Trigun: Badlands Rumble is a sweet visit from an old friend that will leave fans wanting more and feeling far from full. Trigun along with series like Cowboy Bebop, hooked many a current anime fan and while the original series is starting to show its age this movie, Badlands Rumble, shows that an older franchise can be fired up again even if it’s not a large scale epic movie made during the anime’s original run. This is what makes Badlands Rumble very unique. The series ended years ago so seeing a movie now rewards those fans and instead of riding a hot anime wave this movie may actually help create interest in the original series. That being said it’s a fun flick to watch so let’s take a look at its parts.
Story – Twenty years ago Vash the Stampede, the humanoid typhoon, saved a bandit and set off a series of events that bring him to Macca City. Gasback, betrayed by his gang and setup to be captured is on the hunt for his old gang and he’s about to come face-to-face with Vash again twenty years after their first encounter. As Gasback looks for vengeance he is also being hunted by Amelia, a girl with a pained past Gasback caused but neither Amelia nor Vash will find it easy getting close to Gasback with a bodyguard like Wolfwood on duty. As Gasback seeks vengeance an entire town is at stake and the choices of the past must be confronted. Nobody said trying to save every life was easy; a painful lesson Vash lives with every day.
Badlands Rumble moves along at a quick pace and feels more like an extended, polished episode of Trigun rather than a larger feature film. The story has a few twists and turns but at its core it’s what it says. Vash saves/spares Gasback years earlier only to find he must confront the consequences both good and bad. He and Amelia are the centers in this film along with Gasback while Wolfwood and our two favorite insurance gals are along for the ride. Vash is his usual goofy self somehow getting out of trouble with minimal violence while Amelia comes across as the trouble tough girl quite well. The relationship the two forge is natural where it could have felt forced, quite a feat in a shorter timeframe. Overall it is an extended episode with some emotional ties and a ton of fun action. Fans will leave Badlands Rumble reminiscing about the Trigun series while those new should know they are getting just a taste of the excellence that was and still is Trigun.
Animation and Art Style – Polished, bright and vivid. The look and feel of Trigun is unique and BR looks and feels like the updated animation fans would expect. The action is great and over the top at times while (again) reminding of the original series. The overall quality is not on that ‘wow’ level many movies based on series are but that may be to the time since Trigun ended and advances in animation. It just feels a bit below the top budget anime movies.
Voice work and Music – Western styled music, a staple of the series, returns along with a cast of voice actors that know their stuff. There are zero complaints on the audio front.
Miscellaneous – Been a long time Vash, nice to see you again. The fun playful voice to serious and sad. Playfulness of one so burdened … it’s nice to revisit with Vash so many years after the end of Trigun and for this fact fans of Trigun should be happy.
Overall Trigun: Badlands Rumble is exactly what fans of the franchise should expect, a safe and familiar story that fits like a familiar pair of slippers. Nothing new or flashy, just comfortable with great voice action, solid action and animation and a story that gets the job done. For fans with no knowledge of Trigun, Badlands Rumble is a great way to see just a snippet of what the franchise is all about without the full 20+ episode commit. Rock solid, best watched with a 12-pack of donuts.