If you’re an anime fan, then you might have heard arguments about which is better: subbed or dubbed? Flame wars have waged across the Internet over this debate for years, but the answer might not be either. That’s right; sometimes the best version may be fan-based parodies called abridged series! Case in point, Hellsing Ultimate Abridged.
Created in 2010 by Takahata101 of TeamFourStar, this parody of Hellsing Ultimate is a gem. It keeps all the over-the-top violence of the original series, but also adds enough humor to match it. Fans of the series are even saying it’s better than the original dub by Funimation. Not to belittle Funimation’s efforts, but here are five reasons why fans might be right.
TAKAHATA101 PLAYS ALUCARD
If you know TeamFourStar, then you know what Curtis “Takahata101” Arnott is about. From Nappa to Red XVIII, he likes to give his characters varying levels of crazy. Add that to a battle-loving monster like Alucard, and he goes nuts.
The original Alucard is pretty arrogant and knows how strong he is, but he still respects Integra. In contrast, Taka’s Alucard is very much a troll, who loves to cause trouble for everyone. He messed with the Cristo Redentor to anger Anderson, gets off on hearing he was right, and tilted every painting in a hallway to give Integra a headache.
He may be a troll, but Takahata still gives Alucard some hidden depths. Like any good comedian, he knows when it’s time to be serious about something. He shows genuine concern for Seras when she is in danger and is very solemn at the sight of Father Anderson’s passing. Then he flips his lid when Walter interrupted Anderson’s final words.
THE SOUNDTRACK GETS AN UPGRADE
Choosing the right music can be what makes or breaks a scene. In that regard, TeamFourStar has mastered it with their choices for the series. For example, when the time comes for The Major’s “I Love War” speech, it’s appropriately accompanied by Gustav Holst’s “Mars the Bringer of War.” They also choose to kick off Millenium’s assault on London with Edwin Starr’s “War,” the irony intentional.
Let’s not forget all the killer moments of Seras Victoria, AKA the Police Girl. Every time she ends up going on a rampage, its accompanied by a Rob Zombie song. The hospital fight had “Feel So Good”; tearing through the Nazi’s in Hellsing Manor, “Living Dead Girl”; beating the Captain, “Werewolf Baby!” The heavy metal rock drives home how badass Seras is at these moments.
The best example, though, comes in Episode 8 with Alucard’s return to London: the moment you hear Andrew W.K. playing, you know what’s going to happen next. Compared to the softer music used in the original dub, this version knows it has to excite you up for what’s to come. It manages to go above and beyond and make viewers want to scream “YEAH BABY!!!” at the screen.
STAYS TRUE TO THE SOURCE MATERIAL
This show is, at its heart, meant to be a parody, so TeamFourStar was going to change characters up for comedy. Any good satire has to exaggerate its story for this reason. That said, it’s essential to remain faithful to the original, and Hellsing Ultimate Abridgeddoes this quite well with its characters.
For example, Alucard may be a total troll in the abridged series, but other than, he’s pretty much the same. He’s as arrogant and full of himself as the original but is way more in your face about it since he knows no one can stop him. He also maintains his love for battle, especially when fighting Alexander Anderson. He even admits getting turned on from fighting Anderson, imagine that.
Then there’s the series big bad, The Major. The Major is the same as he is in the original. He doesn’t give two cents about being a Nazi and wants to cause as much destruction as possible. His “I love war” speech is funnier than the original, but has the same point: “I VANT WORLD VAR III!”
Since this series recycles the footage from the Hellsing Ultimate OVAs, changes come in writing. While most of the dialogue becomes humorous, TFS can still make it epic as hell. In some cases, it surpasses the original versions.
Take the climactic moment in Episode 8 when Alucard unlocks his full power. Instead of that “Bird of Hermes” line from the original, he calmly says, to the music from Castlevania, no less:
When hope is gone, undo this lock, and send me forth for a moonlit walk. Release restraint level… *Zero*
Anyone who’s seen Hellsing Ultimate knows what happens next and those who’ve only seen the abridged will figure it out quickly. It’s the perfect set-up for Alucard’s big moment.
GETS RID OF ALL THE UNNECESSARY SCENES
The definition of an “abridgment” is to shorten something without losing its essence. In that regard, Takahata boils the series down to its essentials. Most of the episodes are usually a third of the OVA’s length, sometimes less than a quarter.
The episodes don’t always follow the structure of the OVA’s, though. TeamFourStar shuffles some scenes into different orders to better suit their story. For context, some scenes are retold in flashback. Altogether, though, the structure of the story is intact enough for someone to make sense of it.
JUST WATCH IT!
If you’re a fan of Hellsing Ultimate, then you will love what Takahata101 and TeamFourStar have done with it. Or not, but they don’t care about it. Alucard won’t, that’s for sure.