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Original Tumblr Post: Trigun Maximum Vol. 10 Part 1
Trigun Maximum Vol. 10 Part 1
I… don’t want to read this again… I can’t. I am still scarred. You’d think it’d be easier reading this the second time… But instead it got worse. I am bawling preemptively.
(Me, when I think: Maybe it won’t happen this time)
The frontpage shows Razlo. And yes, he is pretty delusional if he thinks that Chapel needs or wants him at his side. But the chapter starts with the following.
Not from your teachings, that much is clear. Who is the delusional one here? Wolfwood, who stands up against Chapel or Chapel who doesn’t understand why Wolfwood persists?
Wolfwood is a protector, it is the core of his being. He cannot stand down. Not when the thing that he protects is on the line, especially against an abuser like Chapel. But, as a consequence, Wolfwood’s life seems more and more negligible against his want to protect.
The sentence that is so important but is so judgemental, too. While Vash saw who Wolfwood is behind the mask from the beginning, he was also still too wrapped up to truly understand how and why Wolfwood acts the way he does. This is an echo of Rem, not really understood. Her ideals live on in Vash, even though he twisted them so much.
But now, since shit has hit the fan, Wolfwood only can hope. There is nothing else left.
Wolfwood cannot change the outcome of the whole world, but he can change this outcome. He has already laid his hope for the future in Vash’ hands. That’s why he freed him from the ark. That’s why he endured months on the ark, while being forced to commit mass murder. Wolfwood still has no hope for himself, there exists no future for Wolfwood in his mind, it never did, but he believes in Vash and he believes that there is A future. It is still sad, but it shows how far Wolfwood has grown. (Wolfwood is such a Millennial, before Millennials were even a real thing. But it kinda fits, since Nightow lived through the Lost Decades that started like 5 years before Trigun started to run)
Wolfwood does not believe in the world, in the good of man or anything. He believes in his friend. He trusts in Vash. He openly says that he doesn’t know if Vash would win against Knives. He just hopes. Through all of the developments that Wolfwood went through, this is one of the biggest. Wolfwood who has learned by experience that there is no reason for hope, that things will always go to shit, has nothing left to give, only hope.
Like he hasn’t forsaken Wolfwood… But this was never about Vash forsaking Wolfwood. Wolfwood chose to leave Vash to not be a burden to him. Wolfwood will get a stark reminder, soon, how much he erred in his importance to Vash.
Through all of this, Wolfwood still does not see himself as redeemable. Or as someone not worth any kind of grace. Having been so intensely self reliant and independent, he just can’t. His feelings go against his knowledge and in the end, a human is a being that goes by its emotion, not its logic. How do you go against such mindset, when you do not have the opportunity or skills to recognise it?
I think that is the delusion in question. A.) It does matter, B.) Vash will be there soon and C.) Wolfwood did not have to do it.
There may even be some hope in Wolfwood that Vash has followed him, since he didn’t take the deadly dose of the vials yet, but I am not sure about that one. Many ways to interpret that.
Razlo is shown as someone incredibly unlikeable here. He enjoys torturing Wolfwood. He is monstrous. We know behind that lies the reason why Razlo exists, being the one who attacks so no one can hurt Livio. But he is more than just that, he is a person. I think he enjoys fighting and Wolfwood is one of the first people who didn’t just flatout die on him. A predator that is finally able to stretch his muscles.
I feel a bit cheated. Why focus on that he has three vials, if it is not three more, but two more vials that will kill him? In my first read through, my hope for Wolfwood’s survival was based on this.
This is the reason why I have these two headcannons, that there is 1. Just a finite amount of vials you can take as a whole (five it seems. Wolfwood took one after the ark and one in this fight) and 2. That taking vials back to back amplifies their effect for the better and worse. The vials were a spontaneous edition. While Nightow excels at writing humans, his worldbuilding goes more by vibes. Which (not meant as an insult) sometimes makes things a bit hazy and uncertain. As someone who really likes clear rules, this can be annoying for me personally. Which again, is not meant as an insult, but my personal likes.
Your Divine Retribution? Hey, everyone! Chapel is God!
For all the conflicting signs of Chapel switching between a weird care for Wolfwood’s survival to him sadistically hurting him for his betrayal to then putting Livio/Razlo down for their skill to then again warning Wolfwood for his life it finally boils down to his true face and his true reasons.
And back to the chapter title “Delusion”. Chapel is the delusional person. He is almighty, he has complete control over his pupils, he is their God, he owns them in body and mind. Wolfwood not only defying him, but nearly killing him, is the reality he cannot accept. The slave has not to rise up against its master. But Wolfwood did. Because Chapel never owned him. Wolfwood’s existence is the burning example that Chapel is not someone godlike and that’s why he has to be erased in the worst way possible. So Chapel’s world is right again.
02: Sworn Friend
On my first read, I thought Razlo wanted to save Wolfwood somehow by buying time. But Razlo hasn’t that in himself, that’s something for future Razlo to develop. Razlo wanted to fight with an equal, someone he can rough up without immediately losing him. Maybe he wished for an equal, too, since they are both pupils of Chapel. He may be dependent on Chapel, but I cannot imagine that he gets much emotional bonding time with that old hoot.
Dude, you are seeing the red flags, but are unable to understand them as such.
Chapel did not take L/R in after Wolfwood left, but before! He is walking here! Chapel taught them as pupils at the same time, but kept them separate (or took Livio in after Wolfwood became his pupil, but still while Wolfwood was in training).
From this I get that Livio/Razlo is kinda ousted from the EoM, since he murdered some of their people. They may have spared his life, but revoked his position. Didn’t Legato mention that there was some kind of infighting going on? But… wait, since Chapel is walking here… That would have been at least 2,8 years ago. So… put a maybe to my assumption. Maybe it is a long ongoing internal war?
Razlo… Nooooooo…Explains why Razlo is so loyal to Chapel. Livio, I am sure, would have broken away sooner, if it wasn’t for Razlo wanting to stay. Razlo wants to be needed above anything else. I think Livio, too. Being needed means security. If they are needed they have a place to stay there. They won’t be thrown away. That’s what it comes back to for Livio and thus Razlo, that is their biggest fear. But that has opened both of them up to the abuse of Chapel.
Little sidenote, all of this combined, Chapel’s sign of care for his pupil, his theatrical sacrifice and the resulting hold he gained onto Razlo, is so interesting in comparison to how Wolfwood loves Livio. Wolfwood is dying right now in the desperate attempt to free Livio. But it is a gift and not something contractual. Livio/Razlo need continuous security, that they are needed and thus have a place under/with their benefactor. But Wolfwood cannot offer any further security. He can only offer his future. Razlo does not understand that, Livio maybe, but it needs to reach him first. (Also, how ironic, that Wolfwood is able to give so much freely and openly out of love to his peers, but cannot accept any of this for himself.)
They force them out so they can slaughter them before Wolfwood’s eyes. Why am I reminded of war crimes?
I love how ready Miss Melanie is to protect the kids with her live. And the kiddos’ reaction? It totally fits bratty kids. The scene is incredibly heartwarming and sad at the same time. The kids stay with Miss Melanie. Her tears show her desperation/frustration, but I’d like to imagine that she is also touched by this.
Wolfwood’s worst nightmare. He fears that they are afraid of him, that he is truly just a monster. That the one place that took him in and was his paradise is forever closed to him for what he has done to keep them safe.
And for a second, it looks like it is true. At least from his perspective. Miss Melanie recognises him and she pales. But her shock is not because of who Wolfwood has become, but because she realises how much he sacrificed for them. I cannot even imagine the feeling a mother would have seeing her child in such a state, realising that it has been alone the whole time, carrying such a burden without ever coming home to rest.
Chapel is laughing, because he truly believes that Miss Melanie would judge Wolfwood like Wolfwood judges himself. He truly believes that Wolfwood is not loved. Chapel is Wolfwood’s self hatred personified.
And until Miss Melanie speaks, he truly can revel in his victory. What he couldn’t do himself, the rejection by Wolfwood’s home does it. But she speaks.
She doesn’t judge him, though. As much as I criticise Miss Melanie for the parentification of Wolfwood, I know that she has been way over her head, trying to take care and feed so many poor kids. She hadn’t had the resources to help Wolfwood. But she loved him as one of her own and cared for him as much as she could. Not every abuse or neglect comes from bad people. Sometimes even not from people at all, but from the society these people live in.
Trauma and neglect are such a big part of this story. But they are all so different. I think it is interesting how the emotional neglect coming from the mother figures Rem and Miss Melanie is both accidental/ due to circumstances (and now that I think about this, both chose motherhood! They did not fall pregnant. They are not blood related, but they stepped up for these kids because there was no one else who would do it.). Rem did not have the abilities to suddenly mother those two aliens and was mentally unwell. Worse, she lived in an unsafe environment for the twins, so she had no one who she could ask for help. Miss Melanie on the other hand has the emotional ability that Rem lacked, but she is so overworked to care for all the kids that Wolfwood slipped through and she could never reach him. But it is also her that made him believe in something good in this world, something worth protecting. But I am babbling again.
Miss Melanie reprimands Wolfwood. But not for his work, but for bottling up his pain, for not relying on his family that loved him. He did all that to protect them, but in the end the very same action ended up hurting them. Because they want to be there for him. And he rejected that and that rejection hurts. As a caretaker it must feel so shitty to know that your warden did not trust you enough to come and ask for help. Especially since Wolfwood endured this pain for them.
Miss Melanie is thankful, too. No wonder that the orphanage is Wolfwood’s paradise. He is loved and welcomed there. What he does for them is seen and appreciated.
But even that does not reach Wolfwood, he cannot give himself the saving grace. Wolfwood cannot see what he does for them, he only sees what he could not do.
Yeah. But you didn’t want to be a burden, did ya? I read a sentence in a comic that goes like this: “I hope you learn one day to be less convenient.” And I wish that for Wolfwood. But since we are at Vol.10, we know it is too late for that.
Aww, didn’t this work up to your expectations? Boohoo, they really do love and accept Wolfwood, how could they? Poor Chapel, who would have thought that there are good people all around? (sarcasm)
But it is also here that Wolfwood throws the rest of his self-preservation away.
Wolfwood truly has made a friend.
This is for me the moment they truly become equal. Through all of their travels it has been Vash who was the one who decided on where to go, often without telling Wolfwood anything about where and why. (I grew iffy with that and I still am somewhat iffy, because it read as pure avoidance of Knives. Thanks to @/revenantghost I remembered that Vash had reasons to go here and there, getting a new arm etc. but it still comes back to: Vash decided where to go without consulting or even speaking to Wolfwood) Not only that, Vash tried to slip away from Wolfwood, like on Home. Here, the roles are reversed. Vash followed Wolfwood who slipped away. Wolfwood decided what is important to him and followed that. And Wolfwood has become important enough for Vash that Vash is not only not avoiding the connection between them anymore, but he is actively seeking it out. Nightow said a possible love prospect needed to be very patient with Vash. Wolfwood has been patient the whole time. (Kinda, he blew up and grumbled and still followed Vash’ whims.)