Trese’s anime team got ‘100 percent’ creative freedom from original creators

Jun 10, 2021
PHOTO: Courtesy of Netflix

WHEN IT was first released, the Trese trailer offered its own distinct moment of #PinoyPride: the Netflix logo in the corner, the MRT on screen, the words “Bigla na lang daw tumigil ang tren sa may bandang tulay ng Guadalupe” echoing ominously out of your speakers.

And it all began 16 years ago, with the release of a black-and-white, independently produced comic book, starring a black-coated supernatural detective named Alexandra Trese.

Before it made its leap into the streaming platform as a Netflix original anime (with Shay Mitchell and Liza Soberano playing the lead role in the different language dubs), Trese became one of the country’s most well-known comic books. It currently has seven primary volumes — including several international editions — as well as a duwende’s clutch of spinoffs and side stories.

Without going into spoiler territory, the Trese anime adapts some storylines of the first three volumes in the series.

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    This turned out to be somewhat of a challenge, considering that those stories were originally published by the comic creators as standalone tales, with Trese solving grisly cases in a city where creatures and beings from Philippine myths have banded together into a Mafia-like criminal underworld.

    “I am amazed at how they have stitched together those storylines and made it into one cohesive [arc], considering me and [artist] Kajo [Baldisimo] didn't know what we were doing with Books 1 and 2,” said series writer Budjette Tan with a laugh.

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    Tan continued: “It made sense that the first two books, for example, served as a setup for what Book 3 was about. And by the time we got to Book 3, we were like, oh, we can start getting these characters and putting them in this spot.”

    Co-executive producer Tanya Yuson, as well as the rest of the writing team, knew they had to honor the original comic book series.

    At the same time, though, “We were very lucky because Budjette and Kajo really understand that the nature of adapting something between mediums, in this case, the graphic novels into the series,” she explained.

    When it came to adapting the comic book, she stressed that Tan and Baldisimo gave them a lot of creative leeway. “Like a hundred percent,” she said.

    Tan agreed.

    “[I had] no strict guidelines for Tanya or [co-executive producer] Jay [Oliva]. I just told them, please do not change Trese's coat into a Day-glo color, and please do not give her a funny talking animal sidekick,” he jokingly said.

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    Both he and Baldisimo are very happy how it’s all turned out, of course.

    “I think when Jay and Tanya were forced to condense it into six episodes, it just became more streamlined and it just made more sense,” Tan said. (Baldisimo maintains that he hasn’t seen the series yet, but based on the trailer art alone, he's very excited.)

    The author added: “To an old Trese reader, they will definitely be surprised, but they will see some favorite moments and scenes. And to new viewers, I hope that it's an enjoyable experience for them if it's their first time to enter Trese's Manila.”

    The series will drop on midnight tonight on Netflix.

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    PHOTO: Courtesy of Netflix
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