Most of you anime otaku will be familiar with the story of Trinity Blood by now. It centers around a Catholic priest named Abel Nightroad, a crusnik (a vampire that feeds off of other vampires), Tres Equis, a super cyborg controlled by the church and designed for combat, and Sister Esther, a [mostly] innocent young nun caught up in the sweep of world affairs.
In the U.S. the anime has been out since September 26, but the manga was released five weeks later on November 7. Although the stories are similar, there are some key differences between the two that make the manga superior.
The comic starts where episode three of the show begins. Father Nightroad is ostensibly a visiting priest in the city of Istavan. In actuality, he is an elite agent of the Catholic church investigating the activities of the cities ruler, a vampire named Count Gyula. Gyula is bent on destroying the Catholic church, which he blames for the death of his terran (that is, non-vampire) wife.
The manga is worth your time if only for the expanded story elements. Mother Vitez, Esther’s mentor and mother figure, features prominently and Tres Equis is a Vatican spy in Count Gyula’s personal army. The plot hasn’t changed, but the story is refreshingly different.
The art is at times impressive and at other times confusing. The action can be enthralling, as when Abel first reveals his crusnik powers, or impossibly hard to follow—without a second or third reading—such as the opening scene when Abel first meets Esther.
Despite these flaws, the story carries the whole manga admirably. That should come as no surprise as the comic and anime are an adaptation of a series of novels written by Sunao Yoshida in 2003. Unfortunately Yoshida died in 2004 at the age of 34 and left the novels unfinished until his friend and Ragnarok author Kentaro Yasuri completed them in 2005.
Tokyopop has done a fine job with this manga. Look for the second volume to hit shelves in early March. The first of the English translations of the novels should be in stores sometime in April.