Because I'm On Your Side
Trigun and Hellsing fans unite! Trinity Blood beckons. And hey, who doesn't love a funny vampire-blood-drinking bishonen?
Meet Abel Nightroad, your everyday Vatican priest. Make him poor. Make him cute. Make him a Krusnik, a vampiric being that lives on the blood of other vampires... but appearance isn't everything. Who would have thought that this simple-looking, sugar-loving priest (in human mode) works for a secret holy organization called the AX?
We first meet Abel on board of a luxurious passenger airship, playing the role of a poor, starving Vatican priest. He orders a cup of coffee with thirteen lumps of sugar, because that is all that he can afford: a cup of coffee —- and sugar is free. The clumsy air stewardess accidentally spills the content on his head, then promises to make it up to him by making him a sandwich later. Their conversation is interrupted when the pilots call her in for their evening tea session. During this time, a vampire jabs his hand through the pilots’ throats, seriously frightening the stewardess.
Now, what’s a Vatican priest to do? Normally, he would run as far away from the crime scene as possible, but Abel merely walks in with his smiling face. He shoots a special bullet into the vampire as he feigns tripping in a pool of blood, melting away half of the intruder's body. When the vampire confronts Abel with his rejuvenated body, the priest turns into a Krusnik and sucks out all of the vampire’s blood. It just so turns out that Abel isn't so banal, after all. In fact, he and his organization are responsible for stopping supernatural crimes such as this, witch hunts included.
The Trinity Blood anime series, with characters beautifully designed by Thores Shibamoto and animated by GONZO (Last Exile, Kaleido Star, Gantz), is based on the manga by Kiyo Kyuujou, which has been published since 2003 in the popular Japanese monthly shoujo anthology Asuka. In turn, the manga version is based on an original novel by Sunao Yoshida, who passed away shortly after the announcement of the anime. Such a lineage of multiple writers and artists only adds to the complexity of the animation's plot.
The Trinity Blood series is lavished with impressive archaic terms referring to several famous Europeans throughout time, starting with archaic terms such as the Rosicrucian Order and the Kingdom of Albion (referring to Great Britain) and Catherina Sforza, an influential diplomat. Poet and professor William Wordsworth, and J. M. Barrie, author of the children's classic, Peter Pan also play important roles in the series. In addition, the radical group of vampires whom AX is fighting is conveniently named Fleur du Mal, or "The Flower of Evil," the name of a poetry compilation commenting on the duplicity of Parisians in the 18th century, written by Charles Beaudelaire.
Another element that makes Trinity Blood intriguing is how it is strongly linked with Biblical references, the most obvious example being found in character's names, such as Abel and Cain. Both of them also conveniently share identical last names. Likewise, the term Methuselah refers to vampires in the anime. In the Bible, however, Methuselah refers to the oldest man who ever lived.
For those of you who are familiar with the Trigun and Hellsing franchises, it will be difficult not to think about them while watching Trinity Blood, for there are simply too many overlapping attributes. Let's start with Abel Nightroad's arch-enemy who happens to be his look-alike twin -- Cain Nightroad. They may or may not be related, but they do look identical, albeit with slightly different hair styles. These characters have Krusnik superpowers, but they are nowhere close in their ideals, nor do they get along with each other. Essentially, the evil one tries to make the life of the good one as much of a psychological living hell as he is capable of. Does this sound familiar, say like the relationship between Knives and Vash from Trigun? The creators of Trinity Blood did not get inspired by Trigun alone, for Abel requests that his "Restrictions" to be released every time that he needs to transform into a Krusnik, his vampire form, which is a Hellsing signature move. So for those of you who loved those two series, Trinity Blood is for you.
It is also cool how most of the important characters, good and evil, have code names that may or may not reveal their special abilities or their fascinating personalities. For example, Tres Iquis' code name is Gunslinger, while Noelle Bor is referred to as the Mistress. Even the ship that Sister Kate pilots is called Iron Maiden. The iron maiden is a torture device used by the Church during the Spanish Inquisition on suspected witches and heretics.
Let's not forget about some of the interesting attack method names, such as the System Tinkerbell Attack in the Neverland episode, or destroying an entire city by merely playing an organ.
The ending song, Broken Wings, as well as all of the episode titles, are in English, which is unusual to find in anime. Try not to think too deeply into the logic of the plot, because that will merely ruin the atmosphere of the confident Abel. FUNimation announced its acquisition of Trinity Blood at Anime Expo, as part of their ‘Summer of Gonzo’ campaign. With an expected US release in summer 2006, mark down this title on your calendar!