Why Not Trigun?

So recently, I started rewatching Trigun and it reminded me of something – this show is pretty good. Now it has been a good two years since the last time I sat down to watch the adventures of Vash the Stampede, so I’ve had some distance between the last time and this time.

Not to mention that I finally replaced my lousy bootleg copy of the series with the actual Pioneer release version, so the funny green dots I got about three quarters through the series went away.

There isn’t much to dislike about Trigun. Yashiro Nightow created an excellent character in Vash. He’s alternately funny, cowardly, heroic, modest and vain. Okay, so most people know this already, because this series has been out since Christ was a corporal.

Although I do want to mention the weapons designs in this are some of the most inventive I’ve seen in anime to date. I want Wolfwood’s cross. And I still get a bit of a chuckle out of the line, “That’s because it’s so full of mercy.” every time I hear it.

But seriously, I really want Wolfwood’s cross – badly. If anyone knows how I can combine a half dozen handguns, a machine gun and a rocket launcher into a metallic contraption, I will pay for it. Okay, so I might not pay for it. I would trade sexual favors. Okay, so I might not do that either. But I would show some serious appreciation for it.

But this blog isn’t titled, “Why Trigun is my Number Nine, so I can stop writing.” It’s titled, “Why not Trigun?”

The next part’s going to have some spoilers. If you’re one of the two anime fans who hasn’t watched this series, I suggest you find yourself a copy and watch it so that I won’t ruin your viewing experience. Okay, so is there anyone left? Good. Now onto business.

For the most part, Trigun is a good series, but the show is largely carried by two characters – Vash and Wolfwood. And as much as Vash is an interesting character, after a while he becomes tedious. How many times can a guy stare wistfully off into the horizon thinking, “Oh gee, I’ve got to kill my brother, but I don’t want to kill him. I want to save him. Oh poor pitiful me.”

This mopiness only gets worse when he takes a chunk out of the moon. Now I don’t have any problems with a series having a black moment, when everything seems lost and the odds are so insurmountable that there doesn’t seem to be any hope that the hero could possibly win. But Trigun has an black third of the series.

And let’s face it, it should. Knives is a badass, right down to his Darwinistic approach to survival on the desert planet. He kidnaps entire towns, he forces Vash to commit murder and he kills Wolfwood. I mean he’s more badass than Legato Bluesummer and that’s really something. It’s like Knives managed to find a well of badass and drink straight from the tap and when he was done, he gave his leftovers to a bunch of other badasses.

Which leads me to my real major problem with this series. So on one side, we have the whiny, mopey, how-can-I-do-the-right-thing Vash the Stampede. On the other, we have the devil-may-care, I-will-rule-the-world-no-matter-how-many-pawns-I-have-to-spend-doing-it Knives. They finally have their big confrontation, and how does it end.

Vash shoots Knives four times and the world is saved.

What…the…hell. Let me repeat that so it will sink in.

Vash shoots Knives four times and the world is saved.

It’s like the creators had painted themselves into a corner and needed some suitably vague way of making sure that the hero won. So they invented a completely Deus Ex Machina ending that answers absolutely no questions as to why Knives would ever change his ways. To top it off, they don’t conclude the series in any type of fulfilling way. They leave the watcher to assume that Vash and Meryl hook up, that Knives is rehabilitated and life continues on the planet as it should.

Frankly, I call bullshit. Shooting Knives four times is not going to wipe away a hundred some odd years of festering hatred. It just wouldn’t happen.

The ending would have been far more tragic and more satisfying if Vash had been forced to kill Knives. This is what made Gungrave such a great series and what could have made Trigun a great series.

But instead it just lands on top of a whole bunch of series’ in a heaping pile of anime mediocrity.

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