Trinity Blood pg. 3

by Bamboo Dong,

One of the last titles that you were both in was FMA. The way that it treats religion is quite a bit different from Trinity Blood. Any thoughts or observations?

Mike: As far as the religious context between Trinity and FMA, in FMA, religion was treated as one other type of study. There was the study of alchemy and science, and there was the study of putting your life in a religious context. It doesn't necessarily go into what's right or wrong. Obviously the protagonist is an alchemist, so it slanted that way. In the first couple of episodes, there is a religious situation between Cornello and his church and what Ed feels is the right way to do it, and Rose is torn between them. Who's to say who's right and who's wrong, except in that case, Cornello was the bad guy.

With Trinity Blood, it's not necessarily like religion vs. science, or religion vs. anything else. It's more like, in my opinion, a religious entity has had to step up to the plate and be more than what it used to be. Now rather than just a spiritual leader, they're also a governmental-type leader, a military-type leader. The impression I get with the show itself, it's not necessarily like the “Army of God.” It still feels like the “Army of the People.”

Troy: Really, the Church in Trinity Blood is very agnostic. There's more than allegiance to the Church. I think the idea of God is still there; it's frequently mentioned and you can tell that Abel is a priest, but he's driven more by his own ethics and morals than he is by reverence. His allegiance is to the Church, but you don't ever really see Abel praying.

Mike: They don't ever beat you over the head with any religious morality.

Troy: It's not, “We are on a mission from God,” it's very much “We are the Church.” The Church is just a sovereign state that is based and steeped in so much history and tradition of the Roman Catholic Church that it's bred into their DNA. They don't feel that they're doing anything religious, necessarily, this is just who they are, this is what they've always done. This is why the human race has been so successful for 4000 years now of history.

Mike: Their lifestyle and the way they conduct themselves has religion in its origin and its core, but as far as the content within the show, they're not throwing stars that have a Bible in the middle of it with blades sticking out. There's nothing that they're hitting you over the head with.

Troy: You'll see the reference of the cross used, but it's more of an iconic thing than a religious thing.

From a viewer's point of view, what do you love the most about Trinity Blood?

Mike: I'd have to go back to my initial watching of it, before I had to research it and do pre-production for it. The music is wonderful and the color palette is really pretty. It's kind of a darker color palette, and then when religious characters come in, it's bright red, bright this, bright that, and they kind of stand out. The color palette of the world is more of a darker tone. There's also some neat things like the Methuselah kingdom and territories…they kind of have a haze over everything, almost like it's an Elizabeth Taylor White Diamond commercial, and everything's slightly glowing.

Troy: What?

Mike: I just completely lost my age demographic.

Everything's almost surreal and ethereal in its quality. The character designs are very believable. It's not cartoony. It's just people who happen to be animated.

Troy: It's shot on a very epic scale. There's a lot of shots where it's showing you the scope of the place. Like, when they're in the Vatican, as opposed to just a talking head. There's always some cool camera angel or whatever. You see the entire room, and you see how small they are in it. The aesthetics of it are one of the top things I love about it. Like you said, the color palette is a lot darker. It's not your typical anime show. My main thing that drives me is that the characters are so empathetic. You're really gonna go on a journey with this guy throughout the entire show; there are arcs in the characters. Abel has his bad moments where I think the viewers are going to not like him for a little bit, then they realize why he does it. There are no flat characters, even the small characters, like the character of Pope, you're going to see him grow, or with the different antagonists of Methuselah, you're going to see them grow. The characters are to me what really drive the show, what really bring the story to life.

Does the series leads you to approach the show differently while you're directing it or acting in it?

Mike: I try to treat each show as its own thing. It's not like, “this is how I direct anime, and I direct all anime the same way.” I try to take into context what's already been done, listen to the Japanese seiyuu, watch the show, get a feel for it, and then treat it with the same level of respect as it was originally treated with. Obviously, they didn't go crazy cartoony charactery. I do a few things differently, but it's not necessarily to localize it. It's to give each world its own sound.

It's slightly similar to the Alchemist world, but not overall. I try to keep a conversational tone when people are having a conversation. I try to make it as real as possible. In battle sequences, you know, everyone's bloodthirsty. What appears on screen, to me, is the final verdict. If someone is leaping through the air with a sword and they have their mouth agape, that guy's gonna scream like crazy. If there are two people sitting side by side by a river and there's very pretty music playing, they're going to have a nice, quiet intimate conversation. I just try to treat each scene with the original respect that it was given the first time around.

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