Trigun Vol. #5 (of 8) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Monday, October 24, 2005
Release Date: Thursday, October 06, 2005
What They Say
Where the Gung-Ho guns go, only death follows...
Bonds of love and friendship are strong but some can only be preserved when they are severed. Vash must leave his friends and happiness behind as he walks the treacherous and bloody path prepared by Legato. The body count begins to rise as the Gung-Ho Guns enter the picture but Vash will do anything he can to preserve life!
14. Little Arcadia
15. Demons Eye
16. Fifth Moon
The descent into darkness continues for Vash and co. in the latest volume of Trigun...
I listened to the English language track for my main review, and noticed no dropouts, distortions or other technical problems with the disc; it's a pretty standard stereo mix. The dub is really good, accurate to the literal translation but sounding very natural and never stifled. All the key performers, in particular Legato, put in excellent performances..
I spot-checked the Japanese track, having heard it all the way through before, and noticed no issues in the spot I checked.
Video is the main area where this series takes a bit of a knock. It looks a little washed out at times, though that is in part due to the animation style and colours used. I noticed no compression artefacts or aliasing during regular playback, which is good. Unfortunately, this transfer suffers heavily in the form of cross colouration and rainbowing, along black lines and in character's hair in particular. It's a little unfortunate and can be a bit distracting at times, though it's not terrible and didn't ruin my enjoyment of the show.
Subtitles are in a yellow font which is easily readable, and I noticed no spelling or grammatical errors in them. As this is an older series (in terms of its original DVD release), the ending song is hard-subbed.
No packaging was included as this was a check disc.
The menus are simple but functional, and essentially the same as the last disc, so I’m not going to try and find something better to say. It starts with a brief introduction sequence continuing to the main opening menu, which has a central image of Vash again with a flame burning behind him. The show's logo is at the top, with episode choices and the set-up and extras menus at the bottom. A piece of background music plays over the main menu, and sound effects of bullets being fired are used on menu transitions. The sub-menus are static and silent with a bit of character artwork beside the selections. Access times are fast, as you’d expect with a set of simplistic menus.
Extras on this disc are minimal, but that’s to be expected. First up are the textless opening and ending, followed by the Trigun trailer again.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the last disc, I commented on how much I enjoyed one of the episodes that really changed the tone of the series, making it a lot darker and serious, while still retaining some of the humour as well. Then along came a recap episode and the series lost a fair bit of steam, but it picks up a great deal with this volume again as the series thrusts towards a conclusion.
The first episode, “Little Arcadia”, see Meryl, Millie and Vash spending some time in the titular town. A man and a woman there are being harassed, and so after an encounter at gunpoint they ask the girls to be their bodyguards. But Meryl spots that something isn’t quite right, recognising a familiar face in their home. She soon realises that the man threatening the old man and woman is in fact their son, Badwick. It’s all over the land the man and woman own, but Badwick’s boss wants it so badly he really would kill them to get it.
It’s a bit of a change of pace from the full-on episode in the last volume, but after the recap episode this one serves to ease us back in to the swing of things before the action heats up again. And it does so pretty well, as it turns out that this is a fun adventure. Sure, it’s a bit contrived with the son’s involvement with the parents and how his view is changed pretty quickly by what happens (some “villains” can be oh so fickle), but it does manage to serve centre stage to Meryl and Millie, as they are the focal points of the story from the main cast’s point of view. Certainly Millie comes across well here as we see some of her beliefs and he strong personality thrust to the fore, such as when she goes ballistic and points her large gun at Badwick because he turned a gun on his parents.
Vash is back in centre stage in the next episode though, which is far more spine-chilling and dark than its predecessor. While it opens with a comedic scene of Vash carrying the two women since he destroyed their car, it soon turns nasty when a group of local thieves enters a bar where Legato happens to be having a meal. When they mistreat a girl because she looked at him in a way they didn’t like, Legato shows his true mean streak and quite literally massacres everyone in the bar in one of the series’ most gruesome scenes yet. Not content with the people in the inn, he also has some of the Gung-Ho Guns kill some other gang members who confront him over the earlier incident.
When Vash, Meryl and Millie arrive in town they soon find out what’s been happening, and Vash is forced to confront one of the Guns, Dominique the Cyclops, who is so deadly that you can’t see her attacks... And she’s exactly the kind of enemy that really ups the stakes some more in terms of the series’ villains. In earlier episodes most of the villains came off as somewhat slapstick and it was hard to take them or their motives seriously, but with the change in tone that these recent episodes bring, so changes the demeanour of the enemies and there’s an air of determination and seriousness around them that makes you feel as though they really mean business.
Not to mention the fact that they seem far closer to level terms with Vash than the others. Dominique is a good example, and although you know that ultimately there are bigger and badder enemies out there for Vash, the air of intensity around their battle, coupled with the humour Vash drops in to lighten the situation even at the most life-threatening of times, makes it really enjoyable. And the ending to this episode just reinforces the shift in tone as Vash decides to turn the tables on Legato by taking the fight to him.
The final episode on this disc sees Meryl deciding that she and Millie will actually go after Vash (having not seen or heard from him in two weeks) and do whatever it takes to find him. Meanwhile Vash practices his best “I’m bringing the fight to you” speech for Legato, before arriving at the town he thinks Legato will target. He manages to chase all the inhabitants out before being forced to do battle with E.G. Mine, the fifth Gung-Ho Gun. Their one-on-one duel is short-lived though, thanks to the entrance of the ninth Gun, Rai-Dei the Blade. But this battle ends in something far worse than anyone’s death...
This episode is another really good mix of action and excitement with some humour thrown in, but what Trigun is doing very well at the moment is balancing the comedy and the serious tone and making sure that while the darker tone outweighs the comedic one at the moment, just enough of the latter is retained to ensure that the series remains the one we know and enjoy. The fights continue to work really well, and some of the events in this episode and how they parallel events from the past really gives the backstory of the show a kick up the rear so you start to remember some of the hints about what happened in the past to get Vash his name.
Not only is the story heating up though, as special mention deserves to go to Legato, who in this volume really cements himself as a formidable foe who is both evil and crazy at the same time. His actions speak volumes for the sort of character he is, and it only helps build him up as one of the biggest threats Vash has ever had to face. If there’s one thing I’m definitely looking forward to, it’s seeing this pair fight, because it’s sure to be very intense.
Trigun is really starting to win me over more and more as the show goes along. Sure, it’s had its slow moments up until now, but the gear is really turned up another notch on this disc and if it keeps happening, the series will prove to be well worth your money. Recommended.
Japanese Language (2.0),English Language (2.0),English Subtitles,Textless Opening and Ending
Philips 28" Pure Flat Widescreen TV, Pioneer DV-464 code free DVD player, JVC gold-plated RGB SCART cable, standard stereo sound.
Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B-
Packaging Rating: N/A
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: C-
Age Rating: 12 & Up
Region: 2 - Europe
Released By: MVM Entertainment
Running time: 75
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2