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Trigun 1 - The $60,000,000,000 Man

Madman Entertainment/AV Channel . R4 . COLOR . 100 mins . PG . PAL


Traveling the wastelands of some barren alien landscape is a skinny white-boy in a red coat; the harsh sun glinting off his spiky blonde hair and '80s Lennon sunglasses. Leaving carnage in his wake, the exploits of this enigma, known as 'Vash the Stampede', precede him. Reportedly able to dodge bullets while laying waste to entire towns, this humanoid typhoon carries a $6,000,000,000 double-dollar bounty on his head. The truth be known, the damage from whence his notoriety springs is caused by his entourage of bounty hunters and assorted rogues of whom he manages to keep one step ahead.

But enough is enough, and now this source of over 300 Vash-related disasters has two more problems to contend with; ditzy, donut bearing insurance agents Meryl Stryfe and Milly Thompson. Fuelled by banana sundaes, Ceylon tea and, when called upon, heavy weapons they have discretely secreted about their person, Meryl and Millie intend to keep Vash under 24-hour surveillance; thwarting the carnage that threatens to ruin their employer. Now if only these two plucky lasses could actually work out whom Vash the Stampede is! For the frontier is teeming with likely candidates; desperados, cut-throats and general miscreants matching Vash's general description. Surely it couldn't be this lanky moron whose path they continually seem to cross, and who owes his survival to pure luck?

The $$60,000,000 Man
With an eye to scoring the 60 billion double dollar reward, every bounty hunter in the world seem to have descended to the village of Felnarl in search of Vash the Stampede. In particular, a gunslinger named Ruth Loose (sic) and some big brute with a green mohawk are getting close to their mark. However, Vash has seen tighter scrapes than this one and with a little fancy footwork he's soon rid of them. The village of Felnarl, however, isn't so lucky...

Truth of Mistake
A local scoundrel, Mr Cliff, has hired Vash as a bodyguard. Letting it be generally known that he has Vash in his employ (he doesn't even know he has the real one), he seems safe from those who threaten to kill him and his beautiful daughter Marianne. Vash? He just wants to catch Marianne in the shower! But Cliff, hoarding water to the ruin of the local town, has got it coming, and Vash seems hardly able to look after himself let along some dweeb in a silly moustache...

Peace Maker
Vash and the girls have wandered into the city of Warrens; once a black name to scoundrels the length of the frontier. For, thanks to the generosity of local gunsmith Frank Marlon, the townspeople literally bristle with weapons. But with Frank now a drunkard and it being years since they were threatened, the city has fallen into apathy. That is to say, it’s ripe for the picking. When ‘big bro’ and his bandits descend on the town, they better hope Vash and Frank have sobered up…

Love & Peace
Seeking shelter from a fierce sandstorm in a small bar, Millie and Meryl are taken hostage along with the daughter of wealthy businessman Mr Bostork. Quickly arriving on the scene, the father and the local sheriff – both men with shady pasts – attempt to extricate the daughter and kill her captors. But with no honour amongst former thieves, the situation quickly degenerates, leaving Vash to teach a few well-deserved lessons...

Despite the rather serious cover art, the futuristic western that is Trigun is basically a slapstick, laugh-out-loud comedy. A skilful marksman and martial artist Vash may be, but he seems to extricate himself from most situations with nothing more than good luck and a little fancy dancing. Remaining fairly episodic, these first four installments serve only to introduce the characters of Vash, Meryl and Millie; hinting only tentatively at an intriguing back-story that provides motivation for Vash's wandering this frontier wilderness. Although I don't doubt that the physical comedy - that for these first episodes had me laughing my arse off - will soon start to wane, I'm reliably informed by the various fan groups around the web that a more engrossing central story arc does become established. Possibly the addition of a fifth episode to this first volume may have borne this out, but personally I was so impressed with these first four episodes that I'm inclined to give the next volume a try. Funny and frivolous, these first episodes are a definite hoot and with the knowledge that things get deeper as the series progresses, Trigun offers much.


Presented in all its full-frame glory, Trigun certainly looks the part of a cheaply-made-for-television production, with many of the typical cost-cutting mechanisms - zooming and panning stills, minimal background animation and others - in common evidence. While little time has been sunk into the development and animation of supporting characters, both the three main protagonists and the episodic antagonists have all been given a quite distinctive look, and all are infused with lashings of personality. The ubiquitous 'super-deformation' of facial expressions and body movements is used heavily in the more slapstick sequences, and helps to lend the characterisations yet more charm. Like the supporting characters that inhabit them, in most cases the backgrounds are rather simplistic.

In terms of its digital incarnation, Madman's transfer of Trigun is limited only by the source material. As is typical of Madman transfers and anime in general, colours and vivid and well-balanced while black level is fine. Devoid of compression-related artefacts, the image does appear just a tad grainy on occasions, and a small amount of telecine wobble can be discerned from time to time.


Providing Dolby Digital stereo mixes in both the original Japanese and English dub, in terms of audio Trigun is typical of productions within its genre. Apart from the hard-rockin' theme, the Prologic decoder makes little use of the surround channel. While dialogue comes clearly and distinctly from the centre, a little separation is exhibited across front channels with the odd panning stereo effect. The subwoofer, while still heard rather infrequently, comes into its own when Vash unleashes his particular brand of disaster on his surroundings; each episode containing some form of explosion, land-slide, earthquake or so on.

In terms of the English dub, it's a case of listen at your own peril. The English voice talent - especially the women - are absolutely appalling and grate for the entire duration of the disc. The effect is exacerbated by the over-chatty script which, in all-too-typical fashion, attempts to match the Japanese mouth movements. The effect, typically, is to water-down the impact of the script as a whole, and such is the case here. Don't say I didn't warn you!


Some fine animated menus provide access to a small number of typical Madman extras. First is the Trigun trailer - one and a half minutes of fast-cut clips supported by the series' theme. Next a set of 26 stills gives us character design sketches for all the regular characters (but mainly our spiky haired anti-hero) and a further 20-strong image gallery provides stills culled from these first four episodes. Lastly, some Madman propaganda provides trailers for Raxephon, Robotech, Mobile Suit Gundam Wing and Transformers.


I must say I really enjoyed Trigun, as did my wife who is not ordinarily a big anime fan. With lashings of humour these first four episodes had me laughing throughout, and with the promise of satisfying character development to come this is one anime series that I’m looking forward to following. Definitely recommended viewing for you anime lovers out there.

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      And I quote...
    "...recommended viewing for you anime lovers out there."
    - Gavin Turner
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