Saturday, July 10, 2010

Hellsing: Vol. 1 by Kohta Hirano

Hellsing is a secret British agency devoted to eliminating vampires. The leader, Sir Integra Hellsing, a descendant of the great hunter Dr. Van Hellsing runs the operation with an iron fist and looks good doing it. Her primary weapon against the undead is a pinnacle of genetic engineering, an all-powerful vampire named Alucard, who is bound to the family's service. Scrappy, newly-vamped Seras Victoria is still learning about the ins and outs of hunting the undead, but Alucard believes that in time she will be a valuable addition to the team if he can just get her to mind his orders!

I admit that I was quite prepared to detest this manga, as I normally can't stand the recent, fangless "noble and harmless vampire" that has invaded so-called horror stories. Fortunately Alucard and Seras are neither of these: they are cruel, strong and bloodthirsty, the last only kept in check by loyalty and a supply of willingly donated blood.

This manga is the first in the series and it has some definite flaws going on, most noticeably an extreme lack of plot other than "Let's kill stuff in the bloodiest way possible!" Panel layout is less than interesting, and the author apparently has issues with the concept of leaving some white on the page. Alucard is every vampire stereotype rolled into one, but the other characters seem promising.

The author did a great job on the facial expressions, which often seem overly-exagerated in manga. These are much more realistic. The author also clearly put a lot of time into character design, right down to the pins on the outfits and maker's seals and notes on the weaponry.

This is definitely a start that encourages me to give the next few a go.

4 Stars

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