Sunday, December 23, 2012

Trigun (Anime)

Plot: Bernardelli Insurance representatives Meryl Stryfe and Milly Thompson are tasked with tracking down the most wanted criminal in the New Old West. The legendary six billion double dollar man himself Vash the Stampede the Humanoid Typhoon, he is a man wanted for the destruction of the city of July and for causing more collateral damage, but oddly no fatalities, wherever he goes on the face of the planet called colloquially Gunsmoke. Meryl readies her less pragmatic, albeit more charismatic, partner for the worst murdering savage lascivious lowlife they have ever seen.

 Vash is the biggest, friendliest, goofiest goober ever. He seems to travel from town to town righting wrongs, and saving the day with diplomacy over violence, refusing to take any life, although when he does have to draw watch out. He eventually gets joined in this by an enigmatic gun toting preacher named Nicolas D. Wolfwood who seems to be just like him. Besides the massive amount of collateral Vash racks up refusing to kill, there always seems to be a way out of sacrifice when he is around--until the man Vash cannot understand walks into town, and with him comes a past Vash has been traveling in the hopes of finding before it found him.

Verdict: This is the second of the three great tragedies of modern animation. It is also a tragedy of character. The character in question is your older brother who, like that younger sister of yours, somehow radiates both warmth and strength. You want to shed a tear and salute--oh, screw it, you want to tackle hug this person too--because he can do know wrong, and you hate yourself for cursing them when it seems like it's all his fault when another inevitable nightmare gets keep on living. This anime is about Vash (it should be called Trigun: the Ballad of Vash the Stampede the Humanoid Typhoon), his strength, and ultimately his fall.

There is, however, power in redemption and strength to be found in choosing life, no matter what it does to you. Yes, this series is heavy on Christianity, but in a good way. Though not a perfect show, it clearly ran out of its dirt-poor budget for a proper third-act, it is well worth at least a watch (it is on Netflicks last I, and others, checked) and maybe a purchase. It may make you cry, but it will make you feel that it is good for most all who are for all that is to be alive, even if there are those who can argue so well otherwise. Time to make this world into one truly made of love and peace, and not be afraid of the possibility of failing to do so.

Facts: This is a Studio Madhouse production. It is 26 half-hour episodes. It is based on a much longer, very different manga run by Yasuhiro Nightow (I think this should be called Trigun: the Clash of the New Titans of the Planet Gunsmoke). The manga is more popular in Japan, while the anime is more popular in the West. Said popularity lead to a stand alone self-contained non-canon animated feature being made called Trigun: Badlands Rumble. The movie is fun, but not needed.

The manga, however, may clarify some confusing moments in the anime (or just watch this series after you watch the anime proper--SPOILERS). The anime is rated PG, but its source material is a hard R for violence. There is more than enough evidence presented to the adults in the audience to figure out (and thus be made to feel culpable in) the more grisliness details of the horror that happens here, along with character developments, but for those who prefer shock horror and lots of ridiculously violent action to a character piece, the manga might be for you. Personally, I like having to pay attention to what is shown circumstantially over told outright, and I prefer Vash's story as a Western-tragedy to an action-heavy Sci-Fi gunslinger drama.

Anyway, this was Johnny Young Bosch's first voice role after his work on Power Rangers. Joshua Seth and Bridget Hoffman are also in this, as is Lia Sargent. Mona Marshall, Steve Blum, Mary Elizabeth McGlynn and others also guest star as many of the one-shot characters.


Bechtel-Sarkessian Test: While there are more than enough women in the main cast, and one-shot characters, and our two leading ladies are a great well developed buddy-cop pair (when's the last time you saw that), like most everything else in this show, the conversation is mostly all about Vash. Don't let that disuade you though, Meryl and Milly are great...
 (They are a great team because of how contrasting they are...)
 (...the differences in their personalities are key...)
 ( how...)
 (...they change and change each other--and others--throughout the show...)
( is the great kind of writing any well done buddy cop team deserves, regardless of sex.)

Suck It Disney: Not really, but this is because people on Gunsmoke do not tend to live very long...

Awekward Angle Syndrome: Vash can be a bit of a womanizer, not a lecherous one though, a hopeless romantic who knows what consent is, is a better way to describe him, except one time. There is one inappropriate moment of this that's episode, and comic it was based on, were both clearly created to get funding before the project was formed. In context of the story, however, Vash is literally kicked in the face for it and, in a segment that is quite the tear jerk-er, bitten hard by karma for it.

Better than Star Wars: Oh, yes it does, and yes it makes sense considering how far into the future this whole thing is supposed to be. 
 (Vash the Stampede, love and peace that is faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locamotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, but this superman wears a pretty thick mask...)

(Meryl Stryfe, sassy, no-nonsense, nothing should defy or impress her--damnit Vash!)

 (Millions Knives, with a name like that, I am sure he is as friendly as his smile)

 (Legato, Legato Bluesummers; he never smiles)

 (Milly Thompson, people smart, but pretty simple otherwise.)

 (Rem Severum, in it in the flesh for one episode, but goes through just as much development as the rest of the cast...)

 (Reverend Nicolas D. Wolfwood, AKA: Awesome McCoolname)

 (The Gung-Ho Guns: this cover song could essentially serve as their anthem. Why no one has made and AMV of them with it yet I do not know.)

Die Hard Test: this is technically a fail, but it is one of those sad tragic deaths that makes you shout: "Why!", even though you know why.

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