Yo-ho! This is Anime Parlay and we like to switch up the regular formula by reviewing things that don’t need a review. It’s perfect that way because then we need no thanks. Doing it my own way! I am back with the latest in the Trigun Saga. Today’s post is going to be a little different from the last 3 reviews and will be a little more free-form like my post for the new Legend of the Galactic Heroes (#1 & 2 – In the Eternal Night/The Battle of Astarte). The goal is to look at a show I used to watch religiously 12+ years ago but with the experience I have gained from countless adventures in my limited time ride on Earth. Let’s get into it!
As always with these types of things, these are my opinions. I came up with them and I feel like they should be on the figurative refrigerator that is my blog. I implore you to share your feelings and challenge you to challenge my thoughts. Needless to say, SPOILERS AHEAD. Plus, you know we rock that “LeVar Burton Promise” here on Anime Parlay. You don’t have to take my word for it. Experience it for yourself!
What’s up in Episode 4?
Episode 4 of Trigun can only be described as tons of Western (Cowboys, Guns, Wild West) theme/tropes with Vash and the Insurance Girls (Meryl and Milly) just passing through. I LOVE Western themed things. I feel like many cultures all over the world have some sort of era/time period that gets misleadingly romanticized to the point of myth. The United States is a baby in the history of the world. I mean, we’re coming up on 300 years if our current leadership (not the best word for this administration) doesn’t get us blowed up first. However, despite our age, we have the Wild West as our mythos here in the states. For better or worse, if we have a stereotype in the world as Americans, it’s cowboys. Trust me on this one. I once had a great conversation with some local fellas in a bar in Sukumo, Japan about this. At the end of the conversation, we agreed that they were Samurai and we we’re Cowboys. There is a much longer story there but that’s for another day. A hardy thanks to Take and Motoko for the laughter that night!
Anyway, the plot can be boiled down to this. Hostage takers grab some victims in a bar. One of which is the local land baron’s daughter. To get the baron’s daughter out safely, the sheriff hires a band of loose-cannon mercenaries to assist. These mercenaries, they DGAF! However, recklessness doesn’t equal success. The mercenaries are thwarted by hostages and hostage takers. Turns out those hostage takers are the heirs of the farmers that used to work the land in the area. That local land baron, he kill all those farmers and earned himself the nickname “Grim Reaper”. Holy shit! The Baron and main Hostage taker come to terms to duel it out. DUEL! Hostage taker gets his justice but only by injuring the baron and turning himself over to the law. Hold the fucking phone though. Lawman’s corrupt. WHAT?! NO! The sheriff disarms everyone, makes his diabolical plan known, and even goes as far to compare the killing of innocent, unarmed civilians as the same feeling as “burning yesterday’s garbage”. Vash doesn’t care for that answer and fixes the issue like he does. The sheriff is unofficially relieved of duty and Vash delivers his signature line. LOVE AND PEACE!
Like I said, there were just tropes upon tropes like you would see in Westerns. Hire mercenary guns, a corrupt law enforcement official, bad guy with a good reason to want justice, and renowned father revealed to be a butcher of the innocent to his daughter. I can sincerely appreciate the love and dedication in this episode to combine and play with these elements to craft the narrative. However, I didn’t really understand why the main characters were there. Sure, Meryl and Milly were victims of circumstance. They just happened to be in the saloon before the hostage taking began. Vash though. He had head phones in and casually dance/dodged his way into the bar only to be taken hostage. This leads me to wonder what happened there.
- Option 1 – Vash scoped out the situation before hand, knew he wouldn’t be able to get by the fuzz on-scene without being stopped or questioned, and thus put on his headphones to be mindfully ignorant to the police force yelling at him to stop. I often find myself thinking Vash’s decisions are almost always intention while appearing aloof which is brilliant. Show weakness to hide strength.
- Option 2 – Vash did just happen to be rocking out, saw a saloon, and decided to go in. He didn’t hear the cops because he was rocking and he just happened to dodge all the gunshots being fired at him while he was thoughtlessly dancing. Absolutely plausible. Absolutely not the option I want to be true. I want to believe that Vash is a brilliant man in disguise. A real Maxwell Smart if I can date myself.
Regardless of the answer, I don’t believe the characters needed to be in this episode. At least not until the very end. Without Meryl being secretly armed while the Sheriff was warping up his diabolical monologue, the episode’s main characters may have met a grave fate. Vash was there to take advantage of the chaos that Meryl makes and manages to take that lawman down. Seriously though. The crew could have just happened upon town and saw this going down. Then they could choose to intervene which I feel they would. It just seemed strange to bench your main characters to tell a mini-narrative for an episode.
Let’s go a little more in depth on the actual story of the sub-main characters. The hostage takers appear to be the “bad” guys at the beginning of the episode. By the middle of the episode, they become a moral-gray guys. They commit a crime due to an injustice committed on them by a wealthy man decades before. Essentially, this wealthy man wanted all the land to himself and thus decided”You know what, this seems like the best option”. Got on his horse, grabbed his weapon, and just went nuts. Aside from a well-established wild west trope, this is INSANE!
I firmly believe that money does not give you the right to do as you please or treat people as you please. I am surprised the survivors of this massacre (including the hostage takers) didn’t take action on this man sooner. I am sure there is a lot more at stake than I am give it. The lesson here is past decisions have repercussions on our futures. Whenever possible, seek the best option, not the easiest. Otherwise, those decisions may come to haunt you later. In the land baron’s case, it came in the form of his child being taken hostage and then getting shot in the shoulder. Pretty light sentence for mass murder if you ask me.
Have a glass of Vash-Lite!
One thing I am really dedicating my attention to is the character of Vash and the myth of Vash, the Stampede. The Character versus the Celebrity. Episode 4 added a finite amount to building Vash’s character. He had two quick but defining moments in the 20 or so minutes of the episode but that’s it. I wanted more but even two little moments are better than none. I’ll take it. Hopefully Vash will get some more action in the next episode.
Well, that’s all I have for this review! Kind of abrupt but like I said, if you’re familiar with the source material of westerns, you’ve seen this episode. The only difference is Vash, Meryl, and Milly are there. It wouldn’t be different if those three showed up to crash your wedding or walk into a birthday bash. They were there but that was about it. They did get the final words too so I guess it’s a nice little ribbon on this episode. More to come. Thanks for reading! We’ll see you again soon in Episode 5 of the Trigun review saga. Farewell!