Trigun Vol. #8 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: A
  • Extras Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Trigun

Trigun Vol. #8

By Chris Beveridge     May 29, 2001
Release Date: May 29, 2001


Trigun Vol. #8
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.


What They Say
The choice one makes. The excuses one uses. What do they mean in the end if you odn't get what you want? The time for the ultimate showdown has arrived, but will Vash be able to save everyone? Can he save anyone?

The Review!
The final four episodes of Trigun are probably among the best that the series has to offer. These are some strong powerful moments here. And in the end, worth the filler to get to that's in the earlier part of the series.

Audio:
For our primary review, we continued to listen to this series in its original language of Japanese. The fairly minimal soundtrack for this show, including the music, continues to sound pretty solid here. Dialogue is crisp and clear throughout and the sound effects from the gunfights sound very good. There's not a lot of directionality, but the few instances of it across the front soundstage were placed quite well.

Video:
While the animation for the show doesn't seem to really improve all that much more here at the end, the transfer does appear to be better. Or some of the colors are just being better applied here. There are a number of sequences where the sky blue backgrounds just look so gorgeous that I started to be drawn to that more than the characters talking about things. Rainbows are still here, but very minimal for the most part and line noise is pretty minimal as well. Definitely a vast improvement over the earliest episodes.

Packaging:
As befitting the final cover, the true villain behind everything takes the center stage here with Knives bringing up his gun. We managed to snare a copy that had the chromium card in it and it really does add a lot to the look. The back cover has a couple pieces of animation and the typical very brief summary while also listing the episode numbers and titles. Kuroneko also makes a cute appearance! The insert is another shot of the cover with the episode's chapter selections available on the bottom.

Menus:
Just like with every previous volume of the series, I was just blown away by the menus that the folks at Nightjar have done here. The style of it combined with the music and the look just works perfectly. Trigun's menus are among the best that I've seen in three years of watching anime DVD's and this final one is no exception. Access time between the menus is good and selections are easy to figure out. Great stuff here.

Extras:
There are a couple of really good extras here, ones that generally make me really happy. The first one is the inclusion of the thirteen (yes, 13) original Laserdisc covers that were used in Japan. It's interesting to see which images where chosen to be used here for the DVD release. The conceptual artwork for Vash and Knives is interesting as well and we also finally get a textless opening and ending for the series, though it does indeed appear to be the one used for al the episodes. There's also a neat piece of hidden omake, but I'll leave that for elsewhere.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Well, I finally found myself completely enthralled by this series, even though it took awhile to get there. There's going to be a lot of spoilers in here since the show is hard to talk about otherwise, so stop reading now if you haven't seen it yet.

The show opens with Wolfwood still dealing with his shooting of the kid in the last episode. His own past continues to haunt him, and we see his raising as an orphan to his being placed under the care of Chapel, who is revealed to be one of the Gung Ho Guns. Chapel's training of Wolfwood over the years has led them to take shots at each other when they come across one another, to show who's really the best. We know Chapel's in town, but before any of that comes about we go through a couple of emotional scenes among the characters, dealing with the death in the previous episode.

Milly is the hardest hit here, as she offscreen bares herself to Wolfwood and they finally get together, just for a brief time. Wolfwood decides the next morning to head out on his own again, only to find two of the Gung Ho Guns are in town, with one going after Vash and the other being Chapel, who takes the game up anew with Wolfwood. The action sequences work well, though a lot of people aren't going to like that Wolfwood's final moments against Chapel are done offscreen, and done by Chapel under control from Legato. But doing this offscreen allows things to be done up in the viewers imagination, so you can't tell exactly how hurt Wolfwood really is.

This leads Wolfwood to the local church, where he offers his first confession and we see more glimpses of his past and what has made his life worth living. In a rare moment just near his death, he realizes that he must live with some force, only to quickly succumb right there. To make the episode even more powerful, it ends with Milly crying heavily in the background while Vash mentally prepares himself to end all of this once and for all.

The confrontations with the remaining Gung Ho Guns in the next two episodes as well as with Legato are equally powerful, in pushing Vash to his limits of mental strain and in keeping to his ideals as set forth by Rem. While I won't talk about the eleventh Gung Ho Gun, the final fight between Vash and Legato is worth more discussion. After being challenged by him, and dealing with the jazz player, Vash heads off into the mountainside to deal with Legato. He's reached his limit, and when Legato begins his deep throated speech about their duel, Vash simply fires several shots and knocks Legato off balance, and then places the gun to Legato's head.

Even here, Vash just can't bring himself to kill him. Legato knows this and keeps pushing, this time by controlling more of the villagers into the area with weapons and taking pot shots at Vash. But even still, Vash can't bring himself to pull the trigger. It's only when Milly and Meryl arrive to find Vash that things get worse. The villagers, still under Legato's control, begin beating the two of them down with their weapons, which leaves a strong image of Vash standing over Legato in the foreground and the crowd of villagers in the background, with the only real sound being the cries of the two women in pain.

And under this sunset sky, Vash pulls the trigger and ends Legato's life, just as Legato planned and wanted.

This eventually, and we're skipping practically an entire episode here, leads to the final confrontation between Vash and Knives as Vash intends to just end it for once and all. The final episodes first half is made up of flashbacks to the past when Vash and Knives first crashed on this barren world. Things move in increments of a year to ten years and to eighty years as we see the two traveling around. Knives intent on killing all the humans brings the first conflict between the two and where Vash shoots Knives in the leg, leaving Knives to be in complete disbelief and a surprising amount of pain.

The relationship between the two is showed pretty well here, though it certainly could have been fleshed out better in earlier episodes with a bit less filler. But the set up a couple of discs back for Knives and their Project Seeds involvement does help in bringing Knives to be the one behind the scenes of everything. The final confrontation here brings the 130 year history between the two to a good ending though as well as a new beginning.

For a lot of the second half of this series, the anime diverges wildly at times from the manga, though only those who've read the manga will really notice. The show does take on a different feel, turning much more serious and involved, but this is also typical of a lot of other shows. The final arc will probably cause people to feel one of two ways

1) This is what the show should have been from the beginning

2) This isn't what I started out with!

There is certainly enough material here to carry on into another series, though it's unfortunate that it won't happen. I'd love to see the result between Vash and Knives in their new relationship and I'd like to see Meryl and Vash actually get together. But at the same time I'm unsure if I could watch more Trigun knowing that there'd be no more appearances from Wolfwood. Wolfwood essentially made all the episodes he was in among my favorites in this series.

In the end, Trigun's been a bit of a mixed bag in my mind. The show had plenty of light and amusing moments in the first half, but not enough seriousness. The second half was a bit overlong but made up for it by having several powerful episodes. The series in general had too much filler, which was made all the more painful by an entire recap episode in the middle of the series. When it comes time to rewatch the show, I'll likely find myself watching the first disc and then skipping to the sixth disc and watching from there. The early episodes just left little impact on me in the end.

Trigun's not an essential show, but it's definitely one that is worth checking out. Maybe Pioneer will try it out as their next reduced price title and help introduce even more people to it.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Japanese LD Covers,Vash & Knives Conceptual Art,Textless Opening,Textless Ending

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

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