Trigun Maximum Vol. #02 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B

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  • Art Rating: B-
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: Dark Horse
  • MSRP: 9.95
  • Pages: 200
  • ISBN: 1-59307-197-3
  • Size: Tall B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Trigun Maximum Vol. #02

By Eduardo M. Chavez     August 27, 2004
Release Date: August 01, 2004

Trigun Maximum Vol.#02
© Dark Horse

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Yasuhiro Nightow
Translated by:Justin Burns
Adapted by:

What They Say
Vash the Stampede can't seem to escape peril since he came out of two years' hiding. Travelling across a dusty planet back to his old hometown, Vash survives a duel with a samurai on skull-skates and delivers a town from the terror of a local thug, only to arrive home to a mysterious and grim surprise. The popular manga story continues into new territory, as Trigun Maximum follows our hero's promotion of "peace and love" further into comedic conflict and daring despair with volume 2, "Death Blue."

The Review
Trigun Maximum maintains most of the wonderful packaging concepts originally used by Shonen Gahosha for the Japanese production. Dark Horse and Digital Manga use the original cover art and logo and even keep the kanji reading of Yasuhiro Nightow on the cover and spine. This cover features a close-up of Wolfwood and his big cross. The image suits Wolfwood's personality perfectly as there is much hidden behind that large cross of his. Upon turning the book over, the opposite cover has the original art underneath a small blurb for this volume.

Inside, there is art that was under the dust jackets inside both covers, the original volume and chapter headers are present (with kana), and two ato-gaki from Nightow, one being a one page gag full of puns while the other describes his role in the making of the Trigun anime. The printing is very good and with this graphic novel being a little wider than normal B6 size there are no alignment issues. Wonderful presentation.

While I am not a real being fan of Nightow's art at this time, I am really impressed by the creativity shown in his character designs. Characters are a little on the long side. In general, I still cannot tell if some women are women (because of wide shoulders, long jaw lines, and the lack detail in his non-close-up faces). Nevertheless, I love his costumes. They range from laid back casual to straight out of KoF - leather, buckles and cool hair. As crazy as those designs can be, he usually makes those costumes work aesthetically and violently. After saying all that, I do think there is some improvement from the two volumes of Trigun that preceded this series. What was once stylish but lacking in form is now coming into its own. The layout is okay. I have to admit I think this volume has better panel placement and more variety but in general its pretty simple and the text bubble placement is often more confusing than pleasing to the eye.

This volume is right to left in a wide B6 book. SFX are not translated. What is disappointing here is that there are a lot of them in this one and they vary because of the mix of comedy and action, so readers will miss those nuances that are brought out by those SFX. Knowing that Dark Horse does this so well makes it even more frustrating.

The translation here is very good. Honorifics that are used are there. So are some other Japanese words like "senpai" (which was nicely translated in the gutter for those who are not familiar with those phrases).

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Vash the Stampede is on the move again. With renewed motivation his dream of a world without murder has brought him back. He knows the road will not be easy, but he cannot give up on humanity yet. Accompanying him along the way is an old friend, Nicholas Wolfwood. Together these two have shouldered the pain of many in their pasts, but no it seems that pain is what is moving them foward. However, their unique perspectives on death, murder and personal sacrifice may eventually drive them apart.

With the return of the human typhoon comes the re-emergence of the Gun-ho Guns. Their determination has increased with the deaths of two fellow Guns. Moreover, as they experience Vash and his abilities their only wish is to defeat the freak. Some will say that these Guns through away their humanity to become killers. To those who know them, some now wish to Vash to protect what they feel is human. They may not support who their client is but they all would like to see Vash pay for what he has done. And wherever Vash and Wolfwood go there you will now find a Gun-ho Gun.

As the encounters with the Guns increase, Vash is starting to understand their twisted view on life. Their ideals may be just, but he has a difficult time forgiving their results. Vash has seen death in his existence. Only a few people really know how much he has seen, and even less are aware of how many murders he has committed. Despite the gravity of all that he continues to try to carry that pain on his back, hoping others would understand how precious life is to someone who happens to have seen it from the beginning. Wolfed may be lost, but Vash believes there are other out there that agree. If luck is on his side the Guns have not found them.

In this volume Nightow decides to present the perspective of those who are hunting Vash down. He really does not dissect his characters must, instead he focuses on there internal conflicts. I like how he has created a group with varied ideals and motivations, but as he has not developed these characters well I have been disappointed with how little they bring to the story. While Knives and the Guns are obviously a force that Vash must overcome, individually I have found some of the other random foes to be much more entertaining and at times just as difficult to contain. In many ways, I see most of the Guns as simply stylish ideas bringing unique designs and creative specialized fighting techniques. They look real cool and spice up the action but do little else.

While I was a little disappointed in the writing for this volume, the action was a lot of fun and Nightow's characters are a hoot. Nightow's creativity is never questioned, but at times I wonder if he can really give his characters as much substance as they have style. Rollerblading samurai, crazy puppeteers and jazzmen are just a few of his creations that stretch the imaginations of his readers through unique costume designs and even more bizarre fighting technique. On the other hand, his layout is lacking, in this volume its pretty darn confusing, and after 5 volumes of this franchise (3 vols. of Trigun and now 2 of Maximum) I am starting to wonder how much further he will develop his cast overall, for even his supporting cast, Millie and Meryl, have not had enough page time either. Despite my complaints, this title is still very fun and one of the better productions out there. As a whole, Vash's legend is grand and is well deserving of the attention it gets. I really wish there were some more for me to sink my teeth into, because when Nightow's imagination is on, his creations are some of the more sought out properties in recent memory. Trigun is a perfect example of that.



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