It was an exciting surprise to stumble on this very exciting new series while doing my research last June 11. It’s the new anime series penned, directed and voiced by celebrities of Filipino heritage and it’s called “Trese.” Aired on Netflix the show is the first series showcased in an international platform about Filipino supernatural stories laced with Pinoy pop culture. For someone who grew up with Voltes V and Mazinger Z, this is an amazing development in Pinoy television history.

“Trese” tells the story of Alexandra Trese a detective who delves into the supernatural. With her signature V-fringe, dark trench coat and “kris”-inspired dagger, Trese solves issues concerning the paranormal as they mingle (and terrorize) with the regular folks in Manila. This goes beyond the regular folkloric characters but a more updated take that reminds me of Gaiman’s “American Gods.”  You will see animated renditions of the White Lady of Balete Drive, the tikbalang, the mythic fire elementary Santelmo, the scary aswangs, the nuno sa punso and so much more. It’s action packed, scary and at times funny – even cheeky. The animation is reminiscent of the animated X-men series in the early 2000’s. What’s amazing are the familiar scenic rendition of Manila, the MRT and the LRT, and the outskirts of Manila.  

The people behind the show is another exciting element of the series. The show is dubbed in both Filipino and English with all the characters speaking in our beloved Pinoy English. Alexandra Trese was dubbed in Filipino by Liza Soberano and in English by Pretty Little Liars Star Shay Mitchell. Some of the international celebrities included in the voicing credits are Golden Globe and Emmy Award winner Darren Criss who voiced Marco, Miss Saigon’s Engineer and “Ratched” star JonJon Briones, Pussycat Dolls and X-Factor judge Nicole Scherzinger, voiced Miranda Trese, Alexandra’s mother, “The Good Place’s” Manny Jacinto voice Maliksi – the young Tikbalang, Disney’s Dante Basco star of “Hook” and “Avatar: The Last Airbender” lent his voice to the character Bagyong Kulimlim and Lou Diamond Phillips voiced Mayor Sancho Santamaria.

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Watching the series is a proud moment for me as a lover of animated series and a realization of dreams of seeing the Pinoy culture in an international viewing platform – 20 years after witnessing Fil-American graphic novel artist Whilce Portacio talk about his Pinoy hero Tikbalang. “Trese” is written by Zig Marasigan and Mihk Vergara with Executive Producer Tanya Yuson from a graphic novel series created by Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo and directed by Jay Oliva, Fil-Am storyboard artist who has been credited for directing animated movies like The Invincible Iron Man, Dr Strange: The Sorcerer Supreme, Green Lantern: Emerald Knights, and Justice League Dark.

To get more info on the creation of “Trese”, a special called “Trese: After Dark” is also available on Netflix for your viewing pleasure.

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