Home Channels Anime “Hellsing Ultimate: IX and X” Denoument and Dismemberment

“Hellsing Ultimate: IX and X” Denoument and Dismemberment

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Hellsing UltimateThe final stand for the Hellsing Organization is here. Britain is on fire, the White House is destroyed, and a Nazi battallion is rising from the depths. Alucard may be the last stand humanity has against a torrent of bloodshed heralding an eternal reich. The final two episodes of Hellsing Ultimate are here to finish up the remake series, but will the only pain be that which Alucard is going to unleash on his enemies, or will fans be hurt when they take on this last installment of a series nearly a decade in the making?

At the end of 2006, Hellsing Ultimate premiered in Japan. At the end of 2014, the series ends in America. It’s been a long and strange journey that’s involved multiple distributors (including one or two that went under), a pace of no more than two episodes produced per year, and even a Toonami run that initially planned to broadcast these episodes only for those plans to be retracted, although this was fixed when arrangements were made to air them at a later date. As with much of its cast it seems Hellsing Ultimate has been a bit cursed, but it’s finally seeing the light of day…well, as much as a legendary vampire can.

What does come to light in these final two episodes is the final betrayal of a trusted alley, the true force that powers Alucard, and the future of the Hellsing Organization. Although the running time of these two episodes amount to a feature-length adventure, it’s impossible to watch them without having seen the previous eight. It might be possible to skip other parts of this series, but watching this two-part series finale on its own would be a futile exercise.

Hellsing UltimateContinuing fans of the series will be saddened by Alucard’s tragic backstory, but his moving forward from it is a triumph. It’d be all too easy for Alucard to lose any sort of humanity he retained in the face of such monstrosity, but his embrace of his true nature is a satisfying wrap-up for the character. What’s not satisfying is the betrayal of a former partner, which is an event that even people working on the show were confused by according to the audio commentaries. They toss out theories and speculation about this but it’s a turn that will not be very sensible to most of the viewership and even less satisfying.

Seras and Integra, two of the strongest female leads in any series, get their moments of battle that highlight their particular skills, whether it be against werewolves or surprisingly-cybernetic nazis, but the true highlight for them and these two episodes as a whole comes in the epilogue. Some thirty years later, the remnants of the cast and the Hellsing Organization reunite and viewers are shwon that daily life is like in that era. With the fallen gone, life may have found a new normalcy, but a visitor from the past may shake everything up. If a new tale were to come along, this would be a great jumping on point. As it stands right now it’s a nice bowtie to the series that, for every face shredded off against a wall, also had lighter moments of super-deformed characters yelling at each other over minutae.

This set is a combo pack, featuring the two episodes over two DVDs and one Blu-Ray disc. Audio commentaries on both episodes, a video commentary on episode 9, an interview, and a recap of the series’ more notable deaths are included alongside the standard assortment of trailers as extras for this package. The extras feature personalities that identify strongly with the franchise, which is made evident by their breadth of knowledge, critical analysis and even anecdotes about their involvement with the franchise over a dozen years in American production. The conversation about the name of the lead character being “Alucard” or “Arucard” alone is worth the time spent on listening to these features. The notable deaths recap is an entertaining bit if you’re a bit rusty on the series, but if you’ve recently been through the earlier episodes it’ll be a bit pointless for you. Sadly missing from this release is the two mini-episodes of The Dawn that accompanied these episodes in Japan, though part one was included in a previous volume. It seems these will remain lost to America.

Hellsing UltimateHellsing Ultimate has a satisfactory end, but it’s only an end. If you grab the previous volumes you’ll know if you want to invest more in the ending, or if you were done with the franchise. One of the most hyperviolent shows to come out of Japan, seemingly more influenced by Europe’s Judge Dredd, America’s Frank Miller, and Japan’s own Castlevania franchise than that of more traditional anime, Hellsing Ultimate is a blood-soaked series of amazing moments that delivers a great finale for followers of the bloodtrail.

Images are from the DVD.