MAJOR SPOILERS as I look at the finale of the blood and guts vampire series.
So Saturday night was the (delayed) première of the Hellsing Ultimate finale on Toonami. I had watched some of the series years ago but had recently got back into it with the Toonami run leading up to the release of the 9th and 10th parts of this OAV (Original Animation Video, a rapidly archaic term for “Direct to DVD” in Otaku circles). This series has literally stretched out for nearly a decade as the original episode debuted back in 2006, and the last two episodes were released in Japan at the end of 2012, they were only released in an English dub a month or so ago, and were originally going to be shown on Toonami in October/November, but that was nearly scrapped, only for parties to change their mind and air things as part of Toonami’s movie month of December.
Honestly, the ending to this series was not perfect by any means. I found that the last two episodes really struggled to keep its balance between being symbolic and artistic, and plain just not making any sense. It alternated between some very good action scenes, and sometimes convoluted explanations that were missing a lot of information that just left you as the viewer scratching your head.
The major plot of course was the final step in the plan to kill Alucard by The Major. He had alluded during the previous episode that the attack on London, the Battle with the Religious order, the Escariot, Anderson the priest, and Alucard himself was just all part of a bigger plan and that everyone’s death was part of what he wanted. We get an answer to all this twofold in this series. The minor point being that the Nazi vampires are looking to die in battle, to release themselves from their “curse” of being an undead mass and that they are free. The other being that having everyone slaughtered in a gory and bloody way leaves plenty of blood for Alucard to absorb as part of his power. The whole point of the battle, was to push Alucard to use this power to absorb the blood and the souls of all those around him. Why?
The god damn kitty boy.
It turns out that Nazi, Vampire, Kitty boy of ill defined power Schrödinger was the key part of the plan all along. As Alucard is absorbing the blood of those around him, The little shit slits his own throat (or more accurately cuts his own head clean off) and his body and head fall into the rivers of blood. Somehow by absorbing Schrodinger, it makes all the souls within Alucard self aware (or something like that) and the souls begin to shut off, causing Alucard to have a weird moment where he sees the sunrise, and remembers during his past incarnations seeing the same sunrise just before he died each time.
The most powerful vampire of all time was defeated by Existentialism.
Seriously, This reminds me of the old Fantastic Four cartoon from the 90’s when a group of hero beat Galactus, eater of Worlds by making him feel Guilt.
This didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, Basically the idea behind Schrödinger is that as long as he is self aware he can not die. What the hell does that even mean? I think, Therefore I can survive being shot in the head? I understand the reference and all that, but seriously, how did he end up getting THAT power? Did The Doctor give it to him? Did he develop this power on his own? And here is a good question, how the hell did The Major know this was even going to work in the first place? Another question was, if the whole point was to have Alucard absorb Schrodinger, wouldn’t it have been easier to just have the two fight? Hell, that’s what happened to Rip Van Winkle.
There were other parts that also did not make a whole lot of sense to me either, namely Walter. Let me get this strait, this big Vampire hunter, The Angel of Death, has been hiding under the Hellsing Organization’s nose for an ungodly amount of time, just waiting for the day he can take out Alucard? So this battle turns up, and he is either brainwashed or willingly switches sides (he mentions both) to defeat the vampire. He ends up becoming a vampire himself and now has some strange power that reverts his age younger and younger for some reason. Again, this shit is not explained very well, or much at all. I got that him turning into a kid was a “malfunction” of whatever the Doctor did to him, but what was supposed to happen? Not only that but after the battle, he gets shot a number of times, bleeds all over the place, and then just dies after killing off the Doctor. Was he a vampire, human, or what? It sounded like he was dying anyway, so did the shots kill him or his own power?
Combine that with the lack of really anything about The Doctor and his research, the story behind the female face Alucard used during the battle with Walter (Who I THINK is the identity of The Doctor’s literal skeleton in the closet), there was a lot that was missing from the finale. It sucks because they do explain away why this battle was over 50 years in the making for Alucard, The Major, Anderson, and even Walter, but the way it came together was disappointing and lacking in a lot of ways that could have made the battle more epic and better understood.
The Time skip wasn’t perfect either. Everything made sense to me except for two points that stood out. When the religious group comes to pay Hellsing a visit, Wolfe doesn’t seem to age. They mention she is the new “Trump card” (seeing as she was the only one to survive I guess she gets Anderson’s old job) but she still is wearing bandages from the battle. Any explanation on this one guys? At all? She seems to have her arm and leg healed, couldn’t you do anything about her face at all? She just kind of stands there glaring evilly at Seras the whole time.
The other is a little less obvious, as Integra mentions that the Hellsing organization dies with her and that it would be passed on the government agency. Unless she was VERY traumatized about her uncle trying to kill her and she abhors the ascension by bloodline, I’m not sure I’d believe she would do that as a character. I can understand that she is very business first and didn’t exactly hit the dating scene in 30 years, but I would have thought she would have found a “donor” and made sure that her family’s work would have carried on. She knew Alucard would eventually return, and she had Seras, so it’s not like she wasn’t going to leave an heir flapping in the breeze after she was gone.
Now don’t get me wrong, This finale wasn’t a complete wash either. I really liked the battle scene with Seras and the Captain. I had to chuckle when Sera used her power to rip a giant shell out of the wall and use it. Not only was the animation and effects for that fight amazing, but it made a hell of a lot more sense than anything else going on. The Captain, like the others, wanted to die in battle and he knew that Sera would be the one to do it. The Captain showed earlier that it seemed he wanted little else, particularly when he shot Wolfe through the mouth and gave her a medical kit. He knew she wouldn’t kill him, but he knew Seras (with help of the absorbed essence of Bonodette) would.
I also thought the time skipped ending was nice too. Send the viewers away with a smile instead of the depressing ending of having Alucard “dead”. This series is a great mix of comedy, drama, and gore. And with the final battle being so heavy, their wasn’t a lot of room for the humor part of the series until that point. Having Integra filling Penwood’s grandson full of lies of what his grandfather did to build up the meek man’s character, and having her bitching about finding wrinkles is hilarious and shows that the character did have a more human side to her.
So in all I think Hellsing Ultimate X was a swing and a miss. The visual was great. The English voice acting was on par with the rest of the show (amazing) but they tried to hard to be illustrative, symbolic, and cerebral that it just left me scratching my head a lot and wondering what the hell is going on. Not saying the story was bad, far from it, it’s just in the way it was told that made things more confusing and felt like it left a lot of holes that really worked against it. It’s still a great series, but it just ends on a really weird and off track note.
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