900 years have passed since Armageddon, the point when the Methuselah (vampires) and Terrans (humans) fought against one another and sent the world to the edge of destruction. After centuries of war, a tentative peace now exists between the two. However, a secret organization, known simply as the Order of Rosenkreuz, is trying to destroy that peace and rid the world of humankind. The Vatican, not about to the let them realize their goal, uses its special task force, the AX, to fight against them. One of its members, Father Abel Nightroad, hides a dangerous and ancient power under his unassuming exterior. Will he be able to stop to the Order of Rosenkreuz, or will his failure result in the destruction of the human race?
For centuries we have seen films, read books, and heard stories about the eternal struggle between vampires and humans. Trinity Blood not only reprises this ancient conflict, but incorporates a new twist. Expanding upon the genus of vampire, we are introduced to Crusniks, a new species which drinks the blood of vampires. Add in the customary mysterious organization that’s trying to destroy the tentative peace that exists between the vampires and humans, and you have the basic description of Trinity Blood, in a nut shell. If only it would have stayed there…
Trinity Blood starts out as mostly any series would, with a bunch of standalone and two-part episodes designed to introduce all the main characters and the major plotlines. Accordingly, one can usually forgive the first few episodes for being rather bland, as they have so much of the story and characters to establish. However, Trinity Blood runs into a whole mess of problems here, the most important being neither its story nor its characters are that appealing.
Focusing on Abel Nightroad, who’s a member of the Vatican’s special task force AX, the story revolves around his mysterious past and the trials and missions of his life. His kind and aloof exterior (ala Vash) hides his frightening Crusnik power, which he has to activate using varying percentages of nanomachines (a la Alucard).Accompanying him, more or less, is Esther Blanchett, a not so innocent girl who gets swept up into the fray due to her hate for vampires and association with a failed assassination plan. The rest of those on the Vatican’s side include the 15 year old Pope Alessandro XVIII, his right hand advisor Catherina Sforza, leader of the AX, and all the various members thereof. They mostly comprise your standard gambit of characters, including a machine man with a heart named Tres Iqus, the knowledgeable and crafty Professor, and the cocky as well as brash Leon Garcia. On the Methuslah side there are only a few characters that stay around for very long, the main one being Ion Fortuna. He’s a young vampire noble, who succeeds at being one of those characters that’s constantly a pain in the ass. Always doing the opposite of what he’s told and thus screwing everything up. Finally, the main force behind the Order of Rosenkreuz is Dietrich von Lohengrin, also known as puppet master, along with an unknown individual who’s pulling his strings. He doesn’t show up till near the end of the series though.
Once the setup episodes are past, the main plotlines are tackled. Now, the story isn’t really about the battle between the Vatican and the Methuslah Empire, which are at peace during the show. The real conflict is between those vampires who are upset with the peace that exists, since it puts them on an even footing with their livestock. Thus, the Order of Rosenkreuz is trying to do something that will either start a war between the two, or at least cause tremendous damage to/exterminate the humans. This, sadly, can’t escape from the same problems that plagued the initial episodes. Almost nothing in Trinity Blood is original; it has all been done before, and done better. The characters are often incredibly annoying, in both their actions and their personalities. Abel is a carbon copy of Vash from Tri-Gun and Alucard from Hellsing. His mannerisms when he isn’t fighting are exactly the same as Vash, he has the same vow not to kill, and he looks just like him. When he transforms into his Crusnik form he has to release a certain percent of his power and he changes into a complete badass, or in essence he becomes Alucard. On one hand it’s hilarious, and on the other it’s appalling. Then there’s the 15 year old Pope XVIII. Who in their right mind would believe that a 15 year old kid would be elected pope? Well, we’re supposed to. That he was chosen above everyone, hell, anyone else is beyond comprehension and boggles the mind. He’s weak, unassertive, a crybaby, and hopeless all bundled into the perfect candidate for pope. The only reason to have the pope as a child is to have an avenue for continual disagreements between various other powers in the Vatican, since they are the ones really in control. All of whom, oddly enough, are not children. I could go on, but I’d rather continue on to happier things, like the technical aspects, rather than dwell any longer in an area which should give you an idea of the problems, but hardly encompasses all of them.
Now, while I can’t say the animation really got tested as much as it should have (blame the five second fight scenes), it’s nothing to sneeze at. A Gonzo production, they used 2D and 3D blending, along with some wondrous background art, to a more than pleasurable effect. Some scenes are a little choppy, like when they try to make the vampires look like they are moving really fast by having them constantly teleport to a slightly distant position in rapid succession. Needless to say, it doesn’t look very good. Aside from that and a few other areas, the pros outweigh the cons. Character designs, on the other hand, are uninspired, which they try to make up for with crazy hair and outlandish outfits that often look ridiculous. The soundtrack, composed mostly by Eguchi Takahito, is remarkable, featuring a number of powerful songs, some beautiful singing and, most importantly, it really fits the mood of the scenes. I’m more partial to the opening Dress (Trinity Blood Mix) than the closing Broken Wing, but both are enjoyable.
Where the animation and soundtrack succeed, both language tracks fail. They both suffer from substandard writing, which makes much of the dialogue fall under either the stupid, ridiculous, or repetitive umbrella. On top of this, some character personalities are so irritating that their voice actors never had a chance. Actual voice acting quality, sans script failures, is fair enough for most characters, except for two in the English dub which really didn’t do it for me. The first is Pope Alessandro XVIII, voiced by Greg Ayres and the second is Ion Fortuna, voiced by Aaron Dismuke. Both had very whinny, grating voices that often made me want to put my head through a wall. Especially when Ion/Aaron started yelling…
Once you get past Trinity Blood’s facade of quality animation and a beautiful musical score, you are left with a pile of inane, cliché, and lackluster substance. While the sum of its parts are passable as a decent series, taken individually the stupidity that lies within is palpable.
Trinity Blood is based on a series of novels by the now deceased Sunao Yoshida. He died before being able to complete the series.
The US release of Trinity Blood was handled by Funimation, which released the 24 episode series on 6 discs.