Trinity Blood Vol. #2 (Viridian Collection) (of 6) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Release Date: Tuesday, November 20, 2007
What They Say
As the struggle for existence continues, members of the AX are hard-pressed to keep pace with the mounting catastrophes. But even in the midst of global strife, life continues undeterred. Abel Nightroad has brought a new member into the fold; much needed assistance at a time when resources grow thin.
The order ranges from the controversial and the criminal to those truly gifted, and diversity can prove a blessing in disguise, caught in a maelstrom of vampire politics and deranged science, the true enemy has yet to show its face...
Contains episodes 5-8:
Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
Keeping to more stand alone tales, the world of Trinity Blood is expanded and sometimes the supposed lead character isn't even in the show.
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The show has a good mix of action and dialogue to it and the mix handles it all very well. The music in particular, especially the opening and closing sequences, sound great. The action during the show uses the full soundstage just right as events happen all over and with some good noticeable directionality to it. Dialogue also works in a similar way with plenty of well placed dialogue in addition to the standard full sounding areas. We listened to this in its English mix a bit and it sounded good there as well and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions on either language track during regular playback.
Originally airing in 2005, the transfer for this series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. After the recent release of Basilisk and the video issues that I had seen there, I was really wary about the Trinity Blood release since it plays in many of the same kinds of colors. I was also wary since FUNimation has moved most of its authoring in house and it's taking some time to get it back to where it was. The transfer for this show looks quite good and avoids just about all major problems. There isn't any really noticeable grain to it, colors are very solid throughout though there are the occasional moments where certain shades have some mosquito noise to it and cross coloration simply isn't there. The opening and closing sequences in particular look fantastic with sharp vibrant colors and solid blacks.
The menu layout for the release has some great artwork to work with. The second volume has a good looking illustration of Hugue and Caterina from the slipcase cover done in a widescreen design. There is some mixed backgrounds of plants and other things in shades of red that accents it along with the black sections to give it a good creepy but alluring feel. With a bit of the foreboding instrumental music playing along, it all comes together quite well. The navigation is pretty standard and easy to move about it and we continue to use the language setup section to ensure that we get the right settings since the angles for the credits sections are tied to it. It's unfortunate that those cannot be selected in the menu.
Similar to the first volume, the extras for this are a bit weak but they do provide some of the standards. We get the clean version of the opening and closing sequences as well as a few text pages that catches the viewer up on various religious terms and locations that are prominent in the show.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
To my surprise, Trinity Blood continues to be a rather enjoyable show. The opening volume certainly delivered in its own way for setting up the basics of this particular world and introducing some of the framework of the characters that will be central to it. The second installment decides that it wants to build on that a bit more but also do things without the lead characters. As much as Abel seems to be the lead character, he's easily moved to the side in order to tell other stories. And that's not a bad thing.
The opening episode is a very mellow piece that's more interested in character exploration and expanding the setting a bit more. Abel returns to the Vatican with Esther in tow and we get to see clearly once more just how out of place he is in such a setting. If not for the help of the enticing Noelle, he'd probably end up skewered by those who protect the place. Once past that though, Abel finds himself providing some details about his encounters with the Rosen Kruez to Caterina. The presentation of it is fairly minimal but it and other movements around the Vatican allows us to see some of Caterina's history and start to understand what motivates her. It also explains heavily why she and Abel are like they are. Caterina has been an interesting person from what little we've seen so far and this does a good job of making her a bit more fleshed out.
Esther gets a bit of time as well in learning her way around the place which in turn helps explains some of the general make-up of it all. The only downside is that Treis gets doesn't get used too much but he does have a couple of rather fun moments. This overall greater understanding of how the AX operates and the people within it is used to launch more of the episodes as various operatives under Caterina's control are sent out into the field. After looking at some of them, such as Hugue and Leon, it really changes the perspective on Abel and he seems to be the most grounded and human of all the people that are there. And that says a lot considering what he's able to do and become.
The individual tales that each of those operatives get to tell are very solid standalone episodes that could easily have been spread over at least one or two more episodes. Father Hugue, also known as Sword Dancer, takes on the role of the silent but vicious exterminator for AX that gets wrapped up in dealing with killing at one of the churches in a multi-party pact region. Seeing the way that each side is really looking at things from a political fashion is a nice aspect since there's some very different ways in which each side is dealing with each other. With none of the regular characters truly being involved in the episode outside of some breakdown, it's allowed to be pretty vicious in how it kills people in order to tell an effective story. Though predictable, its atmosphere is spot on and the way it builds up the way this world works is very enjoyable.
The other standalone piece introduces a character named Leon to the show. Apparently he's committed some sort of crimes in his life even though he's a priest but he's able to work the years off by doing special jobs for AX. Abel's sent to bring him out for a new mission, one worth twenty years, that has the pair of dealing with a series of attacks on ships in Albion by vampires. What's different is that one of the bodies that they've found is actually a fairy. There's a fair mystery involved in all of this but the real fun is watching the way the pair operate together. Leon is the straight man but he's got the right kind of humor to him that he's able to really mess with Abel.
What really stood out for me in this volume was the character of Noelle. She gets some good moments during the first episode as we deal with Esther's arrival at the Vatican but they tend to come in how she teases Abel. The last episode has her on a mission with him and her girlish side really comes out in terms of her personality. Physically, she's all woman to be sure. Trinity Blood certainly isn't free of female characters, but it does lean more towards very beautiful looking male characters. Noelle is able to bring a bit of sensuality to things but she's also a character that isn't set on being seen in just one way by someone, especially when it comes to Abel. In the end, Abel continues to come off as the character without too much depth but his presence has made other characters richer and more interesting.
While none of my male friends seem to even register Trinity Blood's existence but the women are completely wrapped up in it, I continue to find it an enjoyable show. The stories being told aren't exactly big pieces and they've stuck to mostly standalone pieces but apparently the big manga/novel stories aren't all that long either. The smaller stories are well told though and there is something very appealing in the atmosphere and designs of the show. There may be some general Gonzo cliché's to be found, but otherwise it all plays well. I've had this disc playing maybe five or six times in the background while working on upgrading the forums recently and each episode had many scenes in both languages that were able to pull me away from what I was doing. It's definitely worth checking out for a number of reasons.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Cultural & Historical Facts,Clean Opening,Clean Closing
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic DMP-BD10 Blu-ray player via HDMI -> DVI with upconversion set to 1080i, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.
Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: N/A
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: B
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Trinity Blood