Trigun Stampede Ep. 2 “The Running Man” seems to be trying to start a trend of appealing to fans of the original 1998 anime. How else do you explain all the nods to said original anime? Which, in this particular episode, adds the infamous Nebraska family to those nods. It’s too bad that the cameos can’t really make up for the story issues in this episode.

Trigun Stampede Ep. 2 “The Running Man”: Details

"Trigun Stampede" NA key art.
Getting a bit better now. It’s still mostly just Vash carrying it though.

Trigun Stampede Ep. 2 “The Running Man” is, as its name implies, the 2nd episode (you can read a review of Ep. 1 here) of this new anime series. Trigun Stampede as a whole is a reboot of the original 1998 Trigun anime series from studio Madhouse, which itself was the anime adaptation of the manga of the same name by Yasuhiro Nightow. Orange (Land of the Lustrous, Beastars, Godzilla Singular Point) is the new animation studio behind this reboot. Kenji Mutō is directing this reboot anime, with Katsuhiro Takei producing. Tatsurō Inamoto, Shin Okashima, and Yoshihisa Ueda all co-wrote the story; with Tatsuya Kato composing the wonderful music. Lastly, Crunchyroll is licensing this reboot anime for its global release, save for in the SEA region where Medialink is the company licensing it.

Trigun Stampede Ep. 2 “The Running Man” premiered on January 14, 2023. The reboot anime itself in fact only just recently premiered on January 7, 2023. You can watch both episodes only on Crunchyroll. Unfortunately, that means that you need to pay up to get past Crunchyroll’s premium account paywall. If you’re low on cash, then I might suggest that you wait until this anime has finished airing before binge-watching the whole series. It really cuts down on how much you have to pay.

Warning: spoilers for Trigun Stampede Ep. 2 “The Running Man” below. If you want to see if the call-backs to the original 1998 anime are enough to redeem this reboot anime, then stop here and come back once you’ve survived the arrival of the Nebraska family.

Trigun Stampede Ep. 2 “The Running Man”: Plot Summary

Gofsef looks a bit smaller than how he looked before.

Trigun Stampede Ep. 2 “The Running Man” picks up where we last left off in the previous episode, where Vash had just saved the town of Jeneora Rock for the 2nd time. Unfortunately, the ungrateful locals then decide to try to capture Vash for the enormous bounty on his head. Granted, they’re trying to save their town and families since they need the money to repair their failing plant. However, even with that in mind, it’s still a pretty dickish move on the townspeople’s part.

Fortunately, the townspeople, while they know their own town for obvious reasons, are still no match for Vash’s madcap acrobatics and Meryl’s (and Roberto’s, but mostly Meryl’s) willingness to help him out when the townspeople do have Vash cornered. Unfortunately, the townspeople have long realized that there’s only a single way in and out of the town. Thus, a couple of armed townspeople stationed at the entrance/exit combined with armed townspeople pursuing the group traps them nice and tight. Then, fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your point of view), the Nebraska family chooses to make their entrance right then and there.

The Nebraska Family Strike Back

Trigun Stampede Ep. 2 "The Running Man" screenshot showing Mr. Nebraska riding atop Gofsef Nebraska.
Is it just me, or did someone hit Gofsef with a shrink ray?

The elderly Mr. Nebraska and massive Gofsef Nebraska of the Hard Punch Nebraska gang show up in a stolen vehicle, wanting to collect Vash’s ludicrously high bounty as well. After saving one of the town’s kids and mother, Vash and co. then lead the Nebraskas out on a merry chase into the desert. The Nebraskas quickly run out of fuel in their massive vehicle, and Vash and co. make a quick getaway. Unfortunately, it makes the Nebraskas look to the only other valuable loot in the area: Jeneora Rock’s functioning Plant.

Despite fierce resistance from the townspeople, the Nebraskas manage to make off with the Plant. Fortunately, Vash, ignoring how the townspeople were hunting him down just a short time ago, steps in and recover the Plant. He even saves Gofsef from a fatal fall, and by convincing the townspeople to help to boot. Everyone, including the Nebraskas, end up partying later on at the local bar. All except for Vash, who tries to sneak out the back door and leave Jeneora Rock altogether, to keep his twin brother Millions Knives from targeting him and getting innocent people caught in the crossfire.

Unfortunately, it’s too late. Some weird robots that look like bacteriophage viruses latch onto Gofsef and explode. Apparently, they were futuristic loitering munitions. Did they mistake the massive Gofsef for the equally as tall Vash? Did Millions send them to murder Gofsef to torment Vash? Well, we’ll find out either way in the next episode of Trigun Stampede.

Trigun Stampede Ep. 2 “The Running Man”: The Good

Trigun Stampede Ep. 2 "The Running Man" screenshot showing doing the pirouette around one of Gofsef's extendable punches.
Good guys all know how to do the pirouette.

The animation of Trigun Stampede Ep. 2 “The Running Man” is truly the star of this reboot anime. As usual, Orange demonstrates that they’re one of the best (if not the best) sources of great CGI anime. The CGI animation in this episode is beautifully fluid and exquisitely detailed. It even puts some hand-drawn animation to shame. Now if only the story was of the same quality, then I’d have no problems.

As usual again, Vash is carrying this cast of characters with his combination of comedic timing and deadly seriousness. Mr. Nebraska and Gofsef Nebraska are nice additions to the cast. However, even they can’t hope to compete with Vash’s force of personality.

Lastly, the music of Trigun Stampede Ep. 2 “The Running Man” is out of this world. Especially the opening and ending theme music. We heard “Tombi” by Kvi Baba at the end of the previous episode, but this is the first time we’ve heard “Hoshi no Kuzu α” by singer Salyu and composer Haruka Nakamura. The music combined with their accompanying animation sequences produces some truly memorable opening and ending sequences.

It’s only fitting that they feature beautiful hand-drawn animation in the ending sequence to accompany the beautiful CGI.

Trigun Stampede Ep. 2 “The Running Man”: The Bad

Trigun Stampede Ep. 2 "The Running Man" screenshot showing a shocked Mr. Nebraska.
Don’t look so surprised, Mr. Nebraska. You knew this was coming.

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room here: the story. Specifically: the major plot hole in this episode. I get what the writers were doing by having the townspeople hunt Vash for his bounty. It’s a nod to the original 1998 anime where that happened as well. But here’s the kicker: there’s no reason for the Jeneora Rock folks to hunt Vash. The original 1998 anime had the townspeople of Inepril hunt Vash because they needed the money because they need to repair their dying Plant, just like Jeneora Rock. However, in the original anime, Vash didn’t repair the Plant as he did with Jeneora Rock. Thus, Jeneora Rock’s townspeople wanted to use Vash’s bounty to repair their Plant…when Vash was offering to repair the same Plant for free. It doesn’t make sense no matter how you look at it, since the townspeople clearly loved and trusted Vash even despite hunting him. It’s a big plot hole that no one is apparently addressing yet. Hopefully, they’ll do so in the next episode.

My other contention with the story of Trigun Stampede Ep. 2 “The Running Man” is that it’s moving way too fast. We’re on Ep. 2, and we’re already getting major plot revelations about Vash’s past. Compared to the original 1998 anime which slowly revealed that over the course of many episodes, this is basically the plot moving at light speed. I don’t like it this kind of accelerated plotline, since it bodes ill for the length of this reboot anime. The writers did do a decent job cramming it in, but I don’t like it. Your mileage may vary here, of course.

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