Not an Angel and stories to tell: The Music of Trigun

Music has such an effect on our lives. We don’t strive for it to affect us like it does, but that’s the end result just the same. We listen to it so we can enjoy it, so we can relax, unwind.

That’s the effect some music has on us, other tracks push us in the opposite direction. They inspire us, fill us with joy, love and understanding. The right song can lift the spirits and help you charge into battle.

The right song can push you to the deepest pits of human despair.

Music is amazing, for what it does to us in the present, but what it does after it lingers is even better.

I’m sure it’s happened to you that, when you listen to a song or a track, it immediately takes you to the past, and you remember what you were doing, and why you were doing it.

You remember the good, being happy and you remember the bad, the lingering sadness that you only realize was there in hindsight.

We all have our favorite songs and those songs take us to different places, different times and they remind us of who we were when we first heard it.

Trigun is one of those animes that stay with you, years after you watch it. Most of us watch the series as an introduction to the genre.

It’s my go-to for whenever I want someone to properly experience what the genre has to offer. The good, the bad and everything in between.

The swings in tone are drastic, but a lot of series are like that. Trigun does it well, helping to give its characters more than one dimension. Swinging the series from comedy to sci-fi, to drama and give it an ending that lasts, that stays with you.

Spoilers inbound, if you haven’t seen the series by now, shame on you ( lol jk), go watch it, it’s on Hulu, though I suggest the dub, not the sub.

Trust me, this is one of those exceptions to the rule, anyway, carrying on,

I’ve must have seen the series a good 4 times now in the last ten years. I know, not a lot of times compared to some of my other favorites, but it’s not for lack of joy. It’s not cause it’s aged badly.  It’s more because of what the series is tied to, for me.

Good times and bad.

I don’t mean to write a review of it right here. That will come later, when I can actually put down all those emotions into words. If I can find new things to say about something so beloved by so many, a modern classic in the genre, then I’ll write a review, if not, just take the word of anyone who’s seen it.

This is about the background music. Those tracks that set the tone and the mood of each episode.

In my last post, I wrote about Cowboy Bebop, and everyone raves about the music and how that helped give the show its voice, made it distinct and most importantly, it made the show memorable.

Trigun achieves this in a different manner.

Some tracks, like in most shows and movies, are linked directly to our characters.  Others are linked to events. Some are directly linked to ideas, moods and emotions.

A few years back, as I was watching the series again for the 3rd or 4th time ( I lose track with my favorite series, I like to watch them, examine them, deconstruct them, and look for things I missed), what stuck with me on this particular screening was the music this time.

Not an Angel is a track that plays often during those emotionally charged events that take place during the series. Forgive my hazy memory, but it mostly plays during the second half of the series, when the jokes are mostly gone, and we’re more focused on Vash’s story and the conclusion he has to reach about his philosophies.

The part that stays with me the most is when he tracks down  Rem’s last living relative, only to find him dead at the hands of Knives. It’s supposed to be a “heavy” scene, showing us the different between the two brothers and how they see life.  I can’t say I appreciated it the way I should have when I saw it originally. I was more in shock, almost upset at how the series had made a complete 180… I didn’t see the genius behind it until much later.

The music stayed with me though.

T0 this day, when I hear that track, I’m reminded of how special that series was to me at the time. How tender those memories are. I constantly think about Vash and about what he wanted, and how life showed him it was unrealistic to think that way. I like the clash between how soft and tender the track, and how it was used in the series to show his delicate side, his hidden side.

Even the characters in the show couldn’t believe that this was the real Vash, and why should they?

The show does a really good job of hiding who he really is, every once in a while you can see the reality of it, at least during the first half, and it’s only during the second half that you really learn the truth.

It takes time to appreciate it. I’ve said that before and I believe it.

Some series have gone this route and fail dramatically. One comes to mind but I won’t be writing about this series just yet. I need to give that one a little time.

As for Stories to Tell, oh man… that song…

It was used to represent hope. Peace. The chance to do something good in this world. Vash and co. faced the same problems we do. Every day we have that opportunity and it’s up to us to take it You see the beauty of Trigun? How it can fool us into thinking it was just a simple story when it reality, it was deep, it was full of meaning and it asks questions that we should be always asking ourselves.

What our motives are… What we want out of life, and what we’re doing to reach those goals?

The best place you can clearly hear this song is when Vash is staying in that town, in the first half of the series, before he gets on the sand steamer.

It’s where you see his views on love, life and how a man should define himself.

Hell, it used to be my alarm everyday, reminding me of the kind of person I ought to be.

I still hold myself to those ideals every day, or at least, I should…

It’s been more than ten years since I first saw Trigun, but I won’t ever forget the lessons it imprinted on me.

I always say you should watch it once during your formative years. It might give you an idea as to the kind of person you should want to be…

Does that make sense? I’m probably not making sense…

Trigun got to me, and thinking about it always fill me with nostalgia, joy and hope. Hope for a better future. That’s what Vash wanted…that’s what you want…

Right?

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