Trigun is a 1998 Anime produced by Madhouse and base on the 1995 manga of the same name published serially in Shonen Captain. The series was shown on Cartoon Network in the US in 2003. And that’s pretty much all the background you’re getting. On to the show!
Episode one opens on a saloon full of cowboys gossiping about an outlaw called by turns Vash the Stampede or the Humanioid Typhoon. A tall blond man in a red duster is shown having a drink at the bar shortly before the saloon is attacked in such a manner that it is completely destroyed, leaving only the man in the red coat sitting at the bar and finishing his drink behind the fortuitously fallen saloon sign. The title card is flashed, naming the episode the $$60,000,000,000.00 Man.
The next day at the sheriff’s office in a neighboring town, the incident is described as having no fatalities, but having been carried out by a man in a red coat with short legs. Later, two women enter a bar with a black cat on a table, she is leering at them along with the rest of the men. The black cat, Kuroneko-sama, is present somewhere in every episode. They order drinks and the men in the bar begin to harass them (something that was much funnier in 2003 than it is now) until the tall woman accidentally drops an enormous weapon, injuring one of the men and frightening the others. The two women ask the bartender about Vash the Stampede and get both a description and the news that he has headed east.
Back at the destroyed town, a gang leader fitting the description that the two women were given orders his men to go after “him.” The “him” in question turns out to be the man in the red duster. He is quickly found and defends himself by non-lethal means, also noting that he’s hungry. Disturbed by the abuses the gang leader commits against his men, the man in the red duster allows himself to be captured, just in time for the two women to arrive on riding Thomases, alien creatures somewhat like a cross between a camel and a mule. Based on the description they have, they approach the gang leader and introduce themselves as Meryl Stryfe and Millie Thompson from the Bernardelli Insurance Society. They present the bang leader with a gift, only to be interrupted by a bounty hunter who introduces himself as Loose Ruth, also known as Constance Riful, there to collect the bounty on Vash the Stampede, again targeting the gang leader due to the same description that Meryl and Millie were given. Meryl decides that they have to stop the bounty hunter upon hearing one of the gang members mention that their boss isn’t Vash. The gang leader then reveals the description that he has of the outlaw, which is a tall blond man in a red coat. He notes that Loose Ruth, who is blond and tall, is wearing a coat with a red lining, and assumes that he is Vash trying to collect his own bounty in order to both collect the 60 billion double dollars and get clear of the law. A gunfight breaks out and Meryl and Millie flee on their Thomases, followed on foot by the man in the red duster (who is eating the gift of donuts that Meryl had presented to the gang leader.) As they run away, Millie reveals that they’re disaster investigators sent to keep Vash the Stampede under 24 hour surveillance in order to prevent any other damage or liability claims from being paid out by the company. Meryl gives the man in the red coat $$10 and her riding Thomas and asks him to go warn the town before she and Millie return to the scene of the gunfight to assess any damages or casualties as they happen. They are promptly captured and once again present the gang leader with a gift of donuts, only to learn that he has teamed up with Loose Ruth. The man in the red duster returns and frees Meryl and Millie and we finally learn which man in the red coat is which.
At the edge of a cliff, Vash confronts both the gang leader and Loose Ruth, again subduing them both by non-lethal means. Millie is shown to believe that the man who saved them is Vash, but Meryl still has doubts. In the end, Meryl files her report, indicating that all damages had been caused by Loose Ruth’s illegal use of explosives and recommending that all claims be paid. As the episode closes, the townspeople gossip outside Meryl and Millie’s hotel room, and Vash is shown walking alone into the desert.
Episode two opens at night with a tall blonde figure with a large silver gun and wearing red fleeing a short man who is shooting at it with a rifle. The figure is hit in the left shoulder, but escapes. The short man notes that it is “him again” and that something must be done. The title card of the episode brings us this episode’s title, which is Truth of Mistake.
Millie and Meryl are shown some days later, riding their Thomases into what appears to be a ghost town, and in need of water. They rush to a well, only to find it dry. A passing family, dragging Kuroneko-sama behind them on a string, mention that the town is dying for lack of water and Vash having been hired by the landowner who also owns all the water rights in the area shortly after Meryl notes an unusual amount of damage to the buildings of the town due to land subsidence. They go to the landowner’s house, only to find Vash there before them. He takes another box of donuts from Meryl, who still doesn’t believe that he is Vash the Stampede. They meet the land owner, Cliff Cesar who explains that someone has been trying to kill him to wrest the water rights from him, leading to him advertising for a bodyguard. He admits that he included the name Vash the Stampede in his ad as a joke, never expecting him to actually show up for the job. Further explaining his need for a bodyguard, Cesar introduces Marianne Alkeiser, the granddaughter of the head of the Standtall Federal Bureau, who is visiting the mansion. She is tall and blonde and Vash has a rather obvious crush, leading him to act more bizarrely than usual. Meryl takes Cesar aside and tries to set him straight, whereupon he reveals that he doesn’t believe Vash either, but put word around to clear the town, hoping that whoever was trying to kill him would clear out as well. The statement seems to anger Meryl, but she is distracted by Cesar’s description of the man who is after him as tall and blonde and wearing red with a silver weapon, who also has “a reputation as an ace gunfighter.” Meryl decides that it must be Vash and volunteers herself and Millie to join Vash in his body guarding duties. Marianne looks less than happy about this, but Cesar agrees. They are promptly put to work doing the housework.
Vash patrols the house and hears Marianne’s shower running. Deciding to check on her (from the roof,) he finds her room empty and gets caught by Millie. Downstairs, Meryl notices Marianne sneaking out of Cesar’s study. At dinner, Cesar explains more about how he came to be so wealthy and profitable, a discussion that upsets Marianne. She leaves dinner early. Out by the fountain, in the courtyard in front of Marianne’s room, Meryl and Millie are eating their own dinner and watching for anyone trying to approach the mansion. Inside her room, Marianne begins to change out of her dress, revealing a bloody bandage on her left shoulder, when she is interrupted by Vash. Quickly re-dressing and opening the window, she invites him in. After some small talk (where Vash tries unsuccessfully to impress her, grabbing her by the shoulder and unknowingly causing her pain,) she distracts him by sending him after “a movement” that turns out to be Meryl and Millie. Vash returns to tell Marianne, only to find that she’s gone. Upon searching the mansion for her, Meryl reveals that Cesar is also gone, and Millie that she has found Marianne’s dress and bloody bandages. Meryl comes to the conclusion that Marianne is the one who has been after Cesar. After a confrontation about Vash’s earlier peeping attempt, the three find a secret passage into the cliffside.
Deep underground, Marianne emerges into a large cavern with an underground river and a lot of heavy machinery. She is wearing a red jumpsuit and a Marshal’s badge and carrying a large silver gun. She sees the water being frozen and packed up to be shipped off and sold, but is caught by Cesar. She moves to shoot or arrest him, but her injury prevents her from doing so. Cesar is about to shoot her when Vash, Meryl & Millie arrive. Cesar instead shoots at Vash, who dodges the bullet to everyone’s shock. Quickly recovering, Cesar opens fire with four additional guns that he had strapped to himself underneath his suit jacket. Vash appears to dodge every bullet before hitting Cesar in the face with a thrown piece of ice, causing him to misdirect his shots and hit the freezing apparatus, which explodes and floods the town. The next morning, overlooking the flooded town from the top of the cliff, Marianne expresses her faux-disbelief that Vash truly is the Humanoid Typhoon, because if he was, she would have to arrest him. Meryl continues to flippantly express her doubts, whereupon Marianne tells her she has no eye for men. She thanks them for their assistance before leaving with Cesar in custody. The episode again closes with Vash walking off alone into the desert, this time bemoaning his fate and declaring “she was really cute…but I don’t want to go to jail!”