20 years after meddling into the bank heist of a notorious robber named Gasback, Vash the Stampede is heading towards Macca City. Rumors say that the legendary thief might appear there causing an enormous influx of bounty hunters in the area who want to collect the $$300,000,000 prize for his head.
I remember when I watched Trigun that I wanted more out of the show when it ended, and not just because the conclusion of the show sucked. The show might have had it's flaws of a half baked morality message with a style over substance, ADD riddled fun-fest, but the other 90 percent of the show has great characters, more than wonderful art, interesting world building and a killer soundtrack that have produced one of the most fun to watch, funny, and endearing anime shows I've seen yet. So when I heard that a movie based off of said show was in the works,
money naturally flew out of my wallet. However, I was expecting a lot more from Badlands Rumble, as it was made over 10 years after the series aired, and had high hopes of the non-canon feature fixing some of the flaws of the morality message, and I had hoped that the story had a specific purpose for being non-canon, rather than just more Trigun. Would this movie be Vash's untold story of when he killed someone? Would it be a feature explaining the true significance of Plants on the Planet Gunsmoke? Perhaps moral insight as to why there are so many outlaws? Sadly none of these are the case, and the film is just; you guessed it, the good and bad possibility that it's just more Trigun. Granted I don't mind the fact that it's more Trigun, it's got all the action, fun, and caters to the fans by including the same cast of characters, it's just that problems that the show had, but it also continues to have the same problems that the show had. So first; the positives. The movie definitely did a good job to catering to fans of the show such as myself, and the film slipped in the full cast of Vash, Wolfwood, Meryl and Milly, along with new faces of the sex-appeal stock character Amelia and the notorious-even-though-we've-only-seen-him-once-villain Gasback. Along with countless strange looking outlaws only in it to become the film's body count. So the film for sure hits the right notes in terms of including Trigun's steampunk-ish western vibe, cool looking characters, good natured humor, and it's high octane but weirdly safe level of violence, all of which I thoroughly enjoyed. I mean who doesn't want to see innocent little Vash steal everyone's bullets under tables or Wolfwood shooting grenades out of the air with that cross-machinegun he has, come on. And as soon as I was able to hear the staple Trigun theme guitar solo amid all the action, I felt a bit of a chill that gave me goosebumps and made me uncontrollably smile. But the main issue I have with the movie is while it's a lot of fun to watch, and like I said before, MORE Trigun for better or worse, the new characters don't really offer up much for substance nor are they very interesting in and of themselves. Which gets me thinking, because they never really explain why Amelia gets hives when a man (that goofy man being Vash) touches her. So if you're a fan of the show and you really enjoyed it, the movie is a fun must watch, but if you didn't like the show or are just looking for a fun movie to watch I'd pass it up.
While it was fun to see Vash and the gang again I was really disappointed by this. My major problem was the story-line. It was predictable.
1 - Vash rolls into town, destruction (best part)
2 - Introduce the sex appeal (she's useless throughout the movie, but she can beat up a couple nameless thugs pretty good)
3 - Introduce the Bad Guy, he has a strange philosophy where destruction and robbery fuel his massive ego
4 - Re-introduce the old mains, who rally to save everyone
5 - Vash rolls in to save everyone at the last second, because only he can.
6 - Sun glances off
Vash's super cool glasses and he wakes away into the desert without water
My problem with this story line is that it has been done over a million and a half times. There are no surprises in the entire movie (except for the part where Vash got shot, but we all knew he hadn't really died BECAUSE HE'S THE MAIN CHARACTER). I fail to see any creativity in this old re-used excuse to bring back fan-favourites.
Here is what I wanted:
1 - If you're going to introduce sex-appeal, then let there be sex. Otherwise, give them a use. Give them a personality. Give them something to make me feel like they are a real person and have something to contribute to the story. (Amelie was, admittedly the daughter of the bad guy, but whatever. That's not enough for me :/ )
2 - Everyone has flaws, except the characters I see in anime/movies/books. Fictional characters seem to have fallen into a cookie-cut staple where they are basic and boring. When was the last time you saw someone seriously fuck up, or kill the bad guy out of rage, or shoot a bullet that missed and ended up killing an innocent, or something I can't foresee.
3 - It seems to me that anime's choose to be realistic whenever it serves to aid the plot. Example, Vash never misses a shot, except when its the final bad guy of the movie. A weak example, but I feel if you're going to introduce realism to an anime, you need to keep it consistent throughout the entire thing. You can't use it as a plot device, because it cheats the entire story(side note: I hate plot devices, they are boring).
I wanted more from this. I LOVED the original Trigun series, (I especially loved looking for that blasted black cat who was always hiding somewhere in the background of every episode, one of my favorite flavor-pieces of any anime ever). But I found nothing new or interesting in this story. It was nice to see Vash again, but I would have preferred that his memory was preserved in memory rather than tarnished by something new, and dull.
I love the anime for Trigun, and I love the manga. Like LOTS of other people, I was beyond excited when I heard about a movie. It's one of my all time favorite Anime. I was only hoping for something as good as an average episode of Trigun though (so pretty amazing), but didn't even get a decent film.
The worst part was probably the story. It is very obvious, every little twist that is. And I don't just mean that Vash isn't dead. If that's a spoiler for you, you're just strangely not aware of the likelyhood of the main character of a large franchise
dying before the movie is even close to over.
Following that, would be the original characters. Like in many films, they lack even the interest that you would feel for a character who was introduced for one episode or chapter of a manga.
Lastly was the music, which while fitting in some ways, was rarely used and not put to good use.
The pacing was also strange. Like many movie adapations, it forgoes most character interaction for extended scenes of nothing. Also, planet gunsmoke now has 3 moons, which I don't personally recall. It also has a very populated galaxy, which again I don't recall. There's like 20 planets on the zoom out, all within a planets distance of each other!
Of course, Vash was made out to be an idiot, rather than just somewhat strange.
While the animation was really good, it just lacked most anything that made Trigun good. And I did watch it subbed, unlike some reviews for it that rated it rather high.
When you hear the name "Vash the Stampede" mentioned in an anime conversation, what is the first thing you think of? If it happens to be Trigun in the first 5 seconds, I can safely guarantee without you even reading this review that you will like this movie....
...and if I asked if you heard the name "Valentinez Alkalinella Xifax Sicidabohertz Gombigobilla Blue Stradivari Talentrent Pierre Andri Charton-Haymoss Ivanovici Baldeus George Doitzel Kaiser III", and you answered with a smile that it's from the same anime, I can personally guarantee that this movie may even become a personal favorite.
So your probably wondering where I'm getting at
by asking you these questions. Simple. If you haven't heard of Trigun in this day and age and you call yourself an anime fan, I suggest you stop what you're doing and go buy this anime classic quicksmart as the movie is tribute to this once great series.
Trigun, like many other classics I can mention, was pretty much entry level for anyone new to anime back in the day. When people use to ask why I watch "cartoons", I just had to sit them in front of a TV with this series playing and they were pretty much hooked line and sinker.(unless they were girls. period.)
Now before I start I'm going to be honest and admit that this review is going to be biased. Yes I'm a big fan of Trigun and yes Vash & Wolfwood happens to be 2 of my favorite anime characters of all time, but that's not what I'm going to be biased about. Let's just say that my favoritism stems from nostalgia.
When I had first watched the TV series, I was in my first year of college and the anime club of 6 people I belonged to were still watching anime via VHS.
"Ah yes....those were the days when hitting rewind actually meant you wait a few minutes"
So when I heard that Trigun had its movie premiere in early 2010, I was pretty much waiting in anticipation for it to hit our shores, and was also disappointed that the wait was going to be a while due to the producers not coming to my backwater country.
But as the saying goes: "all good things come to those who wait", and boy was it good!
Trigun: Badlands Rumble was created for fans of the TV series. There was never a dull moment while watching the film and if anything, it had made me fall in love with the series all over again.
Without giving too much of a spoiler, Badlands Rumble is about Vash's encounter with a bank robber named Gasback prior to the TV series. Due to Vash's "love and peace" nature, he lets Gasback go after foiling his botched robbery knowing full well that the man may become a threat to society later on.
Fast-forward 20 years later and the location is Makka City which most of the events take place for the movie. We are shown Gasback, now as a legendary bank robber with a very high bounty to his name(still paling in comparison to Vash's) and a horde of bounty hunters after his head in that city.
Now I'm not 100% sure if the film is in the same timeline as the TV series or an alternate(since Wolfwood makes an appearance) and if it is, where in the series it would have most likely taken place, but one thing I can say is that the movie had retained that 'certain feel' which most fans had come to love about Trigun.
The original cast of Vash, Wolfwood, Meryl and Milly was a welcome sight after 10 long years, and seeing their antics and personalities in a cinematic film was a treat for any fan of the series.
We are also provided with 2 new characters who play pivotal roles in the film. The first being Gasback(a cheap knock-off of Brilliant Dynamite Neon from episode 7 of the TV series) and the other named Amelia: a female bounty hunter with a dark past which slowly unveils through the course of the movie(and whose character design is equivalent to a female version of Ruth the bounty hunter in episode 1)
Now after rattling on about the glory days that is Trigun, you'll probably be thinking that animation is old school as well, but let me stop you there. If there's one thing age has helped with this movie, it would have to be its art and animation. Whilst Badlands Rumble had captured the essence of the original series, you'll find that Madhouse Studio had really put a lot of effort to this movie giving you eye-candy that is both rich in texture and detail, and at best could even give series made in 2010 a run for their money.
From story to character design, art and animation, soundtrack and even original voice actors, I found Badlands Rumble to be very well balanced and even accommodating for those new to the franchise. The pacing never felt "off", and everything had been executed so well that you could have even viewed this as a standalone.
In conclusion I found Trigun:Badlands Rumble to have the right elements to which the original series was well known for - a space western comedy packed with action and stunning gunplay that pays homage to the fans who loved the TV series whilst also a great introduction for those new to it.
Hey, what were you doing back in 2010? Hopefully, you were spending your time wisely by watching some of the best anime movies that year had to offer. And if you didn't, then here's the list to get you up to speed!