Publisher - Pioneer
When I started the first episode of Trigun, I thought "What have I gotten myself into?" By the third I was hooked, and it just got better from there. Trigun can only be described as schizophrenic. Slapstick happy-go-luck humor one second, dark, end of the world depression the next. It's hard to decide if Vash is the silliest man alive, a living disaster, or the savior of all humanity. Eventually, you'll just settle on all three.
Set in a strange Old-West/Post Apocalyptic world with technology best described as steam-punk, the setting for Trigun is very interesting and perfect for the many odd characters that are in the series. There is much about the world and the backstory that is left unexplored until the middle of the series, and it's not until the end that everything is made clear. There are six major characters, though one of them doesn't make an actual appearance until the end. There's Vash the Stampede, the man with 60 BILLION double-dollars on his head, seemingly responsible for the destruction of at least one major city with over a million inhabitants. In reality, he's a friendly, seemingly carefree loser who runs around trying to stop anyone from getting killed, all while gorging on donuts and hitting on any pretty ladies that happen to be nearby. However, he does seem to posses almost superhuman reflexes and fighting ability. Millie Thompson and Meryl Strife are insurance agents who have been sent to find Vash and persuade him to stop causing so much destruction. The only problem is that Meryl, who's in charge, refuses to believe that an idiot like Vash could be the real man behind all the destruction. They provide a lot of comic relief, which seems a bit needed with an over the top character like Vash. However, when the more serious episodes come along, they provide a much needed counterpoint to Vash's internal anguish. The fourth main character is Nicholas D. Wolfwood, a wandering preacher with a mysterious past. He carries a giant white cross with him, which he says is "full of mercy". He is almost Vash's equal in gunfighting, despite claiming to be nothing more than a simple priest. The final two characters, Knives and Legato Bluesummers are the true villains of the series. They are two of the best villains I've seen in an anime series, but to say anymore about them would be to spoil the whole story.
The first half of the series follows the adventures of Vash and company as they attempt to do good and right wrongs. In the first few episodes, Vash comes off as a dolt, but later episodes begin to reveal a deeper side to his character. The story begins in earnest with "Diablo", which along with "Rem Saverem" and the entire last disk must not be missed if you want the series to make sense.
The music is good, especially the opening and closing pieces. Animation and art are topnotch with truly excellent character and mecha designs. Each disc includes a character art slideshow, and some discs come with a chromium card insert. There are three episodes per disc, except for the first and last, which have four. There's a nice boxed set available, which will give you a slight discount over purchasing each disc separately.
The series should have a broad appeal, as it caters to action fans, drama fans, and comedy fans. While some may find the rapid switch from comedy to drama to action to comedy disorienting, it's what makes the series unique. Despite the impression you might get from the first disc, there is a deeper theme to the series, as Vash must come to grips with what he and Knives are, and he must discover if redemption is truly possible. I highly recommend the series to anyone who likes anime.