Mania Grade: NA
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- Audio Rating: N/A
- Video Rating: N/A
- Packaging Rating: N/A
- Menus Rating: N/A
- Extras Rating: N/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 Roman Martel
February 18, 2002
Release Date: May 29, 2001
Overall Rating: 4.8
(on a scale of 1-5)
English Acting: 4
Like any good western it all comes down to the final confrontation. It all comes down to two men facing each other, each armed with a trusty pistol, each one ready to take the other's life. Trigun is an anime western. And with this final disc, you get the final duel of the series and a very satisfying conclusion to Trigun.
From the beginning this series has been top notch in the technical department. There have been issues with rainbows and the picture, but I keep saying the story and characters keep pulling me in and end up not seeing these things. Once again I plead guilty. The picture looked great. The sound was just as good. And now for the last time I will say that the menus done by Nightjar are awesome! This series has the best set of menus I've every seen in anime and it is the scale by which all others must be judged. Great job on Trigun's menus. They simply rock. The keepcase came with the chrome card and that will get anyone's attention. The back contains all the info you need except the extras included. And the extras are great. You get all 13 laserdisc covers, you get some concept art of Knives and Vash, and you get textless opening and ending for the final episode (the animation for the final credit sequence is different, but don't watch it till you watch the disc. It contains spoilers). There is also a nice hidden extra. If you go to the scene select of the final episode you will see, where the previews are usually selectable, an item that revolves around everyone's favorite cat! Check it out!
I'll cover the final disc in the first part of my review (spoiler free) and then review the entire series (spoiler filled). So if you don't want to know the secrets of Trigun don't read past the asterisks!
The end of the journey comes fast and furious in this last disc of Trigun. Vash, Meryl, Millie and Wolfwood come to the end of their hero journeys and with each passing episode we see how they must face the final act on their own. The first episode deals with two more Gung-ho guns who seem to be bent on stopping Vash and his companions. This episode proves just how dangerous the hero quest is and that no matter how hard you try, people you care for get hurt or killed. It's a lesson that has been repeated in Trigun from the beginning and it comes through loud and clear in the first two episodes of this disc. Vash must confront his final hurdle, and the most pain he's ever felt in the third episode. And with the final episode it comes down to Vash versus Knives. The true western duel (or Samurai Duel courtesy of Akira Kurosawa) is used to its full potential. But with all that Vash has learned and become what choice will he make: to kill Knives, to kill himself or to make sure neither one leaves the duel alive?
The animation and sound are used with great skill in these final episodes. It's not that the animation or design improves; it's mostly the way the director chose to frame key shots or use angles and light to create mood or to give you the feelings of the characters without having the dialogue take over. There are even moments where the lack of sound and motion are used to great effect (reminiscent of many key shots in EVA). The director knew how to use the elements and proves it in these final episodes. The use of the sound and animation do wonders to pull the story forward.
The plot itself is basically the hero's quest. It's not new or original. But it's done in such a way that it pulls you in. These last episodes have the main hero dealing with the last stages of his journey. All his friends and supporters have to drop away and leave him to face and confront his dark side on his own terms. What makes this ending different than most hero journey's is Vash's character: he opposes confrontation, especially killing. It is this ordeal that can make Trigun a tragedy if Vash is forced to destroy all his faith and hope because of Knives. This is handled so well that you can't see a way for this to not end as a tragedy or a bittersweet ending. It was the way the character of Vash was written and executed that puts these final episodes in my top ten moments of anime.
The English acting is still awesome. Vash and Millie are perfect in their parts. This series relies so heavily on making Vash as real as possible. The ending works just the way it should, mostly because of the acting done by this voice actor. It's a shame I don't know who played what part from the Block o' Credits for the English cast. I think that the actor playing Vash deserves all the credit he can get for making the character come to life. Our mains do a great job most of the time. Wolfwood was still hit and miss, and I'm not sure what was going wrong with the portrayal of his part. And of course some the supporting characters were just a bit over the top and pulled me out of the story but for the most part this is a great dub. I applaud the cast.
Again the music was used to its fullest. A great job by the director and the composer with is soundtrack. This disc doesn't disappoint with the music supports and pulls forth the emotions it was meant to evoke. This is a great score that is up there with Yoko Kanno's work.
As for entertainment, well all I have to say is that this disc has a very satisfying conclusion. With all the building the series has done and the way it was going it delivers thrills as well as perfect dramatic moments. You get your laughs as well. Endings are tough to pull off, especially when you create a character who is as real and likable as Vash, but all things must end, and this series does it perfectly.
*** Series Review***
Trigun is the final series of the three "space cowboy" shows that came over recently. The other two, Cowboy Bebop and Outlaw Star, were very good but I feel that Trigun surpasses both in several areas. It has been a real pleasure to watch and I'm eager to see it again and see how well it works with a more continuous viewing. It's a shame that this series could not have been released in a more rushed manor. One a month or something like that. I think that one disc every two months hurt the series more than helped it. Usually by the time the next disc showed up you had to rewatch the last few episodes to reorient yourself. But enough griping. Just what is so good about Trigun anyway?
Simply put Trigun is a character study. It is not a space adventure with cowboy overtones, and it's not a dynamic adventure that focused more on the look, feel and style and not so much on the characters. Trigun is about Vash the Stampede and you finding who he is and what his fate will be. From the beginning of the series you are shown that Vash is the focus and that it is his character that will forge the story. I definitely got the feel that this story was well planned out and its execution came off perfectly.
What is interesting about this series is that is seems to be trying to be a comedy, and action, and a drama all at once. It seems to be pulling itself apart and it is a bit confusing, especially in the first half. But this is all a reflection of Vash the Stampede. Remember it is this character that forges the story. Vash is a clown. Vash is a cool gunman. Vash is a compassionate person. And all these elements make up the story. What seems to be filler in the early episodes is a slow and methodical way of showing just who Vash is. A character is what they do, and we get to see Vash in many different ways, reacting to many different situations. All this set up is key to making the ending work. You have to know Vash in all his masks so you know what he is feeling in those last four episodes.
There is a downside to this. We get to know Vash very well, but the rest of the cast becomes nothing more than tools to show what kind of person Vash is. As a result Meryl, Millie and Wolfwood become very flat characters. However they seem to have more behind them and it would be interesting to see those sides. Unfortunately the director only has 26 episodes, and since the focus of the story is Vash, it was a necessary sacrifice.
As to the western motif of the series, I found it to work rather well with the overall look and feel of the series. It did a great job of adding to the mood of Trigun and made it distinctive from Outlaw Star and Bebop. Was it necessary to make this story work? Not really. It was more of a stylistic choice but it didn't harm the series in the least bit.
I believe that he director did a excellent job with Trigun, his use of visual, sound and music was perfect to create the mood of key scenes. This was a well-crafted show on many levels and can be compared to EVA in that way. I think the director had a clear vision of how Trigun would play itself out and how it would be presented.
This series is worth seeing and worth seeing more than once. A second viewing will reveal more of the way the character of Vash is slowly created. I have to say that this series feels unfocused and a bit random for the first half. If you look at it as a slow revelation of who Vash the Stampede is, you'll get much more enjoyment out of it. I think that a second viewing will make that much clearer. This character study is definitely one of the better series to arrive on DVD this year. It's a shame it got overshadowed by Bebop and got a sucky release schedule. If you haven't tried this series it's worth seeing and worth enjoying. Trigun is definitely in the running for best, completed television series of 2001!
Roman J. Martel
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