Trigun Stampede Episode 7 aired this past Saturday proving yet again that the series is becoming a masterpiece one episode at a time. After delivering what I argued as the best episode of the Winter 2023 season last week, this episode raised the bar even higher. Between the emotional moment between Wolfwood and Livio to the group finding out who Vash truly is, episode 7 poured out a ton of information for fans to digest and it was all backed up by a beautiful soundtrack, heavy sound design, and, as always, fantastic animation.
I said before that Wolfwood and Vash are two sides of the same coin. Both have internal conflicts that rival any other characters from any anime that you could possibly name for me and this opens the floodgates for many dark, twisted, and just downright wrong moments that they both have to endure. However, while the big reveal at the end focused on Vash, this episode was titled “Wolfwood” for a reason.
Wolfwood has continued to hold the notion that killing people can be a way to save them while Vash takes the high road and claims that it’s not anyone’s decision in the first place. And seeing Livio make the decision for Wolfwood before he could do it himself was telling that perhaps Vash may be the one who is right—it’s not anyone’s decision if someone lives or dies besides the person holding their own life in their hands. It seemed that Wolfwood battled with the thought that Vash was right, otherwise he would’ve been the one to kill Livio before he did it himself. As if this was a lesson that Vash wanted to teach Wolfwood that he didn’t understand with Vash’s situation regarding Rollo in episode 5. It felt to me that Vash has been trying to guide Wolfwood down a path that’s away from the one he’s currently going down. Being able to take a life because they simply think it’s right is a belief that aligns more with Knives and I think that’s a reason why Vash tries to push his view so hard—he doesn’t want Wolfwood to walk down the path as his brother has.
The difference between Vash and Wolfwood that I absolutely love is that Vash’s age is starting to slowly show with his ideals as each episode goes by. Vash’s past is like a tire that’s been punctured by a nail—the tire isn’t flat because the nail is sealing up the hole, but air leaks out with each passing mile. The unfortunate scene with Livio almost struck a chord with Wolfwood as if he didn’t want to admit Vash was right but it was a hard lesson learned. But with Legato still saying Livio is “of use” despite shooting himself in the head might bring forth a new idea regarding life and death that we haven’t been introduced to yet. This is where Trigun Stampede starts to show its true colors on the balance of conflicting ideals. Wolfwood is currently at a crossroads and Vash is the only one who can steer him down the right path. But it’s up to Wolfwood to look at all that he has experienced and decide for himself. No power of friendship. No romantic motivation. No lofty goals. Just a man and the cross he continues to bare.
Vash’s Secret Revealed – Sci-Fi is Officially Back
The ending of episode 7 gave us a major reveal in showing us that Vash is a plant, or at least of the same species. When we take into account everything we know so far, it explains how Vash has been alive for so long. But it’s not just the big reveal of him being a plant that showed his age, it was also the little hints throughout the episode. For an easy example, Vash knew that the ion cannon on the ship was there to take down roadblocks in the ship’s path and that it was from the “Starfare Era”.
Not only that, but he knew that the ship was an actual spaceship as well. Another simple one is how he knew exactly where the control system was for the ion cannon and knew exactly how to control the anchors for the ship. This all brings me to an important part of Trigun Stampede that I love to the very core of me—this episode brought forth why sci-fi is so damn awesome and how I wish more anime fans realized it.
You have an alien in Vash who has been living among humans for centuries that is from the same species as the plants from outer space. The entire episode took place on a freaking spaceship with a gigantic sci-fi staple of a weapon in the ion cannon. Everything screamed sci-fi and it made me even happier the third time around watching it all. Even more, to have that all come from the genius of the production staff for this episode makes it even better.
The color design by Ken Hashimoto (Heike Monogatari, Perfect Blue) is truly something to behold in this series and episode 7 showcased exactly why. The dark black of Wolfwood’s cross complimenting his entire outfit with the whites and greys of Livio’s guns matching his air, not to mention the symbolism of the colors, looked incredible in this episode. And the sound of both Livio’s and Woflwood’s guns hold that extremely heavy sound as if the production crew went to a shooting range and recorded the sounds themselves. The authenticity in each of those shots was magnificent.
Trigun Stampede Episode 7 Wrap-Up
Trigun Stampede episode 7, more than anything, was a stroke of genius on all levels. The writing was perfect. The animation looked beautiful. And the intricacies of Wolfwood and Vash as characters were in the spotlight in this episode. What could even be more telling about Vash’s future is his arm slightly cracking. Usually, in storytelling, this is a sign of an omen. But we’ll have to wait and see what type of omen it may be. As of right now, it’s going in a direction that Vash is causing Vash to worry about.
Episode rating: 10/10
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Images via Crunchyroll
©2023 Yasuhiro Nightow, SHONEN GAHOSHA / TRIGUN STAMPEDE Project