Trese: Before the Netflix Anime, Here’s How to Get Started With the Komiks

Based on the award-winning komiks by Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo, Netflix's latest anime series, Trese follows Alexandra Trese, a supernatural investigator that supports the balance between mankind and supernatural beings. She is the Babaylan-Mandirigma of Manila -- the guardian and healer of the city. Kambal, her bodyguards of unknown origin, provide her with support as she investigates supernatural crimes for her purposes and that of the police. Now, she’ll be going head to head with malevolent Underworld beings.

The anime adaptation from Jay Oliva (Justice League Dark, Doctor Strange: The Sorcerer Supreme) will be comprised of six episodes and offered in both English and Tagalog (Filipino-language). The series will showcase Filipino folklore in the immersive gritty, dark-horror style that the komiks were well-known for. The all-star cast includes Alexandra Trese, voiced by Shay Mitchell (Pretty Little Liars) for the English-language version and Liza Soberano for the Tagalog-language version.

The black and white horror/crime komik brought the Philippines’ capital Manila into a magical realist light rich with Filipino folklore in 1994, though they are only now slowly becoming available in graphic novel form globally. Each volume contains four stories detailing the exploits of Alexandra Trese and her investigations into supernatural events bleeding into humanity. These are always contextualized by Filipino folklore detailed at each story's end, looking into the good, bad and neutral beings contained in the narrative.

Some of Trese's stories include more well-known beings such as the Lady in White, a woman dressed in white whose spirit has yet to leave this world. Taxi drivers encounter her regularly. There's also the Aswang, predatory creatures with a hunger for flesh and blood that can take human form. Both appear as bedtime stories in Filipino culture meant to spook children but are not to be taken lightly -- reports of supernatural occurrences are common in the Philippines.

So far, seven volumes of the Trese graphic novels have been released but only three of those have been scheduled for release in the United States. Trese, Vol. 1, "Murder on Balete Drive" is currently available in print and digital. Trese, Vol. 2, "Unreported Murders" will be released on July 13 and is now available for print and digital pre-order. Trese, Vol. 3, "Mass Murders" will be available on September 28 and is now available for print pre-order. Trese will be released on Netflix on June 10 in the United States and June 11 in the Philippines.

Disclosure: While the author of this article is related to Liza Soberano, she has never interacted with her and carries no bias within this nor future articles mentioning Liza Soberano.

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