Trigun Maximum Vol. #05 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: C

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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: 206
  • ISBN: 1-59307-344-5
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Trigun Maximum Vol. #05

By Eduardo M. Chavez     February 13, 2006
Release Date: May 04, 2005

Trigun Maximum Vol.#05
© Dark Horse

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

What They Say

The intensity of Trigun Maximum increases with the turn of each page in this fifth, action-packed volume, "Break Out." Vash the Stampede and his cohorts remain locked in a frenetic and terribly destructive battle with the remaining members of the Gung-ho Guns, who are terribly resistant to defeat. The bitter feud promises reveal secrets about both Vash and his mortal enemies. Just when you thought this series had reached its most feverish pitch, Yasuhiro Nightow turns up the heat in his wildly popular manga series, Trigun Maximum!

The Review
Trigun Maximum maintains most of the wonderful packaging concepts originally used by Shonen Gahosha for the Japanese production. Printed right to left in a tall B6 book, Dark Horse uses the original cover art and logo and even keeps the kanji reading of Yasuhiro Nightow on the cover and spine. This cover features a suffering Vash the Stampede in his trademark red overcoat. Upon turning the book over, the opposite cover features a crazy collage of the Gung-ho Guns and Vash's gang underneath a small blurb for this volume.

One thing that has impressed me is how Dark Horse provided the alternative cover art inside both covers. The alternative cover is in black and white, and has the color covers re-done in a baseball theme. DH has kept the original volume header and all the chapter headers (with kana) as well. 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, as it is now coming into its own.

Nightow’s layout is still his biggest weakness. This had to be the best example of how Nightow cannot draw for anyone else's perspective. I think the only person who can decipher what is going on might be Nightow and maybe his assistants, because I have to re-read and re-read his action pages repeatedly to get a vague idea of who might be doing what. Now quite deep into this series, I have to say the layout is starting to influence the reading experience. I can see Nightow's detailed backgrounds fine, but if I cannot understand what his cast is doing in his scenery this action title will become a chore to read.

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. Since Dark Horse does this so well, makes knowing this 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 known as someone who has committed crimes against humanity. This is something he struggles with every day. The sins he has committed were so great he has dedicated his life to preventing anything like that from ever occurring again. The memories are just so vivid and his pain it is difficult for him to even consider living any other way.

Some of Vash's memories apparently are also being shared by each of the Gung-ho Guns. The difference here is the perspective. Vash has regretted every moment of his life since that moment in July. He has had to live with a burden that weighs greatly on him everyday for what seems to be a few lifetimes. However, what has driven Vash to protect the lives he cherishes so much ends up being what has driven the Guns to madness and vengeance. This will continue until either Vash or the Guns are wiped out, and even then, the nightmare might not end.

What Vash has to remember, though, is that there are so many people out there trying to make new memories in their current lives no matter how hard life currently is. This planet might have all the odds against it and it might have a gang of guns ready to wipe out its last hope, but life will continue... No matter what the odds. If Wolfwood, Meryl and the rest continue to fight, they are raising those odds. Even those who fight against him are fighting for hope. If Vash continues the fight, he has to believe in those odds.

One of my biggest complaints about TriMax has been how Nightow has often deferred to having the action scenes dictate the plot. This was a complete contrast to wait made Trigun excellent. Compounding the problem is how Nightow cannot layout a manga. Having to read scenes repeatedly slows down the reading experience and stifles much of the impact of the art.

Once the action takes a break Nightow is able to start storytelling again. Finally, he starts tying up some of the storylines he has been working on for volumes. The character play seems to quickly move back to the forefront without the confusing layout and stilted pacing. All of a sudden, the humor is back and the good feelings of the anime seem to slowly remind readers why they started reading this title in the first place.

Unfortunately, we just do not get enough of that. Actually, we get less than a chapter of that, which is precluded by the introduction of yet another Gung-ho Gun.

Why Nightow continues to drag this story along when he gives readers glimpses of what should be the start to the climax, is frustrating. I have to say, I am shocked to know this manga will be going on for at least six more volumes after what transpired here. There is no doubt that Vash's actions in the past touched a large number of lives. I understand that Nightow is trying to make that a point, but to continue to add new characters seems to serve no purpose now. All it does is create more opportunities to repeat the process all over - walk around meeting people, run into a Gung-ho Gun, have a fight, survive and introduce new characters. Going by this logic, this could keep on going forever, as everyone connected to anyone at July could be out for revenge. (Give them a weird costume and weapon and they are set.)

I am at the point with this series where I almost dread the action. I wonder if Trigun Maximum is more about maximum fight scenes or maximum Trigun? It has become maximum disappointment for me even with Dark Horse's good production values.


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