Cowboy Bebop is now more popular than ever before, but there’s only one thing wrong with that iconic anime: we only got one season of it. If that tale of futuristic bounty hunters and sci-fi shenanigans left you wanting more, then we’ve got some good news. You can now watch the bounty hunter anime Trigun on Hulu, and it’s better than good…it might, in fact, be the greatest anime ever made.
Trigun is a classic anime, arguably one of the best ever made, and it’s now streaming on Hulu.
The general vibe of Trigun is that it’s a bit of a space western. The focus on guns, showdowns, and the main character’s Shane-like tendency to wander from town to town brings to mind some of the best films of the Western genre. At the same time, futuristic technology scatters the planet, giving the otherwise Western setting a distinct dose of steampunk silliness.
What, though, is Trigun actually about? The show follows the adventures of Vash the Stampede, a “Human Typhoon” so feared by the planet that he has a juicy bounty of sixty billion double dollars. Both the bounty and Vash’s killer rep attract the attention of some hapless insurance agents and fearsome foes, and everyone is rightfully shaken when they discover a shocking secret: despite being considered the world’s deadliest man, Vash is actually a goofy pacifist with a bizarre sense of humor.
That leads to a kind of narrative throughline that anchors Trigun. For the most part, the show is made of one-off adventures, but there are various storylines and mysteries that carry from episode to episode. The biggest mystery of all is whether Vash is simply misunderstood or if he really is an unstoppable killer, and trying to get to the bottom of this mystery will keep you binge-watching.
In addition to being mysterious and downright hilarious, a major part of what makes Vash the Stampede so compelling in Trigun is that even though he’s deadly in a battle, he never wants to fight.
The next thing we’re going to say may sound like blasphemy to some of you, so please be gentle: even if you normally only watch anime subtitled, Trigun is a show whose dub is more than worth watching. The supporting cast is great (Jeff Nimoy is a particular standout as Nicholas D. Wolfwood), but the real star of the show is Johnny Yong Bosch. While you may remember him more for being a Power Ranger, Bosch is an anime legend (he was Kaneda in Akira!) who infuses Vash the Stampede with a kind of effervescent impishness.
In addition to being mysterious and downright hilarious, a major part of what makes Vash the Stampede so compelling in Trigun is that even though he’s deadly in a battle, he never wants to fight. And while you will eventually see Vash make that oversized revolver sing, it’s notable that he doesn’t even fire his gun until the fifth episode.
The character has a strong moral core and is literally willing to die for his principles, and that’s enough to make audiences watching reexamine our own sense of morality (even as we secretly hope for more kickass action).
When Trigun was first released, it didn’t make a big splash in its native Japan. However, the show received quite a warm welcome in America. One reason for this is that the show was one of only a handful of titles imported to America way back in 1999, meaning Vash didn’t have that much competition for the attention of early anime nerds.
Thanks to its success in America, the original Trigun series was eventually followed up by the film Trigun: Badlands Rumble (a fun, one-off adventure) and a follow-up show called Trigun Stampede.
That’s not to sell Trigun short, of course: its unique blend of Western and sci-fi genres effectively made it an animated precursor to fan-favorite Fox show Firefly. It resonated well with an American culture steeped in the Western genre. In fact, we’d wager that’s why Trigun converted so many people into lifelong anime fans: as a sci-fi Western, it had a kind of Star Wars-like appeal for mainstream American customers.
Thanks to its success in America, the original Trigun series was eventually followed up by the film Trigun: Badlands Rumble (a fun, one-off adventure) and a follow-up show called Trigun Stampede. The new show brings Bosch back as Vash and adds a few new twists and turns to an otherwise familiar set of characters and stories. The newer show also has a very healthy dose of CGI, which isn’t everyone’s cup of tea (or box of donuts, in this case).
While the earlier film and the newer series are both great, they are simply no match for the original Trigun series. It’s an ambitious anime epic that may just knock One Piece down in your ranking of all-time anime greats. Now, all we can do is wish you “love and peace” as you discover (or rediscover) this killer anime.