Manga Review: "Hellsing," Vol. 3
- Author: Kohta Hirano
- Publisher: Darkhorse Manga
- Published: June 29, 2004
- Page Count: 192 pages
- Availability: In print, buy deluxe edition on Amazon or at your local bookstore
In "Hellsing," Vol. 3 by Kohta Hirano, Hellsing Organization is looking into the Nazi Vampire Army known as Millennium. It leads them to South America and into a trap, but Alucard is a monster and is permitted to kill, unfortunately for his attackers. Alucard battles his way out of the hotel, slaughtering the police as he goes. Seras Victoria has to grapple with all this as she tries to retain her humanity amidst all the chaos.
Hellsing Is Over-The-Top Once More
Hellsing is a manga that doesn’t try to be deep, it’s just entertaining violent schlock, but that doesn’t mean it’s not fun for manga fans that want this kind of story. It’s bombastic and gory, but it knows what kind of story it wants to be. It’s a horror-action manga that is just telling a ridiculous story in a fun, irreverent way. You can read my review for the previous volume if you want to.
Kohta Hirano Reminds Us That Vampire Are Dangerous
It may have eloquent dialogue from Alucard, but it doesn’t try to be “deep” or “philosophical," it just wants to be a vampire story that has its main character Alucard ooze Rule of Cool, and be the fantasy of how the male audience wants to see vampires: As cool, cold-hearted, powerful creatures that can overpower their enemies. Alucard is not an emo, brooding, emotional vampire like how vampires are portrayed in a lot of young adult fiction.
Kohta Hirano reminds the audience of why people fear vampires: vampires have always been portrayed as dangerous creatures in fiction. Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight Saga portrayed her vampires as creatures who were only “dangerous” in-name-only and only the “bad” vampires attacked humans.
Alucard is on the “good” side and has no problems killing innocent humans who were tricked by the antagonists of Millennium into attacking him without knowing what he was. That we, the audience are supposed to root for Alucard as the “good” and “heroic” character makes the Hellsing manga interesting because Alucard is neither good nor heroic and we still love his character anyway.
I Love the Cast of Characters
Hellsing has its share of interesting and colorful characters. Alucard has always been everyone’s favorite because of his power, charisma and how he just embodies all the ideas we have of what a vampire should be. There’s Seras Victoria, the vampire who still wants to retain her humanity, the one character that is the most heroic of all the main characters in the Hellsing manga. There’s also Sir Integra Fairbrooks Wingates Hellsing, who is her own brand of crazy, and an excellent female character that is strong and independent without being a Mary Sue.
There’s Alexander Anderson, the militant Catholic who wants to exterminate all the heathens. He’s bombastic and crazy and seeing Alucard and Alexander clash, is always entertaining to read.
These characters aren’t deep, but they make everything exciting and fun to read. Characters don’t have to be deep to be fun and engaging. Hellsing is hardly deep or philosophical, but the characters still hold up the story by being unique and memorable.
The Art Is Excellent!
Kohta Hirano’s art is what makes Hellsing stand out as a manga series. I haven’t seen anyone else besides Kohta Hirano draw in this art style, he is the only mangaka that draws his characters the way he does. He uses similar designs in his manga Drifters as well. Between both manga series they share a lot of similarities when it comes to the character design.
His illustrations are very detailed and very gory. His drawings are very well done and keep you visually engaged and enhance the experience with both dialogue and visual artwork.
It’s a visually stunning manga when it comes to the art, even if it is violent and gory. The violence and gore aren’t for everyone but it is visually interesting when it comes to the artwork
The Characters Are Not Deep
Hellsing’s characters lack depth, they may be cool, powerful characters, and they may be unique, but they lack depth, depth to make them seem like more than their character traits and tropes. While they may say things that sound eloquent, characters like Alucard are cool and they may be interesting, but this isn’t a story where depth is something you’re going to find.
This manga is flashy but it lacks substance, but it wasn’t about substance in the first place. If you want a deep manga, you’re better looking somewhere else. The lack of substance doesn’t mean it’s bad, but don’t try to look for anything beyond what you see on the surface. Hellsing has a lot of entertainment value on the surface, and that’s perfectly fine.
If You’re Religious, You’ll Be Offended
If you’re a Christian, you’ll probably be offended because of how the “religious” characters are portrayed in this manga. Militant Catholic zealots want to kill the heathens and non-believers. The Protestant characters aren’t any better, willingly allowing a vampire to slaughter innocent people. There aren’t any accurate or respectful portrayals of Christianity in this particular manga.
This manga is recommended for ages 17 and up due to strong language, graphic violence, blood, gore and blasphemous content. This is not for kids, this manga is for adults, it’s definitely for a mature audience. Keep this away from the kids, this is for the adults who want an adult manga to read.
Will you read the manga Hellsing Volume 3 by Kohta Hirano?
Hellsing Is Schlocky, Violent Action That Entertains
Hellsing is an interesting, intense, dark manga. The characters are excellently written and the plot is exciting and has you on the edge of your seat. It’s a really enjoyable read, if you like dark horror manga and fiction. It’s a terrific read if you like vampire manga.
The artwork for this manga is excellent. It’s graphic, bloody, gory, and the fight scenes look very good. The character designs are great and it looks fantastic as you’re reading.
The characters aren’t deep, but they’re entertaining at least. The Christians will be offended by the blasphemous content and the bad portrayal of the Christian faith, so I don’t recommend it for you unless you’re not offended by that. The irreligious audience won’t care at all.
I recommend Hellsing if you’re one for a mature story with a lot of action and want a vampire story that makes them scary again, pick this up, this manga series is kind of out of print, but you should be able to find copies of it if you know where to look. It’s an excellent series, I haven’t bought it yet, but it’s available at my local library so I can read it for free. It is worth your time and money if you’re not easily offended. As a Christian myself, I am not offended, but I know that a lot of Christians would be, especially if you’re Protestant or Catholic.
It was enjoyable for me to read, but I don’t really need to buy it, I bought the anime as my guilty pleasure because I like animation more over manga. It’s something that’s not going to be for everyone, but whether you read it for yourself is up to you.
What Doesn't Work
Good story, characters and setting
Lack of character depth
May offend religious people, not for people easily offended
Keeps the reader entertained with visuals and the fights
Final Grade: A
Hellsing is a manga that isn’t for everyone due to its irreverent portrayal of religion, it’s over-the-top violence and it’s lack of depth. Christians will most likely be offended but if you’re not one to be offended, you’d probably enjoy this manga. It’s just ridiculous adult storytelling that’s not very mature and runs on the appeal of the power fantasy to keep the audience entertained. It’s also hard to find because it’s now out of print and Darkhorse hasn’t decided to reprint it anytime soon so if you really want it, you might be paying a hefty price tag for it.
If you want to read it I’d suggest going to your local library and borrowing it if it’s available, it’s free and you don’t have to be worried about being ripped off because of price gouging.
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