Vash the Stampede (ヴァッシュ・ザ・スタンピード|Vasshu za Sutanpīdo) is the main character of the anime and manga series Trigun. Vash is also known as The Humanoid Typhoon due to the destruction & chaos which surrounds him. Wielding a huge silver revolver, he travels from town to town. He is initially discovered by Meryl Stryfe and Milly Thompson, two Bernardelli Insurance Society employees/representatives investigating claims made due to damages caused by the mysterious Humanoid Typhoon. In the anime the pair find Vash while he is being chased by bandits who want to collect the bounty on "The $$60,000,000,000 (sixty billion double dollar) Man". He escapes while Milly and Meryl eventually learn that Vash is actually the person they are assigned to track. While in the Manga they discover Vash facing off against The Nebraska Father and Son duo after he was avoiding a conflict with the somewhat innocent townsfolk who aimed to use the sixty billon double dollar bounty on his head to correct the finacial problems vexing their town.
[[[|hide]]]*1 Character Outline
Child VashAdded by BlackHAWX7Vash (right) and Knives (left) as childrenAdded by TigersflameVash is not human, but a human-like "Plant". Plants are inter-dimensional beings that are tapped as a source of power and energy for the planet Gunsmoke, similar to the "Fast-Friends" from the George R.R. Martin short story of the same name. As a Plant, his body does not physically age past his mid-twenties. Vash is actually 131 years old in the anime, 150 in the manga by the end of the first series and 152 by the beginning of the second series. Vash requires a special weapon known as the Angel Arm to activate his powers to their full extent. This weapon is one of two that Vash's Brother Knives created from the technology he salvaged from a crashed SEEDs ship. Shortly after he receives his Angel Arm from his brother, Vash discovers that the two guns were made to aid Knives in his plan of "cleansing" the planet of its human populace. Conflicted both emotinally & morally against his brothers goal Vash remembering the morals his human care taker Rem Saverem taught him shoots Knives in the leg. After witnessing the pain and shock his brother has just experienced Vash in a dismaying panic then takes both guns and flees into the desert as Knives painfully calls out to him to comeback. He spends two years alone wandering Gunsmoke until he finally collapses from exhaustion. He is rescued by a group of humans from the only remaining functioning SEEDS ship on the planet, which didn't quite crash during "The Great Fall." While there, he makes human friends and is gifted with his signature red (duster styled) trench coat. After a few months he leaves and ventures out into the world. Vash returns to the ship 80 years later in search of any relatives of Rem in its databanks and finds the last one alive: PASSENGER NO.300-89-9023AS, or "Revenant Buskus". Buskus had studied Plants and established a new plant-theory in July City. Vash goes to July City in the hopes of meeting him, but instead finds Knives standing over Revenant's dead body. In the ensuing firefight, Knives shoots Vash's left arm off; while in the manga, in a flashback, it is revealed that Knives cut off Vash's left arm after Vash shoots him in the shoulder after his twin massacres a town in order to save his life. After regaining possesion of the black Angel Arm, he then activates Vash's White Angel Arm in an attempt to destroy the city and everyone in it but Vash turns the Angel Arm on Knives instead, resulting in the July Incident. Vash's full name is never revealed however, in the anime, when Vash first meets Wolfwood, he introduces himself as Valentinez Alkalinella Xifax Sicidabohertz Gumbigobilla Blue Stradivari Talentrent Pierre Andry Charton-Haymoss Ivanovici Baldeus George Doitzel Kaiser III. When Milly says Vash the Stampede, Vash tells Milly she should not use his 'real name' all the time. In the anime, when Nicholas D. Wolfwood asks for Vash's real name, but Vash answers 'Just between you and me, my name is irrelevant'. Later in the story Vash "puts down his gun", hoping to leave his bounty hunted life and start over. He then goes by the name Kanan or when some call him Eriks. Wolfwood starts to look for Vash, and finds him in a town full of criminal gangs in which their leader calls himself Vash The Stampede.
In the manga, Vash is an "independent" plant, with a mostly similar personality to his anime adaptation. His body is ravaged and scarred, and he refuses to use his abilities as a plant to heal them. He denies himself the company of women because he is certain that "They would only run away" after seeing his scars and artifical arm.
Vash displays two different personalities. Vash usually exaggerates foolish characteristics to make people feel unthreatened and to hide his identity. He exhibits an almost obsessive love of doughnuts, engages in lecherous behavior, and on at least one occasion claimed his real name was Valentinez Alkalinella Xifax Sicidabohertz Gumbigobilla Blue Stradivari Talentrent Pierre Andres Charton-Haymoss Ivanovicci Baldeus George Doitzel Kaiser III (although this is most likely false and probably not spelled right here). He frequently voices the catchphrase, "This world is made of love and peace," which is usually complemented by his flashing of the Peace sign. Vash's reputation as "The Humanoid Typhoon" is legendary, as is the damage and destruction associated with his presence. However, when those around him are threatened, Vash shows complete focus and control.
Vash is a multidimensional character who, despite his age, has still not found peace with himself. A point of conflict in the series are the inner differences between Vash and Millions Knives, his twin brother, and their regard for humanity. Though Vash and Knives have gone through the same experience and torment, Vash chooses to remain hopeful and loving toward humanity, where as Knives has fallen into a deep-seated hatred of their race. Their personalities also have other key differences: Vash cannot stand the despair of being alone, whereas Knives revels in his loneliness and has no desire for any company other than Vash.
Because Vash refuses to kill any of his opponents, he often suffers at the hands of a number of very persistent enemies. As a result, his body is a patchwork of large scars, chunks of missing flesh supported by metal mesh, and stitch marks. Although these scars may be from experiments on the SEEDS ship, as heard from Millions Knives.
Also at one point it seems Vash has the ability to break the fourth wall. In both the manga and the anime, at one point, he complains directly to the viewers and perhaps the shows writers over how little screen time he got during the middle of a battle in which he fired a single shot while in hiding.
Aside from his Angel Arm, Vash has shown a superhuman level of agility, strength, reflexes, eyesight and complete muscle control. In episodes of the anime, Vash has often shown the ability to dodge bullets at close range and dodge skilled melee attacks (at one point doing so while at the same time pretending to dance with a woman). During a gun duel competition, Vash was able to prevent the deaths of many of the competitors by throwing rocks at key moments to knock bullets off their lethal courses. Vash is possibly stronger than most human beings as seen when he was able to use Wolfwood's Punisher (although he did comment on its weight). Finally, his intelligence is stated to be superior to that of most (if not all) humans. In the anime it is shown that he is capable of telepathic communication with his brother, though whether or not he possesses Knives' telekinetic capabilities remains uncertain.
Vash habitually carries a custom made .45 caliber silver- or nickel-plated revolver, a classic six-shot double-action with a top break reloading mechanism that fires .45 Long Colt ammunition. The engraving on the side of the gun describes it is a ".45 Long Colt AGL Arms Factory" with wings around the "AGL" as in angel. Vash's revolver has the barrel aligned with the 6 o'clock chamber, not the 12 o'clock chamber as is the typical configuration of standard revolvers. Only one actual weapon follows this form factor, the Mateba Autorevolver. In the series, this handgun was created as part of a pair by Knives, of which Vash was given the silver model, and Knives kept the black model. Vash eventually carries both weapons for a time, before losing the black gun to Knives in another fight.
In the manga, Vash uses his unique gun more out of mere novelty and habit. Visually the handgun in the manga is also different from that in the anime, though it still features the unique placement of the barrel in the 6 o'clock position. In Trigun Maximum, the revolver used in the anime appears for Vash for use as a two-panel replacement for his standard gun while it is being repaired.
In the series, within Vash's trademark revolver lies the catalyst needed to activate his "Angel Arm". The Angel Arm is Vash's ultimate weapon. Upon activation, his right arm transforms into a weapon powerful enough to destroy entire cities with a single blast. Vash fears the Angel Arm's potential for destruction, and knows little about how to use it.
In the manga, the Angel Arm is a natural feature of a plant's body, and can be manipulated into various shapes to create a number of effects beyond destruction. His power using the Angel Arm is limited- -like a battery, it contains only a certain amount of energy, and when that energy is gone he will die. Vash's Angel Arm typically takes the shape of a large cannon weapon, which uses a tremendous amount of power. As a meter of spent energy a plant's hair color gradually darkens as their internal power is spent until reaching a final color of black when fully depleted. To illustrate the power of the Angel Arm, Vash's hair began to darken after the second time he fires it, using enough energy to blast a hole in the moon. Throughout the manga, Vash learns to gain better control of his power to form smaller cannons and defensive feathers, though his hair continues to grow darker until almost completely black. By the final volume, he has only a small lock of blond hair left.
Vash lost his left arm when Knives blew it off using a different revolver, after Vash stole Knives' black Angel Arm pistol years earlier. In the manga, Knives cut it off when they were younger with a blade he formed from his own body. He now has a cybernetic replacement, which also conceals an integrated firearm. In both the series and manga, it is initially a powerful semiautomatic pistol that is later upgraded to a fully automatic submachine gun.
Other weapons and equipment
In the series, Vash can be seen using a knife hidden in his boot in multiple episodes. During his battle with Brilliant Dynamites Neon, he uses an automatic weapon that appears similar to an AK-47 carbine. In the climactic final battle with Knives, he also uses Wolfwood's Cross Punisher.
In the manga, Vash's signature coat changes on multiple occasions, usually after being damaged, destroyed, or lost. At least one model is described as being bullet-proof. During a battle with Knives aboard The Ark, tubes on his then-present coat were used to reload his revolver and to feed ammunition into his sub-machine gun. The tubes were used without Vash laying hands on them, but it is not made clear if this is done by mechanical means, or by Vash using his plant abilities.
Vash and Knives's background story is explained on episode 17, titled "Rem Saverem".
Vash and Knives were found by the crew as human-like infants a year before the SEEDS fleet arrived at Gunsmoke. The crew initially wanted to kill them; however, Rem threw herself between the twins and the weapons, begging for their life. In just one year, they aged nearly ten years in appearance and had much higher intellectual capabilities than normal. Steve, one of the crew members, disliked the idea of the living Plants on the control ship and didn't conceal it (ironically, he's the exact look-alike of Vash's friend Brad. Possibly being Brad's ancestor or relative). He insisted on the twins being monsters, and often hit or kicked them when the other crew members weren't around.
One day in the recreation room, Rem cut Vash's hair into his current spikey hair style. Knives, lost in his own thoughts of what his purpose for being there was, eventually left to cut his own hair. When finished he runs his hand through it but gets angry, shouting "It's all wrong!" When Vash finds him shortly afterwards and asks what happened, Knives smiles it off, saying "If we stay the same, there's no individuality." This is the first time that a change in Knives's demeanor can be perceived. Later, the crew discusses the twins' hair styles. Steve gets angry and calls them monsters again, then drapes himself over Mary when she tells him he's had too many to drink. Knives rebukes him, saying "You are a disgrace. Is that any way for a grown man like you to behave in the presence of innocent children?" Steve laughs himself out of the room, and when the others comment on his crazy behaviour, Knives whispers, "It's because he's afraid." Later on, Knives is seen entering Rolan's room, and then Mary's room (both rooms occupied by their owners).
Again at the recreation room, the twins and Rem find a butterfly stuck in a spiderweb. Vash attempts to save it when Knives grabs the spider, killing it. Knives justifies the action by saying it was the easiest way to stop the spider and save the butterfly, but Vash becomes distressed because he wanted to save both. Knives counters that you can't save both, because the spider would die of starvation unless it ate the butterfly. Rem breaks in, saying that you can't make that choice lightly because they're both living creatures, but Knives continues to argue that his way of thinking is right. Vash knocks him to the ground and yells at him how he wanted to save both, completely stunning Knives. After a moment they both sit up. Knives leaves, saying that Vash doesn't make any sense, and Vash shouts back that it is him that doesn't make any sense. This very well could have been their first fight.
Sometime later, the crew is gathered in a watching room, where in another rooom Steve is in a straightjacket and awaits sentencing. Joey states that according to interplanetary law, Steve will be relieved of duty and will be frozen until they land where he will stand trial. Steve continually shouts that he didn't do anything, while Rolan says that he saw him enter Mary's room, and Mary quietly says that he raped her. Rem argues that it's not too late to hear Steve's side of the story while Joey says that to function as a group they need laws to keep them safe. Despite Steve and Rem's protests, Steve is frozen.
Afterwards, Vash asks Rem why people can't get along, and she says it's because we all have different ways of thinking, along with other wonderfully optimistic sayings that leave an impression on Vash. Meanwhile, Rolan proposes to Mary, even handing her a ring. She says he must be teasing, and he reveals that he adjusted the freezer temperature that Steve is in, effectively killing him. Mary is horrifed at this, and Rolan smiles, saying "I guess that now makes us partners." Rem and the twins hear gunshots shortly after and notify Joey, then race to the room to find Rolan standing over Mary, who had shot her multiple times. Rolan tells Rem that he had no choice, that Mary had betrayed him after all he had done for her. He then points the gun at Knives, saying that it must be his fault that Mary had to die. Rem stands in front of the line of fire and tries to talk Rolan down, saying that no one has the right to take the life of another. Meanwhile Joey tries to get in contact with them, eventually getting a video feed from the room to work. Rem continues to slowly walk toward Rolan while he steps back, clearly disheveled and scared. Rem is about to take the gun from Rolan when Joey opens a hatch behind Rolan, sending him and Mary's body into space while safety bars close keeping Rem from being sucked out too.
Rem is incredibly upset. Joey tries to explain that he thought Rolan was going to shoot her, and that he was doing what he thought was best. Rem is convinced that Rolan wasn't going to shoot her, and laments their fallen commrads with Vash by her side while Knives goes to the bridge where Joey is. Knives tells Joey that he agrees with his decision and that it was the right choice, but Joey has doubts, saying that maybe Rem was right. Angered by his turnabout, Knives says that he's just like all the other humans and shoots Joey, confirming to himself that his is the right choice. He leaves the gun in Joey's hand and alters the ship's course program.
Rem and Vash hear a message from the computer system that the fleet had changed its course and was about to crash. The three decide to go to the escape pods, but at the last moment Rem hangs back, saying she has to try help Joey and save the others. She closes the door desipte Vash's protests, telling him to take care of Knives. The pod was launched and Vash watched as the control ship exploded in re-entry. He collapsed, crying. Knives started to laugh. He reveals that he killed everyone and changed the course to kill the humans that were part of the SEEDS project, while keeping the plant ships so he and Vash could live on the new planet. Then, all of the fleet received a new directive, automatically starting the reverse thrusters so the ships could enter the atmosphere safely. Rem was able to save Project SEEDS. The pod then fell onto the surface of a planet.
When Vash regained consciousness, he saw in the dawn sky dozens of ships raining down as meteors. Knives wanted to help him, but Vash pushed him away, accusing him. Knives then changed his voice saying, "Yeah! Cool, huh?". They then spent the following years wandering through the deserts, observing crash sites and the few survivors. When some humans started to argue over some water, Knives activated the ship-board Plant's Angel Arm, but Vash pushed him over and prevented him from firing. After some wandering, Knives had found the ship he was looking for. He spent a whole year rummaging through the wreckage, finally procuring the two revolvers and some battle armor for himself. He threw one of the revolvers to Vash, saying "They are our new siblings. We will use them for wiping out the human scourge." He then went up to a hill and test-fired, creating a huge blast similar to a nuclear explosion. He then says "Only a 13% output, that's the best we can do." This then lead to an argument between the two, resulting in Vash shooting Knives in the leg and running away with both weapons.
The infamous July Incident occurred before the start of the manga, when Vash traveled to the city of July in search of a man distantly related to Rem. Upon arriving, he was greeted by Knives, who had slain the man whom Vash had come to speak with. Knives announced that he'd destroyed the last connection Vash had to Rem, and in the exchange that followed, shot off Vash's left arm. Against Vash's will, Knives activated Vash's previously dormant Angel Arm, hoping to annihilate the surrounding town. However, Vash aimed the blast at Knives; the resulting blast reduced July to rubble, though there were no casualties as a direct result of the skirmish (there were, however, indirect fatalities after the homeless citizens of July began to fight among themselves, turning the remnants of the town to "Hell", in the words of one survivor). In the manga, 200,000 people are killed directly in the explosion.
The incident in July brands Vash an outlaw throughout Gunsmoke and he comes to be known as "The Stampede" and "The Humanoid Typhoon" as destruction seemingly follows him wherever he goes. A bounty of $$60,000,000,000 is placed on Vash, dead or alive, the largest bounty ever placed. With Knives unaccounted for, Vash spends the next twenty-three years hiding from civilization in order to stay alive. It is at this time two insurance agents, Meryl and Millie, are assigned to find and watch Vash in order to prevent further damage wherever he goes. After their first meeting the two women accompany Vash throughout his travels, much to Vash's dismay.
The next pivotal point in the story comes in Inepril City. Upon learning Vash the Stampede is in the city the residents seek to capture him for the bounty as the city has been depraved and sunken in poverty due to the shutdown of one of the city's main reactors. In a desperate, but foolish, attempt to capture him the city's mayor enlists the help of the Nebraska Family, a sinister father and his giant half-machine son who have recently escaped from prison. Vash is captured without the Nebraskas' help in a small saloon, but soon the Nebraskas reveal they have plans of their own for the bounty. The bar is destroyed by the son, but all inside manage to survive. Vash carries the survivors to safety and stands off with the Nebraskas, but the family stoops to lower methods by taking aim at the survivors in order to strike Vash off his guard. However, Vash thwarts this action and defeats the Nebraska family.
The city's wealth is restored with the bounty for the Nebraskas and repair immediately begins on the damaged reactor. The project is led by a young, beautiful woman named Elizabeth. Elizabeth soon reveals she has an agenda of her own, that being to kill Vash. She lures Vash to the reactor which she has sabotaged to seemingly prevent Vash from escaping. When Elizabeth locks Vash in the reactor she reveals her intentions to kill him are not for the bounty, but for vengeance. Twenty-three years before, a three-year-old Elizabeth was a resident of July City when it was destroyed by Vash. Though none of the residents were killed in the destruction they began to destroy themselves in their pain and suffering. Elizabeth's parents would be victims to this destruction and she would be all alone. In her flashback she finds comfort in the arms of man, a very familiar man. Elizabeth leaves Vash to die, but miraculously Vash shuts the reactor down himself. He encouters Elizabeth outside and she pulls a pistol on him intent on getting her revenge. Vash then tells her he remembers nothing of July's destruction, only the ruins of the city when he awoke. Shocked, Elizabeth still begs in her sorrow for revenge, but suddenly recognizes a tearing Vash as the man who comforted her all those years ago. She collapses in realization of the truth and spares Vash.
As Vash and the girls journey on they meet a traveling priest carrying a large steel cross named Wolfwood. Although he appears to be just an ordinary priest, in an ensuing struggle with machines powered by lost technology, Wolfwood shows to be more by using his own skills in gunfighting. The two parties part ways afterward but would meet many times down the road.
The story comes to its main focus when Vash encouters Legato Bluesummers. Legato soon reveals he is in service to Knives, shocking Vash to know his brother still yet lives. Knives has made it Legato's sole purpose of his life to cause "eternal pain and suffering" in the life of Vash. Legato leads a cutt-throat and mostly superhumanoid gang known as the Gung-Ho-Guns. In order to carry out Legato's purpose the Guns seek to harm Vash and eliminate all that's around him of whom he cares for. This even results in the deaths of the entire gang, not by Vash himself, but either due to elimination for their failures by Legato or suicide in order to scar Vash's conscience. Vash's struggles with Legato come to a turning point with the death of Wolfwood. In the next city he comes to Vash encounters Midvalley the Hornfreak. When Midvalley fails to defeat Vash he uses his powerful horn to kill himself. Vash is scarred furthermore and pursues Legato, but still refuses to kill him when Legato reveals his intent to allow Vash to kill him in order to bring his "ultimate" suffering by his first conscious kill. When Legato threatens the lives of Meryl and Milly Vash has no other alternative and shoots Legato in the head, killing him.
The girls bring Vash to a small town to heal his injuries. Vash spends the next few weeks in torment over what he perceived to be his first murder. Vash refuses to confront Knives knowing he would have to kill again should the moment come. When the locals of the town learn of Vash's presence they take him to the outskirts of town and drag him behind a speeding vehicle. Meryl comes to Vash's aid and stands between him and a frustrated gunman. Vash sees Rem in Meryl's actions and his morale is revived. Saying his goodbyes for what may be the last time, Vash ventures into the desert with Wolfwood's cross rifle to confront Knives for the final battle.
Vash finds Knives in a small flourishing oasis in the middle of the desert. After the two exchange docile greetings they face-off. The fight comes to a stalemate, both men with a gun in the face of the other. Knives knows Vash won't shoot and shoots Vash, subduing him. He then prepares his Angel Arm and fires, but Vash counters with his own and negates it. However, Knives gains the upper-hand once more and takes Vash's gun giving him two Angel Arms. Just before Knives can fire the voice of Wolfwood comes to Vash telling him to "use it". Vash drives his hand into the ground and retrieves Wolfwood's cross rifle and fires it at Knives. Knives loses control of the Angel Arms and Vash shoots Knives in his shoulders and calves, thus subduing him and ending the fight. Vash emerges victorious and after discarding his famed red coat and gun and, finally coming to terms with Rem's death, declares that while he will always believe in her and that he will now turn to his own words for guidance. He leaves with an unconscious Knives over his shoulder as he returns to the town where Meryl and Milly await. Judging by the last line Meryl says in the anime, that Vash "wouldn't keep a good woman like me waiting", a romantic relationship between the two may have begun.
- Japanese Voices: Masaya Onosaka (Adult), Kouki Miyata (Young)
- English Voices: Johnny Yong Bosch (Adult), Bryce Papenbrook (Young)
- Vash made a cameo appearance in Wild Arms 2nd Ignition
- In certain frames, the buttons on Vash's coat are reminiscent of udders, an idea consistant with the meaning of the word "vache," which is "cow" in French.
- The catlyst inside the guns owned by Vash and Knives, are black and white. This may refer to the light silver plutonium, and the dark gray uranium. Or Yin and Yang.
- Despite appearing with them in every episode of the anime, Vash has only refered to Meryl by name once, never Milly.