In Orthodoxy, there is freedom to wander into the imagination and mystery of the beautiful reality of Christ among us. We have icons which are not merely lovely works of art, but are windows to Heaven that display the truth in spiritual realities. They help us to connect to another world that is otherwise less obvious than the world around us.
But seeing a figure of Christ is not limited to those objects of devotion that we see in Orthodox Churches. With that in mind, I have found one particular character to be a figure of Christ: Vash the Stampede from the Trigun series.
How Vash is like Christ
Firstly, Vash is not just human. He is something much more. Something almost heavenly, but we only get hints of it in the series. His brother is disgusted by the human race: their violent tendencies, their selfishness, the way they pollute and destroy their surroundings, etc. Yet Vash looks past the flaws and sees the beauty of every human personality and life, even the ones who want to kill him.
Like Jesus, Vash set out to save the world with the desire to redeem all: even his enemies. Both the body of Jesus and that of Vash bear the wounds of their enemies. Both refused to lash out in violence, even when it was justified, and even when their own life was in peril. Both had the power to kill their persecutors, but they both had one aim in their mission: that all might be saved.
In the final climatic episode, Vash the Stampede carries a cross on the way to face his arch-enemy: who represents the imminent death of all of his beloved human friends. This enemy is ultimately defeated through the power of that cross. In Orthodoxy, death is viewed as the ultimate enemy of mankind. Jesus Christ carried his cross to a hill called Golgotha and defeated death with the cross to save His beloved humans. Just as Vash the Stampede didn’t owe humanity any favors, but acted purely out of love, so our Savior defeated our enemy (death) through his life, death, and resurrection purely out of love for His creation.
In all of this I don’t seek to elevate Vash the Stampede as being equal to Jesus (he’s obviously an anime/manga character), but rather I see the beauty of Christ through him. I believe that this is the highest purpose of creative story-telling: to teach truth through the form of a narrative.