Those insurance agents are cuties, but they’ve got to be especially dense if it’s taken them this long (even five episodes) to realize that Vash is actually Vash. He’s done all these amazing things, and there was still doubt? I figured it was a running joke, but c'mon...
Anyway, this episode definitely an answer to the issues I had about the previous one. While the last felt vague to the point of dissonant, this was like a good COWBOY BEBOP episode in that it was structured like a good joke. Set-up, reversal, punchline, and all that. It's an comically-tragic situation that Vash is betrayed by the villagers he saved, only to really have no recourse to retaliate since they really need the double dollar bounty on him. I’m reminded of that classic philosophical paradox of the knife that never cuts; or, more specifically, the shaolin monks who use every moment of their lives to train in deadly combat that they're strictly barred from partaking in.
I’m seeing two traditions developing here. The first is Vash's pseudo-catchphrase about the world being made of "love and peace." The second is the random introduction of hideous, evil giants in these conflicts. This time it’s the Nebraska family and that monster with the rocket hand reminded me a whole hell of a lot of Tremor from SPAWN. Sheesh… I picked up the first toy line in the early 90s, like every other kid, and his action figure’s gimmick was a fist that’d shoot out. As you’d expect, I broke it pretty quickly, so I had an odd bit of recognition when this freak's string gets permanently strung out by Vash.
Anyway, I’m still not seeing what the larger plot is here, but I’m digging Vash’s mellow, peaceful and flippant personality. It's certainly unique, and not something you'd ever expect from the looks of him.
Watch this episode, “Hard Puncher,” below and decide for yourself, then read my comments on the previous episode here.