Double the Trigun! Double the fun!

Many years ago, when I was first getting into anime, my partner tried to get me to watch his copy of Trigun (1998) on DVD. At the time, it just wasn’t hitting with me. I can’t remember why but my guess was that my introduction to the style of animation started with ‘Attack on Titan’ and I was looking for another fast-paced story and the original Trigun is very different from that.

Flash forward to about a month ago and one of my co-workers was talking to me about anime and he brought up Trigun and began gushing about how it is one of his top animes of all time. He proceeded to give me a little more characterization for Vash and what to expect and suddenly my interest was piqued and with all my other shows on break (or clocking in at 90 minutes, which isn’t the best for when you just want to sip some tea and then get back to gaming or whatever), we dusted off the DVDs again and binged the series in a matter of weeks.

Starting up the show again, I think what stalled me at my first watch was the chaotic energy of the first episode – it has some of that trademark anime “noise” that can turn me off and just felt like a gun-obsessed, shooting story. But now that I had my co-worker hinting that there was a lot more to come, explaining that Vash’s characterization in those early episodes is all hiding a deeper story and he is using that facade to deflect his true mission…so I kept watching and wow, that show did NOT end up where I thought it would! I wasn’t sure I understood everything I saw and definitely felt like there was story I missed and I wanted to know about Vash and where he came from…

Well, boy did I luck out! Right as we were finishing up the final disc of Trigun (1998), Hulu/CrunchyRoll began to get the new Trigun Stampede. And I am LOVING it.

I can’t tell if my knowledge of the original series, fresh off this first viewing, is actually boosting this show for me or if there is just something about it that is appealing to my fast-paced action brain.

This series, a reboot, is taking a very different approach to the story. While the original slowly revealed the world and how the characters ended up on the desert planet, Trigun Stampede literally STARTS with the major plot twist right out in the open. Same with the introduction of a secondary character – while still mysterious about their motives in the original and new series, we find out at the end of his introductory episode that he is at least starting out working with the villains! Again, that was a HUGE moment in the original series that wasn’t revealed until a few episodes before the finale.

This is either madness or brilliance on the part of the writers – it is like they are crafting this show to appeal to those familiar with the original series, pulling those fans in because things are just different enough, running parallel to the original series but clearly doing something new. But new viewers who have never seen the original should find plenty to latch on to, plenty of mystery, just coming at it from a different angle from the other fans.

I almost wish I could wipe my mind of the first one before watching this to see how it changes how I feel about the show. The animation is BEAUTIFUL, which also helps. The CGI is so well done at times, with the lighting and color and shadow, I forget it’s computer generated and think it is hand-drawn. And the theme song, as the kids say, slaps:

Milly is missing though and Meryl is now a young journalist searching for a story rather than…insurance collectors? I wasn’t every really sure what Meryl and Milly were doing in the original series. A new character named “Roberto” is Meryl’s mentor (?) or coworker and has done a lot of the exposition for the viewer as they drive around the barren landscape of the desert planet.

The planet has a LOT more personality now too. Again, the end of Trigun (1998) featured giant sandworms – a cross between the ‘Dune’ creatures and the monsters from ‘Tremors’. They were a problem for one episode near the end and then that was really all we heard about them. But, again, the new series opts to put these creatures, and strange looking bugs front and center – it is somehow both these people’s homes and an alien world and that is very clear in the new story.

I really enjoyed Trigun (1998) once I had seen the entire series and understood all of the foreshadowing and setup that the first half of the series was doing, starting things out with goofy episodes that didn’t quite feel connected until we went past the halfway point and the viewers saw the puzzle pieces coming together.

Trigun Stampede is taking a different approach, focusing on Vash and Knives’ relationship right at the start. It is the same story and a different story and I’m really curious to see where they are taking it all because it is clear they want to explore some different aspects of the story while still focusing on the moral dilemma that plagues Vash in both series.

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