Within the Hellsing universe, there are two distinct types of vampires introduced: the aforementioned "true" vampires, and artificial ones created either through the FREAK chip or the Millennium Organization's experiments, both rooted in harvesting raw essence from true vampires.
The term "true vampire" is used in the Hellsing series to define a formerly human being who has sucked blood of their own free will. The only vampire bloodline confirmed as true vampires in the Hellsing series is that of Alucard and his offspring.
The most notable initial ability of true vampires is their ability to transform their opposite-gender virgin victims into their offspring. Attempts to convert non-virgins or virgins of the same gender will result in the creation of a ghoul. In the case of a successful blood exchange, the virgin party, or "fledgling", will enter the first stage of vampirism. While lacking the higher-level powers of the "master" vampire, they still possess superhuman powers and a psychic connection with their master. They will also have the traditional weaknesses of vampires, such as varying sensitivity to sunlight. As with their masters, upon the consumption of a human's blood of their own will, the restrictions imposed upon the fledgling vanish and further abilities are unlocked, completing the transition to "true undead" status.
Vampires use a host of powers regarded as unholy to prey upon humans and accrue power. The undead priest seen at the beginning of Hellsing's first volume or episode created masses of armed ghouls hoping to use them as his army, and depending on the chronicle used a form of enhanced speed, telekinesis, hypnosis or a combination of the three to seize Seras and use her as a pawn in a gamble to escape death at Alucard's hands. Additionally, vampires classically are purported to have a high pain threshold and a measure of enhanced strength, properties many Hellsing vampires share. Agelessness from the point of infection and a need to sleep in a coffin or in contact with the soil of one's birthplace are also noted.
The exact limits of a normal vampire are unknown, as the only observable bloodline known so far is Alucard's. For example, Alexander Anderson used a massive amount of blessed bayonets during his first confrontation with Alucard, pierced his heart, cut off his head, and skewered it with another holy blade. He expressed, however, utter astonishment at Alucard's impressive regenerative abilities; given he is presented as an experienced hunter, it is safe to assume he had not encountered an equal to Alucard's abilities prior to the confrontation in Badrick.
Even with these special characteristics, though, there are certain common characteristics and weaknesses. Elongated fangs and red eyes are amongst the most obvious indication, as is the thirst for human blood. They have an inability to cross large bodies of water without means of external locomotion. "Holy" symbols, materials and relics are often treated as highly dangerous. Silver, particularly, is lethal to most of them. Blessed silver is even worse and may inflict extensive damage depending upon the blessings of the material and strength of the vampire target.
The heart is often presented as a weak spot for a vampire, and thus is a popular target against them. Potent religious artifacts such as the Nail of Helena are able to imbue a strong holy aura in weaponry to make it incredibly deadly against vampires, and presumably other "unholy" creatures.
Exactly how a human becomes a vampire without another vampire is unclear, but two only known instances where vampirism was Alucard (as Vlad III) at his execution and The Major after being critically wounded defended Berlin against Soviet troops. In both these cases, they were at the brink of death, but the blood of the corpses around them congealed into a stream and called out to them at their lowest point. Vlad III gave in and drank the blood, becoming a vampire, but The Major refused to drink it through sheer willpower.
While vampires are known to have red eyes, some of them do not. Artificial vampires seem to keep their former eye color, but there are also true Vampires, such as Helena and Incognito, whose eyes are not red. In the TV series, Seras' eyes changed to red right after entering the first stage of vampirism, contrary to the OVAs, where her eyes turned red occasionally when she was raging and finally after she became true Vampire.
Other abilities seen in this bloodline that are not observed in other vampires include a "third eye" capable of focusing images, allowing for superior targeting and the destruction of illusions, along with abilities typical to vampires on par if not exceeding every other example thus seen. Seras Victoria, in the midst of an emotionally destructive attack, briefly lost control of herself and entered a brutal berserk state in which she relentlessly killed her attackers. It is not known whether this ability extends to other vampires of her own or other bloodlines. She also was able to resist the holy flames created by the power of Helena's Nail for a brief time before the fire began to consume her.
The control of solid shadows is also indicative of this bloodline, to the point it allows for extended flight if used correctly.
In addition, even the feeding is likely to be unique for this bloodline. While other vampires turn their opposite sex virgin victims to vampires and their same-sex or non-virgin ones to ghouls (as it is stated by both Integra and the vampire of Cheddar), Alucard and Seras Victoria have the ability of summoning their victims' souls as a form of independent familiar. These souls can even contain the victim's original personality (like it happened with Pip Bernadotte and Luke Valentine). It is not clear whether it is a decision of the vampire to keep the soul in the original state, or if it takes time for the soul to lose its characteristics, or other unexplained factors.
Vampires created through either the FREAK chip process, or the Millennium Organization's special process are not subject to the bite of other vampires, and are considered to be artificial. While clearly intended to resemble each other, these vampires are actually very different and hold their own unique characteristics; making them hard to confuse with each other. Weaker than traditional vampires, artificial ones are in a class of their own.
Millennium Conversion ProcessEdit
Millennium's initial vampire research was overseen by The Doctor, who experimented on prisoners of war during WW2, and was conducted at Millennium's facility in occupied Warsaw, Poland. These cells were created by investigation into the desiccated corpse of Mina Harker. It appears that the cell process requires a certain degree of invasive surgery and bio-engineering. Initial cells were only slightly better than ghouls and had an extremely limited lifespan (less than eight hours after the procedure was concluded), but The Doctor was certain their potential to spread the infection could offset this issue. Thanks to advancements in the procedure over time, the finished model was much better than its early stages.
One notable thing about Millennium's artificial vampires, is that they lack the ability to convert others into vampires; all victims regardless of gender or virginity are immediately transformed into ghouls. It is possible that this deviation from typical vampiric processes may have been intentional, as it ensures that anyone who is killed by the artificial vampires becomes a mindless killing machine, posing no threat to Millennium and serving to spread their infection to others more quickly. Additionally, ghouls created by naturally born vampires die the moment that the vampire that turned them is killed. With artificial vampires however, this does not occur; the ghouls will continue to live on their own if the vampire who made them is killed. This is also likely an intentional alteration on the part of Millennium to their soldiers, as it makes any incursion by Millennium that involves mass slaughter that much harder to contain. It also plays on the theme of "eternal war" as the numbers of undead monsters increase, the longer the conflict will be. It is also heavily implied that they cannot absorb souls by sucking blood, as true vampires can. They exhibit enhanced attributes such as greater speed, strength, endurance and the ability to defy gravity. Though the only two confirmed natural vampires in the series greatly outclass artificial vampires in terms of physical prowess, with the first being Alucard and the other was of his bloodline, and as such it is difficult to tell how artificial vampires stack up to more garden variety vampires.
Artificial vampires share many abilities and weakness with true vampires. While they are highly resistant to conventional human weaponry, silver affects them to grievous levels. They still have penetrable flesh as well, as the Wild Geese demonstrated by very effectively slaughtering a large portion of Zorin Blitz's battalion with claymore mines and silver ammo loaded into normal weapons. As stated by Walter, they are only "bootleg-copies" of Alucard, and have no chance to improve themselves or transform into true vampires. Also, unlike a true vampire, most artificial vampires created by Millennium are only implemented with enhanced strength, speed, and reflexes, and cannot tap into any familiars due to their artificial creation, and thus rely heavily on their weapons and teeth to finish opponents off.
During the artificial vampirization process, a tracking chip is implanted to track movements, combat data, health, etc. This chip can also be used as a self-destruct device by enveloping a its host in blue flames, leaving no salvageable remains behind. It also seems to activate automatically when the host dies, as shown with Zorin and the Captain. However, none of the vampirized soldiers who died in the Millennium incident were consumed by flames, so it is possible that only top-level officers of Millennium have this "self-destruct" ability. All of Millennium's research, data, and materials related to the project are assumed to have been destroyed with the conflagration of the Deus Ex Machina.
List of Artificial vampiresEdit
Most of the artificial vampires share the same traits, weaknesses and powers, though some of them can be marked as special due to their own characteristics. Due to this, they all have their important role in the organization of Millennium, mostly as the leaders of special groups like Rip van Winkle, whose task was to hijack the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle, or Zorin Blitz, who was ordered to attack Hellsing HQ and kill Alucard's fledgling, Seras Victoria. It is not known whether they have their special traits because their transformations were more successful than the others’ were (and with this, they have some of their exemplar's, Alucard's powers), or they had these before their conversion into vampires (like Walter). Another possibility is that these individuals received their upgrades in an intentional manner, as they were all officers of one kind or another in Millennium.
Leif and Jessica are two weak artificial vampires who first appear in OVA 1 and also appeared in the anime. Leif is terminated by Alucard, while Seras goes on to kill Jessica soon after.
The Valentine BrothersEdit
Appearing in Hellsing: Volume 2, Luke and his brother were the first notable artificial vampire to appear in the series; he had excellent reflexes (as Alucard states it), enhanced speed, which was rare even among vampires, and was able to regenerate the wounds inflicted by Alucard's silver-loaded weapon, the Casull. However, Luke was unable to regenerate his limbs and fell far short of a challenge for Alucard, who simply consumed him upon realizing his limited abilities.
The younger Valentine brother led groups of militarized ghouls against Hellsing Organization's headquarters, and succeeded in killing and turning many of the Hellsing personnel into ghouls. He was created with the intention of leading ghouls into battle in order to invade the Hellsing mansion. His powers were not a match for the fledgling vampire Seras Victoria, however, and couldn't resist being bound by Walter C. Dornez's micro-filament wires.
Acting as the Millennium's local agent in Rio de Janeiro, Alhambra was also an artificial vampire believed to be powerful enough to confront Alucard. His speed and reflexes were also enhanced to the point where he could both keep up with Alucard and avoid his gunshots. His primary method of attack was a set of razor sharp/explosive playing cards, which were powerful enough to cause Alucard damage that he could not immediately regenerate from without being in a release form.
As Millennium's First Lieutenant, Rip van Winkle's task was to hijack the cruiser Eagle and withstand the counter-attacks of enemy forces. Her musket's special, homing bullets were able to destroy helicopters and planes, though against Alucard they only proved effective in keeping him immobilized for a short while (and it is more than likely that he was simply toying with her in any case).
As the leader of the task force attacking the Hellsing HQ, Zorin Blitz was under direct order to kill Seras Victoria. Zorin was able to make illusions relying on her power to read her victims' soul. While this was effective against Wild Geese and even the fledgling vampire Seras, Zorin's ability proved useless against true vampires, as their souls are in "disarray" due to sucking blood and life from other beings, making it impossible for Zorin to instill fear in such a way.
The Letzte Bataillon consisted of Waffen SS volunteers turned into artificial vampires. Their experience and fearlessness combined with their superhuman abilities proved a formidable match to all except true vampires and exceptionally trained and capable humans such as Alexander Anderson, Integra Hellsing, Wild Geese mercenaries or Papal Knights. Originally a battalion of approximately 1,000 soldiers, most of them were eliminated during the Battle of London by Iscariot Paladins, and the Hellsing Organization's Wild Geese and trump cards.
Walter Dornez, a former Hellsing trump card, turned out to be a traitor and an ally to Millennium. During the Battle for London, he was turned into a newer prototype of a more advanced artificial vampire by the Doctor through a hasty operation. Though momentarily outmatching Alucard in resourcefulness and power, his incomplete transformation, while physically nourishing him, ultimately meant his body would not last half a day, causing his artificially perfected body to regress back into his teenage self and sap him of his strength. He was still able to survive long enough to endure several bullet wounds by Heinkel Wolfe afterwards and to confront the Doctor and the true nature of his research personally.
FREAK Chip Conversion ProcessEdit
This process was only seen in the anime series. While similar to the Millennium Conversion, the vampires controlled by the "FREAK Chip" were infected through a biological computer chip capable of forcefully entering the human brain and altering them from within to resemble vampires. A large amount of chips loaded into a person could create an undead of greater power, though it would still be ultimately weaker than a true vampire, or even a true undead fledgling.
- Superhuman Strength - Vampires are described as being able to tear apart humans as if they were wet rags and kill any man easily. If a vampire is starved, their strength is substantially diminished and only barely above that of a human of similar size. Particularly powerful vampires like Alucard and Seras Victoria are capable of eviscerating whole battalions of soldiers in a matter of minutes as well as causing considerable structural damage when at full strength. They can also challenge other dark creatures such as werewolves.
- Superhuman Speed and Reflexes - Vampires are greatly faster than even the most trained human. With their supernatural speed they can appear as a flash of light to the eyes of a human being, and they can easily dodge automatic gunfire.
- Superhuman Endurance - Vampires are extremely resistant to conventional injuries, with gun shots to the head barely slowing them down. Decapitation or impaling their heart is often understood as the only real killing chance against a vampire, though Alucard is able to almost instantly regenerate from seemingly any damage with little to no effort. Blessed or silver weaponry are extremely effective against all but the most powerful undead such as Alucard or Seras Victoria.
- Regeneration - Their immortality is rooted in the reservoir of souls which they accumulate by feeding on live prey. If a vampire is grievously wounded, it is one of their familiars that die in their place; their stolen life force expended to heal their master's flesh, even regrowing lost limbs.
- Telepathy - A vampire can read and speak directly into the minds of those they have sucked blood from. This power was said to extend to all beings in the TV series, but is never used this way in the Manga or OVA.
- Hypnosis- A Vampire can also manipulate the minds of weaker-willed beings, an ability Pip referred to as a "Sex Beam" (since the Hotel Clerk circa OVA 3 Alucard used his telepathic hypnosis on had a strangely blissful expression afterwards).
- Shapeshifting - Shape-shifting or polymorphing is an ability of true vampires in the series, including Alucard, who can take the shape of a swarm of bats or a group of centipedes at times.
- Underling Authority - A vampire has the ability to create and command several different kinds of underlings, including Servant Vampires, Familiars, and Ghouls.
- Levitation - True vampires can levitate and sometimes fly, as seen during Alucard's return to London.
- Wall-Walking - Some vampires, like Tubalcain Alhambra and Alucard, have dispalyed the uncanny ability to walk up walls as if they were attached to the surface.
- Essence Transfer - Upon taking blood into themselves, a vampire can take the entire essence of a person or non-human into themselves including their memories and powers.
Silver and blessed weaponsEdit
Most vampires, as well as ghouls and werewolves, are susceptible to injuries caused by weapons containing silver, such as bullets or blades, or even coming in contact with it. Blessed weapons and holy artifacts are also extremely harmful to them. The exact requirements and effects of various blessed and/or silver-alloyed weapons are not explained.
Most vampire can be dispatched through impaling the heart, which can be seen when Alucard finished off the Cheddar priest and later Leif.
A common way to kill vampires in lore and various media, is to remove their heads from their bodies. While never seen to destroy "True Vampires", it has been seen to dispatch artificial vampires. It can most likely do the same to true vampires, as Alexander Anderson expected Alucard to be destroyed after beheading him and Integra Hellsing mentioned it as a way to kill a vampire. However, it most likely only works on the weakest vampires, due to Alucard's immunity to it.
Most vampires must take in blood in order to maintain their power. Even Alucard was reduced to a corpse-like state during his hibernation over many years after the second world war until rejuvenated by Integra Hellsing's blood.
Bodies of WaterEdit
Vampires cannot cross open bodies of water, which are implicated to be fatal to them.
Some vampires, usually lesser ones, are harmed to some extent by daylight.
The usual legendary methods of defeating a vampire are mentioned by Integra to also work in the Hellsing world including "Garlic, Holy Water, and Wooden Stakes". However, none of these are ever shown in practice in the series. Abraham Van Helsing attempted to use a wooden stake to dispatch Alucard, however it didn't kill him so it's true effects on vampires in general is unknown. It's likely that Alucard is simply too powerful to be dispatched by regular means.
Most of these weaknesses are shown to be possible to build a resistance to or overcome completely given enough time and maturity into the Vampiric role, daylight being a prime example of a weakness that Alucard and Seras are both able to overcome.
Alucard is the prime example of a true vampire. His powers greatly exceed those of "normal" true vampires such as the Cheddar Priest or Leif and Jessica, in part due to his maturity as a master vampire as well as to Hellsing's efforts on enhancing his powers. His offspring, Seras Victoria (and possibly Mina Harker (She) as well), possesses similarly enhanced powers such as the "third eye" and immunity to effects of daylight. As Alucard is able to shrug off seemingly any damage and harm caused to him, the true extent of his power is not known.
Mina Harker's corpse is the basis of Millennium's artificial vampire research, due to her sharing the bloodline of Alucard. It is stated that Alucard, as Dracula, drank her blood and she, his, thus making her a true vampire similar to Seras Victoria. However, her history and further relationship with Alucard is unknown, as is her status during the Hellsing storyline due to Alucard's ability to survive in hibernation for decades without consuming blood. However, the destruction of Deus Ex Machina most likely destroyed her remains completely.
Seras Victoria is, for most of the Hellsing series, a fledgling vampire of Alucard's bloodline. Even as a lowly servant vampire some of her abilities exceed those of the strongest artificial vampires, such as being more resistant to damage caused by blessed weapons and some degree of immunity to effects of daylight. After drinking the blood of Pip Bernadotte, she becomes a true vampire, capable of overpowering Millennium's strongest combatants, Zorin Blitz and The Captain.
The priest of the village Cheddar is a seemingly newly transformed vampire. He possesses no notable vampiric abilities beyond being able to create ghouls out of his victims and commanding them.
Incognito is an ancient vampire from Africa. His abilities differ from most vampires and at times prove to match even Alucard's powers. His unique abilities include the use of dark magic in conjunction with his grenade launcher and his ability to phase out of existence to avoid incoming attacks. His seemingly most powerful ability is to summon Sett, a malevolent god, to further increase his powers.
Helena is a true vampire woman with the appearance of a young girl, though in reality she was turned centuries ago. Although she prefers solitude and not being a threat to the general populace, which has made the Hellsing Organization all but ignore her existence, Incognito still perceives her as a potential danger to his plans, and ultimately devours her.
Laura is a baobhan sith, who are a subcategory of vampire known as "the White Women of the Scottish Highlands." Her most prominent ability as a vampire is mind control, or hypnosis; she is able to manipulate everyone non-vampire into believing that she is the sister of Integra Hellsing. In reality, she is loyal to Incognito.