I love when a book gets so completely and utterly ridiculous that you can’t help but enjoy it because it’s just fun. That’s one of the arguments I have about why I like the Transformer movies; I don’t think the plot is good in the slightest, but it’s fun, and I enjoy that deeply. For the most part, a lot of older manga follows that; even if the plot is bad, the journey that the characters go on and even the characters themselves are often fun and amusing to watch on their exploits.
I found myself reading the Trigun Omnibus by Yasuhiro Nightow the other day, and I found that it followed that basic idea in the beginning. It put plot to the side for a few chapters, and focused on the characters and making sure that it was fun. However, it grew more and more involved that, by the end of the omnibus, which collects all the original Trigun manga, it was almost an entirely different book.
The series focuses around a man named Vash the Stampede, who, as the series starts out, is wanted for sixty billion double dollars (or 60,000,000,000$$) for the destruction of an entire city. He doesn’t remember what caused the city to be destroyed, nor does he remember how he ended up in the rubble. What’s even worse, no one knows where the bodies of the people are; the entire town appeared to have gone missing.
The first chapter is the one that won me over; throughout the chapter, Vash is being chased around by all these people who are trying to get him dead or alive in order to get the bounty that’s on his head. However, Vash is an avowed pacifist; he refuses to take another human life, but he will fight back if they try to kill him. However, that is resolved in the first chapter when the government reclassifies Vash as no longer a human, but a “localized disaster”, much like a typhoon or a hurricane, and takes away the bounty on his head.
While Vash is a pacifist, and doesn’t like to use his gun, he is quite amazing with it; many times throughout the series, he doesn’t fail to miss his mark, despite the fact that he was preaching about peace, love, and understanding two pages before. And, throughout the omnibus, you can’t help but wonder who Vash the Stampede really is. With various mysteries that keeps popping up, it was a bit of a letdown when most of the questions weren’t answered; after I continued looking up things about the series, I discovered that there was actually a second series called Trigun Maximum which continues the story and finishes off a lot of the loose plot threads. While this was a fantastic jump into the Trigun series, it was a bit of a let down to find out that, if I wanted to continue to read Vash’s tale, I would have to go and buy even more books that span from 1998 to 2008. As it turned out, the magazine that Trigun was originally published in got cancelled, and, a year later, got picked up by a second magazine, and the publishers changed the name slightly. Nightow has said that he considers it not a sequel, but a continuation of the story, but there’s still something about receiving an omnibus that contains “both Trigun volumes” before finding out that there is another ten years worth manga to be read after that.
But it’s an adventure that I’m completely and utterly willing to undertake. The characters are so much fun to read, and the stories that Nightow spins are amazing to read, somehow managing to be completely serious, yet have such ridiculous characters and situations that you can’t help but crack a smile.
I’d rate this a 4 out of 5 silver revolvers.
Writer: Yasuhiro Nightow
Artist: Yasuhiro Nightow
Publication Date: September 16, 2013
Format: b&w, 696 pages; TP, 5″ x 7″
Age range: 12