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GENRE: Anime ORIGINAL AIR DATES: February 5, 2012 - January 27, 2013
// review by Matt

Trigunna enjoy it.

What gives someone the right to take a life? This is the message crammed down our throats by Yashirow Nightow's Trigun, an animated series produced by Madhouse. It focuses on the exploits of Vash the Stampede, the "legendary gunman" who reduced the city of July to rubble, leaving a path of wanton destruction everywhere he goes, somehow without taking a single life. Dressed in a geranium red trench coat and with spiky blond hair and orange glasses, he is unmistakably the most iconic lead character in any '90s anime, I will stake my claim. In the English dub, he is voiced by ex-Power Ranger Johnny Yong Bosch, a fitting voice once you get used to it.

Accompanying Vash on his spiritual journey across the wastelands of Earth are Meryl Strife and Milly Thompson of the Bernardelli Insurance Company, investigating the damage caused by Vash to various properties insured by them. Along the way they also befriend the priest with a bloodstained past, Nicholas D. Wolfwood. The four get embroiled in various mishaps and unfortunate scenarios, at least for the first half of the show.

At the midway point of the series the series takes a sudden shift to a hyper serious tone, dropping the humour almost entirely to instead push its hamfisted message of love and peace to all who are unlucky enough to be subjected to it. This is because the anime is an adaptation of Trigun and Trigun Maximum, two separate manga with distinctly different tones. The story becomes very dark, and while it is fantastic to finally get some clarity regarding the backstory of Vash, it's like you're watching a completely different show entirely.

The soundtrack by Tsuneo Imahori is Ecstasy of Gold meets a torturous soundscape of wailing guitars; it's really quite an eclectic and marvellous score actually. Opening theme H.T. gets you riled up and pumped and primed for the episode ahead, and it could easily top my list of anime themes ever created. It was fantastically nostalgic to listen to this theme again perhaps a decade since I last watched the show.

In terms of authenticity to the source material, the English adaptation by Funimation is rather close. It adds a bit of dialogue and fluffing about where it wasn't originally there, but it also gave the voice talent an opportunity to really camp it up for effect. Meryl Strife, Vash the Stampede, and Legato Bluesummers have the stand-out voice talent, and there were only about two cringeworthy voices across the whole series, which was pleasant on my ears.

The series has this Wild West post-apocalyptic vibe like Fallout meets Stephen King's Dark Tower. The mechanical designs by Noriyuki Jinguuji of Accel World and Hellsing fame are fantastically otherwordly. It's a beautiful mish-mash of terrestrial design and alien technology. To see this all animated by hand with drawn and painted cels in that nostalgic and old-fashioned anime style — it's nothing short of breathtaking to see such a weird yet familiar world so fluently realised. The colours used are washed out and dull, with only Vash providing the bright red and yellow in a world of complete plainness.

Artistically, Trigun is one of the timeless greats. The story is deep and forces its morals on you but it's a thrilling ride. The English adaptation is remarkably close to the original Japanese, and the voice talent involved is top-notch. The visuals are pleasant, the animation is fluid and the soundtrack is a melodious clash of instruments. It's bleak, but also optimistic. It's Trigun.


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