Hellsing is one of the most popular manga ever written and was made by Kōta Hirano. First released in a Young King OURS serial between 1997 and 2008, Hellsing has been collected into a series of 10 volumes.
Often referred to as one of the best horror mangas in history, it was only a matter of time before an anime adaptation was released.
Hellsing has seen a lot of media adaptations since its release with the most noticeable adaptations being the original Hellsing anime that was released in 2001 and another anime adaptation called Hellsing Ultimate which was released in 2006.
These anime series both follow the story of the manga but the original is a lot more liberal in its interpretation as the manga was nowhere near completed at the time of its release.
On the other hand, Hellsing Ultimate is a much more faithful adaptation of the manga since it was nearing the end of its run. However, if you are new to the Hellsing universe then you have come to the right place.
Whether you have read the manga and are wanting to delve into the anime or haven’t read any of the source material, we have gathered everything you need to know about the Hellsing anime and how they are different.
By the end of this guide, you’ll know which one is the best one for you to watch.
Before we delve into how the two anime series are different, it’s important to know the basic story of Hellsing. The first thing to know is that there are a lot of moving pieces in Hellsing which means that it is a show that requires your full attention from beginning to end.
The story follows The Royal Knights of Protestant Order which is a secret group led by the descendants of Abraham Van Helsing whose job is to rid the world of evil creatures such as ghouls, vampires, and any other creature that threatens the safety of mankind.
The plot sees the organization run by Sir Integra Fairbrook Wingates Hellsing who is a teenager when she takes the helm after her father dies.
Following his death, Integra’s uncle attempts to kill her, believing that he should be the one to lead the organization despite her being the direct heir. When pursued by her uncle and his men, Integra follows her father’s last instructions to go down to the basement in the dungeons.
There is nothing there except a corpse. Her uncle finds her and immediately shoots which scrapes her but blood lands on the corpse which reanimates and reveals itself to be Alucard, a vampire who belongs to the Hellsing family.
With Alucard’s help, Integra is available to get rid of her uncle and any other traitor and lead the organization for ten years.
This is where we come in, there has been a huge number of vampires located in London and the growth doesn’t seem to be slowing down.
The Vatican’s group, the Iscariot, is the thirteenth secret division of the Roman Catholic Church and opposes The Royal Knights of Protestant Order as well as the non-human creatures that roam the earth.
They send Alexander Anderson, the Vatican’s best priest who specializes in exorcism and has powers of his own to see what is going on.
This may seem easy enough to follow, but what the plot reveals is that the growing number of vampires is thanks to the regeneration of the evil Nazi group, “Millennium”, who have returned after fifty years to invade England and eventually take over the world.
Their first goal is to completely destroy any resistance which includes the Hellsing family and Alucard, in particular.
The Differences Between Hellsing And Hellsing Ultimate
Now that you know the background of Hellsing and its basic plot, you’ll be able to understand just what makes each show different and why they are different.
The most important fact to remember is that the original Hellsing series was made when the manga wasn’t nearly finished whereas Hellsing Ultimate was made just as the manga was coming to an end.
The results of which have seen two extremely different shows. In this section, we’ll be delving into various aspects of the show and discussing how and why they are different:
The first thing to discuss is the animation itself. Hellsing was first released in 2001 whereas Hellsing Ultimate was first released in 2006.
In terms of the animation standards, they were much lower when the original series aired compared to the latter although this isn’t to imply that the original show lacks quality.
Animation is a medium that evolves and advances rapidly in terms of techniques used so despite having a five-year difference between them, the standards between the two shows are clear to see from the start.
Hellsing was developed and animated by Gonzo which was a new studio at the time whereas Hellsing Ultimate was animated by three established studios with the first four episodes made by Satelight, episodes five to seven made by Madhouse, and episodes eight to ten made by Graphinica.
Although this may sound inconsistent, the results of Hellsing Ultimate are much stronger in terms of the quality simply because animation had advanced so much between shows.
The next thing to think about is the plot of the shows. Both shows follow the same basic plotline but the original Hellsing series was made when the manga was nowhere near finished so the majority of episodes were filler episodes that are out of the canon and not related to the manga.
On the other hand, Hellsing Ultimate was made just as the manga was coming to an end so the entire show relates to the story of the manga. Therefore, if you are wanting to watch a show that is more faithful to the manga then Hellsing Ultimate is the best one for you.
Even though it contains fewer episodes than the original Hellsing (Hellsing has 13 episodes whereas Hellsing Ultimate has 10), it has no filler episodes as the majority of the manga had been released by the time it was made.
The original Hellsing series has a filler episode ratio of 46% which means that only 7 episodes are in canon. This deters a lot of fans from watching.
We have touched on this briefly in the article, but the production process itself was hugely different between Hellsing and Hellsing Ultimate.
The original Hellsing series was broadcast in Japan between October 10th, 2001 to January 16th, 2002 at midnight on Fuji Television.
It originally received mixed reviews on release due to the differences in the manga with both Hirano and hardcore Hellsing manga fans expressing slight disappointment due to the number of filler episodes.
Hellsing Ultimate had a different release altogether as it was released on DVD in Japan and North American by Geneon. It is also known as Hellsing in Japan. It received better reviews by fans thanks to its faithfulness to the manga as well as its lack of filler episodes.
Like the manga, Hellsing Ultimate follows the invasion of the Nazi “Millennium” Group invading England and the group of vampires who are recruited to stop them.
One of the highlights that people love about the original Hellsing is the soundtrack which was composed by Yasushi Ishii. The Hellsing Original Soundtrack: Raid was first released on November 22nd, 2001, and included 20 tracks.
There was a second soundtrack titled Hellsing Original Soundtrack: Ruins which featured an extra 22 tracks. Both have since been republished to their high popularity.
When it comes to the Hellsing Ultimate soundtrack, there have been three different soundtracks released with music composed by Hayato Matsuo. The first soundtrack titled Hellsing OVA Original Soundtrack – BLACK DOG was first released on March 21st, 2008.
The Japanese soundtrack came with a DVD soundtrack called Premium DISK – Warsaw Recording Selection which contained nine tracks. This DVD was also included with the Hellsing I-V Bluray box soundtrack called Nazi CD which features 13 tracks as well as a secret track.
The third soundtrack released was Sulien’s vocal tracks which were incorporated into their album THE DAWN. This was released to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Hellsing manga that was first published in 1997.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Hellsing Ultimate A Continuation Of Hellsing?
A common misconception is that Hellsing Ultimate is a continuation of the original Hellsing anime; however, this is not true.
Hellsing Ultimate is another reboot of the manga starting from the beginning just as the original Hellsing did.
The reason why both shows are different is simply that Hellsing Ultimate was made when more of the manga had been released meaning that it was able to follow the plot of the manga faithfully whereas the original series is dominated by filler episodes.
Is Hellsing Worth Watching?
Hellsing Ultimate is often regarded as one of the best anime shows in history thanks to its faithfulness to the manga and the quality of the animation. Incorporating plenty of gore and violence that is sure to appease any horror fan, Hellsing Ultimate is bound not to disappoint.
Bear in mind, however, that despite being an animation, Hellsing Ultimate is not a family show and is by no means an anime that is suitable for children.
So which is better: Hellsing or Hellsing Ultimate?
We’ve dived into the most important differences between the shows but ultimately, it’s all dependent on what you want to get from the show; however, the general consensus is unanimous as Hellsing Ultimate has proven itself to be the more faithful adaptation that boasts higher quality in its animation and production as well as the storyline.
The original Hellsing is by no means a bad show but it’s important to note that it was made before the manga was close to ending. Since they are separate animations, you don’t have to watch both Hellsing shows if you don’t want to.
In fact, some Hellsing fans insist that you forego the original series altogether and watch Hellsing Ultimate as it tells the story from beginning to end with no filler episodes and with complete faithfulness to the story.
When you watch the show as well, you’ll be able to notice how much stronger and more consistent Hellsing Ultimate is compared to the original due to the advanced techniques applied.
The fact that Hellsing Ultimate was created by three experienced studios is also evident as there is a more connective thread throughout the show that you can’t tell the difference in style.
On the other hand, the original Hellsing was made by an inexperienced studio that had only recently opened at the time of development.
There are categories in which the original Hellsing outperforms Hellsing Ultimate; as it is often agreed that the soundtrack is a lot stronger than Hellsing Ultimate.
This is because Hellsing Ultimate combines a lot of artists and a lot of musical genres that it can feel a bit inconsistent, especially when you get to the end credits; however, the soundtrack for the original Hellsing perfectly provides that atmospheric ambiance that would expect such a dark tale to have.
This is why the soundtrack for the original Hellsing has been remastered and republished time and time again. If you are wanting to watch the show that is the most faithful to the manga then definitely go for Hellsing Ultimate and you won’t be disappointed.