The premise seems slightly familiar – a ravaged earth, a powerful invading force; vampires, in this case (although with a name like Trinity Blood, is that really any surprise?) but this series has a slightly unique way of looking at its fairly recognizable story line. For a start, things in the Earth’s indeterminate future look a lot like the archaic past, vaguely somewhere around the late Middle Ages to early Renaissance periods. It’s not exactly a time frame often treated to a sci-fi twist, at least, not to this extent.
The Roman Catholic Church is the supreme power – spiritual, political and militaristic – in (what I assume is) Europe. While they struggle to maintain an external balance they are beset by strife from within. The Papacy is headed by a retiring, insipid teen and the young Pope’s older siblings vie for power in the wings. And then there’s the cold war going on. The Methuselahs, the vampires mentioned earlier, have established themselves in Byzantium, complete with their own social political system and rights. But with two almost fundamentally inimical races like humans and vampires living side by side however, it’s not a wonder there’s a bit of trouble. Political maneuverings, sabotage, terrorism and right wing fundamentalism abounds; the two realms are poised on the brink of a war neither of them necessarily want.
Enter Abel Nightroad, a broke, bumbling ordained father – more Vatican Police than priest; he packs a pistol and a penchant for sweets and he just happens to be traveling on a terrorist-hijacked airship. The terrorist is of course from a radical faction of Methuselah rebels interested in destruction, not disarmament, but it only takes about three point one nano-seconds to work out that Father Nightroad is obviously not quite as bumbling as he likes to make out. A little longer still and it becomes obvious he’s not only a bit badass, he’s not even human. He is, in fact, a Krusnik, a super-vampire that feeds on other vampires.
And this is where similarities to other vampire-y anime series seem come into being, most notably to Hellsing, where the infamous father of vampires Alucard works under the externally imposed yoke of a power limit, which he needs explicit clearance to be able to exceed. In Abel’s case, and without giving away too much, the limit seems to be self-imposed – he himself is trusted and permitted to activate the artificial power buried in his DNA and later there are numerous references to a tragic and traumatic past that justify this voluntary limitation. Nightroad, like another cheerful, clumsy anime character with devastating personal potential (Vash the Stampede from Trigun springs to mind here), is running from that past, but he finds out eventually, as all such characters must, that one can only run so far before one ends up back at the start.
While he’s running however, he still has a job to do, one that seems impossible at times when vampire kills human and human kills vampire, when there’s fundamentalists on both sides and a world war looms with the discovery of the secret to the Lost Technology. Of course, there are also souls to save and hearts to inspire. This is after all a series partially shoujo in origin – it’s action yes, but with fairly slick animation, rich colours, lush gothic detail and character designs (by mangaka Sunao Yoshida, who tragically passed away in 2004 at the very young age of 34) it’s almost too beautiful to look at; so much so in fact that it’s probably a little too pretty to really interest most of the fan-boys, despite all the blood-letting, supernatural fighting and gunslinging that goes on.
Not that this is a bad thing. Trinity Blood might seem here and there like something else you’ve seen, and it might not be the most tightly plotted series either, but it’s got all the required elements for a bit of no-work entertainment, and that hardly makes the experience of watching it any less pleasurable.