Anime: Trinity Blood
Original Run: April 28, 2005 – October 6, 2005 (I’m about ten years late, guys)
Genres: Action, Science Fiction, Vampire
An extra-terrestrial virus turns a good chunk of the population vampiric and a disastrous war follows, culminating in Armageddon. In this post-apocalyptic future, the world is divided between Terrans (human beings) and Methuselahs (vampiric creatures). The humans are led by a militarized version of the Vatican and the vampires inhabit the New Human Empire, which is protected by shield that filters out UV rays.
Mutual hatred between the two groups is the norm but there are those who strive for peace amidst the cycle of violence. Opposing all attempts at peaceful co-existence is the Rosenkreuz Orden, a faction of extremist vampires who seek to purify the world through utter destruction. Father Abel Nightroad is a member of AX, the Vatican’s Special Operations Department, and a Crusnik, an-uber vampire that feeds on Methuselahs. He may also be all that stands between the Orden and the chaos that they seek.
I chose this to watch because, despite Stephenie Meyer’s best efforts to ruin the genre, I still love vampire stories especially when romance is not the focus. The premise seemed good and the first episode did a decent job of getting me interested. Let’s now see how the remaining 23 held up. (Warning: Spoilers).
Before I begin, I should say that I have watched neither Trigun nor Hellsing yet so the most popular criticism of Abel – that he’s too similar to Vash and Alucard – is one that I don’t share.
That said, Trinity Blood is still a rather average anime. It has potential, lots of it. The concept is quite good. There are a lot of interesting elements scattered throughout the show, particularly the different political powers and the delicate balance between them. But while the overall concept and individual elements are appealing, the way it’s all strung together within these 24 episodes is pretty disappointing. The first few episodes ease you in gently without overdoing the exposition. The problem occurs when you find yourself halfway through the show with the story still only plodding along. Sure, there are things happening, lots of great side characters and even some action sequences. But a lot of it felt like filler episodes; little side arcs that have no real part in the bigger picture. Most of the time, I was just plain bored.
There are a total of 5 arcs of varying lengths and six normal episodes. Each of them focuses on a particular event, often adding new characters to the mix. Most of them show up again later, particularly for the last arc. I liked some, loved a scant few and was completely unimpressed by the rest. Flight Night, Star of Sorrow arc, Sword Dancer and Never Land belong to the first group. The conclusions of the penultimate and final arcs (episodes 19, 23 and 24) were the only times I was actually invested in what was happening.
While most arcs and episodes have their own focal points, there is one common thread that runs through the majority of them. The Rosenkreuz Orden. I’ll admit that whatever its faults, Trinity Blood has some great antagonists. The Orden’s goal of destroying the world as we know it – again – is simultaneously appalling and fascinating, and the way they go about it about is pretty effective. Good antagonists are a vital component of a story like this and the brutally efficient Orden most certainly delivers in that regard.
My opinion of the ending is fractured. As I mentioned before, the final two episodes are my favorites. We finally get to see all the build-up give way to a spirited conflict with various factions involved. Moreover, Cain shows up and brings hell with him, adding more tension to the story than all of the previous episodes combined. There is actually a lot happening within these two episodes though not to a point that it’s hard to keep tract of things. And even though the future is left ambiguous as hell, I liked the conclusion. The issue is that though I did like it, it still felt incomplete. A lot of questions are left unanswered and nothing is entirely resolved. I know that the story is not yet finished – not in the anime’s case anyway – and the ending reflects that. It’s the perfect set-up for a second season but hey, it’s been 11 years. I don’t have much hope. I might try the manga after it’s completed.
The characters are the best part of Trinity Blood. There’s a wide array of them and each of them are unique and memorable, even the minor ones. We have humans and vampires, nobles and commoners, extremists and pacifists. Abel Nightroad is the main character. He’s rather bland on the outside but becomes increasingly interesting as the story progresses. The contrast between his innate nature and pacifistic belief is hardly original but the brief glimpses of his past, where he’s revealed to have been a drastically different person adds some depth to his character. The anime’s only shows you a tiny fraction of his history, which really is a shame.
The deuteragonist is Esther…and the anime makes sure that you’re well aware of this. She pops up a lot throughout the story. Some of the time, there are good reasons for this but other times, it just feels extremely contrived. I don’t deny that she is an important part of the plot. She is, but that would have been evident even without throwing her into random situations. Some of these scenes suffer from bad writing as well. Her personality seems inconstant too; there are times when she’s sharp and competent, and then there are times when she cries a lot while doing nothing. I’m not saying that a person can’t do both, but the way it’s handled in the anime needs work.
My real interest lies with the side characters. There are a lot of them and each deserves a paragraph dedicated to them. But I’ll restrain myself to mentioning a few that I particularly loved. First up are Abel’s siblings, Seth and Cain. We don’t get too see much of either of them but they have considerable impact on the story. Seth, the child-like queen of the Methuselahs, is vibrant and endearing. Cain, who leads the Orden, is absolutely batshit crazy and the few times he shows up are the most memorable parts of the show. Then there’s the various AX members, Cardinal Catarina, the too young Pope Alessandro, vampire noblemen like Ion and Asta, charismatic villains Dietrich and Isaak and many others. Trinity Blood undoubtedly has a rich, dynamic cast.
Art and Music:
The art and animation of Trinity Blood are very easy on the eyes. The style is gorgeous and elegant. The characters all have distinct designs, the backgrounds are detailed and the action scenes are beautifully executed.
As for music, it was a lot like the series itself. Average overall but with flashes of brilliance. The OST has some good pieces. While the ED is not at all to my taste, the OP isn’t half-bad.
A solid Meh.
(Analysis of choice here.)