Episode 1 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 2 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 3 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 4 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 5 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 6 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Asian culture is rich with wondrous myths and legends. While we’ve seen some of this explored through the mediums of horror and fantasy dramas, none have really grabbed the reigns and fleshed out an entire living, breathing world around it. None, that is, until this 6 episode Filipino gem, Trese.
Blending elements of sci-fi, action and crime drama together, Trese is a smartly written, exciting action romp that’ll leave you desperate for more when the final credits roll.
Set deep in the heart of Manila, Trese depicts a world where the shadowy underworld and the world as we know it live together side by side. During the day all is well but at night, the shadows come out to play. With a loose alliance formed in the past by a man named Anton, this accord looks set to be broken by restless dark forces.
Acting as the bridge between both worlds is Alexandra Trese, daughter to the late Anton. She’s prophesied to be the sixth child of the sixth child, a girl born to stabilize the realms and rule over the underworld. For now, she’s quite happy playing her part as a detective on Earth.
Across these six episodes, Trese finds herself wrapped up in all manner of supernatural spookiness, ranging from zombie invasions through to feral goblins and even a murdered ghost. The ideas are well presented, imaginative, and really well-acted by the voice cast.
Surprisingly, the English dub is actually very good although the native Filipino tongue is equally as endearing. This feeds into the characters themselves, which are well-rounded and intriguing throughout.
Aesthetically, Trese does a great job with its graphics and revels in a distinct hand-drawn feel to a lot of the material. There are some scenes used with CGI, but it’s minimal and only used to enhance effects. Seeing raindrops race down down a glass window for example, is one of the more memorable instances of this.
Where the show is a bit less successful however is in the story beats and the ending. There’s a fair amount of deus ex machina used to get out of sticky situations, courtesy of Trese’s flaming head friend Santelmo.
Likewise, the ending suffers from a lot of exposition, used to explain the world and what’s happened in the past. This 15 minute villain monologue is enticing enough but it also feels a bit ham-fisted when a few more episodes to extend the fighting and drip-feed in these reveals could have served a better purpose.
Despite those gripes though, Trese is a smartly written series and one of the better anime to come from Netflix this year. The unique aesthetic and clever use of myths and legends feeds into the world, with teasing glimpses of a second season too.
Based on this showing, Trese definitely deserves a follow-up but whether the show follows through with that or not remains to be seen. For now, Trese bows out with a decent 6 episode run that’s well worth checking out.