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Trigun Stampede
Episodes 1-3

by MrAJCosplay,

How would you rate episode 1 of
Trigun Stampede ?
Community score: 3.6

How would you rate episode 2 of
Trigun Stampede ?
Community score: 3.5

How would you rate episode 3 of
Trigun Stampede ?
Community score: 3.7

© 2023 Yasuhiro Naito, Shonengahosha/TRIGUN STAMPEDE Production Committee

I love Trigun. It is a classic with a style and approach that we don't see in anime these days. It was the show that jumpstarted veteran voice actor Johnny Yong Bosch's voice-acting career, and it's arguably one of those anime that has seen more success in the western hemisphere than it did in the east. While there are some points where the series can drag on a bit longer than it needs to, and the animation quality hasn't held up to modern standards, it is still something I can recommend decades later. With that said, the last thing I expected was a reimagining of that series for modern audiences. I could spend most of this review just going over the differences between the original Trigun and Stampede's opening episodes.

I can talk about how the absence of certain characters like Milly Thompson feels like something is missing from the series, considering that her replacement only seems to be here to lay on how shitty everything is. I could talk about how themes and plot points brought up much later in the original series define the opening minutes of this adaptation. I could also discuss how Vash's goofy antics overshadow his badass moments. However, just because a reimagining does something differently doesn't necessarily mean it is better or worse.

Vash still comes off as a bumbling everyman that always seems to find himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. Deep down, it's clear he is competent but doesn't seem as old or hardened as the original. I like that the bounty on his head is because his twin brother is causing trouble, and Vash is wrongly labeled as the perpetrator. This also makes Meryl's new position as a reporter make sense because she'll want to follow Vash to get the truth out there. Genuinely, there are story beats here that are stronger and make a lot more sense compared to the original.

Hands-down, the show shines in the area most uninformed people were worried about, and that's the animation. At this point, Studio Orange deserves positive accolades whenever it adapts a beloved property because they continue to knock it out of the park by pushing the limits of stylized 3D animation. Everything feels so alive in this series, from the textures to the environmental effects to the exaggerated facial expressions of most characters. You can feel the weight behind Vash's steps whenever he comedically stumbles around, and the use of lighting during many scenes is superb. There is no doubt that this will be a well-animated adaptation with music that feels familiar and pays homage to the original franchise while also standing on its own.

Episode three showcased this the best with Knives' introduction. In the original, Knives was more like Voldemort. He was this background force for most of the original run, and while that made him a symbolic mirror for Vash, it ultimately meant that he didn't get a lot of chances to make his presence known. The bounty hunters he hired were arguably more memorable. But here? Studio Orange allowed Knives to completely encapsulates that ruthless god complex. The way he uses his weapon, the way we never get a full shot of his face, and even the way he just calmly doesn't see Vash as a threat were all splendid. So now that I've shared my opinion as a fan, what's my opinion as an everyday viewer?

So far, it's OK. Plot-wise, the show introduces many things from the outset while trying to keep more character introspective moments in the background. I like that these episodes take place at one central location, but the tradeoff was having many characters talk too much about how the world works. Meryl Stryfe is our go-getter young reporter interested in getting a story done with her cynical boss constantly rubbing it in that the world is cruel and good people don't necessarily make it. The story doesn't establish if a specific thing made him like this, but my experiences with storytelling, in general, tell me that a moment like that will likely come at some point in the future. Making Meryl a reporter also seems like an excuse to exposit information that most people her age should know, so that feels a bit lazy, honestly.

I'm also not a fan of moments where it feels like characters are acting in a certain way for convenience or to generate an action scene rather than out of any genuine narrative understanding. Probably my least favorite part was the climax of episode one, where the guy who is in the standoff with Vash randomly decides to pull out a bazooka with a bunch of missiles for the sake of doing something flashy, even though he could've killed a lot of people or even destroyed the town. There's no pretense that people in his position could get away with anything in this land, and the only explanation for why he did that is just that he's crazy. That felt like a lazy way to up the stakes. Plus, the incredibly long time between when the missiles were launched and when Vash got rid of them did stretch my suspension of disbelief a little bit. The show is at its best when it shows the townspeople's desperation and how that desperation in such an unforgiving world can lead people to do things they don't want to do deep down but do out of necessity. I wish that angle were played up a bit more so that the final moment of Vash being kicked out would have hit harder. I know they probably blame all the destruction on him because it's convenient but framing it as how it was his fault felt weak. Since Knives was after the town's powerplant, they were fucked even if Vash wasn't there. Overall, it's an OK start, but I look forward to how we will run with this status quo in a new town.


Trigun Stampede is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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