Trinity Blood Vol. #3 (of 6) (Mania.com)

By:Bryan Morton
Review Date: Friday, October 26, 2007
Release Date: Monday, November 05, 2007



What They Say
The true enemy has risen at last, a shadow known by many names: the order of Rosen Kreuz, the Contra Mundi, the Enemy of the World... The new enemy has thrown both races into turmoil and the rift grows deep, for when the foe comes in friendly guise, allies will battle.

But there are those who endeavor to bridge the chasm between the Vatican and the Empire, between the humans and the vampires. When the great threat emerges, the enemy of my enemy is my friend... And Abel Nightroad seeks a safe path for all.

Episodes Comprise
9 – Overcount, Part I: The Belfry of Downfall
10 – Overcount, Part II: Lucifer’s Choice
11 – From the Empire
12 – The Ibelis, Part I: Evening Visitors

The Review!
The Rosen Kreuz take their battle right to the heart of the Vatican, but after events in Barcelona, Abel’s not really in the right frame of mind to fight them. Later, an unusual mission sees him paired with a vampire investigator, while the Empress herself has a message for Caterina…

Audio:
Audio for this release comes in Japanese stereo and English 5.1 surround mixes. I listened to the Japanese track for this review. Trinity Blood is quite dialogue-heavy, with occasional forays into action scenes where Abel is allowed to show off his abilities. The soundtrack handles both types of scene with no problems – the available channels are used to place dialogue and effects on the soundstage, while music comes across very well. The opening and closing themes are both very good tunes and sound particularly good.

Video:
Video is presented in the show’s original 1.78:1 widescreen format, enhanced for anamorphic playback. For the most part it’s a good-looking transfer, especially given the heavy use of darker scenes, but there were occasions when backgrounds, particularly colour gradients, exhibited some blocking. It’s quite noticeable and distracting when it happens, but fortunately it’s not too widespread.

Packaging:
No packaging was provided with our review copy.

Menu:
The menu is a rather ominous, gothic-looking piece with fits in well with the show’s setting and is backed up by a piece of suitably dramatic background music taken from the series. Direct access is provided to each episode, along with a Play All option and submenus for Extras and Setup. It’s all quick and easy to use – no problems here.

Extras:
Just creditless versions of the opening and closing sequences on this disc.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)
Officially, the events in Barcelona have been blamed on Professor Barrie, but Caterina and her associates aren't so sure. The one person who fully knows what happened is Abel, but he's disappeared - Caterina's certain he's in Rome somewhere, but if he is, he's keeping a low profile. Meanwhile, senior Cardinals are gathering at the Vatican - and not all of them seem to have the continued well-being of the Church at heart.

Later, while Caterina is on a visit to Carthage, word reaches AX of a Vampire plot to assassinate her while she's less well guarded. No sooner does she receive warning of this, than a Vampire appears in her room - but not to attack her. Instead, he's carrying an imperial decree, from the Empress herself - but before he can deliver it, Caterina's bodyguards open fire, and he's forced to flee. Caterina, aware that she's in danger of losing a valuable chance to begin a dialogue with the Empire, orders Abel to track down the messenger - but there are those within the Empire who seem determined to make sure the Empress's message never reaches its recipient…

Lots happening in this volume of Trinity Blood, but the way it’s put together doesn’t quite stand up to scrutiny. The opening two-parter follows on from the Barcelona & Barrie stories of last volume, and show just how far the Rozen Kruez Orden have gotten their hooks into the Vatican hierarchy – and just how oblivious some of the more gung-ho elements there are of their enemy’s plans. The most notable thing here is how small a role Abel plays in the story – for most of the two episodes, he’s simply an anonymous wanderer in the streets of Rome, mourning the loss of a friend and ignoring Esther’s pleas for him to come back and continue his job. He does eventually stop the moping and get back to doing what he does best, but for most of the story its other people who get to save the day. Even when Abel does get back into the mix, the key things are more what he doesn’t or can’t do, rather than what he does.

Episode 11 is a fun little interlude, which also gives a taster of what can happen when Vatican and Empire decide to work together. The first thing you have to do here is put out of your mind how reluctant Abel had been to do anything the episode before – it’s like one minute he’s the reluctant fighter with the weight of the world on his shoulders, and the next he’s back to his usual cheery self with nary a word of explanation, and the difference between Abel “then and now” is like dragging a needle across a record. The story itself is enjoyable, though, with Abel being paired with Vampire investigator Asta to looking into a series of killings in Venice. While the investigation is you usual by-the-numbers stuff, Asta is a great character and someone who I’d like to see more of.

Their ability to work together may also be a foretaste of what the Empress of the New Human Empire has in mind when she attempts to open dialogue with the Vatican, using Caterina as her contact. The different factions that this decision brings into play, over and above the scheming of the Rozen Kreuz that both sides already have to deal with, open up a whole slew of possibilities for where the story could go from here. We just need some storylines that take advantage of those possibilities – and that’s an area where Trinity Blood hasn’t quite done as well as it could have.

In Summary:
Some good action scenes, lots of plotting between the various factions, and some curious pointers to where the series is maybe heading make this another good volume of Trinity Blood, although there are one or two matters that aren’t handled as well as they could have been. Nothing too serious in the way of downsides, though, so another thumbs-up for this volume.

Features
Japanese Language 2.0,English Language 5.1,English Subtitles,Creditless Opening & Closing Sequences

Review Equipment
Toshiba 37X3030DB 37" widescreen HDTV; Sony PS3 Blu-ray player (via HDMI, upscaled to 1080p); Acoustic Solutions DS-222 5.1 speaker system.



Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: A-
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: N/A
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: B-
Age Rating: 15 & Up
Region: 2 - Europe
Released By: MVM Entertainment
MSRP: 19.99
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Trinity Blood