Hellsing-Volume 1: Impure Souls (2002)

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Released 26-Nov-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Vampire Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Creditless Opening
Trailer-Music Video Trailer
Gallery-Concept
Trailer-Vampire Hunter D; Armitage Dual Matrix; Berserk
Trailer-Excel Saga; End Of Evangelion
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 68:36 (Case: 75)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Yasunori Urata
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring None Given
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $34.95 Music Yasushi Ishii


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, Next Episode Previews (of a sort....)

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

Plot Synopsis

    Vampires. There seems to be a growing abundance of movies and TV shows featuring them one way or another these days, and vampires in anime are not that uncommon, either (i.e. Vampire Princess Miyu). Hellsing is based on the manga of the same name by Kouta Hirano which tells the story of a rouge vampire, Alucard, who hunts down other vampires for the Hellsing Organisation, and Seras Victoria who is 'recruited' by Alucard and joins the fight against the forces of the undead. With its violent and gory scenes it should be noted that Hellsing is a story not for kiddies nor the squeamish. With that said, Hellsing oozes style and atmosphere and is recommended viewing for anyone interested in darker themed anime.

    The following three episodes are contained on Hellsing-Volume 1: Impure Souls;

    Order 01: The Undead - A priest in a small town is discovered to be a vampire and, after making short work of the authorities, Alucard is deployed to take him out. During the final confrontation, Seras Victoria is mortally wounded and to avoid death, makes the decision to become a 'child of the night'.

    Order 02: Club M - Whilst Seras is gradually adapting to her new position at the Hellsing Organisation and also her new 'needs', a pair of young vampires are roaming the countryside and slaughtering entire families just for the fun of it.

    Order 03: Sword Dancer - The Vatican has sent its own assassin of the undead, psychopathic priest Alexander Anderson, to take care of a case but after Alucard makes short work of the target vampire, Anderson sets his sights on Alucard.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer on this disc is excellent overall, with the clarity and attention to detail found in Hellsing being truly remarkable. This is mostly owing to the fact that the series is fairly recent, first screening in Japan in late 2001.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ration of 1.33:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is very clear and sharp, which helps show off the fantastically drawn artwork of which the colouring was very bold. Lots of blacks and reds are used to good effect and helped convey the dark tone of the show. There were no signs of any colour irregularities or bleeding.

    Throughout the three episodes, no MPEG Artefacts were detected. No Aliasing or Film Artefacts were spotted during playback either, indicating a very clean film source has been used in the transfer of Hellsing to DVD.

    The English subtitle track included is a translation of the Japanese audio track and therefore does not match up to the English track. The subtitles themselves are bold yellow and are easy to read.

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

Audio

    The audio transfer is truly excellent, and only helps add to the slick visuals and overall storytelling of Hellsing.

    There are two audio tracks included on this DVD, the default English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s) track and the original Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s) language track. I watched the episodes with the two soundtracks and can recommended either one. It is really up to personal preference as to whether you like watching anime dubbed or subbed, but listening to either one will not detract from the overall storyline.

    The dialogue was clear for both language tracks. The British accents used in the English audio seem a little strange at first, particularly Seras Victoria's voice, but after a few viewings they grow on you and even work for the series' benefit, as Hellsing is set in England, so they add to the overall style of the series.

    The usual audio sync problems with animation can be seen but nothing major that would detract from viewing.

    The music used throughout Hellsing suits the series perfectly. From the jazzy introduction to the rock-ballad ending theme and everything in between, including the adrenaline-pumping moody tunes used for the action scenes, the music has been scored extremely well and adds even more atmosphere to the on-screen action.

    The surround channels were not used at all. The subwoofer was used to accompany the action scenes, to give them more effect, and added to the music tracks throughout the episodes.

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

Extras

Menu

    The menu is themed around the series. It is not 16x9 enhanced. The main menu opens with an animated intro and audio presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s).

Scene Selection

    Scene selection for the three episodes is contained on this disc. The menu is static and without audio enhancement.

Creditless Opening

    This is the opening from Hellsing with the credit overlays removed. Audio is Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s).

Music Video Trailer

    Trailer for Hellsing. Presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 audio (224Kb/s).

Concept Gallery

    An artwork gallery which contains character and background designs.

Madman Propaganda (Trailers)

    Presented here are five trailers for other series and movies distributed by Madman Entertainment. They are the following: Vampire Hunter D (1:53); Armitage Dual Matrix (1:51); Berserk (2:04); Excel Saga (1:39); and End of Evangelion (1:30). All trailers are presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 audio (224Kb/s).

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 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

    The menu design also differs between the two versions, with fans of the series heralding the menus on the R1 as some of the very best around. However, this does not mean the menus used for the R4 disc are not functional in any way, just not as polished. These differences between the two discs are minor and there is no real reason to prefer one over the other. The R4 comes out on top slightly in the end merely because of its cheaper price tag.

Summary

    With quality animation, compelling characters, and a darkly themed plot, Hellsing is a great series, albeit a little short with only 13 episodes (though there is rumour of a second series), and its release on DVD is one of sheer excellence.

    The video transfer is fantastic.

    With the English and Japanese language tracks, watchers of dubbed or subbed anime are both covered.

    The numerous extras were of good quality and help round out this excellent DVD.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Mitchell Healey (Biohazard)
Tuesday, December 10, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDOmni SL-P3003D, using S-Video output
DisplayNEC FS8001 (80cm).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver.
AmplificationKenwood KRF-V7050D
SpeakersJensen SPX-9 Fronts, Jensen SPX-15 Centre, Jensen SPX-5 Rears, Jensen SPX-19 Subwoofer

Other Reviews
region4dvd.net - Darren R (read my bio (fun for the whole family))
DVD Net - Ben P
The DVD Bits - Damien M

Comments (Add)
Hellsing - Jimmy Danger
Future volumes might not meet expectations - Telv