Reviewby Zac Bertschy,
DVD 2: Blood Brothers
There's a mole inside the Hellsing organization, and they've been leaking classified information to the press. Walter discovers a snuff video on the Internet that features someone wearing a Hellsing badge; naturally, Alucard is on the job. The vicious and hedonistic Valentine brothers also make their appearance, launching an attack on the Hellsing organization that will rock Sir Integra's important Round Table meeting to its very core!
Considered by some to be the best volume of the Hellsing TV series, volume two certainly packs a bigger bang than some of the others. The series comes to a head with this release, ramping up the action and what's at stake (pun intended) for the main characters. This volume is made unique mostly by the episodes involving the Valentine brothers, certainly the most interesting villains the show has to offer.
Hellsing already had an interesting premise, and this volume fleshes that premise out and really brings the characters around after introducing them in the first volume. Ceres continues to struggle with her decision, unable to decide whether or not she's willing to forsake her humanity and drink the blood her master offers her. While some consider Ceres' struggle to be the centerpiece of the series, the relationship between Alucard and Integra is explored in greater depth. No matter what interests you about Hellsing, there will be something in volume two to excite you.
Without a doubt, the best episodes on the disc are the last two, which deal with the Valentine brothers and their assault on the Hellsing organization. They basically bring Hellsing to its knees, corrupting over half of the organization's forces and assembling them against Integra's secret weapon, Alucard. The Valentine brothers are ruthless and uncompromising, and they are written like true villains, which is extremely rare in anime. A lot of anime series feature villains that seem to show some sympathy for the heroes; they won't kick them while they're down. They stop and issue long soliloquies about why they're evil, and always leave big holes in their plans for the heroes to walk through. The Valentine brothers are no such villains; they almost single-handedly take down Hellsing by virtue of having zero mercy. They kill everyone in their path and take every opportunity to destroy Integra, who they know is at the head of the organization. It's refreshing to see writing like this, and it comes highly recommended for anyone who has the stomach for it.
The dubbing remains excellent in Hellsing. Jan, the more psychotic of the Valentine brothers, is voiced with a ferocious, carefree, hedonistic glee that is unmistakably authentic and one of the finest performances I've heard in a dub thus far. The dialogue he's given is extremely tricky to pull off convincingly, but the actor did a fine job and the character is strengthened by his portrayal. I reiterate that the English voice cast for Hellsing is superior to the Japanese cast and anyone with even a passing respect for English voice acting needs to see it. The music is also above par, providing gritty rock rhythms to accompany the gruesome proceedings. Perfection.
On the animation side of things, Hellsing takes a slight dip in this volume. The characters are routinely off-model and it's a bit distracting. The animation quality goes down in later volumes, and here it's passable, but the mistakes are noticeable and distracting. That isn't to say that Hellsing is poorly animated; it just could have used a bit more polish. The DVD presentation is flawless and one of the sharpest, most error-free video transfers I've ever seen.
Simply put, if you dig horror anime--or even just vampires or gothic artwork--you're going to love Hellsing. It would be easy to recommend this volume above the others thanks to the strength of episodes five and six, but it's necessary to see the first volume in order to get the full impact of what's happening. Volume two is an excellent addition to an excellent series.
Overall (dub) : A+
Overall (sub) : A
Story : A
Animation : B-
Art : A
Music : A+
+ Great storyline, fun characters, awesome music
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