Mania Grade: B
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: B+
- Packaging Rating: A+
- Menus Rating: B+
- Extras Rating: B
- Age Rating: TV MA
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
- MSRP: 29.98/34.98
- Running time: 100
- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Trinity Blood
Trinity Blood Vol. #4 (also w/limited edition)
By Chris Beveridge
January 31, 2007
Release Date: January 30, 2007
What They Say
The object of the enemy is revealed: to sow the seeds of suspicion and unrest among the people of the world, to inflame the hatred and distrust between the two races.
As the order of Rosen Kreuz up the stakes, cooperation and goodwill between the Vatican and the empire grow imperative. Adept at intrigue and manipulation, insinuated deeply within both sides of the struggle, this new order leads all in deadly dance. For AX operative Abel Nightroad, when friend becomes foe, foe will become friend. But can one man save the world when so many seek to destroy it?
Contains episodes 13-16:
The Ibelis II: Betrayal Blaze
The Ibelis III: A Mark of sinner
The Night Lords I: Return of the Envoy
The Night Lords II: Twilight of the CapitalThe Review!
Though the two arcs in this volume are essentially one larger one, each has areas that work for it but some more than others.Audio:
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.Video:
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 but at least cross coloration isn't there. The opening and closing sequences in particular look fantastic with sharp vibrant colors and solid blacks.Packaging:
As we went for the limited edition box set, we're looking at the limited edition release. The regular release is in a keepcase while the limited is in a digipak. The slipcover features a really nice pairing of characters with Ion in the background while Radu is in the foreground. The frame for the artwork is similar to the earlier release and just looks gorgeous. The digipak artwork is that of some secondary male characters with a heavy emphasis on black. Though the trim isn't as detailed for the frame as the slipcase, it looks equally stunning. The digipak opens up to the booklet holder and another great looking illustration of some of the Inquisitors. The booklet itself is gorgeous and filled with beautiful artwork and designs, interviews with the staff and character profile information. Add in the couple of cards that come in a separate sealed plastic bag with the associated volume number printed on it and you've got a release that is just stunning from top to bottom. This is the kind of release where you can see exactly where all the love and effort went as it looks and feels like a top of the line release. Few digipak releases really feel like this.Menu:
The menu layout for the release has some great artwork to work with. The fourth volume has the good looking illustration from the digipak cover done in a widescreen design. There are some mixed backgrounds of Imperial architecture that accents it along with the black sections to give it a dark and imposing feeling. 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.Extras:
Similar to the earlier volumes, 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 brings the viewer up to speed on various religious terms and locations that are prominent in the show.Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The fourth installment of Trinity Blood proved to be a real mixed bag for me even though the overall story arc between the two smaller arcs is fairly interesting. The first arc had its first episode on the previous volume which leaves you trying to get caught up on things again with some of the new characters while the second arc has its first two episodes on here but no conclusion. Both of them are essentially playing to the same storyline so there is some continuity there at least.
The opening arc continues the storyline where Esther and Abel are now basically doing their best to protect the Imperial envoy, Ion, before he can be killed. The attempts on Caterina's life has made those within the Vatican nervous about the entire situation so they're no longer in the mood to really entertain that there may be some kind of serious envoy coming to see her. Abel and Esther are rather aware of how the situation is playing out after Radu's involvement in everything became clearer so they're quite intent on getting Ion to see Caterina. That's put the folks from the Inquisition side of the Vatican in a position of having to capture Abel and Esther which at the same time doesn't make them interesting characters. Not that the pair that we see the most are interesting to begin with considering how little detail there is to their personalities.
The two episodes that bring this portion of the arc to a close are decent enough but they don't really do much beyond tantalize about the larger plot that Orden is trying to bring to fruition. The only area that I found interesting to watch throughout it was to see the growing relationship between Esther and Ion. Ion himself isn't all that interesting of a character yet since he's been focused on staying alive or watching Radu get messed up but his quasi-dependence on Esther as the situation changes was a nice little twist on things. She hasn't been the most fleshed out character in this series (though I'm hard pressed to think of anyone who is truly fleshed out here) but I've enjoyed seeing her get used to the way her life has changed. She's been the only person without any real powers or in a position of power that has been fairly consistent for awhile.
Where this volume got more interesting was with the start of the "Night Lords" arc which has Abel and Esther going to the heart of the Empire with Ion. Donning the attire of the locals and heading to the west side of the city where all the Methuselah's live, the show sets about bringing Ion and the others to inform the Empress that they are indeed intent on working together against a common enemy. It's a simple enough and effective approach which is why there is an active campaign to make sure that they not only don't make it there but there is enough bad blood out there to ensure that they won't be believed anyway.
The second arc is a fair bit of fun in general since we get to explore more of where the Methuselah live and call home while also how they deal with the lower class that remain in the area. Visually it's not all that different from the Vatican area other than some obvious architectural things when it comes to capital buildings, but the variances in how they have to deal with such things as the sun is interesting enough. The political side of it also gets touched on a bit, not to the depth we've seen the Vatican side of it, but it helps to expand some of what's been going on there. The Empress herself opens up a whole can of worms when Abel goes to meet with her privately which should make for some interesting material if it gets explored in the two remaining volumes.In Summary:
While something of a mixed bag because of how the two arcs are laid out across this volume, the overall storyline continues to be interesting. The greater emphasis on the Empire that started in the last volume carries through well here and I'm continually intrigued about it and wanting to know more. The mystery that they've been for quite some time is now being cleared up. The second arc on the disc also allows for some recent additions to the show to become more prominent and I was particularly glad to see Asta come back into play along with her respect for Abel. The show has its sense of style down and enough of a plot to carry it through but it's still not a truly deep or engaging show. It is however fun, sexy at times and generally appealing " especially for those with a vampire fetish.
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.