Trigun (1998) is a science-fiction anime set in a post-apocalyptic future. The Earth is gone, and its remaining population has relocated to the foreign planet, “Gunsmoke.” Humanity does their best to survive in a wasteland of limited resources, as things, like water, are now precious commodities.

Society has regressed a couple of centuries, and everyone’s now living like it’s the “Old West.” (Only the older generation retains former knowledge of Earth’s technology.) Laws are barely followed in this new civilization as bounty hunting is now the prominent solution for many problems.

Trigun
Trigun (1998); Freeform

Guns, especially, have become a necessity to maintaining the peace and order of the new world.

What’s The Story?

Trigun begins with bandits looking for the infamous “Vash The Stampede” for his legendary 60 billion “double dollar” bounty. Vash wiped out an entire city year prior to the events of the anime which killed several along the way. He’s vaguely described to be a blonde-haired man, wearing a red coat, and behaves like a blood-thirsty killer.

Since the rumors exaggerate his behavior, many find themselves dumbfounded when they meet him in person. He comes off as a complete buffoon. (There are also many blondes in this world, so everyone always assumes Vash is someone else.) He spends the series delegating for peace among humans and refuses to kill. Vash does this to exercise his own philosophy for humanity and atone for his past mistakes.

WARNING: Everything from this point on contains SPOILERS! May God have mercy on your curious soul.

What Defines Us As Human?

When it comes to anime, humans are often portrayed as flawed and tenacious creatures. They don’t give up on the things they love, despite the fact, they can’t always reclaim them once they’re lost. Which is why, we often see characters hesitate in killing others, while others remain unfazed to progress in life. The characters’ actions often teach us that every life we take has an irreplaceable value.

Trigun

Our goals will always override this hesitation under desperate circumstances. We’ll resort to drastic means to get what we want; even if, we can’t obtain them in our preferred way. The only difference separating the two categories is the moral line that’s drawn dependent on a person’s sense of empathy. It’s our sense of empathy as humans that separates us from other life forms.

Our empathy defines us as it highlights our moral ground. It’s what prevents us from outright causing chaos in our world. It’s our ability to understand one another and forgive those who’ve wronged us, that defines us as human beings.

Who Are The Humans Of This Anime?

Like all anime, Vash surrounds himself with a group of friends he cares for. They’re important factors in his life as they influence his sense of empathy whenever there’s danger. The humans of Trigun are those who prove to Vash that humanity is worth caring for.

Trigun
Trigun (1998); Freeform

Rem Saverem

Rem is the protagonist’s moral compass throughout the series. She’s a figure from Vash’s past who’s responsible for shaping his beliefs. It was her pity that allowed both Vash and his brother to survive past infancy. (Others sought to eliminate them for being abominations.)

And, it was her sacrifice early in their lives that left a lasting impression on both brothers. She’s the first human to show them kindness and remains a huge influence on his views on humanity. Rem’s sacrifice is essential to Vash’s philosophy towards humans.

She died saving them in the midst of a (space) ship-wreck, resulting in her legacy affecting him for many years. Therefore, Vash uses his memories of her as a reminder to treasure all living things.

How Are The Brothers’ Ideologies Affected By Humans?

Vash and Knives are twin brothers born from an alien, plant-like species fueling a human ship known as SEEDS. The ship’s crew adopts and accepts them as makeshift members of their family. Rem, especially, serves as a surrogate mother for the two, as she teaches them the importance of valuing life. However, not everyone onboard accepts the duo as they were also heavily abused for their differences.

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Ultimately, their childhood experiences create an irreparable rift in their relationship. Vash learns to love and forgive humans in adherence to Rem’s teachings. While Knives grows to hate them due to his history of abuse. Their opposing views of mankind creates a controversial philosophy for the two towards the necessity of humans. They spend the series trying to stop each other for the sake of their ideals.

Vash The Stampede

Vash is this anime’s protagonist. He’s a lovable idiot who does his best to bring out the good in others. In which, his efforts earned him the label of being a “Humanoid Typhoon.” (Since he often creates chaos in his attempts to pacify the violence around him.)

Trigun
Trigun (1998); Freeform

While Vash is inhuman for his unique abilities and background, he ironically expresses the most human behavior throughout the series. He does his best to avoid conflict with others, despite being mistaken for a coward in the process. Vash remains optimistic toward their behavior and forgives them for their actions, no matter how dark they are. He believes the consequence of a person’s actions is never worth their life.

“The World Is Made Of Love And Peace”

Following Rem’s teachings, Vash lives by the motto: “love and peace.” The protagonist takes every opportunity to spare a life. He hates seeing people die needlessly as he believes that everyone is redeemable (himself included). At one point in his life, Vash chooses between his brother and the rest of mankind. As Knives sought to eliminate all humans from the planet, resulting in him pointing a gun at his own brother. (This eventually decimates an entire city.)

Trigun
Trigun (1998); Freeform

This incident gave him the infamous bounty, and the destruction traumatized Vash for up until the events of the anime. The incident also affirmed his decision to live his life passively. He does his best to resolve issues without the need for death.

Knives Millions

Knives is the complete opposite of Vash. While he once shared his brother’s sentiment towards humans, years of abuse caused him to throw away Rem’s teachings. He despises humans to a psychopathic degree and does whatever he can to destroy them.

Trigun
Trigun (1998); Freeform

In an ironic sense, his actions represent the extreme aspect of human nature. The extent he goes to eliminate humans is similar to the lengths we go through to progress in our ideals. (Especially, when it comes to politics these days.) Unlike his brother, Knives categorizes humans based on the trouble they cause. He sees them as a source of destruction.

They’re inferior to him as they do more harm to the world than good. He spends the series trying to destroy Vash’s views on humans. He believes that his brother is a traitor for siding with them. His hatred for humanity showcases how our emotions can easily affect our perceptions of reality. (Just as it can influence our compassion for it.)

What Makes Him Different?

Throughout the anime, the mistreatment of his species (plants) fuels Knives’ hatred for humanity. They are beings enslaved and experimented on by humans as they serve as a unique source of energy. Their kind serves as a battery to mankind because of the large amount of energy contained in their bodies. Their unique background gives them immortal-like longevity and super-human abilities.

Knives uses his unique abilities to destroy mankind. He believes that they’re not worthy to live on their planet (as they are). He does this by turning his arms into a laser beam, which is commonly dubbed the “Angel Arm.” (Yes, it is a ridiculous concept, but it’s anime.)

Trigun
Trigun (1998); Freeform

When Vash abandons his brother out of his fear of harming others, Knives takes their separation badly. Knives’ resentment towards his brother’s betrayal creates a warped obsession within him. He frequently sends humans to torment and harm his brother, so he can open Vash’s eyes to his reality.

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Knives’ hatred for mankind drives him to destroy the things that influences his brother’s love for them. He goes as far as sending spies to befriend and betray him, manipulating the events that brought his bounty’s name. (He activated Vash’s angel arm to decimate an entire city as a petty act of revenge during their separation.)

What Makes Vash The Most Human In Trigun?

Vash’s compassion for others is what makes him the most charming as a “human” being. He continues to seek non-lethal solutions for people who  prove time and again that their motives are selfish. His empathy for others is what makes him the most human in the series.

Trigun
Trigun (1998); Freeform

His ability to forgive others is also a rare trait for a person to have (even among actual humans). It’s something that everyone’s capable of doing in life; however, it rarely happens out of personal reasoning. (I guess we just like holding onto grudges.)

When situations call for violence or death, Vash goes out of his way to seek alternatives without costing anyone’s life. He values the life of every person he encounters and treasures the things they create. He sees humans as a source of creation and mourns for them when they die. (Their premature death wastes their potential for change and redemption.) Especially, if he had the chance to save them.

Why Should You Watch This Anime?

I adore Trigun. It’s a short anime series that’s humorous and action-packed in every episode. The premise of guns in wastelands seems a little dull at first, but the story makes up for it tenfold. There’s rarely a boring moment because there’s lots of charm found in different aspects of the series. 

When it comes to anime, humans are often portrayed as flawed and tenacious creatures. They don’t give up on the things they love, despite the fact, they can’t always reclaim them once they’re lost. Which is why, we often see characters hesitate in killing others, while others remain unfazed to progress in life. The characters’ actions often teach us that every life we take has an irreplaceable value.

TRIGUN
Trigun (1998); Freeform

Our goals will always override this hesitation under desperate circumstances. We’ll resort to drastic means to get what we want; even if, we can’t obtain them in our preferred way. The only difference separating the two categories is the moral line that’s drawn dependent on a person’s sense of empathy.

It’s our sense of empathy as humans that separates us from other life forms. Our empathy defines us as it highlights our moral ground. It’s what prevents us from outright causing chaos in our world. It’s our ability to understand one another and forgive those who’ve wronged us, that defines us as human beings.

Some of the best moments in anime comes from the character interactions. The characters in Trigun are at their greatest when they work together to overcome struggles, despite bickering needlessly along the way. It adds a nice touch to their personalities as they’re not mindlessly agreeing with each other most of the time.

Final Thoughts…

What’s great about the characters in this anime is that they are only amiable when situations call for them to cast aside their differences to achieve a common goal. They’re the most human when they show they can remain “good” in their darkest moments by sticking to ideals.

For those looking for a quick watch, I highly recommend this series. The anime is an abridged version of the manga, but it holds many favorable aspects. (Like, its voice acting and animation; I can’t even find fault with the dubbed version.

Whereas, the manga’s story is as equally charming in its own right. It’s also more extended there, so it helps fill in most of the blank spots the anime leaves us with. It’s totally worth it to give either version a try.

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