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Title:
  Trinity Blood vol 2

UK Distributor:  MVM

BBFC Certificate:  15

Suggested Retail Price (SRP):  19.99

Episodes:  5-8 (of 24)

Audio Options:  English 5.1, Japanese 2.0

Subtitles:  English

Reviewer:  Rich (Webmaster)

 

With Halloween just gone I decided to do some catch up on this year's big horror anime - Trinity Blood.

I must admit to being a little uninspired by volume 1, which introduced us to a future world split into two factions: humanity, ruled from the Vatican by the Catholic Church, and the Methuselahs, the series' name for vampires.  Father Abel Nightroad is a priest in AX - the Vatican's secret services - who acts as an agent to prevent trouble between the factions, and can unleash his hidden power as an awesomely powerful 'Crusnik' - a vampire that feeds on vampires.  It was all a bit too familiar in many ways, in places veering too close to existing vampire anime to really establish its own identity.  It did have a lot of promise though, with a few references to a secret society aiming to upset the balance between the two powers and some nice set pieces promising better things to come.  So does volume 2 bring better things?  Well, yes and no.

The volume starts off quite slowly with Father Nightroad taking Sister Esther (who he rescued in the first volume) back to the Vatican and reporting to his superiors.  Through Esther's wanderings around the city state we are introduced to other members of AX, and occasionally their special powers, as well as some people a bit higher in the Church's hierarchy.  However, it's isn't long before the AX agents are back out in the field, firstly with the mysterious Father Hugue being sent to investigate a priest's killing in a politically sensitive city.  His best hope of finding out what happened lies in a young nun who witnessed the murder, but he isn't the only one looking for her - the vampire city officials also want to know what happened, and they want to know before the Vatican does.  Meanwhile Father Nightroad is sent to investigate attacks on shipping near Albion (yay! it's old Blighty!) along with another Priest

called Leon, who is doing jobs for AX in order to reduce his jail sentence for as yet unknown crimes.  Their investigations into the attacks lead to some uncomfortable discoveries, but Father Nightroad has more than that to contend with.  The main cathedral in Barcelona has inexplicably collapsed, and he and Sister Noelle are sent to investigate.  However, what looks initially like simply the age of the building leading to the collapse soon becomes more sinister when a rogue scientist and the mysterious Rosen Kreuz come into the picture.

 
Despite my misgivings with volume 1 I must admit that I still enjoyed watching it, and thankfully it's the same this time round.  Things move on somewhat with more characters being introduced and more background being given to them, and it's good to see Father Nightroad interact with more people.  His bumbling attitude works brilliantly with that of the more rough and ready Father Leon, and there are even romantic overtones to his time in Barcelona with Sister Noelle.  It's also interesting to see the series leave Nightroad out of the picture in episode 6, which instead features the new character Father Hugue - otherwise known as Sword Dancer.  As you can probably guess with a name like that, this episode leads to a hell of lot of action and Hugue is a very interesting character - one who's kind and quiet to his friends and deadly to those who cross him.  It's also good to see the Rosen Kreuz make an appearance, especially considering the terrible position they leave Nightroad in at the end of episode 8.
 

In fact the main drawbacks of the volume are most apparent in episode 7, where it takes Peter Pan references way too far - I'm sure J M Barrie would spin in his grave if he knew he would be reimagined as an evil scientist who experiments on children.  But it's also interesting that all the stories on this DVD seem to hold back on the horror aspect, despite some quite nasty subjects driving the plot.  Child experimentation, casual killing and loss of innocent life are all touched upon, but never brought enough into the forefront to  

really give the series some bite.  Because of this it does feel a bit limp in places and you also get the impression that the horror is being toned down in order to provide more room for action.  I must also say that the romantic aspect of Nightroad and Noelle's relationship didn't sit right either, it just seemed kind of wrong and slightly unbelievable to have a nun hitting on a priest.

It's because of things like this that I still feel Trinity Blood has yet to be as good as it could be.  It's enjoyable, action packed and the design and animation is gorgeous, but it's playing it safe a bit and has yet to develop an overarching story that really draws the best from the interesting cast it has assembled.  However, it is developing some interesting subplots and the reappearance of the Rosen Kreuz does start to bring some flesh to the series bones.  The action is slick and the characters are good, and the series is growing on me with each new episode.  It is not doing enough from a horror point of view, but as an action series there are few more stylish.  It's not essential yet, but it's getting there...

Extras:

Clean opening and ending sequences and trailers as usual, plus a few pages describing some locations and terminology from the series.  Not bad, but a bit average.

Ratings

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