"Then if you turn around, you will see the future." Rem Saverem
There is a brutality in the world and in the villains of Trigun, a cold logic and cruelty. But it is the story of a man who sees things differently, and who changes the world around him as he tries to adhere to a kinder path. He appears as a fool because he can, mingles among humanity because they live on despite the dryness of the planet and their hearts ... he cannot kill, but is blamed for much murder and chaos. There are those amongst the masses who even suspect this "Vash the Stampede" of being the reason why all suffer on this planet.
Vash: I failed to save another life.
Wolfwood: Oh, well. Every mortal man is bound to make a few mistakes. Just be more careful the next time.
Vash: It isn't something I can accept that easily!
Wolfwood: Then let it get to you. That is also the mortal way of life.
I find that there's a lot in Trigun to discuss, to muse about. Each time I see the final episodes, I realize this all the more. Whose logic is right? Does logic even apply? Life, death ... the faults of humanity, its virtues. How do we survive in our environment? Is the individual or the community more important? Can I save everyone? What does the future hold for us? Everyone has different ways of thinking, of feeling and dealing with pain. How amazing it is how much power a simple name can hold!
Wolfwood: Was I ...? Was I wrong? Does this mean I was wrong? I guess it would be presumptuous to ask for forgiveness. I can't stand it!
"The ticket to the future is always unwritten."
We know him as Vash the Stampede, a "promiscuous donut freak" of a man who is being subjected to a life of eternal suffering and pain (by his own brother, no less). It seems to me that Vash wishes to take all onto his own shoulders - he tries to isolate himself in this agony. If the fact that his brother is willing to nearly kill him - emotionally, physically - in order to get him to see humanity his way isn't enough, Vash's own anger at causing suffering to those he shares the planet with tortures him. Everyone he comes into contact with he brings into danger and death, as "destiny homes in on the smell of blood and gunsmoke."
He is a being who exists outside of our time, and yet one who wants to live in it. How does it feel to watch a world struggle to grow around you, to see history repeat itself and, perhaps, even reincarnation? History haunts in Trigun, pasts unsolved cry out for attention one hundred and thirty years later.
Wolfwood: This is ... all I can do.
"Long, long ago ... we should have died the instant we fell upon this sandy land ... without pain, without sorrow." Legato Bluesummers, a man fascinated by death, spoke only quietly - and only for one man, a "superior being" above all humanity. Millions Knives is the ominous shadow who looms in our consciousness somewhere around the middle of the series, and his involvement only becomes clearer as we pass through Trigun's narratives.
It bothers me when people refer to Knives as "an asshole," because that's not what he is. I am by no means saying that he is a kind and gentle man (far from it, I would not wish to meet someone of his way of thinking). I think Knives is a successful villain because he causes us unease - his way of thinking is, to a certain extent ... very believable. If you do not kill the parasite, the host will someday die. Knives will always be a favorite character of mine, because the writers did not let their own personal biases seep in - the way Knives thinks is Knives through and through.
Humanity, "good-for-nothing resource-consuming garbage," is composed of egotistical, selfish beings, who use his siblings - the plants - in order to make a life that they could not otherwise sustain. Fears from his childhood, abuse ... these have taken shape, forming a man who seems untouched by "warmth," who sees every emotional reaction as foolish, lacking logic. He is himself through and through.
It seems to me that Vash is purity in positive emotion, whereas Knives is obsessed with a more set sort of purity, and intends to rid the world of any threat to it. His extreme methods cause us, who have been brought up to cherish (or at least respect) familial bonds, further discomfort - he will stop at nothing, no matter how he hurts even his own brother. They are so different - Knives separated himself from abuse, while Vash continues to endure it at the hands of others - yet they are much the same. "You [Vash] destroyed July and Augustua, and drilled a hole in the fifth moon. You're a monster. You and he are the same breed," says Midvalley the Hornfreak. They are brothers, each a complementing part of a larger whole.
"This is the ravine between life and death." Both are life and death. Saying that Vash espouses Life and Life alone and that Knives can only mean Death is looking at it from the most apparent, and a single, perspective.
Milly: Don't forget anything, because we're not coming back.