The first episode of Trigun's original anime adaptation aired 25 years ago. Although it took half a decade from the time it first aired in Japan to the time it was shown on American television, it was one of the first anime series to enter the Western public consciousness, along with Cowboy Bebop and Inuyasaha. Twenty-five years after its debut, Trigun Stampede, a brand-new reboot, brings back the high-flying antics of Vash the Stampede and company. This original adaptation, on the other hand, seems to be a complete reboot that puts the "space" first in its "Space Western" rather than a sequel, prequel, or updated remake.
Trigun Stampede begins by telling the backstory of the young boy who would grow up to be the fabled outlaw Vash the Stampede, as opposed to taking place in a cute saloon or some desolate badlands. Vash and his brother Nai, who would later become Millions Knives, survived the wreckage after being forcibly evacuated from their home's destruction aboard a spaceship. Years later, Meryl Stryfe and her mentor, a young reporter looking for a scoop, come across Vash, now a wanted renegade known as the "Humanoid Typhoon," and quickly get caught up in his attempts to elude capture while looking for his brother.
Exploring Legacy Through a Reboot
Despite having the same core as its predecessor, Trigun Stampede immediately makes it clear that it will be a very different experience. While the world and plot of the Trigun anime from the 1990s clearly had futuristic ideas at their core, stylistically the show frequently leaned more toward spaghetti Western influences.
Trigun Stampede, on the other hand, does almost the opposite, dressing up its rugged setting with wild frontiers and ghost towns, but having its techno-chic weaponry and machinery out in the open from the start, rather than drip-feeding it over the course of the series, blending it with equally innovative CG animation.
The Creative New Look of Trigun
Apart from just the setting, the characters within the world of Trigun Stampede have also gotten a makeover. Most notably, fan-favorite character Meryl Stryfe has gotten a total overhaul in terms of look and character concept. Rather than being a straight-laced insurance claim adjuster who is a veteran in her field, Trigun Stampede's version of Meryl is a recent inductee to the world of journalism, out to make her big break.
Meryl's refreshed character design matches this, as she looks more youthful and trendy than her original design. Although, the new Meryl is certainly a go-getter in terms of her career, she and Vash are drawn together a bit more by coincidence this time around, compared to the previous, almost vaudeville pursuit that characterized the first arc of the classic series.
Additionally, Meryl's partner in crime from the original series is nowhere to be seen in the pilot of Trigun Sampede. Trigun's original anime had Meryl accompanied by her sweet, but somewhat airheaded junior agent Milly Thompson. Distancing itself further from its forerunner, Trigun Stampede introduces Roberto De Niro, a gruff, yet slightly exasperated senior to Meryl who seemingly acts as her mentor and supervisor. On top of creating an endearing buddy cop-like dynamic for Meryl to play off of, Roberto has a grizzled air about him that gives him the guts to stand at gunpoint against the thuggish JuLai military police.
Of course, the star of Trigun, Vash the Stampede, has also been reinvented in his own right. To match the more electro-focused vibe of this remake, Vash has a more modern and updated look, ditching his trench coat and high-rise hair for a snazzy parka and comb-over fade. Nevertheless, his iconic personality remains intact, bouncing between eccentric and buffoonish, while carefully concealing the true gravitas of a man who can take down a cluster bomb with a rock and a single bullet. Even so, while he may be described as a living natural disaster, he appears ever willing to help those in need, especially when he's all that stands in the way of impending mortal danger.
Trigun Stampede's main story has not yet been revealed, but the stylized antics that take place in the first episode hint at a journey that will strike a balance between crazy antics and gritty action. However, these incidents only serve as a prelude to Vash's bigger objective, which is to track down his brother Millions Knives, who it is revealed was responsible for the destruction of their home. An exciting saga is certain to play out as this new series stakes its claim as a complete reimagining of the vintage sci-fi cowboy anime.