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March 22, 2013

Bento Bako Bonus: Trigun: Multiple Bullets

Title: Trigun: Multiple Bullets
Author: Yasuhiro Nightow, and others
Publisher: Dark Horse (with DMP)
Volume: One-shot, $13.99
Vintage: 2012 by Shonengahosha, March 2013 by Dark Horse
Genre: Action, short story collection

This collection of shorts is a sort of celebration of the release of Trigun: Badlands Rumble, the Trigun film released in Japan in 2010. About a third of the volume is actually a Badlands Rumble story extra by Nightow himself. The rest is a collection of shorts by various artists. Masakazu Ishiguro (And Yet the Town Moves) kicks things off with a color foldout/pinup of Vash himself. Then Nightow gets things rolling with a two-part story called “Trigun: Badlands Rumble Extra: Showdown with the Dodongo Brothers in Honeycombed Village.” Vash finds himself in a spot of trouble, as usual, on the run with Wolfwood, Milly, and Meryl from the Dodongo Brothers. The Brothers have been tormenting the residents of Honeycombed Village for some time now. Vash is ready to help, especially since thirteen years ago he saved the gang from certain death, and now feels partly responsible for their continued mayhem. Wolfwood, as usual, questions why Vash won’t just kill them, since nothing changes otherwise. Nightow puts Wolfwood and Vash in the middle of another life threatening, all out showdown, and lets them do what they do best – get shot at and try not to die. Fortunately, the villagers have a trump card that helps turn the tide of the battle.

Boichi (Sun-Ken Rock) continues things with “Trigun: The Lost Plant,” which might have been really solid if not for the sci-fi mumbo jumbo (a massively powerful black hole growing as a child inside the belly of a random Plant) and grossly sexual overtones. I don’t like upskirt bizarrely anatomical crotch shots, OK. I think they’re disgusting and degrading. And also entirely unnecessary for this story. I’m also not a fan of the absurdly-pert-for-no-reason nipples, either. Honestly, I kept waiting for this one to turn into a hentai tale, and given a few more pages it might have. The girl isn’t really necessary at all, herself. She’s purely an observer. Well, she does drive Vash where he needs to be, but anyone could have done that. He could have walked on his own, too. “Denizens of the Sand Planet” by Satoshi Mizukami (The Lucifer and Biscuit Hammer) feels like it came right out of a volume of Trigun Maximum. A Plant named Tran and a giant sand worm named Zaj (in the form of a young human girl) travel the planet searching for worth in humanity. If they can’t find a way for humans, Plants, and worms to live in harmony, Zaj plans to have Tran destroy all of the humans. On their journey they meet a scientist named Lemelle, the first human who isn’t terrified of them. In fact, he’s completely fascinated by the giant worms, and asks to travel with them. They’re a rather bizarre trio as they travel around observing humans together, and ultimately they find what they were looking for was there all along in their own relationship with each other. It’s a great little story that highlights one of the main themes in Trigun that drives a bulk of the story – the fact that humans have to use Plants to survive, often literally sucking the life out of them to create a life on an inhospitable planet that can barely support them. Then along comes Ark Performance’s “les enfants,” with its heartbreaking look back at Vash and Wolfwood’s story as an elderly Milly reads an illustrated book to her granddaughter. The art is very stylized, with long lines and sharp angles. I’m sure it has a specific style designation, but I’m afraid I’m not at all familiar with such things. It’s almost like an Egyptian wall painting. From gentle reminiscence to slap stick comedy, as Yuga Takauchi’s (Mangaranai) “Mil/Mer TV” follows next. It’s a collection of little four-panel columns depicting Milly and Meryl hosting a variety show. They cook (very poorly), present  news on Vash the Stampede (who is missing, so they fabricate evidence of random appearances), tell jokes (which often fail), and try to sneak some fan service shots of Vash. Yusuke Takeyama (Samurai Leaguers) gives Rai-Dei the Blade the spotlight in “Raijin (Thunder God): Rising.” Rai has been living quietly in a small city for about a year, defending it from various bandits, and even has begun teaching a local boy his sword style so he can hand it down. But when one of the villagers tricks him into leaving so a group of organ harvesters can attack unopposed, Rai casts aside his thoughts of a peaceful life and turns back to his path of death and destruction. It’s a rather sad look at what Rai’s life could have been, and what partly turned him into the man that eventually faced off against Vash and Wolfwood. The final story, “Cutting is Fighting” by Akira Sagami (Scramble Happy!), is completely devoid of dialog, and depicts a blushing Meryl cutting Vash’s overgrown hair.

There are some really nice things for the fans in here, including a cameo of just about everyone in the series. There’s even a throwback to the idea that Milly had Wolfwood’s child (based on a scene in the anime, and I can’t recall if something similar popped up in the manga or not); or, well, it can be interpreted that way at least. I choose to because it makes my heart all warm and fuzzy while totally crushing it to pieces at the same time. Scattered through out the pages, in between each story, are little notes from various creators (of manga and anime) congratulating Nightow on the production and release of Trigun: Badlands Rumble. Most of these notes include little drawings of Vash or other main characters, all from fans of the original series of manga and anime thrilled to experience the world of Trigun once more. If you’re a fan, this book is a must buy. You’re the target audience, you’ll get the most out of it, and there’s a high probability you’ll enjoy it. If you’re not a Trigun fan, it’s still a good choice, as it can stand on its own fairly well without a lot of knowledge of the series itself. And who knows, maybe it will make you into a Trigun fan.




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