Right, any budding anime directors reading? If you are then take note - Trigun vol 8 is one of the most perfect endings to a series you are every likely to see.
Our heroes have dropped about as low as they possibly can after the events in volume 7, Vash and Wolfwood have clashed and Meryl and Milly don't know what they can do. But they aren't going to be given any time to rest on their laurels, the final Gung-Ho Guns are coming for them. Deadly sniper Caine the Longsight, sax playing pretty boy Midvalley the Hornfreak and the mysterious Chapel the Evergreen (still reading budding directors? That's how you name anime villains) are on hand to cause maximum grief, but that's not all. There's tragedy just round the corner and Vash is given the ultimate test of his principles by the terrifying Legato Bluesummers - either kill his enemy or his friends die. This horrific dilemma could be the final nail in the coffin for Vash's sanity, and he still has to contend with Knives himself...
After the last volume this one had a lot to live up to, but it exceeds all expectations. Trigun vol 8 has all the emotion, all the action, all the drama and all the philosophy of the previous seven, and then some.
This is a breathtaking finale. There are some real shocks in store, some really horrific events and some terrible choices to be made by all of the main characters. The final Gung-Ho Guns are most definitely the best, and Vash's final meeting with Legato will have you holding your breath to see what he will do. Despite the frequent use of flashbacks very little time seems wasted here, everything seems lean and perfectly paced. Vash has to come to terms with his own values before his gloriously surreal meeting with Knives, and once again it's this soul searching that drives the series. He firmly believes that no man has the right to take the life of another, but how far will he go to stay true to this belief? Everything is delivered for maximum impact, the music is used perfectly and the reaction of the characters to their given situation is believable too.
In the space of four episodes (yep, there's four this time round) you are put through the emotional wrangler, with the action of episode 23 giving way to tragedy and horror, before introspection, drama and finally action take hold. There's a smattering of comedy, some horror (Knives dealing with a disobedient subordinate is particularly nasty) and even romance to take in, but the hope that underpins it all is inspiring. There are many great scenes throughout the volume, but Vash and Knives' meeting is an absolute classic. The surreal image of Vash's psychotic nemesis sitting beneath a tree sipping tea in the middle of a desert world, their actions and the eventual outcome are all perfectly done, and the absence of music for the majority of the scene really gives it more impact.
There is so much to like about this volume - the excellent voice acting, the superb action scenes and the brilliant script for example - that the few weaker elements don't detract from it in the slightest. Yes, there are some repeated flashbacks and yes, Vash's conclusion to his soul searching is a little unconvincing, but to be honest you will hardly notice or care. What Trigun vol 8 does is tick every box, emotion, excitement, tension, intrigue, action, romance, drama, the works. It keeps you glued to the screen throughout, ending an excellent series in a superb manner that makes you wish there was more. I know it is easy to overlook older series like Trigun when there are so many new series hitting the shelves every month, and I know that at 8 DVDs it is a pretty long series. However, Trigun is an absolute anime classic and one that deserves to be seen by every self respecting anime fan. If ever proof was needed that Joss Whedon didn't invent sci-fi Westerns, Trigun is it, and they don't come any better.
Two galleries and a few trailers, the Laserdisc covers gallery is pretty good but you still wish there were more extras on offer.