So I finished watching Trinity Blood with the anime club I help run. I haven't been so infuriated with an anime since Tokyo Underground; actually more so. Tokyo Underground is such a notably mundane anime, you can't even get on it's case about how bad it is. It just is, in all of it's mundane, cliche, and predictable glory. It was so average and un-noteworthy, it was a genuine time sink; It wasn't even bad enough to convince me to stop watching it. I want my nine hours back.
Trinity Blood, on the other hand, has a similar but much more pronounced problem. The issue with this series is not how bad it is, but how good it COULD be. It has the gaul to start off with an awesome first episode posing the question of the day: "if humans prey on animals, and vampires prey on humans, how terrifying must the creature that preys on vampires be? Seriously, what kind of bada-- freaking EATS VAMPIRES?! The main character of Trinity Blood, that's who. At least you'd think the show would be freaking awesome after an episode like that.
We then spend the next three or four episodes (keep in mind, this is a 26 ep series) SETTING THE SCENE in peaceful, futuristic European and Catholic hotspots-- Rome, Vatican, London, you get the picture-- and exposing an intricate religious-political drama. OK. Fine. I can deal with that; I like conspiracy theories. But I was promised vampires-- non-sparkly ones at that (well, maybe they're a little shiny, but more in an "aura of deadly crackling lightning" sort of way)-- vampires, vampire-eating monsters, aircraft with LASER BEAMS, guns, nano-bots, giant scythes, and BLOOD.
Anyway, this mini-arc has a girl-of-the-week kind of feel, mixed with a slice-of-life, and occasionally some bad guys get shot-- not by the main character, I might add; he spends more of his time smiling stupidly and asking young girls not to take revenge on those who have seriously wronged them, and more pointedly, will continue to wrong others in the form of BLOWING UP innocent cities.
Enter Rosette-- sorry, wrong nun-with-gun-- I mean, Colette-- oh, wait, that's that fail chick from Tales of Symphonia-- I mean, Estelle-- sorry, ESTER-- because that STAR-shaped birthmark on her butt-- sorry LOWER BACK-- has ABSOLUTELY NO INFLUENCE on her name whatsoever (stupid English translators).* So, now that I can remember her name (Ester, for those who couldn't decipher that), we meet Ester (this is killing me), a package deal of fail-sauce and boobs. Jing has his girl-of-the-week, Kino has hers, Father Nightroad (that's our main character) has his. I can deal with her whiney stupidity because she'll be gone by the end of the epis-- oh, it's a multi-parter. Ok, well, she'll bec=gone at the end of the ar-- she's going WITH him… Of all the girls, SHE'S the one that stays. WHY?! By the way, that whole nun-with-gun thing, her only semi-redeeming quality, you never see that again. Even though she's in more dangerous situations that ever, traveling with a priest that hunts vampires-- who, might I point out, hasn't done ANYTHING cool since the first episode-- NEVER makes a move to defend herself again.
We get a few more incidental characters-- a robotic paladin, a real paladin and his right hand lady (who's cooler than her is), a backgroundless but nonetheless badass swordsman-- and a few recurring characters-- palace guard/ex-crusader, Pope Fail, some vampire nobility, and, my favorite, the pincushion. We go through the rest of the extremely slow exposition (yes, the most of the show is exposition) and about once a disc, the show builds up to some form of fight or bada--ery, which usually comes out to a grand total of about three minutes. The build is ridiculously slow and boring (most of which I couldn't recount to any who asked by the next week), and the action, though cool, was short-lived and frequently cut short or alluded to more than seen.
By the last disc, I was ready to roll over dead. By the end of the disc, I was ready to KILL. I figured, this, at least would justify my forced patience. The first episode was epic, surely the finale would live up to that, at the very least. F--- no. Trinity Blood says "You wanted what? B---- please." It harbored the same slow build and teasing action the rest of the series but in less time. Sure, a bunch of awesome one-shot characters and few minor ones step up to the plate only to have their epicness alluded to while we get to listen to our token-vagina/kidnap-bait fail increasingly in previously inconceivable manners and then cry over said failures.
Why couldn't you have just STAYED in the bomb shelter, like he told you. Even The Child Pope Failure, grew a spine in the course of this show. Where were you? The 12-year-old Peter Pan references kicked more ass than you, and whined about it less, at that. ALL of our allies have pulled out every single stop and are off being bada--, and we're stuck watching this girl sitting in front of a coffin CRYING about what she's NOT out there doing, because she's in here, crying. WHY did we follow this character? Oh right, the crazy birthmark says she's the queen. Who DIDN'T see that coming? She certainly didn't, not that I'm surprised.
The worst part about this is how good it all could have been. The animation was pretty, not gorgeous, but it was trying. The computer graphics were kind of distracting to me, but it made for some pretty cool effects, like the lighting and blood. There WERE kick-a-- characters, even the non-martial ones, but we never got to see them in action for more than about three minutes or a few lines at a time. The intrigue and drama were genuine, but cut short and intermittent, in favor of one-shot or impertinent story arcs, no less.
People have been raving about Trinity Blood for a while. I wouldn't normally fault them; there was a good concept there, and SOME people were trying, but were quickly overshadowed. I was furious, literally throwing things at the TV. I would honestly like to see the sequel, or even the prequel; what little background was given to the true hero of the story revealed the character's younger self to be much better than his current personality and situation, and would lend itself to a beautiful drama; the story's wrap-up sends my two favorite characters, a newly resolved Father Night Road and the now spine-wielding pincushion, off on an epic man-hunt-- excuse me, vampire-eater-hunt-- out in the world withOUT the freshly crowned Queen Failsauce. I'd watch that if it were given ANY more care than it's predecessor.
*Those who don't quite get the Estelle/Ester thing: In Japanese, both Ester and Estelle would be spelled エステル. Whether this is interpreted as "E-SU-TE-RU"-- "Ester"-- or "E-SU-TE-LU"-- Estelle-- is completely up to which makes more sense; it's kind of like the Alucard/Arucard thing-- the former is "Dracula" spelled backward, fitting of a monstrous ancient vampire creature, and the latter is… nothing. Or a swordsman named "Zoro" (Zorro) having his name changed to "Zolo." I naturally assumed, because of the star-shaped mark on her and various references to a "Star Queen" that the name was "Estelle" but subtitles say "no." Even after one of the characters informs her that her name means "star" in the ancient language of their country (aka Latin or Italian), the translators refuse to budge.