• Trigun


    published in Empire No.85, Sydney


    Spaghetti westerns have been an influence on Japanese cinema ever since Sergio Leone remade Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo into A Fistful of Dollars. Anime – by way of numerous apocalyptic wasteland sci-fi titles – has similarly embraced the spaghetti western. Trigun is definitely in such a terrain, with Vash The Stampede as a legendary gunman trudging across a devastated Earth. Its antique desertscapes contain many forms of futuristic technology, leaving the depicted world with an artificial and stylized veneer.

    Yet while the landscape and its iconography is a bizarre mix – itself not unusual in most anime – the character of Vash is the most perplexing. The series veers from idiotic comedy to biting drama, with Vash mostly seeming to be a complete goof dressed in red leather and adorned with blonde spiky hair. This makes the first half of this 26 episode series appear not what it really is – until it becomes likely Vash is gripped by severe mental instability. The second half of the series withholds numerous protracted revelations to do with Vash, his non-human status, and the balance of life on Earth. Trigun is a slow unfolding of these mysteries, creating a long-arc journey that wildly yet credibly smoothes out this part-crazy/part-mournful mutation of spaghetti-sci-fi.