Hellsing (2002) – By Timothy Martinez

 Unbeknownst to the masses of mankind who are only more than happy to go about their lives in blissful ignorance, there is a secret war being waged in the darkness of the night for the continued safety of human civilization. The enemy first appeared centuries ago in the form of blood-sucking vampires, but now in more recent years artificially spawned ghouls and vampires have been cropping up all over the globe and expanding their sphere of influence over humanity. One group that stands up to this shadowy threat is the Mysterious Hellsing Organization. Run by Sir Integra Wingates Hellsing, the last member of her legendary family and based in London, the group is pledged with protecting both queen and country from the creatures of the night. In addition to their many operatives, troops and armaments, the Hellsing Organization wields a secret weapon in their war against the undead – Arucard, a powerful vampire that aids them in their struggle to rid the world of monsters.

The young and talented Hellsing agent, Seras Victoria, is nearly killed on a mission to track and eliminate a vampire posing as a priest. She is saved by Arucard, whom she willingly allows to transform her into a vampire in order to survive. Afterwards, she struggles with her newfound appetite for blood as well her dedication to the Hellsing group. Her newly formed relationship with Arucard, now her master, is also explored. Arucard himself is a mystery. Supremely powerful, he is more than a match for almost anything out there, yet why does he hunt his own kind on the orders of humans? Just who is he, really? On the flip side of the coin from the Hellsing organization is the Vatican’s own secret group – Section 13, also known as the Iscariot Organization. Tasked with the same mission to eliminate all the denizens of the dark, they often clash with Hellsing personnel over ideological differences. They are personified in agent Alexander Anderson, a skillful and deadly warrior who exhibits mysterious abilities on par with the powerful Arucard, and with a vicious streak that belies his Catholic ties.

This short series of thirteen episodes is based on the popular Manga of the same name and follows the exploits of the Hellsing group as they fight the good fight against ancient vampires, ghouls and an entire new breed of artificially created monsters. While somewhat episodic, there are a few story threads that are woven through the series and that come to a head in the final episode. Alas, this series is only based on part of the Manga and the story is known to continue past the events shown in that last installment. While many fans have been clamoring for a second series or continuation, all we have at this point is the existing thirteen episodes. Fans of horror and/or of vampire lore may want to check this series out. The stories as well as the characterizations are extremely well done. Arucard makes for the classic anti-hero: strong and confident, yet with a cruelty and contemptible demeanor that affirms his identity as a vampire. There is a fair amount of swearing and because of the topic at hand, there is plenty of blood, guts and graphic violence. This one is definitely not for the kiddies. Things are wrapped somewhat satisfactorily, but if you are like me, you’ll be wanting more.

If you would like to see this series or learn more, check out the ADV website at http://www.advfilms.com.