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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Hellsing Ultimate, Vol. 4
Hellsing Ultimate, Vol. 4
FUNimation // Unrated // September 23, 2008
List Price: $24.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Todd Douglass Jr. | posted January 1, 2009 | 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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P R I N T
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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.

The third volume cranked the insanity level up a notch with the introduction of the Millennium Organization. The Hellsing crew went abroad and Arucard was able to cut loose on the enemy in a manner that gave him some bloody satisfaction and provided over-the-top gore for us to feast on. Thankfully the fourth installment picks up where the last one left off and once again thrusts us into the fray with Nazis and the Millennium Organization being Hellsing's next big target.

This episode gets underway with some exposition involving the Queen as Integra's organization fills her in on what happened with Millennium. Arucard has some fun moments here, but the real treat comes when the Major's henchman, Schrödinger (catboy extraordinaire) bursts onto the scene with an announcement that his boss intends to enter war with England. Naturally this doesn't bode well and all that stands between the Major, the Nazis, and the Millennium Organization from taking over England is Hellsing, Arucard, and the rest of the gang.

While I thought the action on the last installment was crazy enough, this volume really pushes the envelope and ups the ante quite a bit. The crowning achievement of this volume is the commandeering of an aircraft carrier by Millennium. They send some crazy lady named Rip Van Winkle for the take over and this eventually leads to Hellsing shipping Arucard out to release it. This moment of the show is highly entertaining and leads up to the ending of the episode, which spills over to the next episode, which isn't available quite yet.

So much happens in this volume of Hellsing Ultimate, but I really don't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen it yet. If you have seen the original Hellsing and are wondering about Ultimate, all you really need to know is that this version is better in just about every way. It feels more brutal, the humor is integrated much better, and it's closer to the manga. All around this is a show that leaves you breathless and keeps you wanting more with each episode. Pick up the four volumes that are already on the market and hope that it's not long before we get the fifth episode in our hands.

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:

Were you looking for extras? There's nothing here sadly.

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 fourth installment offers some great moments as the show explores some of the more unique characters from Kouta Hirano's manga. If anything this volume will keep you wanting more and thankfully there's some on the horizon, we just don't know exactly when it will get here.


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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