The Other Side of Animation 222: Trese Review

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Heads Up!: I was able to view this early with a screener. Thank you, Netflix!

(If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com/camseyeview. It would help support my work, and keeps the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this review!)

We are seeing a slow and steady growth of stories and settings that are more open and inclusive to telling different experiences from different cultures. Diversity is a good thing to support due to how we get more interesting projects and characters when you let other people in to tell their stories. While the change and the push for more diverse stories can and should be moving at a faster pace, I’m already seeing plenty of fun productions unfold through the stories these creators and the teams at the studios are pumping out. For example, this new action series revolves around the Philippines and that country’s folklore. It’s called Trese

Directed by Jay Oliva and is based on the Filipino black and white horror novel by Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo (the two are also showrunners), Trese was released today on Netflix and was revealed last year during the big Netflix anime streaming event showing off new series that were coming to the streaming service. It promised a pulpy grimy violent good time and, well, I think they delivered with the six episodes they gave us. Let’s dive right in! 

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The story revolves around Alexandra Trese, voiced by Shay Mitchell. She is a private detective that works the streets when crimes involving supernatural elements are involved. She is joined by her Kambal bodyguards Crispin and Basilio, both voiced by Griggin Puatu. The mystery and intrigue begin when Trese realizes that the mayor that’s looking for reelection may have his hands in some of the monstrous clans that hide beneath the surface of the world of man. Can Trese find out what exactly is going on, and why she is connected to this string of events?

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So, this show promises to have mystery, horror, violence, and action. When you advertise something to the audience/consumer, you had better deliver on those promises. Well, I liked the story of what is the first season of a much bigger story. I felt pulled into this grimy underworld setting of humans and monsters living alongside one another. It’s like a section of the world that Hellboy would take place in, but instead of keeping the supernatural elements out from the human sight, there seems to be enough awareness to not freak people out. Even the police chief is super aware of it and just rolls with the fact he knows about these supernatural elements. It makes for a show and story that can get to the point and focus on the dark underbelly of the political world of humans and spirits. It has its moments of commentary about the government, corruption of power, some comments about the police, and the consequences of certain actions, but it tells a fun story that kept me engaged from beginning to end with interesting characters, solid dialogue, and enough humor to balance out the experience to feel well-paced for six episodes.

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In terms of animation, this is where one of my few complaints come up with the show. I love the talent involved and none of my complaints come from the story, I mean, outside of wanting to see more from this world. The animation is on par with the DC direct-to-video films, and that’s a real shame because I think the animation quality does hinder the action when it looks a touch stiff and clunky. It makes some of the more intense action scenes look sillier when they weren’t meant to be. I’m disappointed because the action is quite stellar with a lot of well-executed set pieces. I also find it weird that they consider this an “anime” when it has a more American way of coloring, lighting, and designs. It’s not anime in the traditional sense. I otherwise love the designs and the overall visuals of the show. The voice cast is also strong and I love the fact that this show has both an English dub and a Filipino dub cast. I think that’s just impressive. The English cast includes Shay Mitchell, Griffin Puatu, Matt Yang King, Steve Blum, Carlos Alazraqui, Manny Jacinto, Eric Bauza, Darren Criss, Nicole Scherzinger, Lou Diamond Phillips, Dante Basco, and Rodney To. The Filipino cast includes Liza Soberano, Simon Dela Cruz, Apollo Abraham, Cristopher Carlo Caling, Eugene Adalia, Cheska Aguiluz, Christian Velarde, Bryan Encarnacion, Nica Rojo, Jo Anne Orobia-Chua, Jose Amado Santiago, Seve Dela Cruz, Rene Tandoc, Steffi Graf Bontogon-Mola, RJ Celdran, Elyrey Martin, and Steven Bontogon. The music gives off an ominous and dark atmosphere to the show with a few musical pieces of happier tunes to break it up from time to time. It’s composed by the Kiner Brothers, who composed music for CSI: MiamiStar Wars RebelsNarcos: MexicoDoom PatrolStar Wars: The Bad Batch, and did additional music for the notorious Ghost in the Shell adaptation from 2017. 

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In general, if the only thing I can criticize about the show is the animation, well, that sounds like it’s a good show, huh? I enjoyed my watching of Trese, and I hope we can see other shows and films set in the Philippines in the future if this show is successful. Again, we need to make more of a push for diverse stories by diverse creators, and the teams at Netflix, despite their flaws, are doing a better job at this than most studios. If you like more adult action-oriented shows and a dash of horror to go alongside the experience, then please watch Trese. Now then, I have one more screener to deal with, but it’s not a Netflix film, but a festival film! Stay tuned! 



Rating: Go See It! 

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