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Trigun Stampede’s ending credits have a beautiful secret hiding in plain sight

A love so supreme, it’s spelled out across the stars

Toussaint Egan is a curation editor, out to highlight the best movies, TV, anime, comics, and games. He has been writing professionally for over 8 years.

There’s been a lot of talk about Trigun Stampede. The new CG anime from studio Orange (Land of the Lustrous, Beastars) based on Yasuhiro Nightow’s beloved space western manga premiered early this month, and has spawned takes both positive and ... not so much. Wherever your feelings fall with regard to this new iteration of Trigun, one thing is unmistakable: Trigun Stampede has one of the most beautiful end credit sequences of any anime this season.

There’s been a lot of impressive anime credits airing this season, from Vinland Saga season 2’s moving ode to the liberating power of love to the colorful wheat paste mural-inspired aesthetic of The Fire Hunter’s credit sequence. For my money though, I would argue that Trigun Stampede’s ED (“EnDing song”) end animation easily ranks as this anime season’s most mysterious, affecting, and memorable ending sequences.

An animated scene of stars arranged to resemble two smiling, short-haired anime boys staring opposite of one another. Image: Orange/Toho Company/Crunchyroll

First appearing at the end of Trigun Stampede’s second episode, the series’ end credits sequence takes on the aesthetic of a stellarium, with chalk-drawn constellations marching and flickering across a black and blue watercolor background. The sequence opens with an image of a younger version of series protagonist Vash the Stampede, smiling opposite his twin brother Nai, before their resemblance melts into a tableau of shooting stars and wisping light trails.

Set to an original song composed by Haruka Nakamura and sung by Japanese sing-songwriter Salyu, the scene gradually morphs as the stars become granular lines of sand, ebbing and flowing like the symmetrical patterns of a Chladni plate experiment before dissipating and reforming into constellation. For a moment, the stars briefly form a pattern of dots and dashes resembling Japanese Morse Code (Which some eagle-eyed Redditors have managed to roughly translate as “Welcome home”) before dispersing again.

A morse code sequence hovering against a blue and black watercolor background Image: Orange/Toho Company/Crunchyroll
An cluster of stars arranged to resemble red geranium flower against a black and blue watercolor background. Image: Orange/Toho Company/Crunchyroll

The credits culminate with an arrangement of stars resembling a red geranium (a flower with deep symbolic significance in the universe of Trigun), which then morphs into a pattern resembling one of the biomechanical “Plants” seen throughout the series before transforming again into an image of Vash the Stampede as a child. For those familiar with either Yasuhiro Nightow’s original 1995 manga or Madhouse’s 1998 anime adaptation, the animation is as understatedly beautiful as it is profoundly moving. For anyone else new to the series, it’s still a brilliant and creative sequence.

Trigun Stampede’s ending was storyboarded and animated by Honami Yano, a Japanese animator and visual artist known for her impressionistic, pointillism-inspired work. Yano is also known for her short film “Honekami (A Bite of Bone),” which was awarded the Grand Prize at the 2021 Ottawa International Animation Festival.

Trigun Stampede is available to stream on Crunchyroll and Hulu.

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