「逃げる男」 (Nigeru Otoko)
“The Running Man”
Trigun Stampede’s second episode captures the difficulty that Vash faces when he stays too long in a town where the bounty is still very much on his head. But as he comes to a crossroads between two bounty hunters out for those precious double-dollars, Meryl and the others begin to see how empathetic Vash can truly be.
I’m glad that the first episode’s stunning animation wasn’t a fluke because Episode 02 looks just as impressive as the last one. I’m just happy because there were too many instances where I dogged CG for how it looked and knowing that this show looks phenomenal in this artstyle has helped me break out of the bad habit of assuming the worst from CG.
There were times when I nearly forgot it was CG such as the chase sequence where Vash is riding the emu while being tailed by the Nebraska’s. There is a trick that works every time in this episode where they focus on Vash’s side profile so that it captures him dodging, ducking, and weaving from obstacles, and each time it looks gorgeous.
I also wanted to give kudos to the designs being true to the old show with the Nebraska’s adapting some of the fun, wackier character designs the series gave to their antagonists. Father Nebraska was especially a fun presence because of how they managed to make his jaw dropping look as cartoonish and eccentric as possible. Chiba Shigeru was also a blast in the role, chewing the scenery as he threatens to blast everything and everyone away for the bounty and his son.
I DON’T HAVE FRIENDS, I GOT FAMILY
One aspect of Trigun Stampede I’m fascinated with is how they dabble into poverty as a factor in whether the people surrounding Vash can just let him walk past them. The old series was more interested in the moral ethics of killing to live, but the main moral dilemma in this episode was if Vash escaping would cause more impoverished families to struggle when his bounty money could potentially save lives.
Rosa and the Nebraskas are equally incorporated into this episode as they’re both depicted as well-meaning folks who were driven to cast away any shame they’d have towards their actions if it means providing for their families. Just because Rosa is thankful for Vash’s kindness doesn’t mean she won’t be thinking about feeding her child if she looks the other way at the money she’d be turning away by sparing Vash. On a similar level, the Nebraska’s needed the money to avoid punishment, but Father Nebraska still wanted to protect Gofsef from the cruelty of the world by hardening his spirit and keeping him sharp enough to protect himself.
But because things like shame and pride are inconsequential towards an entity like Vash, he has the liberty to try to play peacemaker and be a larger-than-life figure who lets compassion be his strength. Meryl is upset at Vash’s insistence on running away but seems to understand his motives when it became clear that his power gives him the luxury to prioritize his protective nature and pacifism over winning fights and blasting his foes away.
It’s great to see that the 2nd episode of Trigun Stampede keeps up the pace by being a genuinely good comeback for Vash the Stampede as it recaptures the Western hijinks and fast-paced action that made the first anime worthwhile. From the looks of things, Episode 03 might wind up bringing Knives back into the fold with the old-world tech that had latched onto Gofsef.
ED: 「星のクズ α」 (Hoshi no Kuzu Alpha) by Haruka Nakamura and Salyu