By: Sean Wall
It is the distant future, and a failed attempt at interplanetary colonization has put the remnants of the human race on an inhospitable desert planet. It’s a rough place to live, with bandits out to steal your water and land, miles (or Iles in Trigun-speak) of sandy nothing between anything remotely habitable, and little or no order or law to be seen. Enter the unlikely hero, Vash the Stampede. An outlaw with a six billion double dollar bounty on his head, his very name strikes terror into the hearts of all that hear it. Women weep and children cry and brave men turn tail and run when they hear he’s coming to town … only, he’s not really a bad guy at all!
Two insurance claim adjusters from the planet’s largest (and only) public insurance agency, are sent to follow Vash the Stampede, ascertain if the man known as “The Humanoid Typhoon” is really responsible for all the claims they have been forced to pay, and if possible, stop him from causing any more damage. After an initial misunderstanding, the two “insurance ladies” begin to travel with the mysterious (donut scarfing, spiky-haired, often silly) man in red and begin to discover, through the people he meets and the trouble he’s often forced into, the kind of person the duly feared outlaw really is.
Truly one of the classics around the anime world. Though due to its age, its visual appeal leaves much to be desired, Trigun should hardly be judged at face value. The experience is genuinely human — while pretty much any consistent anime viewer knows there will be pacifists in any given series, Trigun balances this perfectly. With pure-hearted, idealistic, visionary heroes versus macabre, sinister, yet intelligent villains, many differing outlooks on life are explored. It is this fact that causes Trigun to exist on a tier of its own, and has earned its place in many circles as a work of pure genius.
A solid, innovative plot evolves throughout the progression of the series, stacked with many layers that add to rewatch value; one will notice things on a second or third watch that he or she did not initially realize. Not only this, the casual pace at which Trigun flows fits it like a glove; clearly, learning a trick of two from The Three Bears, it’s not too fast, not too slow, but just right. Perhaps the only significant flaw, in my humble opinion, lies in the execution of the last episode: Trigun compacts three episodes worth of content into one finale and ends up failing at doing so efficiently. There is no real conclusion, and with far too many open and loose ends, it leaves an awkward sense of finishing Trigun without truly ever doing so.
The characters take the story to a new level as the story is stream along with them.
Where most might immediately turn to Vash as the deepest character of the series, I actually turn to co-villain, Legato. A devious, cunning sycophant, one quickly characterizes him as nothing but a bloodthirsty sadist. However, while to an extent, this might be true, Legato remains completely logical, concise, confident; certainly nothing close to the stereotype commonly given to such evil. The perfect enemy in all respects, the choice Vash is forced to make regarding him toward the end of the series will, most probably, stick with me until my deathbed: those who have seen Trigun know what I am referring to. This fathom-deep intimacy with the human mind, found through each of the main characters, makes Trigun, in my book, a must watch for every anime fan. Vash, Meryl, Milly, Wolfwood, Legato, Knives — all are designed with this spectacular precision.
Now Trigun’s soundtrack is a whole other issue: one does not truly enjoy it until the series is completed. I remember while watching Trigun for the first time commenting to friends about how much I disliked all aspects of its sound, and being promptly rebuked with, “Just wait, it grows on you.” Their words proved true, and sure enough, I now quite enjoy the music. While certainly not one of the best OSTs out there, a number of tracks seem custom tailored to fit the series, such as Legato’s theme.
Most of all, Trigun is FUN. It’s a mad rollercoaster of action, comedy, science fiction and even a little romance all packed into twenty-six episodes of pure anime goodness.
Trigun was one of a handful of anime that set my bar of quality quite high. While I certainly wouldn’t claim it to be the best anime ever made, it has rightfully earned its place toward the top. A superb mingling of comedy, action, drama, and intellect, it has a number of qualities that give it a broad range of appeal. Whether you’re new to the world of anime or a battle-worn veteran, Trigun should definitely be on the top of your list of series to see if you haven’t watched it already.