Trese, the long-awaited Filipino komik, is now an animated series on Netflix.
TRESE is a Filipino Comic Book series by Writer Budjette Tan and Artist Kajo Baldisimo. I was only vaguely familiar with the series so I won’t be able to provide much critique of the plot.
To be honest, I’ve only read Issue 1 about the White Lady of Balete Drive. All I can say is that we have come a long way from seeing the books on our shelves in National Book Store and now on our screens on Netflix.
What’s It All About?
The series is about Alexandra Trese, a private detective who investigates crimes involving creatures from Philippine Mythology. From the Aswang to Duwende, Tikbalang, Tiyanak and more, different characters from Filipino Mythology are in the show.
Who are the Characters?
As of this writing, I have just completed my first full viewing of the Tagalog Dub. I’ll try my best to remember the backgrounds of some of the main characters.
Liza Soberano stars in the Tagalog Dub as Alexandrea Trese (Photo from Netflix PH Twitter)
Alexandra Trese-She is the protector of the human world and acts as a bridge between the creatures of the Underworld
Nuno-Think of Nuno as a village gossip. He knows anything and everything involving the underworld.
Kambal (Crispin and Basilio)– Alexandra’s Assistants ala her Robin to Trese being Batman. I don’t want to say too much about the twins because that would spoil the plot.
Captain Guerrero– Captain Guerrero is Alexandra’s confidant. He is a Police Captain who acts like Commissioner Gordon in the Batman series. Whenever Captain Guerrero needs help with a case involving the supernatural, Alexandra is there to help.
Is The Series Any Good?
BITIN! I don’t know how else to describe the series. If there was ever a word to describe TRESE, it’s the fact that the series felt short. The Netflix series only runs for 6 Episodes with an average length of 25 minutes per episode.
The Tikbalang is just one of many creatures you will find in Trese. (Netflix PH)
Sobrang daming nangyari. We could have used a few more episodes instead o having exposition towards the end. I won’t say exactly what happened. Again. SPOILERS.
The pacing of the show was good for the first half, but the plot goes into overdrive by Episode 4. I wish this series 2 or 3 more episodes to give viewers time to breathe.
However, the sudden change of pace isn’t so bad for the series.
How’s the Animation?
The animation can be a little stiff at times, but you have to understand that Netflix is testing out a work that has only proven successful to certain audiences.
Netflix showed us our first look at Alexandra Trese last October 2020. (Netflix PH on Facebook)
They can only dole out so much cash for one project. I hope we get a higher budget for Season 2 and see characters move smoother and see more episodes.
You know what I love the most? I love how accurate the locations are to the Philippines in the real world.
Dela Rose Street is one of the best examples of an accurate portrayal of the place in the show.
The bridgeway, the parking lot amidst the sea of skyscrapers are all featured in the show and it brought back memories of when I used to work in the area. May Army Navy pa diyan dati.
Sadly, the KFC in the parking lot shut down recently.
The best part about the show’s animation was the tiny details that you could miss on your first viewing. Actions such as one of the Kambal pointing with their lips or the Mang Inasal sign at the MRT station are just some of the neat tidbits and easter eggs you will find.
How about The Voice Acting?
Everyone did their job quite well on the voiceover end. My only concern was the delivery of certain lines from Liza Soberano as Alexandra Trese. When watching the first 2 episodes, it sounded like she was just reading the lines.
However, I appreciate her effort in trying her best to take on the challenge of voiceover. Mahirap talaga siya. Voicing characters is one thing, but dubbing over audio that has already been placed is an even bigger challenge.
She got a better grasp of the character by the 3rd episode so you can tell she got more comfortable as the show went on. I think another Season, or two…or more, would be great for her to grow into the role.
Was Liza Soberano the best choice? I’ll leave to other critics to decide.
I applaud the overall performance of the Tagalog Cast. Dubbing over English Audio is not easy.
My biggest concern wasn’t the delivery though. I think the biggest take I could get from the series was the formal Tagalog used. Aren’t we supposed to be going for Contemporary Tagalog?
Okay, may nagsasalita naman ng ganyang kalalim pero hindi siya common katulad ng dati. Some lines sounded like they were part of a romance novel and not a modern-day tv show.
Should you watch TRESE?
You may not agree with certain Casting Choices in the Tagalog dub, but the point of having Liza Soberano as Alexandra Trese is to bring in the mainstream audience who usually would not watch the show.
I honestly do not care who you put in the role of Trese as long as they contribute to the long-term success of the tv show.
The animation is on point. The places featured on the show are so accurate to what they look like in real life. I was left giddy over the accurate representation of Dela Rosa Street, Guadalupe and other areas that were featured.
The voice-over work in the Tagalog Dub was not bad. Liza Soberano did her best with the lines she was given.
Considering how much hype there was for the show, I had high expectations on the voice work. The lines were just for formal that even an experienced voice actor could have struggled would have had a difficulty delivering some of the lines Ms. Soberano had to say.
Contemporary Tagalog that dives in and out of other languages would have been more relatable to everyone. There were times when I felt like I was listening to a classic Tagalog movie from the 40s.
The pacing could use some improvement and I feel like an additional 2 or 3 more episodes to space plot points out would have been nice.
I hope we see several more seasons of TRESE.
Tagalog Dub Final Score: 4.5/5 (For a show about contemporary Philippines, certain lines sounded quite outdated. I still found the show to be quite enjoyable)
Steven is one of the co-founders of The Geeky Juans. He also co-hosts the podcast with the same name. He is a huge fan of Linkin Park and Japanese Wrestling. You can find his geeky thoughts on Twitter @steviesaidyup.