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Trinity Blood Preview: Because You Like Trigun And Hellsing

by on April 11, 2006

Now, a lot of people are going to tell me that headline is unfair, and others are going to say it’s dead on, and you know what? Both sides are probably right. Trinity Blood is at times very Trigun-esque, especially with the lead character being a complete goof-ball a-la Vash when he’s just living his day to day life. He even has that perpetual nice guy and mysterious background thing going on. However, when he snaps, the Alucard from Hellsing vibes come into play big time, and the Integra-esque advisor in the series certainly adds to that. By the way, those are just the similarities in the first episode. I’ve heard there is more. However, it brings plenty of fresh flavor and style to the table as well. So even though it’s at points derivative (perhaps even cloyingly so,) it’s ultimately very cool and very entertaining.

Set on a post-global war Earth where vampires have revealed themselves, Trinity Blood exists in an era when the nations of the Earth have reformed into various kingdoms and empires, one of which is the Holy Roman Empire, with the Vatican a seat of global power again. Inside of the Vatican’s Foreign Affairs branch there is an organization, AX, whose job it is to take on these new vampires with aid of clairvoyants, weapons specialists and a few crusniks – vampires who feed on vampires – one of which goes by the name of Abel Nightroad.

We catch up with Abel as he’s taking a flying transport ship back to the Vatican after some work abroad. Everything’s going just fine for Abel – sure, he’s so broke that waitress serving him at one of the ship’s restaurants, Jessica Lange, feels so sorry for him she offers to pay for a sandwich, but that’s par for the course for Abel because he had to take a vow of poverty. However, things get hectic when a vampire, Count Alfred, tries to hijack the ship and slam it into the heart of the Vatican. While Abel and Jessica (who conveniently happens to have been learning how to pilot these ships,) try to regain control via a sub-bridge, Count Alfred runs amok, sucking the blood out of a number of passengers on his way to try to take Abel and Jessica down. By the time Abel manages to hack the code used to lock Jessica and himself out of the controls, Alfred busts in and starts trouble again. Eventually, Abel manages to lure the Count out for an action packed conflict on the top of the ship. Good thing too, because the Vatican was growing impatient and worried, and they had already authorized a missile attack via the Department of the Inquisition. Thankfully, AX already had that covered thanks to interference run by another member of their frontline team, Tres Iqus (codename: Gunslinger) who took the missile out moments before it hit.

From the technical side, Trinity Blood is quite good. Funimation’s dub cast not only put forth a good, emotive performance, but a performance that’s eerily close to the original work from the Japanese VAs, especially in the case of Abel. Visually, I’m impressed by the level of consistency Gonzo’s been able to achieve as of late – they’ve been cranking out more series than ever, and far as stuff I’ve seen ready for US release, it’s all been very good, and Trinity Blood is no exception: the boarding, the animation and the compositing are all very solid and watchable, and the design is elegant but cool. It’s not perfect, but it’s never awkward or jarring, and that to me is just as critical as the highlights – the over-all consistency of visual execution. Gonzo even manages to capture the extremely line-work intensive designs of the original manga, which was no small feat given its fusion of shonen action and shoujo character design flourishes. The music is great too – it’s certainly at points what you would expect from a typical anime, if such a thing can exist, but it’s very well done and it fits well somehow. Even the ED theme, which is sort of the classic sleepy ballad style of ED theme that at least a few dozen other series use, works well here and almost has a warm familiarity.

All in all, Trinity Blood is a fun, stylish show. It’s not revolutionary, it’s not going to change the industry, but it’s a well-executed and delightful diversion. Vampire anime fans will love it, action fans will love it and it’s a show that you can even show your friends as an introduction to anime as a medium as long as they aren’t offended by some stray blasphemy. Even if you’re a veteran, watching Trinity Blood just might remind you of more than a few reasons why you were originally drawn into anime.

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