I didn't catch any aliasing either. The picture all around is very clean with a fine presentation that allows the animation to be fully appreciated.

Audio:

The audio for Hellsing Ultimate is presented with English 5.1 and Japanese 2.0 mixes. Given the recent production date I was hoping that the Japanese language would have gotten the 5.1 treatment as well but sadly that's not the case here. Even so the quality of both dubs was great with decent voiceovers and the perfect blend of music to accompany the atmosphere. The English track offered the most speaker activity with the rear channels picking up most of the sound effects and music. In that regard Ultimate really came to life (or is it un-life?) while the Japanese stereo track only offered an acceptable range of audio. Optional English subtitles are included as well.

Extras:

This version of the DVD contains no bonus features.

Final Thoughts:

If you're coming to Hellsing Ultimate you immediately fall into one of two categories; either you've seen Hellsing or you haven't. If you happen to be the latter then you're in for a real treat because this is one hell of a show. On the flip side if you're coming to this rendition looking to see what's different you'll once again find yourself wrapped up in the violent and twisted tale about vampires.

It was a longtime coming, but the rest of Ultimate has finally been released by FUNimation. The third leg of Arucard's journey was every bit as satisfying as I was hoping it would be. It's packed with action, loaded with blood, and it's absolutely brimming with style. If you haven't seen this series yet then consider the re-releases your best opportunity to check it out, you'll be glad you did.


Check out more of my reviews here. Head on over to my anime blog as well for random musings and reviews of anime, manga, and stuff from Japan!

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