Anime of the Past: Trigun

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

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Trigun Trigun
Trigun Trigun

I’m sure a number of you have heard of Trigun so I’ll try to make this interesting. And I’m sure some of you have yet to watch the series to conclusion so I’ll try to be as spoiler-free as possible.

Trigun started out as a manga by Yasuhiro Nightow serialized through Shōnen Captain. When the magazine was discontinued, the manga moved to Shōnen Gehosha under the new title Trigun Maximum. Gehosha would republish the three volumes from the Captain days. The second of these would become the best-selling graphic novel of 2004 in North America. About two years after the first manga issue, Trigun was given an anime, developed by Madhouse Studios.

Trigun Trigun Trigun Trigun

The series revolves around Vash the Stampede – also known as The Humanoid Typhoon, The 60 Billion Double Dollar Man, and Valentinez Alkalinella Xifax Sicidabohertz Gumbigobilla Blue Stradivari Talentrent Pierre Andres Charton-Haymoss Ivanovicci Baldeus George Doitzel Kaiser III (pretty sure it’s a made up name) – the most famous gunslinger on planet Gunsmoke. Along his travels, he bumps into Meryl Strife and Milly Thompson – employees of the Bernardelli Insurance Society who were sent to investigate claims of destruction by Vash the Stampede and keep him under surveillance – as well as the preacher Nicholas D. Wolfwood – a talented gunslinger in his own right.

Trigun Trigun

But before I go any farther into this piece, I want to touch upon some aesthetics in this series. First, you can easily notice when the art takes a dive. The most noticeable of these dips comes in episode 4, Love & Peace, when a duel happens between two equally vile gentlemen. However, despite these dips early on, the artwork does seem to improve as the series moves on and is well done in the action sections. So, if you’ve never seen the series before, don’t let the occasional dip in design quality early on deter you from seeing the series through.

Trigun Trigun

The music can seem a bit repetitive but, for the most part, works wherever it is placed. Also, H.T. is easily in my top 5 of anime theme songs.

Voice acting is well done and the English dub is absolutely amazing – not quite on the same level as Cowboy Bebop but it still deserves to be mentioned in the list on great dubs. However, there’s been something that I’ve noticed while watching anime the past few years: you can always tell when Johnny Yong Bosch (English voice of Vash) is voicing a character. It feels like whenever he does a character, he’s just doing Johnny Yong Bosch again.

Trigun Trigun

However, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Even if most of his roles sound the same, he still does well in putting in proper inflection and energy into his performances. There’s sort of a John Wayne effect to it. People knew that John Wayne acted the same way in every movie he was in but they still went to theaters to see him because they wanted to see John Wayne be John Wayne. I get the feeling it’s the same thing with Johnny Yong Bosch. We like to hear him voice a character because we like hearing Johnny Yong Bosch.

And frankly, that’s something to think about. John Wayne was a star of westerns and pretty much played the same character over and over again. Johnny Yong Bosch got his first starring role in anime in a space western and pretty much does the same voice over and over with his characters. But despite the repetitiveness, we still like watching both of them.


Anyways, Trigun is interesting in how it was set-up. You can pretty much call this a tale of two anime series’ if they weren’t connected. The first half is primarily a set-up for the second, introducing characters, plot points, and even showing the character of our leads.

Wolfwood is shown as rather laid back with a cool demeanor. However, he is also a realist, knowing that certain things just need to happen, which causes friction between him and the ever optimistic Vash. Also, if anyone around him threatens any children, he will defend them with the full force of his cross – loaded with ballistics and several handguns.

Trigun Trigun
Trigun Trigun

Meryl and Milly are pretty much stereotypical opposites. Meryl is serious, professional, and committed to her job. Milly is also committed to her job but is aloof and rather childlike. Heck, even the physical appearance is completely opposite for both of them – Meryl is rather short while Milly is a giant (it even describes her on the DVD box set as The Amazonian Stunner). However, even with their different personalities, they’re both skilled at taking out bad guys.

Trigun Trigun
“Derringer” Meryl Strife “Stungun” Milly Thompson

Vash never really sticks to one emotion or character trait throughout the entire series (or even for one episode). He pretty much runs the gamut of emotions from the very beginning until the final battle with the Gung-Ho Guns, a group of assassins who are the main villains in the series. However, it does seem like he’s more comic relief and happy-go-lucky in the first half of the series before Legato Bluesummers (one of the leaders of the Gung-Ho Guns) shows up and he becomes the serious lead you typically get in most shows – though still getting some time to be happy-go-lucky.

Trigun Trigun

And this leads to the second half of the series. If the first half of the series was about showing the character of our heroes, then the second was about showing them in action, plot development, and revealing the flaws of our heroes (well, Vash and Wolfwood at least). And you see just what Trigun is: the story of Vash the Stampede as he makes peace with his past in order to stop his brother (and Legato’s boss), Millions Knives, from committing genocide. This is all done as he escapes from bounty hunters who want the $$60,000,000,000 price on his head for destroying the city of July.

Trigun Trigun

But of course there is more to that. Wolfwood also tries to come to grips his own past as he tries to find some sort of redemption. Meryl has trouble comprehending the Vash she sees in comparison to the Vash she knows from stories. And Vash tries to hold on to the memory of his friend, Rem Saverem (a scientist on a ship that flew to Gunsmoke), as he tries to control his own destiny and pass along her lessons of love and peace.

Trigun Trigun
Trigun Trigun

Trigun, despite the few flaws and perhaps slow start in the beginning, is one of the most memorable anime series out there with one of the best dubs on the market. If you consider yourself an anime fan, you owe it to yourself to watch this. Or, if you know someone that has never heard of anime, this is one of the more perfect series’ to get someone hooked.


Trigun was created by Yasuhiro Nightow. The anime was developed by Madhouse Studios and is licensed in North America by FUNimation. The series is commonly available wherever anime is sold.

About Jeff Neuenschwander

Jeff has been a supporter of the website and campaign since the beginning. Joining in for E3 2012, he worked his way up the ranks quickly, making it to the Editing Manager post at the beginning of 2013. Jeff has a wide variety of tastes when it comes to gaming and pretty much likes anything that is quirky, although his favorite genres are Action, Platforming, and RPG. Outside of gaming, Jeff is a musician, being trained as a trombonist for Jazz and Classical music, and holds a degree in Sound Recording.

  • Randy_Thompson

    One of the classics. I still own all my Pioneer singles (Actually, Trigun was the first full series I ever owned on DVD) from back in the day. My partner is not a big fan of anime, but Trigun is one of those titles he really enjoys!

    Pioneer was good about their dubs and this one certainly was good, but no talk about the original version? Masaya Onosaka did a FANTASTIC job as Vash. Great line delivery and he sold those emotional changes. It also helps that he isn’t the John Wayne of voice over 😛 Sho Hayami, as usual, brought his A game to Wolfwood.

    Ah! I’m going to have to go back and watch Trigun all over again 😀

  • handsomejack47

    Trigun is one of those series that every anime fan knows about, even if they have never seen an episode of it, much like Cowboy Bebop. Both series have become damn near legendary by this point in time.