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‘Trese After Dark’ features in-depth look at Trese’s journey from comics to anime

By Kara Santos Published Jun 11, 2021 4:53 pm

Are you done binge-watching all six episodes of Trese on Netflix?

Go on a deep-dive into the journey behind-the-scenes, learn more about our rich Philippine foklore, and celebrate all things Trese from its beginnings as a comic book in 2005 to a full animated on Netflix 16 years later, in the special Trese After Dark.

The talk show session hosted by Atom Araullo and Yvette Tan brought together some of the the amazing people behind the anime series and the award-winning comic book.

From the Netflix anime team, the special featured interviews with executive producer, showrunner and director Jay Oliva based in L.A; executive producer and writer Tanya Yuson and show writers Mihk Vergara and Zig Marasigan.

Joining in by video calls were comic book writer Budjette Tan from Denmark and Trese illustrator Kajo Balidissimo from Davao.

Actress Liza Soberano, who voiced the Filipino language version of Alexandra Trese also sat down for the talk show, while Shay Mitchell, who voiced the English language dub, was featured in some pre-recorded videos.

In the special, co-creators Tan and Baldissimo discussed the origins of the comic book, which started as a passion project in 2005, and its evolution.

“Alexandra Trese was inspired by wanting to create a detective character for a Manila story,” said Tan. “And of course, she was inspired by a lot of my favorite comic book characters like Batman and John Constantine, as well as my favorite detectives on TV like Fox Mulder and Gil Grissom.”

Initially, the character was envisioned to be as a “tough guy fighting Aswang,” but since there were so many tough guys in Pinoy film and comics, Tan decided to make a "tough lead female character" instead. 

“It was fun to do. I thought we can just keep doing this. Even if nobody reads it, we can just selfishly do it for fun,” said Baldissimo of the comic book’s origins.

According to Tan, it was only until case number five or six that they considered publication. Thankfully, their stories got picked up by Visprint for publishing as a book.

The team behind the Netflix anime adapation shared the journey it took to adapt the beloved comic book to the small screen and how inclusive the process was in terms of production and voice casting.

According to director Jay Oliva, many of the talents they approached were very receptive to the project from the get-go.

“It was really interesting because as soon as the casting call went out saying ‘Hey, we want Filipino actors or actors who can do the Filipino accent’ like there was so...there was such a huge outpouring,” said Oliva. “The one thing they all expressed was how wonderful it was not to have to hide their accent and also hide that they’re Filipino.”

Yuson shared that they had initially envisioned the project as a live-action film or series, before it was picked up as a Netflix original anime, with the team working from different parts of the world to put everything together.

“We sourced it from Manila, and then my producing partner is from Indonesia. And then Netflix picked it up out of Tokyo. And then they brought in Jay who’s from L.A.. But the writing was coming out of Manila,” said Yuson.

The show's writers and directors shared how the series managed to capture the unique character of Manila and stay true to the contemporary settings, while creating a whole new world inhabited by creatures from childhood nightmares that Filipino viewers will find instantly relatable.

The special also shared a Trese Almanac segment, explaining some of the iconic monsters featured in the show, such as the Aswang, Tikbalang, White Lady, their roots in Filipino folklore and how they were characterized for Trese.

“When we started to get readers outside the Philippines, it was very interesting for me to get feedback from them and hear how intrigued they are with our myth and folklore. Now that it’s a show on Netflix, I hope it allows the rest of the world to see and appreciate our folklore,” said Tan.

According to Yuson, Trese is a good representation for the first original anime coming out of Southeast Asia for Netflix and, expressed pride that it's coming from the Philippines.

For her part, Soberano said the show was a platform to "finally showcase ourselves to the world."

“I think people should watch Trese because it’s uniquely familiar. We grew up hearing all of these stories but we never got that platform to represent, you know, us, FIlipinos, on like this massive global platform such as Netflix,” said Soberano.

“We wanted to tell a story that was magical, that’s big on mystery, and puts the spotlight on everything that we were afraid of as kids. And now it’s something we can share with the rest of the world,” said Tan.

Catch all six episodes of Trese and the Trese After Dark special now streaming on Netflix.

(Images via Netflix)