So I finished Trigun (1998)

So it's been a while since I actually finished this show, but I wanted to wait a little before actually delving into my thoughts by thinking really hard on it, while also just doing some other stuff and being busy so this is more like an excuse by this point haha. Also, this is a show I watched in bursts with my girlfriend, so I'm definitely going to be a little rusty. Although I can look back to our chats to get the gist of it if I have to.

A disclaimer I suppose would be that I watched this show in its English dub, and I have zero knowledge of Maximum, Stampede, or the manga. Right now, my only real interaction with Trigun is and has been Trigun 98, and so that will colour some of my opinions of this piece as I saw it. Just bear that in mind if you're a longtime fan or anything!

And another disclaimer, but I will be discussing spoilers in a new section at the bottom near my conclusion, since I think I should allow people who haven't seen this to get a gist of it with my thoughts if they so decide to get into it after from what they read here. And, oh, I have very little screenshots of this show due to me not being the one streaming it, but I'll fill in the gaps with whatever I find in Google Images, lmao.

Without further ado, here we go.

What I liked

I will not lie, the very first episode of this show did a FANTASTIC job at selling me in on it. The high action, the comedy, the writing, and the voice acting--again, in English for me--were incredible. I definitely went into this show not knowing what to expect at all and it paid off, because the vibe and mood it brought to the table was exactly what I was hoping to find. There's a saying I have with 90's shows where they catch you first with their comedy before emotionally dropping you off a ten story building, and Trigun 98 definitely did that.

I also quite found myself enjoying Vash as a character!! I liked all the characters, yeah, but I REALLY liked Vash. I'd say it was refreshing to see a merciful "thou shall not kill" character actually struggle with the consequences and thoughts of what mercy conveys and means, but given this is a show from 1998 I think I should just say instead that I wish more media toyed with this concept. It's such a delight to watch Vash deal with his ideals of peace and mercy and the way these grow more and more complicated as the story goes on, while also watching how it affects others. But what's best for me is how he also changes due to it.

That brings me to Wolfwood. Wolfwood, holy shit, Wolfwood. I think he's my favourite character in the whole show (predictable, I know), but he's just a fantastic addition to the cast in every way!! Firstly, how he's so funny and flirty and a shit priest, but how he hides a huge, golden heart within the layers he's constructed for himself, and uses said humour to hide a stormy past and worldview. Although what I love the most about Wolfwood is how he clashes--and fits with--Vash, because, while Wolfwood is totally a much more practical man who'd just kill and be done with it, he still sees a merit to what Vash does, and vice versa. It's like they both have a way of handling things that they understand even if they butt heads about it. And it's that understanding that I really, really adore.

I also really did like Milly and Meryl, although I liked Milly a lot more as time went on and Meryl a lot less. I'll save my thoughts on Meryl for later, but yeah. Those two did feel like an afterthought at times, which was just as maddening as it was sad, but at the very least Milly was a lovely character to watch. I did love how they were both incredibly capable women who could absolutely hold their own in battle and have their own plotlines without needing neither Vash nor Wolfwood with them, but that didn't mean their relationships with those two were bad either!! Milly herself had fantastic chemistry with Vash and Wolfwood both, and I did like watching her join their idiot club a lot.

The quartet were a great group of protagonists to watch, really. They made it all worth going through, and they all had something, except forrrrr someone I won't be mentioning in this section.

What I didn’t like

Ahhh, I'm not that much of a fan of Meryl or what her character ended up being.

I feel extremely bad about this actually. Because her character started out quite strong, and I had a lot of fun saying that she kept Tony Hawking Vash and it was really, really funny, but then she just went downhill so fast it wasn't funny anymore. And I really did try to like her. I really, really, really did try, because I saw what was coming and I really didn't want it to be that way, but her own character degraded to "has a crush on Vash" and that was it. Not even her friendship with Milly survived that one.

Which really did piss me off, too. Milly deserved someone better than Meryl. Meryl saw a cute boy and went "to hell with everything" and became obsessed. Her moment in the final episodes was even undermined because where the hell did this character development come from? It was just there for a specific reason and you could absolutely tell. It sucked!

Justice for Meryl, really. I hope the manga gets better about it. I hope it's not a goddamn mess to her character.

Just LOOK at what they took from us. They took a strong character who started out with an okay blank slate and turned her into a fucking tsundere.


Now, I also liked Knives, but I'm not entirely sure I buy his whole act. Then again, this was a 90's show, so I'm sure it's probably just the age of certain flimsy writing showing--or, maybe it's just the manga or the way it translated into the screen. This also does extend to much of the cast outside of the main characters and a select few episodic protagonists, where they were all simply a little too... flimsy. Kind of there. Like Legato, right? He was just there. His character worked and he did what he was meant to as a character, but like... yeah, that was it. That's all there is.

And again, I think this is just the whole manga issue, but I digress.

Surprisingly, the tone was also something that I had a lot of trouble with. I appreciate the fact that it got serious and knew to act serious and that it had a plot it wanted to follow, but... You ever hear of Cerberus Syndrome? Yeah, that was in full force with Trigun 98. It both worked for what it wanted to do and tell, but it also kind of got really exhausting at some point. Look, I love me some angst. I love when an anime starts out funny and then goes "Gotcha!" and makes me cry. But god at some point the final five episodes were more like a misery conga than actual substance. It got a bit tough to go on, but well, okay. It worked I guess.

That said, I wanna talk spoilers now, so have a sfw Wolfwood.

The Spoilers Section

I did not like that ending.

Let me be clear, I liked what it symbolizes, and I understand how it works character wise and everything, but god I kind of hated it because it felt really goddamn rushed and we did not get to see Knives' reaction to what happened and I do not think this is going to end well for Vash. Yes, manga, but I did not read that and this is what I have to work with, and it's not great. I wish they hadn't spent an entire episode doing a flashback sequence and actually worked on tying up the loose end of so what the fuck is Knives' reaction going to be to this huh instead of telling me for the nth time that Knives Kills And Vash Doesn't via flashbacks of all things.

And while I'm on the subject? Holy hell, that episode I mentioned where Meryl has "character development" out the wazoo was actually kind of insulting. Because at that point it became clear that her character, at least here in this iteration of Trigun, was only there for this very specific moment where she embodies Rem so that Vash can get out of his stupor. That's it, that was all. Vash could have done that himself, or literally ANYONE ELSE could've done this, but no. We get Meryl. A woman who very eagerly decided to take advantage of Milly hiding her own pain to comfort her own.

Meryl fucking sucks!!! And we're treating her like the actual equivalent to Vash's mother, the Big Good in his life? After THAT? After EVERYTHING she's done? Holy hell, fuck that. Those last episodes were a nightmare.

Mother Theresa lookin ass.

I definitely felt let down during the last episodes, especially with how big of a deal was made out of Wolfwood's death and he got reduced to a few "oh nooo he's dead" little flashes and a voice at the end. Which don't get me wrong, I fucking ate that shit up, but holy hell the man was there for the ENTIRE show. At least show me how the others reacted beyond Milly sobbing her eyes out and Meryl being like "haha um" at her supposed friend.

Oh my god, I need to stop bashing Meryl. See I even used an older term.

Anyways, on a more positive note, I liked Knives and Vash's backstory, though I wish we'd gotten more about Plants. Yadda yadda manga I know, but man. The backstory up in the space station was fascinating and interesting as fuck, and I'm happy with what we got but just wish it was expanded upon. Kudos for what they did and what they got to show, though. That was pretty amazing.

Final Thoughts

Trigun was fun. It was pretty great and I had a lot of fun with it, and Wolfwood won't leave my brain because he latched onto it like a worm, and I couldn't be happier about it. I have some problems with it especially towards the end, but for what it's worth I liked it a whole lot and I would 100% recommend it to others. I'm definitely going to read Maximum and maybe try to catch Stampede, but Stampede... I have to say I'm a lot less interested in, honestly. Still, who knows what it's doing, so might as well go for it anyway in the end.

Also, if you do watch it--I once again cannot recommend the English dub enough. It's a whole lot of fun watching Vash speak with Nero DMC4's voice and squawking like a chicken and barking like a dog because he wants to get laid so bad it makes him look stupid.

God I fucking love Vash the Stampede. And you know what? I know he loves you too, random citizen.

Love and peace and all that shit, y'all.