Secret Santa Review
Ah, Trigun. A series that rings as many bells as Cowboy Bebop, Akira or any of those other classics of which I suddenly can’t remember the name. And yet I hadn’t watched it (not that I’ve already seen the other titles, but damn, I really should). As a matter of fact, it hasn’t even been on my Want to Watch list. ‘Why?’ you ask - or maybe not, I have no idea what strangers on the Internet think. Well, I wouldn’t even be able to answer that question. An anime about a legendary gunman living through all kinds of whacky adventures while on the run from bounty hunters? It’s sort of… meh. And after watching it, I realized I was very wrong. So I guess I should thank my Secret Santa for forcing me to watch this entertaining series that I otherwise wouldn’t have picked up. And now on to the review!
The premise is simple. You have Vash the Stampede, a much sought after man with a very badass name and a $$60 000 000 000 bounty on his head. And then you have all the crazy stuff that happens to him. Because you can’t be a protagonist in an anime series and not run into trouble all the goddamned time. And what does this ‘Humanoid Typhoon’ like to do in his spare time? Euhm, well… Eat donuts and play with kids apparently. Yeah, Vash is less of big, mean monster and more of a goofy ladies charmer with some bad luck. There is one rule he never breaks and that is to not kill a human being. Unfortunately his reputation was ruined by one incident and hasn't really improved because the bounty hunters who go after him always cause some trouble. The first half of the series is more episodic in nature as the Stampede travels from town to town followed by the two insurance girls Meryl and Milly, who were ordered to prevent any destroying of entire cities (Spoiler: they kind of fail every time). They also meet Nicholas D. Wolfwood, a priest who goes around selling confessions to support his orphanage. He also has a ginormous cross that changes into a variety of guns and a freaking bazooka. Yes, that's the amount of awesomeness in this series. He decides to tag along and with that our little group is complete.
And then the second half throws almost all of the silliness out of the window and goes for a far more serious approach. This kind of made the whole show a lot better for me. We learn about Vash’s past and see the ramifications of his pacifist ways. If saving someone means another person dies, even indirectly, is it then possible to truly save everyone? Are we humans just sick bastards by nature? Can we change? And ultimately Vash has to confront the cause of all his misery, as a promise he made to someone he loved.
Art and Animation:
Living in an era where animation is so detailed and shiny that you can count every flower petal and bishie sparkle, has left me quite spoiled. Not to say that Trigun’s is bad per se, but it’s still pretty old school. There are the occasional proportion fails and jarring movement bits, but hey, that happens these days as well, right? The only things that never seem to suffer from these mistakes are the weapons the characters carry. Every gun is as detailed as can be and the fights themselves are always over the top awesome to watch.
The background music consists mostly of guitar riffs and western themed tunes and therefore I didn’t really care for it that much. The ending and opening weren’t my cup of tea either, but they fit the series in general so I guess they’re doing what they’re supposed to do. Although there is a character who plays the saxophone in a few episodes and is amazing at it. The fact that there was an epic gunfight going on in the background only made it more fantastic. There was also this lullaby kind of thing that kept coming back during important parts, which had a very soothing melody.
The voice acting was great, especially for the male characters. The females tended to have really squeaky voices (I’m looking at you Milly Thompson), which made it very difficult not to cringe every time they opened their mouths. It gets better when you’re used to it though.
Easily the best part of Trigun are the various main and supporting characters. Vash is an interesting mix between the goofy, bumbling fool and the serious, kickass hero. As the series progresses his silly side kind of disappears (though not entirely) to make place for a more angsty and torn personality. What never changes, is his pacifism and in a way that is his only flaw. While I can certainly appreciate a protagonist who doesn’t believe in killing people to achieve his goals, there just are some situations where shooting the bad guy is the best course of action. His blind conviction was pretty annoying at times and certainly took away some of his likeability. That’s why I personally took a greater liking in Wolfwood. In a lot of ways he’s like Vash, but his opinions on the whole shooting others thing is a bit more nuanced. But all in all, they’re just two impossible badass characters that you just have to love.
I don’t really have much to say about Milly and Meryl, except for the fact that they were there. Not that I found the annoying or anything, not at all actually, they were quite amusing at times. But everything they do kind of fade away in the presence of those two awesome male leads.
I really enjoyed this series with all its awesome characters and gunfights. If you’re finding yourself struggling through the first ten episodes or so, I’d urge you to continue watching. It definitely gets better and the last five episodes are an absolute emotional rollercoaster. Even if you don’t like western themed series at all or if you hate epic gun fighting. Because Trigun also poses some interesting questions about human nature, morality and the all-important sparing of someone’s live. Just go watch it. And now I’m off to see the movie. So, LOVE AND PEACE~ to you all.