Written by Sunao Yoshida
Released in the US by TokyoPop
Slugline: Example #217 of the Kenshin rule: The more silly and apparently bumbling the character, the higher likelihood he has a) powers that laugh at the mere idea of the 3 Laws of Thermodynamics* and b) a past so tragic that even Shakespeare would weep.
I know, I know, I'm reviewing another light novel, but I have very little control what ends up in my review box. As my review of Full Metal Panic! last week, the light novels of Trinity Blood are the source material that all other material such as the manga and the anime was derived from. To find my review of the first volume of the manga on CBG Online, click here.
A new priest, Abel Nightroad, has been sent to Istavan, the free city between the Vatican Territory and the New Human Empire. This is hundreds of years after the Apocalypse which left the remaining human survivors arrayed against vampires.. The New Human Empire is ruled by vampires, while the Vatican is a religious monarchy that helped humanity resist the vampires. The vampire ruler of Istavan, Gyula, has promised revenge on the Vatican and the Church for the death of his wife, a human. Abel, despite his bumbling nature, helps Esther, a novice nun who is the leader of the partisans of Istavan. He is eventually forced to reveal that he is a clandestine agent of the Vatican and a Crusnik, a vampire who feeds on other vampires. He defeats Gyula, arranges to have the Star of Sorrow, the MacGuffin (if you don't know what a MacGuffin is, click here) of the story, to self-destruct, and leaves to return to the Vatican with Esther.
The story here can also be found in the first volume of the Trinity Blood manga and in the third and fourth episodes of the anime. The basic story remains the same, but we do get to see a little bit more of what is going on in Esther's head in this, though I think in return we get less insight into Dietrich. Of course, we don't enter the head of the Abel in the volume at all, since that would ruin the suspense of who and what he really is. I understand that the larger story in all three medium, the anime, manga and the light novels are different, but I am relying on wikipedia for this, which has been known to be wrong. Some things that were a little confusing in the other versions is laid it out much more clearly here, but looking at the map at the end, I am pretty sure the editors got some cities wrong. The story itself is solidly written, with no major "what the heck??!?" moments and this does offer some more insight into the world and especially the character of Esther. I would say it is complementary rather than redundant to the other versions of the stories, but you can get by perfectly well without having to read this, as there does not appear to be any earth-shaking alternative POVs.
*Officially the laws that govern heat and thus energy in physics. Click here for the wikipedia entry, but I warn you, they have made it all scary with Greek letters and math. The short version is 1) You can't win, 2) You can't break even and 3) You can't even quit the game.
There is a lot of Trinity Blood merchandise, and below you can see a selection of it.
Or you can just find the light novel we are reviewing.
Trinity Blood: Return on the Mars, vol. 1 The Star of Sorrow is also available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga.