I never really got into the anime series “Trigun”, not because I thought it was bad (I cannot make this call since I only saw a few episodes) but I just had other things on plate when the set came out in the U.S.. Granted, My knowledge of the world of “Trigun” may be a little limited, but I think I know enough to have some appreciation for the new film directed by Satoshi Nishimura called “Trigun: Badlands Rumble”. The film is a sort of a reboot of the series by Madhouse and based on manga written by Yasuhiro Nightow.
This film has the same familiar characters but has a different storyline than what was presented in the anime series and its story takes place after the conclusion of the series. Beginning with a robbery orchestrated by the towering arch-villain Gasback which somewhat backfires when his men led by Cain (Bin Shibama) decide to double-cross him. Despite the double-cross, Gasback (Tsutomu Isobe) seemed to have the upper hand until Vash the Stampede, the Humanoid typhoon (voiced by Masaya Onosaka) interferes and Gasback’s men were able to make off with the loot and their lives. Now 20 years after that incident, the mayor (who is Cain under a different name) of a small town called Mecca fears that Gasback will try to seek revenge and steal the power plant of his town and maybe steal his bronze statue. This statue is insured for $ 5 Billion which prompts Milly Thompson (Yuki Inoue) and Merrill Stryfe (Hiromi Tsuru) to travel to this town. The mayor had also enlisted the services of a bunch of bounty hunters who are after the $ 300 million for Gasback’s head. A young woman named Amelia had traveled on a sand steamer that also had Vash as a passenger. Amelia (Maaya Sakamoto) seems obsessed to take down Gasback and will stop at nothing to end him. But it seems like Gasback also as his own backup, as Wolfwood (Show Hayami) is working as a bodyguard for him in a limited contract.
“Badlands Rumble” may be Madhouse studio’s way to emulate a Sergio Leone creation that is blended with the atmosphere of “Mad Max”. The world of “Trigun” has the architecture of the old western, and yet the weapons and some machines display both futuristic and Old West technology. The mish-mashing of genres and devices are nothing different when it comes to Japanese anime and cinema, actually this is what makes such movies different and enjoyable in their own way. The characters in “Badlands Rumble” is as over-the-top as you can possibly imagine and yet there is the aura of coolness about them. The characters match the manic, upbeat tempo that the film follows and makes the film very entertaining to watch.
The film is certainly action-packed. I mean, if your thing is over-the-top action that only Japanese anime can deliver, then this movie does deliver. I mean, there is so much guns blazing and bullets flying, explosions are all over the place and sometimes I could not believe what I was seeing. “Badlands” wallows in the bombastic action, and it prides itself to be as such. It also balances its tone with the delivery of off-kilter humor as it builds up to the outrageously cool weapons discharge and the action scenes to make them look even cooler. As I’ve said, I may not be a huge fan of the anime series, but I found that you need not be one to enjoy this new movie.
“Badlands” introduces the central new characters of Gasback and Amelia gives them a lot of development. You get to know the two inside and out. Their mannerisms and habits speak a lot for their characters, that helps aid with the delivery of the revelations of the secrets between them. The way their story is told feels more direct than it really was, as Amelia proves to be one of the best new characters to ever join this “Trigun” universe. This movie is more on the Amelia character than anything, as the writing makes it a point to develop her backgrounds.
I do know that Vash the Stampede used to have a famous line “Love and Peace” in the anime series which became the series mantra and the essence of the show. This time, Vash does not deliver that line, and instead goes for something more subtle that I appreciated. In “Badlands”, Vash seems to roll a dice, and allows it to point his destination. It is the representation of taking a gamble, and seeing as something as “the dye is cast”. It is more about believing that there is goodness in people and everyone should have a second chance. It almost as if Vash believes that something good can come out from something bad. The direction allows the viewer to question such a belief and is there something that can be put to doubt with that mindset? The film also has some existential themes as it expresses how one’s actions can affect others. Vash here values lives, and believes in people. It made me enjoy his manic idiotic behavior on the outside as someone who is someone much more complex inside.
Familiar characters also make appearances. It is always cool to see Wolfwood hauling that huge cross-like cannon that he uses against his opponents. Milly and Meryl does also make themselves known, but their appearances were limited compared to Gasback and Amelia. The film does still make it a point to make this film have the same type of tempo and style to appease the fans of the anime series. The animation work is superb and the visuals are inventive in its own way. Satoshi Nishimura was able to keep the film faithful to the style that made the anime series succeed. I saw this in the original Japanese language that I would very much recommend since the tone and the delivery of the dialogue felt more appropriate to its visuals and sound.
I know I have not finished the anime series, but “Badlands” have given me more reason to go and finish that series. It reminded me of the charms of a fantasy-western, and why I loved the mish-mashing of genres in the first place. It has been a long time since the series’ conclusion, but this new film will no doubt make fans of the series drool with excitement and make anime fans like me go back to its beginnings. “Trigun Badlands Rumble” is a comical, action-packed and entertaining film about hope and understanding, of love and peace.
Recommended! Movie- [3 ½ Out of 5 Stars] Bluray release with its excellent extra features and presentation- [4 Out of 5 Stars]
The Trigun anime ended it's run in Japan years ago where it had moderate success and it debuted here in the states some time after with huge success. Time has passed, it's been reevaluated and proven popular enough that a movie get made. The anime show about an alien/human creature named Vash who has adventures on another planet where the displaced humans patterned the culture after the old west with bounty hunters and adventures mixed madcap action, weird … more
Vash the Stampede ends up in a packed city in the hinterlands only to face off with a foe he accidentally let escape 20 years prior. Fun for what it is but don't try and figure too much into the continuity of the show.