Trigun Stampede’s latest episode wraps up Vash & Wolfwood’s desires to derail the ship that’s heading towards Nicolas’ old orphanage. But as they foil Legato’s plans, are they really all the much better for it?
A BITTERSWEET MEMORY
For as beautiful as the animation is, I am pretty deflated by the content of the show. The action scenes have a certain flow to them that really is part of the studio’s masterclass in TV CG animation. Additionally, the 2D animation sequences are quite lush as the flashbacks of Livio and Wolfwood are very vivid and picturesque. It’s the kind of thing I’m thankful for because it comes to show that when they are willing to tap into 2D animation, they want to make sure that it’s as gorgeous as their 3D art.
At the same time, it’s hard to pinpoint what exactly Vash is capable of at this point. Much of the given excuses are that Vash is supposed to be younger and is too inexperienced to have the upper hand in most situations. But that kinda kills the appeal, doesn’t it? Vash was never an unstoppable force of nature and definitely had his times when he would get moody. But much of the time, Vash’s angst was around how he couldn’t be everywhere at once. He couldn’t be Superman and just turn back time to be exactly where he’d need to be to spare someone.
I guess where this is coming from is that he’s spent so much time trying to stop Wolfwood from killing Livio and tried sparing him to his fullest extent, but did nothing when Livio shot himself in the head. Yeah, you’re left to assume that Legato would just patch him right back up, but for a perpetually pathetic take on Vash, him watching Livio commit self-harm is such a weird turn of events. It feels like the antithesis of what Vash stands for. From a character who has said point-blank, “I disapprove of suicide more than anything” in past adaptations, Vash is the last person to give in to bystander effect the moment someone points a gun at themselves.
On a similar level, it adds to the idea that this really was Wolfwood’s time to shine. While he gets all the cool moments and gets to push around Vash for being too naive, Vash just vanishes into the background, only cropping up when he needs to be a male wife for Wolfwood or help Meryl while she’s in a tight pinch. Meanwhile, Wolfwood is given both a meaningful connection with Livio in this adaptation and his own personal heroics as he puts his hands on the line to stop the ship by any means he could.
The one saving grace to Vash’s relevance is that he and another plant alien happened to help pitch in toward stopping the ship, especially by mind-linking. I suppose if there are two accomplishments that Stampede has story-wise, it’s to flesh out Wolfwood and to pay more mind to Vash’s lineage. Hopefully, it’s something that the anime leans more into as a way to empower Vash and bring back some of his goofy, yet capable charm.
“Discount Ginyu Force.” *ding*
Welp, the only thing that dampened my immersion into Wolfwood and Livio’s backstory was Livio calling Wolfwood “Nico-nii.” Which immediately reminded me of Sora Tokui’s most (in)famous catchphrase.
Non-sequitur aside, with Livio presumably recovered by Legato and Zazie (despite a self-inflicted shot to the head), I doubt that’s the last we’ll see of him. He’ll probably come back wrong, though… Also, no actual appearance by Brilliant Dynamites Neon (though apparently there was a “Wanted” poster of him in the bar in Jeneora Rock back in episode 1).
Read the news on ANN about Junichi Suwabe and Fumiko Orikasa joining the cast of Stampede, and that episode 8 starts the third and “final” act. I’m hoping this only means “finale arc” for this season, and not an extremely rushed version of Trigun/Trigun Maximum in anime form (again). Hell, the rest of the Gung-Ho Guns haven’t appeared yet, and I’m suddenly interested on who was cast to play the role of Dominique the Cyclops!
And on a different note, as much as I enjoy the energetic hard riffs of Tsuneo Imahori’s “H.T.” (and how I remember a certain big-eyed black cat passing by whenever I hear that tune), Kvi Baba’s “TOMBI” has started to grow on me. Mellow, soothing, soulful guitar riffs combined with a hauntingly ethereal backing track and topped off by melancholic yet emotional lyrics that encapsulates Vash’s personality and inner struggles pretty nicely.
So now Vash is responsible for stopping Livio from shooting himself point blank? Also, he had two guns, only one was pointed at his own head; he could have stopped Vash from interfering even if Vash had tried to stop him.