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Trigun (Japanese: トライガン Hepburn: Toraigan) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Yasuhiro Nightow. The manga was serialized in Tokuma Shoten's Shōnen Captain in 1995 with three collected volumes when the magazine was discontinued in 1997. The series continued in Shōnen Gahosha's Young King Ours magazine, under the title Trigun Maximum (トライガンマキシマム Toraigan Makishimamu), where it remained until finishing in 2008.
Cover of the first English manga volume
|Genre||Adventure, science fiction|
|Written by||Yasuhiro Nightow|
|Published by||Tokuma Shoten|
|Magazine||Monthly Shōnen Captain|
|Original run||May 1995 – February 1997|
|Written by||Yasuhiro Nightow|
|Published by||Shōnen Gahōsha|
|Magazine||Young King OURs|
|Original run||December 1997 – May 2007|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Satoshi Nishimura|
|Produced by||Shigeru Kitayama|
|Written by||Yōsuke Kuroda|
|Music by||Tsuneo Imahori|
|Original network||TV Tokyo|
|Original run||April 1, 1998 – September 30, 1998|
Both manga were adapted into an anime television series in 1998. Madhouse animated the TV series which aired on TV Tokyo from April 1, 1998 to September 30, 1998, totaling 26 episodes. An animated feature film called Trigun: Badlands Rumble was released in April 2010.
Trigun revolves around a man known as "Vash the Stampede" and two Bernardelli Insurance Society employees, Meryl Stryfe and Milly Thompson, who follow him around in order to minimize the damages inevitably caused by his appearance. Most of the damage attributed to Vash is actually caused by bounty hunters in pursuit of the sixty billion double dollar bounty on Vash's head for the destruction of the city of July. However, he cannot remember the incident due to retrograde amnesia, being able to recall only fragments of the destroyed city and memories of his childhood. Throughout his travels, Vash tries to save lives using non-lethal force. He is occasionally joined by a priest, Nicholas D. Wolfwood, who, like Vash, is a superb gunfighter with a mysterious past. As the series progresses, more about Vash's past and the history of human civilization on the planet Gunsmoke is revealed.
After leaving college, Yasuhiro Nightow had gone to work selling apartments for the housing corporation Sekisui House, but struggled to keep up with his manga drawing hobby. Reassured by some successes, including a one-shot manga based on the popular video game franchise Samurai Spirits, he quit his job to draw full-time. With the help of a publisher friend, he submitted a Trigun story for the February 1996 issue of the Tokuma Shoten magazine Shōnen Captain, and began regular serialization two months later in April.
However, Shōnen Captain was canceled early in 1997, and when Nightow was approached by the magazine Young King Ours, published by Shōnen Gahōsha, they were interested in him beginning a new work. Nightow though, was troubled by the idea of leaving Trigun incomplete, and requested to be allowed to finish the series. The publishers were sympathetic, and the manga resumed in 1998 as Trigun Maximum (トライガンマキシマム Toraigan Makishimamu). The story jumps forward two years with the start of Maximum, and takes on a slightly more serious tone, perhaps due to the switch from a shōnen to a seinen magazine. Despite this, Nightow has stated that the new title was purely down to the change of publishers, and rather than being a sequel it should be seen as a continuation of the same series. The 14th tankōbon was published on February 27, 2008.
Shōnen Gahōsha later bought the rights to the original three volume manga series and reissued it as two enlarged volumes. In October 2003 the US publisher Dark Horse Comics released the expanded first volume translated into English by Digital Manga, keeping the original right-to-left format rather than mirroring the pages. Trigun Maximum followed quickly, and the entire 14-volume run was released over a five-year period from May 2004 to April 2009. Translations into French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish have also been released.
An anthology manga titled, Trigun: Multiple Bullets (トライガン マルチプルバレッツ Toraigan Maruchipuru Barettsu) featuring short stories written by several manga artists such as Boichi, Masakazu Ishiguru, Satoshi Mizukami, Ark Performance, Yusuke Takeyama, Yuga Takauchi and Akira Sagami was released in by Shonen Gahosha in Japan in December 2011 and in North America on March 6, 2013.
Madhouse produced an anime series based on the manga, also titled Trigun. Directed by Satoshi Nishimura, the series was broadcast on TV Tokyo from April 1 to September 30, 1998. It is licensed for DVD and Blu-ray in the United States by Funimation Entertainment, who re-released it on DVD on October 27, 2010. The show failed to garner a large audience in Japan during its original showing in 1998, but gained a substantial fan base following its North American premiere on Cartoon Network in early 2003. Nightow has stated that due to the finality of the anime's ending, it is unlikely any continuation will be made.
The October 2005 issue of Neo magazine includes an interview with Masao Maruyama, Madhouse's founder and series planner. In the article he revealed that the studio has been working on a Trigun movie that would be released in "a couple of years". The November 2005 issue of Anime Insider also confirmed this news.
In May 2007, Nightow confirmed at the Anime Central Convention that the Trigun movie was in the early stages of pre-production with a near-final script, although he did not divulge any plot information.
In February 2008, more details about the Trigun movie emerged on the cover of volume 14 of the Trigun Maximum manga, announcing that the movie was scheduled for 2009. In October 2009, however, the movie's website announced a new Japanese premiere set for spring 2010. The story of the movie, as depicted from the cover, was going to be about "Vash vs. Wolfwood", the two main characters of the manga.
In July 2009, at the Anime Expo convention in Los Angeles, California, Yasuhiro Nightow and Satoshi Nishimura held a panel for the movie. Shigeru Kitayama and Noriyuki Jinguji also made appearances to promote the movie. During the convention a trailer was shown depicting characters of the movie.
The film was animated by the same company that animated the television show, Madhouse.
The film is titled Trigun: Badlands Rumble and opened in theaters in Japan on April 24, 2010. The film was shown to an American audience first at the Sakura-Con 2010 in Seattle, Washington on Friday, April 2, 2010 at 5:00 pm, and the director held a 15-minute Q&A session before the movie, explaining the reasons it was not dubbed, subbed, and why it was premiered at the convention, also explaining the new characters. The movie was shown again on Saturday and Sunday according to the schedule. At Anime Expo 2010, Funimation announced that they have licensed the film as they have with the TV series and plan to release it into theaters. Funimation later had a showing of a subbed version of the movie later during the same Anime Expo.
Though the series received a lukewarm response from native Japanese audiences, Trigun has proved to be a major success with North American viewers during its airing on the Cartoon Network Adult Swim block in the early 2000s. The anime has received mostly positive reviews from American critics who have praised the series' moral themes and ability to balance lighthearted humor with its more serious plot. The anime series is frequently listed as one of the best anime series with Wizard's Anime Magazine listing Trigun as the 38th best series on their "Top 50 Anime released in North America" and The Los Angeles Times journalist Charles Solomon placed the series as the seventh best anime on his "Top 10".
Theron Martin of Anime News Network gave the anime adaptation a B+ praising the writing stating, "The series never wallows in the clichés inherent to this format simply because the surprisingly high quality of its writing never allows that to happen." However he continued to criticize the visuals stating, "Character rendering regularly looks more like rough drafts than refined final products, with the artists often struggling just to stay on model." Mike Toole of Anime News Network named Trigun as one of the most important anime of the 1990s. In 2009 Trigun Maximum won the Best Comic Seiun Award at the 48th Japan Science Fiction Convention.
Escapist Magazine columnist H.D. Russell reviewed the anime adaptation of the series in early 2016, as part of the "Good Old Anime Review" section focusing on popular anime of the 1990s to early 2000's. Though, noting the series hasn't aged well in terms of animation and English voice acting quality, Russell states the depth of the characters and moral themes of the series more than compensate for its faults. Russell concluded his review giving Trigun a rank of four out of a five stars stating, "Trigun is very often overshadowed by its close cousin Cowboy Bebop, which is sad, because it truly is a delight to watch. Despite having only decent voice acting (with a few exceptions), average music, and relatively static visuals, Trigun is an absolute blast that had me laughing and thinking the whole way. While it's not perfect, it is fun and it does ask the questions that will make viewers ponder for years to come without ever offering them an answer. Trigun is one that went straight from my backlog to my heart and is truly greater than the sum of its parts."
The success of the animated series increased the popularity of the original manga source material with the US release's first volume run of 35,000 sold out shortly after release. The second volume concluded the original series early the next year, and went on to be the top earning manga release of 2004.
Despite its relative popularity in the West, Trigun never gained widespread appeal to Japanese audiences. Suggested factors include the "old west" setting, European style character names and a lack of Japanese cultural elements. This would make Trigun one of the rare examples of an anime that is far more successful in the West than it was within its country of origin. 
- "Trigun Volume 1 TPB". Dark Horse Comics. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
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- "When Young King Ours invited me to do some work for them, they were hoping for a new piece, but I was troubled by leaving Trigun unfinished. I told them I wouldn't feel like I had done my work unless I finished it, plus I was attached to it, and I asked them if they'd let me finish it." interview with Nightow in the September 2000 Manga no Mori newsletter, translated by sumire.
- "Nightow stated that there is no difference in the story between the two titles, and the only reason for the change is because of the switch of publishing house." summary of discussion panel with Nightow Archived 2016-01-24 at the Wayback Machine. at Anime Expo 2000, in Anaheim, California.
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