|Trigun Vol. 1|
Vash the Stampede: a gunslinger considered so dangerous that there is a $60 million bounty on his head. Such things aren't taken lightly in the "John Wayne meets the friendly post-apocalypse" universe of Trigun, and there are hundreds, if not thousands of bounty hunters more than willing to cash in. There are only a couple of problems: first, no one's quite sure what Vash is supposed to look like, so plenty of fakes claim his identity in order to strike fear in the hearts of their enemies. Second, there's the slight problem the real Vash has--he's a complete idiot! How he has stayed alive for as long as he has is unbelievable, but it's no matter. As the events in the first volume of Trigun unfold, we follow the incredible life of Vash as he wriggles his way out of countless situations through his utter incompetence. There are two young women he runs into frequently--Meryl and Milly--whose job is to track him down for their insurance company, since they pay out countless claims for the damage left in his wake. Meryl can't believe that such a moron could actually be such a legend, though, and so their quest continues. As they wander, they find out that Vash may be crazy, but ultimately he's a good man whose only real sin is to be in the middle of so much lunacy!
When I first rented Trigun, I was expecting an action flick from the cover. After all, the front of the DVD has a nifty shot of Vash looking all stoic, and not knowing anything else about it, the disc sat on the shelf for a while. That was indeed a mistake, because not only does Trigun have a bit of fast-paced action, it is one of the funniest shows to come out in a long time. If you look around the web looking for information on Trigun, I wouldn't be surprised if they reference The Irresponsible Captain Tylor. This show brings back a feel very reminiscent of Tylor, and not just because both shows feature an imbecile for a lead character--though that helps! The animation, character designs, etc. remind me a good deal of that series, and that's quite a good thing. A lot of the ideas floating around in this show have been seen before--you can always watch Dirty Pair to see two innocents get blamed for trashing the landscape, and the combination of strong humor and action is apparent in other new releases like Cowboy Bebop--but Trigun has a great form and style all of its own.
Trigun starts off strong and doesn't really let up during the first four episodes. We have plenty of time to get introduced to the characters, yet there is so much funny stuff going on that it doesn't feel like the normal boring start that many shows have. So far, we've not really seen any patterns develop, so hopefully the show will continue to stay fresh. (After watching the first few episodes of Rurouni Kenshin for last week's review, I found myself predicting the show...nothing like that here.) The show does feel very episodic and self-contained, which could potentially hurt the show if there's no character development. However, for a start, this show is perfect.
Switching gears to talk about the technical side of things...the animation quality itself is quite good, particularly for a television show. It isn't quite up to the level of OVAs, though, so be aware you'll see quite a few static shots. It's doubtful it will matter, though, since there's never a feeling that the show suffers due to its animation. The character designs are nice, particularly on the main characters, and some of the villains that show up from episode to episode have a great look. (There are a few that raise an eyebrow and make you wonder what they were thinking, but they are rare.)
Although some sites have claimed that Trigun is actually one of the most anticipated titles of the year, I had heard virtually no buzz on the show until I started researching it after watching the first DVD. My honest opinion is that Trigun may be getting lost between the releases of television-bound shows (such as Escaflowne and Gundam Wing) and some truly astounding new shows (like Cowboy Bebop). It is well worth the money to pick up the first volume, and I'm looking forward to the rest of the series.