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Alexander Anderson (アレクサンド・アンデルセン Arekusando Anderusen?) is a character from the manga/anime Hellsing, acting as both an antagonist and anti-villain (acting as a foil to his nemesis, the anti-hero Alucard). He is a warrior priest or paladin monster slayer and purifier who works for the Iscariot Organization. He has a Scottish accent in the English adaptations of the manga and anime series, but canonically his nationality is "unknown"; he lives in Italy, operating an orphanage outside Vatican City. Anderson, like many of Kouta Hirano's characters, was recycled from one of Hirano's old hentai works called Angel Dust, where he is involved in a few action sequences and is depicted with black hair, as well as using assault rifles rather than his bayonets.
Alexander Anderson has short, spikey blond hair (grey in the manga), green eyes (blue in the manga), a heavy-set squared jaw, and constant stubble. He also has a large, wedge-shaped scar on his left cheek. In the first televised anime series, he was depicted with prominent, sharp canines, possibly to heighten his resemblance to a vampire and make him a symbolic counterpart to Alucard, the "tame monster" of the Hellsing Organization. Anderson is quite an imposing man, being very tall (slightly taller than Alucard, who himself is over 2 meters in height) and lean with broad shoulders. He wears round glasses, a large grey cassock (has purple trim in the TV series and white trim with blue interior in the OVA), grey pants (black in the OVA and white in the TV series), black boots, a black shirt (black with blue trim in the OVA and white in the TV series), a clerical collar (absent from both of the anime series), white gloves, and a silver cross (which often glows gold in the OVA) around his neck. On his gloves, there are inscriptions written across the crosses drawn on the back:
- For the right hand, Jesus Christ is in Heaven
- For the left hand, Speak with Dead (later changed to Speak with the Dead)
In the manga, these inscriptions change sometimes, in Anderson's later appearances his gloves read Iscariot Section XIII, the organization to which Anderson belongs.
Alexander Anderson normally appears as a calm and collected priest; he works at an orphanage in the manga and OVA and acts very kindly towards the children under his care. During battles, however, he reveals a darker side.
Anderson carries an obsession for what appears to be his "crusade," and compulsively quotes passages of the Holy Bible as he speaks. He is extremely determined to achieve his end, usually by whatever means necessary.
In battle, he is merciless and almost unstoppable due to his abilities. He has a habit of hissing during fights, and often loses all control of himself much like Alucard. Despite this, he can stop himself and focus on his mission.
Alexander Anderson is an ardent Catholic. His words and his constant quoting of scripture indicate a clear, almost fanatical obedience towards "the word of God". His behavior in the first volume was depicted as an intense Catholic priest, who went as far as calling Integra "Babylon", as a reference to Whore of Babylon, and displayed an immense hatred for Protestants (like Integra). In the first episode of Hellsing Ultimate, some of Anderson's statements heavily imply a fanatical hatred for all non-Catholics. Anderson tells a pair of young boys that they should only engage in violence against "monsters and non-believers," and comments to his superiors that it is fortunate that a large vampire population must be killing many English Protestants. Anderson resents the control of England over Northern Ireland, which he believes is Catholic territory, and states that it is his mission to kill unbelievers.
In the TV series, Order 3: Sword Dancer, Paladin Alexander Anderson's actions are vaguely relativist. He ignores his true mission, and instead focuses on the basic requirements of his crusade; thus, attacking Seras Victoria, Alucard and killing Captain Gareth of the Hellsing Organization, though Gareth was a human being and attempting to exterminate the same target as Alexander Anderson. While his orders from Iscariot specified the extermination of a single rogue vampire, he engages in combat with Alucard as well.
In the manga (and by extenstion, the OVA, which is closer to the manga than the TV series), however, his character is much more complex. He shows a greater sense of morality both in his treatment of the orphans under his care and his eventual assistance to Integra and betrayal of Enrico Maxwell (who becomes drunk with power and starts killing innocent humans), quite unlike the TV series Anderson who is portrayed as little more than a mindless, psychotic killer. His complexity in the manga is later demonstrated by his respect for Integra's conviction and for Seras's bravery. Specifically, he agrees to escort Integra to Hellsing HQ, because it would be impolite to leave a lady to walk there alone. Anderson tells the members of Iscariot to retreat from battle when Alucard releases his familiars, wanting them to live on and protect the Catholic religion; as he believed there already enough souls in limbo. He also appears to have a form of respect for Alucard, shouting "The black peril comes!" while laughing as Alucard enters the Thames at the end of Volume 7. In his final moments, Anderson consoled his grieving rival in his own way, telling him that monsters do not cry. In the TV series, Alucard refers to Anderson as a "dog of the Church" and is neither human nor monster (and is therefore incapable of killing him, only a human can do that). In the manga and OVA, however, Alucard shows great respect for Anderson and goes so far as to compare him to the men who were able to defeat Dracula (Integra's grandfather, Abraham Van Helsing and the other men from Bram Stoker's Dracula), stating that although they were mere humans they possessed the will to destroy a monster such as Alucard. This changes, however, when Anderson chooses to use the Nail of Helena on himself in order to become a monster on an equal level to Alucard. At this point Alucard rules that Anderson, having sacrficed all of his humanity in exchange for power, is no longer worthy of destroying him and that Anderson must be killed. Alucard had previously stated that he would be proud to die in battle against Anderson, but clearly Anderson forfeited that right by turning himself into a monster rather than a (regenerating) human.
- Combat: In battle, Alexander Anderson uses scores of blessed bayonets presumably made of silver as well as smaller blades which are held between his fingers like claws. He wields the bayonets in close-combat (one in each hand) like swords and can also throw them with alarming accuracy (especially considering that he often throws the bayonets in large numbers, usually holding them between his fingers). It is possible that Anderson can control the bayonet's trajectory after he throws them, ensuring that they hit their target. An example of this is in OVA I when Anderson was able to impale Seras with multiple bayonets, while walking down the stairs from the upper level which was around the corner of the hallway. Some of the bayonets are shown to have hand guards in the manga and TV series. The type of bayonets he uses the most appear to be Austrian sword bayonets, with custom hand grips for easier slashing and stabbing.
- The power of the bayonets against vampires seem to vary. In Volume 1, the bayonets irritate and sting vampires, but in Volume 6 they are so powerful that vampires literally crumble around them. One possible explanation for this would be that he never stabbed Seras Victoria in the heart when he attacked her in Volume 1, as he wanted to enjoy his "hunt." Seras was severely wounded and kept from regenerating but she could not be killed unless her heart was pierced; so Anderson may have simply stabbed the vampires in Volume 6 right through the heart in order to kill them quickly rather than just wound them like Seras. Another explanation would be that Anderson is simply equipped with more powerful bayonets by Iscariot for more dangerous situations. In Volume 8, Anderson hurls a chain linking the handles of countless bayonets, whose handles seem to explode after they pop open and a bright red light flashes from within with a hiss, destroying swarms of Alucard's familiars in an instant.
- Anderson has a seemingly limitless number of bayonets at his disposal; Kouta Hirano jokingly attributes this to him being four-dimensional. More or less Anderson is considered to have his own Hammerspace, though there is also a theory that Anderson's unlimited bayonets have something to do with his hair (see Cartoon physics). In the OVA, he is seen pulling them out of his sleeves and cassock, but that still doesn't explain the number. One possible explanation is that Anderson really doesn't carry many bayonets but rather duplicates them, not unlike many miracles seen in the Bible where many objects are made from relatively few (like the fish and loaves miracle).
- Superhuman Strength and Speed: Anderson possesses extraordinary strength, speed and reflexes, far above the human norm. He also possesses a great deal of dexterity (he wields bayonets in each hand equally well), agility, coordination, balance and stamina. In the anime TV series, Anderson slices a subway car in two using only his bayonets, and in the manga as well as the OVA he has fought even Alucard to a standstill. Specifically, he managed to trade punches with Alucard and both of them emerged bruised and bloodied but otherwise unharmed (due to their regeneration). Anderson must have a great deal of strength, being able to stagger a being such as Alucard with a single punch; especially considering Alucard is capable of taking large-caliber bullets to the chest standing up and is barely phased.
- Anderson can easily throw bayonets with enough force to pierce human skulls and, as shown in the TV series, can cut through steel pipes with little effort. His speed and reflexes are sufficient enough to dodge bullets (not that he would need to thanks to his regeneration) and take even Alucard by surprise. It is unknown if these abilities are a byproduct of his regeneration (something common with other comic book characters that have similar powers, such as Wolverine of the X-Men) or are some other form of artificial enhancement. Given the seemingly superhuman abilities of other, non-augmented humans (Walter C. Dornez, for instance, appears to possess vast celerity even in old age despite being human), Anderson's abilities may not be from augmentation. Anderson's skills, like Walter's, may simply be a combination of natural skill and years of fighting experience against supernatural foes (during their final fight, Alucard states how impressed he is with how Anderson had kept his body in top fighting condition for so long, which is similar to how Walter has maintained incredible skill even in old age). It is still likely, however, that Anderson's strength and speed are a result of bio-technological treatment in order to make him more equal to the vampires he hunts.
- Holy Barriers & Consecration: Anderson was capable of using small bayonets in the TV series to affix pages of scripture onto the walls of a building, in order to "purify" the house and prevent any usage of black magic. In the manga and OVA, this ability is referred to as a "barrier," the pages are stapled to walls using nails and act more like a ward against vampires. Seras, specifically, could not escape through a door or window blocked by this barrier. Anderson can also use Bible pages to teleport, though how far he can travel has not been made official. In the TV series, Anderson was also shown to use bible pages in order to trap Alucard. Specifically, he used them to entangle Alucard's arms before slicing his head off.
- Regeneration: Alexander Anderson is a "Regenerator", meaning that he is able to restore body parts that are lost and heal himself. This is clearly demonstrated in Episode 3 of the anime; Alucard's bullet enters Anderson's head, but he recovers quickly and appears unscathed. This has raised some confusion over why Anderson retains the scar on his left cheek, the most likely explanation is that he received the scar before he received his regeneration ability (he was also shown in a flashback in the TV series without the scar, further proof of this). Thanks to his healing, Anderson is very durable. He is able to shrug off automatic-gunfire and even Alucard's explosive silver bullets with ease.
- Anderson claims that his ability is "the divine gift of God", but later states that it is due to "man's technology". In the manga he calls it a "technique" while Integra calls it bio-technological regeneration (possibly some form of nanotechnology). In certain adaptations, Integra claims Anderson's regenerative powers surpass any known nanotechnology, possibly being divine. Anderson is often considered not entirely human due to this augmentation, and Integra goes so far as to call him a "thing" or a "monster" while in the TV series Alucard states that Anderson is less than human and a "failed science experiment". Still, in the manga and OVA it appears that Alucard considered Anderson human enough to fight monsters (Alucard believes that only humans can destroy "monsters" like himself). This is shown when Alucard becomes enraged at Anderson for choosing to use the Nail of Helena on himself, truly becoming a "monster" rather than a man.
- It is implied at times that Anderson's healing has kept him youthful and made it harder to tell his exact age. It may be that the regeneration has prolonged his youthful fighting capabilities, making him appear to still be a man in his prime despite advanced age. In flashbacks, Anderson was shown to have raised Enrico Maxwell, Heinkel Wolfe and Yumie Takagi as children (this makes sense as he is commonly shown to take care of orphans for the church), explaining the fatherly attitude he has towards them. Anderson appears physically the same in the flashbacks as he does in the present day, making it likely that if he received his regeneration after the events shown in the flashback that he regeneration halted his aging. If this is in fact the case with Anderson's age, then he is possibly over 60 years old despite appearing in is 30s or 40s (his age is listed as "unknown"); as Enrico Maxwell is around 30 in the present day and appeared as a young child in the flashbacks. This is backed up by the appearance of Heinkel in the final chapter; despite it being over 30 years since Millennium's attack, she has not aged a day. Furthermore, she still retains the bullet wound inflicted by the Captain, which further justifies the theory that the regenerator retains all prior wounds gained before the process (save for re-growing limbs, as Heinkel's previously severed arm and leg have been replaced).
- Though much stronger than the regeneration of average vampires, Anderson's healing is not without its limits. Using the Jackal, which was specifically designed for use against strong regenerators like Anderson, Alucard is able to shoot out a chunk of Anderson's arm which takes much more time to regenerate. A similar event occurred in the original TV series, during a battle in a subway. Alucard shoots off both of Anderson's arms with the Jackal and they don't regenerate (or regenerates much slower than usual). Anderson is forced to flee, and he is not seen again until the final episode where he is in a crowd watching Alucard fight Incognito. At this point, his arms have been restored. Another possible weakness to Anderson's healing might be the inability to restore vital organs. Anderson's eventual demise comes when Alucard rips out Anderson's heart, which is pierced with Helena's Nail. It may simply be, however, that the only reason Anderson couldn't regenerate is because once his heart had been pierced with the Nail, removal would inevitably cause death (or because much of his body was destroyed when Alucard performed the attack, making healing after such a devastating attack impossible). It appears that Anderson's healing, like his bayonets, can be "upgraded" by Iscariot (in the OVA, Integra mentions that Anderson's healing has been upgraded when they first meet, meaning that it is better than what she had previously heard) for more challenging situations.
- The Nail: Alexander Anderson receives "Helena's Nail" from Section III Matthew, the Vatican's relic retrieval division. The Nail is one of the nails from the True Cross discovered by Constantine's mother Helena, and upon ramming it into his heart, Anderson became, in the words of Alucard, a "monster of God" (which is similar to line said by Van Helsing in Francis Ford Coppola's film version of Dracula about how he and the other men who hunted Dracula have become "God's madmen", as a side note Kouta Hirano has stated that this film was a major influence on his work).
- Anderson displayed some peculiar plant-related powers, and has shown himself to be powerful enough to stop the Jackal's bullets with his thorns. Also, it appears Anderson's blades were now powerful enough to affect even Alucard's immortality. Anderson was able to regenerate himself using thorny vines, while similar vines grew from the nail embedded in his body. Alucard noted a relationship between these thorns and Christ's Crown of Thorns. In addition, these vines can wrap themselves around his foes and cause injury, and instantly ignite all things "unholy" or "satanic", causing them to erupt in flames. Anderson's face and likely all of his fleshy body were transformed into a humanoid mass of thorny vines.
- The use of the Nail prompted Alucard to officially label Anderson a monster rather than a human. Alucard states that the monster who acknowledges God is no different than a monster who doesn't, they are both the same: monsters. Alucard would have been proud to die at the hands of a human, but Anderson was no longer human after the Nail was embedded into his heart so he had to be destroyed like any other monster.
The early history of Alexander Anderson is largely unknown, such as when he joined Iscariot or what his childhood life was like. Supposedly his history is revealed in the manga Angel Dust, however, given that Hirano has not made any definite links to his past works this is uncertain. He first appears in Hellsing volume 1, when he is convinced by Father Renaldo to travel to Northern Ireland to deal with Alucard and Seras Victoria who are hunting a vampire. Believing that Northern Ireland is Catholic land and Protestant England has no jurisdiction there, Anderson agrees and travels there. He confronts Alucard, cutting off his head and chasing Seras through the building they are in. He catches up to Seras and is stopped by Integra just as he is about to kill her. Anderson states that he will not back down against a "Protestant whore" and swiftly kills Integra's bodyguards. Before he can kill Integra herself, Alucard regenerates himself and engages Anderson. Anderson retreats when he realizes he can't defeat Alucard with his current weapons and teleports away, shouting: "We'll meet again, Hellsing! Next time, I'll butcher you all".
Anderson appears in volume 2 with Enrico Maxwell, the head of Iscariot to discuss with Integra about the instigator of the attack on the Hellsing manor led by Luke and Jan Valentine. Alucard appears after Maxwell insults Integra, and Maxwell responds by calling Anderson into play. Before they can start another duel, Alucard and Anderson are interrupted by Seras leading a group of elderly Japanese tourists (possibly because of some agreement with Walter that Alucard would not destroy the museum, since the two smiled at each other after everyone had gone). The two decide to postpone their fight. Anderson proceeds to leave, commenting on the quality of the museum and asking Maxwell if next time he could bring some of the orphans to visit. In an almost humorously agitated manner, he then swears that he will rip Alucard to pieces the next time they meet.
In volume 3, Anderson is briefly seen watching the fight between Tubalcain Alhambra and Alucard on television.
In volume 4, Anderson is sent to deliver a message to Alucard and Seras to return to London and report on the Millennium Organization, a task which he fails to accomplish without first getting into a brief scuffle (specifically, a fistfight) with Alucard. Afterward, he engages in battle with some paramilitaries (possibly from a Neo-Nazi or some other form of Nazi sympathizer) sympathetic to the Millennium cause.
In volume 6, after The Major declares war against England, Anderson brings the rest of Iscariot with him to England and saves Integra from a group of Nazi vampires. When Heinkel Wolfe attempts to apprehend her, Integra disagrees and asks Anderson if this is permissible, to which Anderson says it is not. He instructs Iscariot to follow Integra's instruction by escorting her back to the Hellsing manor.
Later, in volume 7, Maxwell arrives in England with the remnants of the armies used in the Holy Crusades and takes the opportunity to kill all English "heretics". Seeing this, Anderson believes Enrico has quit serving God and now only serves his own power. When Heinkel informs Anderson of Iscariot's new orders to take Integra prisoner, Anderson expresses his displeasure. Before he can act against the rest of Iscariot, Seras arrives with her new powers awakened and does it for him. Anderson acknowledges her newfound power, telling Heinkel that Seras was not something the ordinary members of Iscariot could hope to fight any longer.
Anderson's Last Stand
After watching Maxwell's attack on London and Alucard proceeding to decimate the Catholic Army and the Last Battalion with his familiars, Anderson decides that it was finally time for him to finish the vampire. He calmly tells the rest of Iscariot to head towards the Vatican in order to protect the Pope and all of Catholicism in general before wishing them farewell (he knows the fight with Alucard will likely take his life) and teleporting to Alucard and Integra's location. However, when he engages Alucard in combat, Alucard introduces him to the Jackal which Anderson had never encountered before. Using the Jackal, Alucard blows off a large portion of Anderson's left arm, which does not seem to be able to regenerate itself. Alucard then taunts Anderson, who blindly charges into Alucard's familiars in an attempt to re-engage him. Alucard is impressed with Anderson's spirit, stating how interesting humans and their indominatable will are and even compares Anderson to Van Hellsing himself (it seems that Alucard would be proud to die in combat against Anderson). Anderson manages to defeat many of Alucard's familiars by using an explosive and bayonet-lined chain, but he is still overwhelmed.
Trapped in the mesh of undead, Anderson is saved by the remnants of Section XIII. Headed by Heinkel Wolfe and Yumie Takagi, the Iscariot soldiers use suicide bomber-like tactics to fend off the familiars. Anderson finally arrives before Alucard and reveals the weapon that Vatican Section III Matthew had provided him with: Helena's Nail. Alucard begs Anderson not to become a monster like himself. Anderson doesn't heed the warning and states that he wishes to become a being neither human or demon, but a whirlwind of destruction and piety. After impaling himself with the nail and transforming, Anderson and Alucard do battle, with Anderson nearly destroying Alucard with his newly acquired powers. Seras intervenes at this point, just long enough for Alucard to regain his senses and regenerate his wounds. After healing, Alucard psychically dissolves the thorns surrounding him and by the same token shatters Anderson's blade. Alucard then charges Anderson and, plunging his hand into Anderson's chest, removes the nail along with Anderson's heart. This destroys most of Anderson's body in the process. As Anderson dies, he and Alucard exchange words as what remains of him decays and turns to ash. Anderson tells Alucard that although he is about to die, Alucard must forever live on. He also has a moment of deep insight into Alucard's state of being, rhetorically asking him if he became a monster so that he would not have to cry. Telling from the words he is saying it sounds that he is going to Heaven (he talks about the voices of children). Integra bows her head and respectfully places a sword on the ground in order to form a cross over Anderson's body while Yumie, Heinkel, and Seras all engage in prayer or deep thought for the fallen paladin. With a final "Amen" (which Alucard repeats with a slight smile on his face, signaling the respect he felt for Anderson), a de-aged Walter descends from the sky and crushes whats left of Anderson's ashes under his shoe and grinds it into the ground. Walter then insults Anderson by saying "Mourning is not necessary for rubbish". Yumie attempts to avenge this desecration of Anderson's remains but is swiftly cut down by Walter. Later, during the fight between Alucard and Walter, Alucard taunts his former friend by stating that if Anderson couldn't defeat him then a "brat" like Walter never could.
In the TV series, his voice in Japanese was done by Nachi Nozawa, and his English voice by Steven Brand. For the new OVA series, he is voiced by Norio Wakamoto, with Steven Brand returning for the English dub.
Notes and references
is:Alexander Anderson (Hellsing)