How would you rate episode 10 of
Trigun Stampede ?
Community score: 3.8
You can tell we are approaching the climax of Trigun Stampede, and I'm not gonna lie, this episode solidifies that the show would've been so much better if it was twice the length. Studio Orange has done a phenomenal job with the show's animation and presentation. I also imagine it took a very long time to capture the specific aesthetic and character animations, so hoping for twice as many episodes would probably mean the show wouldn't have come out for another year or two at minimum…which also means that Studio Orange would've needed to push other animation projects back and sometimes you can't afford that. It just really sucks that everything this episode tries to do falls short. I feel like I'm missing massive pages of this story's outline, which is a shame because I wanted to feel for a lot of the things going on here, but I couldn't muster up the emotional depth to care to the extent that I think STAMPEDE wanted.
Take Roberto's death, for example. That was supposed to be a big turning point in Meryl's character arc as we see her mentor pass away after he did everything he could to protect her. I like him giving her his gun and saying it's her choice if she wants to return or run away. I also like that the gun is very similar to the weapons Meryl uses in the original anime. However, this scene falls a bit flat for me because I don't think the show did a good job of establishing what exactly the relationship was supposed to be between these two. Sure, it's the typical jaded mentor trying to look after a naïve and wide-eyed apprentice. Still, the purpose of these two characters seemed to be more about expositing information or hammering home pre-establish plot points rather than formulating any emotional hook for the show. There wasn't a moment when Roberto genuinely sat down with Meryl and treated her as somebody he wanted to care about but couldn't muster up the strength because of how jaded he was. On that note, we don't specifically know why Roberto is so jaded about this world. You could chalk it up to the fact that he's older and has probably seen a lot of shit in this unforgiving world, but we've seen just as many, if not more, adults adapt to this way of life, so you could argue that the show needed to establish WHY he is the way that he is and how that might've been reflected in his relationship with Meryl. At worst, it comes off as Roberto being used as a plot device to further Meryl's character development rather than Roberto being a strong, definitive character on his own.
And then there's Vash, who I honestly feel like Trigun Stampede is cheating on. I understand this is a reimagining of the manga and the original anime. But Trigun Stampede is doing something that I don't like about many reboots, and that's telling a story or informing a character with information from the media that it's inspired from without actually including that in the show proper. We know that Vash is a pacifist and would much rather avoid conflict than get involved. I know how important of a reveal it's supposed to be when Vash takes off his shirt, and we see just how messed up his body is because that is the price he paid for being a pacifist. Despite not being human, he can't come out unscathed from all situations he throws himself into, especially since self-preservation is not his first priority. But when Nicholas points this out, it feels more obligatory than I think it is supposed to be, and that's because it feels like we haven't seen Vash in enough of those situations where he's legitimately putting his life on the line for the sake of other people which is something I think the original anime did fairly well. The big moral question that gets hammered home at the end of this episode is that Vash does what he does because he feels guilty.
I'm not mad that this is a different motivation for why he is a pacifist compared to the original series. I am upset because it feels a little weak. Having Knives get angry at Vash and explain that his whole reason for protecting humans is out of a sense of guilt for almost killing all of them feels weird coming from the guy who admitted that he tricked Vash into doing that. In fact, Vash has human friends that know he was tricked and still stand by him because what happened wasn't his fault. Maybe not all humans will think that way, but it does muddy the water for what is supposed to be the basis for Vash's entire character. Again, it would be better to see more instances of Vash interacting with humans and being ostracized by them, like in the original series. We've only seen one example of that very early on, but if we had more examples of Vash visiting towns and being forced to sacrifice himself for the sake of these people, then the show's argument would be stronger. I'm genuinely worried about how this show will wrap up because this episode introduces the major emotional and moral conflicts while also showing how weak the foundation is.
Trigun Stampede is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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