This post contains spoilers for season 1 of Trese. If you’re looking for a new comic series to watch with a strong female lead, look no further than Trese, Netflix’s latest original anime that premiered on Thursday, June 10. When police are stumped over supernatural cases happening in modern-day Manila, they call Alexandra Trese. Voiced by YOU star Shay Mitchell, the titular heroine is a mandirigmang-babaylan (warrior-shaman) who solves crimes committed by creatures based on Philippine mythology, often fighting them with a dagger in close combat. Throughout the series’ six episodes, she fights with a tikbalang (werehorse), aswang (shape-shifting monster), and a tiyanak (vampire baby), among others. With such an action-packed plot and a trove of new creatures, mythology and anime fans alike are wondering, will there be a Season 2?
“I am wondering the same thing about Season 2!” Mitchell tells Bustle. The Filipino-Canadian actor calls her character Alexandra a “total force” and “the epitome of a strong female character,” adding that it was “super fun” to voice her but also “pretty intense in a good way,” especially since she had to brush up on her Tagalog for the role.
“My mom is Filipino, so while I am definitely familiar with Tagalog, I am by no means fluent,” she shares. “Countless hours” were spent on Zoom with a dialect coach, she reveals, adding, “I wanted to do the language and culture justice.” Calling Trese “such a special project,” Mitchell adds, “I am so happy to be a part of the team bringing Trese to life so we can showcase something so special about Filipino culture.”
The detective-style anime is based on the award-winning black-and-white comic book series by Philippine-based writer Budjette Tan and artist Kajo Baldisimo, who have collaborated on at least seven Trese books. While there’s no news of a second season in the works yet, there’s definitely a lot of material and more characters to pull from. Further, Trese is part of the streaming service’s larger 2018 initiative to adapt more Asian stories, including other anime series like Pacific Rim, Altered Carbon, and Yaksuke. The series is produced by Shanty Harmayn and Tanya Yuson of BASE Entertainment and directed by Jay Oliva (Legend of Korra), who is also working on another untitled mythology-based anime series for Netflix. So knowing how popular the comic series is and Netflix’s business plans, Season 2 isn’t totally out of the question.
Those familiar with Filipino folklore easily recognized the characters from the anime series — Mitchell included. “Oh man, I grew up on these stories,” she says, adding, “My mom and her family always did a good job of sharing, but some of the characters were totally new to me.” Now that she’s also a mom to daughter Atlas, she “definitely” wants to impart the lore to her daughter, saying, “I would love for my mom and aunts to share these stories with her as they did with me.” She adds, “I do feel more connected to this part of my identity as the experience has been super immersive, educational, and I got to work with a great team of fellow Filipinos.”
The rest of the star-studded cast also includes several actors of Filipino descent. Pussycat Dolls alum Nicole Scherzinger plays Alexandra’s mom, The Good Place star Manny Jacinto plays werehorse Maliksi, and Glee performer Darren Criss takes on the role of Marco, a new character. Lou Diamond Phillips (Prodigal Son) and Dante Basco (Avatar: The Last Airbender) also round out the stellar cast. Trese will also air a Filipino version on June 11 with the Tagalog-speaking lead voiced by Filipina actress Liza Soberano.
Ahead of the Season 1 premiere, Filipino band Up Dharma Down, who sings “Paagi,” the official song, held an audience-less “Not ALive Concert” on June 10, where fans sent in videos of themselves singing to be included in the Facebook live stream. Fans wasted no time taking to social media (using the show’s own Alexandra Trese emoji) to react to episodes and call for a second season.
Some fans lauded the series for the detail-oriented animation of Manila’s streets as well as what they deemed as nods to societal issues, while others revealed they had the hots for the, uh, not-fully-human characters.
Fans who clamor for a second season definitely have reason to hope. After all, that extra credits scene at the end of Episode 6 introduces a fanged, red-eyed, and long-haired woman wreaking havoc in the streets of Manila, hissing “Trese.” A new villain, perhaps?
This post will be updated as more details about Season 2 are released.
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