Spoilers will need an old priest and a young priest.
Okey, let’s get surreal here. This show brings to life a Filipino comic rich with mythical magic folklore to the screen. So yes, this is one I will recommend straight on the opening paragraph. You don’t need to be familiar with the comic or with Filipino mythology to get engaged. Actually it’s a lot better if you watch it without knowing what to expect. Yes, it does have some anime influences, but the selling point is its very diverse world building and lore. The storytelling does feel a little rushed sometimes, but it’s worth seeing without knowing too much.
Trese (2021) is a six-episode series directed by David Hartman, Jay Oliva, Tim Divar and Melchior Zwyer. The original comic book series was written by Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo. The series is produced by BASE Entertainment. Alexandra Trese is a known paranormal investigator that acts as both liason and enforcer between the world of humans and the mythical creatures that populate both the criminal and actual underworld. She has inherited that legacy from her father, Anton Trese. That being said, this very much a poor description of what Alexandra Trese is, or even what she does.
As things start, Alexandra Trese (or young Trese as most of the creatures call her) still has a lot to live up to. She does have the support of the local authorities, specially of Captain Guerrero, but she’s not popular with the politicians who don’t mind getting their hands dirty in more ways than one. The show (and I assume, the comic book) mix up modern anime influences and old legends to create something that looks new and rather innovative. Favours have costs, spells require blood and words can come back to haunt you in this magical-urban synergy where you never know if you’re street racing against and actual demon on wheels.
I don’t want to give anything away here. I think this show works. It does have some flaws regarding resolution. You can feel it has been constrained by its length to quickly wrap up some stories a bit too quickly and leave out the emotional toll. It lacks a bit of breathing room, as we have to know Alexandra as already a tough-as-nails Lakan and only use flashbacks to reveal her backstory. We don’t get to have a more prolonged hero’s journey of a tale with Alexandra growing into the role, doubting herself and rising above her fears. That rush is possibly its biggest flaw.
Very recommended. Yes, it has its shortcomings but perhaps a second season will give it enough space to grow roots or sink its claws a little more firmly. I did love the lore and the world built around Alexandra Trese’s identity and title. I wished we’d get more time so we’d meet her as she’s starting up rather than a full blown expert. A little bit of a character development would go a longer way than just already introducing her as a full blown badass, which she is but I’d be interested in seeing her gain it. Perhaps something we can explore via flashback on a second season.
That will do for now.