Trinity Blood
Chapter 1

Starring (voice): Hiroki Touchi, Mamiko Noto, Junichi Suwabe and Junko Minagawa
RRP: 19.99
Certificate: 15
Available 02 July 2007

It is 500 years after Armageddon left the earth ravished. Desperate for even the slightest shred of hope in an uncertain future, the people turned to religion for solace. The Catholic Church, although wrought with corruption, became the prime force in restoring civilisation. But an enemy far worse than corruption lingered in the darkness... Vampires now feed on the blood of humanity. To ensure peace, individuals within the Church have secretly formed the ultra-tactical team, the AX. Under the command of Lady Caterina Sforza, Duchess of Milano, the AX is committed to protecting humankind and punishing those who threaten the Vatican's interests. Ironically, the most powerful agent within the AX is not human. Father Abel Nightroad is a crusnik, a shape-shifter able to feed on the blood of vampires. It is he who leads the fight against a legion of vampires known as the Rosen Kreuz, whose members will do whatever it takes to become earth's superior species. As a new countdown to destruction begins, it's up to the AX to save humanity and to resurrect the long-forgotten era of peace...

Based on a series of novels by the late Sunao Yoshida, which were subsequently transformed into manga adaptations, the neo-Gothic sci-fi adventure Trinity Blood is a 24-episode anime series recounting an epic battle between good and evil as bloodsucking vampires fight tooth and claw against emissaries of the Church with the earth as the prize.

Volume One contains the first four episodes:

Flight Night: The first episode introduces us to Abel Nightroad, an executor who works for the Vatican. Abel is actually a crusnik, a higher species on the food chain than vampires. In much the same way as vampires feed of humans, crusniks feed of vampires. While travelling onboard the airship, the Tristan, Abel gets caught up in a rather nasty hijacking. It seems that a vampire is intent on flying the airship into the Vatican. Can Abel save all onboard and stop a terrible disaster on the ground?

Witch Hunt: Abel and Father Tres Iqus, a battle android with the codename Gunslinger, encounter a small girl named Elise Wasmeyer who has telepathic powers and the ability to control other people using her mind. The vampires have taken an interest in her, realising that if they can control her then they can enslave the human race. Abel takes it upon himself to protect her even when the Vatican believes she is a serious threat and must be terminated. Abel must take on one of his own - Gunslinger - to stop him from killing Elise.

The Star of Sorrow: Part 1 - City of Blood: Abel is dispatched to Ishtvan. When he arrives there he contacts Sister Esther Blanchett, who has troubles of her own. It appears that Abel's predecessor, who treated Esther like her own daughter, was killed. It seems that Count Gyula knows more about this than he is letting on.

The Star of Sorrow: Part 2 - Hunter's Banquet: Abel and Esther are captured by Count Gyula and held prisoner. Gyula has plans that involve using the Star of Sorrow to destroy the local population. As things unravel it appears that all is not what it seems, and that Gyula and Esther have more in common than they think.

Extras on the disc are a little disappointing. All we get are textless opening and closing titles as well as some character line drawings under the heading Tarot Cards. There are also a couple of trailers too.

This is one of the most promising anime releases to have emerged in recent years. While the basic story revolving around vampires is not overly original, the characters and events make up for the unoriginal setting.

Visually beautiful, this series also contains some of the best music I've ever heard in an anime series. Takahito Eguchi's score enriches the visual images and is a feast for the ears if you crank up the soundtrack on your surround sound systems.

To be honest I can't think of another anime series in recent times that has opened as well as this. I look forward to watching the rest of the series in due course.

Nick Smithson

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