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"Trese" 2021 Netflix Animated Series Review

Aside from juggling work and life, I read books, watch TV shows, movies and listen to music for entertainment and relaxation.

Trese and its concept

Trese is based on a Filipino comic series written by Budjette Tan and illustrated by Kajo Baldisimo. It follows Alexandra Trese, a detective who investigates cases of crimes including supernatural elements. The comic was published on 2005 and the animated TV series was released on June 11, 2021.

As for someone who was born and raise in Philippines, watching this kind of anime with the familiar setting and talks about Philippine folklore definitely gives a nostalgic feeling. The country is an archipelago consists of 7,640 islands. Supernatural creatures stories are part of the childhood for many children living in the country. Conceptualizing a story that is inspired by folklore is no easy but Trese did well on condensing these elements giving it another twist.

Philippine folklore and it relevance to the series

The series is consist of six episodes with more or less thirty minutes duration each. Inspired by Philippine folklore, adding these as an element to the story is no longer new in the industry but seeing it on an anime adaptation, is an innovative way of representing the culture.

I can't help not to notice the graphics and how the places look very similar to the real ones. From the streets of Manila to MRT or Metro Rail Transit, not to mention the establishments in the area. The familiarity and nostalgia it gives to people are stimulating.

Trese / street

Trese / street

Brief information about these mythical creatures

  • White lady at the Balete drive It refers to a female ghost wearing a white garment. This is a famous horror story especially to commuters and travelers who pass Balete drive in Manila. Some says, this long haired lady in white died in a car accident while driving in the area.
  • In the first episode of Trese, this lady appeared with a different story linking to the antagonist. Although, it has a very short exposure and not much in detail, it still a good element added in the story.
  • Sigbin In Philippine mythology it is known to be a creature with a dog like attribute that walking backwards. Some says that they suck blood out of their victims.

    Sigbin in the series somehow more of a werewolf that helps Anton Trese, late father of protagonist Alexandra Trese in solving cases of crimes during his time.

  • Tikbalang It is known to be a half-human and half horse that lurks in the mountains and forests. Some says they trick travelers to lose their way. Also there are sayings that when it rains while the sun is shinning bright, Tikbalang's wedding are being held.
  • Tiyanak This creature is known for its characteristics of an infant. It targets childless couples and preys on them. As for the creators of Trese, this has been also inspired by the classic Filipino horror movies "Anak ni Janice" or Janice's child.
  • Ibu Manobo people from Mindanao believe that Ibu is the goddess of death and a ruler of deceased mortals living in the underworld.
  • Aswang It is a shapeshifter creature that transforms and preys in their victim's flesh and blood. Depending on what region, aswang is described in many forms. Others say it has wings, sharp teeth and foul smell while others say it transforms into good looking human sucking out blood like a vampire.
  • Santelmo Is a shorter term for Apoy ni San Elmo also known as St. Elmo's Fire is believed to be a floating ball of fire. Folks say that it represents the lost souls wandering around.
  • Nuno sa Punso also known as the old man or grandfather of the mound. A dwarf-like nature spirit believed to be living in an anthill or termite mound. It is believed that you can gain its favor by giving offerings food. For most, they usually offer chicken. This is the same concept in the series where Alexandra, the main character offers chocolate called Choc Nut, a childhood favorite of many, to gain information.
  • Datu Talagbusao is the God of war for Bukidnon folks. In Trese, this is one of the antagonist that Alexandra has to face.

I have not been able to read the comic itself but watching it from the anime adaptation is a breath of fresh air. Sure it has its own twists that gives flavor to the story line. each mystery will make you crave for more.

© 2021 Aisha Badajos

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