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Original Tumblr Post: Knives, Vash, and Hatred for Humanity
Knives, Vash, and Hatred for Humanity
Thinking about this panel in Volume 5 of TriMax.
This is such a crazy question for Knives to ask. Knives hasn’t bothered to get to know humanity. All he has is this impression he decided on around a hundred years ago, and it seems like every human he’s brought into his circle since then has either been forced to match that impression, or was chosen because they already matched that impression, or some combination of the two.
Meanwhile, Vash has spent the vast majority of his time since the Fall interacting with all sorts of people. And yes, some of those interactions have been terrible. In fact, I’d say some of them are terrible enough that if Vash were to give Knives a negative answer, there’s a chance he’d be lying. Not a 100% chance, since Vash seems to put an immense amount of effort into seeing people as individuals rather than lumping them all together as having a singular motive or outlook on life, but definitely a chance.
But for Vash to give Knives an affirmative answer would also most definitely be a lie. Not because he has or hasn’t had such feelings, but because a simple “yes” fails to encompass the whole of his experience with humanity. He knows people are nuanced, complicated, hurt, and desperate, and he knows that if he answers yes, Knives will overlook every struggle of every individual that, while not necessarily justifying their actions, provides some some explanation for it. Struggles that may have driven them to do things they later regret. Struggles they might not even have if Knives hadn’t crashed them onto this wasteland of a planet.
Knives would just use Vash’s “yes” as further indication that humanity must be wiped out, that it’s an us-versus-them dichotomy that only has one rather simple solution.
But Vash isn’t the type to just focus on the lows and forget the highs, or to forget the nuance that makes people fall into grey areas far more than they fall into black and white. He’s been hurt (sometimes terribly) because of this, but he’s also seen how his efforts have not been entirely in vain. So long as that holds true, I don’t think he could muster up enough hate to genuinely want to wipe out all of humanity. Perhaps he could for a moment (however long a moment may last), but if he actually took action toward it, he’d just end up with more regret.
Heck, only a few chapters back, he expressed that very sentiment to Hoppered.
So instead of giving Knives an answer that will just be misconstrued, Vash dodges the question. Despite Knives’ earlier statement, Knives is clearly not in a listening mood, so what else could Vash possibly do?
It seems Knives has very much embraced the mindset of, “Well, if you’ve sinned once, you might as well just embrace your damnation.” It might seem like a bit of an illogical mindset for someone who constantly calls humans “sinners,” but Knives sits there for several pages telling Vash that if Vash has ever even once wished destruction on mankind, then he has everything to gain by embracing those feelings and releasing them in a way that takes humanity down for good.
Which completely ignores the Blank Ticket mindset Rem passed down to Vash. Knives denies the possibility of a different path both for himself and for everyone else. The fact that even after a hundred years, his brother still clings to such an idea is beyond upsetting to Knives, to the point that he stops using words to try and convince Vash and instead just resorts to force.
At this point in the story, it’s a bit difficult to see how the resurgence of Vash’s memories of July will affect him, but I’d honestly be surprised if they’d make him lose his faith in humanity. After all, he seems to be using them right now to help Hoppered understand, and as dedicated as Vash may be to saving Meryl and hunting down Knives right now, somehow I doubt he’s sharing these memories with Hoppered simply to buy himself some time.
It might still be a bit before Vash remembers that he, too, has a blank ticket to the future, but even through all the scars and hurt and betrayal he’s experienced, he hasn’t forgotten that that ticket is something humans still have, even if Knives is determined not to see it.