Cover of the first English manga volume
|Genre||Action, post-apocalyptic, space Western|
|Written by||Yasuhiro Nightow|
|Published by||Tokuma Shoten|
|Magazine||Monthly Shōnen Captain|
|Original run||May 1995 – February 1997|
|Written by||Yasuhiro Nightow|
|Published by||Shōnen Gahōsha|
|Magazine||Young King OURs|
|Original run||December 1997 – May 2007|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Satoshi Nishimura|
|Produced by||Shigeru Kitayama|
|Written by||Yōsuke Kuroda|
|Music by||Tsuneo Imahori|
|Original network||TV Tokyo|
|Original run||April 1, 1998 – September 30, 1998|
Trigun (Japanese: トライガン, Hepburn: Toraigan) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Yasuhiro Nightow. The manga was serialized in Tokuma Shoten's Shōnen Captain in 1995 with three collected volumes when the magazine was discontinued in 1997. The series continued in Shōnen Gahosha's Young King OURs magazine, under the title Trigun Maximum (トライガンマキシマム, Toraigan Makishimamu), where it remained until finishing in 2007. Set in fictional planet known as No Man's Land, the plot follows Vash the Stampede, a famous gunman who is constantly fighting bounty hunters seeking to obtain the prize money. As the narrative progresses, Vash's past is explored. Trigun originated from Nightow's fascination with Western movies and wanted Vash to contrast cowboys by avoiding killing enemies and thus explore more the characters involved in story arcs.
Both manga were adapted into an anime television series in 1998. Madhouse animated the TV series which aired on TV Tokyo from April 1, 1998 to September 30, 1998, totaling 26 episodes. The show aired in the United States starting in 2003, as part of Cartoon Network's Adult Swim programming block. An animated feature film called Trigun: Badlands Rumble was released in April 2010. A one volume manga has also been written by a group of multiple artists.
Critical response to the manga has been generally positive based on Vash and his friends' actions and relationships, as well as the handling of action scenes. However, critics disliked Vash's predicament in regards to his pacifism repeated and the plot being hard to understand. The anime received similar positive response with multiple writers referring to it as one the best anime series from the late 1990s.
Trigun revolves around a man known as "Vash the Stampede" and two Bernardelli Insurance Society employees, Meryl Stryfe and Milly Thompson, who follow him around in order to minimize the damages inevitably caused by his appearance. Most of the damage attributed to Vash is actually caused by bounty hunters in pursuit of the sixty billion double dollar bounty on Vash's head for the destruction of the city of July. However, he cannot remember the incident due to retrograde amnesia, being able to recall only fragments of the destroyed city and memories of his childhood. Throughout his travels, Vash tries to save lives using non-lethal force. He is occasionally joined by a priest, Nicholas D. Wolfwood, who, like Vash, is a superb gunfighter with a mysterious past. As the series progresses, more about Vash's past and the history of human civilization on the planet Gunsmoke is revealed.
After leaving college, Yasuhiro Nightow had gone to work selling apartments for the housing corporation Sekisui House, but struggled to keep up with his manga drawing hobby. Reassured by some successes, including a one-shot manga based on the popular video game franchise Samurai Spirits, he quit his job to draw full-time.
To contrast Vash from the typical heroes in action films, Nightow portrayed him as a pacifist since he did not want his lead character to be a murderer. Throughout the story, Vash avoids killing enemies by disarming them and avoids inflicting mortal wounds during combat. His cheerful personality was used to highlight this trait with his catchphrase being: "Hey, sorry. Love and peace?" Other elements of the manga were based on real life. Wolfwood's name was taken from the lead singer as his image for the priest. He is also modeled on Tortoise Matsumoto from the band Ulfuls.
In the making of the manga, Nightow attempts to draw the fight scenes carefully as he has "all these images running through my head of characters moving this way and that, and contorting into all sort sorts of amazing action poses, but thinking about it and putting it to paper are always two different things". In regards top the narrative, Nigthow uses a "logical and intuitive manner" as his modus operandi in order to make readers being capable of following it.
However, Shōnen Captain was canceled early in 1997, and when Nightow was approached by the magazine Young King Ours, published by Shōnen Gahōsha, they were interested in him beginning a new work. Nightow though, was troubled by the idea of leaving Trigun incomplete, and requested to be allowed to finish the series. The publishers were sympathetic, and the manga resumed in 1998 as Trigun Maximum (トライガンマキシマム, Toraigan Makishimamu). The story jumps forward two years with the start of Maximum, and takes on a slightly more serious tone, perhaps due to the switch from a shōnen to a seinen magazine. Despite this, Nightow has stated that the new title was purely down to the change of publishers, and rather than being a sequel it should be seen as a continuation of the same series. The 14th tankōbon was published on February 27, 2008.
Shōnen Gahōsha later bought the rights to the original three volume manga series and reissued it as two enlarged volumes. In October 2003 the US publisher Dark Horse Comics released the expanded first volume translated into English by Digital Manga, keeping the original right-to-left format rather than mirroring the pages. Trigun Maximum followed quickly, and the entire 14-volume run was released over a five-year period from May 2004 to April 2009. Translations into French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish have also been released.
An anthology manga titled, Trigun: Multiple Bullets (トライガン マルチプルバレッツ, Toraigan Maruchipuru Barettsu) featuring short stories written by several manga artists such as Boichi, Masakazu Ishiguru, Satoshi Mizukami, Ark Performance, Yusuke Takeyama, Yuga Takauchi and Akira Sagami was released in by Shonen Gahosha in Japan in December 2011 and in North America on March 6, 2013.
Madhouse produced an anime series based on the manga, also titled Trigun. Directed by Satoshi Nishimura, the series was broadcast on TV Tokyo from April 1 to September 30, 1998. It is licensed for DVD and Blu-ray in the United States by Funimation Entertainment, who re-released it on DVD on October 27, 2010. The show failed to garner a large audience in Japan during its original showing in 1998, but gained a substantial fan base following its United States premiere on Adult Swim in early 2003. Nightow has stated that due to the finality of the anime's ending, it is unlikely any continuation will be made.
A Trigun film was originally announced in February 2008 to be released in 2009. The film titled Trigun: Badlands Rumble opened in theaters in Japan on April 24, 2010, and was first shown to an American audience at the Sakura-Con 2010 in Seattle, Washington on, April 2, 2010.
At Anime Expo 2010, Funimation announced that they had licensed the film as they had with the TV series and planned to release it into theaters. The film made its US television premiere on Saturday, December 28, 2013, on Adult Swim's Toonami block.
The anime series is frequently listed as one of the best anime series; in 2001, Wizard's Anime Magazine listed Trigun as the 38th best series on their "Top 50 Anime released in North America", and in 2010 The Los Angeles Times journalist Charles Solomon placed the series as the seventh best anime on his "Top 10". In 2009, Trigun Maximum won the Best Comic Seiun Award at the 48th Japan Science Fiction Convention. The success of the animated series increased the popularity of the original manga source material with the US release's first volume run of 35,000 sold out shortly after release. The second volume concluded the original series early the next year, and went on to be the top earning manga release of 2004.
Critical response to the manga has been positive. Manga Life enjoyed the setting, comparing it to the American Midwest in the 1800s. They called the lead's characterization "fantastic" based on the personality he displays when facing enemies as he refuses to murder anybody. Anime News Network compared the series with the chambara manga Rurouni Kenshin based on both's pacifist messages to the audience and how challenging is this message explored in a similar fashion to comic book hero Batman. He also praised the fight scenes' handling as well as villains' designs. The clash between him and his antagonist was also praised for his execution and artwork. However, Mania Entertainment said some events that happened to Vash might come across as repetitive because his pacifism keeps backfiring and no proper solution has yet been given. As Vash's philosophy was tested in the finale, Fandom Post praised the consequences of his actions. While Vash and Knives' was popular, to the point Mania referred to their final fight as "the stuff of legend." On the other hand, the book Manga: The Complete Guide provided criticism to some parts of the narrative, finding it difficult to follow but still enjoyable. The artwork was also praised in the character designs with Wolfwood being called as one of the most stylish manga and anime characters.
In regards to the anime adaptation, Theron Martin of Anime News Network gave the anime adaptation a B+ praising the writing stating, "The series never wallows in the clichés inherent to this format simply because the surprisingly high quality of its writing never allows that to happen." However he continued to criticize the visuals stating, "Character rendering regularly looks more like rough drafts than refined final products, with the artists often struggling just to stay on model." Mike Toole of Anime News Network named Trigun as one of the most important anime of the 1990s.
Escapist Magazine columnist H.D. Russell reviewed the anime adaptation of the series in early 2016, as part of the "Good Old Anime Review" section focusing on popular anime of the 1990s to early 2000s. Though, noting the series hasn't aged well in terms of animation and English voice acting quality, Russell states the depth of the characters and moral themes of the series more than compensate for its faults. Russell concluded his review giving Trigun a rank of four out of a five stars stating, "Trigun is very often overshadowed by its close cousin Cowboy Bebop, which is sad, because it truly is a delight to watch. Despite having only decent voice acting (with a few exceptions), average music, and relatively static visuals, Trigun is an absolute blast that had me laughing and thinking the whole way. While it's not perfect, it is fun and it does ask the questions that will make viewers ponder for years to come without ever offering them an answer. Trigun is one that went straight from my backlog to my heart and is truly greater than the sum of its parts." Despite its relative popularity in the West, Trigun never gained widespread appeal to Japanese audiences. Suggested factors include the "old west" setting, European style character names and a lack of Japanese cultural elements. This would make Trigun one of the rare examples of an anime that is far more successful in the West than it was within its country of origin.
- Theron Martin (November 23, 2010). "Trigun DVD - The Complete Series". Anime News Network. Retrieved February 25, 2014.
- Loveridge, Lynzee (October 29, 2016). "7 Anime That Take You to The Wild Wild West - The List". Anime News Network. Retrieved December 6, 2019.
- Pope, Kyle (March 23, 2003). "Trigun - Introduction - The Edit List". Anime News Network. Retrieved August 4, 2018.
- Erickson, Hal (2005). Television Cartoon Shows: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, 1949 Through 2003 (2nd ed.). McFarland & Co. pp. 873–874. ISBN 978-1476665993.
- "Trigun Movie Finally Dated, For Spring 2010". Animekon. Retrieved October 16, 2009.
- "[12th Japan Expo] Entrevista a Yasuhiro Nightow" (in Spanish). Ramen Para Dos. July 20, 2011. Archived from the original on April 24, 2017. Retrieved March 8, 2020.
- "Anime Expo 2009". Anime Expo. March 29, 2012. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
- "GUNNING FOR ANSWERS! AN INTERVIEW WITH TRIGUN CREATOR YASUHIRO NIGHTOW 5/26/06". Dark Horse Comics. Retrieved December 18, 2020.
- "When Young King Ours invited me to do some work for them, they were hoping for a new piece, but I was troubled by leaving Trigun unfinished. I told them I wouldn't feel like I had done my work unless I finished it, plus I was attached to it, and I asked them if they'd let me finish it." interview with Nightow in the September 2000 Manga no Mori newsletter, translated by sumire.
- "Nightow stated that there is no difference in the story between the two titles, and the only reason for the change is because of the switch of publishing house." summary of discussion panel with Nightow Archived 2016-01-24 at the Wayback Machine at Anime Expo 2000, in Anaheim, California.
- "Trigun: Multiple Bullets TPB" (in Japanese). Shonen Gahosha. Retrieved February 3, 2014.
- "Trigun: Multiple Bullets TPB". Dark Horse Comics. Retrieved February 3, 2014.
- "News: Funimation Gets Trigun TV Anime Series on BD/DVD". AnimeNewsNetwork.
- "Funimation Gets Trigun TV Anime". Anime News Network. February 14, 2010.
- "When asked as to whether or not Trigun could spawn a sequel, he said that it would be unlikely given the story brings itself to a natural close." from discussion panel at Anime Expo, as above.
- Loo, Egan (February 27, 2008). "Animated Trigun the Movie Planned for 2009 in Japan". Anime News Network. Retrieved February 8, 2020.
- Loo, Egan (February 22, 2010). "Seattle's Sakura-Con Hosts Trigun Film Premiere, Staff". Anime News Network. Retrieved February 8, 2020.
- "Funi Adds Live Action Moyashimon Live Action, More". Anime News Network. July 2, 2010. Retrieved July 3, 2010.
- "Toonami Movie Month Concludes". Toonami's official Tumblr. December 18, 2013. Retrieved December 28, 2013.
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- "Macross F, Trigun Maximum Win at Japan Sci-Fi Con". Anime News Network. July 4, 2009. Retrieved March 7, 2015.
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- Chavez, Eduardo M. "Trigun Maximum Vol. #04". Mania Entertainment. Archived from the original on November 10, 2010. Retrieved March 9, 2020.
- Leary, Ben (May 6, 2016). "Trigun Maximum Vol. #14 Manga Review". Fandom Post. Archived from the original on February 22, 2020. Retrieved February 22, 2020.
- Russell, H.D. "8 Anime Antagonists That We Secretly Like". Escapist Magazine. Archived from the original on November 23, 2018. Retrieved March 9, 2020.
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- Leary, Ben. "Trigun Maximum Vol. #012". Mania Entertainment. Archived from the original on February 21, 2009. Retrieved March 9, 2020.
- Thompson, Jason (October 9, 2007). Manga: The Complete Guide. New York, New York: Del Rey. p. 375. ISBN 978-0-345-48590-8. OCLC 85833345.
- DeLeon, Jian (January 23, 2013). "The 25 Most Stylish Anime Characters". Complex. Retrieved November 2, 2014.
- Toole, Mike (June 5, 2011). "Evangel-a-like - The Mike Toole Show". Anime News Network. Retrieved November 20, 2015.
- Russell, H.D. "Good Old Anime Reviews: Trigun - Love and Peace!". escapistmagazine.com. Escapist Magazine. Retrieved June 7, 2016.
- Surat, Daryl (Winter 2011), Otaku USA, 5, Sovereign Media, p. 37
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