It seems that studio Orange has decided to make Trigun Stampede Ep. 12 “High Noon at July” end the season with a bang. It’s a pretty spectacular bang to boot, and it even makes up for all the negatives the anime had in its early episodes. I daresay that with this finale, this reboot anime is as good as the original 1998 anime, really.

Trigun Stampede Ep. 12 “High Noon at July”: Details

'Trigun Stampede' NA key visual.
Really, this finale episode is that good.

Trigun Stampede Ep. 12 “High Noon at July” is the 12th and final episode (you can read reviews for Ep. 1, Ep. 2, Ep. 3, Ep, 4, Ep. 5, Ep. 6, Ep. 7, Ep. 8, Ep. 9, Ep. 10, and Ep. 11 here) of this season of this sci-fi post-apocalyptic Space Western CGI anime. This anime is actually a reboot of the 1998 anime Trigun. Trigun is, in turn, the anime adaptation of the 1995 manga of the same name by Yasuhiro Nightow.

Unfortunately, the people behind Trigun Stampede Ep. 12 “High Noon at July” are just as mysterious and unknown as the people behind all the previous episodes of the anime. Fortunately, we still know the production staff of the anime as a whole. Kenji Mutō is still the director of the anime, with Katsuhiro Takei still producing. Tatsurō Inamoto, Shin Okashima, Yoshihisa Ueda are still the writers; and Tatsuya Kato is still composing the music.

Speaking of music, “Tombi” by Kvi Baba is still the opening theme music for Trigun Stampede as a whole, with “Hoshi no Kuzu α” (星のクズ α) by singer Salyu and composer Haruka Nakamura still as the ending theme music. However, Trigun Stampede Ep. 12 “High Noon at July” is special in that neither piece of music play at all during the episode. Instead, Instead, Salyu and Haruka Nakamura produce yet another song for the anime called “Seija no Kōshin” (聖者の行進) specifically for the ending sequence of this episode.

Trigun Stampede Ep. 12 “High Noon at July” premiered on March 25, 2023. You can watch the anime on Crunchyroll or Hulu. You can also watch the original 1998 Trigun only on Crunchyroll if Trigun Stampede sparks an interest in it.

Warning: spoilers for Trigun Stampede Ep. 12 “High Noon at July” below. If you want to watch this explosive finale for yourself, then stop here and come back once you’ve hopefully escaped from JuLai City before the inevitable end.

Trigun Stampede Ep. 12 “High Noon at July”: Plot Summary

You’d expect rock music for such an action-packed ending, but the piano music fits the anime way better.

As befitting the season finale, Trigun Stampede Ep. 12 “High Noon at July” doesn’t waste any time and picks up immediately where we last left off in the previous episode. While Knives is busy extracting energy from the “Core” that is the source of all Plant’s energy to give birth to a new race of fully sapient Independent Plants to use as an army to wipe out humanity on Noman’s Land (and also causing massive vines to grow out from the lab and start smashing apart JuLai City and the surrounding landscape), Meryl is just as busy yelling at Vash to snap out of it. Amazingly, it works, with Meryl’s voice triggering a memory of Rem deep within Vash that lets him break Knives’ mind control and return to his normal self.

The first thing Vash does with his newfound freedom is to give Knives the boot out of the Plant’s higher dimension. The second thing he does is to retract all of the vines and absorb them into his body. The third thing he does is to take all the energy Knives took from the higher dimension, and condense it into a glowing cube thing. The final thing he does is intercept Knives before he can take out his rage on Meryl, and thus the battle between brothers is on. Complete with Vash finally getting his iconic spiky hairdo.

Can You Hear “Duel of the Fates” Playing in the Background?

'Trigun Stampede' climax visual.
One-Winged Angel” is a good substitute BGM for this scene.

The resulting battle is one of the most well-animated CGI fight scenes I’ve ever seen. Vash engaged in a running gun battle with Knives, constantly shooting at him and reloading as they make a madcap dash throughout JuLai City, while Knives is determined to get that energy cube Vash is trying to keep from him. Meanwhile, Nicholas actually shows up, but not to fight. He’s doing the smart thing, and trying to get Meryl out of the city and thus out of harm’s way. It’s a good thing he did too, considering what happens next.

After fighting it out in the city for a bit (and getting some of the local police killed by Knives in the process), Vash decides to take the fight into orbit. This is partially to avoid getting JuLai City caught up in their fight, but mostly because Vash needs to get rid of that cube’s energy to keep a planet-changing amount of it from presumably obliterating Noman’s Land if it isn’t fired into space. Knives tries to take the cube again, but inadvertently gets in the way of the energy beam. Even his Plant healing can’t stop firepower of that magnitude, and he’s boiled away down to the bone, and then nothing. Unfortunately, the recoil smashes Vash into JuLai City, and the entire city is wiped out, leaving nothing but a giant crater behind.

And Now for a Timeskip

Trigun Stampede Ep. 12 "High Noon at July" screenshot depicting the post-timeskip Meryl driving her car away from the JuLai City memorial.
Now all she needs is her signature coat, and she’s all set.

Trigun Stampede Ep. 12 “High Noon at July” then cuts to 2 years later, where Meryl is now a hardened reporter herself visiting the JuLai City memorial. Zazie shows up (having fled when the vines first appeared) to warn her of incoming humans from Earth before flying off. Meryl isn’t quite sure what to do with this information, but at least she’ll have a newbie on her side named Milly Thompson (Yay!) when she does figure out what to do with it. Meanwhile, Vash is somewhere in a town on Noman’s Land, and is going by the name Nicks while he’s trying to regain his memory…again.

The scene then cuts to the Earth fleet themselves commenting on the new signal they just received from Project Seeds, and trace it back to Noman’s Land. The result is them sending someone named Chronica to investigate. Who is she? Well, presumably, we’ll find that out the next time we see Trigun Stampede.

Trigun Stampede Ep. 12 “High Noon at July”: The Good

Trigun Stampede Ep. 12 "High Noon at July" screenshot depicting Vash finally with his iconic spiky hair.
Yes, yes! Now that’s the hair we’ve been waiting to see all season!

The fight sequence between Vash and Knives is definitely the highlight of Trigun Stampede Ep. 12 “High Noon at July”. It was the most beautifully animated CGI fight scene I’ve seen anywhere. The fluidity and smooth motions of the animation combined with the cinematography made the whole scene a gorgeous piece of eye candy from start to finish. The destruction of JuLai City was, despite the tragedy, the cherry on this cinematographic cake.

However, there’s another highlight that will be a treat to fans of the 1998 anime: Meryl Stryfe finally becoming the woman she was 25 years ago. Yes, it took 11 episodes for Trigun Stampede to get Meryl to be her battle-hardened and practical self, but she’s finally where she should be. Now all she needs is her iconic white coat full of derringers, and she’s all set.

Lastly, while it’s a blink-and-you-might-miss-it moment, there was that bit near the end of Trigun Stampede Ep. 12 “High Noon at July” where Meryl’s news agency finally assigns Milly Thompson to Meryl. Or rather, it seems Milly specifically requested to be Meryl’s partner. Yes, Milly didn’t appear in the episode (and by extension in this season of the anime), but at least she’s finally mentioned by name.

We even get a small taste of what their relationship will be like in the next season. Unlike Roberto and his constant demeaning and insulting attitude towards Meryl, basically treating her like a burden, you can see that Meryl is clearly excited about having a newbie to teach. Meryl took the lessons learned from Roberto, and decided that he’s a bad role model to follow. So instead, she’s going her own way. It’s a great bit of character development from Meryl, and fits perfectly with her 1998 relationship with Milly. I honestly can’t wait for the next season of Trigun Stampede.

Trigun Stampede Ep. 12 “High Noon at July”: The Bad

Trigun Stampede Ep. 12 "High Noon at July" screenshot depicting Knives doing a high speed bullet dodge against Vash, with a clearly panicked expression on his face.
Nothing bad about this scene, or this episode.

For once, I’ve got nothing to complain about Trigun Stampede Ep. 12 “High Noon at July”. Nothing at all. Well, save for Milly Thompson not actually appearing in this episode. But for once, I’m willing to let it slide. I’m certain that Orange will include Milly in the next season, if not the first episode of next season. While we still have no idea when that next season will air as of this writing, I still eagerly await when it will finally arrive.