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HELLSING ULTIMATE Episode X -- Special Review

The Major was a Cyborg? Gotta admit, I did Nazi that one coming.

The final episode of Hellsing Ultimate was a thunderous, thrilling, thoroughly satisfying conclusion to the series for two reasons. First and foremost: The action. This episode had everything Hellsing fans could ever hope to ask for. A climactic battle between Alucard and Walter Dornez that was so bloody, so gory, and so violent it defies belief? Check. Integra Hellsing and Seras Victoria storming The Major’s airship, and fighting their way through zombies, Nazis, vampires and werewolves in order to break into the Major’s inner sanctum, defeat him in a gun battle, end his psychotic plot (by putting a bullet in his head) and save the world? Check. A diabolically brilliant final gambit by The Major that reached out from beyond the grave to strike down Alucard even after the Major was dead? Check. Wait…what was that last one?

Ah yes. The Major predicted that if Alucard emerged victorious, he would replenish himself, and heal the wounds he’d sustained during battle by absorbing all the blood that had been spilt throughout the city over the course of his epic fight. The Major therefore instructed the last surviving superhuman in the Millennium Organization (A boy named Schrodinger) to kill himself, and mix his magical blood with the rivers of blood Alucard was consuming in order to regain his full vampiric strength. Just as the Major predicted, when Alucard unwittingly absorbed Schrodinger’s magic blood (and therefore Schrodinger’s magic powers) into himself, Schrodinger’s magic powers proved so incompatible, and reacted so badly with Alucard’s pre-existing vampiric powers, that it caused Alucard to…cease to be. And Alucard simply vanished from the fabric of reality.

Why was this tragic turn of events a good thing? Because it allowed Hellsing Ultimate to do something it hasn’t done very much of before this point: Take the time to explore real human emotion. (This by the way is the 2 reason I so thoroughly enjoyed Episode X.) Hellsing Ultimate has proven time and again that it is uniquely skilled in portraying scenes of unadulterated carnage and violence. But I must confess, there were times over the course of the series when I found myself asking, “Why?” “Why is this violence happening? Why are the characters in this story willing to go to such tremendous lengths, and endure so much pain, and fight so ferociously? What are their motivations? Episode X effectively answered all my questions.

In the epilogue of Episode X, as we see Integra and Seras do their best to hide their feelings of grief over the loss of Alucard, the series shows us (really for the first time in my opinion) that they weren’t just fighting together because it was their official duty to defend England from supernatural threats, but because a genuine sense of friendship, family and love had developed between them. And when a member of that family (Alucard) was taken away, it cut them to the core.

What’s more, over the course of the episode, even the villains were given a motivation for their actions. (Having been experimented on by mad Nazi scientists during World War II and transformed into nigh-unkillable monstrosities --The Major into a human-looking cyborg and his soldiers into vampires-- the villains did not wish to live. However, since it was nearly impossible for them to die through ordinary methods, the only way they could think of to end their own existence was to go out in a blaze of glory by waging a war against Hellsing, the greatest demon-slaying organization on Earth.)

In the final scene of Episode X, when Alucard finally learns to control the powers he absorbed from Schrodinger, and manages to return to Integra and Seras after being away for 30 YEARS, the joy they feel (and the joy the audience feels) is nearly palpable. And when the credits rolled, I smiled at the fact that I was able to watch a series that so effectively gave the audience a sense of pulse-pounding action and (less frequently but sill effectively) displayed emotion and heart.

Hellsing Ultimate is NOT a series for the faint of heart, by any means. But it IS a well-done series that knows its audience, knows what they want, and gives it to them with a truly impressive flare for the dramatic. And if you’re willing to wade through blood and gore to get to good action scenes, memorable characters, and an engaging story, then I daresay Hellsing Ultimate is a series for you, and you should check it out today.

Kaita Mpambara works every day to try and create shows, stories, and characters that are as exciting, energizing, and entertaining as the very best works that have been given to the world by both the western and eastern animation industries. Keep up with his musings on life, the universe and everything by following him on Facebook.

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