With his sunglasses, guns, donuts, and a new haircut in hand, Vash the Stampede was locked and loaded during Studio Orange’s recent appearance at Anime Expo.
Kicking off the Trigun Stampede Lock & Load panel was original series mangaka Yasuhiro Nightow himself, who confirmed that he was fully involved with the reboot of his classic space-punk western.
According to Nightow, the reboot is aiming for a highly cinematic feel, with the mangaka citing Hollywood movies and a post-pandemic desire for “pure entertainment” as the inspirations for Vash’s new high octane adventure.
Further insight into the series was then provided by Studio Orange Producers Kiyotaka Waki and Yoshihiro Watanabe and Toho producer Katsuhiro Takei, who spoke to the Trigun Stampede’s CG animation style.
The trio explained that faithfully capturing the aesthetic of Trigun’s 1998 anime was their top priority. Interestingly, after the Trigun manga and anime, the team cited 2D Disney animation as their biggest style markers in bringing Vash to life.
The producers then emphasized that the purpose of using their CG rendering technology was to help them better achieve action scenes akin to classic 80s and 90s anime, such as Cowboy Bebop and Ghost in the Shell.
Following this discussion, the team unveiled Trigun Stampede’s first full trailer:
The trailer kicks off with Rem (CV: Maaya Sakamoto: Ceil Phantomhive in Black Butler) helping a young Vash (CV: Tomoyo Kurosawa: Tina Sprout in Black Bullet) and Knives (CV: Yumiri Hanamori: Goll in Record of Ragnarok) into an escape pod as the ship they’re on malfunctions.
Choosing to stay behind and try – admittedly in vain – to prevent the vessel from exploding, Rem says her good-byes and tells the boys she loves them as the escape pod blasts off into space.
As the ship ultimately explodes, Vash lets out one final cry for Rem as the screen goes black before transitioning to the trailer’s first shot of adult Vash (CV: Yoshitsugu Matsuoka: Inosuke Hashibira in Demon Slayer), who can be seen investigating a lab with two chambers, one red and one blue.
Over a shot of the familiar two moons of Trigun’s desert planet setting, Vash begins an internal monologue regarding his brother, Knives (CV: Junya Ikeda: Joe Kido in Digimon Tri), all the while holding up his wanted poster.
With the scene cutting to Vash in a battle with what is presumed to be a bounty hunter, the blonde-haired gunman recounts how his brother is somewhere on the far-east side of the planet before dodging a point blank shot to the face.
After the battle, the role of narrator switches to Knives, who notes that his brother hasn’t really changed – ironically as a shot of Vash’s arm, which was removed and replaced thanks to Knives’ violent actions, flashes across the screen.
As Knives opines that Vash is still lost in his dreams, the trailer shows Vash pointing his gun straight up in the air, confirming his brother’s assertion by reiterating his signature vow to never kill again.
The trailer concludes with young Vash looking up at the apocalyptic aftermath of their space station’s destruction as Knives maniacally boasts that they caused this massacre together.
Describing the destruction as if it were a piece of art rather than an atrocity, Knives looks over his shoulder and calls for Vash to revel in the carnage with him – only to be disappointed when he sees that his brother doesn’t feel the same way.
Finally, during the panel, the production team made public the series’ first key visual, which depicts Vash being caught in a rope trap and warns that “The Human Typhoon is coming!!!!!”
Following the trailer’s premiere at Anime Expo, a number of the Trigun Stampede production team members who appeared at the panel, as well as others who were unable to attend, offered their thoughts and excitement at its public debut via the series’ official website (all translated via DeepL).
“Not coming back,” said Nightow. “It is coming. The typhoon that occurred 25 years ago did not disappear, but waited for its time as a gentle wind, met a young singularity, became a whirlwind, repeated enormous analysis, reconstruction, renewal, and amplification, and is now growing into a tremendous tornado that is gathering energy.”
He added, “The time has finally come. The time has finally come. A fresh, new, and unmistakable trigun will appear before your eyes. Trigun will not stop being Trigun even after all this. Perhaps it is because the staff has kept the core of the Trigun in mind. I am proud of the strength of the original work. Now, are you ready?”
“Don’t get blown away, my friends,” he concluded. “Brace yourselves for the stampede.”
Director Kenji Muto explained the series’ conceptual premise, telling fans, “Rather than simply tracing the original manga, which has been serialized for 27 years, we had numerous discussions with Mr. Naito and the producers about the meaning of portraying it again as an entertainment work in the present day.”
“In the far distant future, a group of space pioneer immigrants crash-land on an uncharted planet, No Man’s Land,” Muto elaborated. “The primitive lifestyle of the people living there is reminiscent of the American frontier, and with guns in their hands, the former inhabitants of the earth create a new, free world where diverse cultures and religions are intermingled.”
“I wanted to depict a world that is a fantasy, yet somehow overlaps with the reality we live in, a world that is connected to our own,” he noted. “The characters that run amok in this world are familiar and appealing to us.”
Muto further teased, “Outlaws, sheriffs, and rapid-fire gunmen move about and shoot each other. It is a super cool battle action film.”
“And please feel the story behind the twin brothers’ fate,” he asked fans in conclusion to his comments. “As a first-time director, there are a lot of things I haven’t done well, but at least it should be an ‘attractive and flawed product’. Please enjoy the activities of Vash the Stampede, an invincible gunfighter who never draws his gun, never fights, and never stops trying to escape.”
Concept artist Koji Tajima exclaimed, “At last. At last, an announcement. I can finally say it!”
“First of all, I am very honored to be involved in this wonderful project!” he excitedly said. “But to be honest, when Mr. Waki, the producer, told me ‘this is it,’ I wondered if I was the right person to do it, since I had only experience with live-action movies.”
“However, he told me to give it a try without thinking too much about it, so I said, Well, then, I’ll give it my best shot!” Tajima continued. “I gave it my all.”
He then assured fans, “When drawing the concept art, I was conscious of respecting the original work as much as possible! My first impression was that the original design was already too cool, so what more could I do? Please look forward to it!”
“I received the proposal for the project ‘TRIGUN’ in 2017, before the broadcast of Orange’s first original production, ‘The Land of the Lustrous,'” reminisced Studio Orange Producer Kiyotaka Waki.
“The first company I myself joined was Madhouse, and naturally I knew about ‘TRIGUN’ as well,” he said. “During my time at Madhouse, I had seen and heard about the production of the movie version of ‘TRIGUN Badlands Rumble’ from the side, so I knew how difficult the work was.”
Waki added, “Furthermore, it was also the work of my mentor, producer Masao Maruyama.”
“Mr. Maruyama is a producer who has supported the animation industry since its early days,” he asserted. “His influence on the industry has been tremendous. That is why I participated in this project because I thought it would be very meaningful to make ‘TRIGUN’ at Orange in order to expand CG animation over the coming decades.”
The producer concluded, “During the production of any work, there is always a lot of anxiety. That is why I keep pursuing the possibilities of expression in order to dispel them. I hope that Orange will be a new starting point for all of the expressions that we have cultivated so far.”
Rounding out these staff comments was TOHO producer Katsuhiro Takei, who posited, “The journey to find a new Trigun, as it turned out, was to return to Trigun’s roots.”
“It was to regain that fresh sense of excitement that everyone can’t help but feel when they hear the words ‘sci-fi Western,'” he said. “And the director who was more faithful than anyone else to the spirit of entertainment that was the essence of the original work was Kenji Muto.”
“Trigun is coming!” he exclaimed. “It is a new and nostalgic Trigun. For those who have not seen it for a long time, and for those who have not seen it for a long time, it will be an anime that will make you feel the charm of the original work, and at the same time, excite you with its newness. As a fan of the original work, I can’t wait to witness the completion of such an ambitious project. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I do!”
While many have been skeptical of Trigun’s turn to CG, should Studio Orange be able to provide the same level of art and animation quality seen in Land of the Lustrous’ anime adaptation, I believe the studio may have another winner on their hands.
Are you excited for the Trigun reboot? Let us know in the comments and social media.