On Wolfwood’s Death, Homophobia and Degradation of Characters in Popular Media, and Reading the Manga After You've Watched the Anime: A Trigun Rant
(I’ve gone on this rant before and I’m sure I’ll go on it again)
I did not cry for Wolfwood in the anime. The anime has Wolfwood and Vash get in a major argument and they split off without resolving it… and Wolfwood gets shot and limps off to die alone, giving a death speech so long I honestly just got bored and stopped caring before a single tear fell. Millie’s crying got me to tear up again, because seeing her sad makes me sad, but Vash pretended not to care made me so fucking mad. In TriMax you have so much emotion building up before his final moment. They are fighting desperately, with and for each other. They are able to put their friendship and love ahead of their differences. Wolfwood eventually tells Vash to back off and keep an eye on the kids ‘because this is my fight,’ but with their history this can easily be read as “because I’m going to kill this motherfucker and I know I can’t involve you in that.” And when it’s all said and done. They go and they sit together. Have a drink. He tells Vash to smile because he looks better that way. Tells him he’s happy with the way things turned out. And Vash prays to God that this isn’t really happening; that he’s not about to lose his best friend… but he does. He does and it breaks him to the point of losing control in essentially a literal explosion of emotion that cost him a large part of his remaining life force. I sobbed for hours, and a year after reading it will still randomly remember that scene and just start to cry.
I’m not sure if they’re desperately trying to go for a more ‘no-homo’ path for more mainstream media or what but honestly it just takes away from the story. This isn’t a “i ship them so I’m bitter” sort of rant at all. They are canonically written as close friends, and media has something fierce against close male friendship. Media is so afraid of something being interpreted as ‘gay’ that they will fuck over a whole storyline and completely strip it of the emotional significance it once had. We see the same thing in Lord of the Rings when Sam and Frodo fight and Frodo goes on to enter Shelob’s lair alone, whereas in the books they talked over their disagreements and concerns and walked into the spider’s cave hand-in-hand. The anime also opted for that super awkward forced wolfwood/millie side story, which almost made it seem like she only cared he died because they had slept together the night before. In the manga she’s just told ‘he went off on his own and said he won’t be back for a long time’ and she bursts into tears simply because they couldn’t throw him a going away party [though I don’t think she’s as dumb as she acts on the surface, I think she caught on to the implication, but in any case] she cried because he was her friend. She saved his life and he saved hers– they all protected each other. That’s what they always did… to see that relationship thrown out and replaced by a forced romance and one night stand was awful. To see Wolfwood and Vash’s friendship thrown out and replaced with bitter tension was awful. To see Meryl turned from an armored woman with a soft core into a grumpy tsundere was awful. To see Knives turned from a traumatized child who at least had a reason for his hatred into a randomly violent, genocidal psychopath was awful (same goes for Legato but I’m can’t say I’m upset his backstory wasnt animated… I really don’t want to see that animated…).
If I had happened the read the manga before I watched the anime, other than the first few episodes it would have been the most disappointing adaptation of my life, and looking back at it causes me pain. I understand that the anime was concluded before the manga was finished, and that accounts for some of the changes, but the changes that were made despite the existing canon, and the fact that there is no reboot or reboot being planned is so upsetting to me.
/rant end (for now)