EPISODE 5: HARD PUNCHER
Hooray! This is one of my favorite episodes so far, and I intend to have a lot of fun analyzing it (this one and Diablo so far are my favorites). As always, you get the summary. I'm out of clever things to say about this episode, so I'll just move on...
Ok, this episode opens in a restaurant with a little kid begging his mom (Thomas[I think]... poor kid has the same name as those aardvark-looking things people ride). Vash is eating his meal with a bib and everything tucked into his red coat, when BAM! Bounty hunters break into the place and take him out. While they stand and gloat over his corpse, he sits up and tells them they've used all their bullets, at which point they leave (in their underwear, leaving a big pile of their clothes behind them. This confused me at first, but in the manga, it's mentioned they leave the clothes to pay for the damages at the restaurant). After saving the restaurant, the proprieter gives him free pancakes. While gorging them, the restaurant employees hold him up and threaten to kill him yet AGAIN, and he goes running with pretty much the whole town in persuit of the sixty billion double dollars. What follows is a mad chase scene through the town that is extremely cool. Anyway, it switches over to Milly and Meryl just outside of town who are discussing the destroyed Plants when they hear the sirens and stuff in town, and they believe they've FINALLY found Vash the Stampede, so they head into town. Meanwhile, all persuit of Vash is suspended so they can regroup with another plan. When Milly and Meryl arrive on scene and start lecturing them on how dumb it is to chase the Humanoid Typhoon, in walks the Nebraska family, Gosef (a GIANT biomechanical... thing) and Professor Nebraska (decrepit old man/mad scientist). When they arrive, a little girl runs up and says they've cornered Vash the Stampede in a bar. Then it switches to the bar where a Drunken Vash (tm) sits and rejoices over the fact that the town stopped chasing him. A whole buncha women come out of nowhere with guns to keep him in place and send the aforementioned little girl to tell the control center they've caught him. When she leaves, Vash talks about how sad it is to see bounty hunters in aprons, and they explain to him the Town's dying and they need the money to fix the plant. He makes an allusion to Knives and a dramatic pose, then Gosef's fist comes crashing through the bar. It switches back to Gosef, who reels his fist back in (it's uh, attached to a long cable and fires off his arm) and finds the pharase "Beat Me! Just Do It!" scribbled on it in black marker along with a razzing Vash head (another interesting note: In the manga, his fist said "Kiss My Ass" when he reeled it back in ^_^). What follows is a huge dramatic scene with Vash pulling the women out of the wrecked bar and laying them out, then preparing for battle, at which point Meryl FINALLY realizes he's the real Vash the Stampede. Professor Nebraska revs up Gosef's fist and aims it at the women, but Vash reroutes it into a building with 5 bullets, and uses the 6th to blow up the firing apparatus on Gosef. When Doc Nebraska STILL won't give up, Vash covers his face in sucker darts. The Nebraska family is brought to justice, and the episode ends with Vash and a buncha kids chanting LOVE AND PEACE!
Several Vash-ish elements in this episode. Remember how I told you the best Trigun episodes involve gunplay, freakish opponents, and drunkenness? This episode has them in SPADES. But the first thing to marvel at in this episode is the way he plays dead at the beginning. Granted, there are a lot of characters out there that could play dead by falling over onto a bottle of Tomato Juice (granted they might not ask for drycleaning reimbursement, but that's just Vash for you), but how many of the OTHER characters could count the bullets from each gun as they were fired at him, then determine which man has bullets left and scare him so bad that he's unable to fire his gun? Only Vash the Stampede my friends, only Vash. The bullet counting can be added to the already impressive list of Vash's talents. I'm not sure how many times that particular technique is used in the series though, like the bullet dodging and suchlike. The drunken aspect is really tiny though, he looks a little plastered after he thinks he looses the town after they've been persuing. The main thing in this episode, the thing that REALLY made it impressive was the chase scene. I absolutely ADORED the chase scene in this episode. It's like something out of Ranma 1/2, an anything-goes deal. Vash is spotted in a Restaurant and is chased out by the gun-toting proprieter and patrons. Pretty soon the entire town in in persuit. To escape them, he tries everything from crashing through people's apartments to balancing on clotheslines suspended several feet above the ground, to running up and trying to hide in a belltower (which gets blown up, he escapes by running away on the falling chunks of concrete, yet another talent ^_^). Not once did he do a single thing to defend himself against the townspeople while they chased him. This says a LOT about his desire not to hurt people and his personality in general. In fact, the only time he draws his gun during the whole ordeal is when he says he needs to keep looking for the one who troubles them. The second time he draws his gun is to defend the very people that wanted to turn him in for the reward, which says even more about his personality. He fires his gun for the first time in the series to defend these rabid townspeople (or more specifically the women that held him up at gunpoint) against an escaped convict that destroyed several buildings and vehicles. With only six bullets, he diverts the huge fist away from the women and destroys the firing apparatus. Once the creature (Gosef) is defeated, he teaches the kiddies an important lesson by firing suction darts at Professor Nebraska to stop him rather than bullets to reinforce what he and the kids all end up chanting at the end: LOVE AND PEACE! Meryl is also positive at this point that he is really Vash the Stampede (finally). Basically, this episode reinforced the character traits that had already been introduced earlier; the desire to defend human life no matter what, to maintain peace, and to always teach the kiddies a good lesson ^_^
And that's your summary for Episode 5. Although these analyses are getting longer and longer, I feel as if I'm accomplishing less and less as far as character analysis goes than the earlier ones and doing more and more gushing. I dunno... all I have to say is that I really liked this episode.