|Staff: Yasuhiro Nightow (Writer/Artist)||Release Date: September 18, 2013|
|Publisher: Dark Horse Manga||Rating: Teen (14+)
|Format: Paperback Manga||MSRP: US$19.99|
A pacifist is someone who is against all forms of violence and is a strong believer in peace. So, would you think that someone who was a pacifist might have a bounty of sixty billion dollars over his head? This is the case of Vash the Stampede in Trigun Omnibus. Written in 1996, the original series was cancelled in ’97 when its original magazine Shonen Captain shut down, leaving Trigun unfinished. Luckily, Yasuhiro Nightow was given a second chance to finish it when the magazine Young Kings Ours allowed him to continue it as Trigun Maximum. This omnibus captures those first two volumes from Shonen Captain. Through a little skit, it is explained that Trigun Omnibus is a combination of Trigun and Trigun Maximum. The manga starts on to Maximum after the first two volumes of Trigun so the reading of Maximum is not needed if you’re a newcomer of the series.
After making a certain promise, Vash has dedicated himself to preserving life and everything it stands for, but being worth such a price means there are people out to kill him. Luckily ‘the humanoid typhoon’ is a skilled enough marksman to not kill the people after him but still keep them at bay. The story of Trigun mainly follows Vash and two side characters, Millie Thompson and Meryl Stryfe, as they try to avoid these ongoing conflicts. The story itself becomes quite captivating, though this is not always the case. The first few chapters are quite choppily paced. That’s not to say they’re not good; Trigun‘s very interesting, but the odd pacing of the first chapters make it very hard to know what is going on. One minute there can be desperate, fast-paced action and the next, an expositional chat. However, once the main plot kicks in, Trigun gets really good. An incident in Vash’s past means he is rather infamous despite being a good guy. This leads to him also being hunted down by the people he has unintentionally wronged. This is where the plot becomes less confusing and more action filled for those shonen fans out there. This being said, the ending of the manga leaves you wondering what happened, but I know it will be covered in the next volume. One good thing about Trigun is that no matter how confusing something can seem, it is explained later.
The characters provide some quite needed humour to the series, and Nightow knows when the right amount of comic relief is needed like any good writer does; however, it’s quite a shame that the characters also feel rather undeveloped. Vash is a good shonen protagonist. He’s funny, he’s determined, and he has a good back story. However, Millie and Meryl, while great comic relief characters, feel rather underplayed, though this could be due to the story just starting off. By the end, Meryl begins showing signs of a history, one I’m sure will be amazing further into the story.
As far as art goes, it’s pretty consistent and really neat. As a manga where guns are the main weapons of choice, fantastic art is a must for the technical elements and details. The character design is nice to look at, too. It’s not complicated, yet each character is drawn in a way that the art portrays their personality without relying too much on interactions with other characters to depict traits, which is a technique more manga artists should adopt. I did feel that perhaps the art could have done with more shading in some places, as it would add some more visual depth, but as is, it is still good. The art in the action scenes seems a little too fast-paced, like the pacing at the start of the series. It must be hard drawing a gun fight as bullets are shot at an incredible speed, but that said, the gun fights were probably done to show how great a marksman Vash is. Still, slowing it down a bit would give it the audience a chance to absorb the action and appreciate it that tiny bit more.
As a whole, Trigun is quite the enjoyable manga. The comedy from the characters comes in at all the right moments. The characters do seem undeveloped, but they are interesting, and I feel they will become much stronger as the series progresses. As the story picked up towards the end of the omnibus version, it became even more of a pleasure to read.
It’s a shame that it wasn’t as exhilarating at the start, because that would have really pulled me in immediately, but as with many great stories, it’s simply a case of getting over the hump to get the gold.
Full Disclosure: This manga was reviewed using an advance PDF from Dark Horse.
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