Trinity Blood was one of MVM's big series of 2007 and now, ten months after the release of the final volume, the UK is being treated to a box set!
The series is set in a post apocalyptic future where society
has split into two distinct superpowers. On one side you have the Terrans,
human society that has turned to the church for guidance and is now run from the
Vatican. On the other are the Methusalahs, vampires who have forged a
mighty empire in Eastern Europe. The two sides are mutually antagonistic
but a shaky peace exists, a peace that is maintained by the liberal Cardinal
Caterina Sforza and her secret Vatican agency AX. The agents of AX all
have special powers and their job is to quell insurgencies and diffuse potential
flash points that could lead to all-out war, but their mission is not an easy
one. There are forces at work on both sides who want war, and a mysterious
group known only as the Order of Rosen Kreuz seem intent on engineering one
through terrorist acts of unimaginable scale. The only thing that stands
in their way is AX agent Father Abel Nightroad, a bumbling and kindly priest who
hides powers beyond that of even the superhuman Methusalahs. Abel is a
Crusnik, a vampire that feeds on the blood of vampires, and he could be the only
person strong enough to fight the deadly Rosen Kreuz agents head on. But
the enemy are devious and dangerous, and with their agents operating throughout
the world can one man really hope to defend the dreams of a lasting peace that
could be within society's reach?
Anime series featuring vampires are hardly anything new, indeed a post-apocalyptic vampire story has already been done by one of Manga Entertainment's early anime hits Vampire Hunter D. Looking at the synopsis you have to wonder whether the series will do anything to set it apart, and to start with signs aren't promising. Sure, it looks great. The animation and design is excellent, with stunning gothic vistas backed up by strong character design and well integrated computer graphics. The voice acting is strong in both
languages and there's plenty of action, horror and drama to sink your teeth into as well. The problem is that it starts slowly and sticks to convention early on, drawing on several familiar sources for inspiration. As well as the strong influence of Vampire Hunter D there's also a lot taken from Trigun, particularly in Abel Nightroad who is basically Vash the Stampede in a more impressive coat. It also skirts some of the more horrific aspects of the story in the first two discs, and frequent side stories distract from the central plot too.
You may think that this means that I don't like Trinity
Blood, but this is not the case. At the start it is a bit predictable
and toothless, but it is still action-packed and entertaining with plenty of
colourful and interesting characters. However, as the series progresses it
just gets better and better, forging its own identity and really drawing you
into a twisting plot that delivers tension and drama in equal measure.
Once the side stories are left behind the plot focuses on the tensions between
the opposing factions and the Rosen Kreuz's insidious actions, and from this
point it really comes into its own. What Trinity Blood does better
than any other vampire story I have seen or read is show both sides of the coin.
In this series vampires are not all evil overlords who kidnap virginal young
women in the dead of night, in fact in some ways they are more virtuous than
some of the Church forces. Instead of a black and white, good-versus-evil
struggle, we get a cold war between two opposing superpowers who feel threatened
by each other. A theocracy versus an autocracy. A real focus is
given to vampire society for a large part of the latter half of the series, and
intriguingly the series makes it clear that the vampires don't actually need to
drink human blood in order to survive, which opens the possibility for peaceful
co-existence with humanity.
It's aspects like this that really make Trinity Blood worth watching, and give it a depth so often missing from the vampire genre. For once it's not about doomed romances or an ancient all-powerful vampiric villain, instead it's a considered and engrossing series that develops its premise in a surprisingly effective way. It does however wear its influences on its sleeve, and the parallels with Trigun and Vampire Hunter D are painfully obvious at points. There's also the problem of the ending, which is one of those open-ended jobbies that
hints at a second series that was never made and looks increasingly unlikely to ever be. It's a shame too, because the latter half of the series is absolutely superb and at the end you are just itching for more.
Trinity Blood is an incredibly stylish series that starts slow before building an impressive and truly engrossing story. The box set format really suits the series too, one of the issues with the initial release was the frequent splitting of story arcs across two volumes which meant waiting for months to see the end of a four-episode arc. With the box set you can always just slap in the next disc. Taken as a whole Trinity Blood is an impressive series, the plot is good, the characters are good, the setting is good, and the action and drama flies thick and fast. Yes, some of the earlier episodes are a bit weak, but in the context of the whole series they're not too much of a detraction. If you are a fan of vampire stories or just a fan of stylish action and horror you really need to give Trinity Blood a look, it's one of the finest vampire series anime has to offer.
Same as the individual volumes, mainly trailers, clean opening and ending sequences. A couple of ok extras are thrown in though, with a gallery of Trinity Blood themed Tarot cards and some descriptions of religious terms.