Trese broke the internet last Friday with the much-awaited release of its anime series on Netflix. Since the first announcement of Trese‘s adaptation in 2018, comics fans had been waiting on what Netflix has in store for the well-loved thrilling Filipino folklore comics.
Official Netflix poster for Trese /Photo from @netflixph on Instagram
Based on an award-winning Philippine graphic novel by writer Budjette Tan and artist Kajo Baldisimo in 2005, Trese is a horror anime series about a female detective named Alexandra Trese whom the police call when crimes are beyond human comprehension. Voiced by Liza Soberano in Filipino and Shay Mitchell in English, Trese might be your new favorite Netflix series to watch if you’re looking for a story with a strong female lead.
Growing up in the Philippines, Budjette says that Trese attempts to answer the unexplainable mysteries he grew up with. And by mysteries, he means Filipino myth characters like Aswang, Duwende, and White Lady.
Budjette is a Chinoy writer and an advertising practitioner based in Denmark. He now works for the internal advertising agency of Lego, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of play materials.
Budjette holding his brainchild proudly /Photo from @budjette on Instagram
If you haven’t seen Trese yet, without spoilers, here are some questions that may have popped into your head which are answered directly by Budjette at the Trese after Dark, a Netflix after-show special and Hustle’s “Inside the Industry” podcast.
What was the inspiration behind Alexandra Trese’s character in the 2005 comics?
“Alexandra Trese was inspired by wanting to create a detective character for a Manila story. 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.”
At what point did you realize that Trese could be a full-blown series?
“I think when we hit case number five or six. Kajo and I had a flow when we were working on the project. Kajo promised that if I give him a script—a 20-page script—he would finish it in 20 days, and he did. We kept doing that repeatedly until we hit case seven, which was when we finally pitched it to Visprint and got picked up to be published as a book. That was the time that we thought of, ‘Hey, people might actually like our book.'”
Did you ever envision that it would one day become animated, and in Netflix, no less?
During the early days of Trese, not at all. Maybe in our dreams, but there was never a serious discussion like, ‘We should turn this into an anime!‘ or ‘We should find a way to turn this into a Netflix show!’ From my end, it was more about ‘Let’s work on the next issue and get the book done.'”
How did Trese turn from something printed into an international Netflix series?
“Trese ended up in Netflix all because of Tanya Yuson. Tanya used to be a producer in the US. At that time, she was looking for new scriptwriters. And somehow, through a friend of a friend, Tanya got my number. Then, we talked about Trese, and from then on, she had been pitching to turn it into an animated series from 2009 to 2018. After rejections from other studios, we stumbled upon the opportunity on the Netflix anime division because they were looking for stories that were not from Japan. Long story short, after a series of meetings, Netflix gave us the green light on Trese.”
After Netflix, what’s next for Trese?
“In Trese book seven, we introduced her brothers. We put the spotlight on two of her brothers, and we had so much fun telling that story. So, we decided to make a book called Trese bloodlines, which focuses more on her siblings. I would also like to invite everyone to join the Trese Facebook page, where I directly interact with fans [and their] theories.”