Memories of a distant past haunts Vash The Stampede. Tessla, Rem, Knives..... All those lives destroyed in the big fall, and it was Knives who silenced them. One brother still believes in human kind and that they’re inherently good. The other is filled with hatred at all the terrible things humanity has done. These two brothers have been fighting each other for over a century, and Knives is about to enact his master plan. Vash and Knives come face to face for the first time since fifth moon.
Vash, a gun-slinging pacifist, is trying to stop his brother Knives’ senseless killing, while Knives is unwilling to forgive humans for exploiting his kind: The “Plants”; beings who were artificially created by humans as an energy source. Vash is finally able to catch up to Knives and finds out that the latter had been absorbing his fellow kind, the “Plants”, in order to grow more and more powerful.
Wolfwood, meanwhile, is confronting his own demons of the past. The Eye of Michael, a group of assassins, has heard of his treachery. Now Wolfwood must face a long lost friend from the orphanage, Livio. But no longer is he just Livio, he is “Livio The Double Fang” a ruthless killing machine who follows his master’s orders diligently. The head of “The Eye Of Michael” has pitted these two against each other.
Will Vash be able to defeat Knives? And will Wolfwood be able to survive the deadly encounter with his long lost friend?
Fans of the anime, anyone looking for a good action manga. As well as anyone who would like to see a fusion of the western genre (such as the man with no name saga) Science Fiction, and movies akin to the style of Quentin Tarantino.
Trigun Maximum is almost at the end game, being at the halfway point. This omnibus has little in the way of filler, so let me get the small amount that is there out of the way. The first one is pretty standard fare for Trigun, two men are about to get executed and Vash saves them, afterwards they get drunk. One thing I did find cool about this story was the nod to Western movie tropes through Vash shooting the rope on a man who’s about to get hanged. This is something commonly seen in the spaghetti westerns of which Trigun takes heavy inspiration of. But if I were to be honest, this chapter doesn’t really speak to me at all. Nothing exciting or interesting happens and it does little to expand Vash as a character.
The second is actually a Wolfwood one shot, referred to as a “Spin off” of Trigun. It’s completely self-contained from the main story, but contains more backstory on Wolfwood and has a new character exclusive to the one shot. My thoughts on this one is similar to the last, decent but adds little to the overall story. One redeeming quality, however, is Wolfwood himself. We get to see him in his childhood, fleshing out his character more, and giving us a look on who he was before he became the badass priest we all know and love. Wolfwood is one my favorite characters in anime and manga. If he had gotten his own series I would have no doubt of it’s quality. But as it stands now, the “Wolfwood Spin Off” will live on as a bonus chapter.
Vash and Knives’ back-stories are finally fully revealed. Before we had only seen snippets of what happened before “The Big Fall”, but here everything finally comes full circle. The motivations of the two brothers are established: We find out what “Plants” are, and we see how Rem Influenced Vash. Something that I’ve noticed when reading Trigun is just how vague the back-stories can be. Every time someone’s back-story is revealed, not everything is fully explained. (I talked about this in my last review in reference to a villain’s backstory.) While it’s not to the extent of that criticism, I found myself somewhat confused by how Knives became a megalomaniac human hater. I get that he has enough motivation to do so, but his transformation seemed way too sudden. He was calm and collected one moment, and then in the next he’s cutting his thumb up and paints his head with his own blood like a total psycho. Having said that, there was one moment where Knives show’s evidence that he’s beginning to crack. Knives and Vash are in a room with thousands of cryo chambers. Vash, knowing that they’re filled with humans and after finding out about the darker side of humanity, becomes visibly scared. Knives is in the middle of the room, his face concealed in an eerie way. “What’s the matter, Vash? Are you afraid? It’s Pointless to be afraid. It’s… Pointless” The dialogue here is stilted, but oddly enough it works in its favor, as it gives it an otherworldly feeling. Making it feel like something out of a horror movie.
Then there’s Rem, the woman who raised Vash and Knives.
Rem’s character is one I really enjoy, she’s not like most “Anime Girls” so to speak. She’s presented as a strong matriarchal figure acting as both mother and mentor. She has a tremendous effect on Vash as a character, making him the man he is today and saving him from himself. She’s the entire reason he’s the pacifist gunslinger we all love.
Since the story is mostly front and center there’s little in the way of comedy. And what is there comes off as bit dry, which I suspect has more to do with the literal translation. But it’s nowhere near as bad as the last omnibus.
The Knives and Vash Fight is very well done, with some very creative use of weapons and choreography. Knives assimilation with the “Plants” make for some gothic looking art and looks genuinely creepy. Something that surprised me was Vash’s new suit, which was introduced in the first Trigun Maximum Omnibus, actually serves a purpose other than “Looking Cool”. It took me by surprise and had me grinning for while. It’s a moment that I think you’ll all enjoy, so I won’t spoil it. It really feels like we’re nearing the end as Knives is executing his plan already. Most of the Gung ho Guns are dead and the few that remain aren’t actively seeking Vash out. So, from now on, that means there’ll be no more “Villain of the week” like the previous omnibuses.
But that doesn’t mean there’s no more action or interesting characters to fight, because in this volume we’re properly introduced to the “Eye of Michael”. A group of assassins to whom Wolfwood has strong ties to. This is where the meat of Wolfwood’s backstory lays. Interspersed with the action, is another look at Wolfwood’s childhood and how he’s connected to the “Eye Of Michael”. The second half of this volume has a TON of action and, best of all; it’s mostly Wolfwood doing the gun slinging. No offense to Vash, but Wolfwood just knows how to steal the show. If you’re a Wolfwood fan like I am, you will absolutely love this. The art, the choreography and the centerfolds are all drawn extremely well and look suitably badass. This is also due to Livio, Wolfwood’s nemesis for this volume. His character design is like something out of a heavy metal album. There’s also a cool plot twist involving Livio which I thought was pretty clever. But, of course, you’ll have to read it to find out.
Trigun Omnibus #3 Proves to be the most story dense of all the volumes I’ve read so far. The plot is steadily progressing to the climax, with a great balance of action and story. We get lots of info on Vash, Knives and Wolfwood’s past. The action was nitty and gritty delivering on all fronts. While the story was more visually driven than the last volume, I still found the dialog to be somewhat stilted. But none of this detracts from just how solid this volume is. And more is soon to come as the story shifts into high gear. Only two more omnibus of Yasuhiro Nightow’s “Trigun Maximum”!