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Vampires and The Vatican?...Holy Hell!
Armageddon... The ultimate sin of humanity, perpetrated upon itself, which cast the shroud of death across the world centuries ago. And out of that lasting darkness, they emerged... From the legends of ancient times, they have been called forth into the world anew... Vampires.
Two races, Terran and Methuselah, human and vampire, are locked in a struggle for existence, trembling on the brink of war. Some seek the path to a peaceful coexistence, while others pursue a dangerous shift in the balance of power And the worlds enemy, Contra Mundi, is starting to move. Cooperation and goodwill between the two races may be their only chance for survival.
Abel Nightroad, a touring priest for the Vatican, walks calmly where others fear to tread. A member of the formidable AX, tasked with the protection of the fragile equilibrium. Neither human nor vampire, with an awkward yet optimistic nature, this Father is a force wholly his own. When the greater threat emerges, the enemy of my enemy is my friend And Abel Nightroad seeks a safe path for all.
This Trinity Blood Box Set Contains:
A mixture of sci-fi and supernatural elements, the 2005 broadcast series Trinity Blood takes place in the far future, when humans and vampires vie for control of the Earth. Abel Nightroad is an itinerant priest and agent for AX, the covert branch of the Holy Office. But when a real threat appears, he transforms into an uber-beast who feeds on the blood of vampires. As he fulfills his duties, Abel is joined by Sister Noélle (sic) and assorted other agents. The storyline wanders aimlessly: The tale of a series of murders and assaults on cathedrals peters out, and a new narrative about a sinister archbishop's plot to destroy Rome with a "silent noise" device develops. Before that story is resolved, Abel is off to Carthage and Constantinople, where he prevents Department of the Inquisition agents from interfering in delicate negotiations between the Vatican and the Empire. This overwrought fantasy eventually reaches a baroque finale that includes murder victims returning from the dead; aerial battles; CG mecha; creatures who are angelic, demonic, or possibly both dueling in the skies; and a veritable blizzard of symbolic feathers. The combination of gothic fantasy and potentially offensive pseudo-Catholic mumbo-jumbo recalls Hellsing (2001), on which the series was obviously modeled. Although it's relentlessly silly and over the top, Trinity Blood remains popular with fans of vampire anime who prefer flashy visuals to coherent narratives. (Rated TV MA, suitable for ages 16 and older: graphic violence, violence against women, gore, grotesque imagery, tobacco and alcohol use, offensive religious imagery) --Charles Solomon
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At first sight, the main character, Father Abel Nightroad seems like this simple-minded and endearingly awkward priest. However, there is much more to him than meets the eye. Abel is actually a rare type of vampire called a Crusnik that feeds on the blood of other vampires. A few episodes into the series he comes across the doe-eyed yet feisty Sister Esther. The two ultimately partner up serving on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church, which is the major military power for the humans.
Admittedly, I had not read any of the manga prior to watching this series so the religious/political background were confusing at times. If you're jumping into this series without having read the manga, I recommend doing a bit of research so the story is less hazy. A lot of references are made to different wars and historical event, and there were definitely times I found myself a little lost.
Overall, I really liked the storyline and the animation. Although futuristic, the eastern european style buildings and landscape gave the series a medieval feel. There were certain aspects of the plot that definitely had some parallels to historical events, such as the inquisition and the crusades. The background music also lent itself to the theme. I thought it was very clever how the Vatican and biblical concepts were incorporated into the anime. I also appreciate how the major characters developed as the series unfolded. There were certainly flaws, but I'm not going to harp on them. I found the political intrigue and interesting characters quite entertaining.
But the pretty box is nothing compared to the story contained within.
The anime of "Trinity Blood" is a cobbling together of the stories in the light novels and the manga with an underlying plot involving the delicate transition between the conflict of the humans and the vampires to a balance of peace. It can appear to be haphazard in places, but overall the story follows a steady course to its conclusion and it has become one of my favorite anime.
The characters carry the events better than many stories I've seen. It is the changes in them that prove to be the most powerful points of the plot. Keep your eye on Esther and Alessandro, both of whom go through the most poignant transformations. My favorite scene in the entire show is towards the end when Alessandro blesses the little vampire girl's pet rabbit. You see him realizing for the first time that he has the potential to change the world, and he wants to change it for the better. There is power in simple moments like that.
And then, of course, there's Abel, who is just too weird to be believed. You find yourself completely engrossed in his character as he seems to flip back and forth from one aspect of his personality to the next in an almost schizophrenic pattern yet all the while perfectly maintaining his sympathetic humanity. I mean, watch this guy. He's so goofy and then he transforms into this nightmarish super-vampire, chopping villains down with a giant scythe (complete with a choir in the background! It's so much fun!).
Anime. Ya gotta love it. That kind of wild melodrama is all part of the awesome experience.
All the AX members have their own distinct personalities and they play off each other with archtypical perfection. Wordsworth the Bumbling Genius, Kate the Gentle and Stolid, Leon the Lovable Rogue, Hugue the Strong and Silent, Tres the Deadpan Android, Noelle the Elegant and Unrequited, Havel the Mysterious and so on and so forth, with Abel at the center as a kind of catch-all personality that they can bounce off of. It's very entertaining.
And if you like big epics with big plots, this is the story for you. It's beautiful to watch, full of elaborate backgrounds and animation. The history and mythology is complex and multi-faceted with all kinds of hidden surprises to discover. You get the impression that you've only just scratched the surface of what lies beneath. I've always had great admiration for stories like that. I never watch anime in Japanese. The subtitles are annoying. (I know, scandal to the purists) But I have nothing but good things to say about the actors chosen to voice the English version. I'd say the best performance is Troy Baker, simply because of the challenge of providing Abel with so many personality facets.
All in all, it's just a very well crafted story, unique and fascinating. Best of all (in my opinion at least) the series ends with the opening of a new chapter in the mythos. Esther is crowned and she and Alessandro stand poised to reign in a new era of peace with the Methuselah. And Abel begins his ultimate quest to rid the world of the threat of his brother Cain and the Rosen Kreutz. I like to know that the story will continue, even if I might never know what will happen. It gives a sense of satisfaction to see one door close and another open.
(This does, admittedly, make the ending feel a little rushed and cut-off, but bear in mind that Sunao Yoshida died suddenly before he was able to finish the novel series. A writer collegue of his brought the series to an end with the last book but who knows if that would've been the end if Yoshida had lived.)
I'm glad to see "Trinity Blood" in a box set. It will be up to each person individually whether or not the story is to their tastes, but from where I stand it's a story that no one will regret experiencing.