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Iyouboushi On January - 7 - 2011

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Trigun: Badlands Rumble is an animated movie based on the Trigun series that was originally based on a manga by the same title. If you’ve never seen Trigun, well, why are you reading this review? Seriously. Go watch it. It’s a series that’s set on a desert planet (named Gunsmoke) and is a bit like the old west. It’s main focus is on a man named Vash the Stampede, who has a $$60 billion reward on his head and is nicknamed “The Humanoid Typhoon” for the complete eradication of a town. It turns out, though, that Vash is not as devious as the most wanted posters would have you believe. The series is full of comedy and action and will definitely keep you hooked until the end.

With that said, the original animated series ran in 1998 for 26 episodes. Most of us that watched and loved Trigun were begging for more. Then we heard rumors that a Trigun movie was going to be made. So we were excited. And we waited, and waited. But no news came. Slowly we forgot all about Trigun’s movie and the series itself sort of slipped into the back of our minds as something we enjoyed but it was time to move on. Until 2010.

BAM! The Trigun movie, Badlands Rumble, came out of NOWHERE! Lord knows I didn’t know anything about it until I saw a news article for it being released on DVD/Blu-ray in Japan. But there it is. Turns out it was released in theaters (in Japan) on April of 2010 and on DVD/Blu-Ray on December 15. FUNimation has gotten the rights to dub and release it here in the States, so if you’re not keen on the Japanese version just hang in there a bit longer and perhaps you’ll see it too.

Now then, with the basic intro of it all, let’s get right down to the review. Was it good? Bad? Did it keep with how Trigun was in `98?

WARNING: The plot review does reveal some spoilers of the film. If you don’t wish to have anything spoiled don’t read this until you’ve seen the film!! The major spoilers of this film are black text on black background. Highlight them if you really want to read them.

Plot
The film starts with a bank robbery being committed by a ruthless thief named Gasback.  During the robbery one of his followers, Cain, decides to basically commit treason and shoots Gasback, which takes out his eye. But before anyone can die, Vash shows up and sort of saves the day. The bank is destroyed anyway and Vash is blamed. 20 years pass. In the town of Makka, a town surrounded by quicksand, rumors have been heard that Gasback is going to try and steal a massively huge statue that is the town’s centerpiece. Because of the rumors, the town’s owner have started to gather as many bounty hunters as possible to him to try and kill/capture Gasback before anything happens.

Vash and a new character, a female bounty hunter named Amelia, are on a sand train/steamer thing that arrives in town. Milly and Meryl from the insurance company have also arrived in town to double check the worth of the statue. And if you ever forget how much the statue is insured for, don’t fret. Meryl will repeat it a million times in this movie. (It’s $$5 billion, by the way.) Meanwhile, Gasback–who has Wolfwood as a body guard–approaches town ready to commit his biggest robbery yet.

It turns out that the leader of the town is actually Cain and Gasback is there for revenge. He actually steals the plant of the city (you know, the giant light bulb things) and it’s up to the heroes to recover it.

I won’t ruin any more of the film except to say that there is one of those “OH NO! THE MAIN CHARACTER IS DEAD! …Wait, no he’s not! BECAUSE HE’S THE @#$(&@# MAIN CHARACTER” scenes. I really hate these types of scenes in movies when you know the main character isn’t going to die. This is even worse in this film because the creators have said that this film actually fits in the TV series timeline. I’m not really sure where it fits in the TV series timeline but that’s what they say. And the scene drags on a bit longer than it really needs to.

And with that, that’s the plot. Is it a great plot? No. Is it a bad plot? Not really. It’s a pretty average plot. But it’s chalk full of comedy and lots of action. There’s even a sappy backstory for one of the characters and a twist at the end that almost everyone will see coming. At the very end there’s a mention of a pair of characters that apparently appeared in a manga side story that was given out with the film in Japan (but I haven’t read it yet so I can’t comment on that).

The Music
I feel like I should mention this because in the original series most of the music had a western and blues twang to it. Sure, some of it was just out there and the opening was pure rock, but for the most part it fit the setting of the show. In this film it seems like a lot of the music has a Spanish flair to it. It’s not bad, per se, but it’s just a little weird. If you’re a fan of the original show’s music, this film will make you wish it had the original music in it. I will say that the opening theme does make a small appearance as a remix, which was pretty cool, but overall the music is probably the most disappointing thing in the film.

The Animation
Absolutely fantastic for about 99% of the time. The other 1%? Well, either it’s CGI that’s out of place or the animators fell asleep. You’ll definitely notice the parts I’m talking about. Thankfully they’re not that long. It just sort of stands out against the rest of the beautiful animation.

Voice Acting
I mention this in its own category because it’s the original voice actors for the main cast! Even if it’s been 13 years since the anime was on, the voice actors sound exactly the same as they did back then. That’s pretty amazing if you really sit and think about it and consider that (most of) these people have been doing lots of different characters for lots of different shows for 13 years.

The Good
Well, pretty much everything I’ve already mentioned. Lots of comedy, lots of action, great voice acting, Vash is absolutely fantastic as usual, it’s NEW TRIGUN, etc.

The Bad
+ The music, while not terrible, isn’t as good (to me) as the original TV series.
+ Milly and Meryl don’t really have much to do in this film. They could easily be taken out and there’d be no loss. I mean, Milly is only there for comedy and Meryl is only there to repeat how much the statue is worth to the insurance company and to have a small bit of interaction with Vash. It feels like they were put into this movie just because they were in the original Trigun series.
+ The “twist” at the end in the last fight with Gasback is really predictable and you’ll probably see it coming a mile away.
+ The whole plot could have been a little better, but at least it’s enjoyable. It feels like a few episodes of the TV series put together as a movie rather than an epic movie.

Final Thoughts
Even after 13 years the people who brought Trigun to life have not lost their touch. I feel like I’ve been transported back to 1998 and have discovered some lost episodes or something. It was fantastic and nostalgic. If you’re a fan of Trigun at all, watch this film! If you’ve never seen Trigun before, give this movie a shot. It doesn’t require seeing the TV series to enjoy (though having seen the series first does help with knowing who everyone is and why they act like they do). So give it a shot.

I’ll give this film a 4 out of 5 donuts.

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