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Trigun

 

Grade: A

Genre: Action/Adventure, Science Fiction, Space Cowboy, Comedy, Drama

Reviewed: Sub/Dub

Episodes: 26 episodes

Notes: A for second half, B+ for first half, A+ for the last few eps. The manga is still on-going and takes a completely different path.

Introduction: Vash the Stampede has a price on his head of $$60 Billion for the destruction of an entire city! Meryl Stryfe and Mille Thompson are two insurance investigators sent to find and stop him from wreaking further havoc. Trouble seems to follow him everywhere. Is it just bad luck, or something more? Vash is a staunch pacifist, but lightning quick and deadly accurate with his gun. As the girls follow Vash in his travels, they encounter Nicholas D. Wolfwood, a traveling priest who is not what he appears to be. Soon they all find out that Vash is much more than he appears.

Animation/Music/Voices: Animation is generally good although the planet of Gunsmoke is pretty barren so there's not much landscape detail. Character designs of the main characters are fairly simple but good, especially Vash with his red coat and broom style hair, and Wolfwood with his sexy neckline. However, the character design for some of the villains is sometimes ugly and odd. There are 3 story mutant beings and hideous humans with odd appendages. Overall, the musical score in Trigun is quite good. The opening music is instrumental with some nice guitar rips while the ending song has a grunge sound. The voices are better in Japanese than the English dub, but unlike most dubs, it is actually pretty good. Vash's voice in the dub sounds a bit too young, but you get used to it. Wolfwood, however, loses certain characteristics that are more apparent in Japanese. But kudos to Vash's voice actors who need to go from goofy-whiny to dead-serious.

Review: This "space cowboy" series is mostly episodic, but does have a continuing storyline that develops in the second half with clues in the first half. The story and characters are simply wonderful. Sometimes the humor, especially in the early episodes, is forced, with too much use of exaggerated expressions. But there are scenes that will have you rolling on the floor. Keep an eye/ear out for the Genocide song (much, much better in English). The exchanges between Vash and Wolfwood are priceless. If the series appears too silly at first, hang on to your seats. The change in direction will surprise you once the Gung Ho Guns appear. The last few episodes will have you using an entire box of tissues. You also meet one of the greatest villains ever, Legato Bluesummers, who can kill with a thought, but why simply kill if you can torture? His rather peaceful, and easygoing manner belies a fanatical devotion to a master even more powerful. Note the contrast between the seriousness of the showdown between Legato and Vash, and the peaceful and pretty background music depicting Legato's state of mind. The final gunfight between Vash and his ultimate enemy is wonderfully choreographed. There is also real character development of all four main characters. Millie first appears to be a typical airhead but she becomes someone to rely upon with good sensibilities. Meryl evolves from being possibly annoying (she's always beating up on Vash) and full of bravado to someone who falls under his beliefs and becomes his greatest supporter. Wolfwood's kill or be killed attitude is tested by Vash's belief in humanity and the sanctity of life. He tries to find forgiveness and redemption in one of the most touching scenes ever written. Vash first appears to be a goofy idiot who mostly survives because of luck, but it is a facade to hide his suffering, tragic past, and super-human abilities.

This anime will have you laughing one minute and reaching for a box of tissues the next. It will move you and make you think about life and death and the choices we make. The first half is generally light in tone and is quite funny, recommended for everyone, all ages. The second half gets pretty dark, and is too intense for younger children (under 10). The dub is good, but some clues to Vash's past are obscured to be more mysterious, but that just makes them nonsensical and confusing. Be advised that the final, final ending occurs during the credits after the last episode.