Out of all the influences going into TRIGUN, I never would’ve expected Frank Herbert’s DUNE to be one of them. It is the most successful sci-fi novel of all time, of course, so it probably shouldn’t be that shocking. This isn’t even the first time I’ve seen sandworms make a “guest appearance” in an anime, either. Way, way back when I first started this column, they showed up in the pilot episode of COYOTE RAGTIME and, after doing a little searching online, it looks like they’ve appeared in a lot of shows, from NEGIMA to EXCEL SAGA and even to DRAGONBALL GT.
Huh. Interesting. I guess it’s a bit like how orcs have been co-opted by every sword & sorcery writer as if they were “public domain” creatures from folk lore when they were actually created Tolkien specifically for LORD OF THE RINGS.
To throw out another pop culture parallel, the show gets a lot more MAD MAX in this one, with the orphan community reminding me a whole hell of a lot of the lost kids in BEYOND THUNDERDOME. Funnily enough, it’d actually be a lot more fitting (either by irony or actual appropriateness) to call Vash or Wolfwood “Mr. Death.” Their kill-or-don’t-kill seesaw swings to a different side in this one and, yeah, I can say I got behind how Wolfwood handles Zazie the beast. Maybe it was excessive, maybe it was hasty, but I got a lot of (perhaps sick) enjoyment of how he put the kibosh on the kid so quickly while Vash is just standing there, blinking stupidly.By the way, are they ever going to explain the significance of the title? My understanding is that Trigun is a Shinto demon, but that understanding's based off a villain in TEEN TITANS having the same name, so it might be a little off. Call me crazy, but I sense that there's a pun there because of all the gun play. Is it as simple as Vash being like a pistol-packing devil? Or is there going to be greater significance?
Watch this episode, “Alternate,” below and decide for yourself, then read my comments on the previous episode here.