Trinity Blood Boxset
Set in an undefined point in the future, sometime after Armageddon, when the human race launched an all out nuclear war, Trinity Blood chronicles the ongoing battle between humans and vampires. Although futuristic there are many antiquated terms such as Albion (and its capital, Londinium) and humans and vampires are respectively called Terrans and Methuselahs.
An uneasy peace exists between the two races with some in the Vatican seeking to wipe out vampires once and for all - and some vampires feeling the same about humans. Spearheading the Terrans' defence is the secretive AX group, with the series following Abel Nightroad and his encounters with Terrans and Methuselahs. Father Nightroad is no ordinary priest as he feasts on vampires and uses nano-technology to transform into a fearsome warrior. Early in the series he encounters a young nun, Esther, who becomes the main character before the halfway point.
During the six chapters and 24 episodes, several mysterious organisations are introduced and explored, including the Fleur de Mal group and the Rozen Kreuz Orden.
Previously released individually (and reviewed on the site by resident anime expert Jitendar Canth), these six discs are now being released in one box set.
Episodes: SPOILER ALERT - skip to page two if you don't want to know how the story pans out!
1. Flight Night
An airship travelling from Londinium to Rome one night may seem like a ripe target, and it's one that vampire Alfred, Count of Mainz doesn't miss up. Soon the young Pope has an ultimatum on his hands, free Alfred's fellow vampires of the Fleur de Mal group, or face having the Vatican destroyed by a runaway airship. The Pope's counsellors advise that he forfeit the airship's crew and passengers and have the vessel destroyed. Fortunately there is another option, priest Abel Nightroad is travelling on the airship, and he is in a position to resolve the crisis. But there are those in the Vatican who lack patience.
2. Witch Hunt
Abel Nightroad and his android colleague Tres are following up on the Fleur de Mal, when they come across a scene of carnage, fifteen vampires dead in an orgy of mutual annihilation. The only survivor is a little girl names Elis. It immediately becomes apparent that she isn't all that innocent when she touches Abel and induces a vision. She is a touch telepath wanted by the Inquisition, and her powers resulted in the massacre when she turned on the vampires. Abel wants to help her, but Tres has orders to destroy her the minute she poses a danger to the church. The two priests wind up in conflict over the issue, which is just enough time for a vampire to pounce.
3. The Star of Sorrow (I. City Of Blood)
The city of Istvan lies on the border between the human and vampire realms. Itself ruled by a vampire named Gyula, Marquis of Hungaria, there is an uneasy truce between the two people, and the church isn't particularly welcome. Abel Nightroad arrives to search for the Star of Istvan, and finds himself under arrest. It's only long enough for Gyula to lay down the law however, and when Abel is released, he learns that all is not well for the church in Istvan. The Bishop has been murdered, and her adopted daughter, Sister Esther is eager to take revenge against the vampires, and has enlisted the aid of Gyula's aide Dietrich to that effect.
4. The Star of Sorrow (II. Hunter's Banquet)
Vengeance begets vengeance. While Esther wants to avenge the fallen bishop, Gyula wants to do the same for his wife Maria, a humanitarian of a vampire who was murdered by the very people she sought to help. To that end, Gyula has perverted the purpose of an ancient technology to target his enemies, The Vatican and the humans they represent. Abel has to resolve this, but the Vatican has pre-empted him and launched a full-scale invasion of Istvan.
5. Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
Abel Nightroad brings the nun that he rescued to Rome and the Vatican. While Caterina is debriefing Abel, Esther Blanchett is given the guided tour of AX. She learns that it is the Holy Office that handles the Vatican's foreign affairs, and AX are assigned the missions that no one else can complete. She meets some of the other members, Vaclav, Noélle Bor, and the group's technical wizard William Walter Wordsworth. When she has a few minutes to herself, she goes exploring and gets lost in the extensive gardens. She runs into a distraught priest who she winds up comforting. Little does she know who he really is.
6. Sword Dancer
Vampires have been wreaking havoc in Amsterdam, slaughtering the inhabitants of a church. The only survivor is a traumatised nun named Sister Agnes. The Vatican sends a volatile member of AX to investigate. Just as the android Tres is proficient with his guns, Hugue de Watteau can make his sword dance. He's a problematic choice though, and the Vampire leaders of the North European area are motivated to solve their problems internally. They wish to question Agnes to discover the truth, forcefully if necessary, but to Hugue, a vampire is a vampire, and he's soon acting beyond the Vatican's dictates.
7. Never Land
The shipping off Albion is being plagued by vampire attacks, although these vampires are more akin to faeries in appearance. Abel is assigned to investigate this, but he needs help. He visits the prison to enlist the aid of imprisoned AX member Dandeleon in exchange for time off his sentence. The clues lead to a professor of medicine named James Barrie, who since retiring has created an orphanage on an isolated island. But when they get to the island, there is no sign of the professor, and the children are behaving very bizarrely.
8. Silent Noise
The cathedral in Barcelona has been destroyed, and Abel and Noélle Bor are sent to investigate the matter. When it looks like a simple case of old age, Noélle sees it as a golden opportunity to loosen up a little and spend a little quality time. Their sightseeing tour of Barcelona is interrupted when some peculiarities turn up regarding the land on which the Cathedral once stood. Following the paper trail leads to a conspiracy with the Rozen Kreuz Orden and James Barrie at the heart.
9. Overcount I. The Belfry Of Downfall
The Barcelona incident has had a profound effect on Abel. The destruction of the city by the Silent Noise weapon has left him feeling helpless and bereft. It's even worse with Noélle Bor missing and presumed dead. It's the worst possible time for Abel to hand in his crucifix and resign. The Pope's Uncle Alfonso returns after a self-imposed five-year exile. He didn't take losing the papal election to his nephew well, but now he accepts the way things have turned out, and comes bearing gifts and asking for clemency. A holy obelisk and a massive bell are the tokens of his appreciation, but with Silent Noise never far from their thoughts, the bell raises the suspicions of Caterina and her AX group.
10. Overcount II. Lucifer's Choice
With AX discredited and Caterina in seclusion, it seems that Alfonso has a free hand to exact his vengeance. But his ill will goes far beyond the papacy, and it seems that he has allied himself with the darkest forces to achieve his goals. The Rozen Kreuz Orden have sent a magus to deal with Caterina and ensure Rome's downfall, and given that AX is under a cloud, only Abel is left free to fight the evil. But if he wants to save Rome, he will have to break his oath and kill. All the while, a mysterious figure is watching events unfold.
11. From The Empire.
When a notorious vampire fugitive is spotted in Venice, an opportunity arises for the Empire and the Vatican to cooperate. Abel Nightroad is partnered with the Duchess of Odessa, Astharoshe Asran in order to hunt down the mass-murderer Enderle, Count of Zagreb. It's a rocky relationship, Asta's air of superiority leads her to look down on Abel and all other humans, and her reckless pursuit of Enderle leads to chaos and destruction in Venice. There is no other choice but to deport her. But Enderle is engineering a horrific assassination attempt, and it will take both Asta and Abel to stop him.
12. The Ibelis I. Evening Visitors
The incident with Alfonso leaves the Vatican needing to show the flag, in order to reassure its vassal states. To that end Caterina is sent to Carthage, a town that is extremely close to Empire territory. When rumours begin to surface that her life is in danger, she is advised to leave. It doesn't help when an emissary from the Empire burst into her room, arrogantly expecting his message to be accepted. Caterina's guards act precipitously, and the emissary, Ion is injured and left thinking that the Vatican is duplicitous and treacherous. For once, the Empire is seeking peace with the Vatican, but things have just gotten worse. Soon the Department of Inquisition shows up to hunt down the vampire 'assassin'. It's up to Abel to find and protect the emissary.
13. The Ibelis II. Betrayal Blaze
At the end of the previous volume, trouble had erupted in Carthage when Caterina had visited to show the flag. The vampires had sent an envoy, Ion to negotiate with the humans, but misunderstandings had led to the Department of Inquisition being sent after him as some sort of terrorist. Now Esther and Abel are helping Ion and his loyal retainer Radu to escape. Betrayal awaits them though, as does the Chief of the Inquisition Brother Petros. Meanwhile his lieutenant Sister Paula has usurped Caterina's authority and declared Martial Law.
14. The Ibelis III: A Mark Of Sinner
The Rozen Kreuz Orden is manipulating events in Carthage, they've infiltrated the Inquisition, and now Vatican airships that were searching for Ion are bombarding the city. They've also animated the corpses of vampires into an army of Auto-Jagers, bent on fomenting war between the Vatican and the Empire. Ion has to turn to his enemies for help.
15. The Night Lords I. The Return of Envoy
Byzantium, shining capital of the empire, and home to the eternal Empress Augusta Vradica is the destination for our heroes. Esther has been appointed Vatican envoy and she accompanies Ion back home, along with Abel in tow. An audience with the Empress will impress upon her the Vatican's desire for peace, but Ion's return has been pre-empted. When he goes to greet his grandmother, the Duchess of Moldova, he finds her mansion has been ransacked and the Duchess murdered. It isn't long before he is being framed for the crime. He wants to defend his honour then and there, but Esther and Abel convince him of the value of discretion. But whom can they turn to in an enemy city?
16. The Night Lords II. Twilight of the Capital
Asta has been told to expect the Vatican envoys, but she hasn't been expecting them as fugitives. Nevertheless she assists them in trying to clear Ion's name and she and Abel pay a visit to the palace for an audience with the Empress. They learn that events are moving far quicker than expected. Ion and Esther are supposed to lie low, but Ion has realised that the timing of the attack on his grandmother was too well defined. He must have been set up, and he takes Esther with him to track the traitor down. They are both walking into a trap though.
17. The Night Lords III. The Island Off Her Darling Children
In the previous volume, Esther and Abel had accompanied Ion back to Byzantium as emissaries of peace, but walked straight into a deep conspiracy that threatened the Empress. Add to that Ion being framed for his grandmother's murder, Esther injured while investigating, and things now seem bleak for our heroes. As Esther heals, Ion is determined to clear his name and save his honour. But he is confronted by his former right hand man Radu, who tells him that the Empress' days are numbered, and the Rozen Kreuz Orden will issue in a new world order. Ion's grandmother is about to be laid to rest, and when the Empress attends the funeral it will be the perfect opportunity.
18. The Night Lords IV. The Palace Of Jade
The ceremony commences, and Ion races to prevent the assassination. His impetuous actions backfire when Radu captures him. The Empress prevents a summary execution, but Ion and Esther are imprisoned, and Abel and Asta watch on, powerless to act as the conspirators' plans unfold in the mausoleum. The Empire is thrown into confusion, and all they can do is attempt to rescue their young friends. Ion and Esther have more immediate problems. Radu, who has a sick game to play with them, confronts them in their captivity, but there is more to Radu's betrayal than meets the eye.
19. The Night Lords V. A Start of Pilgrimage
Ion and Esther are in dire straits, and it looks as if one of them is destined to die, unless help arrives. Asta goes to the palace to uncover the conspiracy and confront those responsible, even as they prepare to usurp the throne. Abel Nightroad has business with Radu, but at a critical juncture in their confrontation, his nano-machines and Krusnik nature fail him.
20. The Throne Of Roses I. Kingdom Of The North
Queen Bridget of Albion has died, leaving no heir, and the making a delicate political world situation practically precarious. It would be a good time to cement ties with the Vatican, especially now that the Vatican and the Empire are building bridges, and to that end, the young Pope and Esther are invited to attend the funeral. As part of the visit, Count Virgil Walsh of Manchester (expected to ascend to the throne) offers to show them around Albion's pride and joy, the Lost Technology factory. The papal visit is the trigger for an insurrection however, as a faction led by the Count's own sister within the underground factory look to overthrow the status quo. When the Pope and Esther as reported as missing to the Vatican, Abel, The Professor and Dandelion, along with Petros and Paula of the Inquisition are sent to recover them
21. The Throne Of Roses II. The Refuge
In the previous volume, the Pope and his entourage had travelled to Albion to attend the coronation of a new monarch. However, the power vacuum at the head of the state had opened the opportunity for insurrection, as the downtrodden Methuselah population had rebelled against their Terran overseers, and they tried to take the Pope hostage. As we begin this volume, AX and the Inquisition have been sent in to rescue the pontiff as well as his escort Esther. While the search continues, the young Pope wanders the catacombs, and learns of the Methuselah population's straits, slaving for the Albion people. What seems like a simple rebellion becomes confused when the Rosen Kreuz Orden intervenes. Esther is soon captured, while Auto Jagers roam the underground tunnels, preying on both sides.
22. The Throne Of Roses III. Load Of Abyss
It's about this time in the series that the big bad villain usually makes his appearance, and quite poetically, it turns out that there is a Cain to the heroic Abel. Cain is a priestly figure, all dressed in white that has no qualms about ripping his way into the palace and the catacombs. Humans, vampires, walls and steel, it's all the same to his psychic powers, and while the heroic rescuers manage to locate and retrieve the Pope, keeping him safe from the undead menace, Cain is looking specifically for Abel.
23. The Crown Of Thorns I. City In The Mist
Esther is grieving, while Cain gloats. A massive Orden ship appears over Londinium and starts blasting the populace at random, preparing the Earth for a new world order, while the plucky defenders rally to save the world.
24. The Crown Of Thorns II. The Load Of Oath
This is handsomely animated with terrific character design. The action sequences have a real sense of energy without losing clarity and, as the show draws towards the climax, there's much more going on in each frame.
There is a choice of Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo Japanese or 5.1 English and, whilst the surround option certainly has the edge for the more bombastic scenes, I watched it with the Japanese, which is clear and has very good subtitles, not the dreaded dubtitles! I sampled the English dub which is very good and the voices seem to match the characters - if you don't mind watching Anime in English the 5.1 would be the soundtrack of choice for the action-packed last chapter.
The opening and closing songs are all right, but nothing special and change to a remix version mid way through the series, when FUNimation took over.
Not a great deal, just the usual array of trailers, textless opening/closing and a Tarot Card gallery on Chapter I.
I don't know how anime fans do it. I couldn't have watched this one chapter at a time with a gap of weeks or months between each, especially when multi-volume episodes are spread over more than one disc, leading to a cliff-hanger at the end of a chapter. This show should really be watched in a week as it's almost impossible not to watch the next chapter straight away, so as not to lose track with what's going on, become distracted or go mad wanting to know what happens next!
It's interesting that the adaptation of Philip Pullman's novels were apparently toned down because of their religious content due to pressure from the Catholic church, but there's no such problem here (probably because the church have never heard of Trinity Blood) when the Vatican is home to an elite vampire hunting unit and the Pope is a weak boy who can be easily manipulated.
Trinity Blood is a thoughtful, fascinating and rich show which gets better as it goes on, particularly when Sister Esther becomes involved with Ion, an aristocratic Methuselah. The multi-volume episodes stand out almost as mini feature films with great storylines, characters and direction. I'm no anime connoisseur, but I loved this and it didn't take me long to get through the ten hours of gothic drama and action - highly recommended.