Vash the Stampede faces off against his twin brother Millions Knives in Trigun Stampede Ep. 3 “Bright Light, Shine through the Darkness”. If you’re thinking “Hang on, doesn’t this seem a bit early for a final boss fight?”, then you’d be correct. Because the fight goes just about as well as you’d expect from facing the final boss at the beginning of the anime. Despite how hopeful the title sounds, if I may add.
Trigun Stampede Ep. 3 “Bright Light, Shine through the Darkness”: Details
Trigun Stampede Ep. 3 “Bright Light, Shine through the Darkness” is the third episode (you can read reviews for Ep. 1 and Ep. 2 here) of this reboot anime, which is a reboot of the original Trigun anime from 1998. That anime in turn was the anime adaptation of the 1995 manga of the same name by Yasuhiro Nightow. Orange (Land of the Lustrous, Beastars, Godzilla Singular Point) is the animation studio behind this reboot anime. Kenji Mutō is the director of this reboot anime, with Katsuhiro Takei producing. Tatsurō Inamoto, Shin Okashima, and Yoshihisa Ueda are all co-writing the story; with Tatsuya Kato composing the music. Lastly, Crunchyroll is licensing this reboot anime for its NA release.
Trigun Stampede Ep. 3 “Bright Light, Shine through the Darkness” premiered on January 21, 2023. You can watch all 3 episodes of this reboot anime only on Crunchyroll. You can also watch the original 1998 Trigun anime and the Trigun: Badlands Rumble anime film on Crunchyroll as well for comparison. Unfortunately, all of them require that you pay for a premium Crunchyroll account to watch. Because also, unfortunately, Crunchyroll no longer believes in free anime and hasn’t for a while now.
Warning: spoilers for Trigun Stampede Ep. 3 “Bright Light, Shine through the Darkness” below. If you want to watch Vash face off against his monster of a brother early for yourself, then stop here, and come back once the screaming is over.
Trigun Stampede Ep. 3 “Bright Light, Shine through the Darkness”: Plot Summary
Trigun Stampede Ep. 3 “Bright Light, Shine through the Darkness” picks up where we last left off in Ep. 2, when bacteriophage-shaped hunter-killer drones were swarming the town of Jeneora Rock. They first took out Gofsef Nebraska, and now are busy attaching themselves to everyone in town, detonating when enough of them are in close proximity to each other. As it turns out, the guy who launched these drones is actually infamous around these parts as the mad bomber “E. G. Bomber”. Apparently, this guy does this for fun. He also has some fun riding some kind of…mechanical double monowheel thing. Fortunately, Vash, Meryl, and even Roberto put a stop to his fun by threatening to blow up the bomber too along with his bombs, forcing the not-quite-that-mad madman to disarm them.
Unfortunately, E. G. Bomber manages to slip away from them when Mr. Nebraska tries to kill him for bombing his son. Somehow, it gets even worse when Millions Knives shows up despite him having been in JuLai a continent away just hours before. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is when Trigun Stampede turns into a horror anime.
Millions Knives: A Trigun Horror Story
Vash’s very evil twin brother starts his killing spree with E. G Bomber, despite having supplied him with those bacteriophage drones. Apparently, Knives just thought it’d be fun to give a random human some bombs, and broke said human after he’d had his fun. Vash tries to threaten Knives with his gun, but the latter calls his bluff, correctly deducing that Vash is still unable to shoot his own brother. Knives does…something to Vash that traps him in a dream when Vash was a child, still calling Kives by the childish nickname “Nai”. Knives then walks out on a mission: retrieve Jeneora Rock’s Plant at any cost. Not to himself, of course, but to everyone else.
Of course, Knives happily goes on a killing spree against anyone in his way all the while. He starts with Mr. Nebraska by bloodily removing an arm and then moves on to any townspeople desperately trying to protect their Plant, despite Vash (now recovered from his dream state) telling everyone to run. RPGs and guns alike are useless against Knives’ high-tech nanomachine coat, and Knives easily reaches the Plant, cutting out of its chamber and handing it over to a giant mechanical robot thing along with a “Doctor” and what appears to be a young girl. Knives isn’t finished yet though. He then goes on a rant about how he’s like God destroying Sodom and Gomorrah for their sins before slicing up the rock formation looming above Jeneora Rock, causing the debris to rain down on Jeneora Rock and flattening it.
More than a few townspeople die in the attack, although amazingly, Mr. Nebraska and Gofsef appear to be injured but still be alive. Unfortunately, the remaining townspeople blame Vash for the attack and demands that he leaves. Vash then sets out for JuLai City to get Jeneora Rock’s Plant back, regardless of whether they want him to or not. Naturally, it seems Meryl and Roberto are accompanying him too. We’ll just have to see why in the next episode of Trigun Stampede.
Trigun Stampede Ep. 3 “Bright Light, Shine through the Darkness”: The Good
I have to admit: I’d thought the story was moving just a bit too quickly in the previous episode, what with the story already introducing Millions Knives in Ep. 2. Now I see though that it was to set up Knives at the final boss Vash has to beat…or something like that. It’s like that thing in video games where you encounter the final boss at the beginning of the game, and you aren’t supposed to beat the said boss. The boss’s appearance is purely to show how powerful he is. That’s basically Knives in Trigun Stampede Ep. 3 “Bright Light, Shine through the Darkness”.
I have to admit: it does actually work. It does establish Knives as a sadistic monster who wants to destroy humanity because he sees them as pests. And yet, there’s also this weird tender side he demonstrates towards the Plant, when he carefully lifts it out and gives it to his giant robot friend to carry away. The result is that Knives becomes a pretty morally complex character despite how evil he is. All that’s left is to see where Orange takes this depiction of Knives in future episodes.
It’s not just Knives that’s notable here, even though he’s clearly the star of Trigun Stampede Ep. 3 “Bright Light, Shine through the Darkness”. Vash gets to share the spotlight too, mostly by having his nickname of “Humanoid Typhoon” being tragically explained here. Despite how much the writers have deviated from the original story, I do feel like they’ve captured the essence of the more somber moments of Trigun in this episode.
Trigun Stampede Ep. 3 “Bright Light, Shine through the Darkness”: The Bad
Again, my objections to Trigun Stampede Ep. 3 “Bright Light, Shine through the Darkness” apply to the reboot anime as a whole. I don’t like how Meryl in this episode, just like in the previous episodes, is the inexperienced and idealistic newbie. I don’t understand why they swapped Meryl’s personality with Millie Thompson’s, and then gave Meryl’s personality to Roberto. All I know is that I don’t like it. It lessens Meryl as a character, especially when there’s a little boy in her arms who just slips out and falls to his almost death because she didn’t have the presence of mind to hold onto him. It’s little moments like these that all add up, and make Meryl not really Meryl Stryfe in my mind. She’s just an OC who happens to share Meryl’s name and general appearance.