Trigun Stampede’s tenth episode takes us to JuLai where Vash finally confronts Knives about his quest to collect all of the plant generators from humans. But as Meryl and Roberto confront William about his experiments, the information they receive comes with a dire price tag.
HOW ABOUT ANOTHER JOKE, MURRAY?
The most tragic event of the episode is how they had Roberto De Niro killed off by a giant nail thrown by Elendira the Crimsonnail. Much of it was to help center Meryl as his successor as she is now given the gun and blessing from Roberto to carry on his life’s work as a journalist. At the same time, I feel like Roberto was such an odd character that the weight of his loss didn’t feel as hard-hitting as it could’ve been.
Everything just flashed by quickly as we now had to expect that Roberto wouldn’t be with us anymore suddenly. Additionally, his presence didn’t add much to the story aside from acting as a drunk authority figure for Meryl and being seasoned enough to ask blunt questions about the world’s happenstances to some of the scariest characters on the show. I can see people being upset with his loss, but I figure it’d be the only way they could reasonably introduce Milly Thompson from the old series without having her contend with Roberto’s having to keep Meryl under his thumb.
GREAT TO SEE THAT KURONEKO IS THE RULER OF JULAI
Running co-currently with Trigun Stampede’s characterization of Vash is how they pull off the baggage of all the trauma he’s faced along the way. Along with having a terrible luck streak with the human cost of Vash’s abilities and neglect, he also shoulders many scars and injuries due to his pacifistic tendencies.
It doesn’t do him as many favors given how thankless his pacifism is in this particular story, especially since Wolfwood finds it to be part of why Vash is so hopeless. Honestly, Vash is probably the most like himself when he’s around Wolfwood, naturally lending itself to the large amounts of Vash/Wolfwood art that have surfaced during this adaptation.
But even with some of the ship-teasing that the show likes to do with these two, Wolfwood honestly makes Vash a more bearable character as Vash’s kindness thaws away at Wolfwood’s snarky edge while Wolfwood himself forces Vash to regularly confront why he’s as selfless as he is when it only causes him harm. They make for a perfect duo in this show because, without their dynamic, Vash would just be sappy while Wolfwood would be homicidal and would think nothing of the human cost that would come from his ambivalence on helping others.
Unfortunately, Wolfwood’s influence doesn’t pierce Vash in this episode as he still thinks Knives would be easy to reform if he just thought more carefully about what he was doing to humanity. His push to confront Knives on why he’s toppling energy sources for dying humans makes it even simpler for Knives to confront Vash on why he’d save humanity if the planet they’re on would be doomed under human control. Vash is currently trapped in one of Knives’ contraptions, but who knows if, at some point, Vash might be able to make any kind of breakthrough with Knives.
Elendira: “No! Are you going to kill a poor child like me? How cruel…“
Considering what kind of “child” you are (in this adaptation, at least), lemme quote a certain warmongering cyborg with women deflectors:
Sundowner: “Like I said, kids are cruel, Jack.
And I LOVE mi-(*corpsing*)And I’m very in touch with my inner child.” (Sundowner x Elendira… And now I want to see this crack pairing happen.)
Wolfwood: “With a large amount of aquatic PLANT it monopolizes, this city can even purchase lead bullets from all over the planet.”
On a different note, July City now reminds me of Immortan Joe’s (water-rich) citadel in Mad Max: Fury Road. And this quote:
“Do not, my friends, become addicted to water. It will take hold of you, and you will resent its absence.”
Finally… Oh s**t, I didn’t notice Kuroneko-sama?! I dunno man, looks like a shopped screenshot. You be playin’ me, yo.
*Rewatches episode* NO WAY… Wait… Did they just turn Kuroneko-sama into a freaking .JPEG cat?! (Similar to Ace Combat 7‘s “.JPEG Dog.”) If that is Studio Orange’s “take that” to old fans missing the famous void cat, I’m not even mad… Just, “WTF, man?”
And then there’s the uneasy feeling that Stampede might be rushing through its (adapted) source content at ludicrous speed (or at least as a build-up to the film that you mentioned in the previous episode, quoted for reference):
With news of a film coming up, it’ll be interesting to see how much they’ll flesh out Vash and Knives’ connection knowing that it’ll probably be prime material for the movie. But from the looks of it, Vash is more likely to have to contend with Zazie and possibly Legato since they’re in closer proximity to him and his friends at the moment.
Hope the season finale does give me a good reason to look forward to the film. (Rest well, Roberto… We barely got to know ye.)