A few years ago, I somehow found upon an anime labeled "Hellsing", named after the famous vampire hunter Abraham Van Hellsing from the classic novel "Dracula". Intrigued, I decided to watch it. Unfortunately, upon completion of the series, I was more disappointed than my boss seeing me show up for work in the faint hope that today was the day that his boss decided to fire me. Then, years later, an OVA series titled "Hellsing Ultimate" appeared sort of as an apology and to better reflect the source material of the Hellsing manga. The results? Well, let's dive in.
For the most part, if you have watched the original Hellsing animated series, you'd be very happy to know that the OVA is a better representation of the original manga series as opposed to the train derailment that was the 2001 animated series. In my opinion, the stark contrast of the writing of the original series and the OVA may have had something to do with the budget, but I'm just speculating. I, for one, have not read the original manga series (and most likely should), but I have heard from many testimonials that the OVA does closely relate to the original work compared to its predecessor. However, what I would like to point out is that a bit of the story; manga, OVA, or anime series; is a bit lacking since (I think) the viewer may be required to read a bit of supplementary text, such as who Count Dracula was or who Vlad the Impaler was. If I'm wrong about this, I apologize.
The characters are changed quite a bit compared to the 2001 anime series. The main protagonist, Alucard, is much, much more menacing in the OVA, Seras and Integra are more more involved in the plot and aren't reduced to side characters while Alucard takes center stage, and many other characters that were excluded in the 2001 series are shown, most notably the antagonist organization, Millennium. This, in my opinion, is a great deal better than the series since it has a much wider cast of characters to get to know.
Now, I suppose it may just be because 2001 was a bit dated for anime, but I simply loved the artstyle for the OVA series, especially around the fight scenes. One fight scene, which involved a number of staring eyes, centipedes, and hellhouds, made my skin crawl all the way from beginning to end, which I feel did its job superbly to make me cringe (in a good way). If I had to give one complaint, and I'm sure a lot of you are going to say this as well, it would be the sort of random comedic moments of the series where the characters are drawn in a sort of 4koma sort of way that seems very out of place. When you watch a horror anime, you expect gruesome deaths, blood, and destruction; not stuff to make you laugh (well, unless it's Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-chan). It's like going to a steakhouse and ordering a pizza: everyone looks at you funny for doing it.
The majority of the voice actors from the 2001 series reprise their roles for the OVAs, which is a breath of fresh air into my lungs because the voice actors for the 2001 series gave a performance so well that calling it superb would be an insult. However, the voice actor I would have to give the greatest mention to would be Crispin Freeman for his portrayal of Alucard. Don't get me wrong, all of the voice actors did a fantastic job as fulfilling their roles, but I felt that Crispin Freeman wins the gold out of all of them.
As for music, quite honestly, I didn't really spot any tracks or music that really stuck out to me. None of the tracks were bad per-say, but none just really aren't worth special mention.
I will tell you this before I finish. The story may be a bit off-kilter, but if you're a fan of vampires and violence, I couldn't recommend this series more. The series itself isn't horrible, but it's definitely not in my top 20. Regardless, if I was put in front of it, I'd probably watch it.