Demons, Monsters, and Ghosts, Oh No! Part XII: Hellsing vs. Twilight
Well, I promised it, so here it is: My post on Twilight. Now let me start with a disclaimer that I have not read the novels, my only exposure to Twilight has been through the movies (which I have seen…most of them) and the constant, non-stop flow of insipid dialogue from young women obsessed with the series. I assume the dialogue to be insipid due to the nature of the series, because some of the young women I hear it from are actually quite intelligent. I want to start off with a link to a post I found concerning twilight. Warning: this post is both hilarious and disheartening, there are also some references to sexual activity, nothing disgusting, just a man talking about his marriage…how any woman could do this to her husband is beyond me…although the husband doesn’t seem to be a stand up guy either so…whatever.
First I want to focus on the attributes of vampires in Hellsing (the modern vampire story that keeps closest to the spirit of the original mythology) and Twilight (arguably the most popular modern vampire series…possibly tied with the Southern Vampire Mysteries series). In Hellsing we see two types of vampires: those vampires that are created by science (or freaks) and those vampires that are created naturally (in Hellsing a person can only become a vampire if he/she is a virgin, who is bitten by a vampire of the opposite sex [possibly, the last part is implied but not concrete within the series], otherwise the person becomes a ghoul). The main character of the series, Alucard, hunts both versions of vampires for the Order of Protestant Knights (Hellsing Organization), but he has a particular hatred of freaks because they are not true vampires, only pretenders. In Hellsing vampires naturally have greatly enhanced physical abilities (speed, strength, senses, etc) and can only be killed by 1)Cutting off the head or 2) Destroying significant portions of the body with bullets made of blessed silver(this generally includes removing the head, so it may be considered an extension of method 1). While they are not fond of sunlight, it does not actually harm them. However, they do have trouble with running water. They also have some of the normal abilities, such as the ability to mesmerize others, some have the ability to read mindes, etc. As vampires age they develop other abilities, such as the ability to regenerate portions of their bodies, access to certain types of magic, so on and so forth.
Alucard himself displays a great many abilities include the ability to summon and control demons, to regenerate his body (including his head), to phase through solid objects, to transform his body, or portions of his body, into other things (my favorite is when he turns his arm into a dog, and bites off another vampire’s legs), and an ability similar to telekinesis. Perhaps Alucard’s greatest ability is to consume and store the soul of every being he kills. It is revealed in the series that this is what makes him effectively immortal, whenever he receives an injury that should kill him (such as losing his head) he simply allows one of the souls he has stolen to take his place. He also has the ability to call out these souls and force them to fight for him (in the end of the series there is a three way battle in London between the Nazi Vampires, the Hellsing Organization/British Military, and the Order of Iscariot [evil Roman Catholic monster hunters]; Alucard effectively ends the conflict when he releases an army of millions of souls and wipes out London). So, needless to say, Alucard is kind of ridiculously powerful, and the enemies he faces are usually incredibly powerful in their own right. In Hellsing a vampire, with the exception of the very young, is usually powerful enough to combat a small army of humans. Most vampires also have dozens to hundreds of ghoul servants that they have created by feeding.
In Twilight, at least according to my research, vampires are effectively immortal and can only be truly destroyed by fire (though dismemberment is inconvenient and in the movies cutting off the head will kill a vampire). Vampires gain physical enhancements, strength, speed, senses, etc, and each vampire develops a special ability (such as the ability to manipulate emotions, read minds, or blind the senses of others). It is worth noting that the limitation to one ‘magical’ ability should make the Twilight vampires significantly weaker than the Hellsing vampires. Oh…and they glitter in the sunlight…I have to admit that I’ve never understood exactly why they glitter in the sunlight…it doesn’t exactly make sense. The introduction of ‘vegetarian’ vampires should also help make the Twilight vampires significantly weaker than the Hellsing vampires because, in both, the strength of the vampire is tied directly to the amount of human blood they consume.
Now, lets look at the reality of vampires in both Hellsing and Twilight. I said above that Hellsing, of modern vampire tales, retains the spirit of the original mythology the best. Among modern vampire tales Hellsing is rare in that it views vampires as monsters (as opposed to tragic heroes). Even Alucard, the protagonist of the series who works for the nominal heroes, is portrayed as a monstrous being capable of incredible evil and only reigned in by his bonds with the Hellsing organization. This emphasis on the monster, and the overarching theme of the series ‘Only a Man can kill a Monster’, is reminiscent of both the ancient vampire legends and the heroic legends of the distant past. I particularly love the theme of the series because it is presented, almost universally, from the voice of Alucard – who appears to be looking for a man who can slay him. Alucard defeats, generally with great ease, all of the monsters that come against him. Even the man-made monster, Alexander Anderson (aka Paladin), from the order of Iscariot is unable to stand against Alucard (though he comes the closest of all, because he is the closest to man). And he continually argues that only a true man, presumably a courageous, virtuous man, can slay a monster.
Compare this to Twilight, in which the combined themes of emotional/romantic love and man cannot kill monsters are dominant, and we can see that the significant differences between the two are not at the surface/power level only. The themes of Twilight not only seem (remember I haven’t read the books so I’m going off of what I’ve seen and heard in movies and from fans) to encourage the least successful, and most destructive kind of teenage love, but they also emphasize the weakness, frailty, and overall undesirability of the human condition. This is diametrically opposed to the general themes of ancient myth.
So, in light of this analysis, it is my assessment that Hellsing is far better than Twilight in every meaningful respect…oh…and Alucard would eat the entire Cullen family for breakfast.
The Hellsing Ovas can be purchased on Amazon starting with volume 1, here. However the Ova series is not yet complete; the Manga series, which is complete, can be purchased starting with volume 1, here.
The Twilight books can also be purchased on Amazon, here.
I’m not going to tell you where you can get the movies because, while I can’t comment on the books, the movies are horrible anyway.
Among the Neshelim
‘Understanding. One little word, and yet it means so much. We spend our lives pursuing it in one form or another. We long for it, we seek it, but it is always a rare commodity.
Chin Cao Yu, priest and scholar, has sacrificed all he held dear in its pursuit. Now he undertakes the journey of a lifetime, a journey among the mysterious Neshilim, a people of power unlike any he has seen before. This journey will turn the world he thought he knew upside down and challenge all of his dearly held beliefs. Has he found the ultimate truth or the ultimate lie? And what will he do with it when he learns?’