Anime Review: Trigun (1998)
Director: Satoshi Nishimura
Studio: Geneon/Funimation Entertainment
Released: March 12, 2013
Runtime: 650 minutes
Availability: In Print, on DVD, Buy on RightStufAnime and Amazon
In the distant future, on a desert planet called Gunsmoke, a notorious outlaw travels the world, wreaking havoc and destroying cities wherever he goes. His name is Vash the Stampede and he is the $$60,00,000,000 man, and everyone is chasing him, including two insurance girls, Meryl and Milly, who try to keep the damage Vash causes to a minimum.
But Vash's goofy exterior, he hides a dark past that refuses to leave him alone. He must confront the mysterious Gung-Ho Guns and keep his promise to "Take care of Knives".
Impact of Trigun and Licensing Woes:
Even after 12 years, Trigun is still a great anime; it’s considered a classic these days. But why is it still so popular even though it’s been out of print for ages after Geneon Entertainment closed, and has recently been license rescued by Funimation Entertainment on DVD. The movie has been licensed and released in the U.S., years after the series was finished.
This was a gateway to anime for a wide audience because it aired on Adult Swim. It's a classic, right up there with Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex and Cowboy Bebop. The dub is highly regarded by fans, even if they don't like English dubs.
Despite the fact that it wasn’t an exactly faithful adaptation of the manga, it’s still a very good anime to watch. The action sequences were very exciting and the character designs are unique and stand out.
The art style is nice and while the animation doesn't look as nice as digital animation, it's still special because they don't make cell animation like they did in Trigun anymore.
Studio Madhouse made this anime and while it wasn't as stunning as a lot of their later work, it's still really good. The animation still stands out despite its age.
Trigun Complete Series Trailer:
The English Dub:
This review will not cover the Japanese dub with English subtitles because this review is written for people who might just be getting into anime and aren’t “sub purists” who only watch the Japanese version and don’t watch the English version.
The Japanese dub isn't bad, but since this is a space western and westerns are associated with America, English is the best choice between Japanese and English. If you like Japanese voice acting, you'll probably enjoy Trigun in Japanese.
The English dub is terrific and everyone sounds great, the performances by Johnny Bosch, who voices Vash the Stampede is perfect and it’s surprising because this was his first anime role. Jeff Nimoy is also great as Nicholas D. Wolfwood, a very unconventional traveling priest.
Dorothy Elias-Fahn is also well cast as Meryl Strife and she’s a very good voice actress. Lia Sargent plays the seemingly air-headed insurance girl Milly Thomson and she gives a nice performance and it’s nice to listen to her voice, even though it might get on some audience members ears.
Bo Williams was great as Millions Knives. He did a really good job as Knives, playing an excellent villain. He was an interesting character and the showdown between Knives and Vash was fantastic.
The dub is still fun to listen to even though it's really old now and dubbing has improved a lot since Trigun was released, it's still one I enjoy a lot.
The animation is still very nice to look at and the musical score is very memorable, especially the opening theme “H.T.”
The music evokes the feel and emotions of a western and it sounds like something you'd hear in a western. It has a lot of twang and guitars and the music is a wonderful thing to hear. It evokes emotions in the audience and there are musical themes that I think of when I remember Trigun.
The Themes of Trigun:
There are also themes concerning pacifism and genocide and also strong aspects of Christianity in the character of Vash the Stampede. Trigun’s themes resonate with many viewers and have made him one of the most memorable and iconic anime characters on screen. It defined anime for many in the U.S. and is considered an anime classic that is a must watch.
The themes of pacifism and morality and how much restraint is needed not to kill in a world where killing is easy makes the audience think about Vash and his beliefs about not taking a life.
There's also the interesting relationship with his mother in the story and how he wants to follow her ideals.
It also deconstructs the idealistic view of pacifism that is shown in stories where it's easy to cheer on a pacifist when they're not being shot at. What makes Vash's pacifism stand out and stay with the viewer so much is the space western setting where killing is easy, normal and commonplace.
Vash is defined by being a pacifist in a setting where that is the hardest thing to do. It makes him one of my favorite anime characters. The Christian themes aren't easy to spot, but they are there.
The Tonal Change Might Throw You Off:
Trigun has an interesting story because of the tonal shift. It starts off light-hearted and funny but slowly shifts into a more serious tone as the story progresses. The shift could throw off the audience because they're expecting it to be pretty funny, but when it becomes serious, it's rather jarring.
The manga didn't really start out funny, but it's an interesting way to introduce Vash. The humor The inconsistent tone is weird, but it makes the story interesting.
Trigun's violence isn't extremely graphic but people are shot and wounded by gunfire or slashed with melee weapons.
There is also some profanity but it's not as strong as an MA-rated anime or R-rated movie.
It's older, but it's a must watch for Anime Fans:
Overall, Trigun is a great anime and it still looks good despite its age, although the characters do sometimes go offmodel. The music is nice and the English dub is very good. The story is worth your time and it’s very deep and meaningful and has a good message, but this is not for kids, as it has stronger language, blood and violence. But it is definitely a classic anime that deserves to be on your shelf. Experience the space western for yourself, it’ll stick with you after it’s over.
It's available on Hulu and YouTube, along with Funimation's official website so there are plenty of ways to see it if you want.
What Doesn't Work:
Animation is dated but still good
THe animes' mood changes and it can throw people off
The story is very well done
The English dub is amazing
The soundtrack is awesome
Trigun is an anime classic that was the gateway anime for many western fans. It has excellent animation, deep themes, and a captivating story. It's well worth your time and money, and it's not expensive to purchase at all.
Studio Madhouse has improved a lot, but it's interesting to see some of their old work, it still holds up despite being one of their older titles. The animation still looks really great and shows off Vash in his iconic red coat.
It's still a wonderful space western and it's a classic anime that every anime fan should watch. If you like Johnny Yong Bosch you should enjoy watching his first foray into anime dubbing. It has a great dub.
I enjoy watching it and it's one of my favorite animes to watch. The Trigun movie: Badlands Rumble has been released on blu-ray and DVD.
If you want to stream the anime you can watch it on FunimationNow and YouTube.
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