EPISODE 10: Quick Draw
Vash's morning routine! Little kids! Wolfwood! Roughousing! QUICK DRAW TOURNAMENT! This episode has it all. It's tone is also kinda half serious, half joking, as the series itself is beginning to switch tones.
Hmm... it's been awhile since I've seen this one... I need to rewatch my episodes if I want to have this thing done or at least mostly done before it starts airing on Cartoon Network! I'm doing this summary from memory triggered by the images in the artbook for this episode, so I apologize if I leave anything out (eh, the major points are the ones I wish to analyze, so those are most likely good -_^). The episode opens with a monolouge from Vash himself, mostly about his morning routine. He says he's a hunter of peace, he meditates about life and love (for three seconds), then practices his quick draw with an egg until it breaks, then he eats it and thanks the egg. After he's done with his routine, he reaffirms his status as a hunter of peace, then gets called outside to wrestle with a buncha kids. They try to help him pick up a woman (very dramatically, he fakes amnesia and a bad hit with some tomato juice blood and tries to pick up the woman with sympathy, but his nature shines through and he ends up getting dissed ^_^), but are very mad when the attempt fails. Vash spies a kid who's not playing, but when he tries to call the kid over, the kid snubs him. Vash asks the other kids about him, who say the kid, Neil, is a very quiet loner who works for his family's restaurant. Vash goes over to Neil and asks why he's not playing, and Neil explains that he's working for his mother. Vash asks if he can help, and Neil is a little resistant (Neil seems like a little prick to me :p), but then says it's okay so long as Vash doesn't hit on his mother. He goes to the restaurant to eat, and is served by none other than WOLFWOOD! Vash is a little surprised, but Wolfwood quickly explains that Neil's father had mysteriously left the family one day, leaving his wife with a big debt. Wolfwood happened by when some nefarious-looking men tried to collect on the debt and saved the mother, but has been working for her and helping out ever since. Vash was seemed quite upset over it, and when Wolfwood asked if he would do anything and Vash said yes, Wolfwood revealed that he'd entered Vash into a quickdraw tournament with a $$50,000 reward. Vash is understandably upset, for there will most likely be many bounty hunters/sharpshooters at this tournament. The people who run the tournament, however, are quite intrigued by the application. Wolfwood and Vash have a talk over alcohol that night, in which Milly and Meryl join in ^_^; They had quite a bit apparently, because Vash is quite hung over the next day for the tournament. The kids cheer him on as he walks in and sits down. The first round is target shooting, in which the entrants are required to shoot some bottles off a rail. Vash, with vision blurred, tries to miss some so that he won't stand out, but unfortunately manages to hit them all ^_^; After he sits down, Wolfwood reassures him, but gets quite angry when he finds out that Vash has entered HIM into the tournament. He advances to the next round as well, of course. The next round is a face off with one of the other applicants. Vash tosses pebbles into the playing area and times them so that they throw the bullets off course just enough so that noone is killed. Everyone is quite amazed at this "miracle", Wolfwood included, but he's the only one who knows it's Vash's fault. Vash's opponent is a strange man we've seen stalking around the entire episode, and it turns out his strangeness is attributed to the fact that he's dressed up with the second round of this tournament in mind. The gunmen have their backs to each other and are walking their paces before they shoot, and this man has dressed backwards, complete with mask so that he faces his opponent as they're walking apart, thus giving him a very big surprise edge. Vash picks up on this though and gets the guy anyway. The final round is, surprise surprise, Nicholas D. Wolfwood vs. Vash the Stampede in an all-out shootout. Nick decides to withdraw and let Vash win, but when he goes to do so, he finds out that the organizers of the tournament are on to the fact that Vash the Stampede is the real deal and not some guy trying to get off using the name. The organizers have captured Neil and his mother and are holding them hostage, and the man running the show tells Wolfwood that if he wins, that family will be safe, he gets the prize money for the contest, and he'll get half of Vash's reward if he takes him down. Wolfwood has to agree, and when Vash questions him as they step out into the playing field for the final round, Wolfwood explains it to him quickly by pointing out Neil and his Mother with a gunman. Wolfwood then tells Vash that he has to die, and they go into a massive shootout. They look pretty evenly matched, and they both hurl insults at one another about each entering the other into the tournament. Finally, they each fire a shot at the same time, face each other, smile, then fall to the ground in a pool of red. The contest organizer is VERY pleased, since he can now have all the reward for himself. He says to finish them, and when some gunmen approach the pair laying on the ground, Vash and Wolfwood shoot the guns out of their hands and stand up, each holding a bottle of tomato juice and grinning. Suddenly, tons of snipers appear out of nowhere and there is a massive battle that ends with Wolfwood unwrapping the Cross Punisher and pulling out all the guns and firing them while yelling something about not letting children suffer. It's very dramatic. The contest ends with Wolfwood getting the $$50,000 from the rather exasperated contest manager ^_^ Afterwards, we see Wolfwood wrestling with the kids and Vash waiting tables in Neil's restaurant, a reversal from the beginning ^_^ It's implied that both Vash and Wolfwood desire Neil's mom, but for a twist happy ending, Neil's dad ends up coming back, much to Wolfwood and Vash's dismay ^_^ Quite an amusing episode.
So many things to talk about! This is the second in the 3 Wolfwood intro episodes, but really this one focuses much more on Vash. Hmm... actually, only the 3rd one really focuses more on Wolfwood. Oh well. Doesn't bother me ^_^ There's so much to talk about in this episode! Let's see, I can talk about Vash's morning routine, his bond with the kids, his willingness to help Neil, the booze once again, the fighting tournament, the shootout with Wolfwood, and the aftermath. Quite a bit ^_^ I love how they open with Vash narrating his morning routine. You can tell a lot about a person by what they do in the morning. He seems to be a morning person, for if he weren't, he wouldn't be so ready to narrate ^_^ The fact that he meditates is kind of interesting... even if it's only briefly. If you're rewatching this series, you might think that perhaps he only meditates briefly because his past will catch up to him and haunt him if he does a whole lot of self-reflecting. I can see that he'd want to, or need to, meditate to continue his selfless struggle for peace and his mission to help people and sacrifice himself. You'd need to keep your goals and ideals in mind quite clearly to do what Vash does. However, Vash is also driven by his desire to find Knives and get revenge for the death of Rem, so although his actions are very good, his drive is not so good, something you'd have to think about while meditating. So perhaps he only meditates briefly to remind himself of his immediate goals and the good he does to the common man, just long enough so that he doesn't have to think about his past. Of course, The fact that he quits after three seconds could also be tribute to his quirky personality (it made me laugh :p) and the fact that he doesn't have the attention span to meditate longer. The first time watching this episode, with the story to this point, that's probably the idea that's supposed to be had by the viewer, but knowing what I know now also makes me think about the aforementioned indepth explanation. He also shows us that he works on his gun techniques in the morning. He does his draw and aim based on the fact that he has to draw before the egg hits the ground, and it also has to be at the point where the egg won't roll off his gun. This is another one of those superhuman feats, and I think people would wonder if they saw Vash doing this... he actually successfully draws the gun in this way two or three times in succession. He also draws on both sides of the egg, but this is ultimately how he misses it. We see that Vash is also fallable and not perfect (like when he got shot back on that sandsteamer, I can't remember if I mentioned it back there or not). Another interesting point about his routine, and also a tribute to his beliefs and ideals, is that he thanks the egg for its death and sacrifice. The egg could've been a living organism had Vash not consumed it. It makes you realize that Vash is most likely a vegitarian ^_^ Also, it makes you see how devoted he is to his ideals and philosophies. Funny he's not a vegan. Anyway, as a trivial addendum to this routine, we also see that Vash has to style his hair up into the "needle noggin" look everyday, it just doesn't happen like that. Hmm... next is the children. We see yet again that he is quite fond of children, and children are quite fond of him. He wrestles and plays with them, and they in turn try to help him land women. This could be either a testament to the fact that he's kind enough not to ignore the children and to guide them on the right path (although the fact that they try to help Vash snag a girl is a little troubling ^_^;) since he mentions at one point they will be the future, that the children in turn respect him and try to help them in any way they can in their own quiet little way (ie. coming up with a plan to help Vash get a girl), or that his mentality is such that he feels more comfortable with children. I'd like to think that it's a mix of all three of those things, but I can identify more with the last one ^_^ That 3-point system can basically be applied to Vash's relationship with children throughout the entire series, and not just this episode. This example just kind of does the best at spelling out that system, since Vash gives commentary at the beginning. At any rate, this also shows that Vash has the biggest weaknesses for women and children :p Next is the fact that he jumps in whole hog wanting to help Neil's family. Sure he might not have entered that fighting tournament on his own free will, but I think Vash would have found a way for those two to keep going. He did in the end enter that tournament at great personal risk to himself to help them, so we have to give him that. He also waits tables and patronizes the restaurant. I think this just falls into the category of wanting everybody to be happy and doing all the good he can, but it could also be his weakness for women and children ^_^ I think he tries to make out that it's his weakness for women (since he kinda oogles Neil's mom), but deep down I think he just really wanted to help those people, just like he has helped everyone else so far. Of course, this is on a much smaller scale than the rest of the series, and with Wolfwood's help he keeps the situation from escalating into something that would destroy the whole town. This also shows a parallel between Vash and Wolfwood since they both try to help the family, and probably for the same reasons (weakness for women vs. general good of helping people). The booze drinking with Wolfwood and he is just something I'll mention in passing, he gets pretty drunk, and he's enjoying alchohol, a repetition of the same behavior he's been displaying thus far. This time though, he drinks with Wolfwood, and Wolfwood seems to hold his liquor better, that or he just handles hangovers more gracefully than Vash ^_^ Now that I've gotten all the boring exposition out of the way, THE GUNFIGHT! I'm not gonna talk about the whole thing, since I've discussed Vash's gunwork in quite a bit of detail thus far, but I will talk about the extraordinary new things he managed to do. I guess him sensing the guy facing backwards was kind of an accomplishment, but it could be said that perhaps he heard the guy drawing or was watching him extra close since he did look kinda suspicious. He shot him, without killing him, while dodging the bullets though, and that's quite an achievement. I guess the biggest new thing in Vash's repritoire for this episode is that he knocked the bullets off course. He did this by flicking pebbles into the bullet's line of travel. He had to time it perfectly to when the gunman fired their bullets, and he had to anticipate since he was sitting so far back. He also had to do it in such a way that he'd knock the bullets far enough off course that he would miss the men's vital organs and spare their lives, but so that there was still a winner. He did all these calculations while hung over, with a headache and blurred vision. That is not quite human, and I don't think I need to comment any further on it. It's yet another superhuman ability he has that comes in handy. The calculations for such a thing are beyond human comprehension methinks, but then again I was never very good at math (despite the fact I've taken advanced Calculus courses :p). I should also talk about his relationship with Wolfwood, even though I didn't mention it in the beginning. Wolfwood seems to be Vash's kindred spirit in a way. In this episode, we see that a difference between them is that Wolfwood could kill the gunmen, while Vash really doesn't like to see people die and pulls that trick with the pebbles. They're both willing to help Neil and his family, they both enter the other in the contest, Wolfwood's the only one that catches on to Vash's pebble trick, and only a few, or no, words need to pass between them at crucial times for them to understand each other. Their ways of thinking seem to be EXACTLY the same, and that's a little creepy, and cool in the same way. Creepy because their ways of thinking are so... incredible? improbable, perhaps? But cool in that there are others that think like the two of them. I've always enjoyed the relationship between Vash and Wolfwood. The final round of the contest spotlights their relationship quite nicely. To be perfectly honest with you, I was never quite sure if the gunfight was real or put on. You get the idea that it is real, because Wolfwood is so serious about saving Neil and his mother. He actually draws blood from Vash. But it seems kind of odd that he wouldn't just come right out and kill him. It seems rather decent of him to tell him why he plans on defeating him straight off perhaps, but you'd think it would be a better idea to catch Vash the Stampede off guard. Also, that thing with the tomato juice scam at the end of their fight seems like either an eerie coincidence (in that they both had bottles of tomato juice on them, both missed on purpose, both knew when the other one would realize that they could fool everyone else, and both knew when to stand up... a little too much synchronus thinking for me), or a planned-out thing between the two, something they had discussed during the tournament if they both ended up fighting each other and the masses caught on to Vash. That makes me think this thing was planned out, and they weren't really fighting each other. But this battle is cited later in the series as a serious thing, when Wolfwood asks Vash if he'd like to finish what they started back at this tournament. I dunno. If it is a serious battle, the denouement is yet another example that the two men think EXACTLY alike. This battle shows that they both seem to be equally matched gunman, for we assume that they're not holding back while fighting each other if the fight is real. We get the impression, and we want to think, that Vash is an unrivaled gunman, and perhaps he was holding back because he didn't want to hurt Wolfwood... but Wolfwood might just be Vash's match. It's also interesting that it has to happen, and they both know they have to fight, because Neil and his mother are held hostage. They both know how to get around this too, which leads to something even more incredible: Wolfwood and Vash (well... mostly Wolfwood) took out what appeared to be more than fifty snipers at various points on all the surrounding buildings. Although we know Wolfwood is human and Vash is not, this is still quite a feat, especially considering that neither of them got a scratch. It adds another depth to their hero status too... another layer to the legend. Two men against fifty gunmen is the stuff that legends are made of. Ah... and finally, the last point I'll discuss is the aftermath. After those two go through all that hell, all that stuff to make sure that Neil's mother keeps her restaurant after her husband ran out... the husband comes back. This is a kick in the pants to the pair not just because they just did all the husband's work for him, but because they were both hoping to land Neil's mom :p Ah, two peas in a pod...
Dear God, I haven't seen that episode in a few months... and that's probably the longest analysis I've EVER done. I'm completely blown away... that took literally hours. *sigh* Yea, the episode. Lots of cool stuff happened, this is one of the better episodes both for the series and for Vash character development and insights. Hooray for character development!