Trigun Stampede Ep. 4 “Hungry!” finally introduces us to one of the most popular main characters of the franchise: Nicholas D. Wolfwood. While he has absolutely no relation to a certain straw hat pirate, he does come with a big mouth, questionable and overcharged last rites, and a weaponized cross just like his canon self. There’s no changing his core character concept like with Meryl Stryfe.
Trigun Stampede Ep. 4 “Hungry!”: Details
Trigun Stampede Ep. 4 “Hungry!” is the latest episode (you can read reviews for Ep. 1, Ep. 2, and Ep. 3 here) of Trigun Stampede, which is a reboot anime of the 1998 anime Trigun. That anime itself is 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 still the director of this reboot anime, with Katsuhiro Takei producing. Tatsurō Inamoto, Shin Okashima, and Yoshihisa Ueda wrote the story of this reboot anime. Tatsuya Kato composed the music for the reboot anime, with the opening theme “Tombi” by Kvi Baba, and the ending theme “Hoshi no Kuzu α” by singer Salyu and composer Haruka Nakamura. Lastly, Crunchyroll licensed this reboot anime for its NA release.
Trigun Stampede Ep. 4 “Hungry!” premiered on January 28, 2023. You can watch this reboot anime only on Crunchyroll here. This means that you need to pay for a Crunchyroll premium account if you want to watch it at all. My advice if you’re strapped for cash is to wait for the anime to finish airing, and then pay for a single month of Crunchyroll to binge-watch the entire reboot anime. It gets you the most bang for your buck, so to speak.
Warning: spoilers for Trigun Stampede Ep. 4 “Hungry!” below. If you want to see Nicholas D. Wolfwood’s debut in this reboot anime for yourself, then stop here and come back once you’ve swapped out your lollipop for a proper cigarette.
Trigun Stampede Ep. 4 “Hungry!”: Plot Summary
Trigun Stampede Ep. 4 “Hungry!” kind of picks up where we last left off. Meryl and Roberto are driving away from Jeneora Rock in their car with Vash in the back, listening to a radio broadcast detailing Jeneora Rock’s destruction, how Vash well-deserves his bounty, and how Meryl and Roberto are now both wanted as people of interest in the case. Vash is so devastated by what happened that he hasn’t eaten in days, and is just snoozing for the whole voyage. Then suddenly, they’re all knocked out of their melancholy by the very sudden appearance of a black-suited priest carrying a massively oversized cross popping up right in front of them. Or rather, the priest is knocked out due to an abrupt face-to-face meeting between him and the side of the speeding car’s trailer as it tried to pull an extreme-ultra-super-late-braking to avoid him.
A panicked Meryl, worried Vash, and an indifferent Roberto quickly drive this mysterious (and seemingly concussed) priest to the nearest outpost for medical care. Unfortunately, the couple running the outpost are the ones in need of medical care…or rather, funerary services and criminal investigation services given how they both seemed to have died violent deaths. A quick search thought reveals a single survivor: a young boy presumed to be the couple’s son. The burial afterward also reveals that the “priest” is in fact an undertaker named Nicholas D. Wolfwood, and that he makes a terrible and overpriced priest. He’s good with kids though, as evidenced by him pulling out a lollipop from his coat to give to the young boy. The fun police do arrive though in the form of a giant sandworm that swallows the entire outpost, and everyone in it.
Nicholas D. Wolfwood: The Savior?
Somehow, the entire groups survives being a giant insect’s snack. Even the young boy, who immediately runs off for some reason, prompting the entire group to try and find him. They split up, of course, eventually resulting in everyone disappearing save for Vash and Nicholas. In the ensuing Scooby-Doo-esque hijinks, it comes out that Roberto suspects Nicholas of being an assassin after Vash’s head, with that oversized cross being the primary concern for him.
That same cross comes in handy though when the young boy pops up again, and reveals that he’s the one who not only murdered the couple in that outpost, but can also control the “Worms” (native insectoid life of their planet), including the massive sandworm that swallowed them all. Nicholas pops open one end of his cross to reveal a…plasma(?) machine gun, which drives off the boy’s Worms and blows a giant hole in the sandworm that the boy uses to escape. The sandworm then tries to digest them all, but Nicholas flips the cross over, revealing that the longer end houses a plasma cannon that bisects the entire sandworm head to tail. As the group escapes and gets their revenge by consuming roasted bits of the sandworm alongside some locals, Roberto drops his suspicions of Nicholas.
Only, that seems a bit premature. In a dark isolated location, Nicholas meets up with the boy again, who reveals himself to be Zazie the Beast. Apparently, both of them are assassins working for Millions Knives. The whole shenanigan back then was apparently just to get Nicholas into the group’s good graces so that he has an excuse to travel with them without suspicion. Well, without much suspicion, that is. So when will Nicholas make his move on Vash? Well, that’s what we’ll find out in the next episode of Trigun Stampede.
Trigun Stampede Ep. 4 “Hungry!”: The Good
It should be pretty obvious, but the main highlight of Trigun Stampede Ep. 4 “Hungry!” is Nicholas D. Wolfwood. I mean, it’s the episode where the main cast is finally complete, as well as introducing our favorite chain-smoking, gun-cross-toting fake priest. Weirdly enough though, he’s even more fake in this reboot anime due to being an undertaker instead, but whatever. His core personality is essentially untouched from the original 1998 anime. My guess is that he’ll be one of the most popular characters for this reboot anime for that reason. Both among fans of the 1998 anime, as well as new fans.
Heck, Nicholas even has a good reason for having that lollipop in that trailer. Initially, there were fears that Orange had bowdlerized their own anime. However, those fears have now proved to be unfounded. Nicholas had actually given that lollipop to Zazie ostensibly to calm him down, and took the opportunity to take a sweet treat for himself in the process. Later on, we see Nicholas chain-smoking like crazy to deal with the stress of being in a giant sandworm. Personally, I think the lollipop gag is a reference to the hilariously insane bowdlerization 4Kids was known for. In particular: the replacement of Sanji’s cigarettes with lollipops. It’s quite a clever little injoke there. Kudos to the writers and animators.
Zazie the Beast is also an interesting addition to the cast of villains. He has a more androgynous look to him compared to how he was in the original 1998 anime, when he was clearly and undeniably male. I actually like his look in the reboot anime more because it’s a reference to how he was in the original 1995 manga. There, Zazie took female forms as easily as he did male ones, showing that he doesn’t care about gender so much. I really do think this current androgynous look is a nice improvement over the original anime, which this reboot anime sorely needs.
Trigun Stampede Ep. 4 “Hungry!”: The Bad
Again, my primary complaint about Trigun Stampede Ep. 4 “Hungry!” is Meryl Stryfe. Or rather, the OC who happens to share Meryl’s name and general appearance. Because otherwise, she shares basically nothing compared to the Meryl from the 1998 anime. Her personality is just so wildly different from her 1998 counterpart due to her being the unskilled newbie compared to her being the jaded professional she was back in 1998. It’s all the more baffling too given how every other Trigun character from the 1998 anime still has the same core personality. It’s Meryl who stands out here, and not in a good way. I’m honestly not sure how much more I can take of this reboot Meryl without blowing a gasket.