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Title: Trigun: Multiple Bullets                              Genre: Western, Sci-fi, Ronin

Writer/Artist: Yasuhiro Nightow, Boichi, Masakazu Ishiguro, and others

Format: Collaborative Manga (7 stories)        Licensed by: Dark Horse Mangabanner-image

Multiple Bullets is a collaborative manga set in the world of Yasuhiro Nightow’s Trigun. It was released to compliment the then-new movie, Badlands Rumble, and features a collection of one-shots from mostly amateur mangaka, along with praise for the franchise from Hiromu Arakawa (Full Metal AlchemistSilver Spoon), Gen Urobuchi (Madoka MagicaPsycho-Pass), Masashi Ishihama (Mezzo Forte, Read or Die), Tetsuro Araki (Death NoteHighschool of the Dead, Attack on Titan), and many less interesting people.

The styles of the guest mangaka vary greatly, both visually and narratively. The high point is the first two chapters, from Nightow himself, which form an original, traditional Trigun episode. This review will cover each of these stories. They seem to be organized from most interesting to least, so the summaries will get shorter as we go along.

Badlands Rumble – Extra: Yasuhiro Nightow

Nightow’s story further explores the basic themes around Vash’s character. This time, some outlaws he spared 13 years ago have broken out of jail and are terrorizing a poor village. It’s nothing ground-breaking for Trigun, but it suits the series and the character well.badlands-rumbleWolfwood is present, so you know the story is ultimately about Vash’s idealism vs. the priest’s realism. Of course, since this is the manga we’re talking about, idealism wins, but in a half-hearted way. The question of “Was it right for Vash to leave these outlaws alive in the first place?” is never settled. Vash and Wolfwood take them down again, but the moral issue is never addressed after the first chapter.

Subtler is the issue of guilt and trust. The terrorized village has no idea Vash is responsible for the outlaws being alive. Vash himself feels guilty about this, but in his usual fashion he puts on a goofy smile, gains their trust, and promises to protect them. Then he starts saying something else. Meryl and Wolfwood cut him off, and tell him if he’s too nice the villagers will be less at ease. I won’t give any more specifics, but this idea comes back in the second chapter, and we find out the village apparently didn’t trust Vash and gang entirely.

It goes back to why Wolfwood is there. For someone as pure and ideal as Vash, being honest is bound to make people in the real world sceptical. And in an unusual show of realism, Nightow’s story embraces this.

 

The Lost Planet: Boichi

First I should note, in terms of flow, this change is jarring. Boichi started his career as an artist in Korea, and didn’t get involved in manga until over ten years later. Despite this, I can’t help but think he was influenced by Shirow Masamune’s later work, because…lost-planet

The chapter brings in what I guess Boichi thinks is Vash, but it’s hard to take that notion seriously when he says, “It’s time for some slaughter!”

Ass girl gets to do most of the dialogue and exposition, but none of it is necessary; We already know it is after the battle with Knives because Vash’s hair is black; We don’t care that you have anxiety, if all you’re here to do it expound; and We don’t need to know the stardate, or that “the times are, for the most part, peaceful.” None of what she says adds anything to the story, and she doesn’t actually do anything.

The story comes down to a bizarre exchange between Vash and another Plant, weighing the value of one life against the universe. For Trigun manga, this is an interesting dilemma, because manga Vash has never willingly killed anyone. Unfortunately it’s bogged down in the most absurd sci-fi nonsense ever written, which actually fucks with the canon.

The resolution is presented as something Vash struggled to reach, but Boichi’s art style is so stoic that Vash comes off more like Guts from Berserk. His emotional struggle is hidden, and his resolution is blatant Dues Ex Machina.

The presentation is so heavy handed, there are so many extraneous points, and the art is such second rate Ghost in the Shell that I cannot say this has anything good to offer the Trigun franchise.

 

Denizens of the Planet: Satoshi Mizukamidenizens-of-the-sand-planetThis one features all new characters, a young Plant boy named Tran, Zaj of the sand worms, and the sand worm scientist Lemelle. It’s all about how they can live together in peace. It’s not offensively bad, like Lost Planet, but it’s dull and nothing really happens.

The story is primarily just dialogue about whether and why each of them hates other species, and none of their answers present interesting or novel ideas.

les-enfants

 

Les enfants: Ark Performance

This one is just a summary of Trigun, which stops before the end. It’s being told as if many years after the fact, and presented as a legend. The only interesting thing to note is the LoZ art style, which lends to the presentation, but it’s otherwise just a truncated, poorly written summary of Trigun.

 

Mil / Mer TV: Yuga Takauchi: Ever wonder what if Millie and Meryl had a cooking show that was actually a four-koma? It’s not funny.

Raijin: Yusuke Takeyama: Bad Kenshin fan fiction.

Cutting is Fighting: Akira Sagami: Meryl gives Vash a haircut. No dialogue. It’s got a couple funny moments and some stuff for the shippers.

 

Why did a bunch of amateurs write dumb Trigun spin-offs? Because Badlands Rumble had just come out and there was money in it. With the exception of Nightow’s own contribution, none of these feel like the author even wanted to write them; they just wanted the publicity. Each one feels like a worse piece of fan fiction than the last.

If, instead of this, Nightow had fully developed his own story, it would have been worth something. But as it is his own story is underdeveloped, and all the rest are just bad. Trigun: Multiple Bullets is a disjointed collection of mediocre work.

Don’t Lose Your Way

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