HomeAnimeANIME REVIEW | "Trigun" Reboot Goes a More Serious & Focused Route

ANIME REVIEW | "Trigun" Reboot Goes a More Serious & Focused Route

ANIME REVIEW | "Trigun" Reboot Goes a More Serious & Focused Route

1998’s Trigun is a classic, and there’s no way to deny that fact. On top of it being a fun and exciting series, it also managed to tell a better story than even Yasuhiro Nightow’s original manga. So is there a reason for this new version — aptly titled Trigun Stampede — twenty-five years later? Well…not really, but I am glad that it exists.

For the most part, the story main narrative stays the same. Vash the Stampede (Yoshitsugu Matsuoka/Johnny Yong Bosch) is a wanted man, with reporters Meryl Stryfe (Sakura Ando/Sarah Roach) and her boss Roberto De Niro (Kenji Matsuda/Ben Bryant) tagging along his journey. Vash aims to right a wrong of his past, with his brother Millions Knives (Junya Ikeda/Austin Tindle) being the source of his current turmoil. The planet Noman’s Land is nearing its last drop of humanity, and Vash’s ability to communicate with the plants is one of the final breaths of hope the planet has. With the assistance of Meryl, Roberto, and one Nicholas D. Wolfwood (Yoshimasa Hosoya/David Matranga), Vash treads a pacifistic path in a truly violent world.

Right out of the gate, longtime fans will notice some big differences. Gone is Meryl’s coworker Milly Thompson, instead replaced by an older, booze-hounding senpai. There’s also a more focused goal in the narrative, with Vash no longer just avoiding capture. Instead, we’re given a story about a race against time to save what remains of the human race, with Knives acting as a villain with his own ideas for life on Noman’s Land. But does this concept work overall?

For starters, the more wackier and sillier side of Vash is all-but-gone in Trigun Stampede. He no longer craves donuts, hot women, or a place to hide. In fact, he’s more focused on saving the world rather than himself, with Vash doing his best to find peaceful solutions to even the most gun-heavy problems. Despite the huge bounty on his head (now just $$6 million, and not $$60 billion), Vash bravely shows up where he feels he’s needed, even if it might give him a new scar or two on his body.

Going a more serious route with Trigun might raise an eyebrow or two, and it doesn’t always hit its mark. However, one cannot but feel compelled by the story that’s being told here in Trigun Stampede. There’s a huge emphasis on environmental issues on display, a good topic to discuss considering the current state of our world. One also commends on the wall that’s built between humans and the humanoid plants, with some commentary about race and genocide thrown in for good measure.

But do all these changes keep Vash, Meryl, Wolfwood, and Knives the same as their original counterparts? For the most part, yes. Despite Vash and Wolfwood’s wackier sides being gone, their more focused aspects revolved around the fight between good & evil are still there. Meryl still has a knack for wanting to find the truth about Vash, even though this version does it to tell a story rather than report damage. As for Knives, he’s still a bad guy, but he’s got more dimensions than the cutout he was in the original anime.

Yet it’s the tone of Trigun Stampede that will split certain viewers. With the fun aspect nearly gone, much of the action and mayhem go a much darker route. The violence is no long just a crazy spectacle; it’s a showcase of just how bad humanity’s gotten in Noman’s Land. A joke or snide comment may be uttered by these characters here and there, but they come more from being in a frustrating situation rather than just being funny.

And you know what? These changes are a-okay. Yes, they’re not perfect, but it doesn’t do anything to harm or erase the original Trigun and its legacy. Both versions can — and should — exist to showcase different sides of the same characters. After all, if we can be good with how different the characters of Batman are between the 90s animated series and HBO’s Harley Quinn, then we should absolutely be cool with seeing another variation of Vash the Stampede.

A lot of props should be given to Studio Orange for their work on Trigun Stampede. After impressing the masses with their adaptation of BEASTARS, the 3D animation team go one step further with bringing Noman’s Land and its citizens to life. The facial expressions beam with life, the action is heart-pounding exciting, and the towns themselves are chock-full of character. (It makes me wish I could play a video game version of this adaptation!)

Both English and Japanese versions of the cast do a great job with adding emotion to their characters. Hearing Bosch return as Vash is like seeing an old friend return, this time more focused and mature. Matsuoka also delivers a fantastic performance as Vash in Japanese, bringing the same level of energy and heart he does with his Bell Cranel voice work. But when Knives is on the screen, both Ikeda and Tindle deliver a level of tension so thick, that one would need a katana to merely scratch it!

The score Tatsuya Kato (Food Wars!, Matoi the Sacred Slayer) showcases is vastly different from Tsuneo Imahori’s. Where Imahori was more about delivering cool songs, Kato instead focuses on the moods that occur. It results in some great tracks, many of which add layers of emotion and unease to some of the show’s harder-hitting moments. However, one can’t help but smile when Kato sneaks in an Easter Egg or two from Imahori’s original soundtrack, such as a familiar-sounding flute melody.

As for the opening and ending theme songs, it’s about 50/50 good and bad. Kvi Baba’s “TOMBI” may have some cool visuals in the opening, but the song itself is unfortunately bland in comparison. However, Salyu and Haruka Nakamura’s “Hoshi no Kuza α” is hauntingly beautiful, serving as a great peaceful song that contrasts with the chaos that unfolds every episode.

Check out the premiere episode here!

Trigun Stampede is vastly different from its 1998 counterpart. Thankfully, its presentation is strong enough to warrant both versions’ existence. While the narrative can be touch-and-go in a few episodes, its tone and emotion finds ways to deliver many punches to the gut and heart. For those wanting to see a wackier Vash the Stampede, stick with the Madhouse version; if you want a little more emotion and drama, then Trigun Stampede easily has you covered.

Voice Acting: (Japanese & English dubs)
Final Grade (not an average):

Trigun Stampede can be viewed on Crunchyroll, VRV, and Hulu. It has been licensed by Crunchyroll. Episodes 1-10 were observed for review. Promotional consideration provided by Crunchyroll.

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The J-POP king of America, Evan has been bringing the hottest sounds of the Land of the Rising Sun to the English-speaking public since his college radio days. He's also an expert in the gaming, anime, & manga realms, never afraid to get critical when the times call for it. Born & bred in Boston, he achieved his biggest dream yet by making the big move to Tokyo, Japan in Summer 2023! For personal inquiries, contact Evan at evan@b3crew.com. For press/band inquiries, write to us at thebastards@bostonbastardbrigade.com. (Drawing by AFLM of Wicked Anime)