A somewhat interesting take on the Space Western
, with some unaddressed Unfortunate Implications
that eventually undermine the entire work.
As a preface: I'm not really much of an anime or manga fan, but my friends were really into it in my college years so I decided to try out a few, and Trigun was one that actually held my interest for a bit because of the manga's more mature take on the idea of the Space Western
and that it seemed to explore some very serious issues. Unfortunately, Writer Cop Out
happened on almost all of said issues, and then I began to see the almost vindictive homophobic/transphobic streak. This review doesn't (mostly) apply to the anime except where they share the same issues, which actually does have fewer Unfortunate Implications
simply due to its many Plot Holes
(another issue entirely but...)
This analysis will be centered around the Unfortunate Implications
and how they, like termites in a wooden house, undermined everything
from the Aesop overload to even the story being enjoyable at all.
1: Bury Your Gays
, but being an Armored Closet Gay
sexual abuser is okay - as long as its in the closet!
In general, the anime and especially manga seem to have an almost vindictive to the point of hate Bury Your Gays
streak, possibly due to the writer's interpretation of his Roman Catholic faith at the time. As in, the way of resolving the obvious even if accidental Ho Yay
between Wolfwood and Vash? Kill off one of them, in one of the most prolonged and brutally sadistic deaths of the manga or emphasizing his heterosexuality before he dies in the anime - the former being Bury Your Gays
and the latter being Get Back in the Closet
and Bury Your Gays
. The canon gay Legato is a Depraved Homosexual
who, as mentioned above, is a sadistic mass murderer driven to both his sexuality and murder via child abuse
. The manga canon transgender Elendira is also a "Creepy Transsexual" / Depraved Bisexual
stereotype, who suffers, again, one of the most sadistic deaths of the manga (far more so than anyone else). The Armored Closet Gay
and creepily incestuous Knives somehow escapes any of this due to The Power of Love
never mind he symbolically desires sex with his own brother (so being incestuously gay is A-OK as long as you sublimate it via violence), while an apparent way of purging The Hero
Vash of the "taint" of Immortality Bisexuality
is to make him Compensating for Something
and either being creepily sexual toward or shy of women.
2: Women are ineffectual / Faux Action Girl
/ Failure of the Bechdel Test
So you'd think that Meryl and Milly would prove that women can be just as badass as men? Nope! They are never shown being able to resolve any situation completely by themselves (despite allegedly being trained enough to survive as long as they have
, most of their discussions center around the men or the things the men are doing. To give credit where credit is due, refreshingly, they at least aren't usually portrayed as intentional fanservice
like most such female characters would be and Milly is one of the more positive portrayals of a plus-size woman
in anime or manga even if she falls into the Big Fun
and Big Eater
tropes and is a bit of an airhead. Unfortunately, neither of them have very much page time or much writing outside of fandom to round them out more as characters, and in the end effectually they end up just as foils and backup for the men. All three female antagonists (I will consider Elendira female even if the manga is ambivalent on that, and Zazie is female in the manga) are also uniquely Broken Bird
and some of the most mentally unstable out of a group of hired killers, Dominique having Daddy Issues
and both her and Zazie being the personifications of Break the Cutie
and Elendira being a sociopath. Almost all of the straight males among the mercenaries have other reasons than pure mental illness for their actions, and none
of them have Daddy Issues
or Mommy Issues
The female plants get it even worse - they are a Slave Race
, which leads to the next point.
3: Happiness in Slavery
? Yeah, got that too...