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Anime Info

Creator: A Gonzo Production
Director: Tomohiro Hirata
Genre: Horror, Science Fiction
Length: 24 Episodes

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Summary

+ Solid, intelligent script
+ Beautiful animation
+ Well rounded, interesting characters

Overview

While the character designs for Trinity Blood may skew toward shojo, audience members of both sexes will find the series compelling. While Trinity Blood's characters may be supernatural in nature it is not really about vampires anymore than Star Trek is about aliens. Among some of the best science fiction and fantasy, Trinity Blood combines elements of science fiction, horror, and fantasy to tell an action packed but thoughtful story that explores the human condition.

Public Rating

Our Rating

Score of 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Trinity Blood Anime Review

Written by: Frank B. Chavez III on 12/4/2008

Introduction

Since the publication of Bram Stoker's classic novel, Dracula, there have been few fantastic creatures with a more potent grip on the imagination than the vampire. They've been cast as villains, lovers, and even killers of other vampires in diverse novels, films, and anime series. In the light novel series Trinity Blood by Sunao Yushida and the manga and anime series that followed, they are recast as the Methuselahs, nanomachine enhanced, super-human antagonists of a long standing war with humans for the dominion of the planet.

Review

Set more than a thousand years in the future, Trinity Blood is a solid and entertaining series that combines horror, science fiction, and fantasy elements to depict the state of cold war between the Vatican and the Methuselahs. Existing nine hundred years after a devastating war between humans and Methuselahs known as Armageddon, the world of Trinity Blood is an elegant, Baroque world, layered in gold leafed finery where our heroes drape themselves in elegance, and dispatch their enemies with cunning and catlike grace. They are ferried between spired cities in airships torn from steampunk tales such as Steamboy and Castle in the Sky but communicate and store information via supercomputers usually reserved for such anime as Ghost in the Shell and Akira. Airships, computers, missiles and other devices are considered "lost technology", holdovers from the ancient days before Armageddon.

In this world dominated by the cold war between humans and vampires, the Vatican has evolved into an almost entirely militaristic organization with the defeat of the Methuselahs at the heart of their holy mission. As in our time the Vatican is headed by a Pope who is the spiritual leader of the Catholic Church and head of state of the Vatican, however, the series' presiding Pope is a nervous and easily frightened teenager without his own convictions or backbone. He is the puppet of his older siblings who function as his chief Cardinals.

Show More The Vatican's greatest asset in the war is the Arcanum Cella Ex Donna Dei or AX, a Holy order of warrior-priests and nuns trained in a variety of combat arts who function as special enforcers of Papal Law and have as one of their primary goals the maintenance of the détente between human society and vampires. Because of this they often find themselves in conflict with the Rosenkreuz Orden (Order of the Rosy-Cross) a terrorist organization out to spark a new war between the vampire nation known as the New Human Empire and the major human states Albion and the Vatican.

Much of the story unfolds from the point of view of AX member Abel Nightroad. While he often masquerades as a clumsy and socially awkward young priest, he is actually a deadly fighter and a Crusnik. The Crusniks are beings like the Methuselah who came into existence after the discovery of nanotechnology by explorers attempting to colonize Mars. While vampires feed on the blood of humans, Crusniks drink the blood of vampires. A thousand years ago, Abel sided with the Methuselahs in their war against humans and committed atrocities. As penance he has sworn to never kill unless it is absolutely necessary and now fights for humanity instead of against them.

Show More
Like all great epics, Trinity Blood hits the ground running, beginning in medias res as Abel Nightroad is forced to save an airship from a vampire terrorist. The series builds subtly from there balancing story and character development with moments of high action. The well rounded, very human characters are developed through flashbacks that establish story elements that have real lasting consequences to the present story. For example, in the two part Star of Sorrow story arc we are introduced to Sister Esther Blanchett and Count Gyula, the Vampire Marquis of Hungary. Although they are from different backgrounds the two characters are drawn into contact with one another by their mutual drive for revenge. Sister Esther is after Count Gyula because he ordered the murder of her mentor while Gyula is driven to punish the world for the death of his wife. Gyula's plan is to turn the Star of Sorrow, a satellite intended as power generator, into a weapon of mass destruction. They both learn too late that they've been manipulated by Dietrich, of the Rosenkreuz Orden, as part of the Order's goal of re-igniting the war. Of course Abel Nightroad intervenes and the satellite is destroyed in time to prevent any real damage. Most series would be content depicting the action of revenge, however, Trinity Blood goes further and explores the deeper motivations for revenge, combining a tight script with beautiful, elegant animation to do in two episodes what entire Hollywood Blockbusters fail to do – remind the audience why vengeance is wrong. Each successive story arc further develops the story and characters along subtle and intelligent lines.

Besides being tightly scripted and peopled with interesting, well rounded, and ultimately very human characters, Trinity Blood is also beautifully animated. The animation by Gonzo, while sticking very close to traditional shojo character designs (everyone in the series is very pretty – especially Abel), still manages a greater level of gravitas than that found in many similarly themed live action productions (the Blade Trilogy is absolutely one dimensional by comparison). Interestingly, while other horror and action themed anime such as Hellsing and Devil May Cry tend to linger on the violence, often glamorizing killing and bloody death as noble and even heroic, Trinity Blood more often depicts violence as having real consequences – for the victim certainly but also for the perpetrator. While we root for the hero we also feel for those he opposes, although vampires, they have the same human needs and desires as everyone else. When characters kill or are killed in Trinity Blood the audience feels the weight of it for everyone involved.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the series is the way it treats vampires. In the standard vampire story, vampires are used as a metaphor for either lust or power or both. Trinity Blood goes further using the cold war between humans and vampires as a way of examining the conflicts between human beings in the real world – especially the long standing conflict between East and West. For all their long life and need to drink blood for sustenance, the vampires, as it is shown later in the series are still essentially human with human needs and desires and it is extremists on both sides who want a return to war.

Conclusion

Aeron Devices such as vampires, airships, computers and super tough heroes have been used before in anime before. However, perhaps more important that what plot devices are used in a series is how those devices are used. While some series are content to titillate and entertain with action and violence, Trinity Blood more often takes the extra steps to push the viewers to think about such subjects as violence, revenge and even racial tension.


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