If you haven’t read or watched Hellsing, I highly recommend it. It’s a dark and decidedly adult-oriented story about vampire hunters, centered around the trenchcoated turncoat vampire Alucard and featuring some pretty awesome music.
But I’m not here to talk about Alucard. I’m here to talk about Sir Integra Hellsing, leader of the eponymous Hellsing Organization and awesomest character in the show. And that’s competing not only against Alucard, but also against a bayonet-wielding Scottish paladin with regenerative powers and an ingenue vampire who carries around guns bigger than she is. (Understatement is not a major theme in this show.)
Sir Integra (full name Sir Integral Fairbrook Wingates Hellsing) is the biggest badass in the show–in large part because she has no powers. She can’t regenerate or create armies of ghouls, but she can assert her authority over them. Alucard has virtually limitless powers, but he stands quiet before Integra and calls her “master.”
Her character design is also interesting because of its combination of prudery and masculinity. She comes from a very traditional British family and keeps her suit buttoned up to the chin, but she’s androgynous enough that Jordan had to ask (granted, this is mostly due to the Japanese phenomenon of bishonen; Sir Integra isn’t the show’s only slender,
deep-voiced character with long, straight, blond hair and perfectly round glasses). Her outfit, while conservative, isn’t particularly feminine. Neither is her cigar-smoking habit. Most of all, her attitude–stern, collected, and unquestionably in charge, but prone to fits of righteous anger–would archetypically belong to a male character, not to mention a much older one (her canon age is just 23). She’s given the title “Sir” because even the other Protestant Knights recognize that she’s just as good as a man.
Finally, for a prudish character, she manages not to become Ice Queen fetish material. Contrary to the standard in both Eastern and Western media, where female characters who don’t put out are sexualized all the more, Sir Integra is portrayed the way she would probably want to be portrayed: as a serious, competent, respected leader. And she deserves to be portrayed thus, because she is awesome.