FUNimation has fully embraced the Blu-ray format and continues to release a steady stream of HD anime. The latest in the line in Trinity Blood: The Complete Series, a fun series that has its flaws. The main problem is that it's reminiscent of a few series that have come before. In any case this world filled with vampires and lost technology is worth visiting, especially if you haven't picked up the DVDs yet.
The show takes place a good while after a nuclear war nearly destroyed all of mankind. As uncounted millions perished, something else arose to torment humanity: vampires. Stronger, faster, and arguably more vicious than humans, the vampires, who call themselves Methuselah, have been locked in an on-and-off war with humanity every since.
The major power on the planet is now the Catholic Church, headquartered in the
Francesco wants an all-out war with the vampires and hopes to wipe them out once and for all no matter how many humans are killed. Caterina is more level-headed and councils moderation. She has an organization under he, called AX, which she uses to advance her cause and thwart her brothers.
An integral member of AX is Father Abel Nightroad, a goofy seemingly scatterbrained priest who has a secret: he's really a Crusnik. If vampires are higher than humans on the food chain, the Crusniks are at the very top. They're even stronger than vampires and feed off of vampire blood. Nightroad hides his true identity however, and has taken a vow not to kill (though he does it often enough.)
Of course on the other side of this war are the Methuselah who honestly fear that they're being targeted for extermination by the humans. With their back up against a wall, is it any wonder that they are fighting the humans?
There's good and bad in this series. First the good: These aren't Twilight vampires that want to take lonely girls to the prom, they're vicious killers who don't mind slaughtering dozens of people. That's good, I'm tired of wimpy vampires (though I do like True Blood... so go figure.)
The animation is also very good. Created by Gonzo, the show is gorgeous with a nice gothic tone and the character designs are well crafted. The people all have a distinctive look, and the vampires are pretty evil looking. The quality of the animation is high too, with facial expressions telling part of the story.
On the bad side is the story itself. While watching this, I couldn't help but think of other anime series that parts of the show were borrowed from. Oh, a cool kick-ass religious order, just like in Chrono Crusade, and the main character projects a real goofball personality to hide that he's really ultra-powerful just like in Trigun, and he's fighting vampires and we're seeing lots of blood and severed limbs like Hellsing. I could go on, but you get the point. This show just seemed like a recycle of other ideas without much original to say. This is especially true of the first half of the series, where the shows are episodic and don't really seem to be going anywhere. After the halfway point the overreaching plot become more evident, but by that time it's hard to really care.
Though things do pick up in the second half, when all was said and done I was neither excited about the series nor disappointed. My reaction was "Meh, it was worth watching, but I doubt I'll go through it again." It's an average series that never quite rises above that level.
The 24 episodes in this series arrive on three Blu-ray discs which come in a pair of Blu-ray cases. They in turn are housed in a very attractive slipcase. The cover art on the slipcase is actually very good.
This set offers viewers the choice of the original Japanese track in Dolby Digital stereo or an English dub in Dolby TrueHD 5.1. I was a bit disappointed that there wasn't a Japanese 5.1 audio option, something I wish would pop up more frequently on Blu-rays. In any case both tracks sounded fine, thought the English option had more *umph* during the fight scenes with good use made of the sound stage, putting the viewers in the middle of the action. Even so, I enjoyed the Japanese track just a bit more, I thought the voices fit the characters a bit better.
Like the show itself, this disc has a pretty high *meh* factor. The 1.78:1 1080p image doesn't look bad at all it just doesn't do much to excite me either. The colors are solid and strong and the blacks are nice and inky, but the lines are not as tight as they could be and appear a bit soft. Things look good on the digital side of things, with only a slight amount of banding in a few spots. Overall it looks good, but I wasn't blown away.
The set is a little light on the extras, like the DVD boxed set of the series. The only things you'll find are a clean opening and closing and some "historical artifacts", a glossary of terms used in the show.
I'll admit that I'm marching to the beat of a different drummer on this one. Both Todd Douglas and Don Houston enjoyed the series a lot more than I did. It's not that it's bad it's just something that I've seen before, and done better. Though I haven't done a direct comparison between this Blu-ray set and the earlier released DVDs but I'd be willing to wager that this is not a gigantic improvement over the SD version. As such, it would make a good rental.