While doing research for my last post, I got interested in one of Tamaki Nozomu‘s other works, Hakodate Youjin Buraichou Himegami (which I shall henceforth refer to as Himegami). It’s a decent action manga with a focus on gratuitous ass shots, but one thing that caught my eye in the first chapter was this important-looking woman:
This isn’t the first image of her, nor the first that sparked this thought, but it was the image which most convinced me that this character was inspired by Sir Integra Wingates Hellsing from Hirano Kouta‘s Hellsing.
Visually, the most distinct similarities are their blond hair, definitively male formal wear, glasses, and the cross necklace that seals the deal. Personality-wise, they’re similarly confident and authoritative, and can be easily confused for men by those around them. (The woman from Himegami is shown nude at one point, and her breasts are gargantuan. I don’t care what kind of corset you use, there’s no way you can hide those things unless you’re trying to force a certain look/plot point.)
The plot of Himegami involves the presence of foreign nations in a certain Japanese city soon after the fall of the Tokugawa Shogunate, and this woman is a representative for the French presence there (though she’s clearly got other things going on under the table). Apparently, everyone in the story thinks she’s a man (as a fellow, far more convincing female crossplayer has to point out to a friend that “she was a woman”). It’s not a convincing charade, though manga conditioning has made it so I can always tell a trap when I see it. I remember being unsure of whether Integra was male or female when I first read Hellsing years ago, but looking at it now, I wouldn’t believe she was male a for a second.
These images alone wouldn’t be enough to convince me of Hellsing’s influence on Tamaki, but there’re other places where it shows. His stories have similar elements of mixing supernatural action with world affairs and light politics, and his most famous work, Dance in the Vampier Bund, is (obviously) about vampires. There’s also a similar attitude of trying to have fun and go overboard with the violence and absurdity between Bund, Himegami, and Hellsing. At the very least, they’re all series I’d recommend together.
(Himegami images taken from solelo (Wings of Yuri)‘s scanslation. Hellsing is licensed in my region by Dark Horse Comics.)