Last Level Press

Film Review: Trigun: Badlands Rumble

Reviewer: Olen Bjorgo

Vash the Stampede, the Humanoid Typhoon, the $$60 Billion Man, Needle-noggin, he’s the man with many names and has influenced a lot of lives. One particular man was a towering thief named Gasback, and Vash saved him after a botched robbery twenty years ago. Unfortunately, Gasback then plans to get revenge against his gang who betrayed him twenty years ago. In the present day, Vash saves a young woman who is a bounty hunter and wants to claim Gasback’s bounty because of all the lives he ruined. Then the insurance girls, Milly and Meryl, travel to Macca City because one of Gasback’s old members has become mayor, and wants to insure a giant statue of himself out of fears of it being destroyed. And then the traveling priest, Nicholas D. Wolfwood, is saved from dehydration in the desert after Gasback saves him, and returns the favor by being his bodyguard. And that’s not even mentioning the numerous groups of bounty hunters armed to the teeth to catch Gasback in the city. This city is just gonna be destroyed in the end, isn’t it?

Pictured: Not even the end yet.

Trigun: Badlands Rumble is a standalone film inspired by the anime and manga series of the same name, and while the original anime had a shoestring budget, it appears as though the budget for this film went the whole nine yards, and it shows. The animation is smooth and clean, the movements are crisp, and the environment of Macca City is like this weird post-apocalyptic Wild West version of Las Vegas with a vague steampunk aesthetic. With a studio like Madhouse behind this production, it’s no short wonder that the film looks good. But, in a strange way, having it look so good kind of loses me when you compare it to the original material.

And does no one else notice the Franken-Michael Jackson in the

background of this scene?!

The audio is very reminiscent of the show, with lots of western and traditional sounding Hispanic cues combined with heavy uses of guitar, both acoustic and electric, drums, and basically the same sounds you would hear in a spaghetti western, though it’s not simply limited to this general theme. As you might expect, action scenes are more upbeat, with a faster tempo with sort of a bohemian feel to it in the sense that it’ll focus more on the drums and percussion instruments. If nothing else, the soundtrack is worth watching the film for.

The story, however, is kind of meh. It’s predictable, and plays it safe; you get an idea of what’s coming next, and towards the end you know exactly how this will play out. And since this film takes place somewhere in the middle of either the show or manga (“middle” being used excessively generously since it has to take place after Vash meets Wolfwood but before the story ends), certain scenes or drama that might play out are met with a resounding “yeah, that’ll be fine.” Still, it isn’t all bad since you get to see one of the original actors reprise his role. Guess which one. Yeah, it’s not much of a guess.

Your choices, ladies and ‘gents.

Johnny Yong Bosch (Bleach, Eureka Seven) reprises his very first voice over role ever as the strange but capable gunslinger Vash the Stampede, and, as you might expect, has improved over the years, but still maintains as much energy and emotion as he had the first time around. The insurance girls, Milly Thompson and Meryl Stryfe, are played by Trina Nishimora (Bamboo Blade, School Rumble) and Luci Christian (Fullmetal Alchemist, Azumanga Daioh) respectively, and although they play a somewhat minor role in the film in comparison to the anime, the original English cast would be proud with how they sound and act. The same can be said of Nicholas D. Wolfwood, played by country singer and actor Brad Hawkins (Future Diary, D. Gray-Man) who gives Wolfwood the same folksy sort of tone that he had in the original series. For the characters specific to the film there is the bounty hunter Amelia, played by Colleen Clinkenbeard (Case Closed, One Piece) who portrays the young woman with the level of emotion and energy she does with many of her roles, but without sounding too young or boisterous. Gasback, played by John Swasey (Dragon Half, One Piece), has the deep husky voice that large intimidating men have, and he does it well enough to not sound like Chris Sabat, but still manages to squeeze in some emotion into the lines so he’s not entirely a one-dimensional, one-note villain.

I mentioned earlier how the film looking too clean made me lose a bit of interest. The reason is that while it is superior animation in comparison, and beautiful animation at that, it doesn’t quite capture the same feel as the original series or even the manga; this is taking place in an environment where buying a house made of wood means you’re rolling in money, and technology powered by electricity is on a basic level. Even if you discount the glitzy appearance of Macca City as the result of a massive fortune stolen from numerous robberies, it still feels out of place. If you’re a fan of Trigun but still haven’t seen this film, you won’t be too disappointed by what you get. If you’re not a fan, you might be better off watching the series or reading the original comics it was based on. It’s by no means a bad film, and it was well-received by people who watched it, but its place is as a standalone side story of no importance except showing that people still enjoy the series after all these years.

Rating: 7.0

Visuals: 9
Audio: 8
Narrative: 5
Acting: 7
Atmosphere & Experience: 6

Final Verdict:


  Director: Satoshi Nishimura

  Producer: Shigeru Kitayama

                  Tsuneo Takechi

                  Yoshiyuki Fudetani

                  Yukiko Koike

  Studio: Madhouse

  Release Date (U.S.): Jul 7, 2011

  Release Date (E.U.): Oct 9, 2010

  Release Date (JP): Apr 24, 2010

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