Last week, the new horror Netflix Original Anime series, TRESE, was dropped on Netflix. The series is based on the Philippine graphic novel created by Budjette Tan and KaJO Baldisimo, and is set in Manila where the mythical creatures of Philippine folklore live in hiding amongst humans. Alexandra Trese finds herself going head to head with a criminal underworld composed of malevolent supernatural beings and, as time goes on, something is making its presence known. For the young woman, it becomes a race against time to put all the pieces together before both mankind and the supernatural collide. Take my word for it, horror fans, but this series is definitely something to keep your finger on, especially if we want the series to get approved for additional seasons.

So, without further ado, let this newly inducted fan into this fascinating fictional world discuss with you why you should consider adding TRESE onto your binge palate this weekend.

Introduction to Filipino Folklore

One of the most fun things for me personally is getting the chance to learn more about cultures, and one of the basic tenements of culture is folklore and mythos. Because of how TRESE takes part in dealing with the supernatural, the viewer gets an opportunity to learn more about the mythological creatures that make up many Filipino tales. From the all-too-frightening Aswang (seriously, the stories about them are nothing to sneeze at) to the Santelmo (St. Elmo’s Fire) and the tikbalang, those are only a couple of examples of what we get to see throughout the course of Alexandra’s interactions in this world. By the series’ season end, we are wealthier in knowledge for it and, for horror fans, in particular, it allows us to expand our knowledge and interest in Southeast and East Asian horror as there is a ton of crossover. To see what I mean, please reference HBO’s Folklore.

Alexandra Trese is super relatable

When you first start watching TRESE, Alexandra Trese (voiced by Shay Mitchell) is a bit of an enigma. She seems to have it all together. However, as the series progresses, the viewer realizes that she is literally someone just trying to do the best that she can. Left with not much guidance, Alexandra is thrust into a position of extraordinary responsibility as the Babaylan-Mandirigma, with no one left to be a substitute until she’s actually ready. And, as we come to realize, she hasn’t quite been given permission to process and truly grieve for the things that she has lost which, considering what has happened to many of us from 2020 onward, feels ultra-relatable right now. By the end of the season, you can’t help but root for her.

The horror of it all

TRESE deals primarily in the supernatural, particularly in the fragile balance between the supernatural world and the human world. And, with supernatural creatures, comes horror. A fair amount of it. There’s blood. There’s rotting flesh. People being torn apart and, at one point through the usage of black magic, viewers get to watch a dude carve up his stomach and feed the flesh to unwilling victims. And that’s just at the top of my head. There is potential for the creators to dive further into the horrors of the world in later seasons but, for now, TRESE gives us multiple servings of what this world has to offer. Oh, and there’s a spider baby creature that will literally haunt nightmares forever. Just take my word for it.

The supporting cast of characters hooks you in

While Alexandra Trese is the main character, she is not alone in keeping viewers hooked. The supporting cast of characters will find ways to charm you, and make you super attached. The Kambal (Griffin Puatu) provides necessary comedic relief to lighten the mood when things get too serious onscreen. Captain Guerrero (Matthew Yang King) provides a vessel for viewers to look to in understanding how these cases wear down on a person, especially as a leader in the community just trying to survive one day at a time while doing the right thing. Hank (Jon Jon Briones), Anton Trese’s right-hand essentially, provides a presence for Alexandra that aids in reassuring her and supporting her. You can’t help liking them.

TRESE is a series that isn’t getting too much push from Netflix but, as new original animated series get put on its service, it’s imperative that we do what we can to support them. Given the horror and supernatural elements that are easily found in the series, the broadening of the collective viewers’ knowledge with this introduction to Filipino culture, and the all too relatable Alexandra Trese supported by memorable, heart-snatching supporting characters, this series has too much potential for it not to be renewed. It’s a quick watch, with just six episodes in its first season. I can’t recommend it enough.

All six episodes of TRESE can be found on Netflix now!

Sarah Musnicky
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