Hellsing: Impure Souls
Rated: 16+ :: Released: 2002 (DVD), 2005 (UMD)
By Kellen Scrivens
05 October 2005 — Hello, everyone. Once again I am Kellen Scrivens and I'm here with my first impressions of a show that I picked up based on the fact that:
A) I needed more than Sin City to tie me over on the drive from Denver to Manitoba.
B) James has gone on and on about how great this is.
C) James' old avatar of Seras going nuts with a gun just looked so damn cool.
So with those thoughts in mind I spent the $14 (American) and bought Hellsing: Impure Souls on UMD and decided to watch it the next night at 1:00 am on a long and lonesome highway, east of Omaha (really).
This collection has the first three episodes of the 13-episode series and not much else: a few trailers, dual audio settings and a subtitle option round out the special features.
The story here primarily revolves around the Hellsing Organization, a group that was put together to eliminate the vampire threat. As the first episode begins, the group is called to resolve a situation that has been brewing in a small village. It would seem that a priest-turned-vampire has been feeding on the villagers, and the local police force are attacked and turned into ghouls. The one remaining officer, Seras Victoria, finds herself in a standoff with the vampire priest when she takes shelter in a church. The priest attempts to turn Seras into a vampire, but Alucard (no hidden messages there, I assure you), Hellsing's own vampire, arrives to save the day. However, the priest uses Seras as a shield, and Alucard offers Seras her only real option: he will shoot her through the lungs, a shot that will subsequently pierce the heart of the priest, so she may live. She agrees, and Alucard takes them both out. To save her, Alucard drinks Seras' blood, rendering her into a vampire (she still retains some freewill). And with Alucard's referral, Seras is accepted into the Hellsing Organization.
Episode two sees the Hellsing Organization on the trail of a couple of fairly run-of-the-mill teenage vampires. The more intriguing element to this episode is the underlying plot of Seras having to come to terms with her new vampiric state. This is pulled off very well, and is enough to warrant purchases of further installments.
The final episode on the disc features the beginning of several ongoing plotlines (I assume they'll become major focal points later on). First off, when a young vampire is killed, an autopsy reveals that he was implanted with a chip that made him something of an artificial vampire. Secondly, when this kid revives after the chip is removed, Alexander Anderson shows up from the Vatican's Section 13 (think Hellsing Organization, but Catholic instead of Protestant... and they hate each other). While he manages to take the kid out, he's also able to do quite a number on Alucard. Those elements alone suggest so much more, and will surely lead to more stories down the line.
Outside of Seras, Alucard and possibly Integra and Alexander, there wasn't a ton of character development in the first three episodes. Though Seras coming to terms with being a vampire was incredibly well done. She doesn't dive headfirst into drinking blood and all that; she's hesitant to do so (though she can drink from a blood bank instead of feeding off of humans), and this leads to a confrontation with Integra by the end of the third episode.
One of the things that makes Hellsing so memorable is the voice acting; it's very well done. Crispin Freeman (Alucard), K.T. Gray (Seras) and the rest of the cast breathe life into these animated characters, especially when the action heats up. The voices they employ are always right for the moment: when Seras is scared (which is quite often), Gray really reflects it in her voice.
In the last year my idea of mature content in anime has been taken, ripped apart like wrapping paper on Christmas morning, and rebuilt like Chicago after the fire. And Hellsing has contributed greatly to that. This was only the second "unedited dub" I've seen on DVD or UMD, and is much more mature than the other (Escaflowne). In fact, the content in Hellsing should warrant a higher rating than what it received. That's not meant to put you off from purchasing the disc; it's simply a warning if you plan on buying this for a youngster.
While Hellsing didn't make the best first impression, it's still a very good one. If anything, the great action sequences and the Seras storyline have intrigued me enough to buy Vol. 2 when it comes out on UMD.
Grade: 4 out of 5