published in Empire No.66, Sydney
Ever since the late 90s 'Gothic Lolita' trend in Japan, much anime has catered to the sprawling subculture of Japanese Goths. Trinity Blood is heavily focussed on this phenomenon, and this first chapter delivers all any self-respecting Goth would demand. In a futuristic post-Armageddon Europe, vampires rise as anti-Catholic terrorists to wage war on a newly empowered Vatican. In this return to the violent 'religious war' of the original Crusades, a team of misfits are gradually assembled to combat the vampiric plague. We are introduced to the comical vampire-slaying (and devouring) priest, Peter Abel Nightroad, and the chilling though occasionally wry cyborg priest, Tres X. Both attractive and engaging characters, they each nonetheless harbour deep and dark psychoses - human and otherwise.
The most hysterical and outrageous aspects of Catholicism are given the full treatment from a non-Christian Japanese perspective in Trinity Blood. The Vatican especially is portrayed as a cloistered den of duplicitous bickering, illuminated only by the glittering costumes of the teen Pope and his acidic sibling advisors. Moving throughout the ecclesiastical hierarchy, we get to see a wide array of outfits which merge superhero with clergy with catwalk. Everyone dresses like a gun-slinging ghoul, a religious nurse or a sex-doll - key figures that reinforce the core Goth vein that richly runs through all aspects of this anime's design.