Saturday, December 28, 2013

Love and Peace!

Trigun (TV): An Anime Series Review 
Number of episodes: 26
Genre: Action, space western, sci-fi, adventure
Source material: Manga written by Yasuhiro Nightow

Action, adventure, and guns? I'm in! Trigun is a classic anime that people in the anime community refer to often, and for the longest time, I had to pretend that I knew what they were talking about (oh the shame)! When I finally sat down and watched this series many years ago, I was able to understand why people enjoy this anime so much. If you've been one of those people who "shoulda, coulda, woulda" watched Trigun but didn't, keep reading to see if this anime series is for you!

**May Contain Spoilers**

What a cutie.
The Story: Trigun is set in a western-themed science-fiction world, and the story follows the adventures of a man named Vash the Stampede. With his red coat, tinted sunglasses, and his spiky blond hair, Vash appears to be one cool dude. Things are a little complicated though, because somehow, Vash always seems to leave destruction and terror in his wake. While many are inclined to believe that his infamous reputation as the “Humanoid Typhoon" is true (he is rumored to have annihilated an entire city), the real reason behind the troubles that follow Vash lies in the fact that he has a gigantic bounty on his head.
For the moniessss!
Constantly confronted by baddies who want to collect the reward money for his capture and who have little hesitation to destroy anything and everything in their path, Vash is forced to move like a vagabond from town to town, trying to stay out of trouble while also trying to piece together his own memories from the night he is believed to have decimated the city. Eventually Vash is joined by two women from the Bernardelli Insurance Society, whom intend to negotiate some kind of loss control with him, and another gunman named Nicholas D. Wolfwood. As Vash slowly begins to regain his memories, he is shocked by what he remembers and forced to face the reality of his past, his actions, and his very existence. 

The Characters: There is no doubt in my mind that Trigun has a great cast of characters, and Vash really stands out as one of my favorites. A skilled gunman whose go-to quote is
From L to R: Wolfwood, Milly, Vash, Meryl
"Love and Peace!," Vash is a giant goofball and a womanizer when you first meet him in the anime. Don't let appearances, and in this case, comedic mannerisms fool you though, because Vash's character is really much deeper than that. Believing in the sanctity of all life, Vash chooses to never kill anyone with his guns, going to great lengths to avoid the trouble and violence that always seem to follow him. As the anime progresses, we learn a lot more about just who Vash is and how he came to lose his memories. The two main female leads in this anime are Meryl Stryfe and Milly Thompson. Both are incredulous that Vash is indeed, the "Human Typhoon" due to Vash's silly antics, but after witnessing his skills in battle, the truth is hard to deny any further. Meryl and Milly are dispatched by the Bernardelli Insurance Society to settle insurance claims and to negotiate with the "Human Typhoon" so as to cut the company's losses. Though not spectacular female figures, Meryl and Milly definitely add another layer of depth to the overall atmosphere and help us to see the many different facets of Vash. Rounding out our company of "good guys" is a gunman known as Nicholas D. Wolfwood.
Bromance. Ish. 
A womanizer in his own right, Wolfwood is another character who provides great comedic relief but also has an emotional story of his own. Taking jobs as a gun-for-hire and believing that the ends-justify-the-means, Wolfwood sends his earnings back to an orphanage where he grew up as a child. Wolfwood and Vash support each other in times of trouble, but the two have very differing opinions about the morality of killing. 

Badass Legato. Dat hair.
On the other side of the spectrum, we have a group of assassins who call themselves the Gung-ho Guns, and without giving up too much information that would otherwise spoil some nice juicy tidbits of the anime, suffice to say that their leader Legato is a freakishly powerful foe who enjoys very much the destruction and violence that he instigates. Legato, though, answers to another person on the food-chain, but I'll let you discover who that person is by watching the anime! 

Overall Impressions: Trigun is a great blend of comedy, action, and drama--there's something in here for everyone. As someone who doesn't typically enjoy shows with a 
LOL face.
decent helping of comedy, I actually found the humor in Trigun to be chuckle-worthy and endearing. There's just something sweet and earnest about Vash being silly and over-the-top (without being eye-roll inducing), and I chalk that up to the great atmosphere that Trigun builds for itself, along with its solid character development. The depressing worn out desert-y towns that our characters travel through feels very muted despite the bright colors, and the humor that Vash brings is a welcomed respite from the rather somber atmosphere. But when the anime decides to get serious, the tone gets very serious. There's just so much more going on than what's on the surface, and I particularly enjoyed the emotional drama that centered around Vash as he tried to understand who he was and just what he was looking for. 

Serious face.
Vash is another reason why I enjoyed the show very much. He is such a great character who is multidimensional. Since he's silly so often--whether it be shmoozing women or eating donuts--, it's impossible not to take him seriously when he drops his cheery facade and shows what his true emotions are. There may be times in the anime when you just want to knock some sense into Vash (he was a little too pacifist for me), but when he suffers or gets set back from what he wants to accomplish, I was absolutely rooting for him! While on the surface Trigun is a comedy/adventure show about a goofy gunman, the anime actually turns out to be so much more than that. Themes of the morality of violence and about how we shape our identities make Trigun a surprisingly emotional and deep show. A true classic, Vash, Wolfwood, Meryl, and Milly will win your hearts if you only give them a chance.

Rating: 8.5/10

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