Trinity Blood (トリニティ・ブラッド Toriniti Buraddo?) is a series of Japanese light novels written by Sunao Yoshida with illustrations by Thores Shibamoto and originally serialized in The Sneaker. Set 900 years after an apocalyptic war between humans and vampires, the series focuses on the on-going cold war between the Vatican, the human government, and the "Empire," the government of the vampiric Methuselah. Fighting on the Vatican's side is Abel Nightroad, a Crusnik - a vampire that feeds on vampires. A blend of sci-fi, fantasy, and political intrigue, as some in the Vatican and the Empire strive for peace, the Rosen Kreuz Order will do anything to stop it.
Trinity Blood has been adapted into both manga and anime series, with continuity differences between the three versions. After Yoshida's untimely death on July 15, 2004, Kentaro Yasui, his friend and the author of Ragnarok novels, stepped in to complete the remaining novels. Yasui also aided in completing the manga, with illustrations by Kiyo Kujō. The anime series, spanning 24 episodes, was produced by Gonzo and originally aired on WOWOW network.
When Earth's population drastically increased, humanity, led by the United Nations, attempted to colonize Mars. During the colonization, they discovered two alien technologies: the Bacillus virus and the Crusnik nanomachines. The colonists injected the Bacillus in their bodies which transformed them into "Methuselahs." They installed the Crusnik in the bodies of four test tube babies: Seth, Cain, Abel and Lilith whose enhanced bodies were the only ones able to survive the procedure.
Continuing wars on Earth eventually led to "Armageddon," the apocalyptic event that happened 900 years before the start of the story, and the colonists returned to Earth to help with rebuilding. However, when the colonists returned to Earth, a war broke out between the Methuselahs and the humans who had remained on Earth. Abel, Cain, and Seth took the Methuselah's side—while Lilith supported the Vatican, which guarded humanity. During the war, Cain went insane and killed Lilith. In grief, Abel took her body to the Vatican where she was buried. Abel remained at her side, weeping for her, for 900 years.
At the start of the story, the vampiric Methuselahs, still a major political and military force, continue to wage war on the "Terrans," as they call the human inhabitants of Earth. The Roman Catholic Church is a major military power determined to protect humans from the Methuselahs, with its seat of power based in the Vatican. The Methuselahs have their capital in Byzantium, which is surrounded by a field of particles to filter out UV radiation, protecting the Methuselah population.
Both groups use "lost technologies," such as airships, missiles, and computers, to engage in a cold war with one another. A third great power, Albion also plays a role in the war with its superior arsenal of lost technology and weapons and higher level of manufacturing ability versus the Vatican. The independent monarchy of Albion is a primarily human country, however the secret of their expertise in lost technology is found in the Ghetto, an underground city of enslaved Methuselah. It is these Methuselah who operate and manufacture the lost technology, but with the death of the Albion Queen, some of the enslaved vampires begin a rebellion for the freedom of all of the Ghetto residents.
Differences between adaptations
While the novels, manga, and anime series all cover the same basic story and feature many of the same characters, they do have some minor and major differences. Each has its own unique variation on the major story arcs, and in general the novels give the most detail concerning the political elements and background information on the stories. There are a few minor name changes and many details found in the novels are not given in the anime or manga.
The artwork also differs from all three versions, as the character designs were each created by different artists. There are similarities, however, as Shibamoto is responsible for the novel illustrations, while Kiyo Kujō based his work in the manga on Shibamoto's original designs. In the anime series, Dietrich von Lohengrin's cold, evil nature is reflected in his appearance, while in the manga he has a softer, bishōnen design that is incongruous with his actual nature. Similarly, Endre is described as looking like a boy of around 10–12 years old, while in the anime he is given an adult appearance. In additions to variants in appearances, there are differences in personalities relationships between the versions, and there are some characters that are unique to each adaptation. Sister Noelle, whose death devastates Abel in the anime series and in the novels, does not exist in the manga series. Alternatively, the anime does not mention Tres' two "brothers".
Depending on the adaptation, some events occur at varying points in the story, while other events are unique to a single adaptation. The anime series' introductory-style episodes are based on the novel segments with the same names, but they are told in a different story. For example, in the novels, "From the Empire", the chapter in which Abel meets Asthe is the third chapter, following Flight Night and Witch Hunt, However, in the anime, From the Empire is the eleventh episode, coming after the Star of Sorrow arc and the Silent Noise incident. Conversely, the manga starts right with the Star of Sorrow arc and Abel meeting Esther and Dietrich. The Neumann brothers and their related story elements are found only in the novels. In the novels, it was Abel who interrupted the Cardinal's gathering, rather than Caterina or Leon, and the only people available to investigate the Silent Noise incident in Rome are Abel, Tres, and Leon.
The humans once attempted to colonize Mars after a massive population explosion. While on Mars, they discovered the Bacillus and Crusnik nanomachines. When the Bacillus virus was embedded in humans, they were infected with a virus that changed them into vampires who had to feed on blood to survive. While this was happening on Mars, on Earth, continuing wars resulted in Armageddon, the apocalyptic war that nearly destroyed humanity. The vampires—who now call themselves Methuselahs—and the humans ended up in a war against each other when the Methuselah returned to Earth. 900 years later the surviving humans are still trying to recover from the war's devastating effects while trying to find ways to co-exist with the Methuselah despite the distrust and hatred still evident on both sides. The Vatican serves as the primary leader for the people in the on-going struggle for peace with the Methuselah, and in dealing with rogue factions from both sides that would like the war to continue. The Methuselah refer to humans as "Terrans", the Short-Lived Race.
The Methuselah, or "Long-Lived Race," are vampire-like creatures that feed on human blood and have supernatural strength. Their name is likely derived from the biblical figure Methuselah, who was reported to have lived 969 years. Methuselah have a prolonged lifespan, superior strength, and enhanced speed. They also have healing and regeneration abilities.
In addition to their athleticism and stamina, Methuselah also possess varying individual powers. Most frequently, this power manifests itself in the form of a blade that comes out of the arms, claws, or even as sharp, prehensile hair. Some Methuselah have displayed an ability to control some elemental powers such as fire and ice. All Methuselah are capable of going into "haste mode" in which they can achieve incredible levels of speed for short durations by stimulating their nervous systems. If used too long, they can become severely fatigued. In the anime adaptation, some Methuselah are shown to have the ability to fly.
Methuselah are created in two ways: from being born from Methuselah parents or from a human being infected with the Bacillus bacteria that causes the vampire-like conditions. The Methuselah must drink blood in order to replenish the blood they have lost to the Bacillus. Their fangs serve as hyperdermic needles in a blood transfusion. Unlike vampires of myth, Trinity Blood's Methuselah can have children and they can and must eat normal food. However, they must avoid sunlight, as it will cause the Bacillus to rapidly devour the Methuselah's body instead of just their red blood cells. Also, silver can cause them serious injury and death as it acts as an antibiotic to the Bacillus.
Crusniks are vampires who feed on the blood of other vampires. They possess immense power and destructive potential and are nearly invincible. Whereas the Methuselahs are either born or infected, the Crusniks are unique beings created as a result of an experiment during the Mars Colonization Project. The four Crusniks, Cain, Seth, Abel, and Lilith, were test tube babies created for the Mars Colonization Project by the UNASF with genetically enhanced bodies. They were infused with the Crusnik nanomachines that were found on Mars as their enhanced bodies were the only ones capable of surviving the procedure. The exact circumstances behind the infusions of Seth, Abel, and Lilith are unknown, while Cain's infusion was done by Seth to save his life after a fatal accident.
Crusniks possess unique attributes that separate them from Methuselahs. For instance, both Abel and Cain sport angelic wings and can fly quite easily. Crusniks can transmute their blood into weapons and often possess psychokinetic powers. Abel can generate powerful bio-electric fields while Cain can use psychokinetic waves to pulverize objects and enemies and to generate barriers. Seth can reduce people and objects to dust using sound waves.
In order to activate his Crusnik powers, Abel usually issues a verbal or mental command to the nanomachines in his body. The exact wording and method of activation varies amongst the novels, the manga, and anime, and between the original Japanese and the English translations. For example, in the anime he says "Nanomachines: Crusnik 02 - Power Output __% Activate" while in the manga he silently activates Crusnik mode and receives a confirmation from the nanomachines of "Crusnik 02 Loading. Limitation at __%... Acknowledged". In the anime, neither Cain nor Seth demonstrated a need to do this in order to activate their powers, and there are several times when Abel activates his powers without saying his usual command, so it appears to just be a literary device; the only exception to this is in the third novel where Sister Paula Souwauski, who is in combat with him, prevents the change by not letting him finish the statement, as it would flip the playing field as Abel in his human form is ranked as having a B- fighting ability while his 40% Crusnik is described as an S+.
Trinity Blood was first created as two six-volume series of Japanese light novels. The first series is subtitled Rage Against the Moons (RAM), while the second series is subtitled Reborn on Mars (ROM). Rage Against the Moons focuses on the various cases of the AX members, particularly Father Abel Nightroad, and the growing problems with the Rosencruez order and the early quest for peace between humans and vampires. A few of the stories from Rage Against the Moons are used in the anime series, but they are shown out of order, with some changes to the stories and with Esther often added though she does not appear at all in this first series. Reborn on Mars covers the same time frame as the anime series, starting with Father Nightroad's meeting of Esther Blanchett through her being crowned Queen of Albion. Also released besides the two main series was Trinity Blood Canon, which focuses on backstory and certain aspects of Trinity Blood's world.
The novels were first serialized in The Sneaker and published in their completed form by Kadokawa in 2001. In North America, the novels have been licensed for English release by Tokyopop. The first novel was released on April 10, 2007. Tokyopop is releasing both novel series together on a four month release schedule that alternates between the two series.
Trinity Blood is being adapted into a manga series by Sunao Yoshida with illustrations by Kiyo Kujō, both of whom based their work on Yoshida's original novels and Shibamoto's original designs. It is currently being serialized in Kadokawa Shoten's shōjo manga magazine Monthly Asuka, and released in tankōbon volumes under the Azuka Comics imprint. The first manga volume was released on March 17, 2004. New releases have followed sporadically, with the eleventh volume released on October 17, 2008. Individual chapters are called "Acts", and the chapter titles are taken from movie titles, except for chapter 22, the title of which comes from "the lyrics of the theme song of a certain pioneering kendo anime".
The series is licensed for release in the US by Tokyopop and it is currently being released on a quarterly schedule. The US English release is translated by Beni Axia Conrad and adapted by Christine Boylan. In Australia, the Tokyopop volumes are being released by Madman Entertainment through an importation agreement with Tokyopop.
The Trinity Blood anime television series premiered on the satellite network WOWOW on April 28, 2005 and ran through October 6, 2005, spanning a total of 24 episodes. Directed by Tomohiro Hirata, it featured character designs by Atsuko Nakajima and music by Takahito Eguchi. The satellite channel Animax also aired the series in English across its networks in Southeast Asia and South Asia, and in Spanish and Portuguese across its networks throughout Latin America, respectively. The series also aired in Malaysia on ntv7, in Australia on the Australian Cartoon Network's Adult Swim, and in Spain on Buzz Channel.
Funimation, which owns the Region 1 license for the series, gave Trinity Blood a 90 minute US theatrical release to promote the series. The film was made by combining the first four episodes of the series. Named Trinity Blood: Genesis, the movie was released May 5, 2006 in conjunction with Anime Central in Chicago, IL, followed by a limited run in select theaters and at other anime conventions. The series was released on DVD in six volumes with English and Japanese audio and English subtitles. Each volume is available in a regular edition, a limited edition, and as part of the value priced Viridian Collection. They have also released the complete series as a complete series box set.
The Funimation English dub of the series premiered on Canadian television on the Razer network on July 6, 2006 and in the United States as part of Cartoon Network's Adult Swim block on September 9, 2006. These dubbed episodes have also been made available for purchasing through iTunes, with the option to buy individual episodes or the entire series.
Script error The first volume of the Trinity Blood manga reached the 30th spot on the Top 100 Graphic Novel sales for November 2006. Subsequent volumes have also all appeared in the top 100 spots in March, July, and November 2007.
The Trinity Blood anime series enjoyed strong television ratings when it originally aired in Japan. Its North American debut was also considered successful. The series is one of four FUNimation properties credited with helping the company achieve a 47.8% sales gain in 2006.
Anime News Network's Carl Kimlinger finds the series "shiny, attractive, and—on the whole—entertaining". But he adds that "given the premise (and skill of the writers) it really should have shot for pulpy thrills instead of stately political intrigue."  Theron Martin says "for the series as a whole to be worth watching, though, the storytelling and character development need to improve". Melissa Harper adds it is a "slick, well animated show" but "disjointed story makes it difficult to know or care what is going on." Hyper's Daniel Wilks comments that the anime is "for most part rather formulaic but the series does really pick up when it comes to the action scenes which are fast, frenetic, highly creative and beautifully animated".
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- Kadokawa's official Trinity Blood web site (Japanese)
- WOWOW's official Trinity Blood anime web site (Japanese)
- Official Tokyopop websites: Trinity Blood manga, Rage Against the Moon novels, Reborn on the Mars novels
- Madman Entertainment Trinity Blood manga site
- Trinity Blood (manga) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- Trinity Blood (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopediako:트리니티 블러드