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Western Animation / Trese

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Kinakatakutan siya ng mga kinakatakutan mo.Translation 
"There are monsters among us, some of them human."
Alexandra Trese

Trese is a Filipino-American co-produced animated series on Netflix, based on the Filipino comic series of the same name. It is produced by Singaporean-Malaysian company BASE Entertainment, directed by DC Universe Animated Original Movies veteran Jay Oliva, and animated by Lex+Otis Animation Studio, with Tiger Animation as the overseas animation producers.

Alexandra Trese (voiced by Liza Soberano in Filipino and Shay Mitchell in English), heiress to a family of monster hunters, is an investigator in Manila who solves crimes and other supernatural happenings caused by the creatures of the Underworld.

It was released on June 10, 2021 in the US and June 11 internationally.

Tropes in this series include:

  • Actor Allusion: In the Latin American Spanish dub, this is not the first time Rebeca Gomez (the titular protagonist) had voiced a girl having to deal with creatures from the afterlife.
  • Afterlife Express: Ibu, the goddess of the underworld, has her emissary use the MRT and LRT lines in Manila as transportation for souls to her realm.
  • All of Them:
    Anton Trese: The Sigbin will need our help. We'll summon the War Council on the way.
    Hank: Who do we want to call in?
    Anton: Every last one of them.
  • Anyone Can Die: Given a show that deals with the supernatural, this sort of thing is bound to happen with Nuno and Captain Guerrero being killed off.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • Nova is killed by a swarm of tiyanak as revenge for her killing her tiyanak child again. Because she is a shallow and murderous bitch who cares more about figure and career over her child, no one feels sorry for her.
    • Two cops in Guerrero's precinct are shown gleefully engaging in Police Brutality. One of them later gets killed by a zombie.
  • Big Damn Heroes: In episode 1, Trese saves a little girl who is about to killed by the aswang. The twins also arrive in time to help Trese when she and the girl are surrounded by the aswang and free the imprisoned residents offscreen.
  • Beneath the Earth: Trese meets with the Nuno sa Manhole, who comes from the Underworld like the other monsters.
  • Bilingual Dialogue: As shown in the trailers for the English and Japanese dubs, Filipino phrases such as "Tabi-tabi po" ("Step aside/excuse me, please")note , "Ibunyag ang nakatago" ("Reveal what is hidden") and terms like babaylan (roughly "shaman") and mandirigma ("warrior") are retained. The show makes the latter two words a compound job title, "Babaylan-Mandirigma". In the Filipino dub it's "babaylang mandirigma" (a babaylan who is a mandirigma). In the comics (which are in English) the form "mandirigmang babaylan" (a mandirigma who is a babaylan) is also used.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Nova. At first, she seem to be a Spoiled Sweet Actress who is involved in various charities. In reality however, she’s actually a shallow and vain bitch who cares more about her fame and figure over her own child. After showing her true colors by killing her own child, Alexandra considers her to be the true monster.
  • Bland-Name Product:
    • The main news broadcasting company is ABC-ZNN instead of ABS-CBN.
    • The chocolate that Nuno likes is "___-Nut", a reference to Choc-Nut. And it's much larger than the bite-sized versions more common today.
  • The Cameo: Alexandra's four older brothers and grandfather make brief appearances in Episode 5 and in the flashbacks of the final episode.
  • Central Theme: Duty to one's mission and to one's family.
  • Crapsack World: Monsters plague Manila and the only thing keeping them from fully taking over the city (and possibly the world) are Anton's authority, and now, Alexandra. A masquerade only exists because they usually know to keep things beneath notice (and when they don't, Alexandra hears of it and it becomes a case) and the prominence of folklore and talltales in the Philippines, it's seen as only slightly more than an Unusually Uninteresting Sight though not enough to be considered a Broken Masquerade.
  • Creator Cameo: The comic's creators are two of the victims in the second episode, shown in the file that Captain Guerrero gives to Alexandra.
  • Compressed Adaptation: The series takes the first three volumes of the comics (Cases 1-13) and adapts them into six half-hour episodes, linking details and deleting others (for example the first case, the White Lady of Balete Drive had no connection to Mayor Santamaria, and has a completely different backstory in the comics). Specifically Cases 1, 2, and 5-13 were adapted, with 9-12 being told during the cold open flashbacks of each episode.
  • Darkest Hour: Episode 6 shows Trese at her lowest when Datu Talagbusao tells her about her father's true intentions. It took Guerrero's Heroic Sacrifice to give Trese her Heroic Resolve and free the twins as they stop Talagbusao once and for all.
  • The Dead Have Names: In Episode 4, the drunkard uses a stone to summon hordes of zombies to the police station as revenge for the police killing his brother. When Guerrero demands the stone from him, he refuses unless he tells him his name, as his point is that the police don't know anything about the people they apprehend or fail to help. Guerrero gets through to him by reciting the names of people he failed to help and asks him for his name, which is enough for the man to give up the stone.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: In Episode 3, Nova Aurora hated her pregnancy and baby due to the baby "ruining her figure" and being a risk to her career as it was born out of wedlock, and she has the kid secretly abandoned in the forest to die rather than terminating the pregnancy early on, because all of these things could've put her career on the line. The episode is criticism towards the country's prominent Catholic and conservative views, as well as their celebrity worship.
  • Demoted to Extra: Dr. Petra Gallaga who was a major character in Case 7 of the comics as the OBGYN performing abortions and improperly disposing of the remains, is reduced to a friend of Nova Aurora's and first victim of the Tiyanaks.
  • Died on Their Birthday: One of the train passengers that was killed by the aswang in the first episode's opening scene was murdered on the night of her birthday.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Nova Aurora can be seen on billboards promoting her beauty products before her introduction into episode 3.
  • Evil Costume Switch: In contrast to her usual staid attire, Evil!Trese has spiky stilettos, tight stockings, a plunging neckline, and tons of gold jewelry.
  • Friendly Ghost: Alexandra's hacker friend Jobert, who quietly haunts the backroom of an internet cafe playing video games.
  • Funny Background Event: In episode 4, a police officer is shown on the computer playing Solitaire but then switches tabs when his boss walks on.
  • Giant Spider: In the trailer, one of the monsters seen is the tiyanak, portrayed as having spider traits.
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Inverted. Alexandra is a woman and fights with a dagger. Her male allies, Hank, Crispin and Basilio, use guns.
  • Harmful to Minors: Young Alexandra saw her mother's corpse after she fought against the aswang. Her father even tries to cover her eyes upon seeing the body.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: When Trese confronts the Mayor about his implication with the aswang, she just mentions Ibwa by name and says that he "runs a bad crew". It's the mayor who answers about "fairytales of aswang and mermaids".
  • Like Father, Unlike Son: Senor Armanaz, lord of the Tikbalang, laments that his son Maliksi prefers to take trophies on illegal drag races instead than preparing to lead the herd. He contrasts it directly with Alexandra taking her duties as Lakan and Babaylan-Mandirigma as seriously as Anton.
  • The Magic Goes Away: In the trailer, it's explained that magic existed in the distant past, but that time has since passed and all the remains are the creatures of the Underworld.
  • Mythology Gag: Jobert's haunting grounds the D&D BattleGround internet cafe, is renamed the Dar & Dara BattleGround, which references how, in the comics, the cafe was run by the Bagobo war gods, Darago and Mandarangan (called Darangga in the series).
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: In the English dub, Shay Mitchell as Trese easily sounds the most Westernized while most of the cast does, or tries to affect, a Filipino accent, though this is downplayed when considering that in real life, many Filipinos do have Westernized accents when speaking English and is often the reason why foreign students (usually from other Asian countries) study English in Philippine schools.
  • No Historical Figures Were Harmed: Mayor Santamaria's design (both in the original comics and the series) is pretty generic Filipino Corrupt Politician, but his stance against crime and the explicit use of the Catchphrase "change is coming" does suggest a composite of the two last Philippine mayors-turned-Presidents who have projected themselves this waynote .
  • Offing the Offspring: We have at least three murderous parents in one season.
    • Talagbusao, upon meeting his twin sons for the first time, attempts to devour them.
    • In episode 3, actress Nova had her baby abandoned to die in the woods.
    • In the final episode, it's revealed that Alexandra's father Anton sacrificed her twin sister and turned her into a knife because she was destined to bring the apocalypse.
  • Occult Detective: Alexandra. The police call on her to solve supernatural crimes such as the massacre on the train, and she's also seen making circles for exorcising.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: The opening of the series has a rather darker tune of Balluha'd Bayyauhen (an Ifugao folk song) that sets its noir themes.
  • Our Vampires Are Different:
    • The Aswang, who also come in different flavours, there are more humanoid ones like the ones who run the pier market led by Ibwa, and the more ghoulish ones led by Xa-Mul.
    • In The Stinger of Season 1, we're introduced to a jiangshi, a Chinese creature with traits similar to zombies and vampires.
  • Product Placement: A board advertising Jollibee can be seen in the establishing shot of Manila at night in the first episode.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The evil Treses' eyes have turned solid red.
  • Rule of Symbolism:
    • In Episode 6's flashback, the shot of baby Alexandra and Sinag lying together in their cradle has the shadows of their side of the cradle's bars falling over them but with a space of light between the two of them, symbolizing the separation that will come between them.
    • When Captain Guerrero is killed, he's thrown beneath the shadow of a pole holding up the flag of the Philippines, symbolizing that he was killed in the line of duty.
  • Sensible Heroes, Skimpy Villains:
  • Shout-Out: In the Filipino trailer, Alexandra refers to her bodyguards by name - Crispin and Basilio - while in the English trailer, she just says "let's go, boys" because non-Filipino audiences wouldn't get the reference.
  • Shower of Angst: After staying inside the Great Balete Tree for five years, Alexandra takes a shower and at the same time, mourns for the death of her father.
  • Slouch of Villainy: The evil Trese is lounging on a throne of human bones.
  • Spontaneous Weapon Creation: Talagbusao and his sons seem to have the ability to conjure weapons out of thin air. Talagbusao seems to prefer melee weapons like flails and swords while his sons go for firearms.
  • The Stinger: The final episode's post-credit scene shows two guards in a shipyard being killed by a mysterious figure. The figure in question is a female jiangshi (a Chinese vampire) who stands on top of a pagoda and looks over the Manila skyline, muttering Trese's name.
  • Urban Fantasy: Aswang? They run human trafficking rings. Nuno sa punso? They live in manholes now. Duwende? They dabble with celebrities. Tikbalang? They participate in drag races.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: In the English dub, some of the characters' accents came across as broadly Hispanic to unfamiliar ears and to some Filipinos in the Philippines itself who thought they didn't sound "Filipino enough". Subverted in that the director told the cast, mostly of Filipino descent, to use their natural accents.
  • Would Hurt a Child:
    • In Episode 1, the aswang are about to kill a little girl before Trese barges in.
    • In Episode 3, the tiyanak is Nova's baby that she made Maria abandon in the woods, and Nova has no problem stabbing it to death when it comes back to her.
    • Tapia hesitates to shoot a zombified little girl and is equally horrified when Guerrero shoots it for him. Guerrero, who sees it as a Mercy Kill, tells him that while they may have failed these people already, they have to focus on saving who they can and that's currently their men.

"Tábi-tábi po." ("Excuse me please." note )
"Magandang gabi, munting Trese." ("Good evening, little Trese.")


Video Example(s):


Tooled up

Hank Sparrow's ready to declare war on the monsters... Except he gets interrupted by a call on his mobile.

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