Vash the Stampede. The 60 billion $$ (double dollar) man. The Humanoid Typhon. All these names are given to the main character of Trigun. For the first few episodes, little is known about Vash, other than the government has changed his classification from human to natural disaster. As the anime progresses, we learn he is much more.
Trigun is a 26 episode anime released back in 1998 from Madhouse Studios. The manga on the other hand ran for 17 volumes, 3 under the title Trigun and 14 under Trigun Maximum., from 1998 – 2008. The series was written and drawn by Yasuhiro Nigthtow. As a huge fan of the anime I tried reading the manga years ago but abandoned it. The art had too much inking, with many panels featuring extreme closeups. It was too difficult to follow. I suggest avoiding it.
The series is an adventure space western (hybrid genres!). While this is revealed in due course, the last of humanity were on several ships, traveling across the galaxy. Due to sabotage, the vessels crashed on a barren desert planet. People created cities around the old ships, using them as power sources. They mostly live in western/pioneer like conditions, with a bit of leftover technology mixed in. The opening credits for the show was sadly nothing special.
The series has a very comical feel for the first 10 or so episodes. Not over done or too slapsticky either. Vash is just a guy who values life. He travels from town to town, trying to save people, though he leaves untold levels of destruction in his wake. Most of the destruction is caused by bounty hunters trying to catch him. He’s wanted for the destruction of July city, killing over 200,000 people.
Vash is an interesting and troubled character. He’s voiced by Johnny Yong Bosch, the Black Ranger replacement on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, and voice of Ichigo on Bleach. While feigning a simple exterior, Vash is actually an incredibly smart and talented man. His marksmanship is uncanny. With his custom made revolver, he’s capable of making any shot, almost to the point where it’s super human. This idea has been done plenty of times before in other animes, a character who is just “that good.” I find it incredibly annoying. Even watching the show I rolled my eyes a few times. Thankfully, there’s an explanation. A good one at that. This changed my opinion of the series, making it one of my favorites. Superhumanly awesome human characters annoy me.
Meryl Stryfe and Milly Thompson are two insurance agents tasked with evaluating claims against Vash, the natural disaster. They’re our introduction to the series as they search for Vash. Eventually they find him, following him from town to town to insure he doesn’t cause any more damage. Vash also meets a traveling priest, Nicholas D. Wolfwood. In classic anime fashion, there needs to be something over the top about him. So he carries a giant cross that’s actually a giant machine gun. Why not. He and Vash become fast friends.
Every hero needs a villain. Vash has several good ones. First is the Gung-Ho Guns, a group of assassins tasked with ending Vash. Zazie the Beast, Caine the Longshot, Rai-Dei the blade, and Monev the Gale to name a few. They were hired by Vash’s brother, Knives Millions, to end him. About mid way through the series, we start to learn about Knives and Vash’s past, and see the Guns begin their assault.
In 2010, a feature film was released; Trigun: Badlands Rumble. To be honest it’s been shuffled into my ever expanding “Someday” list. Hopefully it will be sooner rather than later. Though I’ve heard good things.
Trigun is a great series that is definitely worth the time. If you’re looking for a new good anime (and there really are so few good ones anymore), hunt this one down.
What did you think of Trigun? If you haven’t heard of it before, is Vash recognizable? Comment below!
I paid over $30 per 4 episode disc. Freaking Suncoast.