After the focus on Vash's tortured past in the last volume, Trigun vol 7 once again brings us to his tortured present.
Vash needs to come to terms with himself and decides to return to the only place he can call home. One of the Seed Ships retained enough power to avoid crashing on the planet's surface, and it now hangs in a dangerously low orbit, hidden within a huge typhoon. The people on board fear and distrust those from the surface, so the arrival of Vash for the first time in several years doesn't please many, especially as Wolfwood has also tagged along. Despite this Vash feels at ease, the ship is his sanctuary, his link to the past...or so he thinks. The deadly Gung-Ho Guns Leonov the Puppet Master, Grey the Ninelives and Hoppered the Gauntlet have tracked him to the ship, and their murderous arrival causes more grief for Vash and horror for the innocent people his arrival has endangered. The Gung-Ho Guns exist solely to cause the maximum anguish possible to the long-suffering Vash, and they are most certainly succeeding. The arrival of a further Gung-Ho Gun drives a huge wedge between Vash and Wolfwood, and we begin to learn some shocking truths about our favourite man in black...
After the series took a bit of a break from the action last time round to give some context to Vash's peace-loving attitude, the action returns with a vengeance in this volume. However, if you think that the fighting means less plot or drama then think again. Trigun vol 7 is a near perfect penultimate volume, it throws in a couple of twists that you probably won't see coming and delves further into the mind of the principle characters. Vash is one of the most interesting characters in anime, a conscientious objector in a world of violence, a man who trusts to hope even when all is lost. His pain as the Gung-Ho Guns push him to the edge of his principles and to the brink of despair is brilliantly portrayed and acted, and it drives the story even more than the action does.
His struggle is at the centre of this volume. As those around him suffer at the hands of the Gung-Ho Guns, he suffers along with them, struggling against the easy option of taking up arms against his tormentors. Vash knows that to end the suffering he will have to confront Knives, but he doesn't know what he will do when he does so. Meanwhile Wolfwood struggles to understand how Vash can stick to his principles even though he blames himself for every death and injury. Wolfwood's turmoil is intriguing - he is a priest but will kill to save innocents, yet Vash the notorious gunslinger believes in salvation for all. Wolfwood has always believed his actions to have been just, that there was no other option, but Vash has made him doubt it - how can he come to terms with his actions and his principles? There are some really thought provoking moments in this volume, and the story really gets gripping with the arrival of the Gung-Ho Gun Zazie the Beast.
Although it does get very dark and heavy there are still moments of comedy scattered through the volume, but it's the drama and action that takes centre stage. The action scenes are excellent and there are some real shocks in store throughout. The new Gung-Ho Guns are mostly great, particularly the creepy Leonov the Puppet Master, but unfortunately the same can't be said for Hoppered the Gauntlet, who's a bit pants. Hoppered is probably the weakest aspect of this DVD, apart from the large amounts flashbacks used throughout and the fact that once again there's just three episodes, but even so it is still an essential part of an essential series.
Yes, many of the flashbacks are a bit unnecessary, but other than that this is a superb DVD and I really can't wait to see the final volume. Trigun vol 7 really moves the story forward and throws in a few twists to keep you guessing too, and the villains are mostly excellent. It'll keep you gripped throughout and draw you more into a character's struggles than nearly any other anime series available. Do not miss it.
Trailers and a couple of galleries as usual, pretty basic stuff.