Anime has been rising in popularity ever so steadily throughout the last decade. And with more series being released every year, how does one manage to stay around? Some shows, like One Piece, have managed to prolong their lifetime by continuously making episodes (once you get into your 600th installment, you are immortal–for good and bad reasons). However, some anime are just so good they refuse to fade into obscurity. I, my friends, will introduce you to what most probably have heard of. One of my personal favorites: Trigun.This particular show debuted in Japan in the late 90s. While not an initial success, its English dub which aired in the U.S. in 2003 was a surprising hit. The plot itself begins rather simple with an outlaw gunman, bandits, bounty hunters, and of course cute girls. While attempting to navigate the spoiler mines, I will say that Trigun keeps you on your toes. Our loveable hero (anti-hero?), Vash the Stampede, makes his way throughout the world–which is a barren wasteland reminiscent of frontier Mexico–while being pursued by numerous bounty hunters, as well as two lovely ladies working for an insurance company: Meryl and Milly. Vash himself is a jokey and somewhat unpredictable character, who at first glace seems unreliable. Other characters question whether he truly earned the title of “60 Billion Double-Dollar Man.” But, when there’s no way around a situation, that’s when Vash shows his Clint Eastwood side.
Epic gunfights and dramatic action peppered with bits of comedy take the stage as this western flick shifts into full gear. Vash’s gunmanship is second-to-none, that is until he meets the traveling priest: Nicholas D. Wolfwood. Wolfwood is one of my favorite characters, both because of his conflicting personality and his excellent marksmanship. Why does a priest carry that much firepower? You’ll just have to watch to find out! The show itself continues in a spaghetti western theme well into the second season, however, that’s when it takes a dark twist and the truth about the world is revealed in a climactic science fiction ending. I won’t spoil anything, but his last duel is something you’ll want to see.Trigun does show its age–but not in a bad way! The animation style very nostalgic, and the lack of shameless fanservice despite being a guy’s anime give it a very mature feel. Granted, most of the humor is slapstick, but it is expertly inserted to lower the tension when the audience needs a break. The soundtrack itself is a perfect pairing of sci-fi and classic western to get you into the mood for some gunplay. And the opening itself grabs you by the neck and forces you onto the couch in preparation for the most epic anime western you’ll ever see. In terms of the dubbing, a lot of older anime are lackluster when it comes to English voice actors. Not Trigun! It is professionally voiced by an expert cast, and was in fact the reason Johnny Yong Bosch is my favorite VA. Well this and Code Geass, but that’s for another article. The performance given by the cast is very passionate, and is half the reason the show is so good. So good in fact that despite its age, it continues to crop up all over the place. I constantly see Trigun memorabilia and cosplayers at every convention, and it is (in my experience) one of the most recognized animes of the last generation. I was literally stopped by a police officer while cosplaying as Vash, who then frisked me and proceeded to ask: “Where’s your gun Vash?” After which all of his comrades booed me for not having one. The body armor and rifles said high security, the laughs said anime fans. I will admit that it has little in the way of romance or other features that may pique the interest of female viewers, but if you are in the mood for a good cowboy flick, I highly recommend Trigun. Oh hey I almost forgot! They actually made a movie in 2010. Trigun: Badlands Rumble is an action-comedy throwback to the first season of the original Trigun. The things I’d say about it are the same as for what I just said above, the returning of the famous cast and the introduction of new villains all make it a worthwhile movie. You don’t have to watch the series, or even be familiar with it, to enjoy and understand the movie. FYI I bought the collector’s edition because I love it so much.