Sunday, January 08, 2006

Trigun and Other Observations

So I finished watching an anime called Trigun. I borrowed it from my friend Paul. In a nutshell a pacifist sharpshooter has to deal with his psychotic and homicidal brother.

Out of a nutshell, a bio-engineered superhuman named Vash, on a desert world tries to help people but his psycho brother keeps causing all kinds of death and destruction around him. Soon everyone is calling him Vash the Stampede and The humanoid Typhoon. Associated with thousands of deaths he was involved in but didn't cause, those he wants to help shun him.

It actually comes out a little less cheesy than the above plot synopsis would indicate. It analyzes the debate of the right to kill and under what circumstances. Is it okay to kill an evil person to protect the innocent or is there always an alternative if you look hard enough? Does killing turn you into the very monster you are trying to defeat? After a great wrong, what is the price of redemption?

The story has symbolism running throughout. One theme is the yin-yan of opposing views. As the two brothers struggle against one another, the world they live on has two suns and two moons. Sin and redemption are discussed, as sin is represented by the gun and redemption by the cross. The image is combined by a priest named Wolfwood, who carries a large cross that stores his personal arsenal of weapons. The dichotomy of the two images is combined in Wolfwood's mysterious and dark past, explaining his life of both cloth and gun. Hopelessness and destruction are represented by the many villains sent by Vash's brother while Hope and rebirth are represented by the two insurance girls, Milly and Merrill, that follow Vash and his path of destruction.

It was a rather thought provoking series, wrapped up in wild west gunfights. And it was a cartoon. When will mainstream America realize that a mature story (sorry, Family Guy is not mature, its garbage) can be portrayed in an animated format. Cartoons are not just for kids.

Also not all storylines have to pander to the lowest common denominator. An intelligent extended plot can exist and still entertain the people too dense to provide a critical analysis of what was being shown. When will we ditch lame 'Reality' shows and mindless sitcoms for actual thought provoking tales?

There once was a great story in a setting created by a tiny Canadian company named Dream Pod 9. They licenced with Sony to bring it to life. The Dream Pod 9 creaters dreamed of an epic tale of human suffering and achievement in a beautifully detailed science fiction setting. Instead, the Sony executives felt that the kids wouldn't understand a plot that complex and so hijacked the creation process and created WWF with giant robots. And Sony then went on to wonder why the show flopped. Executives are not artists (some might be, Walt Disney was, Michael Eisner isn't). They fund artists but they have to understand that the artist's art is what will sell the film. The executive's job is to fund the art, not create the art. Michalangelo painted the sistine chapel, not his patron and financer.


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