We reach the mid point in the series and for the first time we really see the dark side of Vash. The previous three volumes have shown flashes of another side to Vash which is hidden behind his goofy exterior, but have never really exposed it, but when this volume does the series really hits a high.
The episode starts off with Vash going against all he has stood for in previous episodes as he accepts a contract to kill a girl whose actions are effectively destroying a trading caravan. His decision comes as a shock to those around him, not least insurance investigator Meryl Stryfe who was secretly coming to like the man she thought she knew. But there is far more going on than the investigators and wandering priest Wolfwood know, Vash is being targeted by a deadly opponent, someone who has enough of a grudge and enough patience to lock someone in a cellar and train them as a killing machine for over ten years with a sole purpose - to kill Vash. Released from his cellar the man, known as Monev the Gale, closes in on our hero, who also has the mysterious and twisted psychic Legato Bluesummers to contend with. The insurance investigators have seen flashes of Vash's dark side, but how will they react when it truly manifests?
Trigun just continues to get better with every volume. Vash has managed to remain a mysterious and extremely interesting character despite being the focus of the series, and the reasons for his vows not to kill have remained shrouded in a past which has yet to be revealed. We get enough glimpses to keep us intrigued but not so many that it demystifies the character, and just when you thought you had got a hold of the type of person he is this volume throws in a trio of events that completely trip you up. Is Vash a hero or a killer? What secrets in his past have led the psychotic duo of Legato and Monev to try and kill him? It's this mystery that makes Trigun so enthralling, and the balance of action and comedy has kept the entertainment quota high too.
This time round the series really takes a turn for the dark and the drama and horror is upped too. The action quota goes through the roof in episode 12 as Vash battles the deadly Monev, and as a breathless two episodes which highlight the conflict within Vash end we are presented with the ultimate let down - a clip show. Episode 13 is comprised clips from the previous 12 episodes linked by scenes of Meryl writing a report to her employers, this is quite a usual thing in anime but it is more than a bit annoying on a DVD that contains just three episodes. It is a real shame that this disc doesn't contain more episodes as effectively you are getting just two for £18, even if the clip episode does give you a chance to see the excellent showdown between Vash and the Nebraska family again.
Episode 12 is the undoubted high point of the series so far, with a ton of action and a real focus on the struggle Vash endures to stop himself using his deadly skills and stand by his peaceful principles. It also introduces the superbly disturbing Legato Bluesummers who looks like he is going to be a regular and appears to signal the beginning of a long story arc. From here on I feel that the series is going to get even better, there is so much still to be learned about Vash and it is really going to be worth sticking around to find it out. Despite the clip episode this is another great instalment of a great series, but there really should be a higher episode count on this disc.
As usual we have image galleries and trailers, this time the galleries focus on the villains of Trigun and also on the creation of the McFarlane Toys Vash the Stampede figure. Pretty average.