||Genres: Action Drama Science-Fiction Comedy All|
Series' Year of Release: 1998
Number of Episodes: 26
Review Date: 7-12-2009
Review Language: Dub
Review DVD Region: R4
|Review By: Bradley Beeck
Vash the Stampede is the Humanoid Typhoon. Where ever he goes destruction follows, hence the sixty billion double dollar reward for his capture. The strange thing is, despite reducing several towns to rubble, no one has ever died. Millie Thomson and Meryl Stryfe, employees of an insurance company, try to track down the elusive criminal to minimize Vashís destructive streak.
The thing thatís wrong with todayís anime in general is that itís about nothing. Thereís no deep meaning to it, no ideals and ideas driving the characterís actions, thereís nothing to be gained by watching it. This wasnít always the case and Trigun is case in point. Itís another show from what I consider to be a golden age of anime Ė the 90s.
Vash the Stampede is an awesome main character. Itís like light night and day when heís compared to harem leads. He truly believes in his ideals and will go to any length to stick to them, much like another shounen hero from that time Ė Kenshin Himura. Heís tough, has amazing gunfighter skills, but refuses to draw his gun unless he absolutely has to. At the same time Vash holds back from doing what he needs to do Ė in some ways heís a coward. Heís a complex character, which is what makes him so good. Thereís also another great character in the form of Nicholas D Wolfwood, a preacher and perhaps friend of Vash, who has a different outlook to Vash. Meryl and Milly, the two insurance girls, tag along with Vash for most of the series and one of them serves as a love interest. They help out occasionally but they donít do a whole lot besides give Vash someone to goof around with. The Humanoid Typhoon isnít quite what heís made out to be, much to Meryl and Millyís surprise, so thereís some comedy as well action and drama.
The early parts of the series slowly reveal what drives Vash through mostly one shot episodes. These involve stories like helping out in a hostage situation and guarding a water baron, although they give no indication of the true scope of the plot. All the episodes continue on from each other in a loose sense, and itís something I like to see. The show takes place in wild west style setting with a mix of modern technology, not wholly unlike Firefly. Itís not immediately clear why this is so but the show eventually depicts the reasons and this is where the science fiction part of the show comes in. Itís intimately connected to Vashís story, which is the seriesí story, and itís pretty interesting and cool.
The latter half of the show is sometimes exceptional and sometimes weak and a little grinding. The problem with it is that Vash takes too long to confront what he must, thus the cowardice I mentioned earlier. Secondly the themed enemies Ė the Gungho Gang - which permeate this stage of the story are one dimensional villains. They clash with the complex characters of the central cast. On the upside it has the most memorial episode with the conflict of ideas between Wolfwood and Vash.
The show is getting on now so the animation does look dodgy and washed out sometimes. I think Escalfowne has held up better so I guess they didnít have much of a budget for this one. Speaking of Escaflowne the character designs are similar to that series, and to most shows of that time. Itís eccentric but the music is appealing with its mix of guitar, synth and piano. Except one particular song that reminded me of snake charmer music. The OP is H.T. by Tsuneo Imahori and the ED is Kaze wa Mirai ni Fuku by Akima & Neos. My DVD release comes from the era when people thought green subtitles for karaoke was a good idea but the series has subsequently been re-mastered and re-released.
The real strength of Trigun is the characters. They stand for something, they have values, and at the same time have flaws. Theyíre complex characters who are also really likable because of their personalities and abilities. Theyíre also situated in a story which for the most part is interesting and well told. Although itís not a flawless show, if such a thing is possible. The animation is dodgy, even for the time, the villains are one dimensional and some of the later episodes are drawn out. Still Trigun remains a brilliant series filled with great characters, ideals and ideas, and stands the test of time as an anime classic.