The manga was serialized in Tokuma Shoten's Shōnen Captain from the series debut in 1995 until the magazine's demise 1997. The series continued in Shonen Gahosha's Young King Ours magazine, under the title , where it remained until finishing in 2007.
Trigun was adaptated into an animated television series in 1998. The Madhouse Studios production aired on TV Tokyo from April 4, 1998 to September 30 1998, totaling 26 episodes. An animated feature film is expected in 2009.
As the series progresses, more is gradually learned about Vash's mysterious history and the history of human civilization on the planet Gunsmoke. The series often employs comic relief and is mostly light-hearted in tone, although the tone shifts toward darker and more dramatic situations in the latter half. It also involves moral conflict pertaining to the morality of killing other living things, even when justified (i.e. self-defense/defending others).
Vash the Stampede, also known as The Humanoid Typhoon, is a wandering gunman with a $$60 billion bounty on his head. Every town he passes through either labels him "an act of God" or "a human disaster".
Meryl Stryfe and Milly Thompson are two Bernardelli Insurance agents sent to evaluate claims regarding the Humanoid Typhoon. Initially, they dismisses the idea that Vash is the legendary Humanoid Typhoon, but the two eventually learn that this is the person they are assigned to track.
However, Shōnen Captain was cancelled 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. He was however 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 . 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 12th tankōbon was published on July 26, 2006.
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, keeping the original right-to-left format rather than mirroring the pages. With the anime series already well known in the US, the first print run of 30,000 sold out shortly after release. The second volume concluded the original series early the next year, and went on to be the top earning graphic novel of 2004. Trigun Maximum followed quickly, and twelve of the thirteen English-language volumes have been released. Translations into French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish have also been released.
Nightow has stated that due to the finality of the anime ending, it is unlikely any continuation will be made.
In May 2007, Nightow confirmed at the Anime Central Convention that the Trigun movie was in the early stages of preproduction with a near-final script, although he did not divulge any plot information.
In February 2008, more details about the Trigun movie emerged on the cover of volume 13 of the Trigun Maximum manga, announcing that the movie was scheduled for 2009.