Vash the Stampede is the man with a $$60,000,000 bounty on his head. The reason: he's a merciless villain who lays waste to all those that oppose him and flattens entire cities for fun, garnering him the title "The Humanoid Typhoon." He leaves a trail of death and destruction wherever he goes, and anyone can count themselves dead if they so much as make eye contact—or so the rumors say. In actuality, Vash is a huge softie who claims to have never taken a life and avoids violence at all costs.
With his crazy doughnut obsession and buffoonish attitude in tow, Vash traverses the wasteland of the planet Gunsmoke, all the while followed by two insurance agents, Meryl Stryfe and Milly Thompson, who attempt to minimize his impact on the public. But soon, their misadventures evolve into life-or-death situations as a group of legendary assassins are summoned to bring about suffering to the trio. Vash's agonizing past will be unraveled and his morality and principles pushed to the breaking point.
The Japanese release by Victor Entertainment has different openings relating to the specific episode it's played on. The initial Geneon Entertainment USA (then known as Pioneer) releases on VHS and DVD (singles, Signature Series, and box set) used only the first opening on each episode. This was due to the Japanese licensor providing them clean materials for only the first opening to put the English credits on. Geneon later fixed this mistake on their Limited Edition tin releases in 2005/2006, as well as on the Remix singles. Following Geneon USA's demise in late 2007, the show went out of print. When FUNimation Entertainment picked up the show in 2010 and released it, they repeated Geneon's mistake of using only the first opening on every episode. This mistake was later fixed in 2013 on the Anime Classics re-release.
Trigun is another one of my "must see in your anime career" shows. The easiest way to explain why I believe this can be summed up by one name: Vash. Vash the Stampede is arguably one of the coolest, toughest, and funniest characters ever created. He's everyone's favorite superhero (even though he demolishes everything he gets close to). Vash brings forth something that I think everyone has a little in themselves, compassion. If Vash had a middle name, it would be Compassion.
As if Vash wasn't enough for this show, they thought it might be a good idea to throw in a fantastic music score too. Tsuneo Imahori really hit the nail on the head with his work here. Great opening, great ending, and great background music throughout the show. I like some tracks so much that I often listen to them while exercising.
Wolfwood, Meril, and Milly are great supporting characters. The constant bickering between them will trigger plenty of laughter. Not a ton of detail goes into their pasts, but enough is presented to satisfy the viewer.
Animation is from the late 90's, so it's nothing crazy. It's great for the time period though.
Overall, one of my favorite anime shows. Worth a watch no matter what type of series interests you.read more
(This is a spoiler-free review adapted for this site)
[Synopsis]: Vash the Stampede (Onosaka, Masaya) is a legendary gunslinger with a $60,000,000,000 bounty on his head who has attained the additional title of the ‘humanoid typhoon’ due to the way he leaves a path of destruction in his wake wherever he travels. Because of this rampant devastation, the Bernardelli Insurance Society tasks Meryl Stryfe (Tsuru, Hiromi) and Milly Thompson (Yukino, Satsuki) to find Vash in order to evaluate insurance claims and attempt to minimize the damage. The story follows these characters across a desert wasteland as it quickly becomes apparent that Vash is more than a simple outlaw.
Vash the Stampede, while an absolute ace in every category when concerning marksmanship, is also quite a carefree and kindhearted character. From the get-go it is revealed that the destruction that is attributed to him is actually the fault of the countless bounty hunters chasing after the reward for his head. With this in mind, he is perfectly capable of dealing out major damage with his signature revolver however perhaps his biggest character trait is that he always avoids killing his enemies – opting to disarm or at worst cripple them instead. This mindset, while at first a character quirk, becomes very central to the shows primary story after a turn in what could be described as the conflict of naivety. Vash occupies an odd dichotomy of personalities where he can be both silly and comical but gravely serious the next second. Vash’s past and the reasons for his preservation of life are explored fairly extensively and as the story progresses.
Joining Vash on his journeys in the anime are the two insurance girls Meryl and Milly. While Meryl at first doesn’t believe Vash to be the legitimate ‘Vash the Stampede’ she eventually is convinced wheres Milly is much more certain after their first meeting. The two girls serve primarily as comedic characters throughout the show and their exaggerated reactions (mostly Meryl) are the source of a good deal of the shows comedy along with Vash’s antics. They are fairly flat characters and while they have emotions and serious scenes they feel fairly stunted on the development front. As the show grows more serious in the later episodes and the silliness of things is slightly phased out, they continue to tag along but seem to lack purpose.
Lastly, Vash and company encounter a priest by the name of Nicholas D. Wolfwood (Hayami, Show) on their travels who at first fades in and out of the story intermittently but later becomes a more primary character. I would say that Wolfwood’s appearance is a marked improvement to the show as he is more complex and action-oriented than Meryl or Milly. He shares some qualities with Vash, comedic and otherwise, but is overall of the more serious characters in the cast.
As Trigun hails from the late 90’s period of anime it’s art and animation leave a decent amount to be desired in comparison to more modern shows. This aside, the character designs, primarily of Vash and his enemies, are very exaggerated however they don’t feel out of place in the world. The animation itself varies from episode to episode and naturally the more important action scenes are shown a little more love than others but overall Trigun is par for the course. The setting for almost all of the story is a desert wasteland and so there isn't too much exciting to work with in that regard.
One of my major issues with the show actually concerns its art and animation as I have a problem with how it presents both guns and bullets in the show. Because dancing around bullets is both a good source of comedy and also a clear way to show somebody’s speed of movement in an action scene – a good deal of bullets end up missing… a lot of them. This is highly apparent in that Vash goes more or less unscathed for a good portion of the early episodes – both a sign of his skill but hardly an episode goes by in Trigun where Vash doesn't dart around screaming comically as a whole troop of enemies looses fire at him. So the problem arises in the over-prevalence of guns and the countless number of scenes where bullets seemingly accomplish nothing. When the show relies greatly on the threat of a gun in someones face (which happens multiple times episodically) it somewhat damages the tension and gravity of things when we are conditioned to think that the guns and bullets ultimately don’t mean much.
The show starts out feeling fairly episodic in nature – Vash travels to a city, he is pursued by bounty hunters or encounters a problem already in the city, action and comedy ensue and he moves on. This formula is used for the first 10 or so episodes and so Trigun can feel a bit slow to get into at first. The show picks up pace more than you would initially think it would and it also gets reasonably dark in comparison to its early far more comedic episodes.
At the end of the day, Trigun is less concerned with with actual progression of a plot and more with the moral dilemmas associated with Vash’s lifestyle. Why does Vash cherish life so – and to what lengths will he go to uphold his near-pacifist ideals? The show attempts to drum up a discussion of morals by presenting us with a heroic figure who will stop at nothing to protect and help those in need but who will not take the life of his enemy. This very quickly becomes problematic for Vash and only becomes more so as the show continues – eventually becoming the main focus of the show within the ‘primary plot’. Trigun claims to harbor a moral message but in my opinion its a bit lost and unfounded amongst the action and comedy of the show – it pays close attention to Vash’s own morality but fails to bring up points for one cause or another with any real conviction; it is a little flaky in this regard.
The music of the show fits the setting well enough but isn't anything I would go listen to again after the show ended. As the setting of the show features primarily sand and frontier towns the music is evocative of a wild west environment but there is some sci-fi influence as well.
[Final Thoughts and Rating]:
I think that ones enjoyment of the show will rely heavily on whether or not one thinks that the show explored Vash’s moral dilemma adequately or not. The show has decent comedy in the beginning and reasonably interesting plot developments later in the show however because the show’s main focus becomes a moral one I think it should be held to that standard first and foremost. I would say without that moral intrigue, the show’s comedy and action would rarely outstrip anything else in those respective genres and so additionally so, Trigun relies importantly on its messages.
I will preface that my rating of this show is bias in that I am no great lover of the Sci-Fi western setting and that a more avid fan of that genre would be quick to give it a 6 or even as high as an 8 if they could overlook some of my more nit-picky qualms listed. The show falls short for me because as I have stated above, because it does not do anything exceptionally well and because its animation (by nature of its time period) is not actively beneficial to it, it appears overly reliant on what I would consider an ill-conceived or half-baked moral question.
I think that anyone that jumps at the premise of a Sci-Fi western should certainly investigate this show as its setting and characters support the genre well. I would also recommend this show to anyone wanting to explore the more ‘classic’ anime as Trigun is very much one of the more storied shows in medium and is the point of many a conversation. To action fans looking for good gun-slinging fight scenes I would recommend this however admit that other shows probably hold greater potential in this aspect. Lastly, to those interested in the shows comedy – it has decent gag comedy at the beginning but because the show eventually discards many of these gags in favor of a more serious tone I would recommend a different show unless your willing to stick around after the tonal shift.read more
26 episodes of a revolutionary anime that mixed comedy and drama flawlessly. This anime found great popularity in the U.S. and for good reason. Like Wings of Honneamise, it very thoughtfully combined religious themes and pacifism in a morality tale.
The first half of the series introduces the characters, and may turn some people off by its silliness, but it makes sense throughout the second half. If the entire thing was completely serious, Vash's character development wouldn't have the same effect.
The music is very subtle and gets the job done. It's not overly noticeable, and compliments the scenes quite well. I heard one of the members of the band Black Mages composed the music. The music is very recognizable and memorable for how simple it is.
The characters are extremely well developed and human. Vash the stampede is one of the most multi-dimensional characters created in anime. You may be constantly asking yourself questions about him. So is he a womanizer or a gentleman? Is he a killer or a pacifist? A goofball or a serious, stern person? All of it is very well developed and lets you know that Vash doesn't have just one side to him. His friend Wolfwood is also very multi-dimensional and developed.
The animation and drawings in Trigun are not so great. They are in fact very mediocre, which is a shame. Many of the lines are drawn poorly, unevenly and the movement is often very choppy and of a low frame-rate (some of the episodes don't suffer from this, however). The lower quality animation is probably a budget issue, so it's a little easier to forgive. It must be extremely difficult to craft such a great series under so much pressure.
However, it's definitely one of the greatest moral dramatic comedies I've ever seen. The last few episodes left an impression on me; the show has a very clear and valuable message that has staying power. If you are up for a nice 26 episode series to laugh and cry with, give Trigun a whirl.read more
I personally like this anime, however due to some pacing issues & tone, this series is not for everyone. Trigun anime should be considered to the original Fullmetal Alchemist as it doesn't follow it manga storyline & is more original content, however there are some strengths to this adaptation. Also, it's main principle isn't gunslinger fights but its true writing is based on morality.
Taking place on Planet Gunsmoke where desert is found everywhere forcing people to live in this harsh climate. To make matters worse, people have developed this culture of the wild west leaving many outlaws running about. One of these men is Vash The Stampede whose head is worth $$60 Billion. The anime revolves around his quest to find his brother Knives, stop his villainy & bring peace to his homeland.
Much of the anime is bit rough, to start off people should be aware of its comedic tone as Vash & various characters are very goofy which often clashes with the more serious subject matter of the show being pacifism & Christianity. The early episodes can be slow at times as the real story doesn't kick until episode 12 but even then the story doesn't go full throttle until ep 15 when The Gung Ho Guns finally move as a group; challenging Vash's ideology.
The theme of this story is its study in pacifism on a dangerous planet, where villains with various skills & super powers won't budge easily to words of peace. This is one of the few western based animes that has an interesting tale but I can certainly people not being into the series due to several circumstances. Main problem with the anime is its pacing & enjoyment will heavily depend on the leading character Vash as he be found annoying to some.
When the anime isn't firing bullets it instead speaks of philosophy, however it isn't till ep 17 we understand why Vash is pacifistic in the first place & comprehend his motivations to follow those principles which are heavily affected with his brother Knives,who again, has minimal appearances in the anime. Because of this lack of knowledge, can lead to some viewers not willing to sit through the entire series.
Benefits in the anime include many as when compared to its manga, honestly has better writing & possibly even better conclusions to certain story arcs specifically death scenes. One example of the anime's strengths is the character Wolfwood who shares more screentime with Vash while in its manga, their interactions or moral conflicts aren't as strong compared to its anime. Much of the dialogue & writing placed into the anime is more "to the point" (in episodes 15-26) as the manga Trigun & Trigun Maximum tend to get a bit distracted at times.
Overall, Trigun appeals to certain people but if it does suit your tastes then you may enjoy it either for its setting or its search for the morally correct answer. The anime tends to give subtle messages to the conflict of the series. Most of the strengths of those messages is the opposing beliefs of Vash & Wolfwood as not many other pacifistic themed animes feature
a duo such as this one. Multiple villains also challenge Vash's beliefs in a more drastic level with casualties being build up with every encounter.It also holds two of the most interesting anime villains to date being Legato Bluesummers & Knives Millions.
Trigun's main focus isn't action, but instead dives into a theme heavily resembling beliefs found in Christianity. Other similar series would be Get Backers, Naoki Urasawa's Monster, Rurouni Kenshin & both series of Fullmetal Alchemist. The main difference that separates Trigun from these shows include the following; Vash's decisions & villains affect the planet's society, its western world with its own blend of sci-fi, & its references with religious elements mainly the siblings Vash & Knives & might have a better conclusion although it may come off as either subtle or ambiguous.read more
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