Thursday, September 17, 2009

Trinity Blood Volume 11 by Sunao Yoshida and Kiyo Kyujo

Esther Blanchett and her kidnapper, Schera, are on the run in Istvan. Esther is wanted as a heroine, preferably a dead one, by the Archbishop of Istvan, D'Annunzio. He's made Schera into his creature by holding members of her family to force her to do as he wishes, but she holds no grudge against humans, and now Esther knows that. She's promised Schera that she will work to save the hostages.

Unfortunately, Brother Petros believes that the only good vampire is a dead vampire, and has tracked the two down. When he sees Esther working with Schera, he believes she has betrayed the Vatican and becomes even more determined to bring her in. But they manage to escape with the help of Mr. Butler of Albion.

Meanwhile, the Vatican releases a statement that Esther has died in the hospital after the attack. Father Abel is outraged, but Caterina Sforza says she had no choice, and that Archbishop D'Annunzio is a "Complex" man. If they can find something to interest him, perhaps he can be made an ally. She asks Father Abel to track down Esther when she learns her location from the military police. In the meantime, she sends Father Tres Iqus and Sister Monica, an operative known as "The Black Widow", to find Sister Esther before the Inquisition finds her. They are to arrest her and hold her.

Back in town, Sister Esther and Schera have taken refuge in a hotel run by one of the freedom fighters that Esther once led against Gyula. But she learns that the Archbishop has made them all heroes, so they are leery of going against him. Even her former comrades may end up betraying her.

Meanwhile, Father Abel is wondering how a foreign vampire was able to know the opera house so well as to attack Esther. He tries to lead Father Petros to the conclusion that the Archbishop, who was one of the only people who knew Sister Esther would be there, but Petros is unable to believe that an Archbishop would betray Esther that way. Then Father Abel receives a message from Esther telling him where she is, and the Pope, who wants Esther found unharmed, finds a way to let them leave his presence- by sending them on a mission to get him a Salmon bagel from the Hotel where Esther is staying.

But even as they head towards the Hotel Csjethe, Father Tres and Sister Monica have also discovered Esther's location and all are converging on the hotel to either kill or save Esther. But the betrayal by her former friend brings the Archbishop's forces into the mix. Who will come out on top, and will Esther and Schera be able to save her family, her Kundera, from the Archbishop's forces? First, they'll have to get there, and Sister Monica isn't going to make that easy...

I love this series. I love Father Abel and Sister Esther, and the art and the characters are damned pretty, even the villainous characters. But I love the whole idea and how it isn't just "Vampires Vs. Humans". Some vampires hate humans, and it works the other way around, too. But not all vampires are bad, and not all humans good. I like that even in the Vatican and its agents, there is more than one attitude towards the vampires.

Esther, of course, is an open-hearted character. She started out hating vampires because of the actions of one, Gyula. But she also learned that the humans killed the vampire Gyula loved, which is why he hated them so much, and also that there are stories like this on both sides of the spectrum, which has made her far less judgmental about vampires, and that is why the Archbishop wants her gone. With her gone, he can declare war on the vampires in her name and not have to worry that the living woman will tell people that Vampires aren't really bad, just different- that wouldn't suit his agenda. This is also why he intrigued to get Schera to kill Esther.

But putting them together was the worst thing he could have done, for encountering Esther also made Schera see that not all humans are vampire-hating fanatics, and added one more vampire to the side of those who want some sort of accomodation with the humans. But who is the strange Mr. Butler and why is he helping Esther? What is that huge wolf who travels with him? (I suspect it's his driver). Why is he taking an interest in Esther and helping her?

I suspect we will learn more someday, but I don't think it will be soon. But I will keep on reading this manga. I like everything about it, from the storyline to the character designs, and I find the story itself fascinating enough to keep me reading. Highly recommended.

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