Zechs has an Outhouse Exclusive review of Trigun: Badlands Rumble (2010).
Before I go into the actual review I just want to say how much of a journey this film has gone under. First off the impossibility it was view it the first time when it made its world premiere at Sakura Con 2010 (it's set to premiere in Japan on April 24, 2010). I went with Lucy an hour before the panel of some of the creators of the film did a Q & A before showing the film and it was already sold out. We had two more chances to view it and got lucky the second day. However, the showing was equally packed and the security in watching the film was tight. You had two lines for the film. One for getting in and the only way you could do that was if you had no cell phones, jackets, bags, or cameras. Luckily, I took Lucy's stuff and she did that while I went into the second line which was the bag check for all this.
The reason for these measures where simple. Sakura Con didn't want anyone streaming this puppy on the net. Twice they stated to both lines that if you where caught recording you would be banned from the convention not only immediately, but forever period. During the entire movie they had staff swarm the aisles looking for anything suspicious. The staff even stated if you had a cell phone and it rang you be kicked as well. If you left you couldn't get back in, so yeah no bathroom breaks. You had to tough it out and watch the entire film. They even gave trouble to a dude dressed as Old Snake just because he had a cardboard box with him. Nothing was held back in being checked away. I'd even assume that's another reason why they had this completely raw as well and not show it in any English dub or sub since it only make things easier for the piracy of the movie. So if you didn't know some Japanese you where utterly screwed.
For five minutes the director of the film, Satoshi Nishimura, entertained the audience and thanked the fans for the support of this film. After the movie, he was respectfully bowing to all that went by the door and I returned the favor bowing back. There where two other people who made the movie however the fourth person (who's name I'm forgetful on right now I think it was Takahiro Yoshhimatsu, an animator and character designer on the movie) and their translator who talked English for the non speaking Japanese folk.
As for the movie, it starts out twenty years from the main events of the anime. Those wondering where this movie fits into the anime, we really aren't given an exact time-line as to where this movie fits. It has no ties to the villains of the series. So those expecting Legato Bluesummers or Knives Millions, they aren't even here. However given that Wolfwood does show up you know this take's place before episode twenty-three in the anime. All the movie does it tell a stand-alone story involving several of the characters from the series.
Back to the actual story, it starts out with a bank robbery gone into a double cross with Vash appearing to make sure nobody gets killed and of course he instead gets blamed for the entire fiasco instead. After a summary of who Vash is and the world he lives in for any new fans we flash forward twenty years to Milly and Meryl being called into a town of Makkah where the Mayor, Kepier, has called the duo to do an insurance assessment. Why you ask? Because he's placed a rather big bounty on the leader of the Gasback Gang who has terrorized the area around the town. So every bounty hunter or nut with a gun has come to the town in a hope to collect on the large bounty offered. Meryl already is having a nightmare of the carnage that is set to erupt in the town when Vash arrives via a large transport with a mysterious female bounty hunter. As for Wolfwood, he on the other hand make's acquaintance to the Gasback Gang's leader and if I say anymore it spoil the plot of the movie.
The movie itself is really by the numbers. You can predict most of the plot for the most part save for one key event, which silenced the entire audience I was in. The moment a certain scene plays the crowd died. When you do that to an active crowd you just know you're doing things right. Still, there's nothing really memorable I can say about the movie save for the comedy and the characters themselves. About everything in the plot is just so by the numbers you know where this is all going before it even happens. Still there are some surprises that one just doesn't expect and other things that are just so damn well rewarded that at least the writers know that the audience expects payoff to some elements that are given. Plus every scene involving Vash still is utter gold.
Honestly, even ten years since he last appeared, Vash the Stampede is still one of the greatest anime/manga characters of all time. There's just something about him that's so iconic of the character, besides his actual design. He could be so comedic in his timing then at the drop of a hat he could either go into non kill mode to bad ass. Almost every scene the character was in to his antics gained huge applause from the audience. God this make's me almost wish there was a second season to this series just to see the character again even more.
However those expecting to see Vash wield his three guns in this movie be warned, he only uses one. That is a little bit of a downer and just goes to show for me how much of a non threat the main antagonist to the movie was. However, it is the villain of the piece, who has the three guns instead (and I won't spoil which they are plus he has a fourth weapon). He fits that over the top villain that Trigun has had so well, but he's no Gung-Ho Gun or Legato, instead he reminds me more of Brilliant Dynamites Neon. The dude has a code of honor, yet when put up against a wall an absolute beast. You can see he can pose some threat, but that I didn't like he really didn't have any sort of memorable lackey to counter for Wolfwood. It's just all anticipation for his eventual gun duel with Vash.
Though, even with the lack luster final fight everything else in this movie rules. The raid by the Gasback Gang in Makkah, to the chase after it, to the start of the finale is all really well done. I just wish the final fight was as epic, but alas it just isn't. I mean sure it sort of challenges Vash's belief system that no soul should die and all the butterflies should be safe, yet damned if I wish there be a better villain counter as Legato or Knives was to that.
Still, even after ten years from the role of Vash, Masaya Onosaka acts like nothing has happened. His Vash just so darn easy going and kind while also capturing such an insane goofball the character can be sometimes. I know the dub is heralded sometimes as perfect, however in Trigun's case the cast is so damn good in Japanese it's so damn hard to top them. Everyone else's voices from the old series and timing here is just as perfect as they where before.
As for those wondering of the appearance of Trigun's fifth cast member the chameleon kitty known as Kuroneko-sama. I'm here to say that the utterly devilish yet cute cat has six confirmed appearances in the movie. He may have a seventh given there was an animated credits with the main characters walking away from the town, but I never got to see the end given Lucy wanted to go now.
So those expecting something truly epic, honestly I can't say that Trigun: Badlands Rumble is that. It was entertaining and I had a damned good time watching it. I was tempted to see it again during the third final showing at Sakura Con, however I'm rather patient to wait for it's release here in the states, which should be either another year from now or at the earliest, at the end of this one. The characters from the anime/manga are just as entertaining as they where ten years ago. The action is pretty good, though it could have been better. Honestly the best quality and I can assume this movie would be comparing it to the first thirteen episodes of the anime. It's light hearted fare where Vash just gets to do his thing and you know the foe he's fighting hasn't a chance in the world when Vash turns it up a notch. Fans of the anime/manga will be at home here, while those new to the series will no doubt love the comedy and the characters, will spark some curiosity into the anime/manga more. Not surprisingly, Funamation, had just announced this past year that they have bought the rights to the anime when Pioneer aka Geneon went bankrupt a few years ago. So those who never saw the series on DVD or Adult Swim in the US can get reacquainted in the summer time when it's released in Blu Ray and I can only assume an entire series set. Until then I can safely say that the movie is still not a letdown and is damned well worth the price of admission and heck of security breathing down my neck that I paid to watch it.
3.5 out of 5