Martial Messiah – Part 2
The Book of Bantorra knows how to roll with pacifism.
Noloty is just as naive and idealistic as Vash the Stampede. They both refuse to use lethal force, even when killing someone would ensure that the “greater good” would be served. They’re so devoted to their beliefs that they never waver. Noloty and Vash both have the sort of force of will that makes them great heroes and champions of their causes.
The difference between Vash and Noloty isn’t their beliefs. They differ in the way their beliefs are presented by their respective series.
While Vash’s pacifism is presented in a near-evangelical manner in Trigun, Noloty’s adherence to non-violent confrontation is merely demonstrated. The way in which Bantorra presents a myriad of beliefs while never really backing any of them is one of the main thing that appeals to me about the series. Everything from Noloty’s pacifism and righteousness to Mattalast’s apathy and Hamyuts’ sociopathic tendencies are thrown at the viewer with equal emphasis. There’s no real attempt to prove anyone’s belief system as “right.”
With Noloty, we see the virtues and faults of her actions. We see her strength of character as she refuses to budge in her beliefs. She’s given the opportunity to have the head of the Church, The Governor of Heaven, turn himself in if she agrees to murder a young boy. Said boy is a terrorist who attempted to poison a town’s water supply. He hates the Library and everything they believe in. He hates Noloty and everything she stands for, and if given the chance he would murder her. He is Noloty’s polar opposite– he represents her chance to act upon the greater good of the world– and she refuses. Noloty stands by her convictions and is convinced that she can find a way to solve the problems at hand without resorting to murder.
At the same time, we see the follies of this decision. While Noloty’s actions are noble and praiseworthy, they also act as a trigger for far worse events. Noloty’s conviction is corrupted by the Governor of Heaven, leading to the young boy’s anger heightening and literally festering into a disease that nearly destroys the world. The Governor knows that Noloty will not waver, and he uses this knowledge to his advantage. Without Noloty’s beliefs, the boy’s fury with the Library would not “ripen” to the extent that it does. By presenting him with Noloty’s purity, it allows the Governor to present the Library as a hive of hypocrisy, and this allows the disease within the boy to turn into a weapon of mass destruction. If Noloty budged in her beliefs and killed the boy, the plague likely would not have strengthened and many innocent lives would have been spared.
We see how Noloty is a person whose actions should be respected, but we also see how her actions can result in far worse consequences when one doesn’t weigh all of their options and think about their actions fully. The series allows us to come to our conclusion. Which is better, to hold to one’s ideals or relent when doing so will bring about greater benefits?
That’s why Bantorra’s presentation of the “Martial Messiah” is superior to Trigun’s. It allows us to come to our own conclusion about the hero’s actions. It doesn’t preach to us and convince us of a predetermined answer. Bantorra merely poses the question.
But regardless of which way you swing, this world belongs to Noloty.
Also, Noloty wins because she looks like Pullum from Street Fighter EX. If Vash looked like someone from EX, he might get some votes.