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.