From greatest anime to frustrating cash grab, ‘Trigun’


M.L. Blackbird

Vash stricking a power pose in front of the Fifth Moon.

Spencer Woodbury, Editor-in-Chief

Below are two reviews in order to prepare for the upcoming television show “Trigun: Stampede”.

On June 16, 2022, fans of the beloved ’90s anime classic, “Trigun”, were ecstatic when CG Studio Orange announced a sequel show. The upcoming show’s title is “Trigun: Stampede” and it is the newest “Trigun” show since 1998. “Trigun: Stampede” is expected to release during Jan. of 2023, so in order to prepare for the upcoming show I will be revisiting the beloved classic, “Trigun”.

“Trigun” follows Vash the Stampede, a famous gunman who is constantly escaping bounty hunters seeking to obtain the 60 billion double-dollar bounty on his head. Vash receives the large bounty after accidentally destroying multiple cities. Due to the high bounty placed on Vash, rumors start to spread on how dangerous he is.

In actuality, Vash is a goofy pacifist who claims to have never taken a life and avoids violence at all costs. Vash traverses the planet Gunsmoke, and is followed by two insurance agents, Meryl Stryfe and Milly Thompson, and a preacher, Nicholas D. Wolfwood, who attempt to limit his impact on society. Eventually, their travels turn into life-or-death scenarios as a group of assassins are hired to bring suffering to the group. As the assassins continue their evil deeds, Vash’s morals and principles on violence are pushed to their breaking point.

“Trigun” begins as a dumb comedy with Vash traveling the planet Gunsmoke meeting poorly written villains who offer no true tension or threat. Vash acts like a blubbering idiot who can dodge bullets like a Looney Toon character and seduce women like James Bond. The beginning of the show severely hurts it because of the sheer amount of viewers who walk away due to corny plots and cheesy action.

Although the first couple of episodes are dull and childish, “Trigun” becomes a masterpiece of television. Quickly the journey shifts tone from comedic gags to subtle unease. It is a show where I could not place when the tone specifically changed, but by the time it ended I recognized I had just witnessed a dramatic masterpiece.

This transition of comedy to drama is due to Meryl’s view of Vash. Initially Meryl does not recognize who Vash actually is, but she eventually understands that there is more to Vash than the goofy persona he portrays. Meryl’s character growth of gradually increasing empathy for Vash works well as a frame for the story, because like Meryl the audience is thrown into the story half-way through.

Wolfwood also helps transition “Trigun” into the gem that it is. Wolfwood is easily my favorite character because of his similarities and differences to Vash. While both play the fool, at the end of the day, Vash is an idealist; whereas Wolfwood is firmly grounded in reality. Due to these vastly different outlooks on life each character ends with completely different outcomes.

“Trigun” is a masterpiece of anime and television. Although the start of the show is dull, it is well worth sticking with. The character development and transformation into a drama puts “Trigun” up to par with shows such as “Breaking Bad” and “Twin Peaks”. ★★★★★


Original North American poster of “Trigun: Badlands Rumble” produced in 2010. (Madhouse)

“Trigun: Badlands Rumble” is a 2010 film directed by Satoshi Nishimura. “Badlands Rumble” is based on the critically acclaimed 1998 television show, “Trigun”. 

This visually pleasing anime follows our main protagonist and bounty hunter, Vash, as he attempts to collect a bounty on the notorious villain, Gasback. Throughout the film’s 90 minute run time, Vash runs into familiar faces, meets new friends and explores the theme of the morality of idealistic pacifism. Director Nishimura examines the morality of idealistic pacifism by showing Vash’s negative consequences of not killing villains.

“Trigun: Badlands Rumble” begins with a flashback to Gasback and his henchmen robbing a bank. During the robbery, Cain, one of Gasback’s henchmen, decides to betray Gasback by attempting to kill him, take all of his money and live out the rest of his life in luxury. Cain’s plan is instead interrupted by Vash, who successfully saves Gasback. Although Vash is able to save Gasback, he is not successful in retaining the bank’s money. 

20 years later, Gasback destroys one henchman’s property and forces him to seek refuge with Cain, who becomes mayor of Macca City. While as the city’s mayor, Cain constructs a large and valuable statue of himself to project his wealth and status. Cain worries that Gasback might try to steal his statue, so he insures it for 5 billion double-dollars. In order to further prepare for disaster, Cain places a 300 million double-dollar bounty on Gasback. Vash and numerous other bounty hunters gather to capture Gasback upon his anticipated arrival. 

“Trigun: Badlands Rumble” utilizes many unique artistic choices including the use of blues rock music, sleek animation style and vibrant colors. The blues rock music perfectly fits in with the fictional setting and provides a wild, western atmosphere, and the sleek animation style and vibrant colors help fully immerse viewers into the atmosphere. Many scenes are so beautiful that I found myself pausing the film constantly to enjoy the artistry.

Although “Trigun: Badlands Rumble” has a beautiful soundtrack and stellar animation, it does not hit the bullseye. In the original “Trigun” series, the characters’ personalities and arcs are masterful, but unfortunately “Badlands Rumble” butchers this. For instance, in the original series Vash starts as an idealist, wise-cracking prankster with a no killing motto, but then is forced to bite the bullet in order to protect his loved ones by killing a villian. “Badlands Rumble” completely ignores the emotional and masterfully crafted character build of Vash, and instead turns him into a drunken idiot willing to resort to violence as an answer to life’s problems. The flawless character building of “Trigun” easily solidified it as an all time great show, so to see this stripped away is infuriating. 

In addition, the film’s run length and pacing is abysmal. What could have easily been a flawed but unique 20 to 30 minute short film is instead a drawn out and unsatisfying cinema experience. 

“Trigun: Badlands Rumble” is a frustrating film clearly intended as a cash grab. The fact that this film is the most recent “Trigun” anime canon is disappointing. I would recommend watching the original “Trigun” series, or any other well received anime instead of this mound of mediocrity. ★★☆☆☆

A retelling of the greatest anime, ‘Trigun Stampede’