Jungle
Hellsing Ultimate: Volumes 5 - 8 (Blu-ray)

Hellsing Ultimate

Studio(s): 
On Blu-Ray: 
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Grade:
A+
Discs: 
5

Hellsing Ultimate 1-4 was a violent bloody affair that took the original series and beefed it up. There’s more blood, more guts. Really a no holds barred re-imagining of the series. So when I say that 1-4 really pushed the envelope as far as gore are concerned, 1-5 trumps it.

Alucard is stowed away on a stolen airship and supernatural Nazi forces have begun invading the U.K., killing everyone in their path and turning them into new legions of their undead army. Integra is having troubles of her own as she is targeted for termination, only to be rescued surprisingly by Alexander Anderson. His motto, “No one crushes the Hellsing Organization but us.” Meanwhile Vatican forces are on the march.

There are just so many characters in play in this middle installment of the series, and all of them bring something interesting to the table. Alucard is mostly absent for the first two episodes, but his underling, Seras Victoria, is coming into her own as she struggles to leave behind the human and embrace the monster she is destined to become. A vast improvement over the original series where Seras is more background noise then a major player.

Alexander Anderson, while always a force in the series, is insane in this collection of episodes, quite literally. His band of followers is hungry for the kill, regardless of who it is they kill, and with hordes of vampires, zombies, and other assorted adversaries Anderson and his crew cut down bodies like crazy. On top of that his character becomes a bit shifty as his insanity and faith drive him to fall further into the madness. The crazier he becomes the more I like his character.

Another aspect of the series that I loved is the soundtrack. As the Nazi forces attack London a song comes on that features vocals and lyrics that kind of give the scene before you a new depth. Then later when London is burning and soldiers are holding impaled bodies up on spears, shaking their guts out onto the ground, this symphony comes on that heightens the entire experience, really getting your blood flowing as death and destruction runs rampant and without a hint of censorship. It’s a surreal experience brought to life by vivid animation. Not for the faint of heart or easily offended.

PICTURE AND AUDIO QUALITY:
Again the BD release looks really good, but not perfect. There is a lot of soft spots throughout the series that somehow manage to maintain good line definition but whose busy picture tends to get a little muddled, kind of like a dream sequence if you get me. Color is rich and vibrant and when the series is on it truly is spot on. I’m not quite sure why the three companies that have been pulling this series in three different directions would take the effort to re-imagine the series and then not handle it with kid gloves, but I’m thinking the series could have been given that extra 2% push to get the picture quality all the way into the 100% category. Still, not much to complain about when watching the DVD copies the BD’s come with. There is a vast improvement.

Audio is fantastic. As I said above, the series has a phenomenal soundtrack that heightens the overall experience of the episodes so with the BD carrying a DTS-HD MA 5.1 sound it just raises the series to yet another level. LFE puts the music at symphonic clarity with dialogue coming through crisp and a healthy use of all speakers offering the most heightened sound experience that falls just shy of being cinematic. Simply an amazing and well done effort here by Funi that makes, at least the audio, a definitive effort for the series.

BONUS FEATURES:
~Commentary on all four episodes
~10th Year Anniversary Interviews 
~Roundtable Discussions
~Anime Vegas 2010 Hellsing Panel
~Fans Questions - Answered
~The Dawn: A Supplementary of Hellsing
~US Trailer
~Textless Songs
~BD and DVD versions
~Limited Edition Case: As usual contains a faux art box where you can slot your copy of the first installment of the Hellsing OVAs.

 

AJ Garcia
Review by AJ Garcia
Follow him @ Twitter
Friend him @ Facebook