90’s Sci-Fi Action Anime On Hulu Is Perfect Choice For Live-Action Remake

By Jacob VanGundy | Published

From One Piece to Cowboy Bebop, live-action adaptations of anime have become a regular occurrence, even if I find many of them disappointing. Anime can be difficult to bring to life, with a visual language that’s expensive to recreate and story structures that don’t always work for live-action expectations. As a sci-fi action series with a style influenced by Westerns and a familiar story structure, Trigun is the perfect anime for a live-action reboot. 


Trigun follows the adventures of Vash the Stampede, a supernaturally talented gunman with a strict code against killing. He is joined by insurance agents Milly and Meryl, as well as an assassin disguised as a priest named Wolfwood. The group travels around a desert planet, where they are hunted by assorted bounty hunters and assassins sent by the villainous Knives. 

Set In A Barren Desert

The desert planet Trigun is set on pays tribute to classic Westerns, with dusty saloons and barren landscapes. Rather than recreating a diverse array of environments, as Avatar the Last Airbender required, the show can largely be shot on location in California like the Westerns that inspired it. Attempts to recreate exotic anime locations often fall flat for me, but shooting on location will always work. 

Grounded Characters

The action in Trigun is also more grounded than most anime, with gunplay as the focus rather than supernatural powers. Most of the action could be shot with minimal CGI, saving the effects budget for big moments like Vash destroying a moon and practical effects like Wolfwoods iconic cross gun. While CGI has its place, I will always prefer it blended with practical effects, something Netflix’s One Piece nailed. 

Many of the characters in Trigun also have fairly grounded designs, which could easily be adapted to live action. Woflwood, Milly, and Meryl all wear fairly mundane outfits that translate easily to real life. More over-the-top characters, like Vash and the villain Legato, can be simplified, which Trigun Stampede has already proven. 

Fans Accept Changes To The Story

Another advantage of Trigun is that the various versions of the story have gotten the fan base used to different versions of the story. While the main plot points and characters are the same across the manga and both anime series, the details between all three are vastly different. Part of what made Cowboy Bebop so disappointing was that every difference from the anime felt like it was deviating from the “true” story, but I don’t have a particular version of Trigun I think of as canon.

Already Structured For Live-Action

Trigun is also structured like a conventional live-action show, with an overarching plot stitched together by episodic chapters. After introducing the characters and world, the anime falls into a pattern similar to monster-of-the-week shows, with most episodes centering around an assassin attempting to kill Vash as he tries to defend himself without letting anyone die. It’s a formula I never get tired of, and more modern live-action shows should explore it. 

I’m generally against live-action adaptations of animated properties, but it’s obvious they’re here to stay. Many anime feel like they could never translate to live-action, but Trigun is one of the few anime I love that could make the jump. Trigun is available to stream on Hulu.