If you watched the latest trailer for Trigun Stampede, then you might have noticed a certain lack of Milly Thompson. It would seem that for some inexplicable reason, Orange has written this central character out of their reboot anime. Fans of the original 1998 anime series (not to mention the original 1995 manga by Yasuhiro Nightow) might feel just a tad disappointed.
Background Info: Who is Milly Thompson?
Milly Thompson was a central character in the original 1995 Trigun manga by Yasuhiro Nightow. She then continued to be a central character in the later 1998 anime adaptation from studio Madhouse, with Satsuki Yukino (Kagome Higurashi from Inuyasha) voicing her in the original Japanese audio version and Lia Sargent (Judy from Cowboy Bebop) voicing her in the English dub version. Milly Thompson’s most recent appearance in any Trigun media was in the 2010 anime film Trigun: Badlands Rumble. Satsuki Yukino reprised her role from the original anime in the Japanese audio version, while Trina Nishimura (Mikasa Ackerman from Attack on Titan) took over from Lia Sargent in the English dub.
As a character, Milly Thompson formed a very effective duo with her friend, partner, and coworker Meryl Stryfe. The 2 of them basically served as foils to each other. Even just for their appearances, you can tell that. Milly towers over Meryl, giving them a stark contrast when they’re standing side by side. Since they’re partners, that’s typically what they’re doing anyways. Even their weapons are a foil to each other though. Milly’s grenade launcher-sized “stun gun” pairs very well with Meryl’s arsenal of 2-shot derringers hidden in her coat. The latter is for when they need to take down multiple foes at once, while the former is for when they need to take out a big foe. It’s the perfect combination of weapons for this duo.
Heck, even in terms of personality, Milly Thompson is the perfect foil to Meryl Stryfe. When Meryl is professional and disciplined, Milly is childish and enthusiastic. Likewise: when Meryl is losing her temper, it’s Milly that’s calm and compassionate. It’s this balance of personalities that makes them such a great duo to watch. It’s also why seeing Milly MIA in that latest Trigun Stampede trailer was so jarring.
The Replacement of Milly Thompson?
If you’ve seen that Trigun Stampede trailer above, then you would note that there is not a peep of Milly Thompson anywhere in it. Even in the official list of the voice cast for this reboot anime, Milly is very noticeably absent from the cast of characters. Not even so much as a cameo appearance from the looks of it.
Instead, her role in Trigun Stampede seems to have been taken up by a new character named Roberto De Niro (voiced by Kenji Matsuda). Just to be clear here though, there’s currently no word as to whether or not this character has anything to do with the real-life actor Robert De Niro. However, what is clear is that despite speculation otherwise, this Roberto De Niro is not simply a gender-bent Milly Thompson. His personality is wildly different from Milly’s. Instead, Roberto appears to be a hardboiled, hard-drinking veteran detective-type character who wouldn’t be out of place in film noir. If anything, he appears to be Milly’s polar opposite in terms of personality.
If anything, there’s this weird sense that Meryl Stryfe is the idealistic newbie here. Meryl has some moments in the trailer that make her come off as such a character. Among these moments include her not using her signature derringers at all in said trailer. Plus, it wouldn’t make sense for 2 serious professionals to be working together as a duo. They just wouldn’t be able to bounce off each other as well. Weirdly enough, Meryl’s depiction in the trailer makes it seems as though she swapped personalities with Milly, with Roberto then taking on Meryl’s original personality. All seemingly with the bizarre goal of removing Milly Thompson from the story.
Trigun Stampede: Some Bizarre Story Decisions Required?
As of this writing, there is no official word about the disappearance of Milly Thompson from Trigun Stampede. We haven’t heard even a single peep from animation studio Orange, director Kenji Mutō, or anyone official about this either way. The only thing that seems to be clear in this case is Milly’s complete and unexplained removal from the story of Trigun.
The only thing we can do for the moment is to speculate on the why, and even then it’s a difficult thing to do. Mostly because of just how nonsensical it is to remove Milly Thompson from the story. There was nothing problematic about her character in any way. Nothing about her physical appearance or her personality justified her removal from the story.
If anything, removing Milly from the story takes away a great deal from it. It not only robs the duo dynamic she had with Meryl, but it also removes a key aspect of the character interactions. Milly was basically the heart of the main cast due to her compassionate and earnest personality. It may have been a role she shared with Vash himself, but her standing relationship with Meryl gave her a unique role in Trigun as being Meryl’s conscience. Without Milly, Meryl too is lessened as a character.
This seems to be the main problem with Trigun Stampede. Not only did it remove a main female lead, but that removal also lessened the other main female lead. Already, this is a bad look for this anime reboot. All we can hope for now is that Vash can carry this lessened story. Or maybe Milly Thompson makes a surprise appearance? We’ll just have to see on January 7, 2023. In the meantime, you can revisit Milly’s personality for yourself in the original Trigun anime on Crunchyroll.