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Cidolfas's Anime Reviews: Trigun

Trigun is extremely difficult to describe. It's funny, sometimes. It's amazingly sorrowful, at others. It's a sci-fi. It's a western. It has weird cyborgs and half-immortals. It's a testament to human morality, or it's an indictment of it. But it most definitely is wildly creative and one of the most original things out there.

The main hook, and the main character, of Trigun is Vash the Stampede, a skinny blonde guy in a red coat who has a giant reward on his head and is also known as the Humanoid Typhoon. Rather than being a nasty outlaw, however, Vash comes across as a foolish buffoon, whose main talent consists of being able to dodge almost any bullet and look silly while doing so. In a hilarious twist, the other main characters are Meryl Strife and Millie Thompson, two workers for the Bernadelli Insurance Agency, who are given the task of following Vash in a vain attempt at reducing the damage he does and the resulting insurance claims. Meryl, the senior worker, is a no-nonsense skeptic, while Millie is an irascibly cheerful, rather simple woman who towers over her boss.

The setting of Trigun is dystopian, mixing elements of science fiction with Wild West stylin', much more successfully than Cowboy Bebop, I should add. There are plenty of characters who have cyborg implants, even giants fifteen feet high. The world it takes place on is a barren wasteland, with pathetic cities spaced throughout the area in a sort of feeble attempt at fighting nature. The people rely on previous technology, which most of them don't understand, to get by.

The big twist in Trigun again comes in the form of Vash - particularly in his absolutely unshakeable demand that he never kill another person. This despite the fact that he is regularly tormented, chased, attacked, and in general made a victim in a variety of circumstances. Nicholas Wolfwood, a jaded priest-warrior who often meets Vash and stays with him out of what seems like sheer curiosity, has several violent recriminations about this lofty ideal, and often the viewer isn't sure who he's supposed to be siding with - or even if there is a correct side.

Although the first half of Trigun is largely comedic, the second half is deadly serious, chronicling the systematic targeting of Vash by a group of assassins known as the Gung-Ho Guns. Although this sounds similar to the normal shounen lineup of baddies (see Ranma 1/2 or Bleach) it is interesting to see a change from the usual "how will the hero kill all these bad guys?" to "how will the hero not kill anyone?". Vash holds some terrible secrets, all of which are only revealed at the very end of the series, and though many themes are touched upon, the darkness of the later episodes does get a little tiring, especially considering the sharp humor at the start.

The English dub isn't bad per se, but Trigun is abnormally concise in its wording; people speak in short, precise sentences, and this translates terribly into English. Nearly every single character sounds like they're rushing their words. Vash himself is actually funnier than his Japanese counterpart, but can't pull off the serious scenes (which comprise most of the last half). I'd stay with the original Japanese on this one.

In summary, Trigun is certainly original and might be worth a look-see, but it lags severely past the half-way mark, and despite the fun beginning, is a little too dark to really be enjoyable. It could perhaps have benefited from trimming about six or seven episodes, but the end result, while watchable, is just too long.

Favorite Character: Millie

Overall Rating: 6.5

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