Blu-ray Review: Hellsing Ultimate – Parts 5 to 8

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The story of Alucard, Integra and Sera continues but this time in full High Definition, is Hellsing Ultimate worth the HD Treatment or should it be cast back into the bowls of hell? Find out in our Blu-ray Review of Hellsing Ultimate – Parts 5 to 8.

Synopsis:

London’s burning in Hellsing Ultimate: Volumes 5-8 as assault zeppelins, SS vampires and pistol-toting Iscariot fanatics turn the UK capitol into a bloody ruin. The collection opens with vampire count Alucard trapped onboard an aircraft carrier in the middle of the Atlantic, giving the monstrous Major and his army of undead stormtroopers their opportunity to launch a full scale invasion of Britain. As Integra, Seras and the other operatives of the secret Hellsing Organisation fight to stem the Nazi tide and save the city, Alucard’s old antagonist Alexander Anderson mobilises the hooded priests of Iscariot for war. The forces of Heaven and Hell will clash once more, and London is their battleground. But Alucard is also on his way …and the badass vampire is in no mood to show mercy.

Our View:

Continuing on with the story of Hellsing Ultimate we find ourselves on board a zeppelin with The Major, the supreme commander of Millennium, along with his army of vampires as they plan an all-out attack on London and the Hellsing organisation. It’s here where the next four OVA episodes, all of which are included in this release, become streamlined and offer a very direct action-packed cinematic experience with an insane amount of bloody violence and destruction.

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As soon as the disc starts the narration and action never stops, as over the next four OVA episodes we see the Millennium vampire army reduce London to rubble, killing anything in sight, while Zorin Blitz, a high ranking office of Millennium, attacks Sera and the Hellsing compound with devastating results. Thing’s don’t get better for the Hellsing organisation either, as Integra (the Hellsing group’s leader) is hunted down and surrounded by Millennium operatives, luckily for her she is saved by Alexander Anderson a priest for the Iscariot branch of the Vatican. Meanwhile Alucard is left stranded on a heavily damaged aircraft carrier in the middle of the Atlantic but after some careful repair work manages to get the ship moving and is out for blood on all of those that oppose him.

Extras:

Due to the sheer volume of extra features, most of which is presented in High Definition, Manga (Madman) have had to issue them on a seperate Blu-ray disc, something which happens very rarely in the anime industry and something that should happen more often. Accompanied with the episodes on the first disc is Audio commentaries with Taliesin Jaffe (Director/Script Adapter) and Gildart Jackson (Max) for Episode V, Taliesin Jaffe and Yuri Lowenthal (Pip) for Episode VI, Taliesin Jaffe and Rachel Robinson (Zorin) for Episode VII and finally Taliesin Jaffe with Crispin Freeman (Alucard) for Episode VII. Each commentary goes into impressive detail surrouding the shows story and characters as well as offering fans a deeper insight into the hellsing universe by explaining what is being portrayed on screen.

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As mentioned before the second disc is comprised entirely of extra materials, mainly interviews with the English & Japanese cast along with the standard Textless songs and trailers for other anime shows. Included on the second disc we have Participating in a Legend (Interviews with English Cast) (45 Minutes), English Cast Round Table Discussion (44 Minutes), Anime Vegas 2010 Hellsing Panel (1 hour 10 minutes), Fans Questions answered (23 Minutes), The Dawn: Supplementary of Hellsing (9 Minutes (Japanese / English Subtitles), Textless Songs, Original FUNimation U.S. Trailer and Trailers for other Anime releases, namely Disappearence of Haruhi Suzumiya, King of Thorn, Evangelion 2.22 and Puella Magic Madoka Magica. It’s an impressive collection of extras and its a collection that will keep Hellsing fans entertained for long after the normal episodes have been watched.

Tech Specs:

Media: BD 50 x2
Running Time: 3:04:23 (Disc 1) (Disc 2 is Extras)
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: Dobly TrueHD 5.1 / 48 Khz (English & Japanese)
Resolution: 1920 x 1080 (1080p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Widescreen
Frame Rate: 23.976 fps

Overall:

Hellsing Ultimate – Parts 5 to 8 provides the violent bloody experience that die hard Hellsing fans have been waiting far and with the transition to High Definition the experience just got even more brutal. While Hellsing is known for its violent brutality, with plenty of gruesome scenes depicting decapitated bodies and blood gushing, there is also the lighter side, whereby we some comical antics between characters, such as when Integra asks Heinkel for her cigar to be lit despite being ‘under arrest (protection)’ from Alexander Anderson’s Vatican team. These comical outbursts appear throughout each episode and offer a brighter moment to a rather dark story, whats even more interesting is that the ‘comical side’ is animated differently and shows the contrast between the two styles of animation.

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Comical antic’s aside this High Definition release of the show really adds to the experience by offering sharp images and detailed colouring on screen, however in some scenes the picture does have a washed out / pixelated feel that reminds me of a low quality DVD release. It could be just the style of animation being used or it could be an error from the HD Mastering process, but for High Definition fanatics it can be noticeable, especially in the earlier scenes. While these scenes are ‘questionable’ the rest of the release is flawless and is far superior to the previous episodic DVD releases.

While the visual flair has its ups and downs, especially during the early stages of the disc, its the audio which truely makes it for a cinematic viewing experience as both the English and Japanese Audio tracks are presented in 5.1 Dolby True HD Surround Sound. While its normal for the English Audio to be provided in surround sound its unusual to see the Japanese Audio also being made available in that option, because of this viewers are offered a true cinematic styled experience. If you haven’t got a surround sound kit then not only are you missing out but the audio may seem slightly quieter than you would expect.

The combination of four OVA Episodes, Surround Sound and a whole disc’s worth of extra features is sure to provide hours of viewing entertainment, but while it is all presented neatly on two discs the Disc Menu’s could have had more thought put into them. The menu’s feature a rather annoying background sound, the same ticking sound thats used in the trailer, but more annoyingly is the colour of the text used in the menus. The menu text is red and it turns white once an option is highlighted but since the background video mostly contains dark and red colours it can become difficult to see what options are available on screen. This isn’t a menu design issue with Manga, as it the disc was authored by Madman (and is most likely a direct copy of the US Release) but its not an easy menu to see and an alternate option should have been considered.

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Despite the menu  and visual issues at the start of the discs Hellsing Ultimate: Parts 5 to 8 provides bloody  entertainment from the start and because of this it has a pretty direct story of ‘kill or be killed’, so if your looking for a developing plot then your better off waiting for the release of Hellsing Ultimate: Parts 1 – 4, which is out in July. The reason for this is because Hellsing Ultimate: Parts 1 to 4 sets the overall story while Parts 5 to 8 provides the devastating action of london being invaded and its consequences for both the Millennium and Hellsing organisations. Put simply if your a Hellsing fan then this is the release you have been waiting for, if your new to Hellsing but love violent anime then i’d highly recomend giving it a watch as you’ll most likely enjoy it.

Score: review-stars-4

Hellsing Ultimate – Parts 5 to 8 is now available on both Blu-ray and DVD.

About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

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