Spoilers for the end of Trigun. Also, rachelmanija, you said the resolution comes after the closing credits, which I don't understand; the US DVD, and the fansub I downloaded as a backup, had stuff happening during the final credits, but not after.
Spoilers, obviously, for the whole series.
In an odd way, I think episodes 23 & 24 are really the most important episodes; 25 is just angsty filler, and 26 goes on a bit long.
Oh, when I said that 24 broke up on us with Vash's gun to Legato's head, I meant the first time, when he's just arrived on the hill.
What I meant about 24: the end, when Vash finally kills someone, is powerful and shocking. The next episode is kind of frustrating because I wanted to yell at the characters. Vash ought to feel very badly, yes, but the depth and type of his self-loathing seemed in-character but annoying to me, because of the inability to distinguish between levels of badness and the importance of desire. And, on a minor note, Milly's guilt about following him was silly, because Legato would just have turned some of the townsfolk on each other rather than them.
By the way, even if Meryl is the reincarnation of Rem (which feels all wrong to me, I don't know about anyone else), I am completely unable to believe in Meryl/Vash. And I thought Milly/Wolfwood made sense.
(Disclaimer: nasty headache. I originally typed Milly for Meryl in that sentence. If I make any other dumb comments, sorry.)
hollow49, obviously you were right about Vash's arm & Legato, but I'm still confused about that. Legato's comments when Vash is coming up the hill to meet him suggest that they both fell at the same time, meaning Legato is as old as Vash, but if he were also a Plant then why would Legato need Vash's arm? And when did he get it, anyway, and what good did it do him?
Right. Back to the episodes.
Good to get most of the Vash-Knives backstory cleared up in 26, anyway: who Knives killed in July and why, what they did after the ships crashed, and that it was Knives in the vat. Even though the first half felt a little too much like a clip show when it got to the Gung-Ho Guns.
The second half, as I said, felt a little long, just because yes yes, shooting at each other, obviously evenly matched, blah blah. Obviously I do like that he finally decides to move forward from blind worship of Rem, since that was what was bothering me about episode 25.
Still much love for Milly, and that she plays an indirect but vital role; as does either Wolfwood or his memory. Vash's connections to humans are what saves him.
The bigger picture: so, a literalized fall of angels, huh? I think this is another reason why the suggestion of reincarnation doesn't work for me, but that's a cultural bias thing. And, a la Good Omens, the choice is eventually to take the side of humanity, though of course the parallel isn't perfect—deities being notably absent from Trigun.
Which brings me back around to the cultural mis-mash thing: is it possible for a Western viewer to watch a story about fallen winged creatures with great powers battling each other over the future of the world, and not say, where are the deities? Or, at least, where did the fallen winged creatures come from? Because I still want to know what the Plants are, whether the humans knew what they were doing when they used them as power sources, if the ones in the power sources are as sentient as Vash and Knives (I wonder if not, because Knives is able to get one to instantly start overloading in a way that suggests he can control it; Vash, of course, prefers persuasion), how Vash and Knives were born in the first place (seriously, was I right about the Mommy power plant and Daddy power plant?), and so forth. (The reaction of the crew to Vash & Knives suggests to me that they didn't know that they were the same type of being as what was in their power sources, but I'm not sure.) Anyway: more detail on that would have been good, please.
Is Knives redeemable? Can he be safely neutralized? The mind boggles at the thought. But he couldn't do anything else. (Manga spoilers ahoy in ROT13: V fnj n fgngrzrag fbzrjurer gung va gur znatn ur yrnirf xavirf gb qvr, juvpu vf whfg jebat.) I believe I have heard people say that life-goes-on endings are more common in anime, which is certainly my experience in a limited sample.
Randomly: this show has the oddest preview voiceovers. I did like that the one at the end of 25 was a reiteration of dialogue from 12, even if I had to look it up on Wikiquote.
Right. I'm going to sleep on it and then try and post a spoiler-free wrapup tomorrow. I feel like I'm missing some things to talk about here, too; maybe I'll remember them after some Tylenol and some sleep.