Oliver’s idle musing: Hellsing
[May have the slightest spoilers unless you have seen up to either episode 10 of the anime or episode 2 of the OVA, though hopefully nothing major]
Holy crap, this blog needs updating. Can’t believe I completely forgot about it; you’d have thought a passing thought would have come sooner rather than later. Well, better late than never and all that.
So, recently, I’ve been getting into the ‘Hellsing’ fandom, and I had a few thoughts turning around in my head, and while I would usually just bother Max about them (whom I’ve been showing the OVA and he seems quite taken by it, though it’s hard not be swayed by the amazingly badass Alucard), I’ve decided to write my thoughts down and bother you, the good populace of the internet, with them instead. Aren’t you a lucky bunch? }:D
To start with, I discovered the whole Hellsing franchise years before I actually sat down to watch it (which is now quite a few weeks ago). I used to be quite taken by mythological monsters, and I remember it being odd how frequently a huge red duster wearing guy with unnerving eyes and a grin kept showing up when vampires were related to my searches on the internet. It looked interesting, but at that time didn’t look like something I would enjoy, since I was something of lightweight when it came to violence and/or dark themes. However, now we’re a few years down the line, it’s a total 180: when I rediscovered it, the no-hold violence and the dark themes were what actually intrigued me enough to start hunting down the episodes (haven’t seen the manga yet, though I am thinking about it).
…Maybe helped along by discovering images of a cute girl that wielded a gun nearly twice her size *cough cough*.
In all seriousness though, I do believe Seras is what really hooked me into the series. You see, I started off by watching the original anime series, and moving onto the OVA later. For those who weren’t aware, Seras’ development from human to vampire is given a little more foreground importance in the anime, and it is a little bit heart wrenching to watch a clearly innocent person battling with herself for the sake of doing what she thinks is right, like how long she struggles with simply drinking blood. And her attempts at retaining her humanity, and almost reluctance to act like a vampire, is the perfect contrast to Alucard who is so proud of his vampiric standing he will berate others who aren’t acting like a good vampire should. Not only that, but I think she is a genuinely well rounded character* who goes through what is a very real (for that situation) character arch. Even though she struggles with the idea of losing what made her human, it is still clear she has a strong sense of duty: she has been given a second chance to protect others from what she went through, and she won’t let it go easily. But as she begins to lose control, and let the raging blood-hunting monster closer to the surface, as shown by her completely berserk moment when the Valentine brothers attack, her exchange of power for the creature within is not a concept she wants to deal with.
That’s not to say I don’t like the OVA Seras. They really ramped up her level of badass in that, and it is still impressive to see her wield a freakin’ sniper rifle with the same amount of fluidity one wields a normal rifle (and that’s not touching on her god damn anti-fu**ing-planet gun). I also really enjoy the oddly fitting humour she can put into the episodes: you wouldn’t think you could fit in that much comedy into a show that regularly has people’s limbs and heads being torn off without it seeming really phoned in (or maybe you’d think they’d be idiots not to?), but she somehow makes it work. I think it’s mostly because it only ever really concerns her and maybe one extra to back her up (like Walter, when he’s trying to say she needs to sleep in a coffin while simultaneously taking a cautious step back): it’s kind of hard not feel amused and sympathetic to this person who is so clearly out of her depth, like when she wakes up in the Hellsing base for the first time and see’s Alucard grinning at her, and she reacts exactly just as you would expect. The only thing I would raise a slight brow at, and maybe why I still half prefer the anime version of Seras, is that the fan service is turned just a smidgen too high?
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate some scenes as much as the next guy, but at times I begin to wonder if it gets a little gratuitous at times. For example, when the Valentine brothers are attacking the base, she and Walter have to get down from a vent after they crawled through it to avoid the roving death squad in the corridor, and she ends up landing rear first on one of the ‘round-table’ member’s face. It can come across as just a little too much some times, although I think that’s the point as well, since I’m pretty sure a lot of those types of the scenes are made more for the comedy then any actual titillation. Thinking back on it, seeing Walter flip like a damned ninja out of the vent after she had fallen in like a klutz was pretty hilarious, so that might have been the intention.
And just as a final thought before I sign off: Alucard. Christ alive, I swear that he has one of the most badass designs a character could ask for, and he more than earns it. Everything about his character, from his insanely un-killable body to his guns that shoot bullets made of melted down blessed crosses, everything about his character comes off as effortlessly badass. This is almost odd coming from me, since I usually don’t like the idea of near invincible protagonist, since it sort of kills the tension when you know a character can’t be killed. But everything about him is handled so well: not only does he keep us interested since he’s got more tricks up his sleeve to murder and maim then an actual magician has tricks, but it is half established during the Anderson fight that he can be killed, or at least threatened, and I think this makes him an object of morbid curiosity. A part of us begins to wonder just how much he can take before he is genuinely at threat. Not only that, but his attitude makes him an immense joy to watch, grinning like a mad man as he blasts the living dead into bits, and acting like an aloof bastard to everyone by phasing through walls when nothing serious is happening and/or there’s no threat to anyone’s life. AND (on top of all that) is his increasingly intriguing relationship to the others: is Seras really just a whimsy of sport? To see if he could raise another vampire, having grown bored of simply killing every vampire he encountered for so long? Did he genuinely want to take another under his wing and train her in his ways? If so, why?
And CHRIST, I could write a whole essay on the complex relationship he has with Integra, but I understand that I’ve used plenty of your time already, so I think I’ll end it here.
Well, this was the first of what I’m dubbing as “Oliver’s idle musing,” which are primarily going to be about…well, my musings. Just thoughts and ideas that I want to put to paper because it helps me think, and I hope that you can enjoy reading my odd little thoughts and wonderings as much as I enjoy making them.
*Please refrain from making jokes about her character’s “roundness.”