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Comic Book / Trese

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From left to right: Basilio, Trese, Crispin, the local hordes of hell

When the sun sets in the city of Manila, don’t you dare make a wrong turn and end up in that dimly-lit side of the metro, where aswang run the most-wanted kidnapping rings, where kapre are the kingpins of crime, and engkantos slip through the cracks and steal your most precious possessions.

Trese is a Philippine comic, written by Budjette Tan and illustrated by Kajo Baldisimo. It tells a story about Alexandra Trese, a Private Detective who solves crimes related to the supernatural in the city of Manila.

An animated series will be streamed worldwide by Netflix, produced by Shanty Harmayn and Tanya Yuson at BASE Entertainment, a studio based in Jakarta and Singapore, and directed by Jay Oliva, who directed several DC Universe Animated Original Movies and Young Justice episodes. It will be released in 2021.


This comic provides examples of:

  • Black Eyesof Evil: The Kambal and Talagbusao.
  • Blood from the Mouth: Mass Murders: An Act of War. Trese was ultimately suffering from a temporary deficiency of Bad Ass Long Coat, but it became part of the plan.
  • Broken Masquerade: The masquerade keeping the supernatural had apparently broken down in the Philippines. Most people though either act as though things are normal or refuse to believe that all those myths and folkloric creatures are actually real.
  • Crazy Cat Lady: A magical version, Manang Muning helps Trese with some of her cases. She uses her cats as her "eye" throughout the city. She can also communicate with them telepathically.
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  • Creepy Twins: Crispin and Basilio, even as little kids they killed a ton of people, by ripping their hearts out and eating them. Which includes the pack of Puti and Bantay. Being in Bantay's words, "the bastard halfbreed children of a wargod."
  • Crystal Ball: Investigations usually start with Trese requesting a glass of water in which to scry.
  • The Chosen One: Trese. Which it sucks to be when she loses almost her whole family in what was probably the worst birthday party ever.
  • Deal with the Devil: National boxing champion "Manuel" with Sytan.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Talagbusao, a tribal war god
  • Disappeared Dad: Anton Trese dies protecting the The Great Balete Tree, where Alex took her trial. It was also because of a prophecy.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Anton Trese got genderswapped in the brainstorming stage to distinguish him from John Constantine, Fox Mulder, and Kolchak: The Night Stalker.
  • The Dreaded: Trese and the Kambal, to aswangs. And anyone who dares oppose them.
  • Exact Words: "The blood of Trese will soak the roots of the The Great Balete Tree." It never said which Trese, right, Anton?
  • Good-Guy Bar: The Diabolical, of which Trese is the proprietress.
  • Knife Nut: Trese, she uses the Sinag which is the kris that was made from the soul of her dead twin sister.
  • Missing Mom: Trese's mother has not been seen yet, except through flashbacks. The Last Full Show implies she died at Trese's 8th birthday.
  • Monster of the Week: Although, as of Book 5 and Book 6, the stories are becoming serialzed arcs, instead of separate stories.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: One story involves analogues of two famous Philippine drama actresses. A later one includes a Manny Pacquiao-like figure. In book 5 and 6, The Madame was introduced, a jab at former first lady Imelda Marcos.
  • Occult Detective: When crime takes a turn for the weird, the police call Trese.
  • Our Monsters Are Different: Being based in Filipino folklore, the monsters are very diferent from what's commonly put out in fiction.
    • Elemental Embodiment: Wind People are one of the races Trese encounters. In Book 2 and Book 6, there is also the Bagyon clan, lightning elementals that Trese becomes at odds with.
    • The Fair Folk: A lot of the creatures Trese deals with fall into this category. Duwende are hobbit-sized creatures who live in unassuming places, but demand respect and give it in turn. They can grant gifts or cause misfortune depending on their disposition or how they are treated. They love sweets, but can be killed by 'tasting hate'. They also control mud golems called Lamanlupa.
    • Our Elves Are Different: Combined with the above, the "Elves" are, effectively, Tikbalang. In their natural states, they have horse heads and feet, but can use glamours to make themselves appear human. All the symbolism applied to horses fully applies to them. Deals/bargains can be struck with them.
    • Our Demons Are Different: They're called Manang.
    • Our Dragons Are Different: They appear to be of the Chinese variety, able to take human form and can breath fire.
    • Our Ghosts Are Different: With the right rituals, normal ghosts can be killed. Then there's the Tiyanak, monstrous baby-zombie-ghosts created by the deaths of unwanted or abandoned children...who come out of an underground abortion clinic.
    • Our Mermaids Are Different: Their bones can be used to bind ghosts and make them physical.
    • Our Vampires Are Different: The Aswang/Manangalan. They don't suck blood, they suck up viscera and, if they can, infants and the unborn. By day they are people, but at night they sprout wings and their torso detaches from their legs and their upper part flies off to feed. They claw open homes and use their long tongues to stab prey and suck out their nourishment. Manangalan are exclusively female, but effectively the same.
    • Our Zombies Are Different: Type R, but behave like Romero shamblers for the most part. They're controlled by a magic stone at the behest of a sorcerer.
  • Our Souls Are Different: They can be sold, burned, taken...and are called "Kaluluwa".
  • Outnumbered Sibling:Alex Trese has four brothers.


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