Hellsing Ultimate-Volume 1 (2006)

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Released 4-Apr-2007

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime Interviews-Cast & Crew
Trailer
TV Spots
Gallery-Production Art
Audio Commentary
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2006
Running Time 52:55 (Case: 50)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Tomokazu Tokoro
Studio
Distributor
Geneon
Madman Entertainment
Starring None Given
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music Yasushi Ishii
Kohta Hirano


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.1 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Helsing Ultimate is an OVA redo of the original, and still quite recent, Helsing anime series (Volume 1 of which is reviewed here). The aim of the redo, besides milking anime fans for more cash, is to present a series that is closer to the original Manga (which is somewhat easier in the OVA format thanks to the lack of strict running times).

    This series has been produced by a different production company to the previous series and consequently there is no duplication of footage with the original series (although many scenes look quite similar to the previous series). Whilst all the animation is new and quite different in style, the characters retain the same general look as the original series. Despite being produced by a completely different production company, the English dub features the same voice actors as the original Helsing series.

    The basic story is pretty straight forward, Helsing is a secret British organisation operated by Abraham Van Helsing's descendants. Their purpose is to save Britain from supernatural evil (kind of like an anime Torchwood). Their main muscle is a mysterious and very powerful vampire named Alucard and a young police girl he has turned into a vampire. As well as hunt vampires, Helsing are in an ongoing pissing contest with the Vatican, whose own secret monster hunters are led by a genetically engineered zealot, as to who is truly righteous.

    The story covers pretty much exactly the same ground as the first three episodes of the original anime series and to be honest I didn't notice much that was hugely different in the story from those original episodes. Apparently it was really the later episodes that veered away from the original Manga, so that's probably not too much of a surprise. Still, fans of the original would do well to check this out and were I to recommend one of the two series over the other, at this stage it would be Helsing Ultimate as there is a better flow to its storytelling.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The film is presented in its original 1.78:1 aspect ratio and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The video looks very good, although the animation itself occasionally looks a little crude (although this is sometimes a deliberate effect). The video is quite sharp. There is no noticeable grain. Low level noise is very mild.

    The show uses colour very distinctly. There are lots of dark, shadowy colours and reds in the palette. The rendering of the colours if quite consistent throughout the film.

    There are no particularly noticeable MPEG compression artefacts in the transfer and no visible film artefacts.

    The subtitles are a nice bold yellow and translate the original Japanese dialogue.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The film features English and Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 Kbps) audio tracks and an English DTS (768 Kbps) audio track.

    The dialogue is clearly audible on all three tracks. The dialogue does not lip sync terribly well for the English audio tracks, although the dubbed voices to fit the general visual tone of the lip motion.

    The music is generally a quite forgettable affair.

    The show makes good use of the surrounds and subwoofer, particularly during the action sequences.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Audio Commentary with Taliesin Jaffe and Crispin Freeman

    The English script adapter/dub director Taliesin Jaffe and voice actor Crispin Freeman provide a rather chatty, though unnecessary, commentary. It is actually a little hard to hear this commentary on occasion as the commentators voices are fairly soft and get drowned out by the audio from the show itself.

Interview with Taliesin Jaffe and Crispin Freeman (31:48)

    An unbearably long interview with English dub director Taliesin Jaffe and voice actor Crispin Freeman. The audio on the interviewees microphones drops in and out repeatedly, to the point that parts are barely audible - not that hearing these two would make this excruciatingly conceited and unbearably dull interview any more interesting.

Promotional Videos

    Four very similar promotional videos cut together with random scenes from the show playing over a variety of musical tracks.

TV commercials

    Four Japanese TV commercials for the series that vary in length from 15 to 30 seconds. There isn't really anything here that isn't in the promo videos.

Credit-free Closing Animation

    The end credits, without credits.

Production art gallery (5:08)

    Production art sketches of characters, props and backgrounds.

Reversible cover

    Hate the shiny foil cover and ratings logo? An alternate cover is printed on the other side of the slick.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 edition contains exactly the same disc content as the Region 1 two disc limited edition, albeit on one disc (on which it all fits comfortably). The Region 1 limited edition pack includes a bust of the character Alucard. A bare bones standard edition is also available in Region 1 (which is the more common version to find).

Summary

    A fairly decent redo of Helsing, although it is hardly an essential remake judging form the differences so far.

    Extras are plentiful, but mostly filler.

    The audio and video are both excellent.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
Saturday, February 02, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDSony Playstation 3, using HDMI output
Display Samsung 116cm LA46M81BD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).
Audio DecoderPioneer VSX-D512. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX2016AVS
Speakers150W DTX front speakers, and a 100W centre and 2 surrounds, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub

Other Reviews NONE
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