EX provides us with this description and critique of the popular Trigun anime property.

—by Ivevei Upatkoon
On a barren, dusty planet baked by the rays of two suns, colonists eke out a miserable existence in small settlements reminiscent of the Wild West. It has been hundreds of years since the Ship brought them to this world; people know the old stories but no one remembers the lost technology that allows them to raise crops on this inhospitable land. In this lawless time stands a lone gunman. His name is Vash the Stampede. He is the Humanoid Typhoon, the man responsible for wiping out the entire city of July. The price on his head: $$60 billion (double dollars). Truly a man to be dreaded. Where he goes, destruction follows.
Well, if the premise sounds dark, the actual anime is far from it. TRIGUN, based on a currently-running manga of the same name, is comical, bright, and full of "feel good" messages. This reviewer's first impression of Vash was of Ito (GUNMM) crossed with Saeba Ryo (CITY HUNTER). Vash is a tall, thin, blonde guy, and his penchant for acting like a clueless idiot belies his amazing marksmanship and intelligence. Did I mention he has a thing for women?
Because of the way Vash seems to attract trouble, an insurance company has set two agents to follow him around and make sure he causes as little damage as possible. The people for this job turn out to be two women whose characters more than succeed in matching Vash's. Meryl "Derringer" Streep (played by Tsuru Hiromi!) and Millie "Stungun" Thompson stick to Vash like flies on garbage, much to the chagrin of the man himself. The former never fails to berate Vash at every opportunity while being polite to a fault, and the latter gives a whole new meaning to the word "airhead." They may seem like your typical quirky female sidekicks, but they really are fun to watch, and surprisingly refreshing.
In fact, if I had to give one reason why I think TRIGUN is one of the best anime TV series this season, it would be the characters. Some of the more cynical folks might dismiss Vash as just another CITY HUNTER wannabe. While I admit that that side of Vash is somewhat less than original, when you add in "mysterious past," "tragic love," "partial memory loss," and "evil rival," and mix in a healthy dose of goodness and humanity, you do get a pretty memorable hero.
The series is on the episodic side, with several two-parters and a couple minor characters that stay on for a few episodes. The tightly sequenced stories, time-wise, give TRIGUN a strong sense of continuity that other shows of this format tend to lack. Despite his reputation for the contrary, Vash always winds up helping out some person in distress, albeit sometimes involuntarily. While it is fun, it also means the show is a little light on plot. The hope is that the series will soon begin to reveal more about Vash's past and his connection with the lost technology of the Ship.
Another strong point of TRIGUN would be its animation and art. The character designs are crisp, consistent, and interesting. The first few episodes look excellent, the colors and cel painting being particularly outstanding. Of course, with Madhouse at the helm one would not expect anything less. The animation quality has dropped a little recently, but it is still good enough that when scenes are incorporated into the opening for that episode, it works.
This is not the first anime to use an opening comprised of footage from within the episode itself. But it is perhaps the most successful in blending that footage with original opening animation. It is a testament to the quality of the art as well as the keen sense of the production staff. This series could easily have flopped in the hands of a less experienced studio, but luckily it shines in all areas.
TRIGUN has style and attitude, from the heavy metal BGM used in the opening right down to the grunge-style ending theme song done to clips of Vash sleeping, or doing laundry. It is not an intellectual trip, but it is fun and cool, and highly recommended. Just don't ask me what that weird cat has to do with the whole thing.
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