Trigun: Are People Worth It?

Does Trigun Need An Introduction?

No, I don’t think so. At least I would hope it doesn’t. If you started or were an anime fan around the early 2000’s, then you couldn’t escape it. Trigun is a part of the so-called trinity of science fiction anime from 1998 along with Cowboy Bebop and Outlaw Star. Each of them are good, but I feel like Trigun is the one that is treated not as nicely as the others. It didn’t get released in blu-ray form like the other two and that’s so unfair. That is why it’s one of those famous anime series that older people love because it is really good, emotional stuff. I don’t think that a blu-ray edition will change that. I also really love my dvd copy of it and will hold onto it forever. 

It was really serendipitous when I rewatched this, other than just enjoying myself. The Trigun reboot, Trigun Stampede by Studio Orange, was announced with a trailer and everything. I still don’t know how to process it. It looks good and I will watch it, but I hope it’s not one of those things that replaces other people’s feelings for the first one or over takes it. I mean, that is what remakes do after all. It’s like the original FMA vs Brotherhood where Brotherhood clearly has overtaken the original in so many fan’s minds even if the original is staying around. There is something special about Trigun and the era it came out that makes it feel so special. 

Trigun’s Story

The opening episode is still one of my favorite opening episodes of all time. Who is Vash the stampede? Two insurance girls by the name of Meryl, who is short and serious, and Milly, large and a big softy, try to find out. Why? Because they want to protect areas that Vash attacks from insurance fraud and other things too. I mean, Vash the Stampede is a famous outlaw that is almost considered a force of nature itself. Makes sense. The guessing game of who Vash the Stampede is eventually leads to discovering he is this one goofy individual. No Hard ass or violent person, a goofy person that likes peace.

I feel strange trying to look into Trigun’s story, because it is one of those series that slowly develops over time with a lot of clues and ideas about what could be there. Something which a lot of modern seasonal anime don’t do anymore because they only have one cour to tell stories now. No room for nuance for developing mysteries or doing some episodic stories to build the cast up. Everything is attached now. But yeah, this is a story about an outlaw named Vash with a $$60,000,000 bounty on his head for some reason we don’t know yet. An outlaw that roams the deserts of the planet of Gun Smoke in order to distribute peace to everyone around him.

Of course, the past itself slowly catches up with Vash even if he tries his best to run away from it. His twin brother Knives won’t let him. He slowly manipulates the areas around Vash with his group of stock villains from the 90’s, the Gung-Ho Guns, to ruin his life. Vash is a peace loving person that wants everyone he meets to live, but that is clearly not on the mind of anyone who gets in the way of it. So it’s this sort of story of seeing Vash’s world crumbling around him and he’s trying to keep it sound through any mental or physical decisions he can. Though, seeing him break down is ridiculously hard because Vash just feels so real.

The Grounded Nature of Trigun

Vash the Stampede is such a wonderful character. I mean, he kind of has to be because the entire show runs around just him and him alone. You see his silly and playful moments when he is around children who he allows them to beat him up. That is the mode that he wants to be in, but things happen around Gunsmoke which make him be serious. This when you see the real Vash the Stampede. The undefeatable and infinitely skilled with a gun outlaw that can handle most situations without killing them. It feels the gunslinger sort of feeling of the outside because that is the atmosphere of the show you see at first before everything else happens. 

Is the real push towards peace that easy? Is Vash really that naive? Well, no. Even if the people he runs into think he is, like Wolfwood who I will get too soon, Vash knows what he is doing is foolish. A simple look at his body where he has metal arm which turns into a gun and has a lot of scars and medal attachments to him show he has had a hard time for however long he has been acting in this way. So yes, Trigun is as self aware as Vash is about trying to push for peace is hard because in that desert environment, people are struggling to keep alive which results in people pushing towards violence to even exist. I really like it though.

Trigun’s Comedy

With that grounded and serious nature of the show itself, there is a comedic side which I enjoy for the most part. The way Vash kind of treats women at some points in the show kind of sucks honestly. It’s pretty standard perverted stuff. While it doesn’t get pushed as far as it could be, it feels like something that actually shows the age of Trigun because this sort of humor isn’t pushed onto protagonists anymore. But still, I love a lot of the situation comedy of Trigun because it feels genuine in itself there too. Possibly because Vash is pushing it, but they are still happy and silly moments that need to be emboldened a bit.

You really have those really great moments between characters that somehow mesh with Vash. Those could be that one gun builder who Vash just casually drank with while the guy was slowly getting over his own issues by meeting with Vash. Or the situational comedy from Meryl and Milly just hanging around with Vash with whatever situation he is in. There is just an inherent comedy of Meryl just dressing down Vash for being such a strange outlaw that doesn’t act like an outlaw at all. I just dig it after all. Just making fun of Vash there too. Especially donuts. Donuts are very important.

Duality

One major thing behind Trigun is that idea of duality. I mean that it is everywhere. Meryl and Milly are an example of that because they are partners to the bitter end, but they couldn’t be anymore different. That is why the two worked as a group though, because one is always the straight man, Meryl, while Milly is the goofy one that causes incidents to happen. Millly also has the biggest open heart for the entire show and Meryl has trouble letting go of ideas she has been stuck with whatever situation she has in her mind and it takes a very, very long time for her to let it go or change in any way. It’s a good dynamic that just works. 

Then you see it again with Vash and this mystery priest wandering the desert with a large cross, Wolfwood. The two of them start out as being almost the same person. They reacted to different situations the same in the beginning and even learned to trust each other. As time goes on, you really start to see how different they are. Vash refuses to kill and always takes the hard road when he can while Wolfwood is constantly pushing the easy route by wanting to kill in a moment’s notice if it solves the problem they are facing. There is a lot of interesting interplay between the two which doesn’t necessarily tell you the right answer is. You know what their right answers are.

Finally, there is the duality between Vash and literally every opponent he ever faces. Or literally him and his brother who see human life in different ways and perspectives. There is the supposed naive way where even the worst people should live or the Knives way where everyone should die because all humanity is the worst scum ever existed. In the end, Trigun doesn’t side with either of them and thinks the truth is somewhere in the middle. Still, one couldn’t have these sorts of answers unless the two sides interrogated each other as much as they did. It’s why the show works somehow to fully realize and flesh out what it wants to do and it’s kind of amazing honestly. It’s why Trigun is so good. 

Completing Trigun

I guess I can’t exactly say this because there is still a movie I haven’t talked about yet and the new series that will be out soon. Still, I am saying this for this show now. I think the main thing selling this show together is that its direction is good. I say this as a person who has watched a lot of older anime. The best thing about all of that you can feel so much tension and energy just by how the camera frames itself around the characters. There are some moments of ok action, but you aren’t watching Trigun just to see how Vash fires his gun or solve his problem. At least I hope not. You are probably here for the writing and the direction and it does those in spades.

The character designs are also very varied and I feel like the style of the show really captures that sort of desolate, dirty wasteland of human beings barely living out on this planet. A planet that doesn’t support them very well until the end perhaps. A land of desert and mystery technology which somehow feels natural to each other. Besides some bits of comedy that I just don’t enjoy anymore, Trigun is literally a masterpiece on almost every level that it tries to do something. That thinking man’s sort of anime where the gunslinger isn’t mindless, but very thoughtful and wants to see everyone happy. What else do I need to say? Nothing. 

8 comments

  1. Very good review of Trigun. I didn’t know they were making a new anime. You think Trigun doesn’t get as much love? I will agree when compared to Cowboy Bebop, but I don’t know if it’s people near me, but I think Outlaw Star gets crapped on sometimes and I was made fun of for liking that anime by an ex-co-worker a few years ago. Trigun does deserve to be a part of anime history anyway. Sorry if I haven’t check out your posts. I’ve had a very busy several months with life and other things going on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, it’s ok. I’ve been pretty busy to with everything finally calming down a bit recently. Finally got a decent job so I don’t feel over worked as much as I did when I was doing a few part time jobs at once.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Gotcha. Thanks for understanding. Good on yoou for getting a decent job. I know that feeling of being overworked which I have dealt with for years now. That and I hard relate to working multiple jobs at once.

        Liked by 1 person

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