REVIEW: ‘Trigun Stampede’ Succeeds At Reimagining A Classic Series

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Trigun Stampede

When humanity set out into the cosmos to find a new home, their journey was cut short due to a catastrophic failure in the colony fleet, forcing the ships to crash land on a barren, inhospitable world. While the survivors of the crash have managed to scratch out an existence in this world, many dangers threaten them. One of the biggest, at least according to the news, is a man known as Vash The Stampede. But as the reporter duo of Meryl Strife and Roberto de Niro are about to discover, Vash isn’t what the reports allege him to be in Trigun Stampede from Studio Orange.

Reimagining a classic series often feels like little more than a fool’s errand. Messing around with a story that fans love seems like the surest way to earn nothing but ire and wrath, as the new series doesn’t live up to the legacy of what came before. While this is often due to poor choices made on the part of the production, the enterprise as a whole seems fraught with potential failure. If you keep your new version too close to the original, it will feel like there was no point in remaking it. Stray too far from the original, and the cry will be that the new series has lost the point the original made. However, now and then, a series finds the essence of a classic and keeps a hold of it while taking it in a bold new direction. Trigun Stampede is just such a project.

At the heart of this series is Vash. The eternal optimist insists on trying to save everyone and killing no one: one moment, a jester; the next moment, a badass capable of surviving the most harrowing dangers. Vash is the spoke that the rest of Trigun Stampede turns on. While many elements of the character have gone through some overhauls, most noticeably his attire, the character’s core remains intact throughout this season’s 12-episode run. He is charming and lovable, even though his idealism doesn’t strike as true in the modern day as it did back when he first graced our tv screens. But even this seems to feel accounted for, as this modern series is a bit harsher on the protagonist and his worldview, forcing him to see how questionable his beliefs are.

While Vash’s core feels mostly unchanged, the scenario the show takes him through and many of his supporting cast are notably different. Some are absent, like Milly, while others have undergone significant overhauls. While many of these changes were initially upsetting to me, as the show plays out, I came to appreciate many of the choices the show makes with its cast. This is particularly true for Meryl Strife.

Rather than entering the series as a seasoned insurance agent trying to keep the damages that follow in Vash’s wake under control, Meryl joins this story as a rookie news reporter teamed up with a veteran partner named Roberto. This shift for Meryl causes Trigun Stampede to become a sort of origin story for the character. She is out in the world for the first time, learning her way. Despite how strange this choice felt initially, I came to appreciate seeing Meryl becoming the character I remembered. It is a bold choice by Orange, but it pays off splendidly.

While the cast is generally familiar but different, the plot of Trigun Stampede goes further off the rails than its cast. While Knives remains the core antagonist, how the show approaches the duo’s confrontation is worlds apart from the original’s. We get to learn far more about Vash and Knives’ lives before the fall and about their caretaker Rem. These moments build out the twins and help the viewer understand why the pair are in such conflict with each other.

On the whole, I like the story that Trigun Stampede tells. It crafts a narrative nuanced enough for all sides to have their points while never losing who the hero and the villain are. While key scenes make Knives’ feelings about humanity understandable, the series never tries to justify his lengths to punish humanity for what it does. (For an in-depth discussion about villains and making them relatable, check out But Why Tho’s flagship podcast for a talk about the topic here).

Bringing all of these thematic and character elements together is a fantastic visual performance on the part of Orange. While the show’s look was not what I initially expected, the style grew on me quickly. The smooth camera work and fluid animation quickly became a joy for me to experience. But while the combat and danger of the series are delivered with glorious results, the show shines brightest during several dream sequences that occur near the season’s end. These moments see the visual designers truly run wild as they bring moments that are equal parts beauty and creativity.

Trigun Stampede delivers a fantastically fresh look at a classic series. Its approach keeps what was at the heart of Vash’s tale whole while exploring lots of new ground. With a sequel series set up in the show’s final moments, I eagerly await what may come next for Vash and his friends.

Trigun Stampede is streaming on Crunchyroll.

Trigun Stampede
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10


Trigun Stampede delivers a fantastically fresh look at a classic series. Its approach keeps what was at the heart of Vash’s tale whole while exploring lots of new ground.

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