Watching Trigun Badlands Rumble brought back fond memories of one of the best Animes I’ve ever seen. Only problem is it has been quite some time since I’ve seen it but luckily you don’t need to know much about this anime to enjoy the movie if you go in cold. The action looked great – it’s a Madhouse production so that’s to be expected, especially give the fact it took 5 years to create and is presented in high definition. Chronologically speaking, Badlands Rumble takes place somewhere in the middle of the series. Hence Wolfwood still being alive. True, I did state that you can watch this film even if you’ve never seen a single episode, but this film was made for the fans rather than any possible newcomers.
The movie introduces us to Gasback, a notorious bank robber about to make off with another heist. Before he can get away, Gasback’s three goons attempt a coup detat but ultimately fail due to the interference of a familiar man in red. Rumors say that the legendary thief will show up again in a particular location, thus causing an enormous influx of bounty hunters in the area who want to collect the $300,000,000 prize for his head. Despite its understandable focus on characters from the Trigun television series, the real story arc belongs largely to Amelia, whose backstory is revealed in a number of flashbacks. The director nails the western film feel, and even injects the music with a bit of jazz. It should be noted, however, that despite the ten year gap in production between the series and the movie, the character designs are the same. No radical make-overs, they just look cleaner and sharper. Seriously, visually speaking, the movie is a treat.
Like the TV-series, there is also a huge contrast between the silly parts and the parts at which it takes itself completely serious. We have some nice fun dialogue, great slapstick humor, a crazy bar brawl, lots of action, and a bit of drama to give it some weight. Watching Vash dodge bullets with gusto or seeing Wolfwood wield his giant cross; for a Trigun fan, those things alone are worth the price of admission. The desert is littered with glittering quicksand, and the fireworks are more gratifying than anything we’ll see from Michael Bay.
For the familiar fans hoping for a continuation of the series or a reboot that’s more faithful to the manga, they are bound to be disappointed. Still this was an entertaining ride that all fans of anime should check out. There was an interesting reveal near the end that took me by surprise because it was slightly hinted at a few points during the film but it seemed to make sense a bit more after it was explained. Overall, though the plot takes a couple clever turns, the movie is just a nicely done, very straightforward light action romp, done well. I enjoyed the ending especially, which had a nice way of commenting on Vash’s ideals. And of course, this movie is even better for letting us hang out with those classic Trigun characters for another hour and a half. This is brisk, sometimes quite funny, entertainment that is, as is typical of Madhouse, a weird blend of several genres.