Character Spotlight: Vash the Stampede

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This might be a shorter article, specifically because there’s only a certain part of the entire Trigun series that I really enjoyed and that’s the goofier first half of the anime series. The more dark and serious half of Trigun was not my forte nearly as much. And that’s large in part due to the show’s main character, Vash the Stampede.

When the first episode kicked in and we see Vash for the first time looking all badass, it sets the stage for a massive twist when you see what really happened. Did the man with the 60 double-billion dollars bounty on his head once again wreak havoc on those who tried to assassinate him and claim the bounty? How did the Humanoid Typhoon do it? Did he blast them all away with one shot? Did he fire one headshot for each enemy in a matter of seconds? Nope! He aimed his gun, fired and realized he forgot to load the chamber and then freaked the fuck out anime-style and ran off screaming.

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While I still did enjoy the entire series, it’s this part of Vash that really drew me into Trigun. I was thinking when my friends first showed me the show it was going to be some super serious Western anime (I was half-right in the end), but the moment that facial expression showed up on Vash’s face, along with that “GAH?!” he screams out, I was sold on the show. In anime form, I prefer comedy over drama because it suits anime so much better, at least in my opinion. So between super serious Vash and super goofy Vash, there’s no contest between the two, it’s super goofy Vash all the way.

I mean, what isn’t there to love about the guy? He is the most passive, unserious person in the world. Even when faced with death, he acts like it’s like it’s nothing. To be fair, he acts the way he does in attempt to hide his true identity from people, but there’s gotta be some part of his personality that’s actually like that. It’s just so hilarious to watch him and his shenanigans, whether it’s being a lecherous guy trying to peep on pretty girls and such, his over-the-top love of doughnuts, or just his fighting tactics in general, like messing with a grunt soldier by having him shoot a picture of himself in the rocks.

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His objective of not killing anyone also opens the door for so many more silly and ridiculous possibilities for how he manages to get out of all the sticky situations he’s in, whether it’s whipping a pistol yards away to drill a soldier, trying to pretend he’s a fellow soldier by somehow hiding behind an unconscious soldier he’s propping up around, or simply pointing his finger from under his trenchcoat to make it seem like he’s got a gun pointed right at his enemies. It makes every moment with Vash unpredictable, you never know what you’re going to get with him.

I’d talk more about Vash where it’s about the more serious side, but truth be told I don’t recall that much about it, I’ve pretty much set aside that part of Vash’s history. Once the goofy stuff started to fade away in the anime, I remember less and less of the show. Even through re-reading the plot of the anime version of the series, I completely forgot about characters like Rem and Wolfwood, amongst others. My core memories of Trigun lie with Vash, Meryl and Milly and the various characters they come across in the more comedy-based sections of the anime. So I feel like talking about the more dark, depressing and lonely side of Vash really wouldn’t add much, because I’m not an expert on it.

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It’s not to say that part of his character isn’t important though, from all accounts from my friends who loved the entire series, they all think he’s a very well-developed character with a real troubled past and many different sides to his character because of all the things that have happened to him over the years. It just a matter of preference for me, I really like the comedic side of Vash and didn’t make much of an effort to recall the more lonely, dark side of him.

He’s still a fantastic character though and I wouldn’t trade anything away when it comes to him. Because of the first half of the anime being as goofy as it was, he remains one of my favourite male characters in anime. I love his design with the hair, glasses and trenchcoat, his flamboyant over-the-top personality is so goddamn funny and he’s just overall a person you can’t take your eyes off of, he’s just so interesting.

And come on, how can you not be interested in a character with a crazy laugh like Vash has?

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One comment

  1. Vash ends up being a surprisingly complex character (which you would never guess from watching the first episode). I liked this series all the way through and Vash is definitely the main draw and getting to know him. Thanks for sharing.

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