Trinity Blood Vol. #01 (Mania.com)

By:Matthew Alexander
Review Date: Thursday, January 04, 2007
Release Date: Wednesday, November 01, 2006



Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Story by: Sunao Yoshida / Art by: Kiyo Kyujo
Translated by:Beni Axia Conrad
Adapted by:Christine Boylan

What They Say
In a dark and distant future... Armageddon has giving rise to the fabled Second Moon--and a perpetual war between the vampires and the humans! Esther is a nun in the city of Istavan. When she crosses paths with Abel Nightroad, a priest sent from the Vatican to combat the local order of vampires, the two form a holy alliance to battle the most evil of threats: Gyula, the leader of the vampires. In this gorgeous, gothic-action series--part of the super-popular Trinity Blood franchise--the very survival of the human race is at stake!

The Review
Vampires in a gothic setting of an alternate future; pretty males and creepy looking females.

Packaging:
This release uses the original cover art, which wraps around to the back where it shares space with a short synopsis. Abel Nightroad is on the front cover holding a revolver in his right hand with the back cover showing his left hand grasping a large crucifix. An interesting addition is a book flap on the front cover with a picture of Esther on one side and her bio on the other. This is a nice addition to the title, but on the other hand, the color pages are not included. I am at a loss for the way this is done. As a fan, I would much rather have the color pages than the cover flap. I am also disappointed with the off-centered text found in many of the dialogue bubbles. This is scattered throughout the book and I found it distracting.

Extras include a synopsis for the second volume and a six-page preview from the Trinity Blood: Rage Against the Moons novel by Sunao Yoshida.

Artwork:
The character design for this series is by Thores Shibamoto and the art is by Kiyo Kyujo. I'm not a very big fan of either the character designs or the artwork. The male characters are standard bishies, which are fine, but Esther looks like one of those freaky dolls with huge eyes and a massive forehead. I can never figure out how some artists can draw very attractive men, but the women they draw look strange and unappealing. The anime release of Trinity Blood used Shibamoto's character designs with perhaps a little help from Atsuko Nakajima to smooth out the characters and remake Esther.

There are a few very cool single page pictures of Abel Nightroad, but for the most part Kyujo's art and panel layout is quite messy. The panel layout has poor flow and the action scenes tend to disintegrate into an ugly pile of speed lines. Backgrounds are mostly nonexistent. My other big complaint was the complete overuse of SD for Abel Nightroad. It makes the comedic scenes feel forced.

Text/SFX:
The text for this volume does not read very well, which is only exacerbated by the confusing panel layout. This story takes place in a futuristic Europe, so naturally there are no honorifics. However, there is a rather out of place use of "kun by Abel Nightroad when addressing Tres at the end of the book. SFX are not translated.

Contents: (Oh yes, there may be spoilers)
In a post-apocalyptic Europe, vampires have lunged out of the legends and taken control of the aristocracy as human society rebuilt itself. A strange feudal relationship between vampires (known as Methuselahs) and humans (called Terrans by the vampires) has come into being, with only the Catholic Church and scattered groups of rebels to challenge the rule of the vampires.

The Vatican has sent the bumbling Father Abel Nightroad to St. Mathias Church in the city of Istavan. Upon his arrival, he meets Sister Esther, who along with a villager named Dietrich, seems to be involved with a rebel group of humans planning to assassinate the vampire, Lord Gyula. When a vampire murders most of St. Mathias' clergy, Nightroad drops the foolish act and reveals his identity. Nightroad is a Crusnik (vampire who feeds on vampires), and it only takes 40% of his power to waste the interloping vampire.

Lord Gyula is planning to use a piece of ancient technology to destroy the Vatican and take his vengeance on humans for the death of his wife. With the rebels making him a little nervous, he sends his military force to destroy St. Mathias and the rebels using it as a base. The attack leaves Esther's mother figure dead and pushes her, Dietrich, and Nightroad to launch a counterattack on Lord Gyula.

Betrayal, vampire vs. vampire battles and the fate of the Catholic Church are on the line. Will Esther and Dietrich be able to stop Lord Gyula? Will Nightroad be able to stop the attack on the Vatican? You will just have to pick up this volume and find out.

Comments
What came first, the chicken or the egg? In this case, the manga, anime, or the novel? Well the novel was first, then the manga, followed by the anime. The translated novels have not reached American bookshelves yet, but I would recommend watching the anime over reading this manga. This first volume actually starts with the events of episode three of the anime, so unless you are familiar with the anime or the novel, this manga is really confusing. There is barely any mention of the background and history of the Trinity Blood world, and the poor panel layout and writing just compounds the problems with this book. If you enjoyed the anime and would like to read a different take on the story, I still can't really recommend this title because it's so close to the storyline of episode three and four of the anime.

I love vampire stories and I like the Trinity Blood universe, but I recommend sticking with the anime version and maybe even checking out the translated novels when they come out.



Mania Grade: C+
Art Rating: B-
Packaging Rating: B
Text/Translatin Rating: B-
Age Rating: 16 & Up
Released By: TOKYOPOP
MSRP: 9.99
Pages: 192
ISBN: 1-59816-674-3
Size: B6
Orientation: Right to Left