I vaguely recall attempting to watch an episode or two of Trigun on Cartoon Network back in the day (and not continuing any further, as you can infer). Looking back now, I can’t remember which ones I saw exactly, but I realize now that they were definitely two of the later episodes. My worst fears were not exactly abated when I saw this at the beginning:
TRENCHCOATS! GUNS! ROCK MUSIC! BULLETS! GROTESQUE DUDES! Clearly, this anime was straight from Japan and not kid’s stuff. Serious business then ensued, which was totally DARK but unfortunately did not reflect my tortured teenage soul (I did not care about the rest of humanity, you see, because mom and dad did not care about me) since I was well, neither teenaged nor in possession of a tortured soul at the time.
Of course, the whole fact that I’m seeing random chunks of the show out of context didn’t help. Watching things in order from the beginning this time obviously made the show a lot more enjoyable. Most important was not the reordering but rather the much-needed levity in the beginning. Having Vash goof around first before bringing in his DARK past prevents the show from instantly drowning in self-importance.
The other thing that I quite liked about Trigun was the the emphasis in “space western” this time was not on the “space” but the “western”. Emphasizing the “space” part too much always grinds my gears since almost ironically, the location doesn’t really matter that much even though the genre is, after all, called “western”. Along with space westerns, there are colonial westerns, curry westerns, noodle westerns, and easterns. I’m leaving out spagetti westerns and red westerns since those are about the place of production, rather than the setting.
Anyway, most space westerns to me feel like they focus too much on the fact that they’re in space rather than on the actual “western” stuff. Just because a bounty hunter is a teensy bit like a cowboy (honestly, only a teensy bit) is not enough. Drifters, righting the wronged, bringing in “civilization”, and so on are the kinds of things that really make a western a western. Not the fact that you’ve had to do a lotta hard livin’ in your day and have done some things that you regret doin’. Here, the “space” provided just a dash of steampunk to provide a little spice.
Would I watch it even if I weren’t forced? I guess I kinda had to, huh?