"We're nothing like God. Not only are our powers limited, but we are sometimes driven to become the devil himself."
Nicholas D. Wolfwood (ニコラス・D・ウルフウッド, Nikorasu Dī Urufūddo), also known as Nicholas the Punisher, is a major character in both the Trigun anime, and the Trigun manga.
The background and development of his character are different in the anime and manga.
After Wolfwood showed potential in the orphanage in which he was raised, Chapel (also known as Master C) took him into the Eye of Michael, an organization of assassins founded by a plant worshiper, and trained and modified Wolfwood to be a killer. The modifications gave him enhanced abilities and the ability to regenerate from heavy injuries using special vials, but as a result caused him to age at an accelerated rate, giving him the appearance of a man in his late 20s though he is only in his early teens by the start of the series.
His potential was recognized as exceptional, and so he was given the tenth incarnation of the organization's most powerful weapon, a special large cross-shaped gun called the Punisher, which becomes his official title within the Eye of Michael. Wolfwood later betrayed and shot Chapel, impersonating Chapel to gain entry into the Gung-Ho-Guns in an attempt to kill Millions Knives. He failed, and was instead sent by Knives to guide and protect Vash on the latter's travels to Knives's base, thus killing fellow Guns Rai-Dei the Blade and Gray the Ninelives. After Vash is taken prisoner in the Ark, Wolfwood rescues him and later departs to December to protect the orphanage from the retaliation. He battles his childhood friend, Livio the Double Fang , and his crippled master in a two volume face off. He manages to mortally wound Chapel and defeat Livio the Double Fang and Razlo the Tri-Punisher of Death, but having overdosed on the regenerative vials, he soon dies while having a last drink with Vash.
Upbringings and The Orphanage
In the anime, Wolfwood is raised by an abusive guardian, who he later shoots and kills. He is taken in by Chapel the Evergreen, who trains him to be his successor and gives him a Cross Punisher gun, later on Wolfwood establishes an orphanage and throughout the years he takes on jobs being a hired gun in order to raise money for it making it a mission to prevent any children from suffering and growing up to be like him. Eventually he takes on a job by Millions Knives to make sure his brother Vash survives until their final battle.
Meeting Vash The Stampede
While on a bus traveling to May City, Vash spots Wolfwood out in the desert completely exhausted with his Cross Punisher (possibly an intentional move to get closer to Vash to start his job) and stops the bus in order to save him. Once he is rescued Wolfwood is introduced to Vash and the Insurance Girls Milly and Meryl, immediately showing appreciation for Vash's rescue. He eventually comments on his smile and mannerisms being so friendly but all being a front to hide his inner struggle, taking Vash aback by how well he figured him out. The two then have to team up to take care of some robots who attack the bus. Heading to the source of the machines Vash gives Wolfwood his signature .45 Long Colt to cover him as he puts a stop to them. While running Vash takes note of the priests accuracy and realizes that there is more to him than he originally believed with Wolfwood later thinking the same as when he runs out of ammo while covering Vash he sees that the robots have already been incapacitated and the left side of Vash's body smoking. The two return to the bus with Wolfwood sitting next to Milly and deciding to sleep while resting on Milly's shoulder. The next morning, when the bus arrives at its destination, Wolfwood departs from the group on his motorcycle and runs into them again on only on two other occasions; a quick draw tournament and a caravan that they were traveling with.
The Fifth Moon Incident
Wolfwood arrives in Augusta City after Vash's Angel Arm reduces the city to rubble, commenting on Vash's powers and the destruction that lay before him. The ninth Gung-Ho-Gun Rai Dei the Blade then emerges from the rubble, pleading with Nicholas to help him kill Vash but Wolfwood refuses, instead killing Rai Dei then and there. He then combs over the destruction looking for Vash but only finds his broken .45 Long Colt and over the following two years he searches for Vash, along the way bringing the gun to a gunsmith named Frank Marlon who knew Vash before and who fixes the gun for free after Nicholas mentions he knew Vash.
Traveling with Vash and The Girls
After two years of searching, Nicholas finally tracks down Vash living in Kasted City with his adopted family under the name Erics, Wolfwood returns Vash's revolver despite him not wanting to return to his former life after his previous incident, stating that he could've wiped out the planet with his Angel Arm and the loss of memory that it causes. Unable to sway him, Wolfwood begins to leave but informs Vash of an incident in Carcases town where the inhabitants mysteriously vanished without a trace, the clue as to what being the word Knives painted on a stone in the middle of town. This makes him give in and Vash resigns himself to take up arms once more to battle his brother and after rescuing Lina, a member of his adopted family, from bandits, Vash and Wolfwood leave Kasted,.
The two then reach another town with Vash preventing the murder of a man who killed the daughter of another family. After this they reunite with Milly and Meryl and Wolfwood tells Vash that his luck and persistence will not last forever and that he will have to kill someday. The next day Vash decides to make a visit to his home on an old SEED ship holding people that have never been on the surface of the planet, Wolfwood tags along and while on the ship he vocally displays his displeasure with the people on board after they treat him like an outsider, telling them that one day they will have to live on the planet; this is interrupted by the arrival of three members of the Gung-Ho-Guns: Leonof The Puppet Masters (via puppets sent on board while he remains on Gunsmoke), Gray the Nine Lives, and Hoppered the Gauntlet. After a long battle that results in the SEED ship crashing, the two prevail against their enemies, with Wolfwood killing Gray in battle, but lose a resident of the ship who assisted them named Brad after Leonof hid a puppet among the passengers disguised as Jessica and attempted to shoot Vash with it. Brad took the shot for him, and, enraged by this, Wolfwood tracks down Leonof and kills him by rocket via his Cross Punisher.
After this the group travel to another town but are unable to enter due to the residents being paranoid of outsiders after an incident similar to Carcases in which people just disappeared. The group then come across a group of children living on the outskirts of town after being orphaned by the incident and decide to stay there and help the children but are disrupted by chaos caused by sand worms destroying the town. Vash and Wolfwood go to lend a hand to put a stop to it and it is revealed that the fourth Gung-Ho-Gun, Zazie the Beast, hid himself among the children and caused the sand worms to attack the town. Zazie holds Vash, the girls, and the other children at gun point, and all of them try to convince him that he doesn't have to do this and can rejoin them in peace. It seemingly works for a second but it is cut short by Wolfwood who decides to shoot him out of fear of him pulling the trigger. This creates a rift in the group with Vash and Nicholas arguing over their ideals about killing, during which Wolfwood punches Vash and storms off.
Encountering Chapel the Evergreen and Death
Once everyone reaches Carcases, Wolfwood splits off from the others and encounters his former teacher Chapel, who tells Nicholas that his orders have changed and that he must kill Vash and swears the safety of the children in his orphanage as long as Wolfwood does the deed. Later that day Wolfwood contemplates his decisions up to this point, breaking down over all of it and begins to wonder if his ideals are truly correct and that killing is a necessity or he was wrong and Vash's refusal to take a life is truly the better path. While he contemplates he is comforted by Milly whom he had grown to develop a romantic interest for while traveling and vice versa resulting in the two embracing each other and having sex later that night. When the morning comes Wolfwood tells Milly to remain inside the room and to not exit until the battle was over. A little after this Vash and Wolfwood exchange apologies but it ends with Wolfwood pointing his Cross Punisher at Vash and using it to block a sniper bullet from Caine the Longshot and they take cover in a nearby bar to make a plan, Wolfwood deciding to take on Chapel and Vash will take Caine. Before they separate Wolfwood asks Vash what his real name is, with him simply responding that his name is irrelevant to which they both share a friendly smile then separate.
Chapel engages in battle with Nicholas, with his own Cross Punisher separating into two machine guns, Wolfwood prevails against his mentor who demands that he be finished off but is denied. Nicholas, for the first time truly embracing Vash's ideals of not killing another living being, walks away smiling, but as his back is turned Chapel is manipulated by Legato's telekinetic abilities and raises his gun to his apprentice's back but Wolfwood catches this in time and points his gun at his mentor, and machine gun fire is heard. Wolfwood meets Vash in town and consoles him after Vash failed to prevent Caine's suicide, Nicholas commenting on how this is the path of a mortal that Vash chose and that he cannot save everyone despite his guilt over not being able to.He then follows up by informing him of Knives' location, with Vash immediately questioning him as to how he knows that, but he is already gone leaving a blood trail.
Wolfwood reaches a nearby church and starts talking to God, kneeling before the cross and his Cross Punisher, speaking about the bloody path he had chosen throughout his life and how he never believed that he had a choice other than killing and how wrong he truly was, realizing that there are plenty of ways to not kill and save everyone, lamenting that he wished he had seen that before it was too late. He begins to smoke his last cigarette but stops mid way through, thinking of a comment made by Milly during their time at the caravan two years ago about how smoking was bad for the baby (even though she was only pretending to be pregnant). He wishes that if he were to be reincarnated that he would be in Eden where he could be with Vash and the girls but breaks down in anger and sadness, not wanting to die and to stay with his friends, thinking of them as he looks at the cross, screaming out as he looks to the sky "I did not want to die this way!" Wolfwoods hand falls to the floor and with a smile on his face slowly passes away.
His body is later found by Vash who buries him and retrieves his Cross Punisher, bringing it to a distraught Milly who is in tears over the news, with Meryl comforting her.
Before heading off to his final battle with Knives, Milly gives Vash Wolfwood's Cross Punisher saying that he would be honored if he took it with him to which Vash agrees and carries it to the location of his fight firmly placing it in the ground before engaging in battle. At one point Knives steals Vash's gun, activating both Angel Arms and prepares to kill Vash, but before the end can come Wolfwood's voice tells him "What are you doing Needle Noggin. Its right next to you, use it damn it!" Vash shoves his arm into the ground, pulling out the Cross Punisher and fires it at Knives' arm shooting his revolver out of his hand and fires at Knives. After reloading, Vash then shoots at him in both his arms and calves and disarms him by shooting at his revolver. The Cross Punisher ultimately securing Vash's victory, after the battle is won Vash leaves both revolvers and the Cross Punisher, as he walks off back to Milly and Meryl.
- According to the author, the initial for Nick's middle name "D." stands for "Dokonokuminomonjawaresumakinishiteshizumetarokakora" which translates to "What the hell family do you think you're from!? I'm gonna tie you up in a reed mat and dunk ya!"
- Wolfwood displays a very open affection for Milly Thompson in the anime version of the series, which she reciprocates to a degree. This relationship does not exist in the manga however.
- Nightow commented on the Punisher being around a "hundred-and-so" kilograms and Wolfwood having an "incredible sense of balance". 
- Wolfwood's death marks the first (and only) death on Vash's team.
- Wolfwood's arsenal (like Vash) is represented by the title of the series with his Cross Punisher having three functions: a machine gun, a rocket launcher, and a compartment holding an array of hand guns.
- Nicholas' final episode marks the only time in the series where he has been shown to cry.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Puff Magazine Interview from Make a little lightbulb in your soul Character Profiles
|Monev the Gale||Dominique the Cyclops||E.G. Mine||Rai-Dei the Blade||Leonof the Puppet-Master|
|Gray the Ninelives||Hoppered the Gauntlet||Zazie the Beast||Midvalley the Hornfreak||Caine the Longshot|
|Chapel the Evergreen||Elendira the Crimsonnail||Nicholas D. Wolfwood (Impersonating Chapel, Former)||Livio the Double Fang (Former)||Razlo the Tri-Punisher of Death (Former)|