Trigun Maximum Vol. #07 -

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Mania Grade: A-

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  • Art Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: All
  • Released By: Dark Horse
  • MSRP: 9.95
  • Pages: 192
  • ISBN: 1-59307-395-X
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Trigun Maximum Vol. #07

By Eduardo M. Chavez     April 29, 2006
Release Date: December 01, 2005

Trigun Maximum Vol.#07
© Dark Horse

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

What They Say
Unlike the subtitle of this new installment of Trigun Maximum, our hero, Vash the Stampede isn't exactly experiencing the happiest of days. Rather, his struggle with his brother-in-destruction, Knives, is escalating to extreme heights. But wait, before we get to the frantic action, creator Yasuhiro Nightow would like readers to know about these boys' mysterious pasts, and uses almost half of this issue presenting the lives of the two supermen before they fell to the dusty planet. This volume of Trigun Maximum promises not only past history, but future frenzy. For instance, you'll soon discover that not only is Vash not the only one of his kind, but neither is Wolfwood.

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 Naitou on the cover and spine. This cover features brothers Vash and Knives when they were kids hanging out with their best friend and caretaker Rem. Upon turning the book over, the opposite cover features a portrait of some scientists with their research subject. Very creepy image but critical to 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 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)
Let's go back years to a different time and place. The planet this story has been set on is nothing but another uninhabited place in the universe. Even more, it was not even on the radar to be colonized, but that is not really important now. Naitou has taken us to a critical point in the lives of the major characters in this story - when Vash and Knives were children traveling through space looking for a new place to call home.

If you look at the planet TriMax takes place on it is currently an under-developed dessert frontier. It is not self-sufficient and by no means, the ideal place for humanity to colonize. Not to say it does not have the requirements for life - light and water seem to definitely be present in some quantity. However, food is difficult to come by without the support of man made plants. Energy sources have not been developed fast enough to keep up with the increasing demand. Furthermore, living outside of the proximity of a plant period is considered suicide because of the risks that living in isolation under the harsh weather

There is a reason why mankind is there struggling to find native resources to maintain a slowly growing population of colonists. The reason is mankind's cruelty and its occasional lapses into brutality in the hope for progress.

When Vash and Knives were young, they were carefree and optimistic. They cared about themselves but they were very much concerned with the future of mankind. Then they found out about humanities potential. There is the potential that culminated in the creation of the science that sent them to space; conversely, there is the potential for torture and murder for the same purposes. Mankind can use, abuse and consume without understanding the consequences of its actions. Mankind can even kill each other for its selfish reasons. And if they are so dangerous why should they be supported? Why should they be given another chance?

Back then, Knives and Vash choose where each stood with humanity. Now you know why these brothers, who loved each other and Rem so much, cannot even be with each other anymore.

Whenever I read Trigun Maximum I seriously dread when the action takes over. Something seems to take control of Naitou's artistic mind whenever this happens and he simply forgets everything else. I often feel he needs those moments to drag out his story as he struggles to continue with his plot. From my perspective, this is almost like a crotch while he struggles to complete his storylines.

This volume with its prolonged flashback is an example of how good TriMax can get if Naitou avoids the distractions. Here we are treated to quite a bit of background for the two main characters of this series. We see them as youth, at a time when all the troubles they are presently going through have not yet surfaced. Vash and Knives each had different outlooks on life at the time. Their lives were both filled with optimism and hope; a complete contrast to what they are like now. Therefore, when we see the tragic moment that tears them apart, the entire series starts to make sense. To finally see this other side of their lives gives the current plotline meaning that was almost lost in all of those gunfights. We now know the history of the planet this story is set on and the history behind the rivalry. We also know the limits to their strengths and that alone should be considered a milestone in this series.

With just this one volume, Naitou has brought me back into Trigun Maximum. Getting to see Knives' history and his own personal struggle with humanity opened a new of dimension to the story that was missing. I felt this series had something of an unknown enemy in Knives, but as Naitou shows, he is really like his Gung-Ho Guns just a victim of his fears and loss. He is a more complete character now and that really makes Vash's conflict with him more significant. That also made every fight they had and all the damage they caused just as significant. Now some of those fights made sense (I still do not get most of the Gung-Ho Gun scenes) and I can finally see why Naitou has to occasionally employ them. If only he could do this more often, he possibly would have finished this title by now.


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