Everybody knows about “Fifth Moon” all you have to do is tilt yer head up at night and look at the hole that’s been punched in it. That there hole was done by no other than Vash the Stampede, on that day Knives brought out the destructive power hidden within Vash. It’s a weapon called the “Angel Arm” no doubt capable of wiping out all of humanity and responsible for the lost city of July...That was two years ago, and nobody has seen or heard from him since.... That is until a lone priest named Nicholas D. Wolfwood tracks him down. He informs Vash of a small town whose residents just plain disappeared, everything was left as it was, a half drunk cup of coffee, a load of laundry put up to dry never to be taken down... The only thing out of the ordinary is a name crudely etched in stone...
The planet Gunsmoke is going to need Vash more than ever, as he tracks down the murderous Knives. However, there are plenty of obstacles in his way as Knive’s posse tries to take Vash down. “Gung Ho Guns” is what they call them; they’ve signed their lives away to knives, going even as far as forfeiting their own humanity... They only have one purpose....
...Kill Vash the Stampede...
....A Badass priest, a gun slinging pacifist, and deep space planet gun action awaits you on Trigun Maximum!
Vash and Wolfwood
Something that really disappointed me with Trigun Omnibus was the lack of comedic character interactions. In the manga almost all of the comedy is being perpetuated by Vash. While I love his comedic antics, he’s at his funniest when he has another character to play off of. Meryl, Millie and Vash had plenty of moments together in the anime with some great character interactions. This was not the case in “Trigun Omnibus”, as at times they felt like little more than background characters. While the girls still don’t have much presence in this volume of “Maximum” there are a lot more comedic character interactions and it’s all because of fan favorite: Nicholas D Wolfwood. He was introduced at the end of the previous volume but is integrated into the main cast for “Maximum”. This is a much needed addition to the story as it was feeling a little dry without him. Vash and Wolfwood clash with each other frequently, their differences in personality make for some great character dynamic, both comedic and dramatic. While I’m not going to call Trigun a drama there are plenty of serious moments between these two. Despite being a priest, Wolfwood has no qualms with killing and the fact that Vash refuses to kill in a ‘kill or be killed world’ and constantly endangers himself pisses him off. There’s a scene in particular that really shows off this aspect of their relationship. Vash spares the life of a Gun Ho Gun only for him to attack Vash while his back was turned. Wolfwood then saves Vash by brutally shooting the Gun Ho Gun and overkills him to make sure he’s dead. The two, due to their different mindsets, begin to argue leading to Wolfwood handing Vash his gun and pointing it at himself saying, “Shoot.”
It was such a memorable and chilling moment. Another thing I love about Wolfwood is that he carries a very unique weapon: A giant cross. This cross packs some serious heat with guns, cannons and missiles. Due to the weapon’s shape, Wolfwood’s fighting style is very distinct, giving us some very cool imagery. Wolfwood’s addition to the main cast really reminds me of how fun Trigun can be.
A Refined Art Style
In my previous review I mentioned that while the art looked dated, Nightow’s sense of style still holds up and I still stand by that statement. However, “Trigun Maximum” is a noticeable improvement. It still looks dated (although I think it’s part of the charm and I can see how this aspect would turn off some readers) but despite that, the art holds up and just oozes style. The fights are very well crafted and directed and the fighting style of each character is very well defined and consistent. This is especially true of Vash’s pose heavy combat style, and Wolfwood’s one of a kind weapon is used to great effect, producing some fantastic art. Then finally there are the” Gung Ho Guns” and “Lenof The Puppet Master” who provides some creepy artwork which I would describe as “The Thing if it was made of dolls.” Then there’s “Grey the Nine Lives,” a Behemoth with Spherical gloves that shoots explosives. His standoff with Wolfwood is the best part of the book, with minimal dialogue and bloody action taking center stage. Finally there’s “Rai Dei The Blade” he’s a samurai, on rollerblades that looked like they came out of a heavy metal album. There are some really badass pieces of art here and while sometimes characters look too stylized, to the point of deforming the character’s physiology, it is none the less some fantastic art and action.
Even though the Trigun Omnibus had less filler than the TV show, it still had quite a bit of filler which took up the entire first half of the book. Since this was Nightow’s first big project he was probably trying to find his footing and was still figuring out in what direction to take the story in. If you read his omake (omake is sort of like a bonus section where the author takes the time to speak to his readers) it seems as if he never expected it to become so big. This is not the case, as there’s only two filler stories here. One of them being only a chapter long, which is a huge contrast to Trigun as it had fillers lasting for several chapters. The other filler is very solid, even though it’s a standalone story I really like how it tests Vash’s morals as he’s faced with a morally ambiguous situation. Combine that with Vash’s signature humor and very good action sequences and you’ve got an example of filler done right.
The Art Is Hard to Make Out
This is a common criticism of the manga; Nightow makes some very busy panels with gun shots, smoke and lots of debris. Due to the black and white limitations of manga it can be very hard to discern what’s going on. On my first reading I simply could NOT tell what was going on in some panels. However on my second time through I was able to make out what had been drawn, but I had to stare at it for quite a long time to be able to discern it from visual gibberish. One thing to note about the omnibus edition is how thick it is. Having three volumes in one binding causes a few problems as it is very unwieldy, and any two paged art becomes practically unreadable as bending it any further will surely damage the binding. I’m willing to bear with this as it looks very nice on a shelf and I prefer it to the individual volumes, not to mention the fact that it’s cheaper.
This Omnibus starts out the Maximum series strong, with better art, character interactions and a great cast of villains. Each Gung Ho Gun is unique and challenges our heroes in different ways. Vash’s character is explored more and Wolfwood is great companion to Vash while still being interesting enough to hold his own. I’m looking forward to how the manga handles Woldwood’s character and certain events from the anime. All in all a fantastic volume that makes me optimistic to future volumes, a definite buy to all Trigun fans.