Trigun (Japanese: トライガン Hepburn: Toraigan) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Yasuhiro Nightow. The manga was serialized in Tokuma Shoten’s Shōnen Captain in 1995 with a total of 3 collected volumes when the magazine was discontinued in 1997. The series continued in Shōnen Gahosha’s Young King Ours magazine, under the title Trigun Maximum (トライガンマキシマム Toraigan Makishimamu), where it remained until finishing in 2008.
Trigun revolves around a man known as “Vash the Stampede” and two Bernardelli Insurance Society employees, Meryl Stryfe and Milly Thompson, who follow him around in order to minimize the damages inevitably caused by his appearance. Most of the damage attributed to Vash is actually caused by bounty hunters in pursuit of the sixty billion double dollar bounty on Vash’s head for the destruction of the city of July. However, he cannot remember the incident due to retrograde amnesia, being able to recall only fragments of the destroyed city and memories of his childhood. Throughout his travels, Vash tries to save lives using non-lethal force. He is occasionally joined by a priest, Nicholas D. Wolfwood, who, like Vash, is a superb gunfighter with a mysterious past. As the series progresses, more about Vash’s past and the history of human civilization on the planet Gunsmoke is revealed.
After leaving college, Yasuhiro Nightow had gone to work selling apartments for the housing corporation Sekisui House, but struggled to keep up with his manga drawing hobby. Reassured by some successes, including a one-shot manga based on the popular video game franchise Samurai Spirits, he quit his job to draw full-time. With the help of a publisher friend, he submitted a Trigun story for the February 1996 issue of the Tokuma Shoten magazine Shōnen Captain, and began regular serialization two months later in April.
However, Shōnen Captain was canceled early in 1997, and when Nightow was approached by the magazine Young King Ours, published by Shōnen Gahōsha, they were interested in him beginning a new work. Nightow though, was troubled by the idea of leaving Trigun incomplete, and requested to be allowed to finish the series. The publishers were sympathetic, and the manga resumed in 1998 as Trigun Maximum (トライガンマキシマム Toraigan Makishimamu). The story jumps forward two years with the start of Maximum, and takes on a slightly more serious tone, perhaps due to the switch from a shōnen to a seinen magazine. Despite this, Nightow has stated that the new title was purely down to the change of publishers, and rather than being a sequel it should be seen as a continuation of the same series. The 14th tankōbon was published on February 27, 2008.
Shōnen Gahōsha later bought the rights to the original three volume manga series and reissued it as two enlarged volumes. In October 2003 the US publisher Dark Horse Comics released the expanded first volume translated into English by Digital Manga, keeping the original right-to-left format rather than mirroring the pages. Trigun Maximum followed quickly, and the entire 14-volume run was released over a five-year period from May 2004 to April 2009. Translations into French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish have also been released.
An anthology manga titled, Trigun: Multiple Bullets (トライガン マルチプルバレッツ Toraigan Maruchipuru Barettsu?) featuring short stories written by several manga artists such as Boichi, Masakazu Ishiguru, Satoshi Mizukami, Ark Performance, Yusuke Takeyama, Yuga Takauchi and Akira Sagami was released in by Shonen Gahosha in Japan in December 2011 and in North America on March 6, 2013.