Well... as great a character as Vash the Stampede is, the series would get pretty boring without all the other various people in the show ^_^ These will just be brief character analysis and stats , as I will probably be over-analyzing them in the essays section anyway. So... enjoy, although I know you REALLY came here to learn about Vash. This page is littered with unmarked spoilers, so beware.
Nicholas D. Wolfwood - "The one who rings the black funeral bell"
Well, this is another cool character, second only to Vash ^_^ Nicholas D. Wolfwood is a mysterious cross- wielding clergyman (the way Milly refers to him as bukoshi-san would indicate he's a priest of the Protestant persuasion) with a mysterious past (I'll get to it eventually, keep reading ^_^;). My favorite quote in the whole series is when we first encounter him in episode 9: "Man, that is one well-prepared dead guy." when he's seen by himself in the desert leaning against his cross. An enigmatic person, I can't tell you what it did to me when I first heard him swear after going off on the whole preacher bit. His cross is pretty cool, the cloth comes off to reveal a big metal... cross, the short arms pull out to reveal several six shooters, the long end is a machine gun, and the short end is a grenade launcher (I think ^_^;). The whole apparatus is called the Cross punisher (1 for the six shooters, 2 for the grenade launcher/ machine gun). His marksmanship is equal to that of Vash's, or at least visibly equal. Nicholas and Vash strike up a pretty cool friendship, although Nicholas says looking at Vash makes him remember all the things he hates about himself. He puts himself in danger quite often, the same as Vash, to preserve life. Little kids are his forte though, as he helps to support an orphanage 300 iles past the city of December. His philosophies differ from Vash's in that he WILL kill if he feels he has to. He and Vash have pretty heated debates about that topic, because you know how Vash LOVES to preserve life, no matter what. They fought after Nicholas kills Zazie the Beast after he has the sandworms attack the town ^_^ Sadly, Wolfwood comes to an unfortunate end when Legato Bluesummers kills him through Chapel the Evergreen. Vash avenged his death by then killing Legato (well, that's not why he kills Legato, but you know, that may have contributed). See what I mean? Good friends. He's also the one who speaks in Kansai dialect. He smokes quite a bit, it bugged me to no end in Episode 11 for some reason, but it raises no comment from anyone else. Physically, he's slightly taller than Vash, has long, floppy dark blue hair, long sideburns, stubble, dark blue eyes, and a black suit. His main mode of transportation is either by foot or his motorcycle, Angelina 2 (Angelina 2 is rarely seen though, and Wolfwood has been known to drive cars). Normally paired with Milly (or Vash, depending on the orientation of your view). He first appears in episode 9, then leaves after 11, only to return in 16, then return again in 18 and stick around right up until episode 23 ;_;. He's the one that kills Rai-Dei the Blade after the Angel Arm goes off in episode 16, Grey the Ninelives and Leonov the Puppetmaster in episode 21, and also Zazie the Beast in episode 22. He's seen in flashbacks by Vash, Milly, and Meryl from 24 on. He was mentored by Chapel the Evergreen, one of the Gung-Ho Guns. Chapel's the one who taught him how to shoot and stuff, and it's also through Chapel that he got the design for his Cross Punisher, since Chapel has one which splits in half to form two machine guns. Chapel is technically the one that kills Wolfwood, but he was under the control of Legato Bluesummers at the time. Ok, and there you have Wolfwood in a nutshell.
Meryl Strife - She is known simply as the PMS queen, and for good reason (her real nickname is "Derringer Meryl if you wanna get technical ^_^;). She is the loud, pushy, persistent half of the duo sent out to investigate several insurance claims made because of the destruction caused by Vash the Stampede for the Bernardelli Insurance Society. I don't really like her, so this description will be shorter than the others >_<; I have good reason for not liking her, though: she is the only _normal_ one in the series. The only thing mildly strange or suprising about Meryl is her choice of weaponry, she conceals 50 one-shot derringer pistols. Then again, it's not an Angel Arm, massive grenade-launching cross, giant stungun, or bizarre mind-control tactics either. She has the unfortunate role of bringing everyone else back to Earth, keeping people on track, finding out EVERYTHING, etc. If she weren't there, the series might very well be submerged in chaos, which might be interesting. She tries to bring an element of normalcy about, be it pacifying big, ugly Vash-the-Stampede-looking gunman with donuts, trying to get a city to stop destroying itself to get to Vash the Stampede, or trying to keep Vash out of a sharpshooter contest for fear of hotshot gunman trying their hand at them. That's just NO FUN. She seems to have... f-... f-... I just can't bring myself to say it. Feel... Gah, no, I REFUSE. You notice how she always badmouths Vash, yet worries about his safety at the same time? The way she tries to release him from prison, is concerned about his welfare when he uh, has his little spell in episode 12, when she stands there in slackjawed amazement as he saves the town from the Nebraska family, how she INSISTS on following him, how she CRIES and gets all emotional about and around him for the last episodes, you see all that? All of that taken into account she seems to have... feelingsforvash. There, I said it. Ya happy now? She's appeared in every episode up to 16 when she was recalled back to Bernardelli, was absent in 17, then reappears in 18 and has at least some little part, if not more, in all the episodes after 18 till the end. She's almost always seen with Milly, and for the male persuasion... don't make me say it. Physically, she's very short, has short blue hair, blue eyes, large gold earrings, and always wears a big white cloak that conceals all her derringers. To be fair, she's really good with the derringers, as seen in episode 3. There, the description is long, and I ended with a compliment. Good enough for me.
Milly Thompson - This would be the other of the workers dispatched by the Bernardelli insurance society to investigate the claims of destruction made against Vash the Stampede. She is "Stun Gun" Milly Thompson. The name is derived from the (huge) stungun she keeps concealed. She comes from a family of 13, with 10 brothers and sisters. She is the youngest, as revealed by Wolfwood. She's very good about writing them every month, and writes each individual member of her family separately ^_^ She's also one of the taller normal-looking people (read: not mechanically enchanced) in the series. She has a soft spot for alcohol, and when she gets drunk, she gets VERY drunk (Milly: "Boy is it ever hot in here..." Meryl: "Milly, put your clothes back on!" Vash/Wolfwood: "Whoo! You GO, big girl!"). She also likes ice cream and pudding in addition to alcohol ^_^ Her philosophy is that she must help anyone that needs it , as illustrated in episode 11. She's also rather innocent and naieve, or dumb as a doorknob, as you perfer (both, actually). She's a good friend, as she's always there to defend Meryl when people think bad things of her (episode 2 off the top of my head [doncha just hate people that memorize every aspect of a series?]). There's the Wolfwood/Milly thing too. They are good friends, and possibly more. Wolfwood does seem to have a soft spot for her, and whether she acknoweledges this or not is vague. She's happy when he buys her lots of pudding though, and they do joke around quite a bit with each other. She can be pretty sharp, like noticing Vash has an appetite just like a little boy, and winning the chess game for Wolfwood. She's appeared in every episode up to 16, but like Meryl she gets recalled back to the Bernardelli Insurance offices, is absent in 17, then makes a reappearance in 18 and is in all the episodes in at least some small way all the way to the end. Physically, she's very tall, with long brown hair, brown eyes, and a really ugly yellow-green cloak that conceals that huge stungun. Almost always seen with Meryl, but also paired with Wolfwood when he's around.
Legato Bluesummers - Heh, I can't tell you very much about this guy. He's a psychopath that is Knives's right hand man, lord knows where Knives found him. He seems fond of food and death. And his left hand. He likes petting and licking it, probably because it was Vash's at one time and he's obsessed with tracking him down and killing him/making him suffer, so he feels closer to Vash whenever he pets, licks, or examines the hand closely. He's always seen eating something, and he's always plotting methods of demise or suffering, especially for Vash the Stampede. Physically, he has floppy blue hair that hangs in one of his yellow eyes, and wears a strange white suit that has five spikes mounted on the right shoulder and is adorned with a skull on the left (the spikes vary though, I've seen him with anywhere from four to seven, but he's seen most often with five). Legato is the leader of the Gung-Ho Guns, but answers to Knives (he is EXTREMELY loyal to Knives). He has very powerful psychic abilities, being able to communicate through telepathy and show others illusions of whatever he wants, even Vash (who also has strong psychic abilities). He can also cause the deaths of others by mental control, ie it appears they commit suicide, but really he's making them do stuff against their will (like the Roderick gang, he eliminates almost all of them in this way). He can also make the person under his mental control kill other people against their will, like he does with Chapel the Evergreen. He has a special link with Vash: his left arm WAS Vash at one point, as I have mentioned. He, too has an Angel Arm, given to him by Knives, taken from Vash. He appears in episode 12, maybe 13 but it doesn't count since it was a recap episode, 15, 16, 18, 21, 22, 23, and 24. Twenty-four is his last non-flashback appearance. He dies at the hand of none other than Vash the Stampede in that episode, because the single one thing that would make Vash suffer more than anything else, even his own death, would be to take a life. He succeeds in causing maximum suffering and pain to Vash the Stampede.
Millions Knives - I can't tell you very much about this fellow, either. He came from the SEEDS ship plant just like Vash, which makes him Vash's brother and not of the human persuasion, and don't ever forget it. He's one of "the ones who live outside of time," that is, he doesn't age, ever. In the manga though, the breed of people that he and Vash are die with too much exertion, and you can tell when they're about to pass on because their hair will start to turn black. When it goes stark black, they will be dead. Vash's roots are black all throughout Maximum, and Knives' hair starts to go toward the beginning of volume 6 of Maximum. In a matter of a year he went from an infant to a 10-year old child, just like Vash, but for some reason, one of the crewmembers of Project SEEDS, Steve, didn't like this... probably because he felt threatened by their intelligence. He abused Knives and Vash, which made Knives grow to loathe them. He too was brought up under the teachings of Rem Saverem, but because of the foul treatment he recieved from Steve, he lost his faith in the humans. So he decides to blow them all up except for Rem (well, Vash too, but he's not human, so he doesn't count). His plan backfires though, as Rem releases some of the sleeping colonists to the surface of the nearby planet with the Plants to survive, and she dies doing it. Knives vows to exterminate each and every one of their lives. Both he and Vash end up on the planet, and they wonder around together awhile, although Vash does it so he doesn't have to be alone since Knives disgusts him. Vash actually tries to beat Knives' head in with a rock while he slept to kill him, but Rem's words stop him. While on the planet, Knives created the black and silver guns (he wonders into an abandoned plant and tells Vash to wait for him. He comes back after a year in there, I think o_O;). He gave the silver gun to Vash, but in a panic Vash shoots Knives and runs off with both guns. Eventually Knives shoots Vash's arm off, getting both his black gun and Vash's left arm (also containing the angel arm) in the deal. Knives's ultimate goal is to get his brother to hate human life, and thusly be on his side. He is the mastermind behind Legato and the Gung-Ho Guns, and wishes to obtain Vash the Stampede one way or another. He has three weapons, two Angel Arms and a black six-shooter identical to Vash's silver one. Physically, he has short, light blonde hair (lighter and shorter than Vash's), aqua eyes, and a weird suit with many snaps and pipes and things that looks very much like a modified version of the spacesuit that he came down from Project SEEDS in. He's fond of nature without humans in it, and his motto is "One must kill the spider to rescue the butterfly trapped in its web" (or something to that effect). Has a kind, friendly voice. Uhm... I think that's about it, if you want a complete history, go to the main history section, he was raised with Vash, and he played a big part in Vash's childhood (being his brother and all). He's appeared in episode 12, 16, 17, 18, 20, 21, 24, 25, and 26, however briefly in most of them up 'til the last ones ^_^
Rem Saverem - I don't have much to say on her, either. There ISN'T much to say on her. She was a crewmember on Project SEEDS, and the one responsible for Vash's outlook on life. She died giving the desert planet human life, but is still admired and honored by Vash even today. Her philosophy was "The ticket to the future is always open" and other pro-peace propoganda ^_^ Physically, she's got very long black hair, and is always seen in a white T-shirt and jeans (at one point a spacesuit as well), and with many red flower petals blowing around her in Vash's hallucinations. She loves red Geraniums, and once told Vash that they stand for courage and determination, which is why he wears a red coat. Actually, Rem's the reason behind EVERYTHING Vash does. Quite a bit can be said about her despite how I opened her description, but I won't get into it here. Her name is first mentioned in episode 3, she's brought up again and we see her for the first time in episode 7, then again in 8, and then we get to see her face finally in 12 and there's a bit of her in 13. Then we go Rem-less until 17 when we actually get to see her outside the dreamscape, then we get flashbacks and mentions in 20 and 21, and after 22 I'm not sure. Rem's favorite song is Sound Life, too ^_^