Trigun Vol. #4 (of 8) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Tuesday, September 26, 2000
Release Date: Tuesday, September 26, 2000



What They Say
Which is the real face of Vash? The clown, the saint, or the killer? Vash reveals more of his character and more of his secrets as he takes on a contract to kill, and then faces a man whose sole purpose in life is to destroy Vash! When a man is programmed to kill, can he deny his

The Review!
The halfway mark is reached with this fourth volume of Trigun. The good side of it is that we're about to start into the full arc of the story. The bad side of it is the the 3rd of three episodes on the disc is almost entirely a recap episode.

The audio for both languages is pretty spot on. We listened to the Japanese track during out initial viewing and spot checked the English track afterwards (though we listened to it in its entirety while writing the review). Both tracks are presented in their original 2.0 mix. There isn't a ton of directionality across the front soundstage, but things sound very good. With a show as reliant as it is on the weaponry used by its characters, good sound is critical. It does pay off here with some great effects.

One of the previous sticking points with the video side of the series has been the almost always present rainbow effects. The third episode on the previous disc was a considerable change from earlier episodes in that it had hardly any of them. The only place where se saw them with any regularity was during the end credits sequence. Thankfully it remains the same for this release as well, with only a few of them seen here and there throughout the presentation. The amusing part is during the recap episodes, the flashbacks look better than the original episodes did due to the lack of rainbows. Video quality throughout the rest of the disc is pretty solid, though for the most part not stellar. The animation style and coloring used for the series continues to keep it looking fairly bland and muted, but definitely in the proper tone for the location of the show.

The packaging used for this series still continues to rock. As with other volumes, the onsert chromium card included this time is pretty slick with both Vash and Legato being brooding and somber. The back cover is a bit skimpy on episode plot summaries, but it fits in with the next episode previews in the episodes themselves with being sparse. The insert is another version of the front cover with the addition of the chapter marks.

And yes, just like each previous release, the menus continue to be among the best I've seen on anime discs. The simple variation of the cover artwork with some music and slight animation continues to work beautifully and without turning the menus sluggish and annoying to use. Submenus are accessed very quickly and everything hits the mark right on.

Only a few extras have made it onto this disc though. There's about 25 screens of McFarlane's toy development of the Vash action figure. These are pretty interesting, showing design sketches to early model pictures to the completed product. There's also several pages worth of villain character design sketches from this episode included.

For the most part, the new episodes on this disc are fairly serious in nature. During the Escape From Pain episode, we get a variant on the old Romeo and Juliet theme, though a lot of it is excised. But when you have a male character called Julius and a female called Moore (or Romeo), it gets kind of obvious. The caravan has some troubles as its pass, the young man Julius, decides to skip out on everything as his father and the caravan deal occasionally in slaving. His girlfriend, Moore, tries to escape as well but ends up not being able to get out on her own. Milly and Wolfwood step in at this point.

In actuality, the real though subtle focus of this episode is more around the brewing attraction between Wolfwood and Milly. He constantly can't believe how she is and the way she acts and finds himself wishing he was more like that. There's a rather amusing scene when they're walking through town and she's pretending to be pregnant and he's the husband.

Vash and Meryl do appear in the episode, and both are rather serious and somber. A lot of his attitude has been changing over the past couple of episodes and this one continues to strengthen up that facet of him.

The next episode, Diablo, changes things considerably though and really show where things can head off to next. While relaxing in the next town that they've come across, Vash ends up being stalked and then coerced into fighting with a rather nasty gent whose been stuck training in a gunpowder filled basement for 20 odd years.

There's far too many real changes in both character and attitude through this episode that I really don't want to give away too much. The action and animation were both great and the change to a really serious tone was much welcomed.

The final episode, appropriately titled Vash the Stampede, is almost an toss away episode. There's maybe three or four minutes worth of new animation, which is interesting. The bookend sections of the episode give some more hints about who Vash is and show him without anything on from the waist up (he has no modesty!). The rest of the episode is pure recap of the last twelve episodes.

This is the disc where Pioneer should have added a fourth episode. The overall value of the disc due to 25 minutes of recap is greatly dwindled.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,McFarlane Toy Creation,Villain Design

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" TV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.



Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: A-
Menus Rating: A
Extras Rating: B-
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
MSRP: 29.99
Running time: 75
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Trigun