Christ the Stampede: Trigun Badlands Rumble and FaithPosted: April 24, 2013
Yes, I know it’s not from rumble. But you can’t have Vash without Love and Peace.
You have to love impulse buys. I had liked Trigun when it had first come out way back in the days of Pioneer, and it was offered at a steal. So I grabbed it, and honestly, it’s awesome. This is the silly yet serious Vash before Knives, and the movie is a lot of fun. Go pick it up. Anyways, maybe it’s because I am getting older, but I was surprised to notice some similarities between Vash, and Jesus. No joke. Part of it is in the idea of Vash himself, and part is how the movie portrayed him and others.
Vash is know as Vash the Stampede, and the Humanoid Typhoon. He has a reputation for causing mass destruction wherever he goes, and yet no one dies. The funny thing is when you actually meet him at first, he’s nothing like that description. He’s silly, childish, a bit of a coward and a glutton, and tends to cling on people and run away. If you think about it, the idea of the Messiah was commonly thought to be a bit like said Stampede. The expectation was that of a war leader that would restore the kingdom to Israel, and movements like the Zealots and false messiahs had begun to arise. But when you actually met Jesus, he was nothing like the idea of it, instead being an itinerant, sometimes cryptic preacher.
Both of them seem to do strange things and defy expectations. Vash tends to go nuts over donuts; Jesus stoops down in the dirt to write and curses fig trees. Both at first are easily discounted as being fakes or not what they are. But then you notice that both of them are actually doing honest-to-God miracles that could be explained away by the careless, but those with eyes to see notice. Part of the fun of Rumble is how Vash once again manages to look like a total ass, and yet defeat people and defuse situations effectively, and almost miraculously. Both of them do so because they are there to give life. Vash doesn’t want anyone to die, Jesus gives us life eternal.Then the realization hits, and suddenly you are swept up in what they are there for. You wonder at times if the apostles related to Jesus kind of like Vash’s coterie does to him, with frustration, worry, some chiding, and generally drawn to him magnetically. Aware that both have greater purposes, but unable to really understand him.
SPOILERS IN THIS SECTION.
The plot of Rumble though makes the connection stronger. The robber Gasback is making a raid on a town of a former associate who betrayed him. Amelia the bounty hunter is chasing his hovercraft, which has the town’s plant on it. She tries to take a shot, but Vash keeps blocking her, warning that if the plant is destroyed there is no going back. This leads to him getting shot, and his lifeless form falling to sink into a sand pit, out of sight.
Amelia and Wolfwood are stunned, and Amelia utters a line which struck me. “He tried to save so many lives. Why did he have to die?” They both fall into despair, and while Vash is lost in a sandy grave, they both spend the night in the now dark city.
And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst. Luke 23:45
Amelia realizes that for all her private vengeance against Gasback, she was no different. She was willing to risk the pain and suffering of many people for a clean shot at him, and it reminded me strongly that everyone has sinned, and fallen short of even what we expect our natures to be. Vash was stopping her as much as stopping him. She repents, and teams with Wolfwood to stop Gasback, as Vash would, without killing.
Of course, Vash resurrects himself. It’s more mundane here, although in a funny parallel, both Jesus and Vash seemed to be discovered first by women. Meryl and Milly in this case. And in both cases, they show their true nature and power. Jesus transcends death, Vash shows that the myth of the Humanoid Typhoon is not a myth, and he is insanely powerful. Both are vindicated by their resurrection. It’s actually striking how close Rumble makes the point, because while both Amelia and Wolfwood are grieving, they make the point that ideals die with the person. Vash comes along and lives, and you know it’s in part related to this. His “devil’s luck” may not be so random, you wonder. There is his odd agelessness, too.
There’s also a third point, which doesn’t really connect the two but is on something related. It’s the problem of pain.
Rumble starts with Vash twenty years ago saving Gasback’s life from his gang. Twenty years later, and Amelia when she finds out who he is, tearfully confronts him about why he did that. She mentions that many people suffered from it, including herself. Because Vash showed mercy, evil is permitted. Twenty years later, he shows up in the center of things again, to try and take responsibility for what he does. Maybe it does link Vash and Christ a bit, too.
The reason why though is something really subtle and running through the whole movie. Vash intervened, and accepted another’s roll of the dice. That accepting had a lot of ripple effects that play out over the movie, and with Amelia herself too. I don’t want to spoil the thing that makes it matter, but the problem of Gasback also had a positive end as well as caused suffering.
I want to go back to the original series and see if some of the same themes are present. I was a little surprised at how Rumble made me think about Christ. Of course, all criticism is based on the viewer more than the work, but Badlands Rumble is deeper than I’d expect a movie on Trigun to be, and well worth watching even without parallels to Christianity.