Writer(s): Kohta Hirano.
Artist(s): Kohta Hirano.
Translator(s): Duane Johnson.
Letterer(s) and Retouch: Wilbert Lacuna & Studio Cutie.
Publisher: Dark Horse Manga.
Format: Hardcover – Deluxe edition.
Release Date: June 14th 2020.
Genre(s): Manga, Horror.
My Overall Rating:
Sometimes you can’t help but wonder if there are supernatural things that humans are spared from seeing in their daily lives thanks to silent heroes. Whether it would be things that would devour us in our sleep, things that would strip us of our peace of mind, things that would kill us without any second thought, the freedom of living in this fear is something we clearly take for granted. What if these heroes were part of an organization that required secrecy if the world wasn’t to drown in hysteria? What if these heroes were also the very things that could hurt us too? Mangaka Kohta Hirano explores such a world with Hellsing and introduces us to a fiendish hero out roaming the world blinded by his mission. In this stunning blood-red deluxe hardcover edition, the original 7×10 serialized format of the first 27 chapters of the series (first four volumes) are collected and comes in an embossed casing, sewn binding, and with a ribbon marker that deceptively hides all the terrifying horror fun straight from the mind of mangaka Kohta Hirano.
What is Hellsing (Vol. 1) about? Strange supernatural horrors haunt the streets and no ordinary means of authority and power can rid these beings of this world. Fortunately for everyone, the mysterious Hellsing organization is out to repel hell’s minions and they have a secret weapon among them that can perfectly deal with these horrors, a tool in the form of a vampire lord known as Alucard. Equipped with an oversized pistol, hiding terrifying mythical powers, and known for his merciless and gory form of retaliation towards all those who dare threaten the Queen and England, this creature will shed blood against anyone and anything. After all, the Hellsing Agency, part of the Royal Order of Protestant Knights, is here to take down anyone who tries to violate the British Empire and the protestant church. Alas, some monsters are much tougher to kill than others.
“Drink blood by your own will, walk the night under your own power. As a no-life king.”— Kohta Hirano
A very simple premise is the driving force of this manga and its episodic nature allows the story to smoothly evolve until all the key parties (Hellsing, the Vatican section XIII Iscariot, and Millenium) are introduced. That’s when the overarching plot is finally revealed and readers will be able to understand the age-old trinity feud that rises once again from the dead and inadvertently grabs a couple of human casualties along the way. With each chapter, new characters are presented, each with their own touch of personality, mostly suppressed by their accented dialogues (whether it’s a Scottish or German accent; I found myself reading their parts out loud to fully comprehend them). Each chapter also relies on a straightforward problem in the form of a supernatural disturbance that needs to be neutralized but readers will still be teased as to the characters’ motives to understand where things are headed.
While the story in itself isn’t imbued in complexity, it is mangaka Kohta Hirano’s artwork that reveals its true direction. In fact, Hellsing‘s strengths come from its artistic vision. Immediately categorized as horror, it should come as no surprise that this series is bound to venture into a lot of bloody and extreme dismemberment sequences. However, his style neutralizes the repulsive nature of these acts and turns every page into action-packed and pseudo-poetic cathartic moments that somehow give the vampire lord Alucard and his entourage a deeply ingrained pleasure for violence showcased with a sense of splendour and pizzazz. While everyone might be on the demented end of the spectrum, their methodology of carnage is homogeneous and there’s something simply entertaining about watching it all unfold without any form of moderation.
Hellsing (Vol. 1) is an engrossing apocalyptic story introducing a shadowy organization’s mission to stop supernatural forces of evil with the help of the legendary vampire Alucard.