The sun beat down with unparrelled ferocity, its bright rays reflecting off the vast exapanse of sand that stretched as far as the eye can see. Two men stood facing one another several feet apart, hands drifting ever so close to holsters that hold instruments of death and salvation. A few tumbleweeds roll past, the only movement in the still landscape. Everything hangs on a single breath.
The above scene could easily apply to any of a hundred movies set in the American wild west, but these combatants are far in the future, and the sandy planet upon which they stand is called Gunsmoke, not Earth. Trigun is an anime that is both western and sci fi, and depicts both beautifully.
Vash the Stampede, also known as the Human Typhoon, is a clumsy, doughnut-eating, trouble-attracting outlaw with a sixty billion double dollar bounty on his spikey blonde head. The man doesn't seek trouble; he firmly believes in the tenets of peace and love, and really tries to go through life without killing people. Yet, Gunsmoke is a frontier planet, and violence is a way of life. Trouble often finds Vash and leaves large swathes of destruction in its wake.
When the Bernardelli Insurance Company gets tired of paying claims submitted as a result of this walking disaster, they dispatch two insurance agents, Meryl Strife and Milly Thompson, to keep Vash out of trouble - and hopefully the company out of bankruptcy. As the two insurance girls follow the Human Typhoon from city to city, we are given hints that Vash might not be all he seems, and that the humans on Gunsmoke might not have landed on this dusty planet on purpose. As the story unfolds, we learn that the people of Gunsmoke are tied to Vash in ways no one could possibly imagine.
The tale will have you laughing at times and reaching for the kleenex box at others. The deepest depths of the characters are explored, and the audience gets to see the changes wrought in each as the result of dynamic events. I found myself caring for the players in this drama, and my heartstrings were significantly tugged more than once. By the end of piece, I was hoping for some sort of happy ending, but did not really see how the climax could be anything but gut-wrenching. The ending left me pleasantly surprised, and hoping that at some point there will be a sequel.
Trigun is expertly told, and there is enough humor, drama, romance, and action to satisfy even the staunchest critics. Oh, and did I mention guns? There are lots of guns - big ones, small ones, shiny ones, space ones, and ones you never expect. Which is a good thing, because we all know that in any frontier town, you can never have too many firearms. Just ask Meryl Strife.