Trigun Stampede Ep. 5 “Child of Blessing” isn’t a good day for Vash the Stampede. Although to be fair, none of the episodes so far have been good days for Vash. This day in particular though is especially bad for him, mostly due to how personal it is. At the very least though, it provides some nice tragic drama for us.

Trigun Stampede Ep. 5 “Child of Blessing”: Details

'Trigun Stampede' NA key art.
Just turn everyone’s smiles here upside-down, and you have the tone for this episode.

Trigun Stampede Ep. 5 “Child of Blessing” is the latest episode (you can read reviews for Ep. 1, Ep. 2, Ep. 3, and Ep. 4 here) of this reboot anime, which is the reboot of the 1998 Trigun anime. That 1998 anime in turn is the anime adaptation of the 1995 manga of the same name by Yasuhiro Nightow. While we don’t know who was responsible for this specific episode (or indeed any of the previous episodes), we do at least know who was responsible for this reboot anime in general.

Kenji Mutō is still the director of Trigun Stampede, with Katsuhiro Takei still producing. Tatsurō Inamoto, Shin Okashima, and Yoshihisa Ueda are still writing for this reboot anime. Tatsuya Kato is still the composer of the music. The opening theme song “TOMBI” is still by Kvi Baba, and the ending theme song “Hoshi no Kuzu α” is still by singer Salyu and composer Haruka Nakamura.

Trigun Stampede Ep. 5 “Child of Blessing” premiered on February 4, 2023. You can watch this episode, as well as the rest of this reboot anime, only on Crunchyroll. Unfortunately, this means that in order to watch it, you need to pay for a Crunchyroll premium account. If you’re strapped for cash, then my advice is to wait for Trigun Stampede to finish airing, and then pay for that Crunchyroll premium account to binge-watch it all in one go. That way, you get the most bang for your buck.

Warning: spoilers for Trigun Stampede Ep. 5 “Child of Blessing” below. If you want to see just how bad Vash’s day can get for yourself, then stop here, and come back once you’ve finished being traumatized, just like Vash was.

Trigun Stampede Ep. 5 “Child of Blessing”: Plot Summary

More than any other episode, this opening theme fits this particular episode most of all.

Trigun Stampede Ep. 5 “Child of Blessing” kind of but not really picks up from the last episode. This episode starts out with Vash and co. driving across a stretch of desert with blood-red sand. Why? Well, according to Roberto, it was because a “monster” had a killing spree in these parts years ago, staining the sand with its victims’ blood. Or so the story goes, at any rate. However, the discovery of an old Worm corpse with a massive hole blown in its side seems to corroborate it.

Vash, however, has no interest in that story. Instead, he’s drawn to a ruined village nearby. The village is covered in windmills, but thanks to a complete lack of wind, they’re all rusty and silent, leaving the village in a permanent blackout. As Vash explores the seemingly abandoned village though, he quickly finds out that it’s not entirely abandoned. Not when a cybernetic humanoid abomination with Gatling guns for arms and a skull helmet is stalking the streets and seems intent on killing Vash to boot. All while only being able to say “Vash the Stampede” like some sort of Pokémon to boot.

As Vash is trying to play a deadly game of tag with it while keeping Nicholas from slaying the monster, Meryl and Roberto do their own exploring of the ruined village far away from the battle. While exploring, they enter a ruined house that seems very familiar. Suddenly, the monster’s identity becomes very clear.

The Tragedy of Vash the Stampede

Trigun Stampede Ep. 3 "Bright Light, Shine through the Darkness" screenshot showing Vash smiling sadly as he's driven out of Jeneora Rock.
He’s a very sad boy, isn’t he?

Throughout Trigun Stampede Ep. 5 “Child of Blessing”, we see a series of flashbacks centered around a boy named Rollo. The village chooses Rollo to be the next sacrifice to “God” to try to get the wind to blow again because of his terminal illness. Vash tries to save him but fails to get the medicine in time before Rollo is sacrificed. Even worse, as it turns out, “God” is Millions Knives, and he’s created an entire religion centered around worshipping him and other Plants as God and Angels respectively, with this windmill village being particularly devout. It seems that Knives wants to use these sacrifices to gain test subjects to perform some very unethical medical experiments on.

In this case, Rollo’s role is as a test subject for an experiment to create a serum to cause cellular regeneration in humans. It works, but it turns him into a gorilla (and breaks his mind to boot) in the process. The Doctor who performs these experiments then returns Rollo to his village to see what happens. The result is Rollo slaughtering everyone, including his mother, in a sci-fi steroid-fueled rage. Thus, we have the basis for the monster story in the present day.

Naturally, Vash feels no small amount of guilt for not being able to save Rollo back then. This is why he refuses to fight Rollo in the present day and tries to talk him down even when Rollo is strangling him. Weirdly enough, it even seems to be working. Right up until Nicholas shoots Rollo in the head, that is. Nicholas claims to be protecting Vash and was giving Rollo a mercy killing, but Vash is still furious at him. As an insult on top of it: the wind starts blowing again. A last-minute cut to the Doctor responsible for all of this reveals that Nicholas is another of his test subjects. Does this mean Nicholas’s impending betrayal is going to come sooner than we thought? Well, maybe we’ll find that out in the next episode of Trigun Stampede.

Trigun Stampede Ep. 5 “Child of Blessing”: The Good

Trigun Stampede Ep. 5 "Child of Blessing" screenshot showing Vash staring pensively at a tattered piece of cloth in the ruined village.
Well, Vash tries to be good. As we see though, he usually doesn’t succeed for long.

Your mileage may vary here, but I think the story of Trigun Stampede Ep. 5 “Child of Blessing” is the best part of this episode. Weirdly enough, it’s because it’s an entirely original plotline here rather than being a rehash of something from the original Trigun. Bear with me here: yes, some of the writers’ original content for this reboot anime is…questionable, to say the least. Others though manages to actually be good changes that keep things fresh and interesting for this reboot.

This aside to the ruined windmill village is one of those cases. It shows off Vash’s personality, while also showing that his desires to do good in this world can and do fail to a depressing degree. It’s a bit like kicking a puppy here to show just what a crapsack world the world of Trigun is. And indeed, the planet of Gunsmoke is a pretty crapsack world.

Trigun Stampede Ep. 5 “Child of Blessing”: The Bad

Trigun Stampede Ep. 5 "Child of Blessing" screenshot showing Rollo in the present day as a super-buff combat cyborg.
Not as bad as we thought, although it doesn’t really matter now.

I know I was complimenting the writers for the original story for Trigun Stampede Ep. 5 “Child of Blessing”, so it pains me to say that another bit of their original content is the bad part of this episode. Namely: Meryl Stryfe. I really don’t like how the writers basically butchered her core personality and gave it to Roberto. Heck, we see that Roberto has a 2-shot derringer in his coat…of the exact same model that Meryl used in the original 1998 anime. It really gets my goat that the writers excised the most important parts of Meryl’s personality, and just gave it to their OC.

Why? What’s even the point of that? Are they trying to set it up for Roberto to die, and then have Meryl inherit his weapons and personality as a sacrificial mentor figure? Even if this is the case, it just seems really weird and odd, especially given that none of the other Trigun characters have their core personalities so radically altered like this. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what the writers do with Meryl and Roberto to find out if this is the case.

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