Welcome To Manila
Episode 1 of Trese begins in Manila as we learn more about the secrets this city holds. During the day all is well but at night the shadows grow darker and stir.
It turns out there’s a treaty that has kept the humans safe from the supernatural underworld. Unfortunately, that is beginning to unravel. The light forces are starting to dwindle, with Alexandra Trese the one shining beacon of hope. Her family has been the bridge between the light and dark for some time now, flirting that thin line between the two states. With Alexandra’s Father Anton gone, Trese has big shoes to fill.
With train passengers missing and a dead ghost used as a sacrifice, Trese heads off to find answers. This brings her before a sewer-dwelling goblin called Nuno and the leader of the Aswang Clan, who both point toward a corrupt official involved with mermaid bones.
With elections coming up, Mayor Santamaria does his best to try and spin these deaths to his benefit. Only, he’s the one involved. Given the ghost was actually his mistress and he lets slip about the Aswang Clan, Trese tries to build a case against him. That includes checking out the train carriages.
It seems there are two trains – one in the living and one in the dead realm. The dead passengers from the train were, as we soon find out, taken by the Aswang clan. This sends Trese out to save those poor souls, leading her to their leader Xa-Mul.
With he odds stacked against her, Trese is joined by Crispin and Basilio who show up sporting masks and dual pistols. This is enough to turn the tables and save all the caged humans. The eyewitnesses there confirm that Mayor Santamaria is definitely involved. They also shed light on the Aswang Clan, confirming that they’re responsible for killing Trese’s Mother. This is enough for the Mayor to be arrested.
As Trese heads home, the Goddess of Death shows with an ominous message. When the sixth child of the sixth child takes her rightful place in the Underworld, the Court of Death wants to be in her good graces. That child, it seems, is Trese. However, she rejects the call to action and answers a call from the police captain instead.
The Episode Review
Trese bursts out the blocks today with a fresh slice of anime action, taking inspiration from films like Underworld and blending that with a more methodical crime drama. The result is something that actually feels quite fresh and unique, especially with the changed setting of Manila.
The hand-drawn visuals are beautifully done too and the first episode reels you in with a simple but effective mastery. There’s a lot of interesting fantasy ideas at play here, and this season promises a really exciting drama to come.
Alexandra is a compelling protagonist and the flashbacks to her past look like they’re going to shed more light on what’s befallen her and what’s led to this line of work. Hopefully we’ll see more of that over the coming episodes. For now, Trese looks to be an exciting prospect for the future.