Saturday, February 8, 2014

FROM THE ASHES: Segment # 8

Not My Doughnuts!

   This weeks topic is a wonderfully complex paradigm on ones views on life and who deserves life. And yet, most often, people do not think of moralistic philosophies and the true nature of man when talking about Trigun. They think of laughter, shoot em up action, and doughnuts. A particularly odd masquerade, no? Thus, we have Trigun. The original run from 1996 to 1999 began in Monthly Shonen Captain, and was written by Yasuhiro Nightow (1967-), who also wrote Gungrave. The original run was initially published in three volumes, but re released and translated in two volumes in 2003 / 2004. The continuation of the remainder of the story was published in 14 more volumes called Trigun Maximum from 2004-2009. The anime began airing in 1998, and the English dub in 2003. A feature film based on an arc in the manga, was released in 2010. Both the series and film were produced by Madhouse Studios, one of the most renowned animation studios in Japan. The anime series was scripted by Yosuke Kuroda (1968-), who has quite the impressive resume line, some works including: Excel Saga, Hellsing Ultimate, Gungrave, High School Of The Dead, Mobile Suit Gundam 00, Panzer Dragoon, Tenchi Muyo!, and of course Trigun. Awesome, right? Another pretty groovy crew member is composer Tsuneo Imahori (1962-). While he is best known for his work on Trigun and Gungrave, he also contributed to the soundtracks of anime series Wolfs Rain, and Cowboy Bebop! All in all, the production of the anime for Trigun was in safe hands. 

   One of the best examples of the Space Cowboy genre, Trigun's established world and setting is definitely a mysterious and intriguing one. The bulk of the story takes place on a rather barren planet which sets the tone for the series, showing the lives of humankind living amongst cities that look like nothing but ruins. A strong theme of the series is ones view of the value placed on life. Who or what is more worthy to survive over another? The extent of the superiority complex of the villains faced is atrocious. Arguments of both extremes are validly and soundly made, even though the heroes and villains are quite easy to separate. One side sees only man's ability to destroy; their selfish desires, and their actions as a result of fear. The other side promotes the sacredness of all life, and that mankind is inherently good, only straying from that when given shape by negativity and faithlessness in each other. The true tragedy, is that both viewpoints are valid: there is both a great potential for man to be selfless and kind, but also that man can truly cause great destruction, and both can be done quite easily. Which side then determines worthiness? Which side of man's nature will doom them to destruction? Both good and bad can doom a soul; a fact which is tirelessly exemplified by the series main protagonist: Vash The Stampede. Both a positive force, as well as a brooder over tragedy, Vash's battle within himself on how to live, is the heart and core of the series journey. Yes there is a lot of intense action, side splitting comedy, and gut wrenching sadness throughout the series; yet it all comes together in beautiful unity through the deep blue eyes of our hero. The Western twang of the sites we see over Vash's travels are intermingled with broken remnants of a technological era of the past, which slowly unveiles its mystery over the series. The animation of the series is solid; its quality but it can have its moments of redundancy as well. The voice casts are both synonymous with their roles, however I greatly enjoy the English dub. The silly and sad nature of Vash is well performed, and the depths of the other characters personalities ( both shallow and deep aspects) are brought to life quite well. I cannot even begin to say how much more there is to reflect, discuss, and enjoy about this series but I highly recommend it, for it definitely has something for everyone. Indeed, it does start out quite silly and does hold that tone throughout the series but don't let it fool you. The themes and roots of the characters journeys and ideas are so much more than they appear at first glance. A beautiful story, great characters, a fascinating environment, and a very driven focus make this series one of my all time favorites. I hope you enjoy it!

From The Ashes, V.~

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