I'm not the biggest fan of vampires, especially now that it's a craze. But I've loved Dracula for a long time, and Hellsing is a fairly good companion piece for that classic. When I think vampires, I expect a lot of bloodshed and awesome carnage. I'm a little squicky on the drinking part, but when it's in black and white I can handle it well enough.
Volume one starts with an entire police squad being massacred by a single vampire. The lone survivor, Ceras Victoria, tries to flee from her zombified former comrades, but is ultimately captured by the vampire priest. Before said priest can suck her blood, he is interrupted by Alucard, a vampire who hunts vampires for the Hellsing Organization.
That...sounds kind of familiar...
|Must be my imagination.|
The rest of the volume contains Integra's back story, and how Alucard came to be in her service. It's a bit odd that we get a flashback in only the second chapter, but I've known other series to make their first chapter the flashback. Other than that the other chapters are a one off vampire hunting chapter, and three chapters introducing one of the series' main antagonists, Father Alexander Anderson.
It also includes the first part of a three chapter side story called Crossfire. The story focuses on Heinkel and Yumie, two minor characters from Anderson's Iscariot division.
Hellsing has the odd distinction of being one of the rare manga that isn't set in Japan. In fact, besides Yumie—who wields a katana and is Japanese—it has absolutely nothing to do with Japan, whatsoever. Unless you count the Japanese view of what a religious debate looks like.
|Father Alexander makes a pointed argument...I'll just go turn in my reviewer license now.|
"We don't believe in your doctrine!"
"Okay, fair enough, but you have to train your own vampire hunters now."
"Actually...you know what, I think we misread this section in the bible. All hail the pope, slayer of vampires!"
Hellsing is a lot of gory fun. The first volume tries its hand at doing...something with religious conflict. I'm not sure exactly what that something is. The religious dialogue is so easily overshadowed by the stabbing of vampires that I can't help but think it is meant to actually be read as cheese, rather than anything deep. And considering how silly Hellsing can get with religion, I can definitely say that the religion is never meant to be taken seriously. Which makes it a lot easier for me, as a christian, to stomach. Though most of the time I can't help but think about how much more badass manga christianity is than real christianity.
I can only wonder what manga Jesus is like.
|Manga Jesus says: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Just do it harder.|
This series gets a definite recommendation, though if you want to read it I recommend hurrying over to Amazon. They volumes are about five bucks a piece right now, when they retail for about close to fifteen bucks a piece.
Also, did you know Kouta Hirano used to be a hentai artist?
|Eh, I don't see it.|