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Trigun Vol 1: The 60,000,000,000 Man

(return to disc)

Content rating: 10
Posted 2001-09-18 by StupendousMan
Endorsed by Cacophanus on 2001-09-21 10:00:00

If the Powers That Be at animefu permit it, this is a review of the entire "Trigun" series.

Do the ends justify the means? Is the taking of life ever justified? How should a good man deal with neighbors who are evil, or even simply selfish? What does it mean to be a hero? These are heavy questions, worthy of religious or philosophical text And yet they are at the heart of "Trigun," an anime which seems at first glance to be nothing but a light-hearted romp through the Old West.

Don't be fooled. Although the first four episodes (collected on disk 1 of the series; all following disks have only 3 episodes each, save the final disk with 4) give the impression of comedy -- heck, are comedy -- the show slowly veers towards serious topics. In a way, the progress of the series mirrors that of its protaganist, Vash the Stampede: at first, he seems a goofy donut-eating fool; but as we see more of him, and learn more of his past (in flashbacks which start in episode 6 disk 2 and continue throughout), we see that he is actually a very lonely soul with a terrible burden. As he wanders from town to town, trying to remain true to his ideals, he finds nothing but scorn from the humans he tries to help. In a very loose way, one might compare him to the figure of Jesus or Frodo: one who suffers so that others may live free and happy lives.

Hmmm. I'd better watch out here -- I'm starting to get carried away. Perhaps external circumstances are making their way into this review: I watched the entire series on DVD during the week of Sep 11, 2001, so my state of mind hasn't been entirely normal. As I type this review, I can see that some of the deep emotions felt by characters in the show amplify those I've seen in people around me for the past few days. Let me get back on the ordinary track.

One of the strengths of this show is its rejection of the simple dichotomy one sees in so many stories: Good vs. Bad, White vs. Black. The character of Nicholas D. Wolfwood, introduced in 8 (disk 3), provides a shade of Grey: Wolfwood seems in many ways to share the goals of Vash, a "good" character, and yet he argues time and again that sometimes, those goals cannot be reached without a sacrifice of one's ideals. I agree with him, loathe though I am to admit it. The dialogue between these two characters gives the series a tension that makes it seem much more realistic, much more relevant to the real world than the typical escapist fare. I get the feeling that the author of the series was really struggling to figure out the answer to some of life's toughest questions -- and he wasn't afraid to show us that struggle.

I watched "Trigun" just a few weeks after going through the entire "Cowboy Bebop" series, and was struck by a number of similarities. Both shows contain a mix of comedy and drama (and violence) that seems to work well together. As each series progresses, we learn more and more about the history of the main characters. I found "Trigun" to be more compelling, though, because it has a strong sequential story line which advances steadily, episode by episode, while "Bebop" contains many more one-off stories which don't connect directly to the Big Picture. Around disk 5 of "Trigun" (titled "Angel Arms"), I began to have very strong premonitions of doom: it all seemed clear to me that Vash's struggle was heading inevitably towards a dark and lonely end. As I looked forward to the final showdown (and the events of "Project Seeds", the sixth disk, make clear the nature of this climax), I found myself hoping for at _best_, a tie - but fearing for the worst. "Bebop" touched my heart at times, but I think "Trigun" reached me more deeply.

Let me mention a few particulars, for those who care. The menus are terrific -- after the annoying "Bebop" menus, what wouldn't be? I especially liked the systems on the final two disks, both the clever themes and the choice of music. Video was clear throughout the series, though the animation was at times weak (crowd shots with nothing but mouths moving, for examples). I really enjoyed the opening theme, and there were a number of times throughout the series when the music struck exactly the right chord to reinforce the action. The comedy level goes down steadily throughout the series, reaching a low level about half way through and then staying there -- but even during the depths of the later episodes, I found myself laughing out loud three or four times: most explosively, I have to admit, after Vash's confession to the female member of the Gung Ho Gungs gang in epidode 15. Finally, I have to admit, I found myself rooting for the very slow and low-key romance which develops between Meryl and Vash. I guess I'm an old softie :-)

Bottom line: this series occupied my mind during the week that I watched it, forcing me to think about the issues it raised, in bed at night, in the shower, riding my bike to work. It made me _think_, in addition to entertaining me. This is one show that isn't afraid to admit that humans are complex creatures -- sure, Vash can be the Baddest of the Bad-Asses, but he can _also_ admire a pretty red flower, or smile at a butterfly, or play with children, or eat donuts with gusto. "Trigun" shows us what it really means to be a hero, and dares each of us to follow.

Equipment used when writing this review:
Panasonic 19-inch TV, stereo speakers Sony DVD player

Content: 10 Video: 8 Sound: 9 Packaging: 8 Menu: 9

Buy this disc from AnimeNation
Other reviews of this disc:
Trigun Vol 1: The 60,000,000,000 Man by Battousai (Rating: 7.80)
I can't remember exactly when the first Trigun episodes came out, but I do remember seeing them and passing them up for other animes. Trigun wasn't exactly as popular then as it is now, and if you're new to the anime scene, you'll...(continues)
Content: 9 Video: 8 Sound: 8 Packaging: 7 Menu: 7

Trigun Vol 1: The 60,000,000,000 Man by crkscrew13 (Rating: 9.20)
I have the good fortune to have a lot of friends with a lot of different tastes in anime, so I'm often inundated with all manner of new shows and movies. A few weekends ago, I was introduced to the world of Trigun by a friend visiting town...(continues)
Content: 9 Video: 8 Sound: 9 Packaging: 10 Menu: 10

Trigun Vol 1: The 60,000,000,000 Man by Nephylum (Rating: 8.40)
Volume I of Trigun is a very good introduction into the Trigun universe. Trigun is set on a different planet, but it is a western. This odd mix makes you uncomfortable in the first episode or two but as soon as you can get past the...(continues)
Content: 9 Video: 9 Sound: 9 Packaging: 7 Menu: 8

Trigun Vol 1: The 60,000,000,000 Man by otto05 (Rating: 8.33)
On a desert world, sometime in the future, humankind has managed to bring life to a barren and inhospitable world. Boom towns have sprung up around mysterious machines that make the land usable. The only thing these settlers have to fear...(continues)
Content: 10 Video: 7 Sound: 8 Packaging: N/A Menu: N/A

Trigun Vol 1: The 60,000,000,000 Man by Nicholas D Wolfwood (Rating: 9.20)
So here I am in Fry's with my brother pestering wanting to leave. Im looking in their patheitic anime section of dvds and I see Trigun. I had read the back about 3 months earlier but I rembered I liked it. So I pick it up and walk off...(continues)
Content: 10 Video: 9 Sound: 10 Packaging: 9 Menu: 8

Trigun Vol 1: The 60,000,000,000 Man by Setzer (Rating: 8.75)

From Yasuhiro Nightow comes the story of Vash the Stampede, a man so dangerous that there is a bounty on his head for $$60,000,000,000 (that?s sixty billion double-dollars). A man who has caused so much damage, a planetary insurance...(continues)

Content: 8 Video: 8 Sound: N/A Packaging: 9 Menu: 10

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