Trigun Maximum Vol. #06 -

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: 188
  • ISBN: 1-59307-351-8
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Trigun Maximum Vol. #06

By Eduardo M. Chavez     April 03, 2006
Release Date: August 03, 2005

Trigun Maximum Vol.#06
© Dark Horse

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

What They Say
"The power I gained was death at my fingertips"

Many Gung-Ho Guns have fallen victim to defeat and therefore death, but not by the bullets of the reluctant hero, Vash the Stampede. And even if the "Guns" seem to be dwindling, that doesn't mean there's a lack of violent freaks tearing up the planet. In "the Gunslinger" Vash is running into all sorts of weirdoes with guns. Enter Yinwei and Yanwei, two sides of a flipped-out coin, a dynamite duo. But Vash will find a way to shorten their fuses. All the while, Knives and his crew have something mysterious going on behind the scenes, and it doesn't look good for Vash and the people he lives to protect.

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 Naitou Yasuhiro on the cover and spine. This cover features a mellowed out Vash the Stampede walking through the desert with Wolfwood, Meryl and Millie. Upon turning the book over, the opposite cover features a crazy collage of the new Gung-ho Guns.
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 squid monster (??) 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. This volume features a six-long ato-gaki from Naitou and his adventures with McFarlane Toys. There is even a plug for Wonderful presentation.
While I am not a real being fan of Naitou'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.
Naitou's layout is still his biggest weakness. This had to be the best example of how Naitou cannot draw for anyone else's perspective. I think the only person who can decipher what is going on might be Naitou 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 Naitou'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)
With so much of a burden on his shoulders how or why does Vash continue his journey? He does not fight to kill or harm; his life is entirely about peaceful resolutions. All life on this planet is equally important to him and he takes it all as his personal responsibility. And what of his friends and their fears focused on him? All of that must end up eventually weighing in on him. Nevertheless, now Vash is continues because he is determined to see his ideals succeed and survive.
Another round with the Gun-ho Guns has come and gone; now there is little time to recoup and recharge.  There are crimes against humanity occurring everyday. Even if Vash is not directly involved the pain does not let up. Survival depends on the cooperation of everyone on this planet, so to Vash each day is another chance to teach pacifism and another day of suffering.
Someday all this has to come to an end. Knives wishes that day would come soon. While his Guns play with Vash, he has his own personal plans he is working on. Now being hunted down by Vash, he needs to complete his mission off his initial terms. And as he finds out, even for someone superhuman as he nothing is ever given in life. When you have to deal others, anything is possible and nothing ever goes as easy as you wish. That is one reason why Knives hates humanity, but his dealings with mankind is proving much more difficult than he thought. All of a sudden his mortality is in danger and that is brought on by his own folly (just like the humans he hates). Any species will always fight for its own preservation. Even if it seems to occasionally bring its own destruction, it will work to maintain its survival all along the way. But Knives has no one to share anything with; even his own life might mean very little.
And what if either one did change? Would they ever be accepted? Would people stop throwing rocks at them? Would the fear end and would they slow down time?

It only took six volumes and almost a dozen guns but Naitou finally reveals why the guns hate Vash so much. The reason has been in out in the open for so long, but I never thought it would be a manga standard - miscommunication. When I realized this I honestly was briefly outraged, by how Naitou could drag out this title over something so trivial. Then again, in hindsight, this really was a great idea. Since the start of the series Vash tries so hard protect people from far more than Knives; he tries to protect them from themselves. Human folly (their fear of the Cyclone and their greed for the bounty on his head) destroyed more cities than Vash and Knives. Naitou took Vash out of the public eye between the two series trying to illustrate how a world without the walking natural disaster would still recreate Vash over and over again like a type of boogeyman whenever disaster would strike. Vash was everywhere, all destructive and most importantly uncaring to the majority of the public. How could a man who only lives to give humanity a chance for survival continue when what he protects believes he is holding a grudge against them all?

Well, with a brother like Knives running around it is not too difficult to understand. Naitou works on Knives like he has been around for most of the manga. He just tosses him into the plot along side some new characters leaving the details to the reader to either interpret or straight up make up along the way. Knives' hatred towards humanity is still his driving force, but what Naitou does in this volume finally makes him feel a bit more tangible. One can say Knives has been this omnipresent evil from the start. As soon as he was introduced you knew he was the villain to Vash's heroism. Knives rejected humanity and above all else wants to destroy it, in protest of its contradictions. Now his life is in question. He has become the hunted and as he makes his moves his mortality, after hundreds of years, is coming into question.

This is a critical moment in the series for whatever plot there is left in this title. The rest of the cast (outside of Vash & friends) are finally moving into their roles, as they are just now contributing to the story. Sure lurking in the shadows and showing up in flashbacks means something, but now Naitou is giving them a chance to be more than just background/filler. Now we these characters have motivation and concerns. They are much more human now than ever, even with all the freakish killer instinct. Now I can understand the hatred, the loneliness and the vengeance. It finally has some meaning and I can enjoy reading this series more because of that.

Maybe the art is still not there and I am still not completely sold since this series is still running. At least Naitou has remembered manga is not just funky costumes and confusing layouts there is also that thing called writing! Big improvement (but mainly because the action level dropped).


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