In many ways, you can consider Trigun Stampede Ep. 9 “Millions Knives” to be an origin story for the titular character in addition to Vash. After all, Knives shares the spotlight with Vash in this episode. We even get to see a bit of why he’s so genocidal, even if there’s still a big plot hole there about the why part.

Trigun Stampede Ep. 9 “Millions Knives”: Details

'Trigun Stampede' NA key art.
The only reason why Knives is missing from this key art is that it’s a “Heroes Only” party.

Trigun Stampede Ep. 9 “Millions Knives” is the latest episode (you can read reviews for Ep. 1, Ep. 2, Ep. 3, Ep. 4, Ep. 5, Ep. 6, Ep. 7, and Ep. 8 here) of this sci-fi post-apocalyptic Space Western anime. Trigun Stampede is actually a reboot of the 1998 anime Trigun. Trigun itself is the anime adaptation of the 1995 manga of the same name by Yasuhiro Nightow.

Unfortunately, we don’t know who’s responsible for Trigun Stampede Ep. 9 “Millions Knives” in particular, just as we don’t know who’s responsible for all 8 of the previous episodes in particular. We can only tell you who’s responsible for the 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; and Tatsuya Kato is still composing the music.

Speaking of music: “Tombi” by Kvi Baba is still the opening theme music for Trigun Stampede Ep. 9 “Millions Knives”. Meanwhile, “Hoshi no Kuzu α” (星のクズ α) by singer Salyu and composer Haruka Nakamura is still the ending theme music for the same.

Trigun Stampede Ep. 9 “Millions Knives” premiered on March 4, 2023. You can watch this reboot anime only on Crunchyroll. While you’re there, you can also watch the original 1998 anime Trigun on Crunchyroll.

Warning: spoilers for Trigun Stampede Ep. 9 “Millions Knives” below. If you want to watch Knives get a new backstory for yourself, then stop here and come back once you’ve managed to escape Knives’ genocidal fury.

Trigun Stampede Ep. 9 “Millions Knives”: Plot Summary

It it just me, or does Rem’s shadow loom over both of them long after her demise?

Trigun Stampede Ep. 9 “Millions Knives” doesn’t quite pick up where we last left off in the previous episode. Instead, it actually rewinds the clock a bit, back to a young adult Knives somehow finding himself in the care of a city built into another crashed ship. It lets him get a look into how they treat their Plants, which is basically: stupidly. Apparently, the humans leaders of that ship decided that they would use up all of their ill Plants to generate some extra power for their city. You know, the Plants that they can no longer produce? This act of Stupid Evil is apparently what pushes Knives over the edge from impulsive genocide into active sustained genocide. Not that it’s much of a difference, but it’s the thought that counts.

Anyways, this shift results in Vash arriving at the city just in time to see Knives go on a murdering spree of the guards trying to “escort” Knives out of the Plant compartment. Or rather, the former Plant compartment, since they’re now all dust. Vash tries to stop him, but not very hard. He’s also a bit disturbed at the Stupid Evil of the local humans. So much so that Knives pushes a revolver into Vash’s hands and tries to convince him to join his genocide. Vash still refuses though, and that seems to cause a psychotic break for Knives.

When Luida arrives, Knives decides to try to murder her too. However, Vash’s anguish causes a black hole in his left arm. It sucks in all the dead bodies and threatens to suck in everyone else too. The only reason it doesn’t is due to Knives cutting off that arm. The shock of that plus Vash pointing that revolver at Knives with his remaining hand causes him to flee, promising that he’ll be back to kill all the humans in a century. Vash remembers that threat as Luida carries him all the way back home.

And Now Back to Your Regularly Scheduled Programming

'Trigun Stampede' Ep. 9 "Millions Knives" screenshot showing Luida Leitner as an older woman in the present day.
After a very long ad break in-universe to boot.

Vash wakes up back in Ship 3, but in the present day instead. Brad is now a pretty old man who is implied to have made Vash’s prosthetic arm, and is now servicing the damaged arm in the present day. Luida, also an old woman as you can see above, is now an amateur gardener. It’s not just a hobby though. The plants somehow seem to make it easier on the capital P Plants, presumably by making it so that the Plants are converting a less inhospitable environment. Meryl is entranced by this. Roberto is far less impressed despite the benefits being clearly obvious to anyone with a working brain. I guess this is what happens when you have more cynicism than intelligence.

At this moment, Zazie the Beast shows up to break in, kidnap Meryl and Roberto, and take them to the city of JuLai. All on Knives’ orders. Why? Don’t know. All Zazie is interested in is explaining that they’re actually some sort of hive mind composed of every Worm on the planet. All they’re interested in is trying to figure out if they’d have more to gain by siding with the Plants or siding with humanity. I would say playing both side is the best option here for Zazie, but that’s just my opinion here. I suppose we’ll find out which side the Worms choose in the next episode of Trigun Stampede.

Trigun Stampede Ep. 9 “Millions Knives”: The Good

'Trigun Stampede' Ep. 9 "Millions Knives" screenshot showing Knives trying to convince Vash to join his genocidal madness.
No, Vash. It’s not good to listen to the genocidal psychopath even before he had a reason for it.

Okay, admittedly, the story of Trigun Stampede Ep. 9 “Millions Knives” despite the obvious plot hole in it. Amazingly, despite the Stupid Evil decision of the pre-JuLai leadership to use up their Plants to produce energy for their city, it actually makes slightly more sense than what happened in the original canon. There, the humans just murdered and dissected a fellow humanoid Plant purely For Science and For the Evulz! No other reason. The whole “Last Run” thing was extremely short-sighted and definitely amoral, but if you run on the logic that only the short term matters, then it does make some sense.

I even like the slight plot adjustment to Zazie’s character in Trigun Stampede Ep. 9 “Millions Knives”. In the original canon, Zazie was also a hive mind, but they took over the bodies of humans as parasite to be able to have sapience. In Trigun Stampede, Zazie’s body appears to be a mass of Worms operating in unison. It effectively makes Zazie immortal and virtually impossible to kill, as you’d have to kill every Worm on Noman’s Land to kill them. This could mean that Zazie plays a much bigger role in this reboot anime than they did in the original canon. We’ll just have to see if this is the case in future episodes of Trigun Stampede.

Trigun Stampede Ep. 9 “Millions Knives”: The Bad

'Trigun Stampede' Ep. 9 "Millions Knives" screenshot showing a suffering Plant dissolving into dust in its tank. All while bathed in an eerie red light to boot.
Is it just me, or is Trigun Stampede more nightmarish than the original?

My biggest complaint about Trigun Stampede Ep. 9 “Millions Knives” is the glaring plot hole in Knives’ reasoning for wanting to commit genocide against humanity. This current reason would’ve made sense if Knives had not attempted to kill all the humans even before the human leadership in proto-JuLai City started that Last Run of their Plants. I get the feeling that the anime might show the reason behind that later. But at the moment, it’s a pretty big plot hole that mars the story a bit.

My other complaint is the ongoing complaint about Meryl and her personality butchering. It’s really noticeable especially since the writers were true to every other canon character. This change was also completely unnecessary, since Milly Thompson could’ve easily fulfilled the role of idealistic heart. My only explanation was that the writers really wanted their OC in the story. In my opinion, Roberto is a poor substitute. He’s not even all that funny either, which only adds insult to the injury. This is just my opinion though. Your mileage may vary here.