Poor old Vash has a lot on his plate. After nearly becoming victim to several bounty hunters in volume 1, he has now become the target of an entire town! So desperate are the people of Inepril to raise the money to fix their failing power plant that they'll go to any length to apprehend the legendary Vash the Stampede, even letting the extremely dangerous Nebraska Family escape from jail to do their dirty work. If this wasn't enough he also has to face a stranger out for revenge as well as the deadly Badd Ladd Gang and their psychotic leader Brilliant Dynamites Neon. These events stir painful memories for Vash, and it seems that he may be forced to do more to survive than just run away...
The volume starts pretty much as the last one left off, with insurance agents Meryl Stryfe and Milly Thompson still on the lookout for the legendary gunman Vash the Stampede. They've already met him several times, but Meryl just won't believe that the geeky peacenik they keep bumping in to can be the deadly killer of legend. However, when they come to the town of Inepril they discover a near war zone as the townspeople try desperately to apprehend him. It is against this background that Vash is finally forced to drop his act as he faces Professor Nebraska and his giant cyborg son Gofsef, and in doing so reluctantly prove his true identity.
The first volume of Trigun was a great mix of comedy and action, but this second volume starts to take on a far darker tone. Some people may find this a bit of a shock, but rest assured that the comedy doesn't disappear completely, it's just that action and drama takes a far more central role in proceedings. Vash becomes more serious as he is forced to call upon his considerable skills, and instead of this making him less likeable it makes him more so. He is a highly skilled gunman yet, in a series with more gunplay per episode than a Sergio Leone western, it takes until the fifth episode for him to fire a shot, and even then it is defend someone else. It is this dichotomy within the character that makes him likeable and also intriguing, and there are several hints towards his dark past in this volume that makes it even more watchable.
The episodes themselves are highly enjoyable, with tonnes of action, humour and drama running through them, and the fact that the disc ends with a cliffhanger suggests that an ongoing story arc has just begun. There are plenty of really cool scenes, especially Vash's standoff against the Nebraska Family, and the series continues to be highly entertaining. The only real disappointments are that some of the enemies are a bit rubbish (25ft tall cyborgs with detachable arms anyone?) and that there are just three episodes on this disc, something that there really isn't much excuse for anymore.
This said, the quality of the episodes on show still makes this a great release. The animation and art may not have the slick CGI sheen of more modern productions but it is clean and distinctive, the music is good and the story is excellent. However, what really makes Trigun work is the setting, and the collection of desolate futuristic frontier towns, desperate people and larger than life characters makes the series more than just a quality actioner. Action packed, hugely watchable and great fun, Trigun vol 2 hints at even better to come from future volumes and comes highly recommended.
Best Bit: Vash's standoff
against the Nebraska Family.