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Trinity Blood volume four
voice cast: Hiroki Touchi, Mamiko Noto

director: Tomohiro Hirata

102 minutes (15) 2006
widescreen ratio
16:9 MVM DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 7/10
reviewed by Michael Bunning
Trinity Blood is largely the story of Father Abel Nightroad, a Vatican special agent with (unsurprisingly - this is anime, after all) a dark secret and a mysterious past. The world as we know it is gone, and there are two main world-spanning empires: the Vatican (based in Rome) and the Empire (based in Byzantium). The Vatican is, as the name suggests, a deeply Roman Catholic society, while the Empire is ruled by the Methuselahs (vampire-like beings) who keep 'regular' humans (who they call 'Terrans') subjugated as lower-class citizens.

Unlike most vampire animes though, the Methuselahs aren't the evil, caricatured villains of the piece, nor are the Vatican the white knight protagonists. The two sides are engaged in a cold war that is quickly threatening to escalate into all-out violence. There are factions in both empires wanting nothing more than the destruction of the other side, but there are also progressives who are trying to forge peace. Abel works for AX, a secret branch of the Vatican, who are pursuing the dream of peace, but AX are hampered by enemies from within the Vatican, Methuselahs who want only to eradicate regular humans, and also the mysterious Rosen Kreutz organisation, whose ultimate aim is unknown.

Volume four contains episodes 13 -16, and picks up the swiftly moving narrative immediately after episode 12. Abel's current mission is to transport Ion, a Methuselah envoy, safely to his boss, the Cardinal Caterina Sforza. Things aren't as easy as they could be, though. The traitor who was hinted at in episode 12 is revealed, the Inquisition declare Abel a heretic and attempt to capture (and presumably kill) Ion, and Rosen Kreutz deploy a squad of assassins to kill both Ion and Caterina.

Trinity Blood's narrative is becoming a little more sophisticated this volume, dealing a little more with political realities in both the Vatican and the Empire. It still retains the sometimes slapstick Abel-based humour, and the frequent violence that seem the lynchpins of the anime, which will please the less thoughtful fans, but there are hints at deeper concerns. As usual, the art is excellent and the dubbing is bearable, though not a patch on the Japanese audio and English subs.

Extras on offer here are extremely lightweight: text-less opening and ending credits, and two (dreadful) trailers for other anime series. Unfortunately that's par for the course with Trinity Blood, and it's disappointing because the series hints at a large, well-developed backstory for the world, and the viewer isn't given any more information about it. Character profiles would be nice, and a world map or info on the cities would have been very welcome indeed.

As usual with this series, volume four is worth watching, but so much has happened that it's definitely not the place to start. Pick up volume one first.
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