Trigun Omnibus by Yasuhiro Nightow
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
There was a time, before the fans sank their teeth in, when manga was a real, true art-form. It was like the American comic-book industry, but without as many restrictions to keep it from becoming something beautiful. Trigun was born in that time.
This is the story of Vash the Stampede, a hero that doesn't kill.
This may seem strange in some ways. After all, we have so many things here in America where killing is just what you do. In fact, in general our heroes are killers.
Sometimes, of course, this is necessary. For instance, when Goku kills an enemy our in Dragon Ball Z it is done because that enemy is a danger. Furthermore, he usually gives his enemies chance to redeem themselves.
However, Vash never kills. Life is too precious, too wild. He cannot bear the thought that killing another would end those wild possibilities. Part of this is due to Vash's past (of which I will give no spoilers) and part of it is just who he is. In many ways Vash is much like the Doctor from Doctor Who, not wanting to kill anyone, always wanting to save the world.
However, if you think this is naive and believe that such a way of life cannot be easily maintained then you are right. Nightow does not neglect this side of things. In fact, as the series progress we see just how damaging Vash's creed can be not only to himself but also to others.
This is important to note because too often we see that our heroes do not hold a moral issue with killing. In fact, it is honorable. This is not a bad thing. Sometimes killing is necessary. Sometimes people are so jaded that they simply do not have it in them to care or they don't see that life is so great a thing.
However, to lose out on that thing that holds us back, that thing that makes killing hard is a folly. I've heard readers say they find it annoying when they main character broods over killing, yet to kill marks either that the character has been backed into a corner and was forced to commit the ultimate transgression against life. Or else the character has become detached from life and its splendor.
Now, to say something of this setting, Trigun manages to do what "Sand", (link to the review here http://thesmokingpenandpad.blogspot.c...) could not do. The setting and the people that populate it have personality. They struggle, but are not so resigned to their fate that they wait for the world to bury them. They are people who are subject to change and do things that sometimes are cruel. They do this because people are complicated.
Trigun does what a manga should do. It builds a world and fills it with great characters and it manages to balance that world somewhere between the dark and the light, much like life itself.
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Or Buy the Omnibus here: Trigun Omnibus