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Trinity Blood - volume three
voice cast: Hiroki Touchi, Mamiko Noto

director: Tomohiro Hirata

102 minutes (15) 2005
MVM DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 7/10
reviewed by Michael Bunning
Trinity Blood is set in a post-apocalyptic future, but unlike most post-apocalyptic anime shows (and there are a fair few), this one is set far enough after the unidentified armageddon that the world has picked up the pieces and got civilisation up and running again. Our new world order is one in which vampires are well established and have countries of their own. Humans and vampires are at war, with the humans being led by the Vatican (now called the Chancery). The Chancery's special forces are known as AX, and the series' protagonists are AX agents. Most of the episodes follow the adventures of priest and good-guy-vampire Abel Nightroad. This premise works well, as the world is both our own (many cities of today are still in use) and alien, and the design and backstory of the series is well enough thought out to be extremely compelling.

Volume three contains four episodes, and picks up after a tragic mission in Barcelona, in which the National Palace mysteriously collapsed, and one of the main characters died. The evil Rosen Kreutz are planning to destroy Rome with the 'silent noise' sonic bomb, and AX are on the back foot, scrambling around to try to stop them, amidst grief, self-doubt and the very real possibility of traitors in the Chancery.

Unlike many animes, Trinity Blood doesn't bother much with standalone episodes designed to artificially lengthen the story to last a series (or gain a second series), and even when there are seemingly standalone episodes, as often as not they later turn out to have been tied to the main narrative after all. Volume three continues in this vein, with the first two episodes a two-part 'core' story (which continues the central narrative), the third seemingly standalone, and the fourth episode (episode 12) ending in a cliffhanger, as it's half of another two-part core story. Four episodes is fairly standard for an anime volume, and as much as I'd have liked to see five included on the disc (so that I could watch the resolution to episode 12), the series is good enough to make it worth buying volume four when that appears.

It's not the most thoughtful or unusual anime around at the moment, but Trinity Blood does have an engaging narrative, characters who are more than the two-dimensional clichés usually seen in vampire shows, and a world that reveals surprising depth and planning on the part of the creators. The subtitles are excellent, and the English voice cast are passable (though obviously it's better watched with Japanese audio and English subs); and as usual with Studio Gonzo animes, it's gorgeously drawn and directed.

Extras on offer here are run of the mill: text-less opening and ending credits, and a couple of trailers for other anime series. That's a little disappointing, as it would have been nice to see production artwork, character profiles or a brief info section on the locations, as Trinity Blood's world really is very interesting and gorgeously drawn. Having said this, though, the anime itself is a cut above most of the releases we get over here, and it'd be a shame to miss out just because the extras are below par.

Recommended then, but as the series is so narratively focussed, you'll be a little lost if you don't first watch volumes one and two.
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