Trigun: Badlands Rumble Review
“A Film Based Off The Great Manga Series And Even Better Anime Series That Wasn't Needed Or Wanted.”
December 8th, 2012
Trigun was a manga series that originally came out in 1996 in Japan that spawned a sequel or reboot in Trigun Maximum in 1998. Together they birthed Trigun the 26 episode anime series that became hugely successful in Japan and the United States. The late 1990's to the early 2000's was a great time for anime in the United States and in general with a boom in popularity with shows like Cowboy Bebop, Big O, Zoids: Chaotic Century, Outlaw Star, Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team, Trigun, Blue Gender, Fullmetal Alchemist and others. I had always been an anime fan growing up with anime shows like Transformers, Robotech and Voltron, but that was the time I truly became an avid fan of the genre. Still originally I skipped Trigun the anime series. From the trailers and previews I had seen it looked too much like an over the top comedy series, but my older brother convinced me to give it a try and loaned me his VHS tapes. For those of you who don't know Trigun takes place on a distant planet after generations ago humans left earth to settle on a new world and the story follows Vash the Stampede who has also been nicknamed the Humanoid Typhoon for all the destruction that follows him. The anime follows this carefree guy who doesn't seem like the guy who brings chaos and destruction with him, but sadly for him and the people around him it seems to happen. I was surprise at how good the anime series was and is. Sure at the beginning there is a lot of comedy and there is humor throughout the series, but I think it's there to lighten the mood of the series, because without it Trigun would be a very dark and bleak series and it works as the anime series manages to blend drama, action, humor and even romance almost perfectly. Oh it the series has one of the best death scenes a film or anime series ever. It has become one of my favorite anime series of all time, so when I heard about there being a Trigun film being made back in 2008 and 2009 I was very skeptical. I really didn't think it was necessary especially if it wasn't going to be connected to the anime series like the Cowboy Bebop film was connected to their anime series. The film was released in Japan in 2010 and in the United States a few months ago. I finally got to see the film a few days ago. Was there need for a Trigun film no, and was the film good and again the answer is no.
Trigun: Badlands Rumble barely there plot starts twenty years in the past where a gang of thieves led by the huge man Gasback who enjoys showing off and the big robberies. Things go smoothly for them as they get the money. That is until Gasback's men turn on him shooting him in the eye. Things look bad for the gang leader until Vash stumbles in clumsily and saves Gasback's life. Does Gasback thank him as his former comrades make off with all the money and the bank is surrounded by the police no he doesn't. Instead he hits a button and launches a whole bunch of missiles laying waste to the town and the bank. Twenty years later Gasback has formed another gang and is looking for revenge on his former comrades. One former comrade runs Macca City where Gasback is headed with his men and his body guard Wolfwood. Vash is also headed on a steamer where he runs into the beautiful Amelia who is after the 300 million double dollar reward for Gasback. They hang out in the city until Gasback attacks and things get out of hand from there.
The plot isn't very good. The problem with it is it doesn't follow any continuum whether it be the manga or anime so it will be confusing for a fan of the manga or anime series like me let alone a new comer. If you haven't seen or read the anime and manga and try to check out this film you will be completely lost. The writers don't bother to introduce or give any background to Vash, Wolfwood, Meryl or Milly who are from the Manga and Anime series. The writer and directors just assume that a newcomer will be able to follow or care about these characters, and even with my love for the anime series and manga I barely cared about the plot or the characters. I love Vash he's a great character and he was again the best character in the film, but even he was a letdown. The story just didn't carry the depth, humor or emotional impact that one episode of the anime series did.
What can I give praise to is the animation down by the great anime company Madhouse. The same company that has done great anime series and films like Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, Gungrave, Wicked City, Record of Lodoss War, Ninja Scroll, three Batman films and more. The detail in this film is amazing from the facial expressions to the vehicles Madhouse did an outstanding job bringing this film to life and honestly it was the best thing about Trigun: Badlands Rumble.
Going into this film I wasn't expecting much, but I was hoping for a good anime film. Sadly that isn't what I got. Trigun: Badlands Rumble fails to entertain newcomers or fans of the series and manga with a weak plot, lack of character depth or emotional connection, good music. The only thing that the film has going for it is the excellent animation done by Madhouse, so sadly I can't recommend this film to a newcomer to anime or a fan of Vash. Instead if you are interested in Vash I would recommend you read the two manga series or better yet check out the anime series which I consider the best of all of them.