Last week I talked about Gonzo with a look at Final Fantasy- Unlimited. This week we have another Gonzo anime with Trinity Blood. The series began as a series of light novels by the now deceased Yoshida Sunao. It was adapted into a manga that’s still ongoing and into this anime which aired in 2005. Let’s take a look at it and see how Gonzo did with this one.
In some indeterminate time in the future, humanity has changed. We’re separated into two basic types. The ordinary humans of today, called Terrans and the vampiric Methuselah. There’s a territorial; divide with a lot of western Europe being Terran controlled & eastern Europe being Methuselah with some neutral nations acting as a buffer. Unfortunately, the uneasy peace is being threatened by the Rosenkreuz Order. It’s up to Father Abel Nightroad and his comrades at the Vatican to put an end to their machinations.
The biggest issue with this series is a simple one. Virtually everything that happens in it is really obvious and predictable. Because this story doesn’t so much put twists on clichés to make it its own as run down the list and pick all the ones it likes to just throw in completely true to form. And this is a point I’ve made before, a good writer can use unoriginal ideas and turn them into something unique. Terry Pratchett did it with his personification of Death. Miyabe Miyuki did it with a story about a boy transported to another world, even if the Brave Story film was bollocks, the novel did a really stellar job with it. But an unskilled writer will just toss every over done, tired, generic plot point they can into their work and it just comes across as trite. Which is what happens here. I’ll give some examples but I won’t name names because I don’t want to spoil a lot. There’s a bit where the series makes sure to point out something unusual on one of the female characters and the obvious place to go with it is that she’s actually royalty or something and that’s why that’s there. Which is exactly where the series goes with it. There’s also a minor character death where everything leading up to it is stuff that would typically come before a character’s death. There’s a sudden focus on their relationship with the protagonist, they’re having a bonding experience and then they get separated and go off into a dangerous situation and you know that character isn’t coming back. The one thing that might have been surprising is spoiled in the ending theme tune & even then you know where they’re going to eventually go with it. There’s just nothing that happens narratively that actually surprises or engages you. Maybe they would if this was one of your first action anime but if you’ve seen a decent number, this is all old hat.
They also seem to have “borrowed” a lot of ideas from Trigun. Except that they were a lot better executed in that series. And this isn’t like Hunter x Hunter where some things were clearly inspired by Dragonball but they were modified into something unique to that series. This is a lot more copy-pasted. Also, what kind of a surname is “Nightroad” for a vampire. That would be like having a witch with the surname Hexe…. I redact the name criticism immediately.
The biggest pity is that this series did have potential. The idea of vampires and humans openly living side by side but in a state of unease could have been really interesting. The execution is just tepid and ends up spoiling the concept.
The cast suffers from the same issue as the story. They’re just really archetypical and uninteresting as a consequence. Father Nightroad is that variety of shounen protagonist who’s powerful but kind of goofy and hiding a tragic back story. Think of a super watered down version of Vash the Stampede without any of those elements that make Vash compelling. Then we have Sister Esther. She’s the super pure, kind and supportive girl who isn’t too good in a fight but tries her best. The prickly action girl with a kind side role is taken by Astharoshe.
The art varies. The cityscapes tend to be pretty good. Some of the futuristic technology looks cool. The character designs are a bit plain, but work. Except for Father Nightroad’s transformed version. He looks like a Goth kid is trying to make themselves look “dark & brooding” but the youngster in question has no sense of subtlety so they way overdo it. He also has hair that sticks up in a way that makes the super saiyajins look subdued. To think, those five gallons of hair gel could’ve been used to spike the hair of a hundred idiot frat boys. Even his weapon looks absurd. The cg doesn’t always mesh well with the rest of the artwork either. The wings look really out of place, there are times when you’ll get a bit of technology that clashes with everything around it. Some of the more outlandish attacks look awkward. The action sequences as a whole aren’t very good. They’re kind of lazily done.
The acting in this is pretty good. Which isn’t surprising with a cast that includes such names as Noto Mamiko, Touchi Hiroki & Honda Takako. I don’t think it really challenged any of them since the characters are just flat tropes, but it’s still good. Eguchi Takahito’s music is decent enough.
This doesn’t really have any ho-yay. It has a good deal of het. I guess in this version of the future the Catholic church decided to lose the celibacy vows as a method of stopping the priests from touching children. Wouldn’t it be great if the actual Catholic church did literally anything to try and stop that instead of just relocating the problem priests and pretending everything was fine?
I won’t say that Trinity Blood is a bad anime. That being said, it certainly isn’t good. It’s a series that has a premise with a lot of potential but wastes it with a serious over-reliance on clichés and, to make it a bit worse, it outright plagiarises content from Trigun. So, I’d suggest just watching Trigun instead. Because this series hasn’t a single creative bone in its proverbial body. My final rating for Trinity Blood is going to be a 4/10. It’s below average. Next week is Valentine’s day, so let’s look at something with a romantic bend. The review is going to be on Junjou Romantica. That seems like a good choice. However, it’s not going to be up on Wednesday like it usually would. On the 14th I’ll do my usual awards for the best and worst things I’ve reviewed this past year. So, the actual review will be going up on Thursday instead.